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Nonresponsit

om: ............................. katherin e-mci-aneI ..........................

To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Dunn, David; kevin.sullivan@who.eop.gov


Subject: NYT: Most States Fail Demands Set Out in Education Law

INonresponsive
New York Times
July 25, 2006
Most States Fail Demands Set Out in Education Law

By S~H DILLON
Host states failed to meet federal requirements that all teachers be "highly qualified" in
core teaching fields and thmt state programs for testing students be up to standards by
the end of the past school year, according to the federal government.
The deadline was set by the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush’s effort to make all
American students proficient in reading and mmth by 2014. But the Education Department
found that no state hmd met the deadline for qualified teachers, and it gave only i0
states ful! approval of their testing systems.
Faced with such findings, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who took office
promising flexible enforcement of the law, has toughened her stance, leaving several
states in d~nger of losing parts of their federal aid.
In the past few weeks, Ms. Spellings has flatly rejected as inadequate the testing systems
in Maine and Nebraska. She has also said that nine states are so far behind in providing
highly qumlified teachers that they may face sanctions, and she hms accused California of
failing to provide federally required alternatives to troubled schools. California could
be fined as much as $4.25 million.
The potential fines are far higher thmn any the Education Department has levied over the
law, and officials in several states, already upset with many of the law’s provisions,
have privately expressed further anger over the threat of fines. But Ms. Spellings faces
pressure for firm enforcement of the law from a broad array of groups, including
corporations and civil rights organizations.

"In the early part of her tenure, Secretary Spellings seemed more interested in finding
reasons to waive the law’s requirements than to enforce them," said Clint Bolick,
president of the Alliance for School Choice, a group based in Phoenix that supports
vigorous enforcement of provisions that give students the right to transfer from failing
schools.
"More recently, she seems intent on holding states’
feet to the fire."

In an interview, Ms. Spellings acknowledged her shift in emphasis.


"I want states to know that Congress and the president mean business on the law," she
said. She has stressed that message in part, she said, because the deadlines, which
expired this month, were not met, and because lawmakers have been asking her whether
states are meeting the law’s requirements.

"’Last year it was, ’We’re


"I’m enforcing the law --does that make me tough?" she said.
marching together toward the deadline,’
but now it’s
time for, ’Your homework is due.’ "

Douglas D. Christensen, the Nebraska education conumissioner, has accused Hs. Spellings and
her subordinates of treating Nebraska in a "mean-spirited, arbitrary and head-y-handed way"
after their announcement on June 30 that the state’s testing system was "nonapproved" and
that they intended to withhold $127,000 in federal money.
In an interview in Lincoln, Neb., Mr. Christensen said he first realized the
administration’s attitude h~d changed in April, when Raymond Simon, deputy education
secretary, addressed most of the 50 state schoo! superintendents at a gathering in
Washington.

"Ray went on a 12-minute diatribe of ’You folks just ain’t getting it done’ and said the
department would be strictly interpreting the law from here on," Mr. Christensen said.

Mr. Simon disputed thmt account -- "I’m not a diatribe type of guy," he said -- but
acknowledged that he had spoken bluntly.

"I tried to emphasize that we continue to be partners," Mr. Simon said, "but that there
are some things we cannot be flexible on."

~k. Bush signed the act into law in January 2002.


Under his first
education secretary, Rod Paige, legislators, educators and teachers unions criticized the
law’s many rules and what they said was its overemphasis on standmrdized testing.

After Ms. Spellings took office in Janumry 2005, she allowed some states to renegotiate
the ~ays they enforced the law, and on major issues she offered ways to comply that
prevented thousands of schools from being designated as failing.

Her efforts softened the outcry from states. But they brought criticism from corporate
executives who hoped the law would shake up schools to protect American competitiveness.
Criticism also came from civil rights groups that wanted the law to eliminate educational
disparities between whites and minorities, and from groups angry that although the law
required districts to help students in failing schools transfer out, only 1 percent of
eligible students had done so.
Some experts say most parents do not want to remove children from neighborhood schools.
But others say districts have subverted the program, partly by informing parents about
their options too late.
Mr. Bolick’s group, the Alliance for School Choice, used a similar argument in a complaint
filed this year against the Los Angeles Unified School District, where 250,000 students
were eligible for transfers in 2005-6, but only about 500 successfully transferred.
That complaint
generated considerable news coverage and moved Ms.
Spellings to action.

On May iS, she wrote every state, linking the "unacceptably low"
participation in transfer programs to the ’~oor and uneven quality" of many districts’
implementation. "We are prepared to take significant enforcement action, " she said.

At the California Department of Education, Diane Levin, the state’s No Child Left Behind
administrator, said she had assumed that California was on solid ground because a federa!
review of its enforcement of the law was ending positively.

But then California received a letter from Ms.


Spellings’s office
demanding extensive new documentation by Aug. 15 on the transfer programs in the state’s
20 largest districts. Officials warned California that if the documentation proved
inadequate, the government would withhold part of the $700 million the state was to
receive this fall for high-poverty schools, said Ms. Spellings’s spokesman, Kevin
Sullivan.

~. Levin said California felt whipsawed. "We’re doing everything the law asks us to do,"
she said, "which in a state this size is a huge amount of work, and we’re treated like
we’re doing nothing."

Dozens of other states have also felt the tougher enforcement.


In May, federal officials ruled that nine states were so far from meeting the teacher
qualification provision that they could lose federal money. Ms. Spellings said she would
decide on the penmlties after August, when states must outline plans for getting 100
percent of teachers qualified.

At the end of June, Henry L. Johnson, an assistant secretary of education, wrote to 34


states, including New York and New Jersey, saying that their tests had ma~or problems and
that they must provide new documentation during a period of mandatory oversight.

Dr. Johnson warned some states thmt federal money might be withheld.
And he rejected the testing programs in ~ine and Nebraska. His letter to Maine said
$114,000 would be withheld unless the state cottld change Washington’s mind.

Nebraska is the only state allowed to meet the testing requirements with separate exams
written by teachers in its 250 districts rather than with one statewide test.

Dr. Jol~nson’s letter to Nebraska said that although !ocally written tests were
permissible, the state had not shown it was holding all districts to a high standmrd.

Before announcing that decision, Dr. Johnson visited the Papillion-La Vista School
District, south of Omaha.

Marian H. Metschke, Papillion’s superintendent, said he had told Mr.


Johnson that Nebraska’s tests helped teachers focus on students’ learning needs, unlike
standardized tests, which compared students from one school with another.

"But federal officials have the mentality that there has to be one state test," Hr.
Metschke said.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company


Privacy Policy

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NonresponsiI
: August 11, 2006 5:41 AM
To: Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; Dunn, David; Young, Tracy, kevin f. sullivan@who.eop.gov;
Simon, Ray; Luce, Thomas
Subject: USAT: Panel calls for ’urgent reform’ of higher education

Panel calls for ’urgent reform’ of higher education Posted 8/10/2006 11:59 PM ET By Mary
Beth Marklein, USA TODAY WASHiN®TON -- Warning that U.S. higher education "requires urgent
reform," a nationml panel created by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is
recommending a set of bold proposals, including overhauling the financial aid system and
holding colleges and universities more accountable for their students’
progress.
"Change is overdue," says a draft report, the substance of which was approved by the 19-
member commission ThursdAy. "Other countries are passing us by at a time when education is
more important to our collective prosperity than ever."

Last year, Spellings asked the panel to explore four issues -- access, affordability,
accountability, and quality and innovation -- and to determine whether students are being
adequately prepared to compete in a global economy.

"I formed the commission to spark a national debate,"


she said in a statement Thursday. "I will review findings, determine appropriate actions
and continue this national dialogue."

Spellings is to get a formal report next month.


Commission members on Thursday signaled near-unanimous support for a set of proposals that
the report says would, if adopted, produce "institutions and programs that are more
nimble, more efficient and more effective."

Some panel members expressed hope that the recommendations will lead to legislation. Two
national groups are developing a voluntary system of accountability for pt~lic
universities.

The report has its critics. A group representing private non-profit institutions has
raised concern that tracking students could violate student privacy laws.

Panel member Richmrd Vedder, an Ohio University economics professor, said many relevant
issues, including grade inflation and faculty tenure, should bare been addressed but
weren’ t.

Even so, Vedder supported the recommendations. Panel member David Ward, president of the
~merican Council on Education, was a holdout. He said the report’s one-size-fits-all
approach could be counterproductive, given the diversity of missions in higher education.
"Change in higher education is needed, but we need to get it right and above all do no
harm," he said.

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~,lonresponsi
(b) katherine mclane[ .................. J
: November 28, 2006 9:06 AM
To: Bdggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Johnson, Henry;
Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon,
Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey
Subject: Panel: States Should Set Education Goals (USAT)

Pane!: States Should Set Education Goals (USAT) USA Today, November 28, 2006 A higher-
education panel created by the National Conference of State Legislatures agrees with most
of the points raised by a national co~rmission created by Education Secretary Margaret
Spellings. But there’s one ma~or exception: It says states, not the federal government,
must be at the center of a nationwide higher-education reform movement. Higher education
"can get short shrift in tough budget times because it has the built-in funding source of
tuition," says the report, released Monday. But, it says, states spend $70 billion a year
on higher education and provide more funding and regulation of colleges and universities
than any other level of government. The goverri~ent’s involvement centers on funding
academic research and financial aid for lo~~-income students, the report says. "Each
state’s systems, traditions, strengths and weaknesses are unique. States need the
flexibility to set their own goals," says commission co-chair Denise Merrill, a state
representative in Connecticut.

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Nonresponsi!
~ ~t71-~i’~i’i ~ - ~- ~T~ ~I ...........................
(b)( ~S~e°nl~..: .............................
November 28, 2006 8:51 AM
To: Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Johnson, Henry;
Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon,
Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey
Subject: Push For Better Data Quality Paying Off (eSN)

Push For Better Data Quality Paying Off (eSN) eSchool News, November 28, 2006 States are
making progress in building longitudinal data systems to support instruction, according to
a new report--by there is stil! more work to be done A year-old campaign that seeks to
improve the collection and use of data to drive school reform appears to be bearing
results: States around the nation are making progress in building longitudinal data
systems to support instruction, according to the Data Quality Campaign (DQC). November 27,
2006mA year-old campaign that seeks to improve the collection and use of data to drive
school reform appears to be bearing results: States around the nation are making progress
in building !ongitudinal data systems to support instruction, according to the Data
Quality Campaign (DQC).
On the first anniversary of its lattnch, the Data Quality Campaign has released a report
b~ghlighting states’ successes in building longitudinal data systems. Over the past year,
the DQC--a nationa! partnership that aims to improve the quality, accessibility, and use
of data in education--has highlighted the power of developing and using data systems that
fol!ow individual students’ progress over time as a key tool to improve student
achievement, and its work now seems to be paying off.
As a result of its efforts, the group says ...
"42 states (up from 97 last year) now report having a u~ique student identifier in place--
an integral part of a !ongitudina! data system; "Nine states have eight or nine of the I0
essential elements the Data Quality Campaign has identified as necessary building blocks
for a longitudinal data system. No state reports having all i0 elements, but only six
states have three or fewer; "36states have put into place an audit system to ensure high-
quality data, which is one of the i0 essential elements the DQC has identified;
"26 states indicate they have or are working on building data warehouses; and
"28 states have some form of web-based data and analysis tools available for loca!
educators.
The progress made over the past year is encouraging, the group says, but there is still
more work to be done.
"As we work to provide a high-quality education, our hopeful vision of the future requires
us to take a hard look at the past," said U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings in a
statement. "By measuring children’s performance over time, we can determine how best to
educate the next generation. The Data Quality Campaign is committed to making reliable and
relevant longitudinal data accessible to all. Its member partners include some of the
nation’s most dedicated and serious educationml organizations. I am confident that with
their help, policy makers will clearly see the educational challenges ahead, so they can
make the very best decisions to meet them."
Nanaged by the Nationa! Center for Educational Accountability and supported by the Bill &
~elinda Gates Foundation, the DQC hopes to encourage all 50 states to implement statewide
longitudinal data systems for education by 2009 (see story:
http:/!~w~.eschoolnews.com/news/showStory, cfm?ArticleID=5991).
The campaign says educators and policy makers need to know if students are being prepared
not only for college, but also for long-term success in the workplace by matching the
academic and emp!oyment records of individu~l students. Schools also must be able to
transfer student data across states electronically using common data standards and
definitions, the group adds.
Together with nationa! and state partners, DQC is working to ensum-e that statewide
longitudinal data systems are completed and widely accessible so they can be used to
inform important discussions about improving America’s schools. Without longitudina! data,
the group says, these conversations are limited--but with them, educators can more easily
identify which schools produce the strongest academic growth for their students; calculate
their state’s graduation rate; and determine which high school performance indicators
(enrollment in rigorous courses, performance on state tests, and so on) are the best
predictors of students’ success in college or the workplace.
In its second year, the campaign wil! focus on promoting the use of longitudinal student-
level data for accountability purposes and for tailoring instructional programs and
policies to individual students’ needs, while continuing to support state efforts to build
longitudinal data systems.
"Taking on one of the most critical issues in education reform--the collection,
availability, and use of high-quality education data to improve student achievement--the
campaign has already made real progress. The issue has moved front and center in states
and n~tionally; states are accelerating their adoption and use of longitudinal data
systems to drive improvement; and the partnership that is the campaign’s hallmark is
getting key education reform organizations singing from the same hymnml," said Harlene
Seltzer, president and CEO of the nonprofit group Jobs for the Future.

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Nonresponsi
............................. k~hefiIle-m-ci-ane-[ ........................... ]
November 28, 2006 8:49 AM
Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Johnson, Henry;
Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon,
Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Menitt, Townsend L.;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey
Subject: Why Students In Austin Are Still Being Left Behind (AAS TX)

Why Students In Austin Are Stil! Being Left Behind (~_hS TX) Austin American-Statesman
(TX), Nove~oer 28, 2006 Although the Austin school district is hardly alone in failing to
attract students to the free tutoring required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act,
its performance is particularly disma!.
The law says that low-income students in consistently !ow-performing schools are eligible
for free tutoring in math, reading and language arts. The promise of No Child Left Behind,
one piece of legislation the Bush administration regularly points to with pride, is that
it wil! close the persistent achievement gap experienced by poor and minority students.
The test score and graduation gaps between poor and wealthier students, and between
minority and white students, still exist five years after No Child Left Behind became law.
They will still be there when the law is up for reauthorization by Congress in two years.
There is no simple, easy, quick or inexpensive way to bring poor students up to the
performance level of middle class and wealthy students. It wil! take time, money and an
intense effort if it is to happen at all.
Other~ise, No Child Left Behind is doomed to failure.
The "effort" part of that equation includes the tutoring mandated under the federal law.
Extra help outside the classroom can be truly beneficial for students who take advantage
of it. Yet in Austin’s !ow-performing schools, only 2 percent of the students eligible for
tutoring aid signed up for it.
That is 104 students out of the 6, 644 eligible in the four high schools and two middle
schools where !ow-income students meet the threshold for free tutoring. The Austin school
district wil! pay up to $1,060 for extra help to every eligible student.
There are a lot of reasons why low-income students don’t take advantage of the tutoring
program. Many probably have after-school ~obs; others have family obligations or
transportation difficulties. And, according to an article in the ~erican-Statesman last
week, many families might not even know about the tutoring program or understand how to
access it.
Getting parents involved is an enormous undertaking.
But tutoring is an absolutely vita! part of the effort to help poor and minority students
catch up to their peers. Austin, and most other urban districts, must do a better 9ob of
getting the word out to students and parents and helping them find the right tutors.
Nationally, only about 18 percent of the 2.4 million students eligible for after-school
help are taking advantage of it this year. Although that’s a sadly low number, it shows
Austin’s 2 percent rate to be truly pathetic. Austin must do better by its low-income
students at Johnston, Lanier, Reagan and Travis high schools and Porter and Dobie middle
schools.
It can be done. Last week’s news story noted that the Houston school district, the largest
in Texas, increased the number of students getting free tutoring from 200 to 1,900. It may
also have helped when U.S.
Education Secretary ~rgaret Spellings has threatened to fine school districts with !ow
participation rates.
The promise of No Child Left Behind -- a i00 percent success rate on state achievement
tests -- is a long way off, if it ever arrives. The disadvantages caused by poverty are
deep and enduring, and bringing every student up to even a minimal education performance
leve! is daunting, maybe impossible.
But if society cannot erase that educational achievement gap, it can -- and must -- shrink
it. A magor part of that effort is giving low-income students the extra help they need,
and seeing that they take advantage of it.
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INonresponsi 1
............................. katherine-m-ci-ane[ .......................... J
November 28, 2006 8:47 AM
Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Johnson, Henry;
Kuzrnich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon,
Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey
Subject: State Lawmakers Blamed For Colleges’ Troubles (WP)

~TION IN BRIEF
Tuesday, November 28, 2006; A06

State Lawmakers Blamed For Colleges’ Troubles

DENVER -- State lawmakers are to blame for a looming crisis in U.S. higher education
because of their failures in fttnding and oversight, their own lobbying organization hms
concluded in a report released Mondmy.

The National Conference of State Legislatures said an 18-month study showed that too many
states are reducing spending and other support for their colleges rather than treating
them as a valuable investment.

"It h~s become clear that the states and the federal government have neglected their
responsibilities to ensure a high-quality college education for all citizens," the panel
said in its final report.
The report, ~itten by six Democrats and six Republicans, reinforces several key
conclusions of a year-long study commissioned by U.S. Education Secretary Margaret
Spellings. The Spellings commission said in its September report tb~t the United States is
leaving its students increasingly unable to afford college and unsure they are receiving
quality education.

The legislatures panel described state lam-makers as "satisfied to let others take
leadership" in guiding the development of colleges.

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Nonresponsive

From: katherine m clane }(b)(6)


Sent: November 21,2006 8:38 PM
To: kevin f. sullivan@who.eop.gov; dana m. perino@who.eop.gov; scott_m.
_stanzel@who.eop.gov; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, C~thia; Dunn,
David; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Maddox, Lauren; Private-
Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Ten’ell; Toner,
Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey
Subject: AP: Ed. secretary places 2nd on ’Jeopardy’

Ed. secretary places 2nd on ’Jeopardy’

By NANCY ZUCKERBROD
AP EDUCATION WRITER

This photo provided by Jeopardy Productions Inc., taken Oct. 8, 2006, shows
Education Secretary ~~rgaret Spellings, right, posing with Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, at
P~dio City Music hal! in New York. (AP Photo/Jeopardy Productions Inc. ) WASHINGTON --
Education Secretary #~rgaret Spellings says she studied hard to prepare for Tuesday
night’s airing of "Celebrity Jeopardy!"

"I didn’t want to be the education secretary who didn’t know how to spell potato,"
Spellings joked, describing how she read books and sought advice from a former show
contender and her dmughters.

In the end, Spellings said she thinks the effort was worth it. She came in second behind
the actor Michael McKean, best known for his role as ’Lenny’ on the television show
"Laverne and Shirley" and for the movie "This Is Spinal Tap. "

Placing third was actor Hil! Harper, from the television show "CSI: ~rf."

"I think I held my on-n, " Spellings said in an interview Tuesday, hours before the show
aired. She noted McKean had an edge, having been on the show before.

Spellings was the first Cabinet secretary ever to appear on the popular quiz show. She
said she’d like to return for another try.

She said she didn’t realize how much skill went into hitting the buzzer at just the right
moment after host Alex Trebek read a clue. She said she often hit it too early and as a
result didn’t get picked to tackle a category.

Spellings’ strong subjects included internationa! language and business.

She mas asked to appear after the show’s producer read a magazine article in which
Spellings said she was a "Jeopardy!" fan.
Each celebrity earns at least $25,000 for the charity of his or her choice, and the winner
gets $50,000 for a charity.

Spellings’ winnings from the show, taped in New York last month, went to ProLiteracy
Worldwide - an international literacy organization.

Trebek said "Jeopardy[" picked the charity for Spellings to comply with government ethics
rules.

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Nonrespons!
From: katherine mclaneL(h ~i’R ~ [
Sent: November 19, 2006 7:18 AM
To: Briggs, Kerri; Ruber8, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Johnson, Henry;
Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Marsaret; Simon,
Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, dana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey
Subject: Newsweek/MSNBC.com: A Pop Quiz for the Secretary

Education: A Pop Quiz for the Secretary


Newsweek
Nov. 27, 2006 issue - The tables were turned on the nation’s top test-giver when Secretary
of Education Margaret Spellings competed on "Celebrity Jeopardy["
She spoke with Jonathmn Mummolo before taping the show, airing this week.

What if you freeze up and forget your geography?


Why are you saying that right now?! That’s 3ust cruel!

Well, did you do anything to prepare?


I haven’t studied as much as I wish I had. Famous last words, right?

Does the president know you’re here?


He said, "Well, do they give you the categories [beforehand]?" I said, "No! It’s a lot
harder than that[" He thought it was pretty funny. He kind of wondered what the heck I was
thinking to agree to do it.

What’s your strongest subject?


Well, of course, politics and civics ... I think I know my state capitals. I’m also pretty
good on pop culture, since I have two teenagers. I’m worried about sports.

Did you set a performance benchmark for yourself like No Child Left Behind does?
I’m playing to do my best, but no matter how I score, I’m sure I’l! learn something.

Will you bet the ranch on a Daily Double?


[Smiles] It depends on the category.

http: //~. msnbc .msn. com/id/15784300/sit e/newsweek/

© 2006 MSN]%C.com

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Nonresponsi ~
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: August 17, 2006 8:43 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Dunn, David; Young, Tracy, ’kevin f. sullivan@who.eop.gov’
Subject: NewsMax: NewWhite House P.R. Pro: Who is Kevin Sullivan?

Nonresponsive
New White House P.R. Pro: Who is Kevin Sullivan?
Ronald Kessler
Thursday, Aug. 17, 2006

WASHINGTON -- ~qlo is Kevin Sullivan? That’s what Bush administration and media people wanted to know
after two sentences in the Washington Post announced that Sullivan is replacing Nicolle Wallace as White
House conmalmications director.
For more than a year, Sully, as he is known, has been assistant secretary for communications and outreach at the
Education Department. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings hired him after she heard good t~ngs about him
from Tom Luce, an education reformer in Texas.
Sullivan got to know Luce when Sullivan was a public relations executive with the Dallas Mavericks. After that
job, Sullivan led the communications efforts for three Olympic games at NBC Sports and then took on media
relations at NBC Universal.
As domestic policy advisor in the White House prior to becoming a cabinet secretary, Spellings esche~ved the
press. Sullivan turned her into a media star, with glomng stories about her relationship ,,vith her teenage
daughters and her decision to modify slightly the waythe No Child Left Behind Act is implemented.
Other Bushies could only wish for such good press. PR people either have the right touch or they don’t. Sully
has it. He understands that PR people can do two things at once -- be helpful to the media ~vithout forgetting
that the main job is to represent the principal.
When Spellings was doing stand-up TV interviews onthe north lawn of the White House, Sullivan would rim
into Dan Bartlett, Bush’s counselor in charge of communications.
"He said once, ’We’ve got to get together sometime,’" Sullivan told me. When BaI~ett called on a Tuesday,
Sullivan thought he just wanted to shmooze. An hour later, Sullivan was in Bartlett’s West Wing office.
"We talked for probably 20, 30 minutes, just about stuff, and after that period of time, he said, ’You know, I
want to talk to you about Nicolle’s job,’" Sullivan said. Wallace was leaving the White House to move to New
York with her husband.
"Is this when the camera crew comes in through the door?" Sullivan asked, suggesting it was a "Candid
Camera" spoo£
"No, I’m not kidding," Bartlett said.
After being interviewed by Josh Bolten, the White House chief of staff, Sullivan met with Bush for about 10
minutes, and he was in. His main job is strategic message planning for events and the media.
Bartlett was already moving toward encouraging more interaction between Bush and the press and humanizing
him more. Sullivan was thinking along the same lines. Bolten also was open to new ideas, Sullivan sNd.
"The president has such great humanity, and he’s so good with people, and the public doesn’t see that enough,"
Sullivan said. "Dan wants to do more events like his overnight trip to Chicago, where he went to multiple events
and rubbed elbows with reporters and the breakfast cro~vd at Lou Mitchell’s, a legendary local hot spot. The
public doesn’t get to see that often enougt~, That is something we talked about I think you’ll see more of that."
Ronald Kessler is Chief Washington Correspondent for NewsMax.com. Get his dispatches FREE sent
you via e-mail- Click Here Now. <http://w~wv.newsmax.com/kessler.cfm>
Nonresponsi
From: katherine mclaneL(h~i(R~ J
Sent: August 11, 2006 5:58 AM
To: Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; Dunn, David; Young, Tracy, Simon, Ray; Luce, Thomas;
Johnson, Henry; kevin f. sullivan@who.eop.gov
Subject: NYT: Panel’s Report Urges Higher Education Shake-Up

_August ii, 2006


Panel’s Report Urges Higher Education Shake-Up

By S~M DILLON
WASHINGTON, Aug. i0 -- A federal commission approved a finml report on Thursday tl~t urges
a broad shake-up of American higher education. It calls for public universities to measure
learning with standardized tests, federal monitoring of college quality and sweeping
changes in financia! aid.

The panel also called on policy mmkers and leaders in higher education to find new ways to
control costs, saying college tuition should grow no faster thmn median family income,
although it opposed price controls.

The report recommended bolstering Pell grants, the basic building block of federal student
aid, by making the program cover a larger percentage of public co!lege tuition. Thmt
proposal could cost billions of dollars.

Eighteen of the 19 members of the pane!, the Commission on the Future of Higher Education,
voted to sign the report, which attacked increasing tuition costs and pointed to signs of
complacency on some campuses. David Ward, who as president of the largest association of
colleges and universities was the most powerful representative of the higher education
establishment on the commission, refused to sign.

Calling the report "a shot across the bow," Dr. Ward said that academia would take it
seriously, but that he wanted to remain "free to contest" it. Several proposals, including
those on testing and financial aid, aroused fierce opposition from university leaders and
at points divided the panel.

The chairman, Charles Miller, an investor and a former chairman of the University of Texas
Regents, had hoped to turn out a punchy report that would rattle academia with warnings of
crisis.

But in the last six weeks, the commission issued six drafts, watering do~ passages that
had drawn criticism and eliminating one this week, written by Mr. Miller, that had
encouraged expanding private loans as a share of student financial aid.

A proposal on standardized tests was also weakened at the last moment. Previous drafts
said that "states should require" public universities to use standardized test, but the
final version said simply that universities "should measure student learning"
with standardized tests.

All the panel members who participated in a meeting on Thursday at the Education
Department headquarters here expressed unanimity on some points, including that the report
correctly identified critical challenges like increasing access to higher education for
poor students and holding institutions more accountable for students who drop out or
graduate with few skills.

The members seemed at odds on how to carry their recommendations forward. Some, like
former Gov. James B. Hu~t Jr. of North Carolina, called on President Bush to incorporate
them in the Congressional agenda.

Mr. Miller said the next step should be more "national dialogue" with governors and
corporate leaders. He seemed upset by what he characterized as wrangling with
representatives of the status quo.
"You can’t act on the recommendations today because you encounter one set of defenders and
then behind them another set of defenders, and you get into all these battles,’" he told
reporters after the panel voted.

Education Secretary I~rgaret Spellings established the panel a year ago, drawing members
from sectors of higher education like community colleges, for-profit trade schools,
liberal arts colleges and large research universities, public and private, as well as from
the ranks of executives at I.B.M., Boeing, Hicrosoft and other businesses.

The commission was created at a time of increasing tuitions. From 1999 to 2004, median
family income grew
13 percent and average tuition 38 percent, according to federal data cited in an interview
by Richard redder, an Ohio University economist on the commission.

