Education Week - June 10, 2015 - (Page 18)

Federal Grants Fueled Efforts In N.C. Schools CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 the new devices-which are leased and may or may not be around when the grant ends-while managing a turnaround and a still-inquestion transition to the common core is a lot for teachers to juggle, she said. "It's hard to talk about what we're going to do for the curriculum when we don't know what standards we're going to use to drive the curriculum," she said. "We don't really need that uncertainty, when we're trying to deal with what else is going on." Second Shot John King, who is filling the role of the deputy secretary of education, said the Obama administration's competitive grants have brought about "large-scale systemic" change, including more rigorous standards in more than 40 states. "Those are upfront investments that will continue to pay dividends over time even after the initial federal investment ends," said Mr. King, who previously was the state schools chief in New York. When districts like Guilford and Iredell-Statesville test-drive new approaches to improving instruction, everyone can benefit, he said. "We also hope that lessons learned from these grantees will influence how other districts use their formula dollars," Mr. King said, such as Title I aid for disadvantaged students. But Paul Manna, an associate professor of government at the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Va., who has studied the administration's competitive initiatives, said that "there's no doubt that some of these activities will just shut down" when the money runs out, despite the best efforts of districts and states. "It's not that places will just drop this stuff, drop it cold-they'll think about how to sustain things; it becomes this search for other sources of funding," he said. With North Carolina aiding K-12 at lower levels per pupil than it did before the recession hit in 2008-09, the Guilford and Iredell-Statesville districts are planning to continue to go after federal dollars. But even if the Obama administration ends up having more competitive-grant money to spread around, there are no guarantees that either of those districts will outshine hundreds of other applicants to win again. So, both North Carolina districts are looking for alternative sources of funding. "We've kind of had this rising tide of poverty mapped against this rapidly shrinking resource base," Guilford County's Ms. Carr said. "It's two runaway trains headed for a collision. So sustainability is more in question than it was." Nevada Adopts Sweeping Public School Choice Law CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 dents in the state will be eligible for the new program, according to the Indianapolis-based Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. "Nevada really did just win the space race for education reform--this is so much of an advance," said Robert Enlow, the president and ceo of the Friedman Foundation. The foundation, along with the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute and the Foundation for Excellence in Education, was involved in crafting the bill. In many respects, a universal esa program is the fullest realization of the school choice idea: promoting customization and competition that supporters argue will improve education. States have been nibbling around the edges of the concept with various types of tuition-voucher plans since the early 1990s, including programs in Milwaukee and Cleveland targeted to low-income students. And in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Cleveland program, which gives vouchers that help pay for students in failing public schools to attend private schools, including religious ones, did not violate the U.S. Constitution. But, while Nevada's program is much broader in scope than other private school choice plans, some critics doubt it will truly be accessible to all students. "Being from Las Vegas, I'm a betting man, and I'm going to bet a lot of these private schools are not in inner cities," said Ruben Murillo Jr., the president of the Nevada State Teachers Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association. How It Works Under the Nevada program, which takes effect in January, students with disabilities and those from lowincome families will get 100 percent of the state's annual per-pupil funding, now about $5,700, according to the Friedman Foundation. Everyone else will receive 90 percent of that per-pupil amount. The money will be deposited into individual accounts. Parents can use the money toward expenses approved by the state treasurer's office, such as tuition, textbooks, tutors, transportation, and therapy for students with special needs. Money left unspent will roll over and can be saved for college tuition. To provide oversight, the state treasurer's office will audit the accounts, and participating students will take a nationally norm-referenced test in math and English/language arts every year and submit the results to the Nevada Department of Education. Nevada is the fifth state to offer a program of K-12 esas-Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee are the others-and is the first to create a "universal" esa. It's hard to overstate the importance of the new law to champions of private school choice. "I think because education savings accounts are really only limited by what we can imagine for a child, then the future of education should certainly look like this," said Jonathan Additional 2016 Entrants Join Presidential Race TION ELEC Former R.I. Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D) Lincoln Chafee, who served as a U.S. senator from Rhode Island and later as the state's governor, announced June 3 that he would seek the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination Mr. Chafee was a Republican when he served in the U.S. Senate, from 1999 until 2007, the year he left the party. He took office as governor of Rhode Island in 2011 as an Independent, and switched affiliation to become a Democrat in 2013. He did not seek reelection to that office, and his term ended this past January. As governor, Mr. Chafee oversaw the rollout of the state's $75 million federal Race to the Top grant and a $50 million grant specifically for early-learning programs. He has been supportive of the Obama administration's education agenda.  -LAUREN CAMERA U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who last week joined the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has pushed for a scaledback federal role in education over the course two decades in Congress, most recently with a legislative proposal that takes aim at the Obama administration's involvement with the Common Core State Standards. 18 | EDUCATION WEEK | June 10, 2015 | Butcher, the education policy director at the Goldwater Institute. "This is historic," said Patricia Levesque, the ceo of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. "Depending upon how they implement the program, you're going to see a lot of other states follow in Nevada's footsteps." Arizona's Lead The original idea for education savings accounts came out of the Goldwater Institute, and Arizona was the first testing ground, with a program created in 2011 after school choice advocates lost a protracted legal battle over the state's traditional voucher program in 2009. Florida followed suit, launching its esa program at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year, while this spring Mississippi and Tennessee passed laws creating their own esas, all for students with disabilities. Although that was originally the case with Arizona, esas there have since been expanded to allow participation by other groups, including students attending failing schools, students in foster care, and those from active-duty military families. This most recent legislative session, a bill sponsored by Democrats extended eligibility in Arizona to students living on American Indian reservations. Potential Pitfalls Among the potential challenges for Nevada's new program: Will there be enough private schools to Mr. Graham, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002, joined the U.S. House of Representatives in 1995 and was on the education committee that tried to dismantle the federal Department of Education or merge it with the Department of Labor. In the House, Mr. Graham was a key player among a group of gop members of Congress that helped delay a proposed national testing plan being pushed by President Bill Clinton's administration. In addition, Mr. Graham was involved in the negotiations on a final version of the No Child Left Behind Act.  -L.C. Former Md. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) Former Gov. Martin O'Malley, who tossed his hat into the ring for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination May 30, spent time on a range of education issues as Maryland's chief executive from 2007 to 2015, and before that as Baltimore's mayor, starting in 1999. As mayor, Mr. O'Malley led a campaign to make hiring youths a priority. He led Baltimore at a time when the city's then-90,000-student school system was undergoing radical restructuring that included a $42 million loan to avert a financial meltdown. And in 2010, the National Education Association gave him its annual America's Greatest Education Governor Award for his increases in K-12 education spending and school construction funds, and the creation of an independent labor board to handle bargaining disputes. meet demand? How will the state manage such an expansive program right off the bat? And what will be the impact on local school districts? Mr. Murillo, of the state teachers' union, is worried, for instance, that public schools will be left with the most-disadvantaged and toughestto-teach students. Some students, in addition to facing selective admissions policies at some private schools, may find them too hard to get to-especially if their parents work multiple jobs or don't have their own cars, he said. Finally, the legality of the esa program will likely be challenged in state-and potentially federal- court, according to Josh Cunningham, a senior policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Amendments in some state constitutions, including Nevada's, place stricter rules on public dollars going to private institutions, Mr. Cunningham said. He cited legal scholars who have said the program is so broad that the Supreme Court's ruling on the Ohio voucher case may not apply to it. Mr. Cunningham also pointed to another kind of test for the new program: Does competition created by school choice actually improve academic outcomes? "Most evidence shows that there isn't really any measurable impact," he said. "But a lot of the school choice proponents say, 'We haven't really had a program large enough to show the effect of competition.' Well, this is their chance." But the early years of his governorship were largely overshadowed by policy battles with thenstate Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. In Maryland, the education chief is appointed by the state board of education.  -L.C. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) Former Gov. Rick Perry, who touted the Lone Star State's graduation rate during his tenure and opposed the Common Core State Standards, announced June 4 that he will seek the gop nomination for president in 2016. Mr. Perry, who served as governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015, also sought the gop nomination in 2012. He has opposed various elements of federal education policy-including the No Child Left Behind Act and the Race to the Top competitive-grant program- for applying, in his view, too many conditions to funding. In 2010, he fought Democrats in Congress over the use of the $10 billion Education Jobs Fund, and has called for the U.S. Department of Education to be eliminated. At some points during his tenure, Mr. Perry supported increased education funding; in 2007, for example, he supported a $80 million hike for the state's pre-K program, as well as an $11.9 billion increase for public schools over the 2007-08 twoyear budget cycle. However, the state cut school funding by $5.4 billion in 2011 in the wake of the recession. Those budget reductions have since been the subject of a lawsuit that is now before the Texas Supreme Court. Mr. Perry is also a supporter of charter schools and private school choice.  -ANDREW UJIFUSA

