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Posts Tagged ‘NCLB/ESEA’

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

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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NASDCTEc Signs on to Extended Graduation Brief

Friday, August 19th, 2011

NASDCTEc has signed on in support of a new brief that encourage states’ use of extended-year graduation rates in adequate yearly progress calculations and incorporation of these rates into their state accountability frameworks/systems. Written by the American Youth Policy Forum, Gateway to College National Network, and the National Youth Employment Coalition, this brief, Making Every Diploma Count: Using Extended-Year Graduation Rates to Measure Student Success, aims to educate and inform states about the flexibilities that currently exist to use extended-year graduation rates as a policy mechanism to encourage schools and districts to continue to work with over-age, under-credit students.

These rates provide for the inclusion of students who take longer than four years to earn a high school diploma, but who successfully earn their credential in five or six years. Extended-year graduation rates allow states to document increases in graduation rates compared to the traditional four-year measure and highlight the successful work of schools and districts to get struggling and out-of-school students back on-track to graduation. The brief encourages states to calculate five- and six-year high school graduation rates to ensure that schools’ and districts’ efforts to serve struggling and off-track students are recognized and not discouraged.

The brief recommendations the following:

• In addition to four-year graduation rates, states should gather and report extended-year graduation rates.
• States should use extended year graduation rates for purposes of accountability.
• States should use extended graduation rates to create incentives for schools and districts to serve struggling and off-track students.

By Nancy in Publications
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Duncan to Grant Waivers from NCLB Requirements

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Due to Congress’ failure to act on reauthorization, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it plans to offer states relief from some of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act in exchange for states’ support of the Administration’s education reform policies.

Melody Barnes, director of the Domestic Policy Council, said during the announcement, “America’s future competitiveness is being decided today, in classrooms across the nation. With no clear path to a bipartisan bill in Congress, the President has directed us to move forward with an administrative process to provide flexibility within the law for states and districts that are willing to embrace reform.”

States will be given the opportunity to apply for a waiver from certain requirements in the law. These applications will be peer reviewed by individuals outside of the Department, but the final decision will belong to Secretary Duncan. The waivers would take effect during the 2011-2012 school year. Further details about the waivers will be released in September. However, rumors are swirling that states would be given waivers from NCLB’s 2014 proficiency deadline and more funding flexibility, in exchange for adopting college- or career-ready standards, creating differentiated accountability systems, and adopting teacher evaluation systems.

While the Secretary has clear legal authority to grant waivers from the law, it is not clear that he has the authority to make them conditional on support for the Administration’s reform policies.

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: No Debt Deal Yet, Duncan Testifies Before Senate Subcommittee, WIA Postponed, No Timeline for ESEA, Bills Introduced

Friday, July 29th, 2011

No Deal Yet

Debt ceiling talks picked up this week as scores from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on debt legislation were released. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (NV) plan would reportedly cut the deficit by $2.2 trillion, more than Speaker Boehner’s (OH) legislation.

While support for Boehner’s plan seemed to increase throughout the week, the GOP could not persuade enough members to support the measure last night and a vote on Boehner’s bill was postponed indefinitely. Many Senators contend that the bill would be quickly rejected if and when it makes it to the Senate floor.

Congress has until next Tuesday, August 2nd to come to a deal before the country hits its default deadline.

Duncan Testified at Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing

At a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing this week, Senators were surprised to learn that spending at the Department of Education increased by 20 percent over the last two years. Education secretary Arne Duncan revealed that the increased spending was mostly due to the rise in Pell grant use, a conversation that dominated most of yesterday’s hearing. Duncan also brought up the Race to the Top and I3 funds as priorities, though several members questioned these approaches. Duncan stressed that all students need a well-rounded education and that youth and adults need “new skills for the jobs of tomorrow” but there was no mention of Career Technical Education as a method of delivering these goals.

View a webcast of the hearing here.

WIA Markup Postponed

The August 3rd markup of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) has been removed from the Senate calendar. A new date has not been set.

No Timeline Set for ESEA

Sen. Tom Harkin (IA), chairman of the Senate’s Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, was unable to give a timeline this week when asked about a schedule for marking up the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) bill. Harkin stated that his discussions with the HELP committee’s top Republican, Sen. Michael Enzi (WY), are progressing but they still disagree on major issues like accountability, teachers and comparability. While Harkin would like to see a bipartisan ESEA bill passed, this seems very unlikely to happen before the start of the new school year.

For the first time since Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s controversial offer to grant waivers to states on aspects of the old law, Sen. Harkin suggested that he may be open to Duncan’s waiver idea if no progress is made on reauthorizing ESEA.

Bills Introduced:

Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act

Rep. Judy Chu (CA) and Rep. David Loebsack (IA) reintroduced H.R. 2637, the Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act to encourage collaboration among communities, schools and social-service programs to find solutions for challenges faced by struggling students to reduce dropout rates. The bill would award grants to states, who would award subgrants to local consortia. Grantees may, but are not required to, use funds to implement dual enrollment programs, early college high schools, and strategies for dropout prevention. Grants may also be used to fund opportunities for job training, career counseling, internships, and Career Technical Education.

By Kara in News, Public Policy
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Webinar: How Does the Debt Ceiling Debate Impact Education?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

What impact are the debt ceiling debates having on education? Will the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) be reauthorized in time for the new school year? Is Secretary of Education Arne Duncan really going to pass waivers on the requirements of the old law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), if ESEA isn’t reauthorized on time?

Join the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national policy and advocacy organization, as they take on these questions in a webinar next Monday, August 1 from 3:00 to 4:00 ET.

