Education Week - October 28, 2015 - (Page 16)

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS Fate of Programs Complicates Path to ESEA Compromise By Alyson Klein Should there be a separate federal program for school counselors in legislation to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act? What about community schools, and gifted education? And just how many federal education programs will conservative lawmakers in Congress be able to tolerate without putting the brakes on what will need to be a delicately balanced compromise? Those are some of the tricky-and politically charged-questions top lawmakers on education must tackle as they try to hammer out a final agreement on a reauthorization of the ESEA. Over the summer, the Senate passed overwhelmingly a bipartisan bill to renew the law for the first time since 2001. Meanwhile, the House narrowly approved its own bill, with just Republican support. And while both measures seek to scale back the federal role when it comes to accountability, they take very different approaches when it comes to the myriad programs included in the ESEA, the current version of which is the No Child Left Behind Act. clearly we want to have far fewer programs, more ability for states and school districts to transfer money," he said. But each of the programs that remains in the Senate bill is there because it has at least one "powerful champion" in Congress-who could in turn consider withholding support for the measure if it doesn't include that favorite priority. To be sure, being included in the ESEA doesn't guarantee that a program will actually get federal funding. The ESEA measure is an "authorization" bill, which means that the programs in it are enshrined in federal law. But an "authorization" doesn't mean that the program will get federal money- those decisions are made in spending bills. At the same time, being "authorized" does put a program in a much stronger position when it comes time to write spending legislation, Packer said. "If your authorization exists, it gives you the opportunity to fight for funding through the [congressional spending] process," he said. "If your program is not authorized, it's not impossible, but it's significantly more difficult to get funding." Asking for Inclusion Cutting, Consolidating The House bill would scrap-or consolidate-more than 20 existing education programs, according to an analysis by the Committee for Education Funding, a lobbying coalition in Washington. What's more, the House bill would call for the Education Department to make proportional staff cuts. By contrast, the Senate measure would eliminate only a handful of programs that currently receive funding. That puts negotiators in a tight spot, said Joel Packer, the executive director of the CEF. "You have the House saying very That's why supporters of programs that are included in the Senate bill- but not the House-are pleading their case to the lawmakers hammering out the compromise. For instance, dozens of organizations, including the American School Counselor Association, sent a letter this month to the education committee chairmen in both chambers-Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Rep. John Kline, R-Minn.-and to the top Democrats on K-12 policy, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va. The groups asked them to make sure that the Elementary and ON THE BRINK Bills in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act differ on which targeted U.S. Department of Education programs to retain. Here are a few notable programs that would be eliminated under the House bill. Amounts reflect their current funding. SCHOOL IMPR OVEMENT GR ANTS Secondary School Counseling program $505 million for grants for stays in the bill. low-performin g schools The program "is the only dedicated funding for schools to create or expand comprehensive school counseling programs," wrote Amanda Fitzgerald, 21ST CENTURY COMMUNITY ASCA's director of public policy, in an LEARNING CENTERS email. $1.15 billion for after-school Those professionals are key, she said, and summer programs to "early intervening services that many schools are going without." That's especially true, she said, in states with ADVANCED PLACEMENT particularly high student-to-coun$28 million for grants for Advanced selor ratios. For example, Arizona's is Placement and other programs that allow 880-to-1, according to ASCA, which rechigh school students to earn college credit ommends a 250-to-1 ratio. And a coalition of lawmakers supporting science, technology, engineerREADY TO LEARN TELE VISION ing, and math education sent a similar $25.7 milli on letter to the same top negotiators, asking them to look out for resources supporting those PROMISE NEIGHBORHOODS content areas in crafting $57 million to help schools pair academics the compromise. with support services such as health Other programs in similar straits ELEM ENTA include Promise S CHOO RY AND SE Neighborhoods, an L COU C NSELIN ONDARY Obama adminisG GRAN $52 m TS illion tration initiative that enables schools to pair academics with other serSOURCES: U.S. Department of Education; vices, like health, and reCongressional Research Service PAGE 19 > Some School Choice Backers Tepid on Title I Portability Proposal House ESEA rewrite contains provision By Andrew Ujifusa After years of success in statehouses from Florida to Nevada, supporters of educational choice might have seen this year's push to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as a way to bolster K-12 choice options at the federal level. What they got instead has failed to excite them-to the point where some would prefer to gamble on the election of a Republican president who could promote school choice more aggressively, rather than accepting the deal on the table. The ESEA rewrite passed by the House of Representatives has a provision that would give states the op- tion to have their Title I aid, which is earmarked for disadvantaged students, follow students to the public schools of their choice. That option is generally called Title I portability. (The bill also includes a provision that states would have to set portability's chances of survival are quite bleak. Yet, if it's not included after ongoing negotiations between House and Senate lawmakers to craft a final ESEA bill, its absence might become one more reason for opposition from conservative House argued that the proposal would unfairly redirect federal money from high-poverty to low-poverty districts, ignoring the effects of concentrated poverty on students. Although some lawmakers backing school choice might be irritated " You could see the whole choice issue taken off the table for the next president's first term." DAN HOLLER Heritage Action aside 3 percent of their Title I aid for competitive grants that would allow districts to offer school choice or free tutoring services.) Some observers believe Title I 16 | EDUCATION WEEK | October 28, 2015 | Republicans who want Title I aid extended to private schools. Meanwhile, opponents of Title I portability, including the Obama administration, have consistently if Title I portability is removed, moderate Republicans who might have felt "queasy" about supporting portability will more likely focus on supporting the increased power over the use of test scores and how to handle low-performing schools that both bills currently provide to states, even if their appetite for broader K-12 choice isn't satisfied, said Michael J. Petrilli, the president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which supports school choice. "There's just not a strong enough argument for portability," Petrilli said. 'Full' Disappointment The Title I portability provision in the House bill is a far cry, for example, from a previous plan backed by Indiana GOP Rep. Luke Messer and other conservatives that would have allowed about $14.5 billion in Title I funds to flow to private schools, including religious ones, as well as public schools. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., PAGE 19 >

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 28, 2015

Education Week - October 28, 2015
Study Paints Chaotic View of Testing
In L.A., Tensions Rise Over Teacher Investigations
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: ‘Ephemeral’ Apps Put School Leaders in Tricky Spots
Unequal Access to Advanced Classes Targeted
Fighting Subtle Bias
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Oak Foundation Aiding Those With ‘Learning Differences’
Long-Term Study to Track Adolescent Brain Development
Blogs of the Week
In Minneapolis, a Targeted Effort To Bolster Black Boys
School-Parent Linkages Chip Away at Cultural Barriers
Fate of Programs Complicates Path To ESEA Compromise
Some School Choice Backers Tepid On Title I Portability Proposal
State Chiefs Look to Montana For Ways to Meet the Needs Of Native American Students
Signs Point to Increase in High School Graduation Rates
Blogs of the Week
SETH KERSHNER & SCOTT HARDING: Do Military Recruiters Belong in Schools?
JEREMY A. STERN: On the AP U.S. History Framework
Unearthing the Humanity Beneath Stereotypes
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JOHN HATTIE: The Effective Use of Testing: What the Research Says

Education Week - October 28, 2015