Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 21
In fact, she said, the public
doesn't have an avenue to share its
thoughts other than by emailing
the commission at firstname.lastname@example.org,
adding, "We don't know what they
are doing with the information
that's being sent there."
That has contributed to the
perception that the commission
has already made up its mind
about what it will recommend,
said Amanda Karhuse, the director of advocacy for the National
Association of Secondary School
"They seem to have their own idea
of who they should be listening to,"
Karhuse said. "The president has
already said some things publicly.
He has an idea of what he wants
the commission to say and what the
recommendations should be. And
they're not ones we agree with."
Trump and DeVos, for instance,
have said states and districts should
consider arming certain teachers
in order to deal with school shootings-a proposal NASSP opposes.
NASSP also was among eight
groups representing superintendents, state chiefs, school psycholo-
gists, social workers, and parents
that sent a letter to the department
earlier this month outlining their
concerns about the lack of outreach.
(The letter was sent prior to the
Texas school shooting.)
The Education Department said
that two top officials-Mick Zais,
the deputy secretary, and Kent
Talbert, a senior aide -had a
45-minute conference call with the
National PTA, one of the groups
on the letter. Jacki Ball, the director of government relations for
the PTA, said there were no specific details provided during that
call about when future meetings
of the commission and/or listening sessions would be held. And
the Council of Chief State School
Officers was told the department
would be scheduling a meeting
with the schools chiefs soon. Zais
and Talbert have also met previously with state teachers of the
year on the issue.
But Ball said more needs to be
done, beyond conversations with
individual associations. "All of us
want to engage in this work, and
we want to be partners," she said.
not understanding the precedent
set by Plyler.
"Any public school or school district that denies an education to
any undocumented child-whether
by refusing to enroll, by limiting
access to the programs and benefits provided to other students, or
by reporting a child to ICE-has
violated the United States Constitution," the group said in a statement. There are circumstances in
which immigration authorities can
access a school and seek information about students, although this
is not common.
received equitable access to educational services.
Scott and DeVos had a contentious
exchange about a longtime sore spot
for Democrats: their complaint that
the secretary has approved state
plans for the Every Student Succeeds
Act that don't appropriately account
for the performance of vulnerable students in school ratings and for school
ESSA requires schools to track and
report the performance of student
subgroups, but their precise and required role in ratings and improvement has been a subject of disagreement between Democrats and DeVos
for some time.
During the hearing, Scott challenged her to explain that and asked
her to recite what she thought ESSA
requires of states on the subject.
DeVos shot back that while Scott
might wish certain things to be included in the main federal K-12 law,
she was not bound by such desires.
She told him that the ESSA plans
she had approved comported with
the law. Repeating a theme she used
throughout the hearing, DeVos said,
"I will not add to the law. I will follow
DeVos also got a chance to weigh
in on recent teacher walkouts in
When Rep. Raul Grijalva, DAriz., asked for her thoughts on the
walkouts in states like Arizona and
Oklahoma, DeVos said she thought
the education system needed to
treat teachers differently.
"There's no one more important
to a student's education than a
great teacher," DeVos told Grijalva.
"I think they should be better
compensated. I think they should
be treated as professionals. The
system as it is today doesn't treat
them as professionals."
Civil Rights Enforcement
DeVos spent much of the hearing
defending her record on civil rights
enforcement, or stressing to Democratic lawmakers in particular that
while she was dedicated to protecting civil rights, she would not create new laws or legal requirements
at the Education Department.
When Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.,
asked whether she would follow
legal precedent that established
protections for transgender students, DeVos said that court precedent was mixed on that issue,
that Congress had not settled the
question, and that she would not
"make up" federal law to clarify
Last year, DeVos and Sessions repealed Obama-era guidance stating
that transgender students should
be given access to school facilities
that match their gender identity.
And while DeVos said it was "not
tolerable" if two students of different
races were treated differently after
committing the same infraction,
she also said she was ultimately
focused on treating students as individuals in order to ensure they
On School Choice
Earn Ed. Sec.'s Ire
By Alyson Klein
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who has
had difficulty selling her school choice agenda in Washington, railed against state constitutional prohibitions
on public funds going to faith-based institutions, in a
recent speech to a Roman Catholic organization.
The target of DeVos' wrath: so-called "Blaine"
amendments to state constitutions that prohibit
public funds from being used for religious purposes.
DeVos said those amendments, many of which originated in the late 1800s, began as "bigoted" against
"These Blaine provisions prohibit taxpayer funding
of 'sectarian'-a euphemism at that time for 'Catholic'-activities, even when they serve the public good,"
DeVos said, according to prepared remarks of the
speech to the Alfred E. Smith Foundation, which is
affiliated with the Archdiocese of New York. "Activities
like addiction recovery, hospice care, or-the amendments' primary target-parochial education."
Those amendments are still on the books in 37
states, DeVos said in her May 16 address. And
though she didn't mention it in her speech, that includes her home state of Michigan. Back in 2000,
DeVos helped lead an effort to change the state's
constitution to allow for school vouchers. It failed.
She added that "there's hope that Blaine amendments won't be around much longer." Last year,
she said, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was
unconstitutional for a state-funded playgroundrestoration program in Columbia, Mo., to exclude
a facility on the grounds of a church. (That case
is Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Mo. v.
Comer.) School choice advocates are hoping that ruling will prod state lawmakers to re-examine Blaine
"These amendments should be assigned to the ash
heap of history, and this 'last acceptable prejudice'
should be stamped out once and for all," DeVos said.
But Maggie Garrett, the legislative director of
Americans United for the Separation of Church and
State, a nonprofit organization in Washington, has
a different take on the state constitutional amendments, which she referred to as "no aid" clauses.
