Education Week - June 3, 2015 - (Page 24)

BLOGS Chiefs for Change Adds New Members, Including First District-Level Leaders | STATE EDWATCH | Chiefs for Change isn't just for state education commissioners anymore. That's the message the group sent last week when it added three new members, and for the first time expanded membership to include district-level leaders. Previously, Chiefs for Change, an offshoot of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a group founded by former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush, had always been made up of state superintendents. But that's a thing of the past, as evidenced by two of its three new additions: Chris Barbic, the head of Tennessee's Achievement School District; and Mike Miles, the superintendent of the Dallas school system. (The Achievement School District is a state-run entity that works with individual schools to improve their academic performance.) Also joining the group is Dale Erquiaga, the Nevada state schools chief. Additionally, Deborah Gist, the Rhode Island schools superintendent, will remain with Chiefs for Change when she takes over the Tulsa, Okla., schools this summer. The group's membership had dipped from a high of nine members in 2012 to four before the May 26 announcement. The group, like the foundation begun by Gov. Bush, advocates for school choice, test-based teacher evaluations, and digital education. In March, the group announced that it would broaden its mission and start recruiting public school leaders from big cities as members, and that it would no longer receive funding from Bush's foundation. Former Sen. Rick Santorum Joins Crowd Of Presidential Candidates | POLITICS K-12 | Rick Santorum, the conservative former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania who has apologized for his vote in favor of the No Child Left Behind Act, has officially joined the growing ranks of Republican presidential candidates for 2016. Santorum, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995 and in the Senate from 1995 to 2007, and unsuccessfully vied for his party's presidential nomination last go-around, is also among those that are trouncing the Common Core State Standards. "Our children, well, they deserve an education customized- customized!-to maximize their potential," Santorum said during his May 27 announcement speech in Cabot, Pa. "The first step in that process is joining me to drive a stake in the heart of common core." While in the Senate in 2001, Santorum was part of the big, bipartisan majority that passed the nclb law. He even got an amendment in the bill that called for biology classes to include discussion of the controversies surrounding some scientific theories (including, presumably, evolution). The language didn't have major force of law. During the last election cycle, however, Santorum apologized for voting in favor of the nclb law, saying that he was only trying to support former President George W. Bush's "signature initiative." During a debate back in 2012, he said he'll make up for his vote by working to repeal not just the law, but "all of the federal government's role in primary and secondary education." Santorum is also a fan of school choice, free tutoring, and other options for parents. As for immigration, he has roundly opposed the federal dream Act legislation that would give undocumented immigrants who have grown up in the U.S. a path to citizenship if they earn a college degree or serve in the military. GOP's Roster of White House Hopefuls Includes Ex-Gov. George Pataki of N.Y. | POLITICS K-12 | Former New York Gov. George Pataki added his name to the gop's list of 2016 contenders for the presidency with a video announcement May 28. He is among the most moderate of the Republican contenders so far. Pataki served for three terms as governor of the Empire State, from 1995 through 2006, during which he raised charter school caps and attempted to create a $500 education tax credit for private school tuition and services such as tutoring and after-school programs. He also pushed to revamp the state's complicated education funding formula to give local districts more control over how they spend their state aid. During his tenure, he often proposed funding freezes and cuts to the state university system as part of his strategy to eliminate a $4 billion budget shortfall. 24 | EDUCATION WEEK | June 3, 2015 | California Looking for Flexibility On Use of Title I Tutoring Money CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22 - ANDREW UJIFUSA dealing with accountability and assessments for students in special education and English-language learners, according to a letter sent to state officials last month from Deborah S. Delisle, the Education Department's assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. On special education, California had asked to use field tests with its students who are most cognitively impaired, as well as not report those scores or use them in its accountability system. The department approved California's use of the field test and its suspension of their use for accountability, but said the data still need to be published for all students in special education. And, Ms. Delisle wrote, California needs to come up with a clear way forward on reporting the results of alternative assessments for students with disabilities. If the state doesn't outline a high-quality plan, it could find itself at risk of losing federal Title I funds for disadvantaged students and federal funds for students in special education. When it comes to tests for English-learners, California wanted to change its accountability plan for that subgroup. It asked the federal department if it could set a deadline of 2017-18 for having assessments for ells aligned with the state's standards fully in place. But the department said California must outline a plan for having the assessments fully in place by 2016-17, or it could risk losing aid for those students, too. Falling Short In its letter to the federal Education Department looking