Ms. Spellings urged the group to examine access, affordability and accountability, to
determine whether co!leges were turning out students qualified to compete in the global
economy. The answer in too many cases, the panel said, is that they are not.

"Too many Americans ~ust aren’t getting the education that they need," the report said.
"’There are disturbing signs that many students who do earn degrees have not actually
mmstered the reading, m-tiring and thinking skills we expect of college graduates."

A spokeswoman for Hs. Spellings, Katherine HcLane, said, "’The commission has made bold
recommendations on improving the accessibility and affordability of higher education, to
which the secretary intends to give very serious consideration."

One recommendation that won broad support ~s for changing immigration laws to help
foreign scientists who graduate from American universities obtain green cards.

Dr. Ward’s organization, the American Council on Education, is the ma~or coordinating body
for all higher education institutions, public and private.
Leaders of some of the associations that belong to the council, like the American
Association of State Colleges and Universities and the American Association of Community
Colleges, embraced the report as a helpful statement of priorities.

Other important groups in the council issued withering critiques.

The Association of American Universities, which represents 60 top research universities,


noted that the report "deals almost exclusively with undergraduate eduoation.’"

Robert M. Berdahl, a former chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley, who is


president of the universities association, said, "}~at is needed is something much richer,
with a more nuanced understanding of the educational engagement and how it is undertaken."
said

Another council member, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities,
which represents 900 private institutions including liberal arts colleges, ma~or research
universities and church- and other faith-related colleges, attacked the recommendation to
develop a national database to fol!ow individua! students’ progress as a way of holding
colleges accountable for students’ success.

The association called the proposal a dangerous intrusion on privacy, saying, "Our members
find this idea chilling."
Several groups said the report spent much ink discussing increases in students’ work
ski!ls, while slighting the mission of colleges and universities to educate students as
citizens.

Do You Yahoo[?
Tired of spam? Yahoo[ ~il hms the best spam protection around http://mail.yahoo.com
NonresponsiI
From: katherine mclan4(h’l(~ l
Sent: December 12, 2006 8:27 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Maddox, Lauren; Private - Spellings,
Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt,
Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey
Subject: Progress seen at ’failing’ school (LAT)

Progress seen at ’failing’ school


U.S. education official visits a North Hills campus where 51% of pupils get free tutoring.
By Howard Blume
Times Staff Writer

December 12, 2006

In search of a loca! success story, U.S. Education Secretary #~rgaret Spellings visited
Noble Avenue Elementary in North Hills during a quick trip to Los Angeles on Monday.

Some 51% of its students take advantage of free tutoring established through the federal
No Child Left Behind Act. That’s one of the top participation rates in the Los Angeles
Unified School District.

But tutoring services are offered only at schools that are flunking federal standards
under the S-year-old federal law. In fact, despite significant improvement, Noble
"qualifies" for maximum sanctions, which could include a takeover by the state or by an
outside entity, such as a private firm, and replacing the entire staff and principal.

So is Noble a success or failure?

"We’re pleased but not satisfied," Spellings said.


"Are they at the goa! line? No. But few schools are."

Spellings toured two classrooms, effusively praised Principal P~rgaret EspinosaNelson and
staff, and took part in a round-table discussion with education officials, parents and
civic leaders.

The locals had questions, including a pointed one from new schools Supt. David L. Brewer
about how many students have access to tutoring.

"The issue is: Do you have enough slots for everybody?" Brewer asked.

He knew the answer. L.A. Unified has 40,658 tutoring slots, funded by redirecting other
federal aid to schools, for 310,000 eligible students. Any student at a so-called failing
schoo! is eligible, but the fast-growing tutoring program is already 93% full and on track
to exceed capacity next year, forcing the district to turn away families.
Spellings did not respond directly to Brewer’s question, but there isn’t a criticism of No
Child Left Behind that the well-traveled official hasn’t heard.

The tutoring, she said in an interview, is not intended as a panacea for a school’s
shortcomings.

"What has to be provoked is some discussion of what’s going on during the school day, " she
said.

The tutoring provides an opportunity for many failing students -- and for the companies
that provide instructors. The district contracts with 55 services that provide 20 to 80
hours a year to a student for about $1,500. Some providers offer one-on-one help at home;
others offer online tutoring with live help.
Three tutoring services provide computers and let families keep them.
By a federal government corot, 909 of 874 L.A. Unified sohools are in "program
improvement," meaning they’ve fallen short of hitting gradually rising academic targets
mmndated by No Child Left Behind. The goal is that 100% of students will be academically
"proficient" by 2014. The current state standard is about 25%.

As a result, the number of failing schools is expected to rise shmrply because the
percentage of students who must be proficient will go up each year.

"We’ve got to pick up the pace -- no doubt about it,"


said Spellings, who brooked no talk of extending the deadline. "We’ve got to be smarter
about how we meet the needs of these kids."
Some unsolicited suggestions were offered by the school board member in whose district
Noble lies.
"There should be federal funding to reduce class size," said Julie Korenstein, who spoke
outside a fourth-grade class of 35 students.

Korenstei~ also objected to requiring private firms to provide the tutoring. District
teachers, many of whom Korenstein said would be highly qualified to tutor students, aren’t
allo~ed to do so because the school system as a whole is rated as failing.

"It’s the privatization of public education," she added.

Spellings noted that her office has m~de a handful of experimental exceptions to the
rules. But she repeated her reGently quoted insistence that the No Child Left Behind Act
is "99.9% pure."

For their part, despite their criticisms, district and state officials praised the law for
focusing needed attention on the achievement gap between rich and poor, white and
minority.

Noble’s principa! refused to make excuses. "It is fair," Espinosa-Nelson said. ,,]v[y belief
system is that every child can succeed, and my teachers believe that too."

An], questions? Get answers on any topic at ~.Answers.yahoo.com. Try it now.


NonresponsiI
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 12, 2007 8:01 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Flowers, Sarah;
Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mark ;
Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, C~thia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Bush Seeks Teacher Merit-pay Funds (W-F)

Bush Seeks Teacher Merit-pay Funds (WT)


By Amy Fagan, The Washington Times
The Washinqton Times, February 11, 2007
President Bush wants more money in the 2008 budget for a fund that encourages performance-based pay systems for
teachers -- a request that will no doubt feed into the larger debate on Capitol Hill about how best to attract, create and retain
effective teachers.
The administration is asking for $199 million for its Teacher Incentive Fund, which was created in 2006. The fund provides
financial incentives for teachers and principals who improve student achievement in high-poverty schools and helps to recruit top
teachers to these schools. Rewards are let1 LIp to the states to decide and can include bonuses or raises.
The fund received $99 million in 2006. In November, the administration awarded the first 16 grants - totaling a little more
than $40 million -- to school districts across the country, including Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Memphis, Tenn.; and
Philadelphia.
The administration requested an additional $99 million for the program for 2007, but in the interest of belt-tightening, the
House essentially zeroed out funding for it in the recently passed fiscal 2007 funding package. That measure has yet to pass in
the Senate, so the White House and some Republicans are working hard to get the money.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said last week that there is a consensus about using compensation "to make sure
our best teachers are in our most challenging" schools nationwide.
"We think that is a sound principle," she said, adding, "1 think we’ll have a lot of discussion about how our teachers are
rewarded for doing the best work."
The top teachers union has criticized the fund.
Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, recently said the setup "is nothing more than a merit-pay
system, and merit pay hasn’t worked wherever it has been tried, for the most part."
Far from spurring teachers on to greater effectiveness, extra bonuses for some and not others simply "creates tension"
between teachers and kills any teamwork, he said.
"It doesn’t work and it’s not going to do anything to attract and retain quality teachers," Mr. Weaver said. What will work is
getting teachers involved in the decision-making process, giving them a safe and orderly school and a decent salary, he said.
The issue will be front and center as lawmakers work this year to renew the No Child Lett Behind Act and pass the Higher
Education Act.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and Rep. George Miller, California Democrat, have cratted a
comprehensive bill to improve teacher quality. Included in it is a grant initiative to encourage high-needs schools to implement
teacher-incentive programs.
However, their plan would require the financial rewards to be based not just on student test scores, but on broad criteria,
including whether the teacher takes on a leadership or mentorship role with other teachers. Each performance-based setup
would have to be approved by the local teachers union as well.
Most public school teachers are paid based on years of experience. Merit-based pay systems for teachers are scattered
throughout the country, and are more common in private and charter schools than in public schools.
Some recent studies have indicated positive results.
The University of Arkansas examined a Little Rock elementary school that gave bonuses to teachers based on their
students’ test scores. The study found that math scores rose more in that school than in similar schools in Little Rock that didn’t
implement such merit systems. S&~dents in the school where teachers received bonuses made gains over the other students
equivalent to a 6 percentile or 7 percentile jump for a student who started at the 50th percentile.
"It’s a pretty substantial gain," said Marcus Winters, a senior research associate at the Manhattan Institute, which was
involved with the study.
A broader study released recently by University of Florida economics professors examined about 500 public and private
high schools and found that having any salary incentive was associated with a 1.3 point to 2.1 point rise in test scores. It also
found merit-pay programs were more effective if they targeted just a few teachers for rewards.
But researchers say more sk~dies must be done to fully determine the effectiveness of such programs.
’1 knowwe’re not done evaluating nationwide," Mr. Winters said.
~onresponsi~
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 12, 2007 8:00 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Flowers, Sarah;
Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mark ;
Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talber~, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, C~thia; Young, Tracy
Cc; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Financial Aid Penalty Plan Is Unique To Texas (HC)

Financial Aid Penalty Plan Is Unique To Texas (HC)


By Matthew Tresaugue, Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle, February 12, 2007
Gov. Rick Perry’s call for college students who don’t graduate on time to repay grant money might discourage low-income
and some Hispanic students from pursuing higher education, some critics say.
The governor is seeking an overhaul of the state’s financial aid programs, with the goal of encouraging more students to
graduate faster. His plans include more money for loans and additional requirements for those receiving grants.
The grants, which typically don’t have to be repaid, would become zero-interest loans for those who do not graduate within
the specified time of their certificate or degree program. No other state has such a policy that penalizes students who take longer
to earn a degree, education experts said.
The proposal’s critics said they worry about students from poor families losing access to universities at a time when state
leaders, including Perry, are promoting greater enrollment.
State Sen. Rodney Ellis, a Houston Democrat, said that lawmakers debated financial aid at length during the previous
legislative session, producing the consensus "that we cannot add more restrictions and rely on more loans if we hope to close
the gaps and open the door to college to more Texans."
Ellis would rather see an expansion of the TEXAS Grants program, which provides money for those who showfinancial
need and complete the required coursework in high school or at a community college. About 25,000 eligible students did not
receive the grant last year for lack of funds.
"]-he bottom line is we’re trying to get more high-tech graduates, and we need to get them in the door," said Jeremy
Warren, a spokesman for Ellis. "Our competitors are doing a better job."
Emphasis on grantsOther states rely more on grants because the federal government is the primary provider of student
loans. New York, for example, spent $910 million, or $47 per capita, in grant aid in 2005, according to the National Association of
State Student Grant and Aid Program’s most recent survey.
Texas, meanwhile, spent $362 million, or $16 per capita.
Donald Heller, an associate professor at Pennsylvania State University’s Center for the Study of Higher Education, said
several states are trying to be more innovative with financial aid -to get more from their investment - but few are considering
more loans.
"If your goal is ensuring access, grant aid is the best mechanism a~ter low tuition," Heller said. "If you say ’loan,’ you’re
scaring the very people you’re trying to attract."
Grants, not loans, influence a prospective student’s decision to enroll, two University of Texas System attorneys wrote in a
recent report on financial aid strategy to a federal commission. Loans and on-campus jobs, however, may increase retention and
graduation rates.
In response, U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings called for increased spending on need-based Pell Grants.
Perry has proposed increasing the overall outlay for financial aid $362.8 million, or 60 percent. Fewer dollars would be
allocated for grants, while the interest-free B-on-Time loan program would grow from $20.7 million to $405.3 million a year.
Under the four-year-old program, the state forgives the loans for students who graduate in four years with a B average. The
program was conceived as a way to help middle-income students and parents to pay tuition and fees.
The vast majority of new students will be Hispanic, according to population projections. Yet an aversion to loans is common
among students from first-generation college, immigrant or low-income backgrounds, researchers said.
National surveys show that needy Hispanics are less likely to borrow than other ethnic groups. For example, students
graduate from the University of Texas at El Paso, where four-fifths of the enrollment is Hispanic, with the lowest average
indebtedness among public research institutions in the country.
Long way aroundShort on cash, many students leave school for semesters at a time to work or take fewer classes because
the textbooks are too expensive, causing them to graduate in eight, nine and even 10 years, if at all, experts said.
The reasons behind the loan phobia, observers say, include lack of knowledge about financial aid, fear of debt and sticker
shock.
"It’s not that they won’t take loans, but they’re reluctant," said Deborah Santiago, vice president for policy and research at
Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. "When they see that tuition is $20,000, which is as much as their
family makes in a year, they fear the implications of not finishing."
Jesus Vigil, a University of Houston student who receives a TEXAS Grant, said tying more requirements to aid would not
send a welcoming message to the state’s poorest students.
"~ don’t know anyone who graduates in four years," he said. "It could hurt some people. The University of Houston is a
commuter school, and nearly everybody works."
Vigil is on pace to earn a bachelor’s degree in communications in five years despite working two jobs to help with the
mortgage on his mother’s house. "If it weren’t for those grants," he said, "1 wouldn’t be able to afford college."
Nonresponsi
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 12, 2007 7:54 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Flowers, Sarah;
Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mark ;
Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, C~thia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Kdstine Cohn in MJS: Federal Efforts Target Struggling High School Readers

Federal Efforts Target Struggling High School Readers (MJS)


By Kristine Cohn
iVilwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 12, 2007
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings told a gathering of teachers last summer that "the heavy lifting of educating our
students doesnt happen in the superintendent’s office or the Department of Education. It happens in real classrooms with real
teachers like you."
I can attest to that statement fiom my visits to thousands of classrooms at hundreds of schools - including several
Milwaukee Public Schools - and from my own experiences as a morn of six, "Nana" of 17, former school district administrator and
student.
So MPS teacher and community columnist Thomas Biel’s firsthand observations on struggling high school readers hold a
lot of weight with me ("Why Johnny can’t read very well and what to do about it," Jan. 31 ).
However, there is an important fact missing from his conclusion that leaders "at the federal level need to take a stand and
do something practical, like earmarking funds for literacy wherever literacy is a problem."
The Department of Education is already doing that. We plan to expand our efforts through a plan recently released by
Spellings called "Building on Results: A Blueprint for Strengthening the No Child Le~t Behind Act" and the president’s 2008
education budget, released last week.
These initiatives build on the strong achievement gains already posted by elementary school children under No Child Left
Behind. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, more reading progress was made by 9-year-olds in five
years (1999-2004) than in the previous 28 years combined.
Math scores for fourth- and eighth-graders and 9- and 13-year-olds have reached new heights. Achievement gaps in
reading and math between African-American and Hispanic 9-year-olds and their white peers have shown great improvement.
Older students, however, are lagging. Between 1999 and 2004, reading scores for 17-year-olds fell three points, and math
scores fell one point, according the NAEP. Achievement gaps between Hispanic and white 17-year-olds grew wider, in both
subjects. Nearly 1 million students drop out every year.
Both President Bush and Spellings recognize that much work remains to ensure that middle and high school students
aren’t being left behind in this emerging global economy. "Building on Results" and the new budget address those concerns.
Since its inception in 2005,
$61.3 million in federal funding has gone toward a program called Striving Readers, which supports research-based
interventions for students in grades 6 to 12 at risk of dropping out because of poor reading skills. Under Bush’s education budget,
funding for Striving Readers would increase to $100 million in 2008 - a $68 million increase.
The budget also calls for a
$1.2 billion increase in Title I funding, the primary source of federal funding for schools with large numbers of poor children.
This would substantially raise allotments to eligible high schools while protecting funding for elementary and middle schools.
Title I funds an array of programs for disadvantaged students, including tutoring, a~ter-school and summer programs to
extend and reinforce the regular school curriculum. Funding for Title I schools serving low-income students has risen 45% since
2001.
Including the budget request, funding for No Child Left Behind is up 41% since Bush took office. For 2007 alone, total
federal education funding to Wisconsin will be an estimated $1.825 billion - an increase of 54.7% since 2001. This is good news
for Wisconsin’s children.
The Department of Education provides resources, but dedicated teachers like Biel are at the very foundation of our efforts
to ensure that "all students will have a better chance to learn, to excel and to live out their dreams," as Bush said more than five
years ago when he signed No Child Lef~ Behind into law.
Together, working with parents and state, school district and community leaders, we can truly make this dream a reality.
Kristine Cohn is the top official for Region V of the U.S. Department of Education, comprised of Wisconsin, Ohio,
Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.
INonresponsi
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 12, 2007 7:47 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Flowers, Sarah;
Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mark ;
Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, C~thia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: WP LTE: This Will Be On The Test

The Washin,qton Post, February 12, 2007


The argument made by the Bush administration’s Education Department regarding testing students who are learning
English runs counter to logic ["Virginia, Standards Are Long Overdue," Close to Home, Feb. 4]. The Fairfax County School
Board’s decision not to adhere to one of No Child Left Behind’s more bizarre requirements is bold and overdue.
The argument against testing the youngsters in question can be illustrated by imagining a planeload of American 8-year-
olds bound for a new life in China. They arrive tomorrow. According to Education Secretary Margaret Spellings’s vision, these
children should be subjected to testing, and the results carry dramatic ramifications not only for the students but also for the
schools they attend, after one year and one day -- a mere 193 school days after their arrival. They must be tested in math,
science and literature, all in Chinese.
They must be challenged to unlock the meaning of metaphors and complex Chinese writing conventions that are a
challenge for native speakers who have spent their lives in a Chinese-speaking environment and who have been receiving all
their academic instruction in that language.
If Ms. Spellings and President Bush can seriously say that they think this would be an intelligent way for the Chinese
educational establishment to proceed with newly arrived English-speaking students, I’ll go ahead and eat my hat.
JEFFREY S. HACKER
Bethesda
The writer teaches English to speakers of other languages in Montgomery County Public Schools.
Page 1 of 5

Nonrespons
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 02, 2007 8:34 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Ken-i; Dunn, David; Flowers,
Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mark ; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Simon,
Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, Cynthia;
Young, Tracy
Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie;
Yudof, Samara
Subject: FW: The Moming Update: 2/2/07

SMS in WH Morning Update:

Education Secretary Margaret Sp ellings Announces Prop osal To Increase Pell Grmlt Funding By
Largest Amount In More Than Three Decades, "The Bush administration yesterday proposed boosting
the nation’s main fmancia! aid progran for low-income college students by the largest ,amount in more
than three decades, the latest in a flurry of measures this week by Congress and the White House to make
higher education more affordable .... ’As costs skyrocket, it becomes increasingly difficult for middle-class
families to afford college,’ Spellings said in a speech at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. ’And
for low-income, mostly minority students, college is becoming virtually unattainable. States, institutions
and the federal government - we all must increase need-based aid.’" (Amit R. Paley, "Bush’s 2008
Budget Calls For Boost To Pe!l Grant," The Washington Post, 2/2/07)
..... Original Message- ....
From: White House Communications [mailt~:WhiteHouseCommunical~onsCti~vhitehouse.gov]
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 8:00 AM
To: McLane, Katherine
Subject: The Morning Update: 2/2/07

FEBRUARY 2, 2007

This a~ernoon, President Bush will participate in a photo opportunity and make
remarks to the Carolina Hurricanes, winners of the 2006 Stanley Cup.

THE PRESIDENT participates in Photo Opportunity and makes


2:20 pm: Remarks to the Carolina Hurricanes
EST The White House I Washington, DC

This morning, Mrs. Bush will participate in a roundtable with cardiologists,


survivors, and partners for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Heart
Truth campaign. The goal of the Heart Truth campaign is to make women more
aware of the danger of heart disease, giving them a personal and urgent wakeup
call about their risk. Mrs. Bush will later attend the Heart Truth 2007 fashion show.

06/05/2008
Page 2 of 5

MRS. BUSH participates in a Roundtable with Cardiologists,


9:40 am: Survivors, and Partners for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood
EST Institute’s Heart Truth campaign
Bryant Park Hotel I New York City, NY
11:05 am: MRS. BUSH attends the Heart Truth 2007 Fashion Show.
EST Bryant Park I NewYork City, NY

The President And Mrs. Bush Participate In A Meeting On Childhood Obesity.


"President Bush yesterday added his voice to the growing debate over childhood
obesity, as he met at the White House with representatives of some of the
companies considered responsible for aggravating the problem and urged them to
stress the importance of healthful eating and physical fitness in their marketing
campaigns .... ’Childhood obesity is a costly problem for the country,’ Bush said
before startinq the private meetin~l, which also included first lady Laura Bush. ’We
believe it is necessary’ to come up with a coherent strategy to help folks all
throuqhout our country cope with the issue.’ ... The group also played for the
president a public service announcement developed by Dreamworks and the Ad
Council featuring the characters from the hit movie ’Shrek’ urging kids to get
outside and play." (Michael Abramowitz, "Bush Urges Stepped-Up Campaign Against
Childhood Obesity," The Washington Post, 212107)

The President And Mrs. Bush Attend The National Prayer Breakfast. "He said
first lady Laura Bush was on her way to New York to kick off Friday’s ’Wear Red
Day’ for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Red Dress Project to
increase awareness that women are at risk for heart disease. Bush signed a
proclamation making February American Heart Month .... Earlier, the president
and Mrs. Bush attended the 55th national prayer breakfast at a Washington hotel
where he prayed for the safety of U.S. troops, saying: ’During this time of war, we
thank God that we are part of a nation that produces courageous men and women
who volunteer to defend us.’" (Deb Riechmann, "Bush Urges Parents To Get Kids
Outdoors," The Associated Press, 2/1/07)

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings Announces Proposal To Increase


Pell Grant Funding By Largest Amount In More Than Three Decades. ’q-he
Bush administration yesterday proposed boosting the nation’s main financial aid
program for low-income college students by the largest amount in more than three
decades, the latest in a flurry of measures this week by Congress and the White
House to make higher education more affordable .... ’As costs skyrocket, it
becomes increasinqly difficult for middle-class families to afford college,’ Spellings
said in a speech at North Carolina State University in Raleiqh. ’And for low-income,
mostly minodty students, college is becoming virtually unattainable. States,
institutions and the federal govemment- we all must increase need-based aid.’"
(Amit R. Paley, "Bush’s 2008 Budget Calls For Boost To Pell Grant," The Washington Post,
2/2/07)

In A Letter To The New York Times, OMB Director Rob Portman Says The
Administration’s FY08 Budget Will Use "Realistic Assumptions To Reduce
Deficits Each Year And Achieve Balance By 2012." "On Monday, we will
present a budqet that uses realistic assumptions to reduce deficits each year and
achieve balance by 2012 .... I believe that the revenue projections provided by the
career professionals at the Treasury Department will be viewed as credible, even
cautious. Your skepticism about the president’s balanced budget plan is very
similar to skepticism expressed in February 2004, when the president set a goal to
cut the deficit in half in five years. The New York Times joined others in
questioning whether this goal could be achieved without raising taxes. In fact, the

06/05/2008
Page 3 of 5

goal was accomplished three years ahead of schedule, while keeping taxes low."
(Rob Portman, Letter To The Editor, The New York Times, 2/2/07)

President Bush To Present A Plan Saving $70 Billion In Medicare And


Medicaid Spending Over The Next Five Years. "President Bush will ask
Congress in his budget next week to squeeze more than $70 billion of savings
from Medicare and Medicaid over the next five years, administration officials and
health care lobbyists said Thursday .... Mr. Bush is also expected to propose
changes in the Children’s Health Insurance Program to sharpen its focus on low-
income families .... Representative Jim McCrery of Louisiana, the senior
Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, said: ’The current rate of qrowth
in Medicare, fueled by rising health costs and an aging population, is
unsustainable. If Congress does not undertake sensible reforms soon, the system
will be swamped as the baby boom generation begins to retire. Taxes v~ll rise,
benefits will be cut, and the entire economy will suffer.’" (Robert Pear, "Bush Seeks
Big Medicare And Medicaid Saving," The New YorkTimes, 2/2/07)

Outgoing Top U.S. Commander In Iraq General George Casey Says "The
Struggle In Iraq Is Winnable." "’Senator, I do not agree that we have a failed
policy,’ Casey said. ’1 believe the president’s new strateqy will enhance the policy
that we have.’ ... Casey didn’t criticize Bush’s plan. He said that the three brigades
it adds above his recommendation would give the new commander more flexibility.
... ’The struggle in Iraq is winnable,’ Casey said, but it will ’take patience and will.’
He said that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri aI-Maliki on Jan. 6 agreed to target anyone
breaking the law, regardless of sect, and ’so far the results have been
heartening.’" (Renee School, "Casey Defends War In Iraq," McClatchy Newspapem, 2/1/07)

President Urges The House To Join The Senate In Supporting A "Combined


Minimum Wage Increase And Small Business Tax Relief." "The Senate, in a
94-3 vote Thursday, passed an increase in the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25
an hour over two years. The bill also would extend small business tax cuts, close
off some corporate tax loopholes and rein in executive compensation .... ’1 strongly
encouraqe the House to support this combined minimum waqe increase and small
business tax relief,’ Bush said in a statement followinq the Senate vote .... Sen.
Charles Grassley (news, bio, voting record), R-Iowa, said the overwhelming vote in
favor of the Senate bill was a clear signal that the minimum wage and tax breaks
must be linked. He scolded House Democrats for insisting that the tax provisions
be removed. ’No one should be mistaken,’ Grassley said. ’It is House Democrats,
not Senate Republicans, who are delaying passage of the minimum wage.’" (Jim
Kuhnhenn, "Minimum Wage Bill Heads To Negotiations," The Associated Press, 2D/07)

OMB Deputy Director Clay Johnson Says The President’s Management


Agenda Is Improving Agency Performance. "Johnson, previewing Bush’s
management agenda for 2007, said Democrats can expect candor and
cooperation .... ’We want things to work better and it begins with an honest, candid,
transparent assessment of what we know now. And out of that comes the fact that
a lot of really good things are going on here.’ ... Bush has an ongoing management
agenda that grades Cabinet departments on their performance in areas such as
financial practices, implementing electronic government plans and competitive
sourcing. Overall, scores are on the way up, Johnson said Thursday. ’The
averaqe agency today has more manaqement capability than the best agency did
five years ago,’ he said." (Ben Feller, ’~hite House Welcomes Tougher Oversight," The
Associated Press, 2/I/07)

Dow Jones Marks 27th Record Close Since October. "Both the Dow Jones
industrial averaqe and the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies closed at new
highs. The Dow advanced 51.99, or 0.41 percent, to 12,673.68. That marks the
blue-chip average’s 27th record close since October. It came in well above the

06/05/2008
Page 4 of 5

record of 12,621.77 set Jan. 24 .... Economic data continued to play a big role in
trading, as it has all week. As expected, consumer spending in December showed
its biggest increase in five months, dsing 0.7 percent." ("Dow, Russell 2000 Close At
New Highs As Economic Data Bolster Confidence," The Associated Press, 2/2/07)

The U.S. Donates Vehicles And Arms To Help The Afghan Army Stand On Its
Own. "The donation of 800 military vehicles and more than 1 2,000 weapons is
part of a critical effort to build an Afqhan army able to defend the country on its
own and eventually allow U.S. and NATO-led forces to pull back. ’These modern
technologies are a step toward the vision of the Afghan National Army: a welt
equipped, well-trained, well-led, self-sustaining army,’ U.S. Maj. Gen. Robert
Durbin, who heads the training of the new force, said at a handover ceremony on a
sprawling military base near the capital, Kabul .... Karzai, attending Thursday’s
ceremony, thanked the U.S. officials and said that such donations and further
training would enable Afghans ’to stand on our own feet.’" (Rahim Faiez, ’LI.S. Donates
Vehicles, Arms To Afghan Army," The Associated Press, 2/1/07)

