Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 20
Trump Orders Hard Look at Federal Reach on K-12 Policy
Commission to identify
threats to local control
local control, Goad said. After 300 days, the
department is supposed to release a report
on its findings.
Reinforcing the Message
By Alyson Klein
President Donald Trump and his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, have made local
control a major focus of their statements on
K-12. And Trump underscored that priority in his recent executive order calling on
DeVos to take a hard look at where the federal government has overreached on K-12
The order directs DeVos to review, tweak,
and even repeal regulations and guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education
recently, as well as identify places where the
federal government has overstepped its legal
Recently, "too many in Washington have
advanced top-down mandates that take
away autonomy and limit the options available to educators, administrators, and parents," said Rob Goad, a senior Education
Department aide, on a call with reporters
last month. The executive order puts "an end
to this overreach, ensuring that states and
localities are free to make educational decisions," he added.
In response to the executive order, a task
force at the department, led by Robert Eitel,
a senior adviser to the secretary, will look
at all the K-12 regulations put out by prior
administrations and decide which step on
DeVos doesn't need an executive order-or
a task force-to strike down regulations or
rescind guidance put out by previous administrations. She can already delay or decline
to enforce regulations, or change guidance.
"It doesn't create any new authority," said
Too many in Washington
have advanced top-down
mandates that take away
U.S. Department of Education
Reg Leichty, a founder and partner at Foresight Law + Policy. "It doesn't change what
we knew to be the position of the president.
It might add some formality to the work that
the secretary and her team already plan to
do. It's a formal way to express their policy
that the federal role should be smaller."
Goad acknowledged as much in his call
with reporters to discuss the April 26 order,
confirming that DeVos was indeed already
empowered to examine, revise, and rescind
rules and regulations before the order. And
already, Congress has scrapped the Obama
administration's regulations on accountability and teacher preparation.
The executive order seems to be a not-soveiled shot at President Barack Obama's administration, which used $4 billion in Race
to the Top funding to entice states to adopt
the Common Core State Standards, teacher
evaluations using student test scores, and
more. The Education Department under
Obama also offered states waivers from
many mandates of the much-maligned No
Child Left Behind Act, in exchange for adopting other policies, such as using dramatic
strategies to turn around low-performing
But such activities are already prohibited by the Every Student Succeeds Act.
ESSA, which Obama signed in 2015 to replace the NCLB law, is designed to reduce
the federal role in K-12 in part by prohibiting the education secretary from using
money or flexibility to influence states'
standards, teacher evaluations, and school
turnaround strategies. In fact, because of
ESSA and other federal laws that predate it,
Trump can't fulfill his campaign promise to
get rid of the common core, which remains in
place in more than 35 states and the District
Randi Weingarten, the president of the
1.6 million-member American Federation of
Teachers, was quick to seize on the idea that
the executive order won't make much of a
"Rather than another executive order, perhaps the president and DeVos need to read
the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act,
as well as laws covering the civil rights and
privacy of students, and then listen to stakeholders, including educators and parents,"
'Changes Absolutely Nothing'
The Democratic National Committee was
even more blunt, saying Trump was essentially signing an empty order to chalk up
another accomplishment for his first 100
days in office, a milestone he passed late last
This executive order "changes absolutely
nothing," said Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the DNC. "Trump isn't signing it
to actually improve education for American
students, he is doing it to put a fake point on
the board within his first 100 days because
he doesn't have any accomplishments of significance."
But Jeanne Allen, the founder and CEO of
the Center for Education Reform, a school
choice advocacy organization, praised the
executive order. "The process," she said in a
statement, "will also allow the public to learn
just how much oversight occurs as a result
of bureaucracy, not law, and pave the way
for all schools to focus on outcomes, not
Hurdles Remain for Calif. K-12 Funding Formula, Study Says
By Daarel Burnette II
The latest study of California's
revised K-12 funding formula finds
that local education officials welcome the more than $15 billion in
new money the formula has shifted
toward school districts since 2013,
as well as the added flexibility it
gives them to make locally based
But researchers from the Local
Control Funding Formula Research
Collaborative-which based its findings on eight widely varied districts
around the state-also raised concerns about oversight and confusion
on the part of some school systems
about how some pots of money
should be spent and about the law's
goals in the area of spending equity.
"There are still some very significant obstacles that are getting in
the way of achieving the goals of
LCFF," said Julie Marsh, a professor at the University of Southern
California, one of the researchers
involved in the collaborative.
California politicians passed the
latest funding formula in 2013, replacing a restrictive one that critics
said didn't recognize the diverse nature of California.
The new formula is intended to
give local officials more freedom to
spend based on their own communities' needs. The new formula was
also meant to fix spending disparities between schools with high concentrations of students with special
needs and those without.
The formula has been described as
a revolutionary one that recognizes
inequities between different types of
students and scales back the state's
role in telling districts how to spend
their state funding. Districts with
foster students, low-income students, and English-language learners were given more money than
others, and school officials are now
required to show that they engaged
community members in making decisions.
