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ESEAflex Supporting Teachers, Leaders, and Local Innovation - January 2013

ESEAflex Supporting Teachers, Leaders, and Local Innovation - January 2013

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Published by Peter C. Cook

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Published by: Peter C. Cook on Jan 28, 2013
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Supporting Teachers, Leaders,and Local Innovation
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
(ESEA) has directedederal resources to schools or more than our decades to help ensureall children have equal access to a quality education. The most recentreauthorization—or congressional update to the law—occurred with thepassage o the
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
(NCLB). Although ESEAwas due or reauthorization in 2007, NCLB has governed education policyin states and school districts or more than a decade. While waiting orCongress to complete its next reauthorization, the U.S. Department oEducation has oered states exibility rom prescriptive provisions o the lawthat have become barriers to state and local implementation o innovativeeducation reorms. ESEA exibility moves away rom top-down policies,instead supporting decisions inormed by data and expertise at the stateand local levels. All participating states must show how their reorm plansadvance all students’ achievement by maintaining a high bar or studentsuccess, closing achievement gaps, improving the quality o instruction,and increasing equity by better targeting support and resources to schoolsbased on need.
ESEA exibility was designed to provide states and districts with thereedom to oer teachers and school leaders tools and training that notonly will support their states’ vision or reorm, but also lay the groundworkor signifcant instructional transormation. As part o their approvedrequests, states must invest in capacity-building strategies such as high-quality proessional development, improved evaluation systems, andcomprehensive support or teachers and leaders. States must ensure thatteachers and principals receive targeted training to develop classroomand school practices designed to engage all learners in more rigorouscoursework and to help all students become college- and career-ready.States also have the exibility to improve evaluation systems so that theyprovide meaningul indicators o eectiveness and support teachers andleaders by considering both student growth and multiple measures oproessional practices. To improve educator induction, many states areworking with their teacher and principal preparation programs so thatincoming teachers and leaders understand the high bar set by college- andcareer-ready standards and how best to ensure that all students meet them.It is essential that there are highly eective teachers and leaders in schoolsdesigned or success.Through ESEA exibility, the Department will both recognize states or demonstrating success—such as improving theirsystems o support and evaluation or educators—and challenge states that all short o their goals to pursue rigorousreorm eorts that ocus on what is best or students.
*See the Defnition Box.
Defnition Box:
*Title II:
A ederally unded programproviding fnancial assistance to localeducational agencies and schools orthe purpose o preparing, training, andrecruiting highly-eective teachers andprincipals.
* Race to the Top:
A ederally undedcompetitive grant program initiallyestablished under the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
, designedto advance state education reorm eortsand spur education innovation.
History in Review:
Since it was enacted, ederal unding orESEA has provided billions o dollars orproessional development. Currently, $2.5billion in ESEA Title II* unds are allocatedor teacher and leader training each year,yet local educators have raised concernsas to how these dollars are being spentlocally, and that eective proessionaldevelopment, training, and supportsystems are underunded or not designedto engage teachers in meaningul workthat transorms instructional practices.When adding state and local investmentsin this critical area, upwards o $5 billionhas been targeted annually, with littlesatisaction or connection to studentoutcomes. ESEA exibility will optimizethe ability o states and local districts toapply proessional development dollarsto strategies that will serve to ensure allstudents are college- and career-ready.

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