The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention Release Guidelines To Help
Prevent The Spread Of Pandemic Flu. "’We have tools in our tool kit that we can
use now to slow down pandemic flu,’ said Martin S. Cetron, the director of global
migration and quarantine at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the
country’s chief public health a.qency. ’These are tools we just are not used to using
in recent decades, when all the attention has been on magic bullets.’ The 106-
page document issued by the CDC outlines ’non-pharmaceutical interventions’
against a virus that can sometimes be caught simply by standing near an infected
person. The chief strategy is to keep people physically apart as much as possible
during the eight-to-10-week-long waves of illness." (David Brown, "CDC Issues
Guidelines For Battling Flu Pandemic," The Washington Post, 2~2/07)

President Bush Attends National Prayer Breakfast

President and Mrs. Bush Discuss Childhood Obesity

~ Fact Sheet: Encouraqinq Child Fitness

Statement on Federal Disaster Assistance to Beaver, Cimarron, and Texas


Counties, Oklahoma

President’s Statement on Senate Passage of Minimum Waqe Increase and Small


Business Tax Relief

Statement on Federal Disaster Assistance for Oklahoma

President’s Statement on Senate Passaqe of Minimum Waqe Increase and Small


Business Tax Relief

President Bush to Welcome President Martin Torrijos of the Republic of Panama

American Heart Month, 2007

Press Briefinq by Tony Snow

06/05/2008
Page 5 of 5

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06/05/2008
Nonrespons]
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 02, 2007 8:20 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; ’scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov’; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerri; Dunn, David; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly;
Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mark ; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Williams, C~thia; Young,
Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Education Secretary vows new tutoring focus (Ed Daily)

Education Secretary vows new tutoring focus (Ed Daily)


by Sarah Sparks
Education Daily, February 2, 2007
Going into reauthorization of the No Child Lett Behind Act, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has laid out a blueprint
of priorities for Congress, many of which serve to strengthen the law’s keystone interventions - public school choice and
supplemental education services.
The reauthorization guidelines expand on the Education Department’s two pilot programs to increase lackluster
participation in the programs. Spellings sat down with Education DailyTM late last week to discuss her outreach to states on SES
and her thoughts on the program going forward.
Q: What have you learned so far from the SES pilot programs?
A: Norfolk, Va., is our best example, where the take-up literally went from 17 percent to 62 percent - something quite
significant. The inFY crease has not been that dramatic [in other sites] but yes, there has been an increase across the board, I
think.
Yesterday I was in Chicago, the other place that I’ve allowed variation from the overall theme.., to allow a district in need
of improvement - which as you know, most urban districts are - to offer supplemental services. So that too, has had a good
effect; in fact [participation] is up about 11,000 kids in Chicago. And because they, for a variety of reasons, have a lower per-
pupil cost of providing services, more kids are getting the help.
The other thing that is an issue that is certainly reflected in the policy book is the need to provide some incentives to get
this help to kids as soon as possible. As you know, we have a kind of "use it or lose it" provision in here, which builds some
power into the motivation for schools to get that help out early.
Q: In the 20 percent "use it or lose it," that leftover money would go back to the state. Would that be specifically for state
choice/SES administration, or would it go to the state general Title I fund?
A: It’s a place where we’d want to have discussions with the Congress, but our thinking is, one of the things states have
complained about is [not] having the ability to more closely monitor the providers and more closely monitor school districts with
respect to this part of the law. I think some of those resources could be used for that purpose.
As the No Child Left Behind Act accountability marches closer to 2014, the 20 percent requirement is a very reasonable
and spendable amount of money. In Los Angeles, where I was not long ago, there were nearly 400,000 kids who were eligible
for those services, they have money for around 40,000, and about 37,000 are getting services. So when you’ve got 10 times as
many kids eligible for the services, don’t come to me and say you can’t spend the money.
Q: Others have talked about forcing districts to "ro!lover" SES money from one year to the next instead.
A: Well, those two are not mutually exclusive by any stretch of the imagination. These are conceptual proposals in nature.
We haven’t, obviously, designed the specific bill language that would go. We certainly want to do that collaboratively and would
hope they will want to do that with us collaboratively in Congress. I think those are provisions that could work together - maybe
rollover for one year, and then lose it, or whatever.
So, I’m certainly not opposed to that notion.
Q: Any results yet on whether student achievement is raised in the districts using SES flexibility?
A: Too early to tell on that front... That’s another issue that other people have raised: the accountability issues around
providers. I hear that from chiefs, some; I hear that from the civil rights community, some, and I think that, too, will be discussed
as part of reauthorization.
Q: Do you see any possibility of NCLB following the route of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and giving
parents a direct legal recourse if school districts don’t follow the law?.
A: We’ve talked about some of that with respect to supplemental services. I think it wilt be discussed, but... I believe
educators are people with good faith and good will, and they want to serve kids too. So rather than start at a place of conflict and
contention, I think we should believe that both parents and educators are going to act with good faith and good will from the
beginning.
Q: Is there a difference between the proposed Promise Scholarship for intensive tutoring and SES?
A: Potentially, yes. t think the mechanism could be quite similar or it could be modeled more like the D.C. choice model.
Again, these are policy concepts hat we have to have a lot of discussions around. Obviously, No Child Lett Behind is over 1,000
pages, and we laid out a 20-page policy paper that seeks to improve it, so there is a lot of detail that needs to be fleshed out.
Q: States have had major problems getting back test data early enough to notify parents of schools’ adequate yearly
progress status. What are you doing to help states get that timing right?
A: Obviously that’s a big part of our Title I monitoring. One of the things in our policy book is the need to get that
information out before school starts - especially as it comes to public school choice. You know, no morn or dad wants to uproot
their child two months into the school year, and it becomes a dead letter, if you will, as an option. So I think we can do a lot better
on that.
I also think there are some legitimate issues that states have. I was in Illinois yesterday, where, for whatever reason ... they
still do not have data for this school year. It’s quite troubling. I had the test contractor and publishing community in here and
talked about some of these issues with them. But, states have the authority to fine their test contractors; I don’t knowwhat other
sanctions or motivations might be brought to bear so that we can get this data out more quickly.
Nonresponsi ]
............................. .......................
February 02, 2007 6:16 AM
To: scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby,
Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela;
Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray;, Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman;
Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey;
Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Bush Seeks Big Medicare and Medicaid Saving (NYT)

"...The president’s budget will propose raising the maximum Pell grant -- the federal
grant for !ow- and middle-income students to attend college -- to $4,600, Education
Secretary ~rgaret Spellings announced Thursday.

The announcement followed by only a day the Democratic-controlled House’s passage of a


$260 increase in the current maximum grant, to $4,310, under a catchall spending bill
needed to address budget matters remaining from last year.

Ms. Spellings’s announcement suggests that the administration will try to emphasize access
to education, an issue that Democrats have seized upon as the cost and debt burden of
higher education continue to rise. Democrats have already proposed legislation in the
Senate that, exceeding the administration’s plan, calls for an increase to $5,100.

The last substantial increase was in 2001."


February 2, 2007
Bush Seeks Big Medicare and Medicaid Saving
By ROBERT PEAR
WASHIN®TON, Feb. 1 -- President Bush will ask Congress in his budget next week to squeeze
more than $70 billion of savings from Medicare and Medicaid over the next five years,
administration officials and health care lobbyists said Thursdmy.

The proposals, part of a White House plan to balance the budget by 2012, set the stage for
a battle with Congress over entitlement spending. Even some administration officials say
they cannot imagine approval of such large cutbacks in a Congress now controlled by
Democrats.
~ir. Bush is also expected to propose changes in the Children’s Health Insurance Program to
sharpen its focus on low-income families. The changes could reduce federal payments to
states that cover children with family incomes exceeding twice the poverty level.
Under federal guidelines, a family of four is considered poor if its annua! income is less
than $20,650.
The child health proposal, like those for Medicare and Medicaid, is likely to touch off a
fight on Capito! Hil!. Senator Hillary Rodh~m Clinton of Ne~ York and other Democrats are
seeking major expansions of the children’s health program, though they have not said how
they would pay for the changes.

One measure of the political difficulty facing the president’s plan for Medicare and
Medicaid is that he sought $20 billion less in savings from the two programs last year,
when Republicans controlled Congress, and few of those proposals were adopted.

Representative Charles B. Rangel, the New York Democrat who heads the House Ways and Means
Committee, said Thursday: "There is a large area for potential compromise and agreement,
but with these latest Medicare proposals, the president is just asking for controversy. He
still acts as if Republicans were in complete contro! and Democrats had lost the
election.’"

Mr. Bush has repeatedly said thmt Medicare has serious long-term financial problems, and
many experts share his concern.
"If you want to balance the budget eventually and you do not want tax increases," said
Joseph R. Antos, an economist at the ~erican Enterprise Institute, "you have no choice
but to propose substantial reductions in Medicare. The president’s budget is an opening
bid, the start of negotiations with Democrats over health care and other programs."

Taken together, Medicare and Medicaid cover more than one in four Americans. Federal
spending for the two programs totaled $554 billion last year, or about 21 percent of all
federal spending -- a little more than Social Security. With no change in existing law,
spending on the two health programs is expected to rise at a brisk pace, averaging more
than 7 percent a year in the next decade.

Representative Jim McCrery of Louisiana, the senior Republican on the Ways and Means
Committee, said: "The current rate of growth in Medicare, fueled by rising health costs
and an aging population, is unsustainable. If Congress does not undertake sensible reforms
soon, the system will be swamped as the baby boom generation begins to retire. Taxes wil!
rise, benefits wil! be cut, and the entire economy will suffer."

Under the president’s plan, some Medicare beneficiaries would shoulder added costs. At
present, about 4 percent of the 43 million beneficiaries must pay more than the standard
monthly premium -- it is $93.50 this year -- because they have high incomes:
more than $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for married couples. The president’s budget
would require more people to pay the higher premiums, but administration officials would
not immediately provide details.

Most of the proposed savings, however, would come from health care providers. Mr. Bush is
expected to propose freezing Medicare payments to home health agencies and reducing the
inflation allowance paid to hospitals, nursing homes and other providers.

Hospitals plan to fight the president with lobbying and advertising. "~o-thirds of
hospitals already lose money treating Medicare beneficiaries," said Richard J. Pollack,
executive vice president of the .American Mospital Association.

The president’s budget also assumes that Medicare payments to doctors will be cut at least
8 percent next year, as provided under a formula in existing law.

Administration officials said I’~. Bush would not try to curb pa~ents to private managed
care plans, which currently enroll more than eight million Medicare beneficiaries. But
mmny Democrats in Congress want to do so, because, they maintain, Medicare overpays the
plans, which they see as a step toward privatizing the program.
Insurance companies are mobilizing beneficiaries to lobby against any cuts in Medicare
payments to private plans. Mohit M. Chose, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance
Plans, a trade group, said, "’Any cuts would take away benefits from millions of low-income
people and members of minority groups, who enroll in private plans because they cannot
afford the high out-of-pocket costs in the traditional Medicare program."

Budget Asks Rise in Pe!l Grants

The president’s budget will propose raising the maximum Pell grant -- the federal grant
for low- and middle-income students to attend college -- to $4,600, Education Secretary
Margaret Spellings announced Thursday.

The announcement followed by only a day the Democratic-controlled House’s passage of a


$260 increase in the current maximum grant, to $4,310, under a catchal! spending bill
needed to address budget matters remaining from last year.

Ms. Spellings’s announcement suggests that the administration will try to emphasize access
to education, an issue that Democrats have seized upon as the cost and debt burden of
higher education continue to rise. Democrats have already proposed legislation in the
Senate that, exceeding the administration’s plan, calls for an increase to $5,100.

The last substantia! increase was in 2001.


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Nonresponsi
............................. K~itfl~Rii ~-i’haAii;~ ......................... ]
February 02, 2007 6:11 AM
To: scott rn. stanzel@who.eop.gov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby,
Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela;
Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman;
Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey;
Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Bush’s 2008 Budget Calls For Boost to Pell Grant (WP)

Bush’s 2008 Budget Calls For Boost to Pell Grant By Amit R. Paley Washington Post Staff
Writer Friday, February 2, 2007; A05

The Bush administration yesterday proposed boosting the nmtion’s main financial aid
program for !ow-income college students by the largest amount in more than three decades,
the latest in a flurry of measures this week by Congress and the White House to make
higher education more affordable.

The president’s 2008 budget, which will be unveiled next week, would increase the annual
Bel! grant next year by $550, to a maximum of $4,600, Education Secretary ~largaret
Spellings said yesterday. Grants, unlike student !oans, do not need to be repaid.

"As costs skyrocket, it becomes increasingly difficult for middle-class families to afford
college," Spelling said in a speech at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. "And
for !ow-income, mostly minority students, college is becoming virtually r~attainable.
States, institutions and the federa! government--we all must increase need-based aid."
_Advocates for students hailed the proposed expansion of the Pell grant but cautioned that
it would be meaningless if offset by cuts to other federal aid programs in the president’s
budget. Spellings did not say how the president would pay for the increase.

"We can’t be robbing Peter to pay Bell," said Luke Swarthout, an advocate for the U.S.
Bublic Interest Research Group’s Higher Education Pro~ect. "But this is clearly a step in
the right direction on college affordability."
Democratic leaders said the president’s plan was a response to their recent moves in
Congress to reduce the rising costs of higher education. The House voted Wednesday to
increase the maximum Pell grant this year from $4,050 to $4,310; Senate Democrats have
proposed raising it immediately to $5,100.

Sen. Edward H. Kennedy (D-Hass.), chairman of the education committee, said he welcomed
the change but criticized Bush and fellow Republicans for failing to increase the Pell
grant in recent years.

Pell grants, given each year to 5.3 million students with family incomes less than
$40,000, have !ost much of their buying power in recent years. Twenty years ago, the
mmximum grant covered about 60 percent of the cost of a four-year public university, but
last schoo! year it covered ~ust one-third of that cost, according to the College Board.

Congress is also debating a host of other measures to increase college affordability. The
House voted last month to cut interest rates on subsidized loans for students, and the
Senate is soon expected to take up a similar measure.

Yesterday, Kennedy and Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced a bill, the Student Loan
Sunshine Act, which they said would "protect students and parents from exploitation by
private lenders and lenders who offer gifts to colleges as a way to secure loan business."

The measure would ban schools from receiving gifts from private lending companies and
require disclosure of financial relationships between higher education institutions and
lenders.
No need to miss a message. ®et email on-the-go with Yahoo~. Mail for Mobile. ®et started.
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Nonresponsive

January 25, 2007 7:06 AM


To: Neale, Rebecca; Terrell, Julie; scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force,
Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich,
Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Spellings stands firm on ’real school choice’ (WT)

Spellings stands firm on ’real schoo! choice’

By Amy Fagan
THE W~SHIN®TON TIMES
Published January 25, 2007
Advertisement

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said yesterdmy the admir~stration will fight
tenaciously for a few key changes to its signature education law, including helping
children in chronically failed public schools to attend private schools instead.
During his State of the Union speech Tuesday, President Bush called on Congress to
renew one of his key domestic accomplishments -- the No Child Left Behind Act -- this
year, and the administration yesterday laid out its suggestions, including new
requirements for high schools, a new focus on science, and aggressive restructuring tools
for schools that have failed to make progress during the past five or six years.
Mrs. Spellings told editors and reporters at The Washington Times yesterday that she
thinks a bill to renew the law will be ready to move through the Senate education panel by
P~rch or April.
"We must be much more aggressive and much more vigorous about those restructuring
notions, including offering real school choice to the kids on those campuses," Mrs.
Spellings said. "We’ve given them a chance, we’ve given them resources, and it’s time for
us to say ’[The law] is a real promise and other options have to be brought to bear.’ "
Top Democrats, such as Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, chairman of the Senate
education panel, immediately balked at the school-choice provisions, while indicating
agreement in other areas. Democrats’
top goal is to secure a steep funding boost for the law, and Mrs. Spellings indicated the
administration will use that as a bargaining chip.
’What levels of funding are calibrated to what levels of reform I think is the
discussion we’ll have this year," Mrs. Spellings said. "But you bet I am going to fight
for these policies."
She said funding details won’t be released until Mr. Bush sends his budget to Capitol
Hill in the coming weeks.
Mr. Bush’s proposal for renewal wouldn’t change the bulk of the five-year-old law,
which mandates that students be able to read and do math at grade level by 2014, and
requires that states set standards and administer annual tests.
But Mrs. Spellings said she has "never been involved in the passage of a perfect
bill," so some changes are needed.
The administration’s proposal adds science to the list of subgects tested, requiring
students to reach grade-level proficiency by 2020. It also would set more tests and
requirements for high schools, such as collecting better graduation-rate data and
partnering with colleges to develop English and math curricula that better prepare
students for the workplace.
Meanwhile, conservatives on Capitol Hill have worried the administration will try to
dramatically expand the law, either with more funding, by mandating new requirements for
high schools, or both.
Some Republicans in the Senate and House want to keep the law’s high standards in
place but let states enter a five-year performance agreement with the federal goverr~ment
in exchange for less regulation and more flexibility in how they would use federal dollars
and would track their progress.
The administration’s proposal doesn’t go thmt far, though it does give states more
flexibility in how they spend their federal education dollars.
Mrs. Spellings said she has spoken with some of these concerned conservatives and is
open to more discussion, as long as the core requirements of the law aren’t watered do~n.
But she also said there will be some degree of increased education funding this year.
Among its more contentious suggestions, the administration proposa! would allow more
aggressive action to be taken when a school has consistently failed to make progress for
several years. Currently, chronically failing schools must offer their students the option
of another public school or after-school tutoring.
But if a school fails to meet improvement standmrds repeatedly, which Mrs. Spellings
defined as five or six years, the new proposal would give each child about $4,000 to take
to another public school or a private school. It also would allow superintendents in these
areas to convert the schools into charter schools even if a state’s charter-school limit
has been reached. Superintendents also would be able to break union contracts in order to
move teachers within these schools.
Right now, about 1,800 schools fall into this "chronically underperforming" category.
In commur~ties with several failing schools, the administration proposal also would
offer scholarships for pupils to attend private schools.
Democrats have argued that these struggling schools need more money in order to meet
the law’s tough requirements.
House education panel Chairman George ~ller, California Democrat, slammed the school-
choice idea yesterday, saying it "didn’t pass muster when Republicans controlled the
Congress, and it certainly won’t pass muster now that Democrats do."
Hr. Hiller said he’d consider some of the administration’s ideas but added "we won’t
know if the president is seriously committed to the law tuntil we see his budget."

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Nonrespons
From: katherine m clan e ~L~~ J
Sent: January 25, 2007 6:53 AM
To: Neale, Rebecca; Terrell, Julie; scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerd; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force,
Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich,
Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Bush: Toughen No Child law (CHI TRIB)

Bush: Toughen No Child law

Private school vouchers for poor back in play

By Stephanie Banchero
Chicago Tribune staff reporter
January 25, 2007

The Bush administration called Wednesday for Congress to strengthen the No Child Left
Behind law by ratcheting up penalties on low-performing schools, giving districts more
latitude to transfer teachers to failing schools, and providing poor children vouchers to
attend private schools.

The plan, released by the U.S. Department of Education a day after Bush’s State of the
Union address, also would give districts more power to convert failing schools to
charters, even if that meant subverting state-imposed charter caps. Such a move would
greatly benefit the Chicago Public Schools system, which has been thwarted from opening
more thmn the state-allowed 30 charter schools.

"I see this as a very vigorous package of proposals that are sound and make sense if taken
together," said U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. "This is the president’s
answer to the question, "Is the promise of No Child Left Behind real?’ If this proposal is
not what Congress had in mind, then we all have to ask them whmt they have in mind."

Spellings will be in Chicago Thursday to tour a charter school and promote the president’s
proposals.

But the plan already is coming under fire from some Democrats, who object to vouchers, and
from teachers union officials, who are opposed to a plan that would allow districts to
subvert collective bargaining agreements and move teachers to underperforming schools.

"Once you put vouchers and teacher contracts out there, this is war," declared Reg Weaver,
president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union. "It
appears that, instead of putting forth areas that we have commonality on, they put forth
the stuff where they knew there would be no agreement. If we have to go to war, we are
certainly prepared to do so."

No Child Left Behind, Bush’s signature domestic policy, comes up for renewal this year.
The five-year-old act mandates that schools test students in mmth and reading and holds
them accountable for the results. Schools that repeatedly fail are subject to increasing
sanctions. Students in those schools can transfer out or receive free tutoring.

Spellings laid out a laundry list of proposals that touch virtually every aspect of public
education, from high school reform to teacher quality to penalties for chronically
underperforming schools. Many of the proposals, including those that would give schools
move flexibility in determining student progress and relaxing requirements on testing
specia! education students, are likely to receive bipartisan support and applause from
educators n~tionwide.

Some proposals, however, are certain to draw fire.

The so-called "Promise Scholarships" will meet stiff resistance. Under the plan, a poor
student who attends a chronically failing school would be given a $4,000 voucher, which
could be used to transfer to a private school. Bush tried to insert a voucher component
into the No Child Left Behind Act five years ago, but it was defeatedby Democrats.
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-~ss.), who ch~irs the Senmte Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Committee, already has attacked the voucher proposal. "Once again, he proposes siphoning
crucial resources from our public schools--already reeling from increased requirements and
budget cuts," Kennedy said in a statement.
Other major changes in the plan include:

Results from state science exams would be used to determine whether schools are meeting
federal goals.
Currently, only math and reading results are considered.

States would be required to publish a report card that compares student results on state
exams with performance on more rigorous national exams.

Students who attend schools where test scores are low for two consecutive years would be
eligible for free tutoring. Currently, the school must fail for three years before free
tutoring is offered.

States would have to develop assessments that measure whether high school students are
prepared

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Nonresponsi ~
............................. kat’nelinemclane-[ ......................... J
January 25, 2007 6:44 AM
Neale, Rebecca; Terrell, Julie; scott m. stanzel@who.eop.~]ov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerd; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force,
Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private-Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich,
Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey;, Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Bush Proposes Broadening the No Child Left Behind Act (NYT)

January 25, 2007


Bush Proposes Broadening the No Child Left Behind Act

By DIANA JE~ SCHEMO


WASHBfGTON, Jan. 24--The Bush administration called on Wednesday for an array of changes
to the president’s signature education law. The proposals would give local school
officials new powers to override both teachers’ contracts and state limits on charter
schools in the case of persistently failing schools.

The proposals are part of the administration’s blueprint for revising the No Child Left
Behind Act, which Congress is scheduled to renew this year.
Margaret Spellings, the education secretary, said the goal was to provide students in
failing schools with other options and "to make sure we have our best personnel in the
neediest places."

President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law in 2002. It requires schools
to test students in reading and math anllually in grades three to eight, and establishes
progressively more severe penalties for schools that fail to m~ke adequate progress,
including shutting the schools altogether.

Administration officials said there were currently about 1,800 of these schools across the
country, where students have failed to meet state targets for reading and math for more
than five years. But they said that loopholes in the current law allowed them to avoid
serious action indefinitely.

"We all have to answer the question what are we going to do about that," Ms. Spellings
said in a telephone news conference. "This is the president’s answer to, Is the promise of
No Child Left Behind rea!?’"

She said that allowing local officials to close failing schools and replace them with
charter schools would give children new options. Charter schools are publicly finmnced but
freed from many of the regulations that apply to traditional neighborhood schools.
In 26 states, including New York, there are limits on how many charter schools can be
opened. Critics point to a lack of consistent research showing charter schools are any
more effective than traditional public schools in raising achievement.
Ms. Spellings said local superintendents would also be helped if they could transfer
teachers in their districts to help improve poorly performing schools, even if union
contracts banned such moves.
Edward J. McElroy, president of the American Federation of Teachers, derided the proposal
as "silly on its face," adding, "I have a feeling they’re setting up a straw man just to
knock it down."

While allowing for "areas of agreement" with the president’s blueprint, Senator Edward M.
Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the education committee, said he
was "disappointed that the administration has proposed circumventing state law" with its
proposal on charter schools.

In the House, Representative George Miller, the California Democrat who is chairman of the
education committee, rebuffed the administration’s move to allow superintendents to
override contracts, which he called a "~roposal to gut collective-bargaining agreements.’"
Separately, he rejected the administration’s call for school vouchers. President Bush
proposed, as he has every year since taking office, taxpayer-financed vouchers to allow
children in struggling schools to transfer to private schools.

"Private school vouchers," Mr. Miller said, "have been rejected in the past, and nothing
has changed to make them acceptable now. They are the same bad idea they have always
been."

Other administration proposals seemed likely to be more acceptable, among them: a call for
a federal fund that would give extra pay to teachers who are most effective in raising
children’s test scores, or who agree to teach in the neediest schools; and allowing
districts with failing schools to first offer children tutoring before allowing them to
transfer.

The administration also proposed requiring states to publicize how their students perform
on a national exs_m, kno~Tn as the nation’s report card, side by side with student
performance on state exams. The move is intended to pressure states to make their own
standards more rigorous.

Congress will consider the president’s blueprint as it takes up hearings to renew the law
this spring. But with the presidential race taking shape, it is not at all certain that
Congress will complete the ~ob this year.

In moving to update the law, Congress and the administration are threading their way
through discontent from across the political spectrum, from teachers unions upset that the
law’s testing requirements are dictating whmt teachers do in the classroom to
conservatives who say education should remain a purely !oca! matter.

Michael J. Petrilli, an Education Department officia! in Mr. Bush’s first term who
recently called the law "fundamentally flawed," said the administration’s proposals
represent "a pretty decent repair attempt."

"It’s 50 percent stay the course, 30 percent tweak and tuck, and 20 percent bold new
ideas," Mr. Petrilli said.

He added, "’Not bad for a president with 33 percent approval ratings, though the package as
a whole has about a zero percent chance of getting through Congress."

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lNonresponsi
............................. kath~i-iri e-m dan e~i- ........................
(b) January 25, 2007 6:39 AM
To: Neale, Rebecca; Terrell, Julie; scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerd; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force,
Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich,
Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: The State of Federal Education Policy (HE)

The State of Federal Education Policy

by Dan Lips
Posted Jan 24, 2007
Human Events online
In his State of the Union address, President Bush spoke in broad themes to outline his
education agenda for the next two years. The bottom line: The Administration ~zants to
"strengthen" the status quo version of No Child Left Behind in its coming congressional
reauthorization. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings hms already stated that the
administration has been studying ways to "perfect or tweak" NCLB.

After five years, it’s become increasingly clear that No Child Left Behind -- like
previous federal reform attempts -- will not fundamentally improve public education in
~tmerica. While NCLB dramatically increased federa! authority, the federal government
(thankfully) is still only a minority partner in public education, with only 8.5 percent
of funding for schools coming from Congress.
Policym~kers should remember that past administrations and Congresses have sought to use
the lever of federal power in education to improve student aclmievement and reduce the
achievement gap since 1965. But after four decades and hundreds of billions of dollars in
federal spending, the federal government has proven unable to bring about big improvements
in ~erica’s schools. For example, since the early 1970s, little has changed in long-term
measures of student performance.

~ Congress prepares to consider the ninth reauthorization of the original Elementary and
Secondary Education Act, it’s time to draw some conclusions from these !ong-term trends
and reconsider the federal government’s role in education.

For starters, families, taxpayers, and school officials should question whether the
federal government has been a good partner in education all these years. In 2006,
taxpayers paid more than $24 billion to the Internal Revenue Service to fund programs for
No Child Left Behind. In exchange, the Department of Education uses that funding to play
the role of a heavy-handed middleman.

