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Cut and Run: House Republicans’ Education Plan Would Shortchange Disadvantaged Students and Schools

Cut and Run: House Republicans’ Education Plan Would Shortchange Disadvantaged Students and Schools

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There are better ways to reform the Elementary and Secondary Education Act than the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act, write Jeremy Ayers and Raegen Miller.
There are better ways to reform the Elementary and Secondary Education Act than the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act, write Jeremy Ayers and Raegen Miller.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Jan 31, 2012
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1Center or American Progress | Cut and Run
Cut and Run
House Republicans’ Education Plan Would ShortchangeDisadvantaged Students and Schools
Jeremy Ayers and Raegen MillerFebruary 2012
In January Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman o he House Commitee on Educaionand he Workorce, released wo dra discussion bills o reauhorize he Elemenary and Secondary Educaion Ac, or ESEA. Te Suden Success Ac and he EncouragingInnovaion and Eecive eachers Ac would increase sae and local conrol over educa-ion. In he process, however, he proposals would weaken equiy provisions in he law designed o ensure hisorically disadvanaged sudens ge a air sho a a good educaion.ESEA, currenly iled he No Child Le Behind Ac, is he naion’s larges public educaionlaw, and is reauhorizaion is ar pas due. Te decade-old law needs immediae repair:
•
I idenies schools as “in need o improvemen” wheher hey missed achievemenarges by a litle or a lo.
•
I prescribes inervenions or hose schools, bu he inervenions are no showing resuls.
•
I ensures eachers have credenials o ener he proession bu does no ensure hey are eecive wih sudens in he classroom.Te nex version o ESEA should look markedly dieren rom he curren one, and suchsignican change will require biparisan eors. Rep. Kline’s highly parisan proposals would so weaken equiy provisions, however, ha biparisan negoiaions broke down.Tis brie oulines specic ways he Kline bills would undermine how hisorically dis-advanaged sudens are reaed and how schools wih low-income sudens are unded.Te brie concludes wih a progressive vision or how ESEA could be reauhorized in ways ha do promoe equiy.Specically we recommend ha ESEA should:
•
Hold all schools accounable or geting resuls wih all sudens
•
Inves in eachers and principals so hey become more skilled and eecive
 
2Center or American Progress | Cut and Run
•
Make unding pracices more air and ecien so every suden ges a air sho aadequae resources
•
arge suppor o low-perorming schools
Lack of protections for historically disadvantaged students
Several aspecs o he Suden Success Ac would diminish or dismanle equiy provi-sions or hisorically disadvanaged sudens. In a press release Rep. Kline said his planpromoes educaion reorm by “mainaining and srenghening long-sanding proec-ions or sae and local auonomy.” Clearly he goal is o reduce ederal involvemen andproec local auonomy. Bu in he process i weakens proecions or disadvanaged su-dens. In ac he public debae abou ESEA has ocused ar more on srenghening hehand o aduls (local conrol) han ha o sudens. In paricular, he Suden Success Ac diminishes he ollowing.
Responsibility for student learning
Curren law requires saes o se goals or gradually improving suden achievemenand graduaion raes and o ensure disrics ake acion o improve sruggling schoolsha do no do well on hose measures. Bu under he Suden Success Ac, saes wouldno be required o se goals or suden achievemen or graduaion raes, nor would hey  be required o inervene or suppor schools ha are inadequaely educaing hisorically disadvanaged sudens. Saes would sill have o measure he achievemen o all sudensand subgroups o sudens named in curren law—namely low-income sudens, sudenso color, disabled sudens, and English language learners. Bu saes would come up wihheir own accounabiliy and improvemen sysem ree o any ederal parameers.Ta means saes would repor how well sudens are learning, bu hey would no haveo do anyhing abou i. Tey would also coninue o receive ederal unding regardless o heir success. Tis is a signican rerea rom curren law in an atemp o reurn greaerconrol o saes and disrics. While many saes ac in good aih, hisory reminds us haprior o ESEA only wo saes included suden subgroups in heir accounabiliy sysem.Te ederal governmen had o push saes o ideniy and ac on achievemen gaps. odiminish ha role is o weaken proecions or hisorically vulnerable suden groups.
Student access to effective teachers
Curren law requires saes o ensure ha poor and minoriy sudens are no augh ahigher raes by unqualied or inexperienced eachers or by eachers who lack knowledgeo he subjec hey each. Bu he Suden Success Ac would srip his requiremen and
 
3Center or American Progress | Cut and Run
only ask saes o “address he dispariy” in he disribuion o eecive eachers. A rsglance his may seem like a mild change. Bu “ensuring” means a sae is on he hook or suden access o good eachers, and “addressing” means no more han rying o x problems irrespecive o he oucome.
Public use of public money
Curren law requires school disrics o ensure sudens and eachers in privae schoolshave equiable access o educaional services such as compuer equipmen or proessionaldevelopmen. Te Suden Success Ac would mainain he pariy and srenghen i by requiring every sae o hire an ombudsman o monior and enorce he provision. Tis isa new ederal requiremen placed on saes and disrics ha would require greaer ederaloversigh o ensure compliance. I is ineresing ha he Kline bill would diminish equiy or disadvanaged sudens while srenghening equiy or privae school sudens.
Low-income children left behind by design
Te Kline proposal would also signicanly change ederal unding paterns. Somechanges would clearly diminish he argeing o ederal resources based on povery levels in schools, disrics, and saes. Oher changes would creae incenives o divereducaion unding. Sill more elling is he ailure o he Kline proposal o close aloophole in ederal law ha allows school disrics o shorchange schools wih largerpopulaions o low-income sudens.
 Targeting federal funds based on poverty
Curren law provides abou $3 billion or improving he skills o eachers and princi-pals under ile II, Par A, or ile II-A. Tese unds are allocaed o saes and disrics based on povery levels and populaion, wih he povery acor given greaer weigh.Tis is consisen wih he ederal role in promoing equiy. Te Encouraging Innovaionand Eecive eachers Ac, however, would radically aler he way ile II-A unds aredisribued, hereby diluing he argeing o unds o ose he eecs o povery.Under curren pracice he accreion o various unding approaches makes i dicul oassess he exen o which ile II-A unds are driven by numbers o low-income chil-dren as opposed o populaions o children served. For ile II-A unds in excess o he2001 level—or combined Eisenhower and Class Size Reducion grans—he ormulaavors povery (65 percen) over populaion (35 percen) in driving unds o saes.
1
Buile II-As hold-harmless provision, which ensures ha saes coninue o receive a leas wha hey did in 2001 under he wo predecessor programs, avors povery wih weighs

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