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Posts Tagged ‘NCLB/ESEA’

Eleven States Submit ESEA Waiver Applications

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Eleven states submitted applications to the U.S. Department of Education on Monday to obtain a waiver under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB): Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. These states’ applications will be examined by peer reviewers after Thanksgiving, and winning states will be notified by mid- January.

As part of their applications, states were asked to demonstrate how they plan to implement college- and career-ready standards and tie state tests to them; adopt a differentiated accountability system that focuses on the bottom 15 percent of schools; and craft guidelines for teacher- and principal-evaluation systems that will be based partly on student growth and be used for personnel decisions. The waivers will eliminate the 2014 deadline for bringing all students to proficiency in math and reading, eliminate NCLB sanctions for schools, and provide district officials with greater flexibility to use Title I funds.

Thirty-nine states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have signaled their intent to apply for an NCLB waiver. The next deadline for states to submit applications is in mid-February.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

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Legislative Update: ESEA, i3 Grants

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Education Department Announces Highest-Rated i3 Applicants

The U.S. Department of Education this week announced the 23 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant applicants who will receive grants, provided that they obtain private sector matching funds by December 9, 2011. The purpose of this program is to provide competitive grants to applicants with a record of improving student achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.

“Investing in these vital innovations across the country has the potential to dramatically enhance learning and accelerate student performance and to do so cost-effectively” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This round of i3 grantees is poised to have real impact in areas of critical need including STEM education and rural communities, on projects ranging from early childhood interventions to school turnaround models that will prepare more students for college and career.”

Two applicants stood out to me as projects that could be aligned to CTE. First, the North Carolina New Schools Project’s Validating Early College Strategies will partner with 8 rural LEAs to implement early college high school strategies in 18 high schools serving high need students. Second, the goal of the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative’s Career and College Readiness Transformations project is to improve student achievement and increased graduation rates, and increased access to and success in college through links between education and work.

You can find more details about all prospective grantees here.

Senate ESEA Hearing

On Tuesday, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of ESEA in response to Sen. Rand Paul’s (KY) objections during the committee markup last month. During opening statements, Ranking Member Sen. Mike Enzi (WY) said that states must take responsibility for accountability and make sure that students are college and career ready in a way that works for students.

Witnesses, who included school superintendents, administrators, teachers, special education advocates and other education policy representatives, discussed the pros and cons of the draft ESEA bill passed by the committee. They spoke about the burdens that the current law has placed on teachers and administrators, as well as the value of local control versus federal involvement in education. Witnesses were concerned about the draft bill’s elimination of performance targets.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: ESEA, Bills Introduced

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Senate Marks Up ESEA

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee met on Wednesday to begin markup the draft Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization bill introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (IA) last week. The markup was threatened with delays when Senator Rand Paul (KY) objected to the Committee meeting longer than two hours after the Senate convened on Wednesday. This is a procedural rule, rarely employed in the Senate, that is almost always waived. Senator Paul was concerned that no hearing had been held on the bill this session (10 were held last session) and he felt there was not enough time to review the bill before the markup. On Thursday, Senators Harkin and Enzi (WY) reached an agreement with Senator Paul that in exchange for dropping his objection, the Committee will hold a hearing on the bill on November 8.

The Committee reported the bill last night by a vote of 15-7. Three Republicans, Senators Enzi, Lamar Alexander (TN) and Mark Kirk (IL), joined all Democrats in voting for the bill. Senator Harkin hopes to bring the bill to the floor for debate and a vote before Thanksgiving.

During the markup, Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) introduced an amendment to expand internships and apprenticeships, with the goal of alleviating dropouts and providing skills training. Because the amendment would require locals to use the money for this purpose, several Senators opposed it, but said they would support it if it were an allowable use of funds. Blumenthal agreed to withdraw the amendment and change the language, but wants to be sure that there are strong incentives for locals to use funding for internships and apprenticeships.

Bills Introduced

Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act

This week Senators Menendez (NJ), Reid (NV), Harkin (IA), Stabenow (MI) and Casey (PA) introduced S. 1723, Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act.  The bill contains the provision of the American Jobs Act that provides $35 billion to create or protect education jobs, as well as jobs for police officers and firefighters.  The jobs supported in this bill are not just teachers, but any public school K12 employee.

However, last night the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the bill by a vote of 50-50. All Republicans voted against it, as did Senators Lieberman (CT), Nelson (NE) and Pryor (AR). As result, the bill will not be voted on.

Preparing Students for Success in the Global Economy Act

Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Al Franken (MN), Mark Begich (AK), and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) introduced S. 1675, Preparing Students for Success in the Global Economy Act. This bill aims to increase student access to courses in STEM subjects and provide additional resources to recruit, train, and support STEM teachers.

Grantees must include in their applications a description of how their activities will be coordinated with other programs and activities, including Perkins-funded CTE programs. Local subgrantees must also describe in their applications how grant funds will be coordinated with programs and activities, including Perkins-funded CTE programs.