After keeping a sizeable chunk of money to pay for administration, the Department sends
that money back to states and local education agencies along with a blizzard of mandates,
red tape, and bureaucratic reporting requirements. For exesLtple, the Office of Hanmgement
and Budget found that No Child Left Behind alone increased the paperwork costs due to
federa! education programs by 6,688,814 hours, or $140 million.

Beyond this wasteful bureaucratic burden, the federal government’s role in education
exacts huge opportunity costs. Were it not for the Department of the Education, states and
local communities would have more than $24 billion per year in additional funding that
could be used for other purposes, such as locally controlled programs that direct
resources to classrooms.

Perhaps the costs of the federal government’s "middle man" relationship would be the
3ustified if Congress and the 4,500 workers at the U.S. Department of Education proved
that they have a formula for improving student performance in America’s 96,000 public
schools. Unfortunately, a forty-year track-record shows this isn’t the case. Rather than
travel further down the current road of federal education policy, the Bush Administration
and Mergers of Congress have a responsibility to reassess .whether the federal government’s
current role in education is ~ustified.

A promising alternative strategy would be to begin restoring state and local contro! in
education, while maintaining true transparency in measuring student performance at the
school level. Senators Jim DeMint
(R.-S.C.) and John Cornyn (R.-Tex.) recently announced their support for such a proposal.

The DeMint-Cornyn plan -- called the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success or "A-PLUS"
Act -- would allow states to opt-out of No Child Left Behind.
These states would enter into a contractua! agreement with the federal government, under
which they would be free to control federal education funding and use it however state
leaders believe would improve student achievement and assist disadvantaged students. In
exchange, states would maintain performance transparency by measuring student achievement
through state-directed assessments.

The DeMint-Cornyn plan has three important benefits.


First, the amount of tax-dollars wasted on administrative costs and bureaucratic paperwork
would be greatly reduced. More ftunding would be available for productive purposes, such as
increasing resources in the classroom.

Second, states and local communities could innovate and try new approaches to improve
student learning.
Some states could try improving educational opporttunities with policies that introduce
competition into public education through school choice or performance pay for teachers;
other communities may decide to pay teachers more or create new early education programs.
Since transparency would be maintained, communities could learn what approaches work best.

Third, the Cornyn-DeMint plan would put an end to the idea thmt politicians and
bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. hmve a one-size-fits-all solution that will fix all our
educational problems. Instead, this plan would shift the responsibility for improving
American education back to where it belongs -- among parents, teachers, school leaders,
and !oca! representatives.
The coming reauthorization of No Child Left Behind offers Congress and the American people
an opportul~ty to rethink the federal government’s role in education.
One thing should be clear by now: continuing down the same path isn’t the answer.

This is the first of a two-part series responding to the education ideas outlined in the
State of the Union Address.

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Nonresponsi
January 25, 2007 6:31 AM
Neale, Rebecca; Terrell, Julie; scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Kuzmich, Holly;, La Force,
Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private-Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich,
Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey;, Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Bush Proposes Adding Private School Vouchers to ’No Child’ Law (WP)

Bush Proposes Adding Private School Vouchers to ’No Child’ Law By Amit R. Paley Washington
Post Staff Writer Thursday, January 25, 2007; AI6

The Bush administration yesterday unveiled an education plan that would allow poor
students at chronically failing public schools to use federal vouchers to attend private
and religious schools, angering Democrats who vowed to fight the measure.

The private school vouchers, which on average would be worth $4,000, were among a series
of proposals presented yesterday thmt President Bush hopes will be included in the
reauthorization of his signmture education initiative, No Child Left Behind.

In a conference call with reporters, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said the
initiatives were necessary to help students in the nation’s 1,800 most persistently under-
performing schools.

"How do we answer the question: What do we do for kids trapped in schools that continue to
under-perform?"
she said. "Is the promise of No Child Left Behind real?"

Democrats in Congress assailed the plan -- which also would allow low-performing schools
to override union contracts or become charter schools despite state laws limiting their
creation -- and expressed concern that the politically chmrged proposals could delay the
reauthorization, which is scheduled for this year.
"Ideological proposals like private school vouchers and attacks on collective-bargaining
agreements won’t help this reauthorization move forward on shared, bipartisan goals," said
Sen. E~ard M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions Committee.

The plan also includes measures that enjoy bipartisan support. It addresses one of the
most persistent criticisms of No Child Left Behind: that schools that meet state testing
goals overall but fail in a small category must provide all students in the school with
free tutoring or the option to transfer to another school. Under the president’s proposal,
only students in the categories that failed would receive those options.

The initiative also would hold schools accountable for test scores in science starting in
2008 (the current program holds schools accountable only in reading and math). It also
would for the first time require states to publicize their performance on a national test
that states are already required to administer.
Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers
union, attacked the administration’s proposal to al!ow some school administrators to
override labor contracts to push out bad teachers and attract better ones.

"The No Child Left Behind law was designed to close the achievement gap, not to strip
collective-bargaining agreements," he said.

The president’s plan also would allow mayors to take over chronically failing schools and
for those schools to transform themselves into charter schools, even if that would violate
a state law capping the number of charter schools.

It was the private school voucher proposal, modeled on a plan implemented in the District
in 2004, that seemed to anger some Democrats. The program in the Distict provides $7,500
vouchers, kno~Tn in the administration as scholarships, to about 1,800 students, from
kindergartners to high schoo! seniors, attending 58 private schools.

"We h~ve seen that the sky doesn’t fall when kids go to private schools with public
money," said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, who was briefed
on the plan in advance by ~~hite House staff. "So school choice is not nearly as scary as
some congressmen have led us to believe."

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, called
the voucher proposal a "bad idea" that was urlikely to gain traction in Congress. "Private
school vouchers, ~hich would divert taxpayer dollars away from public schools that need
them, have been regected in the past and nothing has changed to make them acceptable
now, " he said in a statement.
Spellings insisted that the administration will try to push through even those proposals
likely to face stiff resistance in Congress. "I plan to fight hard for the whole kit and
caboodle," she said.

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NonresponsiI
............................. kat’nerin e-mclane[: I
January 25, 2007 6:29 AM
To: Neale, Rebecca; Terrell, Julie; scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerd; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force,
Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private - Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich,
Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Bush proposal revives private-school vouchers (USAT)

Bush proposal revives private-school vouchers Posted 1/24/2007 8:39 PM ET By ®reg Toppo,
USA TODAY On the heels of the State of the Union address, the Bush administration unveiled
its education wish list Wednesdmy. It proposes more leeway for administrators to move good
teachers into poorly performing schools and would provide a $4,000 check for students who
would rather leave the p<~lic system for private school.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings released the 15-page plan as Congress gears up for
hearings on reauthorizing President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law. Hearings could come
as early as spring; the law expires this year.

Under the plan, school districts would be required for the first time to send parents a
"report card" showing how students do both on state skills tests and on a more rigorous
r~tional test. In many states, the majority of students meet state standards but not
national requirements.

The move could force schools to toughen course~ork in math and reading.
Among other proposals, the plan would:

¯Allow students with poor skills to get federally funded tutoring earlier, even if a
schoo! isn’t required to offer it to al! students.

¯ Give schools more flexibility with federal money. For instance, money intended for safety
programs could be spent on reading or teacher training.

¯Allow a more generous measure of student progress, giving credit for year-to-year gains
even if children don’t meet rising benchmarks.
A controversial proposal would allow supervisors to move talented teachers to struggling
schools even if a union’s collective bargaining agreement forbids it.
The law now prohibits such moves if they conflict with union contracts. Spellings says the
plan is a too! "to get these best people in the neediest campuses."
Edward McElroy, president of the American Federation of Teachers, says the union "would
oppose any federa! intervention’ in !ocal contracts. The move may not get better teachers
into struggling schools but could drive good teachers out, he says. "This is a whole area
where we need thoughtful study rather than people setting up straw men and knocking them
do~rn."
The proposal to allow students in persistently failing schools to use about $4,000 in
federal money to attend a school of their choice faces steep odds. Congress has killed
similar plans in Bush’s budget each year since 2001.

Sen. E~¢ard Kennedy, D-~ss., who chairs the Senate education committee, says he’ll look
closely at the administration’s ideas: "I am sure there will be areas of agreement." But,
he says, "I am disappointed that the administration has once again proposed siphoning
crucial resources from our public schools -- already reeling from increased requirements
and budget cuts -- for a private school voucher program."

Spellings says she’ll "fight hard" for the vouchers and the rest of the plan.

"I see this as a very vigorous package of proposals that are sound and make sense when
they are taken together," she told reporters Wednesday.
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[Nonresponsj
............................. k~lh~i-irie-m ~i-ane[ .......................... I
January 19, 2007 7:47 PM
Neale, Rebecca; scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; Conklin, Kristin; Oldham, Cheryl; Beaton,
Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Pdvate - Spellings,
Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner,
Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Government Settles Student Loan Case (AP)

2nd write thru


Government Settles Student Loan Case
- By NANCY ZUCKERBROD, AP Education Writer Fridmy, January 19, 2007

(01-19) 16:02 BST WASH~GTON, (AP) --

The Bush administration announced a settlement Fridmy with a leading student loan company
accused of overbilling the government by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Under the deal, the Education Department said any future payments the company, Nelnet, has
pending from the agency for subsidies on student loans will go through a review process to
determine what the proper amounts should be.

Nelnet spokesman Ben Kiser said the company isn’t expecting to go through such a review,
because, the company does not expect to continue to bill the government at a special, high
rate.

The settlement fol!ows an audit by the Education Department’s inspector general last
September which said failure to change Nelnet’s billing practices could lead to the
company receiving more thmn $800 million in overpayments.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings rejected the inspector genera!’s recommendmtion


that the department should seek to recover past overpayments. The audit estimated that
Nelnet has been improperly paid more than $278 million by the government.

Recovering past payments could be precedent setting, Sara ~rtinez Tucker, under secretary
for higher education issues, told reporters during a conference call.

She said federal officials did not want to set a precedent that could put small nonprofit
lenders out of business.

"This decision was reached in the best interests of taxpayers and students as well as the
integrity of the federa! student loan programs," Tucker said in a statement.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, chairman of the Senate committee overseeing education issues,
criticized the settlement for not requiring the recovery of past payments.

"The administration should have settled for nothing less than the full recovery of
Nelnet’s ill-gotten proceeds from these !oans," said Kennedy, D-l~ss.

Nelnet Chairman and co-CEO Mike Dunlap issued a statement saying the company disagreed
with the inspector general’s audit but was "pleased to have reached a resolution that
allows us to avoid costly litigation."

The audit by the inspector general’s office found that Nelnet has improperly sought and
received an artificially high rate of return on many of its loans.

The rate -- a 9.5 percent guaranteed return-- was put in place in the 1980s when interest
rates were high.

At the time, Congress guaranteed lenders the 9.5 percent return on student loans financed
by tax-exempt bonds. When interest rates later declined, the old guaranteed rate stayed in
effect, funneling billions of federal dollars to lenders.

Congress ended the 9.5 percent guarantee in 1993, but Nelnet found ways to keep getting
that rate of return, according to the federal audit. Nelnet used payments it received from
pre-1993 loans to make new loans and then claimed the old 9.5 percent guarantee. It did
that over and over again, a practice referred to as !oan recycling, according to the
audit.

The inspector genera!’s report said the company created a special project in 2003 -- when
interest rates hit a low point -- to increase the amount of loans receiving the special
rate, in violation of the law and department regulations.

The company disputes that it made money off ineligible loans and says it informed
Education Department officials of its recycling practice. The federa! audit said, however,
that Nelnet left out key information, including that its practice would lead to an
increase in loans getting the old guaranteed rate of return.

Nelnet officials have said the company followed the department’s guidance and that any
!oans billed at the higher rate were fully eligible.

As part of Friday’s settlement, the Education Department also plans to review future
payments to other lenders to ensure that those seeking the 9.5 percent rate of return are
eligible to receive it.

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.._N_°nresp°ns~
b e ............................. .........................
January 17, 2007 6:19 AM
]
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara;
Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara
Martinez
Subject: California at odds with feds over No Child Lef[ Behind law (AP)

California at odds with feds over No Child Left Behind law JULIET WILLIA#~S Associated
Press SACPJk~ENTO - California education officials are battling the U.S. Department of
Education over provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, hoping Congress
considers their complaints as it evaluates the five-year-old landmark education reform
law.

At the heart of the dispute is disagreement over how best to measure student performance.

California says its incremental system is best for the state and wants to keep it. Federal
officials say California must use another method to fol!ow the law.

The California Department of Education also wants to delay the federal law’s deadline to
h~ve all students reading and doing math at grade leve! by 2014.
Officials also seek leniency on provisions related to those learning English, who make up
nearly half the state’s 6 million public schoo! students.

They plan to resubmit a previously re3ected plan to help all California students meet the
target, even as they concede their proposa! has little chance of being approved.

"Whmt we want is the federal goverriment to give credence to states that have well-
established accountability systems in place that existed before NCLB," said Pat McCabe,
director of policy and evaluation for the California Department of Education.

The federal-state feud revolves around California’s method of measuring student


achievement, kno~Tn as the Academic Performance Index. It rewards schools for making
progress toward achievement over time, even when they don’t meet the overall yearly
targets and even when some groups of students remain far below others.

That model is more fair to schools than the federal measurement, the annual yearly
progress toward achievement goals, McCabe said.

He said the California model rewards schools that start out as very low achievers rather
than holding all schools to the same standard. Department of Education officials also
believe the 2014 deadline is too ambitious, he said.

"Of course we’re trying to (meet it), that’s our goal," McCabe said. "Do I think it will
happen? No."
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings hms been flexible on some of the law’s
deadlines, such as its requirement to have all teachers fully qualified by 2006. ~d while
she has said she is open to new ways of measuring achievement, she has identified a few
principles the administration will not alter. ~ong them is the 2014 goal.

"It’s written into the law," department spokesman Chad Colby said.

No Child Left Behind had bipartisan support when it went to Bush in 2002, designed to
force schools to improve student testing, boost teacher quality and pay more attention to
the achievements of minorities. It has been championed by President Bush, who is pushing
for reauthorization.

But some states continue to tussle with federal officials over how the law is applied,
especially regarding sanctions for failing schools.
Page 54
Schools that receive federal aid but do not make enough progress must provide tutoring,
offer public school choice to students and their parents or initiate other reforms thmt
can include an overhaul of their staffs.

More than half California’s public schools, about 6,000, receive federal poverty money for
basic instruction.

Last year, more than a third of those were considered to be failing and were subgect to
some form of sanctions.

One of the law’s chief goals is to c!ose the achievement gap between black, Hispanic and
poor students and their white and Asian peers. In California, those student subgroups lag
on nearly all performance measures from elementary through high school.

As part of California’s efforts to eliminate that gap, Superintendent of Public


Instruction Jack O’Connell announced last week that he is creating a new branch of the
education department that wil! encourage successful schools to share tips with other
schools.

The state wants to "devise its o~n corrective actions"


for failing schools, the state said in its application to the U.S. Department of
Education.

McCabe and other state officials don’t expect their plan to gain acceptance now. Instead,
they hope to illustrate to lawmmkers in Washington what’s wrong with No Child Left Behind.

"It is our two cents about what we think should be reconsidered," said Hilary McLean, a
spokeswoman for O’Com_nell.

Without flexibility, the state would have to completely rewrite its system of standards,
which it touts as among the toughest in the nmtion, she said.

Some states have weakened their standards in response to the law to avoid the consequences
that arise when schools miss annual targets. Under No Child Left Behind, student
performance is 9udged against state expectations, rather than a national standard.

"We do want to keep engaging with the federal government to inform their thinking, but
we’re not prepared to undo our standards or our assessments,"
McLean said.

Bush met last week with Democratic congressional leaders, who generally support the law’s
aims but say it has been underfunded by about $56 billion. Among them was Rep. George
~ller, a California Democrat who took over as chairman of the House Committee on
Education and Labor this month after Democrats won control of Congress.

Miller also was an author of the No Child bill.

A Democratic aide to the committee said last week that California’s achievement system is
fundamentally different from the federal law’s measurement because it allows schools to be
rated as extremely successful even as achievement gaps widen between racial groups.

The aide, who spoke on background because she was not authorized to speak to the media,
said schools should not be al!owed to claim annual yearly progress if al! children aren’t
doing better.

California’s resistance to some parts of the federal law may ultimately prove futile.

Jack Jennings, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Education Policy, a


nonpartisan group that surveys all states, said a magor overhau! of No Child’s mandates is
unlikely.

"The basic concepts of the law are becoming elements of American education," he said.
"What many educators want are changes in the accountability provisions, changes in the
penalties, more funding. But in a way the debate is over because the basic concepts have
been accepted."
Page 55

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Page 56

INonresponsi!
January 16, 2007 6:32 AM
To: scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby,
Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson;
Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich, Heidi;
rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young,
Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Democrats Aim To Cut Student Loan Interest (AP)

"Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in an Associated Press interview this week
she would prefer that Congress increase Pell grants, which go to the poorest students and
do not have to be paid back. "

Democrats Aim To Cut Student Loan Interest Associated Press


POSTED: 6:09 pm EST January 15, 2007
UPDATED: 6:15 pm EST January 15, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Following up on an election-year promise, House Democrats said Friday they
plan quick action to lower interest rates for student loans.
Their proposa!, scheduled for a vote next week, would out interest rates on some student
loans in half.
However, the college tuition plan h~s been scaled back since it was first touted on the
campaign trail last year.
The interest rate relief would apply only to need-based loans and doesn’t help people who
take out unsubsidized student loans -- a distinction not made in the campaign literature
Democrats handed out before winning control of Congress last fall. The measure also
abandons a pledge to reduce rates for parents who take out loans to help with their kids’
college costs.
The rate cut for subsidized student loans -- from 6.8 to 3.4 percent -- would be phased in
over five years.
The measure would cost ~ust under $6 billion, according to the Congressiona! Budget
Office.
"This legislation will be a vita! first step toward helping !ower college costs for
millions of !ow- and middle-income students, while keeping our promises to taxpayers to
mmintain responsible spending," said Rep.
George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the committee overseeing education issues. Me
introduced the bill and said the House would vote on it Wednesday.
To avoid increasing the deficit, the bill’s cost would be offset by trimming subsidies the
government gives lenders and reducing the guaranteed return banks get when students
default. Banks also would have to pay more in fees.
Tom Joyce, a spokesman for lending giant Sallie ~e, said such cuts could impact the
services and benefits students receive.
"We do not oppose an interest-rate reduction," Joyce said. "But if the goal is to try to
get a low-income or middle-income student into a seat, we’d better be careful of the law
of unintended consequences."
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in an Associated Press interview this week she
would prefer that Congress increase Pell grants, which go to the poorest students and do
not hmve to be paid back.
~other Democratic campaign promise was to raise the maximum Pell award from $4,050 to
$5,i00. Miller said lawmakers wil! get to that.
An estimated 5.5 million students receive subsidized loans.
A typica! borrower with a $13,800 subsidized student !oan debt would pay about $22,100 in
interest and principal over 15 years at the existing rate. When cut to 3.4 percent, that
same borrower would pay $17,700
-- or about $4,400 less -- over the same period, according to Luke Swarthout, who !obbies
on higher education issues for U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Republican leaders pushed a budget bil! through Congress last session that cut $12 billion
from the student !oan programs. Democrats and student groups argued the money should have
been preserved to help cover college costs rather than redirected toward other priorities.
California Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, the top Republican on the House Committee on
Education and Labor, criticized Democrats for moving the interest-rate bill without first
holding hearings to see if it is the best approach.
"This bill, impacting the largest entitlement program within ottr committee’s ~urisdiction,
Page 57
has not been vetted by a single committee hearing, has not been part of a bipartisan
conversation of any sort," McKeon said.
In the Senate, Massachusetts Democrat Edward Kennedy heads the committee overseeing
education issues. He said he wants broad legislation addressing the interest-rate cut and
other proposals.
The bill is H.R. 5.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. Al! rights reserved. This materia! may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Page 58

~lonresponsi!
January 16, 2007 6:16 AM
J
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly;, La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara;
Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara
Martinez
Subject: No Child Left Behind needs work at 5 years (MST)

[Nonresponsive
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Last update: January 15, 2007 - 7:42 PM

Editorial: No Child Left Behind needs work at 5 years Changes needed to make federal
education rules effective.

In marking the fifth am_niversary of No Child Left Behind last week, President Bush and his
education department pronounced that the plan is working.
Patting all involved on the back, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said NCLB has
done a good job of inproving education for all students.
Yet many teachers, parents and students rightfully don’t buy thmt rosy assessment. As the
ll0th Congress considers renewing the federal education rules, some major changes must be
made.
One of the basic problems with NCLB is that establishing a system to identify and report
struggling students is not the same as actually doing something to help them. The federal
program is great on issuing penalties and punishments, but not so good at fol!owing
through with support. And many of its detailed provisions have proven to be unrealistic
and unreasonable.

NCLB promised parents their children would get tutoring if a school continued to fail
them, but did not fol!ow through with support for the tutoring. The law said students
could shift to a more successful schoo!, but neglected to give !ocal districts the
resources for the moves. Matching mandates with money must be a feature of the
reauthorized law.

As a 2004 Minnesota legislative auditor’s study said, NCLB rules are "costly, unrealistic
and punitive." The report said state schools would have to spend millions more (beyond
federal funding) on additiona! tests, tutoring, transportation and teacher quality
adjustments.
Because details of the law were not well thought out from the start, some of the best
schools in the nation have been labeled "failing." Excellent programs were found not to
make "adequate yearly progress" because a handful of students were absent on test day or
because English learners weren’t given enough time to master materia! in their second
language.

Another problem is that extensive testing requirements take snapshots of student


performance instead of measuring progress. Comparing the test scores of this year’s
eighth-graders to last year’s doesn’t measure the grade-to-grade improvement of individual
kids.

And the federal goverrnnent must design ways to make meaningful comparisons of student
performance state to state. NCLB rules call for all states to develop their o~Tn tests and
standards. Therefore, some states have lower standards to appear more successful on test
score reports.
The spirit and intent of "No Cl~ld" continue to be worthwhile. But its best goals cannot
be reached unless the law is modified.
Page 59
@2007 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

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Page 60

Nonrespons
............................. kath~iirie-m-c/anet ........................... t
January 12, 2007 6:37 AM
Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerd; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private - Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara;
Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara
Martinez
Subject: N. Phila. school hailed byfeds (PI)

N. Phila. school hailed by feds

By MENSAH M. DE~!~
Philadelphia Inquirer
deanm@philllrnews, corn 215-854 -5 949
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings stopped by yesterday morning at a North
Philadelphia school, in a neighborhood where drug dealers are a regular fixture and where
nearly all the students qualify for free lunch, to congratulate the 416 students and
faculty.

"The eyes of the nation are on you and your good work... Bravo[" Spellings said during her
visit to M.
H~ll Stanton Elementary.

Spellings was in town to mark the fifth anniversary of the federal No Child Left Behind
law amd the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

She visited Stanton, !6th Street near Huntingdon, because the school, led by Principal
Barbara Adderley, is embracing and meeting the mandates of the federal law like few
others.

From the auditorium stage Spellings noted - as Adderley and schools chief Paul Vallas
listened - Stanton’s impressive progress since the inception of the law, which calls for
al! students to read and do math on grade leve! by 2014.

In reading, the school’s third- and fifth-graders went from 12.2 percent scoring at the
advanced or proficient levels on the state’s exams in 2002 to 65.5 percent this year.

In math, 76.6 percent of students scored at advanced or proficient levels, compared to the
20.7 percent who did in 2002.

Those numbers, Spellings said, shatter myths held by some people that students from inner-
city schools cannot learn.

"I reject that, Barbara Adderley rejects that. Thmt is why she got the award," Spellings
said, alluding to a national award the school received this fal! in Washington for its
successful academic strategies.

Adderley said that stressing reading and writing in al! subjects and the constant
gathering and studying of student data have been keys to her school’s success.
And instead of cramming for state tests, she said, students are taught throughout the year
the subject matter on which they are tested.

"No Child Left Behind has made us all more accountable," said Adderley, who has led the
kindergarten-through-sixth-grade school for six years.
"It’s made us all know that we must be accountable for every child."

During yesterday’s ceremony some of Stanton’s top sixth-graders received star treatment.
Rmfik Johnson, 11, received a trophy for attaining a perfect score on the state math exam
last year, and Malik Walker, 11, got a trophy for general academic excellence.

Kaitlyn Lindsay, !1, received the Bronze President’s Volunteer Service Award for her work
Page 61
at the Clara Baldwin Nursing Facility.
President Bush is lobbying Congress to renew No Child Left Behind, which mandates that al!
teachers be "highly qualified" and which requires failing schools to provide students with
private tutoring and transfers to better schools.

Vallas said he supports the law, but believes its m~ndates should come with more federa!
funding. Since the law’s inception, the percentage of highly qualified Philadelphia
district teachers has risen to
92 percent, about a i0 percent increase said, Tomas Hanna, senior vice president for Human
Resources.
~out 750 teachers have been terminated for failing to reach the goal in time, he said.

Any questions? Get answers on any topic at ~.Answers.yahoo.com. Try it now.


Page 62

Nonresponsi!
............................. .........................
January 12, 2007 6:32 AM
To" Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara;
Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy;, Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara
Martinez
Subject: Score rigging may lead to tutors (PI)

Score rigging mmy lead to tutors


The U.S. secretary of education said she would look into waivers for Camden students.
By Kristen A. Graham
Inquirer Staff Writer
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, visiting Philadelphia yesterdmy, said she
would investigate whether students affected by rigged test scores in two Camden elementary
schools should get waivers for tutoring.

New Jersey has refused to invalidmte the rigged 2005 scores at H.B. Wilson and U.S.
Wiggins Schools, which could have helped with eligibility for tutoring reserved for
failing schools. State officials have said federa! regulations have kept them from
providing tutoring to the affected students.
During the 2004-05 school year, 97 percent of Wiggins’
fourth graders achieved proficiency in language arts, and 98 percent were proficient in
mmth.

The next year, as fifth graders, those same students achieved 56 percent proficient in
language arts, and
62 percent proficient in math.

Spellings, in an interview, said she was not aware of the Camden cheating scandal or that
the state had determined the 2005 scores stemmed from "adult interference." When told, she
said she would take action.

"Let me go investigate that - I’m not familiar with that," she said. "I’ll find out the
specifics of where the waiver request is."

"We ought to take a tough stance toward that - cheating shouldn’t be tolerated. We
shouldn’t tolerate it from kids, and we shouldn’t tolerate it from groom-ups," she said.

Still, Spellings stood by the department’s earlier position that it’s up to states to look
for cheating if they so choose.
"On the whole and in the main it is the rare exception. Educators are honorable people,
and I don’t see much of that," Spellings said.

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Page 63

INonresponsi !
(b)(~)om:
January 11,2007 8:36 AM
]
Sent:
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Panel urges collegians to focus on liberal arts (USAT)

Panel urges collegians to focus on liberal arts Updated 1/10/2007 8:01 PM ET By Mary Beth
~rklein, USA TODAY A panel of national higher education and business leaders issued a
roadmap Wednesday for reforming higher education, arguing that college graduates must be
able to do more than equip themselves for their first job.
Rmther, it says in a report, "In an economy fueled by innovation, the capabilities
deve!oped through a libera! education have become ~erica’s most valuable economic asset."

The report identifies four "essential learning outcomes," grounded primarily in the
liberal arts, that graduates should possess. They are: a broad base of knowledge across
multiple disciplines; intellectual and practical skills such as teamwork and problem-
solving; a sense of persona! and social responsibility, including ethical reasoning; and
experience applying what they learn to real-world problems.

The report was released as part of a lO-year initiative by a non-profit group that
promotes the libera! arts -- the Washington-based Association of ~erican Colleges and
Universities. It is the work of a 33-member panel, convened by the association, whose
members include business, labor, philanthropy and policy leaders, along with educators
representing a range of colleges and universities.

