Education Week - May 11, 2016 - (Page 15)
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
ESSA Paves Way for Deeper
Access to Wealth of K-12 Data
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
"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
"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
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 | www.edweek.org | 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
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