“If we don’t train our children for the jobs of the future, we won’t be able to compete in the future,” Merkley said. “Whenever I talk to companies like Intel back in Oregon, they tell me that STEM education is key, and in far too many schools, the resources aren’t there to prepare our students for careers in engineering and science. This legislation will help address this deficit.”

 

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: American Jobs Act, ESEA, Bills Introduced

Friday, October 14th, 2011

American Jobs Act Fails in the Senate

Earlier this week the Senate voted on a Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 1660, the American Jobs Act. However, the motion failed to muster the 60 votes necessary to break cloture and formally consider the bill. As a result, the Senate plans to break the President’s jobs package up into pieces and vote on each one individually. The House has not indicated whether they will vote on the bill in the coming weeks.

Senate Introduces Comprehensive ESEA Draft

On Tuesday Senator Tom Harkin (IA) introduced the long anticipated Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act of 2011. According to Harkin, the bill will set high expectations for all children to graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills needed for success in college and careers, support teachers and principals to help them provide high quality instruction, ensure disadvantaged students get their fair share of resources, focus federal attention on turning around low-performing schools and closing achievement gaps, and remove federal barriers to give states and communities the flexibility they need to innovate.

The bill would eliminate some of the more controversial vestiges of No Child Left Behind, and it would codify into law some of President Obama’s top education reform priorities:

We are still working through the draft bill to see how it affects the Perkins Act and CTE. We will provide a CTE-specific summary next week. The bill is scheduled to be marked up next week, beginning on Tuesday afternoon. The markup is expected to take four days.

Bills Introduced

Education for Tomorrow’s Jobs Act

Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA) and Sen. Bob Casey (PA) introduced the Education for Tomorrow’s Jobs Act this week, H.R. 3154 and S. 1686 respectively. This bill would amend Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to allow school districts to use Title I ESEA funds to better integrate academics with CTE through coursework and networks of schools. The bill would encourage school districts to link secondary school programs, including both middle and high schools, and align secondary and postsecondary education. Further, the bill would leverage a variety of school, employer and community partners.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

 

 

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, WIA, Bills Introduced

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Senate Reluctant to Vote on Education Funding Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) announced this week that he plans to bring three appropriations bills to the floor for a vote this month: Agriculture, Transportation-HUD and Commerce-Justice-Science. However, it is unlikely that the Labor-HHS-Education bill will go to the floor because Senate Republicans are opposed to it.

CTE Highlighted at House WIA Hearing

During Tuesday’s hearing, “Modernizing the Workforce Investment Act: Developing an Effective Job Training System for Workers and Employers,” members of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training heard a number of suggestions on how to improve the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

The consensus among witnesses was that the workforce system must be employer driven, flexible and respond to local needs. Witnesses were also concerned about the heavy burden the current system places on providers, as well as the level of federal involvement. “There is a high reporting burden, and in my mind, before you cut any dollar to the customer, you’ve got to cut down the bureaucracy,” said Kristen Cox, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services.  

Jaime Fall, Vice President of Workforce and Talent Development Policy at the HR Policy Association, urged Congress to “ensure the skills developed through job training programs meet the needs of employers” by giving priority to “training resulting in employer recognized credentials that document skills.” Fall also voiced HR Policy Association’s support for CTE and Perkins-funded programs, saying:

Our members believe that career and technical education programs funded through the Perkins Act are a critical component of the overall national strategy to develop a skilled workforce. We encourage you to strongly support these programs as you discuss WIA, No Child Left Behind and the Perkins Act.

This is not the first time the HR Policy Association has showed their support for Perkins and CTE on Capitol Hill. This summer they sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them to restore Perkins Act funding.

Bills Introduced

Ready to Compete Act

Rep. John Yarmuth (KY) has introduced H.R. 3036, the Ready to Compete Act, which would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Workforce Investment Act to award grants to prepare individuals for 21st century careers. The bill would update the Ready to Learn program under ESEA and create a new Ready to Earn program under WIA. These programs would encourage the use of technology and public television to expand the availability of workforce training programs, GED preparation, and adult education initiatives, while providing new resources for classroom instruction and school readiness efforts.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

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Legislative Update: House Appropriations, Community College Grants, ESEA Markup

Friday, September 30th, 2011

House Labor-HHS-Education Funding Bill Released

As we told you this morning, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education released a draft of their FY12 appropriations bill. The bill provides for $153.4 billion in discretionary spending, which is $4 billion below FY11 enacted levels. However, this is a much smaller cut than the $18 billion proposed in Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (WI) FY12 budget plan.

Perkins Act funding was maintained in the House’s current proposal, but not all education and workforce programs fared as well. The bill eliminates 31 programs from the Department of Education, including the Elementary and Secondary Counseling Act, High School Graduation Initiative, Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation grants, and FIPSE. The Pell grant maximum award was maintained at $5,550, but eligibility was eliminated for less-than–half-time students and the proposal would reduce the semesters that a student can receive the grant from 18 to 12.

Programs within the Department of Labor saw significant cuts, including:

The bill is not scheduled to be marked up by the Appropriations Committee, but these funding levels will likely be part of a House omnibus bill.