The state will spend $72 billion
on K-12 and community colleges
this year, compared with $47 billion
The latest study, the third of its
kind from the collaborative of independent and university researchers,
looks at districts of varying sizes, demographics, and governance models
among California's 1,022 districts,
to determine how administrators,
teachers, and community members
have responded to the Local Control
Funding Formula. None of the districts were identified in the study.
Researchers found that local officials in the eight districts appreciated the new money and powers,
and there were signs that struggling students in many instances
were getting more-tailored supports
through the funding formula.
But the researchers also found
some instances of misspending,
such as money intended only for
20 | EDUCATION WEEK | May 10, 2017 | www.edweek.org
poor students being spent on Advanced Placement courses for all
students and on new school building construction. They also said that
rural districts, in particular, lacked
the capacity to engage stakeholders and that many of those administrators seemed confused over the
technicalities and purpose of some
components of the formula.
The study also found that, in some
instances, community members and
even school board members of the
districts reviewed aren't engaged in
the budget-making process.
"LCFF didn't result in greater coherence in strategic planning and
budgeting," said Daniel Humphrey,
an independent consultant who
worked on the report.
For example, as California implemented the Common Core State
Standards, only three of the districts studied spent their money on
materials or comprehensive support
systems for their teachers to roll out
the new standards.
One of the researchers, Julia Koppich of J. Koppich & Associates,
warned other states against using
California as a cookie-cutter model
as many of them look to overhaul
their funding formulas.
"Context matters," Koppich said.
"California had particularly solid
political alliances [between local
and state officials and political parties], a robust economy, and widespread consensus that there needed
to be a new formula. Examine your
own context and adapt, don't adopt."
This is a
we're able to
changes, we will.
nothing like this
out there. There's
no model to work
MICHAEL W. KIRST
President, California State
Board of Education
Michael W. Kirst, the president of
California's state board of education,
said many of the concerns raised in
the study have been addressed with
new information sent to districts
that better explains the dynamics of
the funding formula, forms for districts to complete, and training. He
also said the new academic report
card the state began providing local
officials this year makes spending
decisions more transparent for community members.
"We're still working on this," Kirst
said. "This is a continuous improvement project. Where we're able to
make rapid changes, we will. But
there's nothing like this out there.
There's no model to work off of."
The state expects innovation and
capacity to expand as district officials and community members
become more familiar with the formula and the department rolls out
a new academic-accountability program. Because every district uses
the formula's f lexibilities differently,
it's hard to draw sweeping conclusions about its success or pitfalls,
said Janet Weeks, a spokeswoman
for the state board of education.
The researchers, meanwhile, are
urging the department to give districts even more guidance, training,
and clarity over new rules.
"The state needs to redouble their
efforts to clarify the intent of LCFF,"
said Koppich. "The message hasn't
always been heard."
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 10, 2017
Education Week - May 10, 2017
Pruning Dead-End Pathways In Career Tech. Ed.
Teachers Lace Academics With Relationship Skills
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Ed-Tech Leadership Hazy Under Trump
Parker Davis and Alina Lopez, right, talk about words and acts that cause happiness, in a 2nd grade classroom at Lincoln Elementary School in Oakland, Calif. Peer-to-peer conversations are part of an effort to build academic and social-emotional skills
Legislatures Tackle ESSA, Fiscal Issues
News in Brief
Record U.S. Graduation Rate Not Seen as Inflated
Obama-Era Nutrition Standards Loosened for School Meals
Mostly White Town Can Leave Diverse District, Court Says
Teacher Residencies Can Help Curb Shortages, Studies Say
Do Parents See Math as ‘Less Useful’ Than Reading?
Oregon GEAR UP Links Rural Students To Private Colleges
2017 Budget Deal Defers Fierce Fights on Education Aid
Trump Orders Hard Look At Federal Reach on K-12 Policy
Hurdles Remain for Calif. K-12 Funding Formula, Study Says
100 Days: How Three Presidents Stack Up on K-12
Rafiq R. Kalam Id-Din II: Black Teachers Matter. School Integration Doesn’t
By Robert W. Runcie & Antwan Wilson: How We Stopped Sending Students to Jail
Q&A With Peggy Orenstein: Let’s Talk to K-12 Girls About Sex
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
David Jacobson: A Purple Agenda for (Early) Education
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Legislatures Tackle ESSA, Fiscal Issues
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 2
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 3
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - News in Brief
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 5
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Obama-Era Nutrition Standards Loosened for School Meals
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Mostly White Town Can Leave Diverse District, Court Says
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Teacher Residencies Can Help Curb Shortages, Studies Say
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Do Parents See Math as ‘Less Useful’ Than Reading?
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Oregon GEAR UP Links Rural Students To Private Colleges
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 11
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 12
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 13
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 14
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 15
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 16
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 17
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 2017 Budget Deal Defers Fierce Fights on Education Aid
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 19
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Hurdles Remain for Calif. K-12 Funding Formula, Study Says
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 100 Days: How Three Presidents Stack Up on K-12
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 22
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 23
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - By Robert W. Runcie & Antwan Wilson: How We Stopped Sending Students to Jail
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Letters
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 26
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 27
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 29
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 30
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 31
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - David Jacobson: A Purple Agenda for (Early) Education
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - CW1
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - CW2
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - CW3
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - CW4