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Why Education Insider
We harness the wisdom of wellconnected influentials to provide insights and predict policy outcomes for stakeholders in the education debate.
Whiteboard Advisors is a policy-oriented consulting practice. We provide proprietary research and strategic support to investors and philanthropic donors, government leaders and entrepreneurs that seek unparalleled understanding of the education policy and business environment. Education Insider helps those who need quality information to make highstakes decisions about the direction of federal policy. Education Insider combines the wisdom of informed crowds with expert analysis to offer unparalleled information, analysis, and forecasting on a range of federal education policy issues and likely outcomes. Education Insider conducts an anonymous survey of a small group of key education influentials (policymakers, thought leaders, and association heads) to get their thoughts and commentary about the context of the current debate and possible outcomes. This helps surface the underlying dynamics that can affect the trajectory of policies, positively or negatively, and go deeper than the conventional wisdom and rhetoric.
Why Education Insider
Education Insider is a monthly report and webinar that cuts through the noise and provides real-time insights on national education policy trends, debates, and issues—from the handful of decision makers that are really driving the process. We combine a survey of key education influencers with our own analysis to provide a unique perspective on the current state of debate. Who Are The Insiders? Influential leaders who are shaping federal education reform, including individuals who have or are currently serving as key policy and political “insiders,” such as: • Current and former White House and U.S. Department of Education leaders • Current and former Congressional staff • State education leaders including state school chiefs and former governors • Leaders of major education organizations, think tanks and other key influentials
Survey Insiders Analyze Results Report Insights Drive Action
100% of Insiders
continue to disapprove of the way Congress in handling education.
45% of Insiders think
that the assessment consortia will not meet their 2014-15 deadline.
• Insiders remain concerned about the direction of the assessment consortia. 58 percent think the SBAC consortia is on the “wrong track” and a 45 percent of Insiders think neither assessment consortia will meet the 2014 deadline for delivering new assessments. • 80 percent of Insiders believe school districts are very unprepared for the new Common Core standards and see multiple challenges to successful implementation. • Congressional approval remains low – at zero percent. Disapproval of the administration ticks up slightly. Insiders continue to see reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as unlikely before 2014, with 40 percent now saying it will not be reauthorized until after the 2014 midterm elections. • 45 percent of Insiders view the inability of school districts to implement the new assessments as a major obstacle to districts’ success, while 20 percent see technology infrastructure as a major issue. 4
45% of Insiders feel
that the biggest threat to implementation of the assessments is school districts’ ability to successfully implement the exams.
0% of Insiders
believe that schools are fully ready to implement what is expected from the Common Core.
Table of Contents
TRACKING MEASURES COMMON CORE AND ASSESSMENT CONSORTIA
Congressional Disapproval Remains at Highest Level Ever, Administration Disapproval Increases Slightly Job Approval on Education
100 80 60 40 20 0 100% 74 68 80 77 68 81 60 40 90 95 94 67 82 86 94 100 100
26 0% Approve Disapprove
32 20 23 32
10 5 6
100 50 0 Approve Disapprove 45% 55% 80 64 59 65 68 65 60 57 55 52 54 55 59 50 52 55 35 43 50 48 45
48 46 41 35 45 40 45 41 36 32
Questions (asked separately on Insider survey): Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress/the Administration is handling education?
ESEA Reauthorization: New Tracking Timeline
Timing of ESEA Reauthorization
By June 2013 By Jun. 2014 After Jan. 2015 2011 43 46 13 53 37 56 8 36 2012 2013 or After 35% 65 5 30 70 9 22 90 95 100 88 95
By Dec. 2013 By Dec. 2014
64 5 32
33% 5% 35% 10% 10% 5% July '12
12 5 0 Jul. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Jun. July Sept. Dec. Jan. '10 '10 '10 '11 '11 '11 '11 '11 '11 '11 '12 10 5
Date of Insider Survey
29% 33% 12% Apr. '12 Jun. '12
Question: About when do you believe a final ESEA bill will be signed into law?
Insider Insight: Reauthorization Timing
Why? • “Work won’t start until next spring. And there’s a lot of work to be done to get a draft.” “It depends on what the Congress looks like and who wins the presidential election.” “A Republican sweep in November will hasten the process and make Harkin less of an obstacle.” “This is my optimistic side being hopeful. It could definitely be later – very hard to imagine it being any sooner.” “Never.”
Assessments – Right Track or Wrong Track?
Insiders continue to express more confidence in the Are the assessment coalitions on the right track or wrong track? Partnership for Assessment of PARCC SBAC Readiness for College and Right Track Wrong Track Right Track Wrong Track Careers than in the 15% 17% Smarter Balanced 27% Assessment 56% 58% 71% Consortium. 85% Does this matter? 83% 73% Yes. Whether or 44% 42% 29% not Insiders are correct, this Apr. '12 June '12 July '12 Apr. '12 June '12 July '12 consistent and strong perception matters as the consortia move forward.
Question: Are the assessment coalitions on the right track or wrong track? Note: July survey closed on July 10, 2012.
Insider Insight: Right Track / Wrong Track
Why do you believe PARCC and SBAC are on the right or wrong track? • “They are behind schedule and are not getting enough input from the assessment industry.” “Both are mediocre at best. Neither has staying power.” “PARCC is in good shape despite the many unavoidable challenges. Great governing board, smart staff.” “Smarter Balanced seems to have started with a misdiagnosis of the testing problem to begin with, and then gone from there. PARCC is more grounded but consequently less exciting.”
