NCLB

School-turnaround efforts aren’t new. But—thanks in large part to the feds’ latest round of school-improvement grants (SIG) and this week’s CEP report on the program—they’ve recently garnered much press. Unfortunately, precious little is known about whether these efforts (federally funded or not) affect actual student achievement. That research dearth is slowly shrinking. A longitudinal evaluation of Chicago’s turnaround efforts in thirty-six schools between 1997 and 2010 offers good news for the school-turnaround believer. The study, conducted by UChicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research and the American Institutes for Research, found that, while turnaround results were slow to develop, they were dramatic four years after interventions began—at least at the elementary level: Targeted elementary schools closed the test-score gap between themselves and the system average by half in reading and by almost two-thirds in math. (Researchers were unable to analyze test scores at the high school level, so evaluated attendance and ninth-grade readiness instead; they reported no real improvements for turnaround schools in either.) We’ve long harbored doubts about the efficacy of turnarounds, but this report bangs a slight crack in our cynicism—at least for initiatives that are given multiple years to gain traction.

Marisa de lat Torre, Elaine Allensworth, Sanja Jagesic, James Sebastian, and Michael Salmonowicz, Turning Around Low-Performing Schools in Chicago (Chicago: Consortium on Chicago School Research, February 2012)....

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Two weeks ago, when the House Education and the Workforce
committee marked-up
two major ESEA reauthorization bills, Democrats and their allies screamed
bloody murder. Ranking member (and former chairman) George Miller called
the bills
“radical” and “highly partisan” and said they would “turn the
clock back decades on equity and accountability.” A coalition of civil rights,
education reform, and business groups said
they amounted to a “rollback” of No Child Left Behind.

Barack Obama
Perhaps Rep. Miller and his allies are "conservatives" on education after all.
Photo by George Miller.

Miller put forward his own
bills,
which most of the self-same groups quickly endorsed,
and which, Miller argues,
“eliminate inflexible and outdated provisions of No Child Left Behind and
requires states and [districts] to adopt strong but flexible and achievable
standards, assessments, and accountability reforms.”

So let’s see how Miller and company do at “eliminating
inflexible and outdated provisions of NCLB” and requiring “strong but flexible”
accountability systems. The package…

  • Requires
    states to expect “all” students to eventually reach college and
    career-readiness
    . (Didn’t we learn
  • ...
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Mike and the Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke step outside to debate the place of climate science in standards and whether John Kline’s ESEA proposals stand a chance, while Amber looks at the relative merits of a four-day school week.

Two weeks ago, when the House Education and the Workforce committee marked-up two major ESEA reauthorization bills, Democrats and their allies screamed bloody murder. Ranking member (and former chairman) George Miller called the bills “radical” and “highly partisan” and said they would “turn the clock back decades on equity and accountability.” A coalition of civil rights, education reform, and business groups said they amounted to a “rollback” of No Child Left Behind.

Barack Obama
Perhaps Representative Miller and his allies are "conservatives" on education after all.
Photo by George Miller.

Miller put forward his own bills, which most of the self-same groups quickly endorsed, and which, Miller argues, “eliminates inflexible and outdated provisions of No Child Left Behind and requires states and [districts] to adopt strong but flexible and achievable standards, assessments, and accountability reforms.”

So let’s see how Miller and company do at “eliminating inflexible and outdated provisions of NCLB” and requiring “strong but flexible” accountability systems. The package…

  • Requires states to expect “all” students to reach college and career readiness eventually. (Didn’t we learn from NCLB that calling for “universal proficiency” merely pushes states to lower the bar?)
  • Tightens
  • ...
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The No Child Left Behind Act requires public schools that have not made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two consecutive years to offer children of low-income families the opportunity to receive supplemental educational services (SES). SES comes primarily in the form of tutoring offered outside of regular schools hours and is often provided by private entities. Schools failing to meet AYP requirements are required to set aside 20 percent of their Title I funding to pay for SES and to measure the effectiveness of tutoring on student achievement. How much impact does SES have on student achievement though? A recent report by the Center for American Progress sets out to answer this question as well as provide policy recommendations that aim to improve the SES program.  