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - June 10, 2015

Education Week - June 10, 2015
Cleveland Embraces Social- Emotional Learning
Challenge of Co-Teaching A Special Education Issue
As Federal Grants Taper Off, Two N.C. Districts Tally Impact
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: N.Y. ‘Open’ Content Going Nationwide
School Choice Supercharged In Nev. Statute
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Debate Persists Around Kindergarten Reading Standards
New York Expanding Dual Language to Help Its English- Learners
Schools, Students Hit Hard by California’s Historic Drought
Blogs of the Week
Massachusetts School Transforms Renovation Into Teachable Moment
Magnet Schools Found to Boost Diversity—But Only a Bit
Survey: Students Need More Than Academic Prowess
Education Policy Issues In Arizona Crossfire
Congress Appears Poised to Tackle Higher Education Issues
SIG Money Gives Principal Tools For Turnaround
Federal Aid Fuels Multi-Tiered Instruction
Additional Entrants Join Presidential Race
High Court Rules in Online Threat, Religious Rights Cases
A Movement Gains Momentum
What Teachers Are Saying
Parents Have a Civil Right To Question Testing’s Goal
Parents See Testing’s ‘Distorting Impact’
What Are the Policy Implications of the Opt-Out Movement?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
An Early Opt-Out

Education Week - June 10, 2015