Showing posts from October, 2016

Changes for Student Homeless Populations Under ESSA

According to the National Center for Homeless Education federal data summary, the number of homeless students doubled in less than a decade: public schools identified a record 1,301,239 homeless children and youth in the 2013-2014 school year up from 679,724 in 2006-2007.

New provisions under ESSA seek to increase the capacity of coordinators and liaisons to connect homeless youth to needed services and supports, ensure these students receive a quality education, and hold schools more accountable for homeless student outcomes. While states have until 2017–18 to fully implement most major components of ESSA, key provisions related to homeless students were to be implemented by the start of this (2016–17) school year. Amendments to McKinney-Vento went into effect on October 1; provisions for Foster Care take effect on December 10, 2016:
For Coordinators & Liaisons: States must designate state coordinators to monitor local education agencies, inform parents and the public of homeless s…

Stakeholder Perceptions on Assessments

Under ESSA, State Boards of Ed are responsible for engaging stakeholders as part of the work to take place to ensure understanding of the new law.

A really interesting report released this summer from Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) who partnered with Gallup on a stakeholder study on assessments. NWEA had planned their survey well before ESEA was reauthorized.

This study engaged five key stakeholder groups: Teachers, Parents, Principals, Superintendents, and Students.

Theory of Change: Information about all students and individual students inform policymakers, teachers, parents to know and make decisions about change (policymakers), practice (teachers), schools and districts (parents).
"Perception is reality": Stakeholders were asked about the changing role of assessment. Some key findings, especially from parents:
Everyone is concerned about lack of understanding of purpose of assessments, especially state policymakers.32% of fathers felt that state assessments impro…

The achievement gap, racism, and ESSA

With the Department's focus on ESSA this year, I've been revisiting links to articles, interviews, and other stuff I've bookmarked (including the piece by Robert B. Moore from 1976 excerpted at bottom of this post) in an effort to better understand where we're going before the Department submits its assessment and accountability plan to US/ED next year (either March 6, 2017 or July 5, 2017).

One of the items I've come across is a short WBUR Here & Now interview by Eric Westervelt with Pedro Noguera.(1) The interview was broadcast on December 8, 2015, just two days before President Obama signed ESSA into law.

He asked Noguera how much of an impact the new legislation is likely to have on underserved students. Noguera said he believes, "ESSA perpetuates the notion that we can address inequality and academic outcomes simply by focusing on schools".

That made me stop and think, again, that policymakers must take a hard look at what can realistically be acc…

More Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement Under ESSA

This is a follow up to my post on Stakeholder Engagement at #NASBE16. First part of this post are notes from a NASBE webinar I participated in this summer; second part follows up on recent announcements from DESE. NEA noted in the Guide: "there's a big difference between engaging people and having a meeting. Stakeholder engagement, especially as far as implementing ESSA is concerned, should be something that has a positive impact on students".

 In an effort to engage stakeholders in a timely and meaningful way, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) created this Stakeholder Guide. The Guide outlines a 10-step process as a kind of toolkit for ensuring meaningful engagement. Within the Guide are examples of what some states are doing well and what their challenges are.

The Guide is in three parts, with each part addressing a number of engagement strategies; for each engagement strategy, a series of questions forms a strategy checklist. As strategies are employe…

NASBE Update

The Chair asked that I provide an update to the Board about the NASBE Annual Conference at our meeting yesterday. Here's what I provided:

Delegates Assembly:

Three Proposed Bylaws Changes were approved:Article X, Section 4, Public Education Positions Committee be amended to model the Government Affairs Committee membership, and thus be open to any member who wishes to serve and has their board approval. Additionally, that this section also be amended to permit a board to appoint a NCOSEA and NCSBEE representative to serve on this committee if no board member is available to serve, with the proviso that membership on this committee is limited to one person per state. These proposed revisions were requested by the current chair of this committee.Article X, Section 6,Governmental Affairs Committee be amended to permit a board to appoint a NCOSEA and NCSBEE representative to serve on this committee if no board member is available to serve. This proposed revision expands the pool of avai…

#NASBE16: Helping All Teachers Improve Their Practice Through Sound Policy

Live blogging

Thomas Toch, Center on the Future of American Education
Rachel Wise, Nebraska State Board of Education, Chair
Robert Hull, NASBE (facilitator)

Hull: Student success depends upon recruiting, preparing, developing, and supporting great teachers.