Employers appear to support the recommendations. In a poll released with the report, 69%
of employers said combining broad knowledge with more in-depth focus is "very important;"
63% said "too many recent gradumtes do not have the skills to be successfu! in today’s
global economy."

"We need more than ~ust the technica! skills," says panel member Wayne Johnson, a vice
president at Hewlett-Packard. "The thing we often see missing (in new hires) is the
ability to use the right side of their brain, the creative part."

The report also presses for more than an economic payoff for students. "We’re preparing
them to be citizens," said association president Caro! Geary Schneider. "The quality of
learning, not the possession of a diploma, will determine whether the next generation can
keep our economy and democracy strong."
The pane! does not spell out (nor can it mandate) what colleges should do, but it
recommends an interactive, integrated approach so that students are active learners and
their skills are developed throughout their college experience, whether at a community
college, research university or libera! arts school.

It also identifies practices, including first-year programs, writing-intensive courses,


undergraduate research, service learning and internships, that have been sho~rn to be
successful in engaging students.

Schneider says the report complements the work of a higher-education commission created
last year by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, which addressed issues of
accessibility, affordability and accountability. It recommended a number of reforms,
including efforts to keep tuition down and simplify financial aid, better monitor student
progress and assess how much students are learning.

Wednesday’s report also "moves beyond" the commission’s work, Schneider says. The
commission urged colleges "to take responsibility for significant learning outcomes," she
says, "but never said what those ... outcomes would be."
Page 64

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Page 65

INonresponsl
January 11,2007 8:32 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly;, La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Fairfax vs. ’No Child’ Standoff Heats Up (WP)

Fairfax vs. ’No Child’ Standoff Heats Up County to Protest Mandate on English Tests for
Immigrants By Maria Clod Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, January ii, 2007; A01

Teenagers from Uzbekistan, Korea and Egypt huddled one recent morning in a Fairfax County
classroom, studying English words on slips of paper. Dozens were familiar, but not
"bitter," "nibble" or "wicked." Felobateer Hana, 13, held up another. An animated movie
character came to mind: "Shrek?"

"Thmt’s a good guess, but Shrek doesn’t have an ’i’ in it," said teacher Karyn Niles at
Liberty 9~ddle School in Clifton. "This is ’shriek.’ Shriek is kind of like yelling."

Students such as Felobateer and his eighth-grade classmates, all recent iminigrants who are
learning English as a second language, are at the center of an intensifying dispute
between Virginia schools and the U.S. Department of Education over testing requirements
under the federa! No Child Left Behind law.

Fairfax County school officials are protesting a federal mandate to give most English
learners reading tests that mirror those taken by their native-speaking peers. Tonight,
the school system is taking a mm~or step toward challenging that mandate and the federa!
law.

School board member Phillip A. Niedzielski-Eichner (Providence), backed by other members


and school administrators, plans to propose a resolution that would authorize officials to
refuse to give immigrant students tests that they think most would fail.

The resolution could come to a vote as soon as Jan.


25. If it passes, several Fairfax schools probably will fal! short of federal academic
standmrds.
"When it comes between doing what’s educationally sound for children and doing what’s best
for bureaucrats, I’m siding with children every day of the week," said school board Member
Stuart D. Gibson (Hunter Mill).

School officials in Arlington and Harrisonburg are considering a similar step.

As Congress prepares to debate renewal of the five-year-old federal law, controversy has
emerged over how to measure the progress of children learning English. The federal
government objected last year to the way Virginia and 17 other states test limited-English
students. Often, federal officials indicated, the state tests for such students were not
demanding enough. They said that al! students in a given state must be held to the same
standards.

"It’s important students enrolled in our schools are properly assessed, and that includes
limited-English-proficient students," Chad Colby, an Education Department spokesman, said
yesterday. "With testing, we have more data. So policymakers and educators at every level
will have more information to make sure students who need more help get it."

One of the 17 states that drew a federal objection was Te~{as, home state of President
Bush. Another was New York, which has asked federal officials to waive test scores for
certain students who are recent immigrants.

Testing programs for English learners in Maryland and the District have withstood federal
scrutiny.
Page 66
Fairfax is well positioned to challenge the law because of its record of high academic
achievement, said Wa!rne E. Wright, professor of bicultural and bilingual studies at the
University of Texas in San Antonio.

"The feds are saying, ’If you say an English language learner cannot meet state standards,
you blve low expectations,’ " Wright said. "The classroom teachers are saying, ’The
federal government has completely unrealistic expectations.’ "
Until now, Virginia hms given English learners a specialized proficiency test to measure
progress in reading. Many Virginia educators say that children who lack mastery of the
language aren’t prepared for grade-level exams that may include questions about similes,
metaphors or analogies. They say it can take three or more years of school to reach that
level.

Federal law requires testing every year in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once
in high school.
The government exempts students who have been in a U.S. school for less than a year from
taking standard grade-level reading tests.

But after one year, the students are supposed to enter the testing mainstream. Federal
officials say that students with limited English skills may be given special assistance,
such as a bilingua! dictionary or more time on a test.

But many local educators say the federal standard is too lofty for students just beginning
to understand the nuances of English. The Virginia Board of Education has asked federal
officials for permission to use the old, specialized test this spring, giving the state a
year to design new tests aligned with state standards. Virginia’s congressional delegation
is lobbying Education Secretary Margaret Spellings to grant the request. Colby said
Spellings has not made a decision. Fairfax officials support the one-year deferral, saying
that it would be the best solution.

~bout 10,200 Virginia students are affected by the testing dispute, state officials said.
About 4,000 are in Fairfax, which has the largest school system in the state and the
Washington region.
At Liberty Middle School, Niles said her class shows why grade-level tests would stump
mmny recent immigrants. She said that her students are making rapid progress but are still
learning to decipher sounds and rules of English.

This week, the class was reading "The Enormous Crocodile," learning about character, plot
and theme through a fourth-grade text. Other eighth-graders who are native English
speakers were studying John Steinbeck’s "The Pear!." Niles predicted that many of her
students would be overwhelmed by passages in the standard state reading test.

"They’d shut down," she said. "They’ll just put their heads down."

Under the resolution, English learners will continue to take proficiency tests, and the
Fairfax district will report the results. Fairfax Superintendent Jack D. Dale is urging
principals and teachers to focus on Virginia standards and county goals and not worry
about the threat of federal sanctions.

"It’s time for us to describe what are the cft~lity parts about the law and what needs to
be altered to make sense," Dale said.

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Page 67

Nonresponsive!
Sent: January 10, 2007 6:32 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Ten*ell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Obstacles, opportunities for No Child (DMN)

Obstacles, opportunities for No Child


Bush, Congress must keep factions in check to secure deal
09:13 AM CST on Tuesdmy, January 9, 2007 William McKenzie, Dallas Morning News Columnist

If by this time next year, Congress and the 9~lite House have not worked out a compromise
on their top education bill, the No Child Left Behind Act, you will know that the left and
right have prevailed. In truth, there’s enough interest in the middle to get a new and
better model passed by year’s end.

From President Bush to Sen. Edward Kennedy and Rep.


George Hiller, the Democrats’ education leaders, key people up and down Perznsylvania
Avenue want this bill renewed now that its five-year life is ending. You could see that
yesterdmy when these people gathered at the White House to celebrate its anniversary.

But here are the problems:

-There is uncertainty about the quid pro quo the GOP administration and Democratic
Congress must strike.
This could be where the left kills the deal.

¯ It’s also unclear how much support Mr. Bush has among his o~rn people. This could be where
conservatives undermine things.

¯ .~knd there’s a procedural problem. Two education bills stand in line ahead of No Child.
Bills governing Head Start and overseeing federal aid to higher education have been stuck
for a while.

Surely, Congress realizes those bills don’t rival the importance of No Child, which is
crucial to students’
progress. By focusing on their performance, the law has sparked a vigorous discussion
about how well schools serve students, particularly !ow-income children. It also has
highlighted a gap between affluent and poor schools.

"NCLB put the gap on the map," Amy Wilkins of the respected Education Trust told me last
week.

The quid pro quo part will be difficult. Some Democrats will want big money to fund the
bil!, just as they did when No Child was written.

There’s little chance money will flow like a river since domestic dollars compete against
9/11 responses, foreign wars and budget rules that require legislators to pay for any
spending hike.

And whatever new cash there is must go into areas that matter. For example, extra dollars
could attract better teachers to inner-city schools and reward them for enlisting there
and teaching tough classes like mmth and science. They also deserve bonuses if their
evaluations show they’ve improved a struggling school.

Here’s another idea: Money could benefit programs that keep middle schoolers and early
high schoolers from dropping out. Eighth and ninth grades are where we start losing kids.

However, schools should only get more money in return for states being required to test
high school students each year. Today, No Child demands only tt~t states test kids in
Page 68
grades 3 through 8. If the goal is more college-ready kids, says Sandy Kress, who
negotiated the first No Child bill for Mr. Bush, then we need to know if they are ready.

Here’s a third area: Give states cash to create databases that allow their schools to know
how a child is doing year to year. Ms. Wilkins says states lack that ability, which also
would help schools evaluate teachers.

I don’t know how much each area needs, but they could form the basis of a deal.
Now, here’s the White House part of the exchange. It must cough up real funds, not simply
shift money from vocationml education into these or other efforts.

This could be a problem because some in the White House reportedly fret that more money
for No Child will anger conservatives frustrated about Bush-era spending. Hey, education,
we’ve done that already, some might think. Peanuts are enough.

I have little doubt Mr. Bush - and Education Secretary ]~argaret Spellings - wants to see
No Child expanded.
Education has been his passion since he was governor.
P~nd as one Texas Republican told me last week, this bill is his domestic legacy. Me can’t
let it fall apart.

What he must do is keep up the pressure; if not, a combination of Iraq worries, budget
pressures and staff hesitancy could slow things down.

This is more than some political scuffle. We need this bill to keep the pressure on
schools so students can become creative thinkers and sustain our way of life.

And if that doesn’t get Washington’s attention, I don’t know what will.

William McKenzie is a Dallas Morning News editorial columnist. His e-mail address is
~Tmckenzie@dallasnews.com.

~y questions? Get answers on any topic at w~.Answers.yahoo.com. Try it now.


Page 69

I.N_onrespons
(b)( ~eOo~: .............................
January 10, .........................
2007 6:28 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: As NCLB Turns 5, Washington Outlines Ways to Change It (EDWEEK)

As NCLB Turns 5, Washington Outlines Ways to Change It By David J. Hoff and Lynn Olson
Washington The fifth anniversary of the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act hmd more
to do with its future than its past.
In a series of events across Washington on Jan. 8, Bush administration officials and
lawmakers started to outline their ideas of how to revise the law, addressing the need to
improve teacher quality, find ways to turn around struggling schools, and establish
challenging standards that define what students should know and be able to do.
At a White House meeting, President Bush met with the leaders of Congress’ education
committees, covering all of those issues and others, including whether the law has
adequate funding behind it.
"We K~de our case that the legislation clearly needs additional resources to be
successful," Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Education and Labor
Committee, said in a news conference after the White House meeting. "I do not believe we
can accomplish [reauthorization] without additional funding."
Earlier in the day, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings outlined several
important changes she and others in the Bush administration want Congress to make as it
revisits the law, which is scheduled to be reauthorized this year.
Ms. Spellings said the law has been successful in spawning academic improvements in
elementary schools, and said she would like to see its emphasis on testing and
accountability extended further into high schools.
The law currently requires states to assess students in grades 3-8 and at least once in
high school.
"We need more accountability, more measurement," she said in a speech at the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce’s headquarters. "We need to broaden our accountability with additional
subjects. It’s absolutely critical that we focus on high schools this year."
National Standards
Also on Monday, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., the second-ranking majority member on
the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and a potential presidential
contender, and Rep. Vernon J.
Ehlers, R-Mich., introduced a bill thmt would provide incentives for states to adopt
voluntary national education standards in mathematics and science, to be developed by the
governing board for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
A few days earlier, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-I~ss., the new chairman of that co~m~ittee,
introduced a bill that would encourage states to benchmark their om-n standards and tests
to N~P, often kno~,~n as the "nation’s report card," but would stop short of developing
national education standards. Both bills would give states incentives to increase the
rigor of their standards, rather than mmndate national standards. Secretary Spellings said
she would support efforts such as Sen. Kennedy’s that would provide states with incentives
to independently adopt challenging standards.
"’Any time there’s a carrot approach as opposed to a stick for raising the bar, that will
be well received," Ms. Spe!lings said at the White House news conference.
Earlier in the day, in a speech commemorating the law’s anniversary, she said she would
not support anything that would give her or her agency control over the content of such
standmrds. "I’m not sure people want me to be the person setting standards for their
schools," she said.
Vol. 26, Issue Web only

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Check out Yahoo! Messenger’s low PC-to-Phone call rates.
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Page 71

Nonresponsive!
............................. kathetiiiem-ci-ane~- .......................... j
January 10, 2007 6:25 AM
Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: New Bills Would Prod States to Take National View on Standards (EDWEEK)

Published: Janumry 9, 2007


New Bills Would Prod States to Take National View on Standards By Lynn Olson Washington As
Congress moves to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act as early as this year, at least
one topic will be high on the list: increasing the rigor of state standmrds and tests by
linking them to those set at the nationa! level.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-~ss., the new chmirman of the Senate education committee,
introduced a bill late last week that would encourage states to benchmark their o~-~
standards and tests to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often kno~ as the
"nation’s report card," but would stop short of calling for the development of national
standards.
~d on Monday, Connecticut Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, the committee’s second-ranking
Democrat and a potential presidentia! contender, introduced a bipartisan bill with Rep.
Vernon J. Ehlers, R-Mich., thmt would go a step further by providing incentives for states
to adopt voluntary "American education content standards" in m~thematics and science, to
be developed by the governing board for NAEP.
About 40 organizations have endorsed the Dodd-Ehlers bill, including such Washington-based
groups as the National Education Association, the Thomas B. Eordham Foundation, the
Alli~ce for Excellent Education, and the Council of the Great City Schools. The sponsors
have ~ust begun circulating the bill on Capitol Hill in an attempt to gain additional
congression~l sponsors.
Studies over the past year have found that, in many states, a far higher percentage of
students score at the proficient level on state tests than on NAEP.
That’s led to concerns that states’ standards and tests may not be stringent enough, and
that pressure to meet achievement targets under the NCLB law may be having the perverse
incentive of encouraging states to lower their standards.
"Core American standards would set high goals for all students, al!ow for meaningful
comparisons across states, and ensure that all of our students are prepared for higher
education," Sen. Dodd said at an event held here Monday to unvei! his bil!. Creating
incentives for states to adopt such standards voluntarily is the way to go, he stressed,
emphasizing "there are no mandates here."
Incentives for States
The Dodd-Ehlers bil!, the Standards to Provide Educational Achievement for all Kids, or
SPEAK Act, would require the Nationa! Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for
~EP, to create voluntary national education standards in math and science for grades K-12
and ensure that they are internmtionally competitive. States could compete for grants of
up to
$4 million each to adopt the math and science standards as the core of their o~Tn state
content standards.
States that won the awards would have to align their state tests in math and science with
the standmrds and with NAEP achievement levels in those subjects. They also ~ould have to
align teacher licensure, preparation, and professional-development requirements with the
new standards.
As a further incentive to adopt the voluntary national standards, the bill would permit
the U.S. secretary of education to extend the 2014 deadline for states to get all students
to the proficient level on state reading and math tests under the NCLB law by up to fotm
years. In addition, states that fulfilled the grant requirements would be eligible for
additional bonus grants, equal to 5 percent of their Title I allocation under the federal
law, to develop data systems that can track individual student performance over time.
U.S. Secretary of Education Mmrgaret Spellings has indicated, however, that she has no
interest in shifting the 2014 deadline for al! students to reach proficiency under the
federal law.
The bill introduced by Sen. Kem_nedy would stop short of advocating voluntary national
education standards, but instead would use N.~P as a national benchmark.
That bill, the States Using Collaboration and Coordination to Enhance Standards for
Page 72
Students, or SUCCESS Act, would require that NAEP revise its standards and tests to ensure
that they are internationally competitive.
At the 12th grade level, NAEP also would have to incorporate measures of whether students
are prepared for college, the military, and the workforce. The bil! would require the U.S.
secretary of education to analyze gaps in student performance on state and NAEP tests and
to identify those states with the most sigr~ificant discrepancies. States could ask the
governing board for NAEP to help analyze state standards and tests compared with the N~P
benchmarks and devise a plan to c!ose any gaps.
Sen. Kennedy’s bill also would provide $200 million for state grants to establish P-16
Preparedness Councils that would engage members of the education, business, and military
communities in aligning state standards mith the skills needed for success in college and
the workplace. And it would provide up to
$75 million for state consortia to establish common standards and tests that are rigorous,
internationally competitive, and aligned with postsecondary demands.
’An Inexorable March’?
"The country is on an inexorable march toward national education standards," said Michael
Dannenberg, the director of the education policy program at the Washington-based New
America Foundation. "The question is no longer if, but when and how."
At the Monday event, which was co-sponsored by New .~kmerica Foundation, Sen. Dodd played
down differences between the two bills, saying that there are a variety of bills focused
on raising education standards "is very encouraging."
But he argued that his legislation would go further in changing the status quo. 9~ile the
bill focuses on math and science standards as more politically feasible, he added, he’d
support voluntary national standards in other subgects over time.
Sen. Kennedy’s office also downplayed any differences between the two pieces of
legislation. "As today’s economy redefines the knowledge and skills needed to compete in
the global marketplace, it’s crucial now more than ever for our schools to challenge al!
students to learn to high standards," Mr. Kennedy said in an e-mail.
But ~mdrew J. Rotherham, the president of the Washington-based think tank Education
Sector, and a former domestic policy adviser in the Clinton White House, cautioned that
the Dodd bil! would have a "tough row to hoe" on Capitol Hill. "When you get outside some
policy elites, who are big on this, you don’t see a real groundswell of support" for
national standards, he said.
Noting that NAEP is still "incredibly contentious," he also questioned whether relying on
NAGB to do the work is the best way to go. "I’m much more partia! to letting the states do
this from the bottom up," he said. "I think you’re more likely to get that substantive
buy- in. "
"All that said," Mr. Rotherham added, "today was symbolically important in terms of
national standards."
"That you’ve got a bill from a guy who’s thim_king seriously about runming for president,"
he said, referring to Sen. Dodd," all substance aside, it was an important sigr~l, and we
shouldn’t lose sight of that."
The Dodd-Ehlers bil! also would require NAEP to test science, in addition to reading and
math, in grades 4, 8, and 12 every two years and require states receiving school
improvement funds under the NCLB law to participate in such tests for students in grades 4
and 8, beginr~ing with the 2007-08 school year.
Associate Editor David J. Hoff contributed to this report.
Vol. 26, Issue Web only

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Page 73

Nonresponsi
January 10, 2007 6:13 AM
Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Bush to Start NCLB Push in Congress (EDWEEK)

Published: January I0, 2007


Bush to Start NCLB Push in Congress
President, Spellings signal delay is not inevitable.
By David J. Hoff
~{aking college more affordable, raising the minimum wage, and other domestic items were at
the top of Democrats’ agenda when they formally took control on Capito! Hill last week.
President Bush, meanwhile, made olear that another item was near the top of his list:
reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act.
To mark the fifth anniversary of his signing the measure into law on Jan. 8, the president
invited leading members of the new ll0th Congress to the White House to discuss his goal
of revising the law on schedule by the end of the year.
"It’s a very high priority," Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said in an
interview last week.
"We’ve come a long way in five years. We’re in a place where we need to build on the core
principles of the law and go to the next level."
The possibility that the NCLB reauthorization wil! emerge as a top-tier issue this year
upset the conventional wisdom in Washington that tackling the law would be too time-
consuming and politically difficult in 2007, let alone during the presidential-campaign
season next year.

Senators gather in the Old Senate Chamber at the U.S.


Capitol for a caucus before the Democrats take control last week.
--Win McNamee/Getty Images
In a December survey of 12 Washington lobbyists and think tank researchers, all but one
said they did not expect Congress to pass changes to the law until 2009, the Thomms B.
Fordhm!n Foundation reported last week.
Even with Mr. Bush’s active involvement, it would be difficult to push an NCLB bill
through Congress this year, said Michael J. Petrilli, the vice president of national
programs and policy for the Washington-based think tank.
"It’s still unlikely because the calendar is so challenging," he said. To meet the
deadline, "they have to be putting pen to paper immediately," said Mr.
Petrilli, who served in the Department of Education during President Bush’s first term.
A prominent Washington policy expert not surveyed by the Fordh~m Foundation said that
Congress is unlikely to finish the reauthorization because it has other things to
accomplish, and it doesn’t have firm answers on how to fix problems in the law.
~’I don’t see any rush to reauthorize," said Jack Jennings, a former aide to House
Democrats who is now the president of the Center on Education Policy, a Washington
research and advocacy group that has been tracking the law’s impact.
Now or Later
But officials at the local level expressed optimism that Congress will solve the problems
that states and districts are having in complying with the la~, which requires schools and
districts to meet ambitious achievement goals and holds them accountable for failing to
reach them.
"There are a lot of things ... that need to be fixed,"
said Ellen C. Guiney, the executive director of the Boston Plan for Excellence in the
Public Schools, a group working to improve the city’s schools.
For example, the law gives states the authority to take over schools that fail to make
annual acadenzic goals. But it doesn’t say whether states have the power to ignore teacher
collective-bargaining agreements while doing so. If a state tries to do so, it is likely
to face a legal challenge from teachers’
unions.
"Do you [answer the question] in the courts, or do you do it by getting clarity in the
statute?" said Ms.
Page 74
Guiney, a former aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.
Under the NCLB law, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, funding
authority for Title I and other programs in the statute expires on Oct. 1 of this year.
Although that date is written into law, Congress has routinely extended such deadlines for
the ESEA and other laws.

New Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is greeted by Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.,
as the ll0th Congress convenes on Jan. 4.
--Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
When Democrats won majorities in both the House and the Senate in the midterm elections,
they said they would pursue a long list of domestic priorities they had emphasized during
the campaign. In education, those plans included lowering student-loan interest rates and
creating new tax breaks for college-tuition costs. On Jan. 17, the House is scheduled to
consider a bill to cut student-loan interest rates in half by 2011.
The Democratic agenda also encompasses improving access to health care, raising the
minimum wage, and other issues outside of education.
But the two most powerful lawmakers on education matters have said that the NCLB law is on
their lists for action. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the new chairman of the House
Education and Labor Committee, said last month that renewal of the law was a "very, very
high priority." (His committee has reverted to its longtime name after being called
"Education and the Workforce" under the Republican majority.) In a post-election speech on
the Senate floor, Sen.
Kennedy, now the chairman of his chamber’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Committee, listed several labor and health-care bills before mentioning the NCLB
reauthorization as part of his agenda.
Even while other issues may take priority, Rep. Miller and Sen. Kennedy are laying the
groundwork for the reauthorization process.
Rep. Miller plans to hold hearings that will address critical issues facing the MCLB law,
according to a House aide familiar with the plans. Those include how to measure students’
academic gro~h in determining whether schools and districts are making adequate yearly
progress, or AYP, how to recruit the "highly qualified" teachers required under the law,
and how to improve states’ reporting of graduation rates, the aide said.
In the Senate, Mr. Kennedy hopes to begin NCLB hearings next month, said Melissa Wagoner,
a spokeswoman for the education committee.
In his speech to the Senate, the senator’s main goal for the reauthorization of the law
will be to give struggling schools help in meeting their AYP targets.
The aid could include financial and other incentives for highly qualified teachers to stay
in such schools, as wel! as professional development on how to address students’ failure
to meet proficiency goals.
Also in the speech, Sen. Kennedy said he wants to ensure that states set challenging
academic standards and improve the quality of schoo! assessments.
Room for Compromise
In the interview last week, Secretary Spellings said that the Bush administration wants
Congress to address issues such as using "’growth models" in calculating students’ academic
progress, expanding access to school choice and tutoring, and improving assessment of
special education students and English-language learners.
But she said the administration is steadfast in principles that are the "heart and soul"
of the law.
Those include the goal that all students be proficient in reading and mathematics by the
end of the 2013-14 school year, and that schools annually test students in grades 3-8 and
once in high school to determine whether their students are making progress toward meeting
that goal.
The administration is also committed, she said, to ensuring that test-score data continue
to be broken down by ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic subgroups.
"’Those things are sound, true, and righteous," Ms.
Spellings said.
But exactly how to accomplish those objectives wil! likely be the subject of intense
debate.
Last week, the Eorum on Educational Accountability, a coalition of i00 education, civil
rights, and religious groups, recommended changes to the law that would cross some of
those principles. The forum said it wants to "’replace the law’s arbitrary proficiency
targets with ambitious achievement targets based on rates of success actually achieved by
the most effective public schools."
The member groups include the National Education Association, the National School Boards
Association, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People The
recommendations show how hard it will be to build consensus around the NCLB law even
Page 75
though President Bush, Rep. Miller, and Sen. Kennedy all support the underlying
principles, said Mr. Petrilli of the Fordham Foundation.
Democrats wil! have to assuage groups such as the NEA, the N~ACP, and others traditionally
aligned with them.
The Republicans will have a similar dilemma getting support from conservative groups that
believe the law gives too much authority to the federal government, Mr. Petrilli said.
"They’re going to have to deal with the anger on the right and on the left,’" he said.
To enmct a rene~a! of the No Child Left Behind law or any other major bills, Democrats
will need President Bush’s support and possibly help from Republicans in Congress.
As House leaders move quickly to pass legislation to raise the minimum wage and cut
student-loan rates, they may be spoiling their chmnces of bipartisan cooperation later,
said one Democrat with long public policy experience.
"’The Democrats are making a tactical mistake. There’s a lot to be said for this fast
start--it projects energy--but they’re passing up a chmnce to practice working with the
Republicans," said Alice M. Rivlin, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a
Washington think tank, who was the director of the White House Office of Management and
Budget under President Clinton.
"They can’t do any big piece of legislation, any expensive piece of legislation without
working" in a bipartisan way, she said.
Staff Writer Alyson Klein contributed to this report.

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Page 76

Nonresponsi
............................. k~me~e-m-dan~ .......................... J
January 08, 2007 6:12 AM
Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Dan Lips: Bush left too many good education ideas behind (WE)

Dan Lips: Bush left too many good education ideas behind Dan Lips, The Examiner Read more
by Dan Lips Jan 8, 2007 3:00 AM (3 hrs ago) Current rank: # 167 of 12,072 articles

WASHINGTON - Five years ago, President Bush signed into law No Child Left Behind. As a new
Congress prepares to debate the law’s future, the White House is working to build support
for renewing it without any serious reforms. Last week, Education Secretary ~rgaret
Spellings remarked that she was looking only at proposals to "perfect or tweak" it.

But the Bush administration’s satisfaction with No Child Left Behind is surprising because
the President’s original education agenda ~s very different from today’s law. President
Bush once advocated limiting federal power in education. During the 2000 campaign, he
pledged that he did not want to be "federal superintendent of schools" or the "national
principal." He promised not to "tinker with the machinery of the federal role in
education" but to "redefine that role entirely."

After entering the White House, Bush unveiled the original No Child Left Behind plan. One
of this plan’s main pillars was to give states and school districts control in exchange
for strong accountability. "The federal government must be wise enough to give states and
school districts more authority and freedom," the White House explained. "~d it must be
strong enough to require proven performance in return."

The president proposed a "charter state" option for "state and districts committed to
accountability and reform." This would have allowed participating states and districts to
enter into five-year agreements with the secretary of education to free them from federal
mandates while still requiring public school to be transparent about results through
student testing and extensive public reporting.