for flexibility on the tutoring requirement, the California Department of Education said it had received complaints from districts, tutoring providers, and parents that some providers had falsified enrollment, attendance, and other documents. And, the letter noted, the federal agency's own inspector general also pinpointed instances of fraud and corruption among tutoring providers, in an audit published in October 2013. The California department says that it has a rigorous process for investigating tutoring-services providers, but that it can take months to actually terminate the contracts of unscrupulous actors. There's precedent for California's request. The Chicago school system got a similar waiver when now-U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was the ceo of that district. As education secretary, Mr. Duncan permitted states to allow their districts to get out from under the requirement in the nclb law that all schools not making adequate yearly progress, or ayp, set aside funding for tutoring and school choice. That was a big factor in many states' decisions to seek the Obama administration's waivers. Even some states without waivers have been able to get flexibility on the law's tutoring-set-aside requirement. Districts designated for improvement under nclb in North Dakota and Washington state, for instance, can provide their own tutoring services. But the entire state of California is much larger-and it is asking to funnel the dollars to extended learning time, which is a key difference. If California were to get approval for the flexibility, it would be one more blow to tutoring providers, which have suffered serious setbacks since the Obama administration's waivers allowed more than 40 states and the District of Columbia to be relieved of the tutoring requirement. "Once waivers are granted statewide, it is 'end game,' " said Jim Giovannini, the executive director of the Education Industry Association, based in Parkridge, Ill. The trade group screens its members for quality, so Mr. Giovannini feels confident in the providers that belong to his organization. But not everyone is offering great service, he added. "Let's be honest," he said. "There are companies who have given the industry a bad name." At the same time, he said, there are plenty of good providers, and students in the Golden State may end up missing out on their help, in his view. "I feel really bad for students who need these services," Mr. Giovannini said. He suggested that companies that have done a lot of nclb-style tutoring should begin partnering with districts on other types of services. Bureau of Indian Education Scrutinized CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22 -LAUREN CAMERA also identified 20 tribal colleges that are set to receive $50,000 to help increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter postsecondary education by creating bridge programs for bie students. Most recently, on April 29, the Obama administration unveiled $3 million in grants to help American Indian and Alaska Native students get ready for college. The new program, run through the U.S. Department of Education, will award five to seven grants ranging from $400,000 to $600,000 to tribal communities, before the current federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. In addition, the president's fiscal 2016 budget includes a $1 billion investment in bie-funded schools-that would be a $140 million boost over what they currently receive, though it's not likely to come to fruition. Funding Gap -L.C. Representatives from Indian Country said the funding-even the proposed increases for fiscal 2016- are still not enough to clear out the current backlog of schools that are rated in poor condition by the federal government. The government recently estimated that 63 of 183 bie schools were in poor condition and that bringing them to fair condition would cost $1.3 billion. "The U.S. spends billions of dollars on the construction of buildings for federal uses but somehow can't seem to budget sufficient funding to ensure that American Indian children go to school in buildings that are not only safe but also conducive to learning," said Carrie Jones, the chairwoman of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota who testified before the Senate about the bie's reorganization May 13. Ms. Jones oversees the Bug-ONay-Ge-Shig schools, which Rep. Kline recently toured along with fellow Republican Rep. Todd Rokita of Indiana, the chairman of the Indian education subcommittee. "Some schools are missing a working water heater," Rep. Rokita said after seeing the decrepit facilities. "Others are missing front doors and are rodent-infested. Too many schools lack adequate infrastructure and educational resources, ... and it has been this way for far too long." The overall problem isn't confined to the bie itself, either. In fact, what gao reports and others have identified as one of the biggest problems with the bie-administrative woes caused by overlapping offices and bureaucratic red tape-is also one of the major obstacles Congress and the administration have in overseeing the agency. Layers of Jurisdiction A dizzying number of committees and agencies have layers of jurisdiction over schools for Native American students but have historically failed to take responsibility for them. Behind the scenes, staff members from different authorizing and appropriating committees and agencies are trying to coordinate the various funding streams and pots of money and devise ways to fast-track money to the schools. "I don't know whether to laugh or cry," said Rep. Kline during a hearing, in talking about the government's failure to take charge of the situation. As if to drive home Rep. Kline's point, Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, added, "I hope that the Committee on Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Interior, will take up this issue. All we can do at this point is make recommendations to the [bie]."

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