Posts Tagged ‘ESEA’

Member Voices: Bringing Teacher Educators to the ESSA Implementation Table

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

In December 2015, I published an op-ed in the Washington Post in which I discussed my concerns with some of the teacher education provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). I focused my comments on a section within the law that gives states the authority to use some of their Title II funds to establish “teacher preparation academies.” These academies would, in my opinion, lower standards for preparing teachers and would also support a general downward spiral in standards beyond the academies that would weaken public education.

The academies provision is the most prescriptive option under Title II and could require states to change laws that would lower standards for teacher education programs. For example, if states choose to support teacher preparation academies, then they would not be allowed to place any “unnecessary restrictions on the methods of the academy” which includes requiring faculty to have advanced degrees or placing any restrictions on undergraduate or professional course work. While it is not certain that programs with lower standards would be funded under the academy provision, this option opens the door to that possibility.

NNSTOY to Hold Congressional Briefing on Teacher Career Continuums, ESSA Implementation

Editor’s Note: This briefing has been postponed due to weather challenges. Please stay tuned for an announcement of the new date.

On Wednesday, January 27, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) will hold a congressional briefing to release its new study Teacher Advancement Initiatives: Lessons Learned From Eight Case Studies. Completed in conjunction with Pearson, the report is the product of a 3-year study of schools and districts with established career advancement initiatives. The study identifies components of successful, sustainable teacher career continuums with positive impacts on teacher recruitment, retention, and job satisfaction.

The eight case studies include schools and districts in urban and rural areas of Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Iowa, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington. The report identifies key elements of effective career continuums such as structured roles for teacher leaders, opportunities for release time and collaboration, compensation differentiation, peer coaching and evaluation, embedded professional development, and structured opportunities for teacher voice in decision making.

Department of Education Webinar Slides Available on ESSA

On December 21 and 22, the U.S. Department of Education held webinars on the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the law that reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Click here to access slides from the webinars, which included some timelines and initial information about the transition from the framework of the No Child Left Behind Act to the new framework of ESSA.

I recommend that you review the Department’s slides to support and enhance your program’s partnerships by giving you a sense of what your state education leaders and PK-12 partners will be experiencing over the coming months and year(s). In particular, consider the implications of ending the waivers (referred to in the webinar as ESEA flexibility or ESEA waivers) as of August 1 of this year.

Plums and Lemonade: Making the Most of ESSA

On December 10, after many painful years of wrestling with the heavy-handed No Child Left Behind Act and state waivers that were often more prescriptive than the law itself, educators finally got a new federal law governing PK-12 education. Its replacement, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), promises to return power to the states, reduce accountability burdens, and broaden the scope of support for students with the greatest needs. I join my fellow educators around the country in celebrating these improvements.

Nonetheless, there are lemons lurking among the plums in the new ESSA. This law contains more concessions to reformist entrepreneurs and venture philanthropists than many of us would like. For example, one provision in Title II allows states to create charter-like “academies” for preparing teachers and principals for high-need schools—an idea that has been debated for several years and widely opposed by education organizations. Now that it is part of the law, however, we will do well to heed Maya Angelou’s advice: if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. So let’s celebrate the plums and then get busy making lemonade.

U.S. Department of Education Starts Implementing ESSA

On December 18, the U.S. Department of Education published a notice in the Federal Register announcing its consideration of conducting negotiated rule making for the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The secretary invites advice and recommendations on standards and assessments as well as on the requirement that Title I, Part A funds “supplement, not supplant” state and local funds. The Department seeks feedback from stakeholders on other areas of Title I that could benefit from either guidance or regulation as the nation moves from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) to ESSA.

The Department also sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to states addressing pending transitions, including from current NCLB waivers to the new law. In the letter, the Department notes that it will not renew waivers or accept waiver applications from states that do not already have one.

Omnibus Funds Government Through September 2016, But Few Policy Riders Included

On Friday, December 18, Congress completed its work of funding the federal government through September 30, 2016, through passage of an omnibus spending bill connected to a tax-extenders deal.

AACTE is pleased that the Teacher Quality Partnerships not only survived an attack during the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but also received a nearly $3 million funding increase though the omnibus bill for Fiscal Year 2016.

ESEA Reauthorization Wins Mixed Praise

On December 10, President Obama signed into law the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—now titled the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The long-overdue reauthorization is being heralded as the end of the heavy-handed No Child Left Behind era, returning much of the authority to states and local agencies to oversee PK-12 education. But like any law of such great scope, this one has plenty of contentious content, and education organizations are offering decidedly mixed reviews.

In its statement on the passage of ESSA, the Coalition for Teaching Quality (of which AACTE is a founding member) said, “While the Coalition appreciates ESSA’s efforts to strengthen the capacity of states and districts to improve teacher quality, the bill unfortunately reflects a significant step back for many of our nation’s neediest students by eliminating a meaningful minimum entry standard for teachers and the need for states and districts to correct ongoing inequities in access to high-quality teachers.”

A Busy December in Washington and a Webinar Invitation

December is always an interesting time, as people’s thoughts turn to wrapping presents, lighting candles, or marking the shortest day of the year.

In Washington, December also means wrapping up spending bills or meeting hard-and-fast deadlines, making room for extra time as needed. This process typically interjects wrangling, rancor, negotiation, and deal-cutting into the holiday hubbub.

ESEA Reauthorization Bill Released

Today, the Conference Report for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was released, manifesting a compromise recently struck between members of the education committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The bill, now known as the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” is expected to be voted on by the House this week, followed by the Senate next week. Should both bodies pass this measure, it will be sent to President Obama for his signature.

Of particular interest for AACTE members is Title II: Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High-Quality Teachers, Principals, or other School Leaders, which spans about 100 of the 1,061-page bill (pp. 298-408). One change is to the formula grants to states, which would phase in the following allotment: 80% based on the population of students in poverty in the state and 20% based on the overall student population.

Conference Committee Advances ESEA Reauthorization

On Thursday, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization process advanced a step as members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce and the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions reached agreement on a conference report. This report represents a compromise between the House-passed Student Success Act (H.R. 5) and the Senate-passed Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (S. 1177).

On Twitter

AACTE Tools

Follow Us