Yet Congress scrapped much of President Bush’s original plan. The 1,!00-page bill that
emerged established new federal requirements and boosted fL~ding for elementary and
secondary education programs by approximately 26 percent. All that remained of the
"charter state" option was a smmll provision to grant states and school districts limited
flexibility in transferring funds between existing federal programs. Little was done to
cut masteful programs or streamline the expensive education bureaucracy.

The federal government still provides only 8.5 percent of education funding. No Child Left
Behind, however, gave the Department of Education great powers to exert control over local
schools. Policies once left to local leaders, concerning student testing and teacher
qualifications, are now set by the federal government.

This new federal power comes at a large cost to local school districts, beyond the loss of
control.
.According to the Office of Management and Budget, No Child Left Behind costs state and
local communities an additionml 6,688,814 hours, or $140 million, to fill out paperwork
and ensure compliance. Thousands of state and local workers across the country spend their
days on this task, instead of teaching students or otherwise contributing to their
education.

The increase in federal power has led states and school districts to question whether the
federal government’s funding for education is worth the cost of submitting to federal
mandates. Many state legislatures t~mve debated resolutions criticizing No Child Left
Behind. Some states like Utah have even come close to opting out of the program
altogether.
But doing so would cost the state millions in federal funding, and taxpayers sending their
money to Washington expect to get some of it back for education.
Page 77

The Bush administration has responded to state and loca! revolts with waivers and some
flexibility, on a case-by-case basis. Getting a waiver is a tug-of-war match between the
Department of Education and local leaders, and they do little, anyway, to empower state
and local education officials to take real control over education decision-making.

In 2007, Democrats and Republicans alike should recognize the benefits of state and local
control in education. Letting states enter into a "charter agreement" with the federal
government for greater freedom and flexibility would spur progress in education.

State leaders and local school leaders, not federal bureaucrats, would be responsible for
improving student learning. And communities across the country would experiment with
different policies, share results, and learn which solutions work best, from school choice
to higher teacher pay.

The llOth Congress has the opportunity to set a new course for .~merican education.
Restoring state and local control should be its destination.

Dan Lips is education analyst at the Heritage Foundation, ~.Heritage.org.

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Page 78

~Nonresponsiv
............................. I<atherin e-m-el-an e-[ .........................
January 08, 2007 5:47 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Report card mixed on education law (GNS)

Report card mixed on education law

Ledyard King
Gannett News Service

Washington -- Cecilia Hedina of Denver loves the free tutoring her daughter receives as a
result of the No Child Left Behind Act. Teacher Debra Kadon is angry the law’s focus on
testing has turned her Green Bay, Wis., middle school classroom into an assembly line.
Five years after President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law, passions
about its impact run high.

The controversial law changed the climate of public schooling in the United States by
requiring that states not only measure whether all students are learning the basics but
also punish those schools whose kids aren’t.

Students are being tested on math and reading in most grades, states are using those test
scores to flag thousands of schools for poor performance each year, and low-income parents
are finding an unprecedented opportunity to ship their children to better schools or take
advantage of free tutoring.

"Last year, it really helped with the reading," Medina said about the after-school help
her elementary school-age daughter gets at no charge.

That’s the kind of success U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is expected to tout
today as she addresses the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about the law’s impact.

But there are plenty of doubters as well who say the law’s heavy emphasis on testing has
squeezed out time for the arts, physical education and other elements of schooling that
capture children’s interest and keep them in class. The Nationml Education Association,
the country’s largest teachers union and a critic of the law, issued a report Sunday
filled with lamentations from teachers.
"The joy of teaching and learning is being sucked out of our schools," wrote Kadon, a
middle school teacher.
"Children are being forced to endure endless hours of rote skill practice at the expense
of higher-level thinking projects (and) activities."

The law requires states to test students in third through eighth grade in math and English
and once in high schoo!. Schools make "adequate yearly progress"
not only if they do well overall, but also if every student subgroup (blacks, whites,
disabled students, non-English speakers, etc.) in every grade either scores above a level
set by the state or shows steady progress from the previous year.

~bout a quarter of the nation’s 90,000-plus public schools failed to make AYP in 2004-05,
according to the U.S. Department of Education.

High-poverty schools that miss improving even one group for multiple years must give
parents the opportunity to transfer to another school or provide free tutoring beyond the
school day. After five consecutive years, they must restructure by closing the schoo!,
replacing the staff or undertaking some other major step.

Critics, including the National School Boards Association, say helping schools -- not
punishing them -- is far more effective.
Page 79

The law expires next year, so Congress will spend the next few months deciding what
changes to make.

With Democrats now in control of Capitol Hill, congressional leaders are promising to find
more money so states can implement the requirements more quickly.
Since 2002, lawmakers have provided states with nearly
$56 billion less tb~n what was authorized under the law.

The law also requires schools to have "highly qualified" teachers in every classroom and
that states draw up standards so schools with a high crime rate can be identified and
helped. All students also must be proficient in math and English by 2014 under the law.

But while it requires student proficiency, qumlified teachers and safe schools, it allows
states to define those standards. That’s been a big failing in the law, said Philadelphia
Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas, who would like to see more national standards.

Still, he likes the law.

"It’s forced cities to take greater responsibility for their individual schools," said
Vallas, who once ran the Chicago schoo! system. "And it’s forced schools to be more
innovative about finding ways to improve student performance -- even when not having
enough resources."

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January 08, 2007 5:25 AM


To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, Jana; Mcni[t, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
How Bush education law has changed our schools (USAT)

How Bush education law has chmnged our schoolsUpdmted


1/8/2007 1:26 AM ET
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
The ~Talls are speaking these days at Stanton Elementary School in Philadelphia, and
they’re talking about test scores.
Post-It notes with children’s rmkmes tell the story of how, in ~ust five years, a federal
law with a funny name has changed schoo! for everyone. "We spend most of our days talking
about or looking at data,"
principal Barbara Adderley says.

Test scores run her week.

She meets with kindergarten teachers on Monday, first-grade teachers on Tuesday and so on.
The meetings begin with a !ook at each teacher’s "assessment wall," filled with color-
coded Post-Its representing each pupi! and whether he or she is mmking steady progress in
basic skills. Once students master a skill, the Post-Its move up the wall.

"If they don’t move, then we have to talk about what’s happening," Adderley says.
Wl~at’s driving the talk? President Bush’s landmark education law, dubbed No Child Left
Behind.

A cornerstone of Bush’s domestic agenda and one of his few truly bipartisan successes, it
took what was once a fairly low-key funding vehicle (it was known as the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act before Bush borrowed the catchy name from the Children’s Defense
Fund) and turned it into a vast -- and contentious -- book of federal mandates.
At its simplest, the law aims to improve the basic skills of the nation’s public school
children, particularly poor and minority students.

At Stanton, it seems to hmve made a difference. In 2003, fewer than two in I0 kids here
met state reading standards; by 2005, ~out seven in i0 did.

The law turns 5 years old today.

It faces a tough future as Congress prepares to reauthorize it -- a group of i00


education, religion and civil rights leaders today am_nounces an effort calling for
changes."

Is it improving education nationwide? It’s too early to tell --many schools didn’t get
around to enacting most of its more than 1,000 pages of regulations until two or three
years ago. U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings says the law wasn’t being fully
implemented in all 50 states until 2006.

But one thing is certain: No Child Left Behind has had a magor influence on the daily
experience of school for millions of kids. Here are five big ways it’s changing schools.
It’s driving teachers crazy

Here’s a pretty safe rule of thumb: Start £n the classroom and travel up the educational
food chain.
The further you travel, the more you’ll find that people like the law. Mention it to most
teachers and they’ll ~ust rol! their eyes. Many principals tolerate it. Ask a local
Page 81
superintendent, a state superintendent or a governor and the assessment gets rosier as
their suit gets more expensive.

Carmen Mel@ndez quit her job as a bilingual language arts teacher at an elementary school
last spring in Orange County, Fla., after the law prompted her principal to institute 90-
minute reading blocks and a scripted curriculum -- in the process making individualized
instruction impossible. Mel@ndez also found that she couldn’t teach poetry anymore.

"It was insane," she says. "The kids were all jaded.
They were tired-- they hated schoo!."

Most of the frustration, teachers will tell you, comes from the stress of mmndated math
and reading tests.
The law requires thmt virtually al! children be tested each year starting in third grade
-- and it doles out grov~ng penalties if schools don’t raise scores each year. Naturally,
test day in most schools is fraught with tension.

"They’re 8 years old, and they’re so worried about a passing score," Mel@ndez says. "I
think that’s inhumane."

Dianne Campbel!, director of testing and accountability in Rockingham County, N.C., told
the ~merican School Board Journal in 2003 that administrators discard as many as 20 test
booklets on exam days because children vomit on them.

Also, many state rating systems (which often predated No Child Left Behind) now end up
celebrating the same schools the federal law slams.
Longstreet Elementary School in Daytona Beach, Fla., has scored high on the state ratings
for five years, but Longstreet is one of 21 Volusia County schools due for "corrective
action" this year under the law.

"Our parents are thrilled at what happens at our school -- and a lot of what happens at
our school has nothing to do with No Child Left Behind," says counse!or Bill Archer.

Jack Jennings of the Center on Education Policy, a Washington education research group,
says some of the testing actually helps drive better instructional strategies and, in that
respect, is helpful. But he says teachers tell him they’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume
of testing, which can last six weeks in some schools.

"I don’t think you can go into a teacher meeting in the country without somebody bringing
up No Child Left Behind," he says.
After five years, the law has even spawned an online petition that, as of Sunday, had
about 22,500 signatures of people urging Congress to repeal it.
Along with his signature, teacher Mark Quig-Martman of Vallejo, Calif., said: "I am well
on my way to becoming an embittered and mediocre teacher who heretofore considered
teaching to be a profession, not a job. I once loved wh~t I did. I do not now, nor do my
students; school has become a rather grim and joyless place for al!."

Teachers’ unions have often been the law’s loudest critics. One top National Education
~sociation official even entertained the NEA’s 2004 conference in Washington by appearing
onstage with an acoustic glLitar and singing a protest song with this unforgettable hook:
"If we have to test their butts off, there’ll be no child’s behind left."
And if you think it’s just teachers who complain, think again: 2006 saw even the law’s
most ardent supporters complaining, but for a very different
reason: They say states and school districts game the sqIstem by lowering their standards.

Because the law allows each state to set its o~rn pass/fail bar on skills tests,
"proficient" means something different depending on which state you live in. The
percentage of Missouri fourth-graders at or above "proficient" in English is only 35%, but
89% of Mississippi fourth-graders meet that state’s standards. In math, only 39% of Maine
fourth-graders are proficient or better; in North Carolina, 92% are.
Philadelphia Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas jokes that to really improve scores in his
2
Page 82
city, he could make classes smaller and modernize buildings. "Or we can give everyone the
Illinois test," he says.

It’s narrowing what many schools teach

If nothing else, the law’s first five years h~ve proved the maxim "What gets tested gets
taught."

The law’s annual testing requirements in math and reading have led many schools to pt~p up
the amount of time they spend teaching these two staples -- often at the expense of other
subjects, such as history, art or science.

Jennings found that 71% of districts are reducing time on other subjects in elementary
school.

"What we’re getting under (the law) is a very strong emphasis on building skills at the
expense of history and literature and science," says researcher Thomas Toch of the
Education Sector, a Washington think tank.

Other critics say the law has created a "complexity gap." Children in lower grades have
mmde improvements -- some impressive m in basic skills, but the improvements vanish in
middle school and beyond, when kids are tested on more complex conceptu~l thinking.

Brown University researcher Hmrtin West this fall compared federal data from 2000 and
2004, and found that since No Child Left Behind, elementary schools have spent, on
average, 23 fewer minutes a week on science and 17 fewer minutes on history. He also found
that in states that test history and science each spring, teachers spend about half an
hour more a week on each subject.

He also found, oddly, that after a large jump in the 1990s, schools actually spend a few
minutes less a week on math -- but they stil! spend more than twice as much time on math
than on either history or science.
And they spend more than twice as much time on reading and language as on math.

"Schools really do respond to the incentives that are provided to them," West says. "That
places a huge premium on getting the incentives correct."
But he and others aren’t quite ready to say the law is dumbing down school.

Researcher Jane Hannaway of the Urban Institute theorizes that improved reading skills may
help children understand other topics, even if they’re spending less class time on them.

She recently looked at Texas fourth-graders’


standardized test scores and found that they had some of the nation’s highest ~rks in
science -- even though they don’t tackle science until fifth grade. One possible theory?
The children in Texas were simply able to read the test questions better.

’Invisible’ students get attention

Even opponents of No Child Left Behind grudgingly concede that, five years out, the law
has revolutionized how schools look at poor, minority and disabled children in big cities,
who often find themselves struggling academically. It forces schools to !ook at test score
dmta in a whole new light, breaking out the scores into 35 or more "subgroups."

If even one group fails to make "Adequate Yearly Progress," or AYP, in a year, the whole
school is labeled as "in need of improvement."

Perhaps most significant, the law has given a handfu! of big-city superintendents the
politica! leverage to make radical changes m they can now make the case thmt "federal
requirements" m~ke them necessary.

In Philadelphia, public schools CEO Paul Vallas invoked the law when, in one school year,
2002-0S, he replaced all of the city’s elementary and middle schoo! math and language arts
textbooks and hired Kaplan, the test-prep company, to write a standardized core
curriculum.
Page 83

He pumped up full-day kindergarten and preschoo! -- Philly students are now 50% more
likely to have attended preschool than before the law -- and instituted extended-day math
and reading programs for struggling students. "No Child Left Behind gave us the cover to
do it," he says.

In the past three years, he also has dismissed 750 teachers who didn’t meet minimum
standards the law put in place.

"We would have never been able to do that without the federal (Sword of) Damocles hanging
over our head, " he says.

Superintendents in New York City, Chicago, San Diego and elsewhere have made similar --
and sometimes bigger -- changes under the cover of No Child Left Behind.

Spellings says the law has had similar effects nationwide. "It has built an appetite to
pay attention to kids who have been overlooked previously," she says.

A few observers, such as Mike Petrilli, a former top Bush administration official, say the
law has been felt most keenly by suburban school districts, where for years low achievers
weren’t a priority because high-achieving kids could bring up the district average.

Petrilli, who now works for the Fordham Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank,
says the idea of breaking out poor and minority kids’ scores was "really revolutionary" in
most suburbs.

It has prompted many suburban districts in places such as Montclair, N.J.; Shaker Heights,
Ohio; and Evanston, Ill., to form a co-op that shares ways to help once-neglected minority
kids.

"There’s general agreement that (the law) has created more of a sense of urgency," says
education blogger and Virginia State Board of Education member Andrew Rotherham.
that looks like in individual schools varies, but in many, "urgency" is not pretty.

"It really has brought the Hounds of Hell dom-n on the schools of Prince William County,"
says Betsie Fobes, a recently retired eighth-grade algebra and pre-algebra teacher at
Parkside Middle School in Manassas, Va. "This AYP business is just killing us --
absolutely killing us."

Parkside, which has seen a large Latino influx, didn’t meet its goals two years in a row
-- so now teachers must attend twice-weekly meetings, often focused on testing. They’ve
built in a tutorial period, and even secretaries do their share of tutoring.

"The entire school is revolving pretty much around these kids who fit into these
subgroups," Fobes says.

It’s making the school day longer

If a restaurant takes 12 eggs and makes a lousy omelette, will adding another two eggs
make it better?

If a school can’t teach a child to read in seven hours, will eight do the trick?

Under No Child Left Behind, the answer is: Probably yes.

The law requires schools that don’t make adequate yearly progress to offer free transfers
to a better-performing public school.

If results don’t improve the next year, the school must begin offering free after-school
tutoring -- in many cases with classes taught by the school’s own teachers with whom the
kids were failing during the school day.

William Bennett, Ronald Reagan’s education secretary, invoked the egg metaphor, and as it
turns out, a lot of families -- and teachers -- are willing to try the omelette. In the
Page 84
2004-05 school year, 1.4 million students were eligible for the tutoring, and about 17%
took a@vantage of it.

Spellings says the tutoring is often provided by different teachers from the ones a kid
sees during the regular day. Perhmps more important, she says, the law is forcing large
districts such as Los Angeles to figure out how to keep kids from needing tutoring in the
first place.

"They’re ... sitting there thinking, ’9~at the heck? How can we have so many kids who can’t
get to grade level in the course of the school day? What needs to happen in the school day
different?’ "

It’s changing how reading is taught

Forget everything else No Child Left Behind stands for. If it does nothing else, advocates
say, it will have improved poor kids’ reading in unprecedented ways. A few say it already
has.

The law gives schools $1 billion a year to spend on reading and focuses it, laser-like, on
5,600 schools that serve the nation’s poorest 1.8 million kids. It starts with kids as
soon as they enter school and, so far, has trained 103,000 teachers on "scientifically
base~’ reading strategies heavy in phonics, step-by-step lessons and practice, practice,
practice.

.And because many schools build their reading programs around what primary grades do, it
could affect millions more students’ reading skills.

How could it fail? Easily, say critics such as Susan Ohmnian. She points to overly
scripted reading curricula and a curious little reading test called DIBELS, which makes it
easy to rate children’s reading skills, in part by asking them to look at nonsense words;
it then rates them on their ability to read the words aloud--very quickly.

"I have never seen anything like this," says Ohanian, a former New York teacher who blogs
about education in general and No Child Left Behind in particular. She bemoans the loss of
teacher autonomy and says DIBELS is one of its worst symptoms.

"I don’t dispute that it’s quick and easy and it’s a tool -- and if you just used it that
way, I probably wouldn’t have a problem with it," she says. But she
adds: "They’re using DIBELS to hold kids back in kindergarten. And that’s where it becomes
really evil.
Some kids are just not ready for that skills stuff."

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]
January 04, 2007 6:30 AM
’To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerd; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: ’No Child’ Law on Track, Spellings Says (WP)

’No Child’ Law on Track, Spellings Says


By A m it R. Baley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 4, 2007; AIO

U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said yesterday that she welcomed proposals to
"perfect and tweak" the No Child Left Behind law as Congress prepares for what could
become a divisive debate on renewal of the landmark education initiative.

But in an interview five days before the act’s fifth anniversary, Spellings said its
implementation was on track. She rejected calls for a major re%~ite of the law, including
some proposals advanced yesterday by a coalition of about i00 groups with a stake in
education.

"We’ve made more progress in the last five years than the previous 28 years," Spellings
said. "Can the law be improved? Should we build on what we’ve done and all of that sort of
thing? You bet. But I don’t hear people saying: ’You know what? We really don’t need to
have education for all students.’ "

Her remarks come as various groups begin to weigh in on the law and what they believe
works and what does not. The No Child Left Behind law is scheduled to be reauthorized by
Congress, but it is uncertain when lawmakers will act.

The Forum on Educational Accountability -- a coalition that includes education, religious,


civi! rights and disability rights groups -- said yesterday that the law overemphasizes
standardized tests and arbitrary academic targets. The coalition also criticized penalties
the law imposes on schools that fail to meet standards.
"We don’t have to throw out the whole law and make a big political battle," said Reginald
M Felton, a serior !obbyist for the National School Boards Association, a member of the
coalition. "But we need to change from the punitive, ’gotchai’ kind of approach to actual
support for progress."

The coalition includes the National Parent Teacher Association, the NAACP and the National
Education Association, a teachers union. The coalition has called for more federa!
education funding to help schools meet the law’s mandates.

Spellings said the past five years have laid the foundation for the law’s key goal of
ensuring that every child can read and write at grade level by 2014.
Under the law, states must test al! students in reading and math from grades 3 to 8 and
once in high school. Schools that fail to mmke adequate progress face a range of
penalties.

The Bush administration has granted some states flexibility in how they carry out the law.
For example, North Carolina and Tennessee are experimenting with a way to rate schools
that emphasizes the year-to-year academic growth of students rather than how scores
compare with fixed benchmarks.
"Have we learned something as we’ve made public policy for the last five years that we
ought to act on going forward? Absolutely," Spellings said. "~d I’ve done some of those
things."

She added, "Those are some of the areas that ought to be discussed in the context of
reauthorization."
Page 86

The law, which passed Congress in 2001 with overwhelming bipartisan support, was signed by
President Bush on Jan. 8, 2002.

Yesterday, Spellings lauded the incoming education committee chairmen, Sen. Edward M.
Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. George ~ller (D-Calif.), as "stalwarts" who h~ve "stayed very
true to the core principles of this law."

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Nonresponsi ~
............................. l~th~ii i-i 0 - m- e1-~n el .... I
danuary 04, 2007 6:23 AM
Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, dana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Bush to meet with lawmakers to push renewal of No Child Left Behind (AP)

Jan. 4, 2007, 3:33AM


Bush to meet with lammakers to push renewal of No Child Left Behind

By NANCY ZUCKERBROD
Am so ciat ed Press

WASHINGTON -- President Bush plans to meet with lawmakers next week to boost efforts to
renew the No Child Left Behind education law, according to a Democratic congressional
aide.

The top Democrats and Republicans on the Mouse and Senate committees that deal with
education issues planned to attend the White House meeting Monday, the aide said on the
condition of anonymity because the White House had not announced the session.

Monday is also the day the Bush administration is commemorating the fifth anniversary of
what is widely considered the most significant federal education law in decades.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, in an interview with The Associated Press on


Wednesday, said she was optimistic the law would be renewed for five more years. She said
it is a n~tura! issue on which Bush and Democrats, who won control of Congress in
November, can come together.

"It’s on everybody’s list of things where we might forge agreement as we have done
before," she said.
The law seeks to ensure that all children can read and do math at grade level by 2014,
which has placed unprecedented demands on schools. They have been required to step up
testing, raise teacher qt~lity and place more attention on the achievements of minority
children.

Poor schools that get federal aid but do not make enough progress must provide tutoring,
offer public school choice to students or initiate other reforms such as overhauling their
staffs.

Spellings said there were a few "bright-line principles" that the administration would not
agree to alter under a rewrite of the law. Among them is the requirement that all students
are proficient in reading and m~th by 2014 -- a goal many observers call unrealistic.

Spellings said the administration was open to debating how student achievement should be
measured. Critics, including the teachers’ unions, have said the current law does not give
enough credit to schools that make significant strides in student achievement but fall
short of reaching an annual target.

"There is too much punishing going on," said Reg Weaver, president of the Nationa!
Education Association, the largest teachers union in the country. Weaver also called the
law "grossly underfunded."

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-l~ss., and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who are to lead the
committees overseeing education, say the administration has provided about $50 billion
less than originally called for by Congress.

Republicans say it is common practice for legislation to be funded at less than the full
level Congress authorizes.
Page 88

Spellings declined to preview the amount Bush would seek when he releases his annua!
budget in February.
She did indicate an interest in getting more money to teachers who work in schools that
have difficulty attracting people.

Bush sought $500 million from Congress for that purpose last year and got about $i00
million.

"Our best teachers, or are most experienced teachers, are in places with our least
challenged learners,"
Spellings said.

Spellings also reaffirmed the administration’s view that the law, which focuses on early
and middle grades, should be expanded in high schools.

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(b)( ~)om:
:Sent:
............................. ~{-~{1~’] ~ ~- ~" ~l’~i~ ~ {" .........................
January 03, 2007 6:05 AM
]

To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: When college aid competes ~Mth school reform (SFC)

When college aid competes with schoo! reform


- Bruce Fuller
Tuesdmy, January 2, 2007
San Francisco Chronicle

Romancing swing voters, like other tentative trysts, often yields soft promises, even
broken hearts. Take the college-aid proposals of new House Speaker Nancy Pe!osi, eager to
signal thmt her Democrat-led Congress will sooth the economic angst of middle-class
families, starting with making college more affordable.

Under Pelosi’s tuition tax-credit proposal, the plumpest cash back would actually go to
the richest fifth of America’s parents, those in the 25 percent tax bracket. Truly
middling students -- the average family with a youngster in college earns $63,000 yearly,
according to the College Board -- would benefit little, because their income-tax bills are
comparatively small.

Pelosi’s tandem idea -- shaving the cost of student loans -- would better aid the real
middle class, yet it would !ower monthly payments of recent graduates by just 14 percent
on average, while costing the taxpayers $3 billion annually. And expensive private
universities would be the big winners: fully two-fifths of the $22.2 billion lent to
parents with subsidized loans in 2004 went to the narrow one-fifth of students who attend
private schools, such as Harvard University or Cal Tech.

While symbolically potent, such tinkering with loan rates would not likely alter the
sorting of high-school graduates into community colleges, state universities or
prestigious ivies. College-goers from affluent families are three times more likely to
enter a private college than middle-class students, odds that have failed to improve since
1981, according to a Stanford study.

To widen college access, the Democrats could instead increase the funding for Pell Grants,
concentrating dollars on students least financially able to enter any four-year
institution, including first-generation college-goers. But phasing in this option is
"clearly going to have to be over a period of years," U.S. Rep.
George Miller, D-Martinez, the new House education committee chairman, said last month.

Overall, the newly empowered Democrats are faced with a nettlesome dilemma when it comes
to education
refoz~: offer light dollops of economic relief to swing voters who have drifted from the
GOP, or act to dramatically improve high schools, mmking college a real option for
millions of working-class youths. The latter priority holds less appea! for many suburban
moderates who already benefit from fine public schools.
The political rub for Pelosi’s Congress stems from two point-spreads revealed in the fall
election: college graduates backed Democratic candidates by a 53 percent to 45 percent
margin, the widest advantage since 1982.
Voters under age 30, many with university ties, went Democratic by a huge 60 percent to 38
percent margin.

The equally prickly dilemma is that any serious attack on achievement gaps means a
stronger federal role in raising the quality of high schools, widening the student
pipeline into public universities. This requires taking up -- and revamping -- the No
Child Left Behind Act. President Bush wants to quickly renew his signature domestic
program, signmling his born-again commitment to bipartisanship. Bush’s education
secretary, Margaret Spellings, recently proclaimed "’No Child" an unmitigated success.
Page 90
"It’s like Ivory Soap, it’s 99.9 percent pure," she said.

But upcoming hearings over the federal school reforms are likely to get doom and dirty, a
dusty wrangling with the nation’s governors who complain of Washington’s micro-management
of local schools. The teacher unions, to whom mmny new Democrats in Congress are beholden,
are eager to weaken accountability.
Three recent studies have detailed how "No Child" -- as implemented by the Bush
administration -- hms done little to narrow disparities in learning, despite bipartisan
promises made five years ago. In California, achievement gaps between students from poor
and better-off families have actually widened in middle schools since 2003, presaging an
escalating count of high-school drop outs.

Reading scores have leveled off nationally since the federal act was approved in 2001,
according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. A Gallup Poll last suntmer
showed that among ~mericans familiar with the "No Child" law, 3 in 5 hold sour views of
it.
So, asked when the House will begin its review of "No Child," one aide said, not for
attribution, "Some people say we should wait until 2009," after the presidential election.

Democrats must demonstrate to swing voters how a sustained attack on achievement gaps --
from spav~ning smaller, more engaging high schools to expanding preschools -- will yield a
more productive workforce, fueling growth in middle-class jobs. The nation’s literacy rate
is now in decline, dragged down by youths who acquire few skills in mediocre high schools,
who come to feel little stake in civil society. So, American firms move overseas,
ironically spurring upward mobility for graduates in Bangkok and Bangalore, rather than in
Daly City and Des Moines.

To help raise the quality of irnler-city schools, Miller and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.,
want to reduce loan payments for college graduates who want to teach in urban centers.
This offers a more inventive balance of priorities, making college more affordable for
idealistic graduates who serve the less fortunate.
More deeply, we must rethink what’s motivating about the high-school institution and
what’s not, for adolescents and teachers alike.
lliddle-class ~ericans, worried about economic security and fairness, will applaud the
Democratic pitch to restore six years of Republican cuts in student aid. But costly policy
options that assist children of well-off parents to enter Iv-y League universities will
test the populist rhetoric of the Democrats. It will also reveal how the new Congress
weighs expedient fixes against serious efforts to address inequality.

