April Is the Cruelest Month…for the California Edu-stablishment


April 28, 2016


National. It wasn’t long ago that states like Mississippi admitted that Title I funding was used to build and equip cafeterias and libraries, to hire teachers, and to provide instructional materials and books to Black students that had long been available to White students. This is known in technical terms as “supplanting,” which, albeit less blatantly, many states and districts still do due to weak regulatory oversight. Read the letter we co-signed today with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, NCLR, and others urging USDOE, once and for all, to end this shell game and enforce the law’s requirement that Title I funds supplement, not supplant, state and local resources intended for low-income and minority students.

California. It’s the biggest ESSA story of the week. California Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) has introduced a new wrinkle in the state’s efforts to overhaul its accountability system. Weber’s proposed bill is better aligned with ESSA and is more focused on academic outcomes and equity than the unwieldy 23-indicator system the State Board and Governor Jerry Brown are drafting. In a coalition reminiscent of those that pushed the U.S. Congress for stronger accountability in ESSA, The Education Trust-West and Children Now helped write the bill, which is supported by dozens of state and local advocacy, business, and civil rights groups. The California Teachers Association is the lone organization opposing Weber’s proposal.

Georgia & Kentucky. A new report by the Data Quality Campaign names Georgia and Kentucky as two states with model data systems. For example, DQC says that: “By securely sharing relevant and timely data with those closest to students, Georgia transformed data use from a compliance exercise to a critical strategy enabling educators to tailor learning based on the unique needs of the student” and that “Kentucky makes data use possible by using data to set state education goals, monitor progress toward those goals, and change course when needed.” More here.

National. As always, Education Week is the paper of record for the latest ESSA developments. Alyson Klein runs down the changes on testing policy agreed to by the USDOE neg-reg committee, including gems like: “It wasn’t the most contentious part of negotiations, but it wasn’t all puppies and kittens, either.” Get the full scoop here.

Massachusetts. One of the most game-changing aspects of ESSA is also one of the least discussed: the allowance that “Title II” professional development funds may be used by states to support non-university-based teacher preparation programs. Scott McCue and Orin Gutlerner, from the Boston-based Sposato Graduate School of Education, write about how Massachusetts is leading the way by supporting non-traditional programs that focus on providing instruction to schools with high concentrations of low-income students and evaluating them based on student outcomes.

Tennessee. Senate HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander, the lead architect of the Every Student Succeeds Act, discloses that “he went into the process of rewriting No Child Left Behind thinking it would eliminate federally required tests” and that, “he changed his stance after realizing that people had fewer concerns about the federally required tests, and more concerns about what was being done with test results.” Alexander says that now, “If there’s over-testing in any Tennessee school, it’s Tennessee’s responsibility.” More here.