"Like with many things, Betsy Devos has her facts
wrong," Garrett said. "It's a simplistic and inaccurate
view of the history. There were many reasons why people supported no-aid clauses, many of them were legitimate." And she noted that states continue to support
such amendments. Recently, for instance, Oklahoma
tried to strike its clause through a state referendum,
but the effort was resoundingly defeated.
Moreover, Garrett said that DeVos is "overstating"
the impact of the Trinity Lutheran decision, which,
in Garrett's view, applies narrowly to playground resurfacing.
DeVos and her team have had a hard time getting
Congress on board with school choice initiatives, including a recent budget pitch for a new $250 million
new voucher program and a behind-the-scenes push
to include a federal tax-credit scholarship program
in recent tax-overhaul legislation. The tax-credit
scholarship would have allowed individuals and corporations to get a tax break for donating to so-called
Passing on Impact Aid
DeVos has recently shifted her focus-at least
rhetorically-to a new idea for expanding choice: allowing students of military personnel to access Education Savings Accounts or ESAs. Such accounts can
be used for a range of services, including private
school tuition, dual-enrollment courses, or tutoring.
But the Trump administration does not support a
proposal currently pending in Congress to use a portion of Impact Aid program funding to help expand
school choice to military-connected children, DeVos
said in testifying before the House Education and the
Workforce Committee May 22.
The proposal, introduced by Rep. Jim Banks,
R-Ind., and GOP Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and
Tim Scott of South Carolina, faces stiff opposition
from advocates for school districts and military
families. And it is likely to stumble in Congress,
where the $1.3 billion Impact Aid program enjoys
Impact Aid is used to help school districts make
up for a federal presence, such as a Native American reservation or military base. Under Banks'
proposal, which is based on a paper written by the
conservative Heritage Foundation, part of the funding would instead flow directly to families in the
form of ESAs.
Banks had planned to introduce the bill as an
amendment to the National Defense Authorization
Act, which is up for debate in Congress soon. Supporters, including the Heritage Foundation, say the
legislation would expand education options to an
important population of students and would help increase military-retention rates.
These amendments should
be assigned to the ash heap
U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION BETSY DEVOS
But detractors, including the National Association
of Federally Impacted Schools, worry that the proposal could divert as much as $450 million from Impact Aid.
That would generate "unprecedented uncertainty" for federally impacted schools, the impacted
schools association wrote in a recent report. "The
potential for such a significant funding reduction
would severely hinder a school district's ability to
maintain the staff, programs, services, and infrastructure necessary to support military-connected
students, a vast majority of whom are educated in
public school districts."
During the hearing, DeVos committed to working
with Banks and others on another vehicle for offering
school choice to military families.
During the hearing, DeVos did not mention a particular piece of legislation that she thought would work
for expanding choice to military-connected children.
But in the past, she said another bill introduced by
Scott was worth a look. That legislation would create a
school choice pilot program on several military bases,
using Pentagon funding.
Heritage Action, the political arm of the Heritage
Foundation, is championing the Banks legislation. But
it hasn't taken a position on Scott's other bill, said Dan
Holler, a vice president at Heritage Action.
Another possibility for extending choice to military
students: Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., has introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would set up a small, pilot scholarship program for special-needs children of military
Coverage of how parents work with educators, community
leaders, and policymakers to make informed decisions
about their children's education is supported by a grant
from the Walton Family Foundation, at waltonk12.org.
Education Week retains sole editorial control over the
content of this coverage.
EDUCATION WEEK | May 30, 2018 | www.edweek.org | 21
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 30, 2018
Education Week - May 30, 2018
News in Brief
Number of Librarians Plummets in Schools, Data Find
A Growing Vision Problem Is Hidden in Plain Sight
Another School in Anguish
The 10 Lives Lost>
Santa Fe Shooting Sparks Debate on School Design
Heated Comments Highlight Divisions in Wake of School Shooting
Survey of K-3 Teachers Captures Affinity With Pre-K Colleagues
Schools See New Dilemma in Teens Who Cyberbully Themselves
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Gamers Are the New School Athletes: The Rise of Esports
Trump Panel Slammed on Pace Of School Safety Work
DeVos Deflects Criticism At Capitol Hill Hearing
State Restrictions on School Choice Earn Ed. Sec.’s Ire
Jeannine Diddle Uzzi: Math Is a Language. Let’s Teach It That Way
Natalia Kucirkova: Is Silicon Valley Standardizing Learning?
Carolyn R. Hodges & Olga M. Welch: The Face of Leadership
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Michael J. Petrilli: A Fair and Effective Approach to School Discipline
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Education Week - May 30, 2018
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 2
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Contents
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - News in Brief
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Report Roundup
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Number of Librarians Plummets in Schools, Data Find
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 7
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - A Growing Vision Problem Is Hidden in Plain Sight
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 9
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Another School in Anguish
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - The 10 Lives Lost>
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 12
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Santa Fe Shooting Sparks Debate on School Design
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Heated Comments Highlight Divisions in Wake of School Shooting
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Survey of K-3 Teachers Captures Affinity With Pre-K Colleagues
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 16
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 17
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Schools See New Dilemma in Teens Who Cyberbully Themselves
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Gamers Are the New School Athletes: The Rise of Esports
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - DeVos Deflects Criticism At Capitol Hill Hearing
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - State Restrictions on School Choice Earn Ed. Sec.’s Ire
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Natalia Kucirkova: Is Silicon Valley Standardizing Learning?
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Carolyn R. Hodges & Olga M. Welch: The Face of Leadership
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Letters
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 25
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 27
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Michael J. Petrilli: A Fair and Effective Approach to School Discipline
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - CW1
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - CW2
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - CW3
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - CW4