Education Week - June 3, 2015 - (Page 22)

GOVeRnMenT & POliTicS California Seeks Waiver on Use of Federal Title I Tutoring Money By Alyson Klein California is one of eight states still subject to the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act. But school districts there could get relief from one of the most onerous pieces of the law, if the U.S. Department of Education gives a green light to the state's latest ask: allowing districts to use money that they now spend on tutoring services to extend learning time. The move would give California districts greater control over hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Title I money that now is directed to private tutors for students in schools that don't meet the nclb law's achievement targets. The waiver would start in the fall and be in place for four years, beyond the end of the Obama administration. Districts would have the option of continuing to spend the money- roughly a fifth of Title I funds for disadvantaged students-on tutoring services or using the aid to extend learning time. There's a lot of cash at stake. During the 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14 school years, California school districts spent about $507.5 million on tutoring services, said Michael W. Kirst, the president of the state board of education. "This is not just, 'Take the money and run,' " said Mr. Kirst. "It's on a specific intervention." Many district officials, he said, think that extending learning time would benefit their students more than tutoring services do. The Education Department is still reviewing California's request, said Raymonde Charles, a spokeswoman. A Second Year of Exceptions The outcome is not a foregone conclusion. On the one hand, California has already received permission to hit the pause button on its school rating system-something the Education Department offered to all states transitioning to new assessments. (Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and Washington were also granted such a pause just last month.) This marks the second year in a row that the state has requested a pass on its accountability system. The state, like many others, is putting in place new assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Last year, the state was allowed to try out those new measures by doing field testing with all its students. Field tests aren't meant to be used for accountability purposes. That means the state didn't have to publicly report the test results- a big deviation from the nclb law. But California did not get its way on requests PAGE 24 > Stakes High for Bureau of Indian Education's Overhaul Agency has endured decades of problems By Lauren Camera A U.S. Senate report from 1969 describes the federal government's failure to provide an effective education for Native American children as a "national tragedy and a national disgrace" that has "condemned the [American Indian] to a life of poverty and despair." Nearly 50 years later, little has changed, in the view of advocates, lawmakers, and tribal leaders alike. Graduation rates in Indian Country are among the lowest of all student subgroups, and there's a laundry list of schools in need of significant repairs, some of which lack essentials like heat and running water. While the vast majority of Native American children attend traditional public schools run by local districts, members of Congress and the Obama administration-both of which have admitted to shouldering some blame for the current situation-are pressuring the Bureau of Indian Education to right its flailing operations at the schools the bie oversees on or near American Indian reservations. In response, the bie, which serves about 48,000 of the roughly 950,000 Native American students in the country, has embarked on a massive organizational overhaul. It has promised that by summer it will have a plan in place to begin fixing many of its poor, often unsafe schools. But since the bureau unveiled its blueprint for reorganizing last year, adjustments to its operations have been slow going, prompting some to question whether it will work. After Horses graze outside the Loneman Day School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The school is among those run by the federal Bureau of Indian Education, which has come under increased scrutiny from lawmakers and the Obama administration. RELATED MULTIMEDIA: "Education in Indian Country" all, the bie, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of the Interior, has been beleaguered for decades by rampant staff turnover, lack of expertise, and financial mismanagement. In the last 36 years, it's cycled through 33 directors. "Questions have been raised about whether this will address the fundamental problems facing the system or simply rearrange the chairs at the department," Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., said May 14 during a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives that addressed the bie's shortcomings. "Questions have also been raised about whether this reorganization is being done in a timely manner or being delayed by the same bureaucratic wrangling that has plagued these schools for decades." AT A GLANCE: THE BUREAU OF INDIAN EDUCATION Part of the U.S. Department of the Interior 7% Serves about 48,000 K-12 American Indian students, about 7 percent of Native American students overall Oversees 183 elementary and secondary schools. Directly operates 57 of those schools, while 64 tribes operate the remaining 126 schools through grants or contracts with the BIE Oversees about 11,400 teachers, principals, school administrators, and other staff working within the 183 schools Meanwhile, with Republicans in Congress focused on reducing the deficit and pruning the budget for federal agencies and programs, there's little new money to be directed toward the problems. Years of Inaction Concerns in Congress about the bie stem from years of inaction by the agency, despite reports from the Government Accountability Office and others that included recommendations for changes the agency should make in order to be more effective. But Charles M. Roessel, who was named director of the bie in 2013 after spending two years at the bureau overseeing 66 bie-funded schools on the Navajo Nation reservation that spreads across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, said during congressional hearings in April and May that this time would be different. A major goal of the reorganization, Mr. Roessel said, is to shift the role of the bie from being a provider of education for Native American students to being more of an overseer of and partner to tribal communities that eventually will have the funding and skill set to run their own schools. That plan also calls for training to be provided to the tribes. "This will allow tribes the opportunity to ask the questions, 'What do we want? What's our vision for education?' " said Mr. Roessel. "These are their students, and this is their future. We have often not provided a place for them." The foundation for that transition was recently laid through a bureauwide effort to reduce reporting burdens, provide services more effectively, improve accountability, and address concerns raised by tribal leaders-general improvements that the bie hopes will make the transition of power to tribes easier. Mr. Roessel is trying to bolster those efforts with the approximately $790 million in the agency's current budget. For the 2015 fiscal year, lawmakers appropriated $19.2 million over fiscal 2014 levels to complete a school replacement and construction project started last year, and also included a $14.1 million increase for grants to tribally controlled schools. Some of that money was recently disbursed to six tribes with three or more bie-funded schools that received $200,000 each to research, assess, and develop an implementation plan to establish a triballymanaged school system. The bie PAGE 24 > Has had 33 directors in the past 36 years 22 | EDUCATION WEEK | June 3, 2015 | SOURCE: U.S. Department of the Interior Swikar Patel/Education Week-File

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - June 3, 2015

Education Week - June 3, 2015
New S.C. Standards Ease Political Pushback
Summer-Job Demand Outstrips Opportunities
Districts Use Student Insights To Guide Policy, Practice
Charters Look Anew At Teacher Retention
With Common Core, Algebra Course Undergoes a Face-Lift
News in Brief
Report Roundup
PARCC Shortens Testing Time, Shifts to Later in the School Year
Ties Deepening Between Schools, After-School Providers
Parent Engagement on Rise As Priority for Schools, Districts
Charter Sector Challenged by Caliber of School Boards
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: The E-Rate Overhaul in 4 Easy Charts
Studies Probe How Students Can Apply Math More Widely
NAEP to Gather Data on Grit, Mindset
Blogs of the Week
Teacher-Retention Data For Charters Still Murky
Stakes High for Bureau of Indian Education’s Overhaul
California Seeks Waiver on Use of Federal Title I Tutoring Money
Blogs of the Week
FRANCESCA STERNFELD: Necessary Lessons, Schools’ Critical Role in Reducing Family Violence
BENJAMIN RILEY: Can Teacher-Educators Learn From Medical-School Reform?
RANDI WEINGARTEN: States Should Ditch ‘Cut Scores’ on New Tests
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
TERRY B. GRIER: Creating a College-Bound Culture in an Urban School District

Education Week - June 3, 2015