Education Week - June 3, 2015 - (Page 24)
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
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
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 | www.edweek.org
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
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
but that it can take months to
actually terminate the contracts of
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
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,
"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
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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.
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
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
"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
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