Toch: Traditional teacher evaluation was a drive-by; annual visits by a principal with a checklist, looking for clean classrooms and quiet students--superficial exercises that didn't focus directly on the quality of teacher instruction, much less student learning. No incentives to thoughtfully compare teacher performances. Most school districts didn't do them. Nearly every teacher received satisfactory rating; virtually no one fired for under-performance. Absence of meaningful measures of teacher quality made rewarding talent and other steps to strengthen the profession nearly impossible to implement. Incentives eliminated in ESSA.

Toch: More comprehensive teacher eval systems have launched several important improvements in publi…

#NASBE16: Stakeholder Engagement Under ESSA

Live blogging

Moderated by Abigail Potts, project manager at NASBE

Potts: Stakeholder engagement - federal requirement under ESSA. Work under ESSA is daunting: Early childhood education;
Teacher requitment, preparedness; Privacy
All just the tip of the iceberg
Perception: state DoEs will engage for a time, check the box.
Experience with states is they are taking very seriously.

Chris Hofman, Rachel Man, Teach Plus
Ben Rarick, Washington State Board of Education Executive Director
Dr. Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education

Hofman: Will talk about our own research and experiences
Man: Found 5 major challenges:
1. Identifying stakeholders and engaging a broader voice
2. Overcoming time and resource constraints
3. Educating stakeholders
4. Organizing stakeholder feedback and incorporating feedback
5. Planning for future engagement

Man & Hofman: Key take-aways from the above challenges:
Use networks you have to build relationships with previously unreached groups; allow your groups to b…

#NASBE16: Closing Day

Saturday, October 22 8:30 AM Breakfast and Q&A with Kris Amundson, President/CEO, NASBE
General Sessions 9:30 AM More than Lip Service: Stakeholder Engagement Under ESSA11:00 AM Moving the Curve: Helping All Teachers Improve Their Practice through Sound Policy
Noon Adjourn

#NASBE16: Day 3 Preview

Today is the last full day of the conference.

7:45 AM Awards Breakfast. Arkansas State Board member and NASBE Chair-elect, Jay Barth presides for the presentation of several awards for Distinguished Service to sitting State Board of Education members.
9:00 AM NASBE Annual Business Meeting (NASBE Delegates), General Session
9:00 AM Exploring the Future of Teaching and Learning - which looks to be an exciting, interactive presentation for conference attendees who are not Delegates.
12 PM Lunch - while most of us will be networking at lunch, volunteer representatives from each NASBE region have volunteered to participate in a Focus Group with Edge Research, who partnered with NASBE on the survey to members; they will take their lunch with them to the Focus Group. There is also a separate lunch for NASBE Funders.

1:00 PM Book Talk: Cross X

Concurrent Sessions
2:15 PMEquity and Access: Ensuring Equal Opportunities for All StudentsTeacher Discipline across States (joint session with NCOSEA)3:45 P…

#NASBE16: Afternoon Sessions

Two more concurrent sessions: School Surveillance - The Consequences for Equity and Privacy and School Turnarounds - Lessons Learned and New Opportunities Under ESSA. I've opted for School Surveillance.

States and districts are adopting technologies that can surveil students continuously. Experts discuss the pros and cons detailed in NASBE's new report released today: School Surveillance: The Consequences for Equity and Privacy and show how SBEs can create privacy and equity guardrails.

Amelia VanceNASBE
Monica BulgerData & Society Research Institute
Theodore HartmanMontgomery County Public Schools
Chad MarlowACLU
Dakarai Aarons, Data Quality Campaign (moderator)

Vance: It's a school's job to watch students. Lots of valid reasons for surveillance:
keeping students on taskensuring safetyauditing and efficiency, i.e., tracking school buses to ensure they are running on time While not meant in a malicious way, there are unintended consequenc…

#NASBE16: Morning Sessions

NCSBEE and NCOSEA are running their conference in tandem with NASBE's: NCSBEE's (State Board of Education Executives) Morning Session is all about State Board of Ed Policies and Practices. The Presentation is to include discussion on development of Board agenda, interaction with Department staff, Board Governance policies, and new board member orientation. Resources gathered from states will be provided and rountable discussion will assist members in sharing information and gaining knowledge from other state practices and resources. Affiliates in the NCOSEA (State Education Attorneys) Session will engage in Round 1 of State Roundtable Discussions. Former NCOSEA President, Thomas Mayes of Iowa will moderate. Each member will be given an opportunity to briefly identify a legal issue of concern in his or her state. Identification of the issue to the group may lead to informal discussions with members throughout the remainder of the conference, with follow-up at the end of the conf…