TAA Community College Grants Awarded

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter announced $500 million in Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants to 32 community colleges this week. The grants will be used for targeted training and workforce development to help dislocated workers obtain the skills they need to change careers. The grants support partnerships between community colleges and employers to develop programs that provide career pathways and build instructional programs that meet industry needs. Congress allocated $2 billion for the TAACCCT program to be awarded in each of fiscal years 2011-2014.  A list of grantees can be found here.

Senate ESEA Markup Scheduled

Senator Tom Harkin (IA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced that they will markup an Elementary and Secondary Education Act bill on October 18. In a statement, Harkin said “This reauthorization is now more than four years overdue, and our students, schools, and communities cannot afford to wait any longer.” Draft language has not yet been released, but we will keep you posted on any further developments.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation
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President Announces NCLB Flexibility Plan

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

This morning, President Obama revealed its waiver plan for states and districts to use in order to ease No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements. According to the White House, states can request flexibility from specific NCLB mandates as long as they are transitioning students, teachers, and schools to a system aligned with college- and career-ready standards for all students, developing differentiated accountability systems, and undertaking reforms to support effective classroom instruction and school leadership. The flexibility package announced today was developed with input from chief state school officers from 45 states.

“To help states, districts and schools that are ready to move forward with education reform, our administration will provide flexibility from the law in exchange for a real commitment to undertake change. The purpose is not to give states and districts a reprieve from accountability, but rather to unleash energy to improve our schools at the local level,” President Obama said.

The flexibility package will begin to have an impact during the 2011-2012 school year, and will have increasing impact in subsequent years. However, this plan is intended to be a temporary fix until Congress reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

For more details on the flexibility package, see the U.S. Department’s website.

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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CTE and the Arts: More in Common Than You Think

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) recently brought together CTE groups and Arts Education groups to help us better understand the similarities that exist between these two worlds. While one primary connection is the career opportunities for students in the Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications Cluster, I learned of the more nuanced ways in which these two areas of education overlap, as well as the shared political obstacles. Brad Hull, NASBE’s Deputy Executive Director, did a terrific blog post linking the arts and Career Clusters, but he also laid out the ways in which CTE and the arts converge in other ways:

I was also struck by the seemingly identical stories that both CTE and Arts Education share at the federal policy level. First, both CTE and Arts Education programs were slated for elimination each year by the Bush Administration, but funding was always preserved by Congress. Second, advocates for both CTE and Arts Education want to see a greater connection to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Better inclusion of both of these areas of education would lead to more well rounded education for all students. Our priorities also align in terms of dropout prevention strategies and linking to statewide longitudinal data systems.

For even more connections between CTE and the arts, see this blog post by Narric Rome, Senior Director of Federal Affairs and Arts Education at Americans for the Arts.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Senate Proposes Level Funding for Perkins Act

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education marked up their FY 2012 appropriations bill this afternoon. The bill would reduce FY12 funding from the FY 2011 enacted level by $308 million. While we have not yet seen bill language, we have learned that Perkins Act funding would be level funded. Given the fiscal climate on Capitol Hill, and the number of programs cut and eliminated in FY11, we are encouraged by the Senate’s plan to maintain Perkins funding. Some of the other highlights of the bill include:

The subcommittee voted 10 – 8 in favor of referring the bill to the full committee, and it is expected to be marked up tomorrow. The bill will not likely be considered on the Senate floor, but will be included as part of an omnibus bill later this fall.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, ESEA

Friday, September 16th, 2011

House Introduces Continuing Resolution to Fund Government through November

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday introduced a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government running beyond the end of the fiscal year, September 30. The bill, H.J.Res 79, would fund the government at a rate of $1.043 trillion. This figure represents the amount to which Congress and the Obama Administration agreed in the recent debt-ceiling deal. This is a 1.409% cut from the fiscal year 2011 level, and would mean a cut to Department of Education discretionary programs of $962 million. If passed, the CR will expire on midnight, November 18, 2011.

CTE Highlighted in House Hearing on School Accountability

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing, “Education Reforms: Examining the Federal Role in Public School Accountability” which examined the appropriate federal role in accountability, namely the Adequate Yearly Progress requirement in ESEA. During the hearing, Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA), co-chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus, asked the panel how they think Congress should define “college ready.” The witnesses agreed that all students should be prepared for higher level math, science and reading, because many careers today require it. Alberto Carvalho from Miami-Dade Public Schools said that while every student should be prepared for college, it should not be done at the expense of “demonizing” CTE. He went to say that CTE in this country has been wasted and that we as a country need to recognize the value of CTE if we want to remain competitive.

Bills Introduced

Senate Republicans Introduce ESEA Bills

This week, a group of Republican Senators — Sens. Lamar Alexander (TN), Richard Burr (NC), Johnny Isakson (GA), and Mark Kirk (IL) — introduced a series of bills that would reauthorize key pieces of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. These bills would address what the Senators view as major problems with the current law by giving states and local school districts greater flexibility to:

• Improve state accountability systems
• Improve teacher and principal professional development programs
• Consolidate federal education programs to give state and local education leaders more freedom in meeting local needs
• Expand the number of charter schools

For more details on each bill, please see this press release from Sen. Alexander.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

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