December 2007 Archives

I've already highlighted Title I's big boost under the fiscal 2008 bill. But two other programs in or related to NCLB also got dramatic increases. The school improvement program under NCLB will receive $491 million in 2008, up from $125 million in 2007. Although on the books since 2002, Congress didn't put any money into the fund until last year. Now states will have some money to turn around their lowest-performing schools. If you want to see which states received shares of the 2007 money, see the Department of Education's announcement that came out earlier this week. States also will ...


President Bush remains optimistic that NCLB can being reauthorized next year. Asked about his relationship with Democrats in Congress, he volunteered that the K-12 law is one place where he might find common ground with the opposing party. Here's an excerpt from the transcript of this morning's press conference: "There's some areas where we can work together, like reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, although I will warn Congress that—in that the current bill doesn't expire, if they try to weaken the current bill, I'll veto any attempt to weaken it. But I believe we can strengthen it. I spoke...


Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., is reaching out to some of NCLB's fiercest critics. As I reported in the current issue of Education Week, the chairman of the Senate education committee met with the leaders of the national teacher's unions. Now, author Jonathan Kozol posts an open letter describing his meeting with Sen. Kennedy. (Link courtesy of Alexander Russo's This Week in Washington.) In Mr. Kozol's recounting of the Dec. 5 meeting, Sen. Kennedy was receptive to the liberal author's criticisms of the law. In particular, Mr. Kozol says, they talked about NCLB's testing requirements (which Mr. Kozol calls "punitive ...


Education Week's final issue of 2007 is full of stories about teacher quality and licensing. But it's light on NCLB news. Still, it's got several pieces—including a lengthy one on growth models—that show NCLB remains at the forefront of educators' minds. On the front page, Michele McNeil reports on the presidential campaign, looking at how the candidates with gubernatorial experience are approaching educational issues (Governors Cite Education Records). New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, has a sound-bite policy NCLB: Scrap it. But Republicans Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee have more nuanced approaches. Romney shepherded testing measures...


Congress has set aside its debate over NCLB, but the public hasn't. The law, its virtues, and its flaws have been featured all over newspapers, magazines, and blogs over the past few days. Monday's Washington Post examines the decline in the amount of music instruction since NCLB's enactment. Over at the Quick and the Ed, Kevin Carey corrects the Post's math and points out the narrowing isn't as serious as the newspaper reported. In the American Prospect, Richard Rothstein predicts that NCLB won't survive the congressional postponement. Republicans aren't loyal to President Bush, as they were in when the law ...


Title I appears to be the big K-12 winner in the latest plan for fiscal 2008. The program for disadvantaged students would receive a $1.2 billion increase. That's a 9.3 percent increase over the current spending level of $12.8 billion. Looking back at my previous posts on the targeting of Title I funding (see here and here), Congress continued its seven-year effort to direct money away traditional funding formulas. The two new formulas (the targeted formula and the education finance incentive formula) would receive a $1.3 billion increase. The basic formula (which goes to almost all ...


First "Family Guy," then "Boston Legal" takes a shot at NCLB. A tipster reports from his iPhone that Tuesday's episode entitled "No Brains Left Behind" portrayed NCLB in a negative light. In it, a girl is expelled for shredding tests and is charged under state law for tampering with the exams. In the courtroom, she goes into a diatribe against NCLB and testing. (Note: I haven't seen the episode. "Boston Legal" isn't one of the shows available on ABC's Web site. All I found was this plot summary, which alludes to the girls expulsion but doesn't mention NCLB.) It's not ...


The debate over NCLB's future remains dormant. The pages of the current issue of Education Week reflect the lack of action. The top story is on the expansion of the U.S. Department of Education's growth model pilot project ('Growth' Pilot Now Open to All States). (See blog items here and here.) All states may not be ready to join the pilot now, but Scott R. Palmer, a Washington attorney who advocates for states, suggests they're moving toward being ready to do so in the next few years. In Federal File, I note that advocates of high school reform are ...