#NASBE16: General Session Keynote

We are being treated to a keynote by Manny Scott, one of the original Freedom Writers.
Before he speaks, we are shown the movie trailer. Then, Scott stands at the podium and sings: "if I can help somebody as I pass along..then, my living shall not be in vain". Says he opens with that song, because it describes his life's purpose and because he believes it describes many of us. That, in the final analysis, our lives will be measured by how much or how little we have given ourselves, our lives in service, to love, to position others to flourish.
If you've seen the movie, it compresses 5 years into 2 hours; 150 students, into 5 main characters. "Marcus" is the character that best represents him.
He hopes his story will give us some perspective. New eyes through which to see some of the kids in our own areas. Perhaps a renewed heart. Hopes to provide at least one reason to stay with this work. He has a unique frame of reference - very different from most of us…

#NASBE16 Breakfast

Welcome Breakfast. Sgt. Hernandez of the Kansas City MO Police Department provided today's color guard.

We are just a few miles from Kansas. NASBE President, Jim McNiece (Chair, Kansas SBE) welcomed participants and introduced Missouri State Board of Education Vice President, Victor Lenz. Lenz sketched out their SBE's governance practices.
Greetings from Dr. Margie Vandeven, Missouri Commissioner of Education, hired in 2015. She provided a bit of context for education in our host state: diverse state (rural, urban; #s of students in districts range from 25 students to 25,000). Focused on 3 goals:
1. all MO students will graduate college and career ready
2. all will have access to high quality learning opportunities
3. all students will have an effective teacher in every classroom
Greetings from Dr. Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education. Challenges us to maximize the success of different and diverse students and how to ensure flexibility to reach each one. Asks, "…

#NASBE16: Day 2 Preview

The conference officially kicks off today. First up: a Welcome Breakfast, where we'll be welcomed by NASBE President, Jim McNiece. Affiliates in NCOSEA (State Education Attorneys) and NCSBEE (State Board of Education Executives) are running a conference concurrent with NASBE's.

Following breakfast, NASBE members will attend a General Session and will be treated to a keynote by Manny Scott, one of the original Freedom Writers. I look forward to hearing his story.

From there, we move to concurrent sessions on ESSA: Computer Science and Early Learning. As I understand it, the decision to feature early learning is a direct outcome of the survey to State Board of Education members last time around. (NASBE members who haven't done so can take the survey live, right here at the conference!)

One of today's highlights will be the Awards Luncheon and Keynote. NASBE will present the 2016 Education Policy Leader of the Year Award and the 2016 Friend of Education Award.

Afterward, …

NASBE Pre-conference Activities: Wednesday, October 19

Travel day and all day Board Meeting (8:30-4:30). Due to scheduling issues, I was unable to fly into Kansas City MO until this morning, and, consequently, I missed the first part of the NASBE Board Meeting. I was able to join the meeting at about 11:30, which put me in good stead for the Keynote Lunch and afternoon Board session.
Concurrent with the Board's meeting, was a 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon session on Education Data & Technology. This seminar used interactive roundtables and panel discussions to focus on ways policymakers can affect some of the key education data and technology issues states are dealing with. It would've been great to have had a board colleague here with me to attend that particular session! The format provided states with the opportunity to learn about: incorporation of technology and new data collection requirements under ESSA;creating digital citizenship standards;data literacy for teachers and administeators; and how policymakers can help close the …

NASBE: Update

I'll be heading to Kansas City MO for the NASBE 2016 Annual Conference, October 19-22. The theme is, "State Leadership for Student Success". Conference sessions will explore equity for all students, early education under ESSA, student data privacy, and more.

Two featured speakers caught my attention: Terrence Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine (1957), and Manny Scott, one of the original Freedom Writers featured in Erin Gruwell's(1) published journal and subject of the 2007 film. Roberts is the scheduled keynote speaker for the Joint Pre-conference Session Lunch(2) Wednesday, while Scott formally kicks off the 2016 conference with his keynote Thursday morning. With these two speakers placed predominantly at the top of the conference, I'm struck by the fact that many of our public schools are still separate and unequal today (see HEREHERE, and HERE) and wonder just how much more improved our schools will become under the new law that rightly places much respon…