Stakeholder Support for the Common Core
Insiders’ responses are unchanged from last month; they remain convinced that the Administration is most supportive. The only slight change is that Insiders now believe the majority of local educators and school leaders are neutral rather than strong.
Levels of Support Among…
25% 45% 55% 30% 35% 20% 15% 20% 5% Congress Administration 20% 5% Commercial vendors
Local educators State education and school officials leaders (including legislators)
Question: Please rate the level of support for the Common Core among the following groups…
Will the Consortia Be Ready to Administer Tests by 2014-15?
Insiders are nearly split on whether each consortium’s assessment will be ready by the 2014-2015 school year. This suggests the implementation schedule is something to carefully watch.
Readiness for test administration by the 2014-2015 school year Yes No
Question: Do you believe the consortia will have Common Core-aligned tests ready to be administered by 2014-2015 school year?
Insider Insight: Assessment Readiness by 2014-15
Why will the consortia meet or not meet the deadline? • “There will need to be time allowed for back and forth once the assessments are publicly available. Everyone will have their own issues (which will differ by state) that folks will want to negotiate.” “The real question is: Which of the consortia should take advantage of the right to extend the deadline for a year? The answer is probably: Both.” “They are 1 year behind given that they need to be out in the next 3 months with test items and that seems to be a rush. Also, the capacity is not there in states and districts for the delivery of online assessments.” “That's why they were created. It would be a failure of enormous proportions if either fails.”
Threats to Successful Implementation of the Assessments
45 percent of Insiders believe that the biggest threat to successful implementation is the overall ability of school districts to implement this well. The technology readiness of districts being able to manage the online components is also cited as a major concern. Surprisingly, only 15 percent of Insiders cited cut scores as the biggest threat.
What is the biggest threat to implementation of the assessments?
Overall ability of school districts to implement this well
5% 5% 10% 45% 15% 20%
Lack of adequate technology infrastructure Disagreement among states around cut scores Too tight of a timeframe for successful implementation States pulling out of the consortia and using their own tests Procurement challenges
Question: What is the biggest threat to the successful implementation of the Common Core-aligned assessments?
What is the Biggest Risk Related to These Assessments That No One is Paying Attention to?
• • • • • • • “Infrastructure is not getting enough attention.” “Lack of capacity at the state and district level to implement all of the needed changes associated with this change.” “They are over-promised. Many in the field will be disappointed by how much they look like the current generation of assessments.” “Technology capacity and capability for delivery.” “Lack of planning in low-standards states for how poor the results will be.” “November election. If GOP sweeps, these both fade away, like a lanced boil.” “One risk is potential confusion among districts over common core aligned assessments and those by commercial vendors that claim alignment for marketing purposes but are not actually aligned.” “Lack of adequate technology infrastructure.” “The lack of an adequate technology infrastructure.” “Cost. SEAs spend more on assessments than anything else. Even a couple-dollar increase in per-pupil costs means millions of dollars annually. Don't be surprised if the joint assessments come in more expensive than initially anticipated and states quietly develop buyer's remorse; start asking why they are giving up their less-expensive, familiar, state-developed tests; and then look for a way out of the consortium.” “Approval processes by legislatures and state and local governing boards.” “The politics of states giving up their ‘own assessment.’” “Teacher quality - today's tests look the way they do for a reason.”
• • •
• • •
How Ready are Schools?
Insiders strongly believe that school districts are not yet ready to fully implement the new standards. Pay close attention to district reactions as the changes that Common Core requires from instruction and curriculum resources become more of a reality.
How ready are schools for implementing what is expected from the Common Core?
50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 1 - Not Ready 2 3
5 - Extremely ready
Question: How ready are schools for implementing what is expected from the Common Core?
Insider Insight: School-level readiness
Why do you believe schools are or are not ready to implement assessments?
• “Very few people understand ‘the shifts’ in curricular focus, what students are expected to be able to learn, and what teachers are expected to do in the classroom. Even districts with high capacity are behind, and having been trained by the three past efforts at standards implementation, are prepared to underperform.” “There has been plenty of time.” “The system is unclear an un-implementable.” “States are accustomed to transitioning to new standards. But these are different. The transition will happen. But how well?” “Still a culture of ‘certain kids don’t need that stuff.” “Some interesting stuff happening around curriculum but it's going to take a lot more work to make this a reality than most districts realize. These new standards are in many cases a seachange.”
• • •
What are the biggest challenges schools facing implementing Common Core?
Insiders believe the biggest challenges facing schools are changing their instructional practices and the lack of aligned resources. Biggest challenge faced by schools
Lack of aligned instructional resources
15% 35% 5% 10%
Confusion around the interpretation of the standards Changing instructional practice
Question: What is the biggest challenge schools face in implementing the Common Core?
School-level implementation challenges
What are the biggest challenges for schools implementing Common Core?
• • “All of the above - or more accurately the combination of all of these lacks.” “All of the above, and the failure of states to coalesce around the ‘common’ in Common Core. This last point—that states are acting like independent jurisdictions and not acting together—will duplicate problems of the past: weak material development, slipshod implementation, low levels of engagement with practicing educators, etc.” “All of these apply.” “Misunderstanding among educators that common core is not much different—in terms of what it will require in terms of both content and instructional practice—than the status quo.” “All of the above. Schools seem to be shooting in the dark to implement Common Core and have little support to do so.” “A large percentage of today's teachers may not be prepared to deliver instruction in ways that will lead to true college- and career-readiness. I think the market will take care of instructional resources. I'm less convinced our educator preparation programs are ready to adequately support a shift to tougher standards.” “General incompetence.” “All of the above plus the administrative, political, and educrat rebellion that will result.”
• • • •
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