Education Week - May 11, 2016 - (Page 15)

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS ESSA Paves Way for Deeper Access to Wealth of K-12 Data Increased transparency a key part of new statute By Alyson Klein The Every Student Succeeds Act scales back the federal role when it comes to accountability and school improvement, and grants states and districts new flexibility in using federal funds. But, as part of its bipartisan grand bargain, it also bolsters some federal requirements in one key area: transparency. ESSA, which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act, calls for states and districts to provide test scores for some vulnerable groups of students for the first time ever, including foster children, homeless students, and students from military families. And, in addition to those outcomes, it requires states and districts to report on a variety of factors that help capture the types of instructional resources students have access to and whether they had a safe school environment. Data Requirements For instance, states and districts will now have to report on school-by-school expenditures, and specify how many of their English-language learners have been struggling to reach proficiency after five or more years. ESSA also moves some data requirements-like school climate and safety-to school report cards, where they can be easily accessible to parents. Postsecondary enrollment rates-if available, as they are in the majority of states-will also have to go on report cards. All of that will add up to a lot more information for parents, policymakers, and the advocacy community, said Daria Hall, the interim vice president for government affairs and communications at the Education Trust, which advocates for poor and minority students. The new requirements "are incredibly important for parents to make informed choices on behalf of their children, for advocates to launch advocacy campaigns, and for policymakers to really be able to assess whether their investments are paying off," she said. And crafting the new requirements didn't generate the same kind of political fights as negotiations on other parts of the legislation, such as accountability. "People have very different opinions about the federal role" in K-12 education, Hall said, "but there is shared agreement that transparency is important." An architect of ESSA expects the transparency requirements could serve as an important check on the new law. "I am hopeful that states will use this data and information, in combination with the flexibility of ESSA, to not just ascertain achievement gaps, but also act responsibly MORE TRANSPARENCY The Every Student Succeeds Act includes a host of new requirements aimed at greater transparency when it comes to student outcomes, access to resources, and more, in areas including: State Accountability Systems: Report cards will now have to give more detail on the state's overall student achievement goal, how many students a school must have from a particular subgroup for those students to be included for accountability purposes, and the list of indicators used to measure a school's performance. Foster Children, Homeless Students, Students From Military Families: For the first time, states will have to break out the student achievement data and graduation rates of these students, just as they do for other "subgroups" like racial minorities, those from low-income families, and students in special education. Long-Term English-Language Learners: States and districts will have to report the number and percentage of students who have been identified as English-language learners and attended school in the district for five years or more without being reclassified as proficient in English. Per-Pupil Expenditures: States will have to enumerate just how much they are spending per student in each district and each school, which could help highlight disparities. Post-Secondary Enrollment: For the first time, states will be required to report these rates, if available, on their report cards. Crosstabulation: States will have to report data-including test scores and participation rates, performance on school quality indicators, and graduation rates-and in a manner that can be "crosstabulated," to help researchers and advocates better understand certain groups of students. SOURCE: U.S. Congress PAGE 18 > Education Funding a Key Factor in Illinois Budget Showdown By Daarel Burnette II Illinois school administrators are counting up their reserve funds to see how long they would be able to keep their doors open in the case that the state doesn't distribute its share of education dollars by July 1. It's not a far-fetched scenario. As of last week, the state still hadn't come up with an overall budget for the current, 2016 fiscal year, or for the coming 2017 fiscal year. While Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner approved K-12 education spending in a separate budget measure in June, colleges and several human services agencies have been forced to tap their savings accounts and take out emergency loans to continue operating. Competing Plans Now the state's school districts fear they could face a similar fate if the state's Democratic-controlled legislature and Rauner don't agree on a spending plan by July 1. As of last week, legislators were debating two very different proposals-one by the Rauner and another by Democratic Sens. Andy Manar and Senate