I meant to return to the Title I formula yesterday, but I was distracted by "Family Guy" and George Will. Kevin Carey and Michael Dannenberg have added comments on the Title I formula over at AFT's "Let's Get It Right." (For my response, see here.) Carey and Dannenberg raise issues I uncovered while I was reporting last week's story on the increased amount of the targeting of Title I's $12.8 billion on the poorest districts. Because of space constraints, I wasn't able to include them in my article. With the unlimited space available here, I'd like to add to ...


I'm always interested to see how the public perceives NCLB. Not everyone understands growth models or the Title I formula. But NCLB has worked its way into American consciousness. Yesterday, for example, NCLB was the topic of George Will's column and in the plot of "Family Guy." That spans the sublime to the ridiculous—or ridiculous to the sublime, depending on your perspective. In his Sunday Washington Post column, Will summarizes the conservative critique of NCLB. He endorses the NCLB proposals of Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., and Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J. (see here and here). Their plans, he writes,...


Following up on yesterday's post on growth models, here is my story on the Department of Education's announcement and here is a copy of the letter going to state chiefs. In the letter, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings explains the criteria that the department will use to evaluate states' applications. Quoting from the letter, states must: "1. Ensure that all students are proficient by 2014 and set annual goals to ensure that the achievement gap is closing for all groups of students identified in the statute. 2. Set expectations for annual achievement based on meeting grade-level proficiency, not based on ...


The U.S. Department of Education is going to send a letter to state school chiefs, inviting them to propose growth models for the latest round of the department's pilot project. Here's the twist: The department will approve every application that meets its criteria, Keri Briggs, the assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education, told me. When Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings created the growth-model experiment in 2005, she capped participation at 10 states. She has approved nine states so far. Now Ms. Briggs said the department will remove the cap if necessary. The department will keep its rules for ...


Over at "Let's Get it Right," AFT's John asks about the contradictions between my reporting on NCLB's Title I formula and data provided by the National Assessment of Title I. The gist of my story is that the NCLB has changed the way Title I's $12.8 billion flows to districts. Big cities and counties with large numbers of disadvantaged students have benefited. Yet, here's an important quote that John uncovered from the National Assessment of Title I's final report: "At the district level, Title I targeting has changed little since 1997-98, despite Congress’ efforts to target more funds to ...


Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., took a field trip to New York City yesterday. His visit to a Brooklyn school didn't generate much news coverage. The only reports I've found are from a cable television news station and the city's largest public radio station (see here and here). Also, Alexander Russo blogged about the school visit here. Both news reports mention that the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee is interested in the city's new school grading system and its forthcoming experiment with performance pay. The first issue must be addressed in NCLB reauthorization because most people believe the ...


NCLB doesn't dominate the front page of Education Week, as it has done in recent months. But its presence is still felt throughout the current issue of the newspaper. On Page 1, Mary Ann Zehr reports that all states and the District of Columbia are complying with NCLB's requirement to assess English-language learners for reading proficiency in their new language (States Clear Initial Hurdle on ELL Tests). "But we don't know how they actually translate into performance of English-language learners," said Jamal Abedi, the professor who conducted the study. In the Washington section, I explain why Title I's funding formula ...


With NCLB off the congressional radar this month, civil rights groups want to make sure the reauthorization reappears next year. On Thursday, a coalition of groups will hold a seminar on high school policies to be considered in NCLB reauthorization. The discussion will be entitled: "A Stronger NCLB in 2008: Critical for High Schools and Students of Color.” Clearly, the organizers want reauthorization to be done next year. Thursday's seminar in the Senate Dirksen building will be the first of several events addressing accountability under NCLB, the Campaign for High School Equity promises. The campaign includes the Leadership Council on ...


Last week, I asked: Will Congress take four years to reauthorize NCLB? After all, it took lawmakers that long to come to an agreement on changes to Head Start. And they still haven't settled on a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, also four years late. BoardBuzz read that as an ominous warning that NCLB might be in place until 2011. I didn't mean to scare school board members or predict the NCLB will go unchanged until this year's kindergarten class enters 4th grade. But I did want to point out that Congress has been postponing reauthorizations of education bills. ...


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