The report found that many states and school districts are extremely deficient in the evaluation and recording of SES providers and their results. A combination of self-reporting and unreliable data collection methods such as parent surveys has resulted in lack-luster evidence on the effectiveness of tutoring programs.  In addition to the lack of sufficient data among states and districts, the number of tutoring hours that students receive is critical in the impact on student achievement. Research has proven the “magic” number to be 40 hours. Students receiving less than 40 hours of tutoring do not demonstrate any statistically significant gains in reading and math.  The report also states that another problem with SES is that tutors do not have to have any...

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Mike and Janie make the case for keeping the Education Gadfly Show going with witty analysis of Common Core critics, student discipline follies, and the GOP’s education conundrum. Amber delves into teacher dissatisfaction and Chris asks “What’s up with that?” one last time.

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia submitted
applications for the second round of No Child Left Behind waivers by Tuesday’s
deadline, but a crucial question lingers: Did the Administration’s highly
controversial program for offering states freedom from NCLB’s most onerous
requirements make the situation any better? Tomorrow morning, the Fordham
Institute will host experts from the media, the Administration, and think tanks
to answer at “Weighing the Waivers: Did the Administration Get It Right on
ESEA Flexibility?

This panel discussion will investigate how the
Education Department’s ambitious attempt to bypass a Congress gridlocked over
ESEA reauthorization will alter state policies and the federal role in
education. There is still
time to register
, but for those unable to attend in person, you can stream
the discussion live from our website beginning at 9 a.m. EST. Don’t miss it!

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Mike and Rick break down the week’s news, from the prospects of John Kline’s ESEA reauthorization proposals to the college-for-all controversy. Amber analyzes the latest report on Milwaukee’s voucher program Chris wonders whether robbing a bank is enough to get a school bus driver fired.

GOP Rep. John Kline’s ESEA reauthorization bills
slipped out of the House Education and the Workforce Committee on a party-line
vote,
but will likely stall in their current state. The time for
posturing has passed: If Congress wants any role in education policy, it’s got
to start compromising
.

The dithering on Capitol Hill was in stark contrast to
the activity at the Education Department, which received NCLB
waiver applications from twenty six more states and D.C.
by its Tuesday deadline.
While the merits
(and, indeed, the constitutionality) of the feds’ waiver program are far from
settled
, Congress has given states few alternatives.

It’s a welcome surprise to find a GOP candidate willing to
talk about education, but Rick Santorum seems to be bringing all the wrong
kinds of attention to important policies worthy of thoughtful support (home schooling) and skepticism (universal higher ed).

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers' latest brief in its Cyber Series is yet another bit (byte?)
to add to the mounting evidence that best practices for charter
authorizing provide a useful framework for overseeing online schools.

Congratulations are due to Robin Lake,
the newly
announced successor
to Paul Hill as head of the Center on Reinventing Public
Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington-Bothell. Congrats are due to
Paul, too, for building such a...

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Since
the birth of the No
Child Left Behind Act
more than a decade ago, state and
local education officials have not kept quiet their disdain for the federal
law. So when President Obama announced in September that his administration
would offer states freedom from components of the law it is no surprise that
states around the country jumped on the chance. Ten states (Colorado, Florida,
Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Minnesota,
and Oklahoma) have already been granted waivers from the Obama Administration
with the understanding that they must demonstrate how they will prepare
children for college and careers by setting new academic targets to improve
achievement among all students, reward high-performing schools, and help those
that are falling behind.

Ohio
is one of 26 states, along with the District of Columbia that applied for a
second-round waiver. If approved (and most observers believe it will be), what
will the waiver mean for the Buckeye State? What changes will it bring about in
the coming months and years? The chart below breaks down some of the biggest
changes and outlines what Ohio schools can expect to see under the plan. (See table below)

State
Superintendent Stan Heffner hopes that the proposed changes will result in more
students being prepared for either college or the workforce when they leave high
school and help end the academic disparity...

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