Sunday, April 22, 2012

National Legislative Update: NSBA

National Legislative Updates
"why should I be concerned? Federal government only provides 10% of national education funding."
Nonetheless, the federal government has a very active role.

"How can anyone ever be against "no child left behind"?"
was supposed to reauthorized in 2008; it's now 2012
the accountability system focused on penalties rather than support
Now have a perception that public schools are pretty bad
"a single test...fourth graders this year taking the test, compared to fourth graders last year"
What do we want?
  • reauthorize now!
  • multiple measures of academic achievement
  • option to use growth/progress model
  • option to determine range of interventions, designed at local level
  • increased emphasis on K-12
  • HR 3989 (Encouraging Student Success) and HR 3990 are supported by NSBA
NSBA concerned about House ESEA over-reliance on charter schools (D's and R's have "jumped on this train"), elimination of maintenance of effort (MOE) provisions, limitations on annual increases on federal education spending to CPI

On Senate bill: concerned with micro-management of key programs, more data collection, not enough support for local capacity, unworkable and complex system, also over-reliance on charter schools

Waviers temporary fix, temporary request: 11 states applied and approved
ESEA Call-in day on May 9 for re-authorization

Senate HELP wove pre-K in: now an allowable use of funds
House Student Success Act, Democratic substitute bill (didn't get approved) which took same path as Senate
DoE: new Office of Early Learning (admin Early Learning Challenge Grants)
RTTT: Early Learning Challenge Grants given to 9 states (including Massachusetts), meeting in Boston next week (that's FY11 money, so they need to hustle)
additional states invited to apply in FY12
"school boards must be part of the application process" according to the fed
Child Nutrition re-authorization: new standards as of January 2012
estimated to cost more than double the amount of the reimbursement
 draft standards coming SOON for "competitive foods"
school wellness programs

Federal funding:
budget control act will hit ed funding: slated for Jan. 2, 2013, across the board cut to all programs (could be as much as 9%) a $1.2 b cut to Title I
Level funding for Title I grants and IDEA
increases are needed for these programs, but across the board cuts looming
Title I would give districts authority to use the 20% "set-aside" for locally determined reforms and intervention programs, rather than supplemental services or school choice
President's budget request: $25 b for school repairs and modernization, $25 b to retain and hire teachers and first responders, $5 b for competitive grants to "strengthen teacher effectiveness"
allow 25% set-aside in Teacher Quality grants "to recruit, train, and support effective teachers"
increase RTTT funding by $300 m
impact aid proposed to be eliminated: would hit 200 districts where federal gov't is largest property owner
Budget Control Act: automatic elimination of overall spending by $1.2 trillion
States are still making cuts to K-12 education
Education Jobs: obligated in August 2010
81.2% of funds spent by April 2012

Charter schools: 500 new charter schools in 2011-12
bipartisan support, alas
Duncan opened 75 new charters in Chicago while he was CEO in Chicago (that's what he knows)
points given to states for RTTT for lifted caps
local school districts still authorize 52% of new charter schools
5% of schools nationwide, yet much of the buzz
compared to regular public schools, either perform same or worse, per CREDO study
draft charter school bill has no bill number (in Harkin-Enzi ESEA bill draft)
charter school oversight at state level handed off to overworked staff; don't get scrutiny of local school districts
NSBA: local districts as sole authorizer or right of first refusal

Common Core: 46 states now
new assessments are going to be online: new staff training, plus tech capacity
"who's going to pay for these assessment once they're done?" was asked of Duncan; his answer, "That's up to you."
Bullying Leg: none in House, S.506 from Senator Casey
variety mandates
"what we need is a modicum of sensitivity and awareness"

"you know how you have someone who, when the phone rings, you sort of cringe? We want you to be that person for your member of Congress"

Asking about increasing number of days required? (from a member from Arkansas)
Hasn't gone anywhere: more hours means more staff or more staff time
How are the Core standards being extended to other schools (charter, private)?
charter are public schools, so they have to have them; not so on private
"the law is only as good as it's implemented"
if the state doesn't require oversee their charters...
"with all the cuts that they're doing, we're leaning so much on your staff...PLEASE don't cut professional development!"
election year: push them, find out where they are on ESEA re-authorization
"not acceptable to wait...must move forward"
Question: is this a true cut of current levels? Yes. Cut of current funding
"even if we got an increase now, with this cut in January, it's for naught"
"It does not look good."


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