Bruce Fuller, professor of education and public policy at the University of California, is
author of "Standardized Childhood," (Stanford University Press, February 2007).

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Page 91

January 02, 2007 7:37 AM


Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Ten’ell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey
Subject: U.S. Secretary Of Education Wants To Improve Higher Learning (AltoonaM PA)

U.S. Secretary Of Education Wants To Improve Higher Learning (Altoone~I PA) By Dawn Keller
Altoona Hirror (PA), January 2, 2007 Just like other parents, U.S. education secretary
Iv~rgaret Spellings wonders about her daughter’s future.
"’Where we once were leaders, now other nations educate more of their young adults to more
advanced levels than we do," Spelling told the National Press Clu~ this fall. "And like
m~ny parents, I’m wondering, will my daughter graduate equipped with skills for a career,
or is she going to move back home with me?"
With thoughts like that in mind, Spellings convened a commission to improve higher
education.
"This is an issue that touches us all," Spelling said during the speech. "’Parents,
students and taxpayers pick up the majority of the tab for higher education.
Over the years, we’ve invested tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money and just
hoped for the best.
We deserve better."
Area college officials say Spelling’s plan has some good points. But they also question
some of her suggestions.
Her plan calls for an overhaml of the financial aid system to make funding available to
more students.
"We are very supportive of that," Juniata College President Thomas Kepple said.
College costs nmtionwide have increased over the last several years, Penn State Altoona
Chancellor Lori Bechtel said.
At the same time, opportunities for students to receive federal aid have decreased because
the largest grant program offered by the government has not received additiona! funding
for years, often resulting in graduates leaving college with record levels of debt, she
said.
"The government’s plan to make higher education one of its highest priorities is of vital
importance, since the cost of a college education is an investment in the nation’s
economy," Bechtel said, adding that the U.S. Census Bureau shows that college graduates
mmde an average of $51,554 in 2004, compared with $28,645 for adults with a high school
dip!oma.
Higher education is more important than ever, Spelling said. Ninety percent of the
fastest-growing jobs require post-secondary education, but more than 60 percent of
Americans have no post-secondary credentials.
"As a result, the commission found that more and more adults are heading back to school,"
she told the Association of Community College Trustees in October.
"’And to keep America competitive, we must ensure we have a higher education system that
can meet this increasing demand."
Sister Hary Ann Dillon, president of Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, said the Spellings
Commission Report rightly identifies six major challenges to higher education and that
they are all related.
Reforms are needed to make higher education more accessible, especially for !ower-income
students, she said.
"’One of these is the need to rethink the current financia! aid system, which is
desperately in need of being streamlined," Dillon said.
The process can be intimidating for first-generation college students, which is why Houmt
Aloysius provides educational sessions and personal assistamce for those navigating
through the system, she said.
"’It would be very helpful if high school students and their parents could learn early in
their high school careers what their estimated aid eligibility might be," Dillon said.
"Knowing this would encourage many students to choose high school programs that would
prepare them for college."
In addition to problems with the process, it will be important to increase need-based aid,
Dil!on said.
"Without sufficient aid, many students are forced to work while carrying full academic
Page 92
loads," she said.
"Others take sizzle loans, which are burdensome for years to come."
The report calls for the process to be streamlined and for students to determine aid
eligibility sooner.
During the past 25 years, college tuition for four-year schools has outpaced inflation and
family income m even doubling the cost of health care, Spellings said.
"And as the commission noted, the entire financial aid system is in need of reform,’"
Spellings said. "At the federa! leve!, it’s a maze of 60 Web sites, dozens of toll-free
numbers and 17 different programs."
There’s another part of the plan that Kepple doesn’t think is necessary. It calls for the
government to pull together privacy-protected student-level d~ta to create a higher
education information system. It will include every student class and grade. Forty states
already have a similar system in place.
Kepple said he doesn’t think the government needs to have that type of information about
students.
"’It ~ust doesn’t seem to me that [the federal government] need to be collecting that," he
said.
Another suggestion calls for high schools to prepare students better for college.
Pennsylvania already permits dual enrollment in high school and college.
"I think it’s great," Kepple said. "I hope the state expands it."
Juniata also tries to help prepare students with its Science in Motion program, which
alloms students to learn about science hands-on before they get to college.
St. Francis University spokesman Ross Feltz said the university already has severa!
recommendations in place.
"We are fully engaged in assessment," he said. "We are making St. Francis very accessible
and, thanks to donors, affordable. The marketplace is telling us that because we are
growing in student interest in attending St. Francis and in enrollment.’’
St. Francis concluded a year of involvement by faculty and staff in deve!oping a new
strategic plan, he said.
The plan was approved earlier this month.
Assessing student mastery of all genera! education and academic department/program
objectives is the first goal.
"Deve!oping those assessment tools will be a ma~or focus immediately," he said. "’We were
ahead of the Spellings report on that one."
St. Francis admissions officials begin working with students as early as their sophomore
year of high school, said Erin McCloskey, dean of enrollment mmnagement.
They build a component on education -- what questions to ask, how to start a college
search and what important performance indicators are -- into their presentations and
literature. They do the same with the financial aid process.
"Our goal during the early years is to educate students by giving them the knowledge of
how best to navigate the college search process," she said. "We want students to make the
best choice for them, whether that be SFU or not."
The action plan highlights a number of findings and recommendmtions those in higher
education have been aware of addressing for some time, Bechtel said.
Penn State is actively engaged in assessment activities to document and improve student
learning through the university, she said.
"At Per~n State Altoona, the mm~ority of our academic programs hmve stated outcomes that
dm-ive continued curricular improvements," she said.
Penn State Altoona assesses student learning and engagement through the implementation of
the National Survey of Student Engagement, which is referenced in the Spellings report,
Bechtel said.
The Collegiate Learning Assessment, which also is highlighted in the report, was
implemented this fall across the university, she said.
Mirror Staff Writer Da~Tn Keller is at 949-7030.

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Sent: January 02, 2007 7:36 AM


J
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Case),; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey
Subject: Democrats Promising To Help More Students Afford College (INDYSTAR)

Democrats Promising To Help Hore Students Afford College (INDYSTAR) By Maureen Groppe,
Gannett News Service The Indianmpolis Star, January 2, 2007 WASHINGTON -- Democrats are
championing the politically popular issue of making a college education more affordable,
promising to move on at least three fronts when they take control of Congress next year.
House Democrats say they will immediately cut the interest rate on need-based student
loans then turn to expanding Pell Grants and expanding tax benefits for those paying for
college.
But Rep. George Miller, the California Democrat who wil! tackle the issue as incoming
chairman of the House education committee, noted this month that all the Democratic
priorities would have to be reconciled with the financial reality of budget deficits.
"We’ve been left a very substantia! sea of red ink by the last 12 years and we’ve got to
factor that in,"
Miller said. "But we’re not taking our eye off the goal."
Given budget constraints, however, it’s unclear whether Democrats will concentrate
resources on the poorest students who have the most need or on the more politically
popular middle class, which is also struggling to pay for the ever-increasing cost of a
higher education.
College costs have risen much faster than inflation and median f~tmily income for two
decades. The average cost of tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates in 2003-04 was
$5,400 a year at public four-year institutions and $18,400 at private schools, according
to the most recent figures available from the National Center for Education Statistics.
College affordability is the top issue for young voters and is also popular with those
voters’ baby boomer parents, according to Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. It’s a top
issue, Lake said, because of both the increasing costs and the belief that a college
education is necessary to make it in a changing eoonomy.
The U.S. Department of Education estimates that about 200,000 people annually delay or
forgo college because they can’t afford it.
Cost and affordmbility was one of the main areas focused on by Education Secretary
Mmrgaret Spellings’
recent Commission on the Future of Higher Education.
The commission recommended that the federal government increase Pell Grants so cfumlified
students could pay for 70 percent of the cost of average in-state tuition at a public
institution. The grants, which help the poorest one-third of students, now pay for less
than half the average cost.
"Clearly there’s unanimity amongst students and institutions and advocates for higher
education that Pell Grants are a huge priority," said Luke Swarthout, a higher education
advocate for U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
But F~tie Haycock, director of the nonprofit Education Trust, said she’s concerned that
the lawmakers who emphasized the need to increase college affordability in the recent
campaigns did not tend to talk about Pell Grants.
"That was the fine print," Haycock said. "It was the tuition tax credit and tax deduction
that was front and center."
The federal government offers a range of tax benefits that include allowing taxpayers to
reduce their taxable income or the amount of taxes they owe.
Bob Shireman, executive director of the Project on Student Debt, said tuition tax credits
poll "really, really well" because tax credits don’t sound like government spending even
though they mean fewer taxes will be collected. In the late 1990s, Shireman said, Congress
used a tuition tax credit for the middle class as political cover for increasing Pell
Grants, but that’s when there was money to do both.
Although when I~iller detailed his priorities for the House Education and the Workforce
Committee next year he said his focus is on "strengthening the middle class," he promised
to help make college more affordable for both the poorest students and for the middle
class.
"We’re going to try to do both," he said.
Page 94
But in addition to helping people trying to afford college now, David Hicks, a 37-year-old
program director at an aerospace manufacturing facility in southern Indiana, said he hopes
Congress also considers people like him who are stil! struggling with old debts.
Although his family of four lives in a modest home, has never owned a new car and doesn’t
eat out at Olive Garden on a weekly basis, Hicks said he’s finding it hard to pay off the
$50,000 he borrowed at a 9 percent interest rate to get his bachelor’s degree from Indiana
State University. .And in the not-so-distant future, Hicks also will have to worry about
educating his 13-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter.
"I’m concerned," he said, "about how I’m going to pay for their college."

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Ir

J
( )(~nt:b on~: ............................. kathednemclane~iiDecember 28, 2006 6:16 AM .......................
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerd; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey
Subject: Reading, writing & wrangling (USAT)

Reading, writing & wrangling


Updated 12/28/2006 12:36 .~/~ ET E-mail i Save i Print
Subscribe to stories like this
~]nong the top headline-grabbers this year in education
news ;
The Spellings commission: Seeking accountability in higher ed

A commission created by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings urged an overhaul of U.S.


higher education.
Though the final version of its report was not as tough on colleges and universities as
early drafts were, it found fault on a number of counts, from high tuitions to low
gradumtion rates to inadequmte preparation for an ever-evolving globa! economy. Now,
Spellings is !ooking for ways to increase accountability..~ong her more controversial
goals, announced in September: a national c~tabase to track the progress of individual
students. Privacy advocates bristle at the notion, but Spellings says it would help
researchers better gauge how much students actually pay and how long it takes to graduate.
She also vowed to streamline financia! aid, strengthen efforts to align high schoo!
standards with college work, and encourage public reporting of data showing how much
students have learned. The panel also recommended increasing need-based aid, but Spellings
has offered no specifics. In March, she plans a summit to move forward on recommendations.

¯ P~ry Beth Marklein

Testing: SAT puts students through the wringer

A scoring snafu involving the SAT college entrance exam exacerbated the anxieties of more
than 4,000 college-bound students. The error, which was made public in March just as
college admissions officials were preparing to inform applicants of their decisions, was
blamed on excessive moisture on certain scanned answer sheets for tests taken in October.
That explar~tion from test o~er the College Board didn’t mollify many critics, including
students who filed a class-action lawsuit that is still pending. New York state Sen.
Kenneth LaValle now is sponsoring a bill tt~t would create an oversight board to promptly
review problems with ack~issions tests.

Meanwhile, about 730 colleges and universities no longer require SAT or ACT scores for at
least some applicants, says the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, a non-profit
based in Cambridge, P~ss. More than a dozen schools changed their policy this year.
--M. B. M.

Low-income-student programs: Help for needy students inconsistent

Concerned by evidence of a wealth gap in higher education, more schools vowed to cover
costs for low-income students. Princeton started the trend five years ago, when it
guaranteed that low-income students would graduate with no debt. Announcing such plans
this year: the University of Iowa, HIT, North Carolina State, the University of
Pennsylvania, Stanford, Troy University in Alabamm, and the College of William & Mary in
Virginia. Harvard, Princeton and the University of Virginia said they also would drop
early-admission policies (which studies show benefit wealthier students most) beginning in
2007. Still, a report by the non-profit Education Trust says public research universities
decreased grant aid by 13% from
1995 to 2003 for students with family incomes of $20,000 or less, and increased aid by
Page 96

406% to those with incomes over $i00,000. ~d tuition continued to increase this year --
about 6% for four-year universities. --M.B.M.

No Child Left Behind: Debate continues over law’s effectiveness

Squabbling continued this year over No Child Left Behind, President Bush’s education
reform law, which requires annual tests in math and reading for millions of kids. Congress
must reauthorize it in 2007.

The Education Sector, an influential Washington think tank, said in a report by Thomas
Toch that the testing industry is "buckling under the weight" of the mandates. Yet many
states test little more than basic understanding, he says, and only about $20 of the
average $8,000 spent per pupil goes to develop tests.

A rising chorus of other voices also has been criticizing the law. "We stil! believe in
the ideas of it," says Hike Petri!li of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. But he says
several of the law’s key tenets are proving ineffective: Fewer than 1% of eligible
children have transferred to better-performing schools; few struggling schools are
restructuring, as the law demmnds; and state efforts to improve teacher quality are weak.
"We just have one frustration after another," he says.

The complaints apparently don’t wash with Education Secretary Mmrgaret Spellings, who said
in August that the law needs only minor tweaks.

-- Greg Toppo

Other education headlines ...

oVoucher ruling: In early January, Florida’s highest court struck down a state program
championed by President Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, his brother, that gives students
taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers to private schools. It was the first time a state Supreme
Court said states have a duty to educate students in public schools -- and it handed a
victory to public school advocates, acknowledging that vouchers could drain funds from
needy public schools.

oTerrorism and privacy: Spellings’ inspector general revealed that Project Strike Back, a
joint project of the Education Department and the FBI, examined financial aid records of
college students targeted in terror probes. It’s unclear whether the program, created days
after Sept. 11, 2001, netted any terrorists.

¯ Taking on schoo! violence: A spate of school shootings prompted President Bush, Spellings
and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to hold a Safe Schools Summit in October. -- G.T.

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(b)(e)or.: ............................. ..........................
Sent: December 14, 2006 6:40 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren;
Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell;
Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey
Subject: More generous Congress could do much for schools (San Jose MN)

Posted on Thu, Dec. 14, 2006


More generous Congress could do much for schools

Mercury News Editorial


When reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act next year, Congress should include more
carrots and fewer sticks. It should use, as a mode!, the Academic Competitiveness Grants
that the Bush administration proposed and Congress approved this year.

Academic Competitive Grants supplement Pell Grants, which are the federal government’s
primary source of financial aid for college students from poor and middle-class families.
They will hmve the effect of encouraging high schoo! students to take tougher classes in
high school while indirectly pressuring their schools to offer more of them.

In California and across the nation, there’s a shortage of advanced science and mmth
courses for capable students in urban and !ow-performing high schools. The lack of courses
pretty much tells students to lower their ambitions at a time of higher education~l
demands. Nationmlly, a third of students are dropping out of high school, even though two-
thirds of ~obs in the future wil! demand a college degree.

For a freshman, an Academic Competitiveness Grant will add $750 per year on top of the
current maximum $4,050 Pell Grant. That will increase to $i,900 for sophomores with a B
average. The federal Department of Education must approve the "’rigorous’’ classes that
will help a student qualify, but California’s course requirements for admission to a
University of California or California State University campus qualify, as does passing
two ~vanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests.

The amounts for the Academic Competitiveness Grants are too sm~ll, and the incoming
Democratic Congress has arrnounced that college student financial aid -- higher Pell Grants
and !ower interest on federa! loans
-- will be a priority. But the idea is right.

No Child Left Behind has nudged achievement upward in lower grades but has failed to make
much of an impact on low-achieving high schools. One reason is that high schools are
complex and resistant to change. Another is that many districts have managed to fend off
the law’s stiffest sanctions: complete restructuring or conversion to a charter schoo!.

No Child Left Behind’s testing requirements are concentrated in elementary and middle
school. With the law already under siege, it’s unlikely that Congress will expand testing
in high schools. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings acknowledged that during a
meeting with the Mercury News editorial board this week.

However, there is more that the federal government could do to promote fumdamental changes
in high schools. It could create incentives for teachers willing to work in the toughest
schools and fully fund extended days and Saturday schools in low-income areas. It could
fund programs to entice engineers to teach math and science part time to ease the
impending teacher shortage.

The federal government puts up only 8 percent of the money for K-12 education. That’s
partly why states have resented the No Child Left Behind Act.

The law should be reauthorized, but only with a lot more flexibility in enforcing it and
with more funding. Incentives, like Academic Competitive Grants, as well as sanctions,
should drive federal education policy.
Page 98

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Page 99

Nonrespon 1
(b)( e)o,-,-,:
Sent:
............................. ..........................
December 12, 2006 8:39 AM
To: Bdggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Johnson, Henry;
Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Simon,
Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.;
Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey
Subject: Spellings: Uniform N-size would be ’perilous’ (Ed Daily)

Spellings: Uniform N-size would be "perilous’ (Ed


Daily)
by Stephen Sawchuk
Education Daily December 12, 2006
In a surprise announcement, Education Secretary ~rgaret Spellings said Friday she does
not support the establishment of a national, uniform N-size for accoumtability under the
No Child Left Behind Act. The assertion, for now, sets to rest speculation that the
Education Department might require states to revisit their N-sizes.
Spellings, speaking from the White House via satellite, made the announcement at ED’s
winter accountability summit in Nashville, Tenn., to an audience composed mainly of state
accountability officers.
’I firmly believe that a one-size-fits-all N-size is not appropriate, and I think it would
be perilous for the Congress to mandate a single number for al! cases and all states,’
Spelling said.
But she added that there are some ~great’ educationa!, methodological and statistica!
reasons to take that position. Although she did not specify those reasons, experts have
pointed to privacy concerns and higher error rates that accompany small N-sizes.
States not off the hook N-sizes represent the minimum number of students required in a
school subgroup for those students’ achievement to be tracked separately and calculated as
a separate adequate yearly progress.
A student not counted in a particular subgroup would still be counted for general AYP for
the school and, frequently, for the subgroup at the district level.
Spellings" announcement came as a surprise, since ED correspondence this summer announcing
the Dec. 8 meeting said states would be expected to 9ustify their N-sizes.
Other ED officials also appeared unmware of Spellings"
stand on N-sizes; asked earlier Friday whether ED might seek to restrict N-sizes,
Assistant Secretary of Education Henry Johnson said ED had not yet decided on a course of
action.
Despite the announcement, Spellings indicated she is well aware of the potential that
setting higher N-size~ -- especially when they are coupled with other accountability plan
tweaks, such as confidence intervals -- often means fewer schools wil! be identified as
needing improvement because of subgroup performance.
.~d while Spellings also discouraged Congress from requiring a uniform N-size, both ED
and Congress may seek better documentation from states in the future.
’I also appreciate where the Congress is coming from, that there are situations where
we’re cutting the pattern to fit the cloth,’ Spellings said. ~We need to be very mindful
that when N-sizes are described ... experts can and should and must be brought to bear as
those unique decisions are made in state plans.’ Some states may stil! need to re-examine
their N-sizes if the final regulations for the 2 percent flexibility for assessing
students with disabilities maintains language in the proposed regulations requiring all
states to set uniform N-sizes for subgroups. The timeline for that is uncertain. Despite
repeated inquiries from Education Dail!P~, ED staffers declined to say when the final 2
percent regulations would be released.

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Nonlrespd-nsi
December 12, 2006 8:33 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Maddox, Lauren; Private - Spellings,
Margaret; Simon, Ray; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Halaska, Terrelt; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt,
Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey
Subject: Spellings Gets L.A. Opinion (LADN CA)

Spellings Gets L.A. Opinion (LADN CA)


By Naush Boghossian
Los Angeles Daily News, December 12, 2006 NORTH HILLS - The federa! goverrument’s
controversial program to make schools accountable for student achievement is working but
could be improved, U.S.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Monday during a visit to a San Fernando Valley
campus.
Criticized by local and state education officials as an unrealistic benchmark, the No
Child Left Behind Act requires the nation’s schools to have all students reading and doing
math at their grade level by 2014.
Schools that don’t will face sanctions.
"We’re pleased but not satisfied," Spellings said about the five-year-old law. "There
certainly is work to do, and that’s why we’re here - talking with officials here about
what are things we can do together to make improvements."
Signed into law Jan. 8, 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act is up for reauthorization next
year. Some hope that a Democratic-controlled Congress will revise the bill to be less
punitive, with goals educators consider more realistic.
"(The act) needs to be fixed this spring. You can’t expect every kid to pole-vault 17 feet
in four years,"
David Tokofsky, a member of the Los Angeles Unified School district board, said.
Spellings visited Los Angeles to raise awareness of free federal tutoring available for
qualifying schools
- one of the key programs offered ttnder the act. She went to Noble because 51 percent of
its eligible students take advantage of the tutoring before or after school or on
weekends. Distriotwide, just 30 percent of eligible students participate.
"When it comes to getting students enrolled in free tutoring, Noble Avenue Elementary is a
shining example for others to follow. These programs help children achieve academic
success and prepare for great lives,"
said Spellings, who is pushing for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Superintendent David Brewer III, Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon,
R-Santa Clarita, and school board members met with Spellings to discuss what can be done
to secure more federal funding and increase on-campus tutoring opportunities.
There are 310,000 LAUSD students in 200 schools eligible for the tutoring, but district
officials say they have funding only for 40,000 spots - of which 93 percent are filled.
"As (the act) has gone five years (with) man},, many aspects we support, it needs to be
sorted fiscally also," said Donnalyn Jacque-~ton, executive officer for educationml
services at the LAUSD. "We’ve got a mandate but there hmsn’t been any real increase in
funding."

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I"

From: Ditto, Trey


Sent: February 12, 2007 9:36 AM
To: McLane, Katherine; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn,
David; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela;
Maddox, Lauren; ’Mark ’; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Simon,
Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toom ey, Liam; ’Tracy Young’; William s, Cynthia; Young,
Tracy; Oldham, Cheryl
Cc: Colby, Chad; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey;, Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: How President Would Pay for Increase in Pell Grants (Chron. for Higher Ed)

The Chronicle For Higher Education

http:~~chr~nic~e~c~m~cgi-bin~printab~e~cgi?artic~e=http:~~chr~nic~e~c~m~week~y/v53/i24~24a~26~1.htm

BUDGET 2008

How President Would Pay for Increase in Pell Grants


The money would come h’om killing one program and reducing subsidies for lenders
By KELLY FIELD

Washington

The good news for colleges and loan companies turned bad last week as President Bush revealed that he would
pay for a much-heralded increase in the maximum Pell Grant by cutting lender subsidies and eliminating the
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program.
Under the president’s budget, previewed in January, but officially unveiled last week, the maximum Pell Grant
would grow to $4,600 next year, while the maximum award for academically talented low-income students in
the Academic Competitiveness Grant program would increase by 50 percent, to $1,125 for freshmen and $1,950
for sophomores. Taken together, the maximum grants would cover a!l ttfition and fees and up to $4,000 in living
expenses for community-college students, and tuition and fees for sophomores at an average four-year public
institution, in 2008.
But the increases would come at a cost to some low-income students and to lenders in the federal government’s
guaranteed-!oan program. Many SEOG recipients would receive less need-based aid in 2008 than in 2007. And
lenders would see their federal subsidies slashed for a third time in a year, this time by $18.8-billion.
Whether Congress wi11 embrace those eliminations is another question. In the past, ta~qnakers have rejected
most of the president’s proposed cuts, instead providing flat funds or even modest increases for student aid. This
year members of Congress from both parties rushed to denounce the president’s ideas for how to pay for the Pell
Grant increase.
Republicans warned that a third reduction in the subsidy in such a short time could put ~anteed lending at a
competitive disadvantage with direct lending. In the guaranteed-loan progr~ banks and other types of lenders
deliver federally backed lom~ to students; in the direct-loan program, the Education Department provides loans
directly to students through their colleges.
"The impact of these cuts has never been seriously considered," said Steve Forde, a spokesman for Rep. Ho~vard
P. (Buck) McKeon of California, the top Republican on the education committee in the U.S. House of
Representatives. "We need time to take into account what we’ve already done and what impact it’s having on
those serving students -- and the students themselves."
Page 102

Mr. Forde said the president never consulted Congress about his plan to slash lender subsidies.
Democrats praised the plan to cut what they consider "excess" lender subsidies, but warned against abolishing
supplemental grants, which augment Pell Grants for lo~v-income students, and other student-aid programs.
"It is important that we find ways to increase the Pell Grant scholarship that don’t harm other students," said
Rep. George Miller, Democrat of California, chairman of the House education committee.
If Congress does reject the president’s plan, it will have to either scale back the Pel! Grant increase or find
another way to pay for it. That could be difficult, given budget constraints and competing national priorities.
Cuts Called ’Debilitating’
Lobbyists for the lending industry reacted with alarm, warning that the proposed cuts could drive some lenders
from the program and force others to shrink benefits to borrowers.
"The pattern of repeatedly cutting federal financial-aid programs cannot be sustained without harming the very
students these programs are meant to serve," said Kathleen Smith, president of the Education Finance Council,
which lobbies on behalf of the 30 state and regional nonprofit loan agencies.
But Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said there was little evidence that the subsidy cuts would harm
lenders. "We have all seen the lending industry continue to be highly profitable" in the face of recent cuts, she
said in a conference call with reporters.
She said the department would work with Congress "to find the right calibration" between subsidy cuts and Pelt
Grant increases.
At a separate briefing for higher-education lobbyists last week, Sara Martinez Tucker, under secretary of
education, said the administration had analyzed where lender subsidies go and concluded that "a small
percentage of the subsidies pass through to students."
"We don’t believe it’s going to hurt students," she said.
The proposed reduction comes on top of $8-billion in cuts contained in last year’s budget-reconciliation measure
and another $6-billion included in a pending bill that halves the interest rate on student loans. That bi!l, which
was passed by the House of Representatives last month, would achieve a tt~rd of its savings by trimming the
subsidies that the government pays to lenders in the guaranteed-loan program by one-tenth of a percentage
point.
The president’s budget wouldgo even further, cutting the subsidy rate by halfa percent. It would also double the
origination fees that lenders pay the government when making consolidation loans, and reduce the amount of
money that the government reimburses most lenders for loans that go into de "~ult, from 97 cents to 95 cents of
every dollar unpaid.
In addition, it would reduce the amount that guarantee agencies can keep for themselves from the money they
recover from borrowers who default, and it would change the way the department calculates an administrative
fee it pays to gamrantee agencies.
Lenders say they have never been hit so hard by the administration.
"Every 10 years or so, they come after you for 10 to 20 basis points [0.1 to 0.2 percent], but 50!" said Jeffrey R.
Andrade, a former Education Department official who !obbies on behalf of the U.S. Educafion Finance
Corporation. "This is unprecedentecL"
He said the cuts could force lenders to stop making loans to students at community colleges and trade schools,
Page 103
where the profit margins are smaller and more students default.
"The smaller, riskier loans are always the fist to go,"said Mr. Andrade. "What you’re going to have is a credit
Crtlilch."

