Education Week - November 11, 2015 - (Page 17)

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS Ky., ould te te, t. NOT In Off-Year Elections, Ky., Miss. Drew Spotlight on K-12 Scattered governors' races, ballot measures put to vote By Andrew Ujifusa The biggest potential shake-up for education policy at the state level during last week's handful of off-year elections may have occurred in Kentucky, where Republican Matt Bevin's victory in the hotly contested race for governor could trigger a major expansion of school choice and make the political environment for the Common Core State Standards less comfortable. Mr. Bevin, a proponent of ION vouchers as well as charter T C E EL schools, will be tested in his opposition to the common core by a state education establishment that in many respects is held up as a model of how the standards and aligned assessments should be implemented in schools. He won a Nov. 3 victory over state Attorney General Jack Conway, a Democrat who followed the lead of others in his party and made early-childhood education a top priority. Bevin won by a margin of about 9 percentage points, 53 percent to 44 percent; he will replace incumbent Stephen L. Beshear, a Democrat, who was term-limited. Meanwhile, in Mississippi, GOP Gov. Phil Bryant cruised to re-election that same day over Democrat Robert Gray in an outcome many took for granted. Bryant will have a chance to expand on an education agenda that in his first term included his approval of a new education savings account program for children with special needs, and a mandate for students to demonstrate literacy by the end of 3rd grade. A third race for governor, in Louisiana, won't be decided until Nov. 21, and will fea- 2015 ture Democratic state House Minority Leader John Bel Edwards against Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter. Both advanced to a runoff election last month against two other main opponents. State legislative elections will also take place on that date. Republicans will now control at least 31 governorships next year, compared to 17 for Democrats, and one independent. Virginia Republicans kept control of the state Senate, and therefore the legislature, as a result of last week's elections, as did New Jersey Democrats in that state's legislature. The partisan control of state legislatures, therefore, is slated to hold steady, with Republicans controlling 30 statehouses, compared to 11 run by Democrats, eight that are split, and one nonpartisan body, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Money, More or Less School funding advocates, meanwhile, had a mixed night at the polls last week. In a relatively close vote in Mississippi, a ballot initiative tailored to bolster K-12 spending through court oversight fell short- it was defeated by a margin of 8 percentage points, 54 percent to 46 percent, according to preliminary results. Initiative 42 was placed on the ballot after a petition drive, and would have required an "adequate" system of public schools. Perhaps the most controversial provision in the measure was that it would have specifically given the state's chancery courts the power to oversee the legislature's attempts (or lack thereof) to create that system. Supporters said the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, the state funding formula created in 1997, has only been fully funded twice, and was shortchanged by $200 million in fiscal 2016 alone. The initiative, KEY ELECTION RESULTS Kentucky and Mississippi held gubernatorial elections last week. Voters in Mississippi also had to choose between dueling ballot initiatives involving school funding. KENTUCKY Governor's Race: Matt Bevin (Republican) R Jack Conway (Democrat) MISSISSIPPI Governor's Race: Gov. Phil Bryant (Republican)R Robert Gray (Democrat) BALLOT INITIATIVE: Initiative 42: Would allow the courts to oversee an "adequate and efficient" system of public schools. CO CA AZ NH ME VT Alternative Initiative 42A: R Specifies only that the legislature maintain an "effective" system of schools. KS OK NM WI CT RI MI PA IL OH IN WV MO KY VA NJ DE MD NC TN AR SC MS TX MA NY AL GA LA FL AK HI SOURCE: Education Week PAGE 19 > States Prepare for Shifting Role on Accountability By Alyson Klein g y the are ups. NOT Washington If the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is renewed in the next several months, the final version is likely to give a lot more running room to states when it comes to crafting their school accountability systems. So are states ready for a rollback in federal oversight? What shape will their accountability systems take? And how will they ensure continued progress on the part of the traditionally low-performing subgroups of students that the No Child Left Behind Act-the current version of the ESEA-was designed to help? Those questions are paramount as top education lawmakers on both sides of the U.S. Capitol-Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Reps. John Kline, R-Minn., and Bobby Scott, D-Va.-strive to put the finishing touches on compromise legislation to renew the ESEA law. Accountability is said to be a major issue behind the scenes in those negotiations, with both cham- bers having passed their own versions of the reauthorization. But no matter what happens with the ESEA, states aren't likely to go in a radically different direction on accountability, the Council of Chief State School Officers says in a report released last week. Thanks in part to the Obama administration's waivers from many of the mandates of the NCLB law, states already have taken greater control of how they measure student performance, rate schools, and intervene in schools that aren't making progress, said Chris Minnich, the executive director of the CCSSO. States "now own their accountability systems. In No Child Left Behind times, it was sort of a passive [acceptance] of what's going on at the federal level," Minnich said at an event in Washington at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank. The CAP event coincided with the release of the CCSSO report on accountability. Even before waivers were offered, the CCSSO explained in its report, more than 40 states signed on to some general principles of account- ability systems, including identifying achievement gaps and working to close them; providing timely information on outcomes to educators; giving failing schools extra attention and support; and allowing systems to evolve and grow over time. turnarounds. For instance, New Mexico has cooked up an accountability system that considers factors beyond just test scores and graduation rates, including participation in collegeentrance exams and dual-credit coursework. And Minnesota provides its State Commitment districts with individual reports Over the past several years, Min- showing how close they are to nich said at the CAP event, states the statewide goal of cutting the have begun thinking more about achievement gap in half by 2017. States are committed to those how they can fix and support schools-not just label them. activities, the report said. They Carey Wright, Mississippi's state won't drop them just because a new chief, agreed, saying her state isn't ESEA might replace the waivers. likely to back off its school turnaround efforts. Subgroup Quandary "Behind every data point is a face. ... I can't imagine looking at data But there are some concerns that and then saying 'OK,' and moving students who have traditionally on," Wright said. "We've got to take been overlooked-so-called "subaction." group students," such as students in For instance, she said, the Mag- special education, English-language nolia State is considering what learners, and black and Hispanic turnaround strategies work best for students-haven't been a priority rural schools. under the administration's waivers. The CCSSO report highlighted Those waivers ask states to take other state action already in play dramatic action in the 5 percent around richer accountability, clos- of schools that are performing the PAGE 19 > ing the achievement gap, or school " Behind every data point is a face. ... I can't imagine looking at data and then saying 'OK,' and moving on." CAREY WRIGHT Mississippi State Schools Chief EDUCATION WEEK | November 11, 2015 | | 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - November 11, 2015

Education Week - November 11, 2015
RTI Practice Falls Short of Promise, Research Finds
Districts Confront Transgender Policies
Top Teacher’s Resignation Spurs Certification Debate
Special Ed. Law Wrought Complex Changes
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Blogs of the Week
In Colorado School Board Recall, Politics and Money Drive Ouster
‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Is Tough Call for Districts
Districts Struggle to Equip Schools With Fast, Affordable Internet
States Prepare for Shifting Role On Accountability
In Off-Year Elections, Ky., Miss. Drew Spotlight on K-12
Arizona Governor Signs Deal to Settle K-12 Funding Suit
Blogs of the Week
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Must Be Everywhere at Once
Put Our Mission Front and Center
Control What I Can
Prioritize Community-Building
How Do We Keep Good Principals?

Education Week - November 11, 2015