Bob Wise, former governor of West Virginia and president of the Alliance, will lead the discussion and respond to viewers’ questions.

Click here for more information and to register for the webinar.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst, kherbertson@careertech.org

By Kara in News, Public Policy, Webinars
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Legislative Update: Debt Talks Continue, Labor-HHS-ED Markup Postponed, ESEA at Standstill, Bills Introduced

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Debt Talks Continue

Even moreso than in the past weeks, the focus of Congress this week has been on reaching a debt limit deal. News reports earlier this week falsely stated that President Obama and Speaker Boehner had reached a $3 trillion deal, which both have since denied.

If Congress fails to come to an agreement on the debt ceiling by August 2nd, Americans may face, among other things, higher interest rates, decreases in the value of the dollar, and unstable financial markets. Key Members of Congress and the President plan to continue talks through the weekend.

The Senate voted down Republicans’ “Cut, Cap and Balance” measure this morning which proposed a plan to cut spending by $111 billion in 2012, cap spending over the next decade, and forbid borrowing until Congress reached an agreement on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

House Labor-HHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee Markup Postponed

The House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED), the subcommittee responsible for appropriating funds to discretionary programs such as CTE, has pushed back its markup from July 26th until further notice. Due to the House schedule, this means that the earliest the markup for the FY 2012 Labor-HHS-Ed bill will occur is on September 7th.

ESEA at Standstill

Three bills passed by the House to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – on repeals, charter school expansion and innovation, and funding flexibility – have seen little movement in the past weeks. Senate markup will occur after August recess at the earliest.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has not given any additional information on the details of the ESEA waivers that would allow states to bypass aspects of the current law. Duncan stated last month that he planned to grant waivers to states if Congress does not reauthorize ESEA before the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

Bills Introduced:

National Youth Summer Jobs Act

Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH) introduced H.R. 2539, the National Youth Summer Jobs Act of 2011, that would award competitive grants to entities for the creation of job placement summer programs for out-of-school youth. Programs would be targeted toward basic-skills deficient and unemployed or underemployed young people. The goal of the bill is to increase GED attainment and job placement for participants.

Jobs for Urban Sustainability and Training in America Act

Rep. Steve Cohen (TN) introduced H.R. 2537, the Jobs for Urban Sustainability and Training in America Act, to provide grants for job training, public work and economic development programs in cities with high unemployment rates.

21st Century Readiness Act

Rep. Tom Petri (WI) introduced H.R. 2536, the 21st Century Readiness Act, to help students acquire 21st Century Skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, communicating, collaborating, and creativity. The bill aims to fuse higher-order thinking skills with core academic knowledge to create content knowledge attainment in real-world contexts. The bill is being offered as an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Public Private Vocational Partnership Act

Rep. Don Young (AK) introduced H.R. 2549, the Public Private Vocational Partnership Act, an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. The build would allow a business credit for donations for vocational educational purposes.

Jobs Now Act

Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL) introduced H.R. 2574, the Jobs Now Act, to amend the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The bill would create a pilot program that would award grants to local government and community organizations to retain, employ, and train jobs. Funds used to provide training for veterans, individuals with disabilities, unemployed individuals, and dislocated workers would receive priority.

Promoting Partnerships to Transform Opportunities Act

Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ) introduced H.R. 2611, the Promoting Partnerships to Transform Opportunities Act, a bill that would amend the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to prepare individuals with barriers to employment to enter the workforce by receiving job training, education and support services. The bill would grant resources to nonprofit organizations and institutions serving underrepresented minorities to increase skills training, job placement, and on-the-job training.

By Kara in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: House Committee Passes ESEA Flexibility Bill; WIA Markup Rescheduled; Debt Talks Continue; All Children Are Equal Act; and Veterans Opportunity to Work Act

Friday, July 15th, 2011

House Committee Passes 3rd ESEA Bill

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved this week the third in a series of five bills designed to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The third bill, the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act, passed the Committee despite strong opposition from Democrats and accusations of civil rights violation. Read more.

Workforce Investment Act

The Senate showed an effort to move forward with reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) last month when they released a discussion draft for comment. However, markup of the bill continues to be pushed back and is now scheduled to occur on August 3rd.

Debt Talks

With only two weeks left to take action, Congress still struggles to compromise on the debt ceiling. Republican House leaders will vote next week on a plan that would increase the debt ceiling if Democrats agree to $2.4 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years, in addition to passing a balanced budget amendment.

Obama disagrees with the Republican House plan, saying that “I have not seen a credible plan that would allow you to get to $2.4 trillion without really hurting ordinary folks.” The President continues to urge Congress to create a plan before a default occurs in early August.

Senator Mitch McConnell (KY) and Senator Harry Reid (NV) are working together to outline a plan that would give President Obama authority over the debt ceiling but would also demand its incremental increase.

Bills Introduced:

All Children Are Equal Act (ACE)

Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA) introduced H.R. 2485, the All Children Are Equal Act, to increase Title I funding through ESEA for rural districts with high numbers of low-income families. Currently, Title I funds are distributed through a complicated formula based on the size and concentration of poverty in a district. The formula often results in large, urban districts receiving much larger shares of funding than poor, rural districts. Thompson’s bill would place less weight on population to increase the formula’s focus on student poverty. The bill aims to provide more equitable distribution of funds for disadvantaged students in rural areas.

Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011

Rep. Jeff Miller (FL) introduced H.R. 2433, the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act, a bill to provide retraining assistance for veterans through community college or technical schools. The bill would require attendees to participate in a full-time program leading to an associates degree or certificate and a job in a high-demand field.

By Kara in Public Policy
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