Note: Celine Coggins, founder and CEO of Teach Plus, is guest blogging this week. Thanks to Rick and his crew for tapping me as a guest-blogger. I promise to live up to the provocative blogging Rick's known for later in the week. I want to start, though, by discussing one of the programs we run at Teach Plus as an example of what we're all about. The results are in from the first year of our T3: Turnaround Teacher Teams initiative in the Boston Public Schools. I'm breaking the news here first! At Teach Plus, we work to ensure that ...


Note: Melissa Junge and Sheara Krvaric, lawyers at the Federal Education Group, will be guest posting this week. In this final post, we propose strategies for tackling the compliance rules that interfere with good educational programming. As we explored this week, these rules shape the culture of education organizations because they create compliance fears that discourage effective spending. This makes little sense, especially in an era where every dollar matters. The theme that connects the strategies below is engaging implementers. Policymakers sometimes assume a rule is working when they don't hear examples about the damage it is doing in practice. ...


Note: Melissa Junge and Sheara Krvaric, lawyers at the Federal Education Group, will be guest posting this week. Education policies cannot be successful if school districts are required to implement those policies in ineffective ways. While education policymakers passionately discuss the merits or flaws of big picture policy ideas, once policies actually make it into law few look back to see how the policies work in day-to-day practice. This is unfortunate, because overly burdensome or complicated administrative requirements can trip up policy goals. To illustrate this point, consider the "equitable services" requirement. This requirement, which has existed since federal education ...


Note: Melissa Junge and Sheara Krvaric, lawyers at the Federal Education Group, will be guest posting this week. Yesterday we talked about how the supplement not supplant rule can work against federal policy goals by impeding comprehensive school reform efforts and encouraging poor educational spending decisions. Today we will look at how another rule - known as "time and effort" - also inhibits comprehensive educational approaches. Time and effort, a rule that requires employees paid with federal funds to document the time they spend on specific activities, is not unique to Department of Education (ED) programs. In fact, these rules ...


Note: Melissa Junge and Sheara Krvaric, lawyers at the Federal Education Group, will be guest posting this week. In our last post, we introduced the idea that federal compliance rules can have an unintended effect on what goes on in the classroom by encouraging defensive spending, discouraging comprehensive programs, and creating administrative burdens that take away resources from students. Over the next two days we will give examples of how two seemingly unrelated rules - supplement not supplant, and time and effort - interfere with comprehensive school improvement. Policymakers have encouraged states and school districts to use federal funds to ...


Note: Melissa Junge and Sheara Krvaric, lawyers at the Federal Education Group, will be guest posting this week. As education lawyers who work with states and school districts on federal education programs, part of our job is to advise clients on those programs' fiscal and administrative compliance rules. For the most part these compliance rules are largely unknown and rarely discussed among the education policy crowd and other important stakeholders, like parents and teachers. Federal compliance requirements like supplement not supplant or time distribution (also known as time and effort) are not exactly hot topics of conversation. They should be. ...


Hidy, all. So I'm taking one of my quarterly breaks from RHSU for the next few weeks. Happily, once again, I think we've assembled a terrific line-up of guest bloggers. They're all a lot more interesting and accomplished than yours truly, so it should make for a lively stretch. First up, next week, we have Melissa Junge and Sheara Krvaric. Melissa and Sheara are co-founders of the Federal Education Group (FEG) law firm and are my go-to experts when it comes to understanding how federal law impacts states and school systems. Previously, they served as counsel to a number of ...


Saw Brad Pitt's new flick Moneyball the other week. Good, not great; thought the book was better. A lot of the interesting stuff gets lost in translation. I've noted the same thing when K-12 thinkers latch onto the "moneyball" analogy. K-12 enthusiasts point out that Billy Beane used sophisticated statistical analysis to build winning teams, and sensibly presume that the same kinds of tools can help drive school improvement. (Back in 2003, when the book was published, the edu-analogies consisted mostly of paeans to data dashboards; today, it's all about "value-added" metrics.) Here's the problem. Author Michael Lewis made it ...


For nearly two decades, one of the striking findings in school choice research is that parents are hugely positive about schools of choice even when the test results show only modest benefits for their kids. In some circles, particularly among education professors, this has led to various lamentations about what dopes parents are. (Now, I think people are frequently dopey, but it seems to me there are also other viable explanations here.) Charter and school voucher advocates haven't exactly covered themselves in glory when answering these concerns. A big chunk of the charter community has embraced death-grip regulation based on ...


Substantively, I don't have a ton to add to what I wrote yesterday. But there were a couple of interesting developments, and various declarations have helped clarify where things stand. Here's my take. The Good: Over the weekend, Harkin and Enzi scrapped the proposal to require states to adopt federally-approved teacher and principal evaluation systems. Instead, they opted to offer federal dollars to support smart state systems as a competitive grant for which states can choose to apply. This happy development marked a big win for Senator Alexander and those concerned about federal overreach. It marked a big setback for ...


The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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