President Obama covered a lot of ground in his education speech on Tuesday. He made a brief mention of NCLB, providing a glimpse of his thinking on the law's future. After outlining the need for common standards, Obama said: That is what we'll help them do later this year—that what we're going to help them do later this year when we finally make No Child Left Behind live up to its name by ensuring not only that teachers and principals get the funding that they need, but that the money is tied to results. Then, today, Arne Duncan told...


The governors are for a national effort to set academic standards. So are the chiefs. But don't count on state legislators. That was one of several messages that West Virginia state Sen. Robert Plymale delivered yesterday to the Council of Chief State School Officers' annual legislative conference in Washington. "We've staked our claim that standards should come from the state level," said Plymale, a Democrat, who is chairing a task force on NCLB for the National Conference of State Legislatures. The legislators' fear is that the Congress or the Education Department would force states to adopt common definitions of academic ...


The Education Department's guidance on the stimulus is out, and the section on Title I says the Education Department will consider giving districts a break on reserving money for tutoring and school choice. The guidance says the department will grant districts' requests for waivers that would allow them to forego reserving TItle I money to pay for tutoring and choice for students who attend schools that have failed to make AYP for three or more years. For background, see my post from Friday. The guidance doesn't explain what criteria department officials will use to decide on waiver requests. In a ...


What will happen with the Title I set-asides? The answer will have big implications on how quickly $2 billion in stimulus money is spent. State and officials are waiting for guidance from the Department of Education, which is expected soon. The background: NCLB added a requirement that districts receiving Title I grants offer public school choice and free tutoring to students whose schools fail to make AYP for several years. The law requires districts to reserve up to 20 percent of their allocations for those services. If districts don't spend all of that money in one year, they can use ...


The new federal stimulus law could stimulate federal involvement in middle and high schools. The conference report accompanying the bill urges states to spend 40 percent of the $3 billion in Title I school improvement money on secondary schools. (Hat tip to this document on Learning Points Associates' new page that's chock-full of details on the stimulus.) States and districts historically have followed Congress' direction in concentrating Title I money on elementary schools, which receive three-quarters of the program's money, according to this report from the U.S. Department of Education. If states and districts grant Congress' wish under the ...


Following up on last week's post on national standards, you can read my story in this week's issue of Education Week. The story describes the "convergence of high-powered opinion" in favor of standards (a rhetorical flourish added by an editor, I must confess). But it also notes that completing the task won't be easy. One of the obstacles may be Congress, as Checker Finn points out near the bottom of the story. In the 1990s, Congress distanced itself from a set of history standards developed under a grant made by the administration of President George H.W. Bush. It also ...


On the campaign trail, President Obama pledged: "You don’t reform our schools by opposing efforts to fully fund No Child Left Behind." He said that in his biggest education speech of the general election campaign. The economic stimulus package was a down payment on fulfilling that promise. Under the law, the Title I grants to districts for the education of disadvantaged students will receive $10 billion, split over fiscal years 2009 and 2010. The money makes up almost half of the difference between the program's fiscal 2008 appropriation ($13.8 billion) and what NCLB advocates consider full funding for ...


At the National Governors Association's winter meeting this weekend, most news organizations focused on some governors' reluctance to take portions of the stimulus money. (For examples of the coverage, see here and here.) But the NGA took one significant vote that went unnoticed elsewhere. Its members approved a policy statement that could lead to a set of national standards. The statement hasn't been released to the public yet. But governors told me that it advocates putting state leaders in charge of a national effort to establish a "common core" of standards defining what students should know. The statement dovetails with ...


Over at Swift & Changable, Charlie Barone hands over the blog to MargoMom, a frequent commenter here and elsewhere. Charlie's headline (Margot/Mom on "Becoming a Part of the 'Reformy Crowd'") tells the story. But a better one might have been: "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love NCLB." With a nod to Dr. Strangelove, of course....


Here's a thought experiment: As a parent, I know that my son's elementary school in a "leafy green" suburb of Washington made AYP last year. But what if that school had needed to make AYP as it's defined in South Carolina, where the proficiency levels are notoriously higher? Or California, which has set low annual targets until the 2014 goal of universal proficiency begins to loom? Or Maryland, which has the smallest "n" size of any state—a fact that makes it more difficult to make AYP across all of the subgroups of students? My son's school might not have...


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