President John Cullerton-that would fundamentally change how the state distributes its education dollars. Rauner has proposed, for the first time in seven years, to fully fund Illinois' portion of education costs under the state's funding formula by adding $120 million to its education spending. The state is spending $7 billion on K-12 in the current fiscal year. While the state's constitution requires the state's funding formula to provide districts with $6,119 per student, the state has not contributed its total share in recent years because of a $111 billion public employee pension debt, among other things. That's resulted in widespread funding cuts to districts across the state. "We must make the education of our children our top priority," Rauner said during a budget address in February in which he urged legislators to send a K-12 budget proposal to his desk. While admitting that the funding formula needs to be changed, he said past attempts have pitted districts against one another. "The one thing I won't back down on-the one thing that's non-negotiable for me-is increasing education funding." Rauner's plan would result in some districts, including Chicago and surrounding suburbs, losing money. Rauner has said those district would lose funds because they are losing students. But Chicago officials blame an already-flawed formula that they say is too dependent on local property taxes and say that Rauner's plan will only exacerbate disparities among disticts. Harsh Rhetoric That aspect of his plan has sparked large-scale protests by Chicago teachers and parents who have described the potential cuts as detrimental to a district already undergoing its own budget cuts "Bruce Rauner is a liar," Karen Lewis, the president of Chicago's teachers' union, said during a protest last month, rejecting the governor's argument that all districts would benefit from his budget in the long run. "And, you know, I've been reading in the news lately all about these ISIS recruits popping up all over the place- has Homeland Security checked this man out yet? Because the things he's doing look like acts of terror on poor and working-class people." That comment drew a harsh condemnation from Rauner's office. Cullerton and Manar have proposed replacing the state's 19-yearold school funding formula with one that would increase state support to the state's neediest school districts. Chicago, under that plan, would re- ceive close to $300 million, according to some estimates. The state's funding formula is heavily reliant on property taxes, an issue that school officials for years have complained about. Districts with low property values, especially rural ones downstate, have suffered dispropor- " We're going to move forward with or without the governor." ILLINOIS STATE SEN. ANDY MANAR "The data shows what many of us have feared: that [Manar's] legislation has become a vehicle for a major bailout of the bankrupt Chicago school system, while wildly shifting funding around suburban communities, and creating a detrimental impact on downstate schools," said Republican state Sen. Jason Barickman. Manar said the study was flawed and politically motivated. Several Democratic legislators have said they will hold up K-12 spending this year until the state's funding formula is changed. "We're going to move forward with or without the governor," Manar said. Rauner said last month that he thinks they'll come up with a solution by July 1. Superintendents, meanwhile, aren't so confident. "A year ago, I would've said no, [a state shutdown] could never happen," said John Asplund, the superintendent of Farmington school district, in the western part of the state. "But, now, I don't know. We've kept a healthy fund balance reserve because the state has been so unpredictable. I'd rather have a large rainy day fund balance because it keeps raining here." tionately, according to education advocacy organizations. "Our [existing] formula is almost punitive to children who live in poverty today," Manar said during a press conference last month where he unveiled his proposal. Chicago, under that plan, would receive close to $175 million more, according to an analysis by the state's board of education released last week that sparked widespread criticism of The Associated Press contributed to this the plan from the state's Republicans. article. EDUCATION WEEK | May 11, 2016 | | 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 11, 2016

Education Week - May 11, 2016
Bungling Student Names: A Slight That Stings
Popularity of Ed Tech Often Not Linked to Products’ Impact
As ESSA Rolls Out, State Officials Vow To Hear Local Voices
Rich Districts Post Widest Racial Gaps
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Study Says Teachers Feel Stressed, Discounted
Amid Rocky Start, College-Access Coalition Hires First Director
Migrant Students Kept Out of Schools, AP Investigation Finds
Scores Decline for Low-Performers On 12th Grade NAEP
National Survey Shows Rise in Student Safety
Blogs of the Week
Education Funding a Key Factor In Illinois Budget Showdown
ESSA Paves Way for Deeper Access to Wealth of K-12 Data
Blogs of the Week
Relative Motion In Education
Education Policy Should Address Student Poverty
Quality Physical Education Is a Life Changer
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
‘People Support What They Create’: Stakeholder Engagement Is Key to ESSA’s Future

Education Week - May 11, 2016