Last week shares of several student-lending companies, including Sallie Mac and Nelnet, fell by 6 percent or
more as the stock market reacted to news of the proposal.
Gains in Pell Offset Elsewhere
Additional dollars for the increases in the Pell Grant program and the competitiveness grants would come from
the elimination of the $880-mi!lion Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants Program.
This year 1.3 million students will receive SEOG awards of up to $4,000; roughly 300,000 of them would gain
under the administration’s proposal, which would increase the maximmn Pell Grant for the 2008 fiscal year by
$290 over the 2007 level approved by the House. CYhe Senate has yet to act on a 2007 budget for the Education
Department.)
But the one million students who received supplemental grants of more than $300 would actually lose money
that first year, according to an analysis by the American Council on Educatior~-
"Symbolically, it’s a very important step for the president to call for a sffostantial increase in Pell," said Terry W.
Hartle, the counci!’s senior vice president for government and public affairs. "Unfortunately, it’s difficult to be
enthusiastic about a proposal that will leave one million students worse off."
Asked why the administration chose to abolish the supplemental-grant program, Ms. Tucker told lobbyists at the
briefing that "while some campuses see SEOG as highly effective, candidly, the money isn’t going to the
neediest students." The program also costs 250 times more to administer than Pell Grants, she said.
The cuts would not stop with SEOG, however. To achieve additional savings, the budget would also abolish the
$64.5-million Leveraging Educational Assistance Parmership program, which matches each dollar that states
commit to need-based aid, and the $40.6-million Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program.
It would also end the Perkins Loan Program and require colleges to return the federal share of the money they
use to make new Perkins Loans.
Those programs have been targets before and are likely to survive the budget a,x again this year.
But some of the proposed diminations are new, such as $12-billion from the Strengthening Alaska Native and
Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions program, and some of the administration’s perennial targets were spared,
including two of the federal TRIO pro~ams for disadvantaged students, and Gear Up, which helps financially
needy middle-school students prepare for college. Most of the other student-aid programs would receive flat
funds or a slight decrease.
Ties to Commission
In explaining the program eliminations, the Education Department said it was following the recommendations
of the secretar,fs Commission on the Future of Higher Education, which issued a repolt last fall that called the
cm:rent federal financial-aid system "overly complicated," "redundant," and "incomprehensible to all but a few
expelts." The report recommended consolidating the "maze" of federal financial-aid programs.
Heeding that advice, the president proposed eliminating 44 education programs that he said have either
"achieved their original purposes, duplicate other programs, are narrowly focused, or are unable to demonstrate
effectiveness."
The commission also recommended raising the purchasing power of the typical Pell Grant to cover 70 percent
3
Page 104
of the average in-state tuition at public four-year colleges over the next five years. The president’s plan would
not go that far, but it would increase the maximum Pell Grant to a level that would cover 75 percent of tuition
and fees at a typical public four-year college.
A third commission recommendation -- that the department revive a proposal to create a national student unit-
record tracking system -- also made it into the budget, albeit in modified form. The department first offered that
plan in 2004, but it was roundly rejected by members of Congress from both parties, who raised privacy and
security concerns. This time around, the administration made a more modest request, asking Congress for $25-
million for a pilot program "to assess the feasibility of implementing a system that would safeguard privacy of
individual data."
Among other tNngs, the president’s budget also would:
Increase almua! subsidized-loan limits for juniors and seniors by $2,000, to $7,500, while raising the
aggregate undergraduate borrowing limit by $7,500, to $30,500. Congress raised the loan limits for
freshmen, sophomores, and graduate students last year, but did not increase them for juniors and seniors.
Provide $24-million in grants of $1-million each to colleges and school districts that work together to
educate students in languages critical to national security, such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean,
and Russian_
Raise the interest rate on PLUS loans from 7.9 percent to 8.3 percent for borrowers in the Direct Loan
program, while reducing it by 0.2 percent, to 8.3 percent, for borrowers in the guaranteed-loan program.
Congess raised the rate on PLUS loans to 8.5 percent for borrowers in the gnaranteed-loan program last
year, but because of a drafting error in the bill, direct-loan borrowers were spared the increase.
Make Pell Grants available year-round, while limiting Pell eliNbility to the equivalent of 16 semesters.
o Eliminate a role that enables students at costlier institutions to receive larger Pel! Grants.
Allow students and parents to exclude money held in Section 529 college-savings accounts when
calculating their financial need. Contributions to such savings accounts are taxed, but the interest that
accumulates is tax free.
Page 105

jNonresponsiv
F tom: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 12, 2007 3:28 PM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Flowers, Sarah;
Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mark ;
Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talber[, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Newsweek: Stop Pandering on Education

Stop Pandering on Education


Alter: No More Excuses For Bad Teachers
It’s time to move from identifying failing schools to identifying failing teachers. Sounds obvious, but it hasn’t
happened in American education.
By Jonathan Alter
Ne~vsweek
Feb. 12, 2007 issue - The crazy thing about the education debate in the United States is that anyone with an
ounce of brains knows what must be done. Each political party is about half right. Republicans are right about
the need for strict performance standards and wrong in believing that enduring change is possible without lots
more money from Washington. Democrats are right about the need to pay teachers more but wrong to kiss up to
teachers unions bent on preventing accountability.
As President Bush’s flawed (but landmark) No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program comes up for
reauthorization this year, the onus is on Democrats. Will they cave to their partys biggest special interest-or do
what most of them acknowledge in private is essential? Among Democratic presidential candidates, supporting
accountability with teeth and more charter schools should be a litmus test for anyone serious about proving he or
she is not just another hack.
The good news is that we’re getting some leadership in New York, long a bastion of mindless paleoliberalism
Gov. Eliot Spitzer unveiled his first budget last ~veek and it offers a gand bargain on education-much Inore
money in exchange for muchmore accountability-that should be a national model. Predictably, State Assembly
Speaker Sheldon Silver, in the pocket of teachers unions, objects to Spitzer’s plan to allow for more charter
schools, even though thousands of low-income parents are on waiting lists to get into them. The president of the
United Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, called the new governor and tried to buffalo him on charters.
She failed.
Spitzer seems game to fight his own partys instinct to pander. "The national Democratic Party has got to
understand that real education reform is a central issue both politically and for our economic future," he told me
last week. "We have to get our arms around the idea that if there’s no performance, you must remove those
responsible for the failure." Ifs a sad commentm7 on Democrats that they*ve allowed "educational
accountability" to become a winning issue for the GOP.
In New York City-home to !,400 schools, 80,000 teachers and 1.1 million students-Republican Mayor Michael
Bloomberg (a huge improvement over his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani) is showing what accountability means.
First, he won mayoral control of the school system, a prerequisite for getting anything done in a big city. Now
his tough-minded schools chancellor, Joel Klein (a Democrat), is moving forward on an impoltant new plan to
slash administrative layers and empower individual schools. The idea is to make each principal "the CEO of the
1
Page 106
school instead of an agent of the bureaucracy," Klein says. More than 300 New York principals are signing
performance contracts that Nve them more control in exchange for being accountable. Klein means business: "If
your school gets a D or an F, I’m gonna fire your ass."
A big accountability problem nationwide is teacher tenure, which is almost automatically a~varded whether a
teacher is good or not. Ifhe’s not, he gets to commit educational malpractice for the nex~ 40 years. In New York,
Klein wants to toughen standards for receiving tenure, and he has already succeeded in ending union ’~bumping
rights," where lousy teachers with seniority can bump good, younger teachers and move into a school where a
good principal doesn’t want them. Above all, a princit~ must have control of who teaches in his or her building.
All other reforms depend on it.
At the five-year mark, NCLB is a mixed blessing. While Bush has sharply increased federal aid to at-risk
schools, he broke his 2001 funding promises. Where’s the cash to attract talented teachers? But once the
Democratic Congress addresses the money problem and works out some testing kinks, the real fault of NCLB
will become clear: it doesn’t go far enough.

It’s time to move from identifying failing schools to identif?dng failing teachers. That sounds obvious, but until
now it hasn’t happened in Amei:ican education. "We need a management tool that can show whether Ms. Jones
can teach long division," says Margaret Spellings, Bush’s sensible secretary of Education. Too many educators
are sti!l caught in what Klein calls a "culture of excuses." The excuse du jour is that NCLB is "punitive." But
Spellings has a point that basic assessment is both right and popular: "I don’t think parents see reliable data as
punitive."
Do Democratic presidential contenders? Education Week rated Iowa and New Hampshire as having the two
least-accountable state education systems in the country. Uh-oh. Let’s hope the press and public are prepared to
call candidates to account if they undertake a primary-season panderfest.
URL: <htt~://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16960416isitdnewsweek/>
Page 107

Nonrespons
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 15, 2007 8:35 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David;
Eve’s, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Sire on, Ray; Tada, Wen dy; Talbert, Kent; Toom ey, Liam; Tracy
Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Quesinberry, Elaine; Farris, Amanda; Conaty, Joseph; ’scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov’; Ditto,
Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Oversight Is Set For Beleaguered U.S. Reading Program (NYT)

Oversight Is Set For Beleaguered U.S. Reading Program (NYT)


By Diana Jean Schemo
The NewYork Times., March 15, 2007
WASHINGTON, March 14 - Under attack for improprieties uncovered in its showcase literacy program for low-income
children, the Department of Education will convene an outside advisory committee to oversee the program, known as Reading
First, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Wednesday.
Facing tough questions at a hearing before a Senate subcommittee considering appropriations for the Bush
administration’s signature education law, known as No Child Let~ Behind, Ms. Spellings also promised to clean up the reading
program in other ways.
tn about a half dozen reports in recent months, the department’s inspector general detailed irregularities in the program,
which awards $t billion a year in grants to states to buy reading materials and teacher training. The reports also found that
federal officials overlooked conflicts of interest among private contractors who advised states applying for the grants. Ms.
Spellings said her office’s general counsel would examine the records of contractors accused of conflicts of interest, and remove
those with actual conflicts from any role in the program.
Her promises came as Reading First faces growing attacks while heading for reauthorization. Representative David R.
Obey, Democrat of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said this week that the problems with the
program "make it even more difficult to persuade a number of people, including me, to vote to renew programs like No Child Left
Behind," of which Reading First is a part.
Acknowledging that "there’s certainly room for improvement" in Reading First, Ms. Spellings told the Senate panel
Wednesday that her department had removed the program’s leaders; expanded its staffto seven employees from two, to reduce
its reliance on so many private contractors with the potential for conflicts; and accepted all the recommendations of the
department’s inspector general.
’I’d hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater," the secretary said, adding that despite the problems, the program was
improving reading among poor children.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who is the subcommittee’s chairman, said he, too, was
disturbed by the accusations against Reading First. "It has an odor that I don’t like," Mr. Harkin said. But he said he was not
considering eliminating financing.
At~er Ms. Spellings left the hearing, Robert Slavin of Johns Hopkins University, whose Success for All reading program was
shut out of many states under Reading First, said he did not think the secretary’s promises went far enough. ’1 haven’t seen the
slightest glimmer of even intention to change," Dr. Slavin said.
Because schools had already chosen their readng curriculums, promises to clean up Reading First now meant little, he
said. He compared them to finding eight innings into a baseball game with a score of 23 to 0 that the opposing team had been
playing with cork bats.
’Then they say, ’From now on, we’re using honest bats.’, Dr. Slavin said. "I’m sorry, it’s 23 to nothing. You can’t just say,
’From now on.’"
Reading First was required by law to finance only reading programs backed by "scientifically based reading research," and
the Education Department was prohibited from mandating or even endorsing specific curriculums. But the program has been
plagued by accusations that states were steered toward a handful of commercial reading programs and testing instruments.
With only two Education Department employees in charge of the vast program, the administration relied largely on private
Page 108
contractors to advise states on their applications for grants, screen products for scientific validity and weigh applications. The
inspector general found that several of these contractors wrote reading programs and testing instruments that were competing
for money, and that they gave preference to products to which they had ties.
Ms. Spellings has maintained, and said again under questioning Wednesday, that the problems with Reading First
occurred before she became education secretary.
She denied accusations from a former political appointee at the department, Michael Petrilli, who said she had essentially
run Reading First from her post as domestic policy adviser at the White House. Mr. Petrilli is now a vice president at a nonprofit
education research foundation. Asked about Madison, Wis., where educators gave up $2 million in Reading First money because
they would have had to drop a so-called balanced literacy reading program that they said had been successful for the district,
Ms. Spellings said she was unfamiliar with the particulars of Madison’s reading program. But she defended Reading First’s
ground rules under her predecessor, Rod Paige, saying the program did not exclude specific reading curriculums, but intended
only to ensure that they were backed by research.
Page 109

~~,onresponsi
(b)( ............................. ..........................
March 15, 2007 5:29 AM
To: kevin f. sullivan@who.eop.gov; rebeccca.neale@ed.gov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri;
Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La
Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Mesecar,
Doug; Simon, Ray; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterrnan; Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska,
Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Cc: McLane, Katherine
Subject: front page, WP: Dozens in GOP Turn Against Bush’s Prized ’No Child’ Act

Dozens in COP Turn Against Bush’s Prized ’No Child’


Act
By Jonathmn Weisman and Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, March 15, 2007; AOI

More than 50 GOB members of the House and Senate -- including the House’s second-ranking
Republican -- will introduce legislation today thmt could severely undercut President
Bush’s sigr~ture domestic achievement, the No Child Left Behind Act, by allowing states to
opt out of its testing mandmtes.

For a White House fighting off attacks on its war policy and dealing with a burgeoning
scandal at the Justice Department, the GOP dissidents’ move is a fresh blow on a new
front. Among the co-sponsors of the legislation are House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.),
a key supporter of the measure in 2001, and John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Bush’s most reliable
defender in the Senate. Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), the House GOP’s chief deputy whip and a
supporter in 2001, has also signed on.

Burson Snyder, a spokesman for Blunt, said that after several meetings with school
administrators and teachers in southwest Missouri, the House Republican leader turned
against the measure he helped pass.
Blunt was convinced that the burdens and red tape of the No Child Left Behind Act are
unacceptably onerous, Snyder said.

Some Republicans said yesterdmy that a backlash against the law was inevitable. Many
voters in affluent suburban and exurban districts -- COP strongholds -- think their
schools have been adversely affected by the law. Once-innovative public schools have
increasingly become captive to federal testing mandmtes, ~ettisoning education programs
not covered by those tests, siphoning funds from programs for the talented and gifted, and
discouraging creativity, critics say.

To be sure, key la~makers would like to reauthorize the law this year. Ranking Republicans
on the House and Senate education committees are pushing for a renewal. ~d key Democrats,
including Rep. George Miller (Calif.) and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.), the chairmen of
the House and Senmte committees responsible for drafting an updmted No Child Left Behind
Act, are strong supporters, although they want large increases in funding and more
emphasis on teacher training and development.

Still, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), author of the new House bill, said the number of
Republicans already backing the new measure exceeds the 41 House Republicans and Democrats
who voted against the original legislation in 2001. Of the House bill’s co-sponsors, at
least eight voted for the president’s plan six years ago.

"President Bush and I 9ust see education fundmmentally differently," said Hoekstra, a
longtime opponent of the law. "The president believes in empowering bureaucrats in
Washington, and I believe in local and parental control."

As Congress considers reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act, the COP rebellion could
grow, conceded Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (Calif.), the ranking Republican on the House
Education and Labor Committee and a key ally of the president on the issue. "It was a
struggle getting it passed last time. It’ll be even more of a struggle this time," he
said.
Page 110

Under Hoekstra’s bill, any state could essentially opt out of No Child Left Behind after
one of two actions.
A state could hold a referendum, or two of three elected entities -- the governor, the
legislature and the state’s highest elected education official -- could decide tbmt the
state would no longer abide by the strict rules on testing and the curricultum.

The Senmte bill is slightly less permissive, but it would allow a state to negotiate a
"charter" with the federal government to get away from the law’s mandates.

In both cases, the states that opt out would still be eligible for federal funding, but
those states could exempt any education program but special education from No Child Left
Behind strictures.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said that advocates do not intend to repea! the No Child Left
Behind Act.
Instead, they want to give states more flexibility to meet the president’s goals of
education achievement, he said. As a House member in 2001, De]v~nt opposed No Child Left
Behind when it first came to a vote, but he voted for it on finml passage.

"So many people are frustrated with the shackles of No Child Left Behind," DeMint said. "I
don’t think anyone argues with measuring wh~t we’re doing, but the fact is, even the
education community . . sees us just testing, testing, testing, and reshaping the
curriculum so we look good."

Parent unrest in places such as Scarsdale, N.Y., and parts of suburban Michigan could
affect members of Congress. Connecticut has sued the government over the law, while
legislatures in Virginia, Co!orado and heavily Republican Utah have moved to supersede it.

Republican lawmakers involved in crafting the new legislation say Education Secretary
Hargaret Spellings and other administration officials have moved in recent days to tamp
down dissent within the GOP. Since January, Spe!lings has met or spoken with about 40
Republican la~Tmmkers on the issue, said Katherine McLane, the Education Department’s press
secretary.

"We’ve made a lot of progress in the past five years in serving the children who have
traditionally been underserved in our education system," McLane said.
"Now is not the time to roll back the olook on those children."

But so far, the administration’s efforts have borne little fruit, Republican critics said.

"Republicans voted for No Child Left Behind holding their noses," said Michael J.
Petrilli, an Education Department official during Bush’s first term who is now a critic of
the law. "But now with the president so politically weak, conservatives can vote their
conscience."

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Page 111

~Nonresponsiv
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 14, 2007 8:52 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David;
Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy
Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Conservative Plan Would Shift Accountability To The States (EDWEEK)

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and a leading House Democrat said they oppose Rep. Hoekstra’s plan because
it would remove any meaningful accountability’ for the use of federal K-12 money.
’We tried that approach for 40 years," Ms. Spellings told reporters last week, referring to lax accountability under previous
versions of the ESEA, which was first enacted in 1965. "We need and deserve accountability for our kids."
’1 don’t know why we would invest federal dollars in a system where there’s no accountability," said Rep. George Miller, D-
Calif., who spoke with reporters along with Ms. Spellings atter they each had received awards from the Semiconductor Industry
Association for their work in trying to improve math and science education.

Conservative Plan Would Shift Accountability To The States (EDWEEK)


By David J. Hoff
Education Week, March 14, 2007
Conservative Republicans in Congress plan to introduce a plan to dismantle the No Child Le~ Behind Act’s accountability
measures and give states wide la~tude in spending the $23.1 billion a year currently appropriated under the law.
Acknowledging that the proposal will likely face nearly insurmountable opposition, the House sponsor of the measure said it
nevertheless would generate support among GOP members because it reflects the party’s traditional belief that the federal
government should play a limited role in setting education policy.
The NCLB law is the "greatest expansion" of federal control over education since Congress passed the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act in 1965, said Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., who is third most senior Republican on the House
Education and Labor Committee.
"We have clearly moved on the road to... federal government schools," Mr. Hoekstra said at a seminar on the 5-year-old
law at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based here.
Rep. Hoekstra, who voted against the legislation in 2001, said he expects to recruit more than 41 co-sponsors for his bill,
which he plans to introduce this week. He considers that number important because that’s how many House Republicans voted
against the NCLB bill when it passed in December 200t. "There will be significantly more opposition to No Child Lett Behind in
2007 than there was in 2001 ," he said in the interview.
Sens. John Comyn, R-Texas, and Jim DeMint, R-S.C., plan to introduce a companion bill in the Senate.
The NCLB law, an overhaul of the ESEA, was pushed by President Bush and passed Congress with broad bipartisan
support. The House approved the bill, 381-41, and the Senate voted 87-10 in favor of it.
Uphill Battle
Under the GOP conservatives’ plan, state officials would agree to take full responsibility for setting education policies for
their states. They also would promise to use accountability systems of their own design to report on the progress toward meeting
their achievement goals.
That contrasts with the current law’s detailed accountability system, which requires annual testing in reading and
mathematics in grades 3-8 and at least once in high school, as well as reports on the yearly progress that districts and schools
are making in meeting the goal that all children be proficient in those subjects by the 2013-14 school year.
Districts and schools must also meet those goals for various demographic, ethnic, and racial subgroups.
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and a leading House Democrat said they oppose Rep. Hoekstra’s plan because
it would remove any meaningful accountability for the use of federal K-12 money.
’’We tried that approach for 40 years," Ms. Spellings told reporters last week, referring to lax accountability under previous
Page 112
versions of the ESEA, which was first enacted in 1965. "We need and deserve accountability for our kids."
’I don’t know why we would invest federal dollars in a system where there’s no accountability," said Rep. George Miller, D-
Calif., who spoke with reporters along with Ms. Spellings alter they each had received awards from the Semiconductor Industry
Association for their work in trying to improve math and science education.
With such opposition, Rep. Hoekstra said, "clearly you’re going uphill." But he added that support for his proposal could
help derail attempts in the pending reauthorization of the NCLB lawto expand testing or add other new burdens on states and
districts.
Republicans supported the No Child Lett Behind bill in 2001 because they wanted to support the president’s chief domestic
goal in the first year of his term, according to former Rep. Dick Armey, a Texas Republican who was the House majority leader at
the time. Mr. Armey voted for the bill for that reason and regrets doing so, he said at the Cato Institute seminar.
With Mr. Bush nearing the end of his presidency, many Republicans in Congress will be less likely to defer to him as they
did in 2001, Mr. Armey said.
’1~eople are going home and listening to their school boards and listening to their parents saying, ’We want our schools
back,’ "Rep. Hoekstra told the audience at the Cato Institute.
Vol. 26, Issue 27, Page 22
Page 113

NonresponsiI
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 13, 2007 8:44 AM
To: Private-Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David;
Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toom ey, Liam; Tracy
Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Spellings takes heat for proposed education cuts (Education Daily)

Spellings takes heat for proposed education cuts (Education Daily)


Legislators defend GEAR Up, Ed Tech, Safe schools grants
By Patti Mohr
Education Daily, March 13, 2007
In her first formal appearance before the Democratic-controlled Congress, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings
defended the Bush administration’s budget against a series of bitter complaints from Hill lawmakers about its proposals to cut
programs, continue funding at current levels, and finance transfers to private schools.
Though it is not unusual for administration officials to face resistance over budgetary proposals while testifying before
Congressional committees, Spellings encountered an especially tough crowd at Monday’s hearing held by the House Labor,
Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee.
Practically every committee member addressed Spellings with demanding questions about cuts to specific programs, the
administration’s commitment to education, and its process for making budget decisions.
President Bush’s budget would fund education programs at the 2006 level of $56 billion - $1.5 billion below the current
$57.5 billion per year level.
While taking shots at the administration, Democrats promised to reject the proposed spending cut.
’I want to make it clear," said Rep. David Obey, D-Wisc., chairman of the subcommittee and the full Appropriations
Committee, "this budget for education is going to be increased significantly."
Specific differences Hill lawmakers criticized the administration for proposed cuts or level funding to coveted programs,
such as GEAR Up, TRIO, Safe and Drug Free Schools, 21st Century Learning Centers, Enhancing Education Through
Technology, and Even Start. Spellings insisted that states and local governments should have the discretion to spend funds as
they see fiL
Some of the harshest criticism came from Republicans who represent rural states.
’~Ve don’t need the latitude; we need the money that was promised to us," said Rep. Dennis Rehberg, R-Mont. NCLB
shows that schools on Indian reservations have some of the worst problems, yet receive the fewest dollars. Rehberg complained
Bush would cut rural education, Impact Aid and special education programs that Indian schools rely upon.
In some cases, ED has ceded ground to Hill lawmakers. For instance, rather than eliminating the GEAR Up and TRIO
programs, the administration would maintain their current levels. "Obviously, we heard yoLI and understand that it is a priority of
this Congress," Spellings said.
Even so, Hill lawmakers said they are not satisfied besause the current levels only support a small number of eligible
applicants.
’These programs should be expanded because they do work," said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.
Page 114

~onresponsiv1
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 12, 2007 9:05 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David;
Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy
Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Making Graduation Rates Matter (IHE)

IVlaking Graduation Rates Matter (IHE)


By Doug Lederman
Inside Hi,qher Ed, March 12, 2007
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings recently wrote a letter to the editor of The Detroit News in defense of her higher
education commission’s proposal for a national "student unit record" system to track all college entrants to produce a more
accurate picture of degree completion. "Currently," she said, ’~ve can tell you anything about first-time, full time college students
who have never transferred-about half of the nation’s undergraduates." It took a long time to bring Education Department officials
to a public acknowledgment of what its staff always knew that the so-called "Congressional Methodology" of our national college
graduation rate survey doesn’t pass the laugh test. If the Secretary’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education made one
truly compelling recommendation, it was for a fuller and better accounting through student unit records.
But it was well known that the establishment of a national student unit record system was a non-starter in Congress due to
false worries about privacy and data security. So one wonders why the department hasn’t simply proposed a serious revision of
the process and formula for determining graduation rates. Having edited and analyzed most of the d-department’s postsecondary
data sets, may I offer an honest and doable formula?
There are four bins of graduates in this formula, and they account for just about everyone the Secretary justly wants us to
count. They count your daughter’s friends who start out as part-time students - who are not counted now. They count your 31-
year-old brother-in-law who starts in the winter term - who is not counted now. They count active duty military whose first college
courses are delivered by the University of Maryland’s University College at overseas locations - who are not counted now. They
count your nephew who transferred from Oklahoma State University to the University of Rhode Island when he became
interested in marine biology - andwho is not counted now. And so forth. How do you do it, dear Congress, when you reauthorize
the Higher Education Amendments this year?
First, define an "academic calendar year" as July1 through the following June 30, and use this as a reference period
instead of the fall term only. Second, define the tracking cohort as all who enter a school (college, community college, or trade
school) as first time students at any point during that period, and who enroll for 6 or more semester-equivalent credits in their first
term (thus excluding incidental students).
Automatically, institutions would be tracking students who enter in winter and spring terms and those who enter part-time.
Your brother-in-law, along with other non-traditional students, is now in the denominator along with your daughter. Ask our
colleges to divide this group between dependent traditional age beginners (tinder age 24) and independent student beginners
(age 24 and up), and to report their graduation rates separately. After all, your daughter and your brother-in-law live on different
planets, in case you haven’t noticed. You now have two bins.
Third, establish another bin for all students who enter a school as formal transfers. The criteria for entering that bin are (a) a
transcript from the sending institution and (b) a signed statement of transfer by the student (both of which are usually part of the
application protocol). These criteria exclude the nomads who are just passing through town.
At the present moment, community colleges get credit for students who transfer, b~ the four-year colleges to vTnich they
transfer get no credit when these transfer students earn a bachelor’s degree, as 60 percent of traditional-age community college
transfers do. At the present moment, 20 percent of the bachelor’s degree recipients who start in a four-year school earn the
degree from a different four-year school. That we aren’t counting any of these transfers-in now is a traves~ - and makes it
appear that the U.S. has a much lower attainment rate than, in fact, we do. All this hand-wringing about international
comparisons that puts us on the short end of the stick just might take a different tone.
Fourth, ask our postsecondary institutions to report all students in each of the three bins who graduate at two intervals: for
Page 115
associate degree granting institutions, at 4 years and 6 years; for bachelor’s degree granting institutions at 6 years and 9 years.
For institutions awarding less than associate degrees, a single two-year graduation rate will suffice. Transfers-in are more
difficult, because they enter an institution with different amounts of credits, but we can put them all on the same reporting
schedule as community colleges, i.e., 4 and 6 years.
These intervals will account for non-traditional students (including both active duty military and veterans) who move through
the system more slowly due to part-time terms and stop-out periods, but ultimately give due credit to the students for persisting.
These intervals will also present a more accurate picture of what institutions enrolling large numbers of non-traditional students,
e.g. the University of Texas at Brownsville, DePaul University in Chicago, and hundreds of community colleges, actually do for a
living.
Colleges, community colleges, and trade schools have all the information necessary to produce this more complete
account of graduation rates now. They have no excuse not to provide it. With June 30 census dates for both establishing the
tracking cohort and counting degrees awarded, the algorithms are easy to write, and data systems can produce the core reports
within a maximum of two months. It’s important to note that the tracking cohort report does not not replace the standard fall term
enrollment report, the purposes of which are very different."
But there is one more step necessary to judge institutions’ contribution to the academic attainment of the students who start
out with them.
So, in rewriting the graduation rate formula in the coming reauthorization of the Higher Education Amendments, Congress
should also ask all institutions to make a good faith effort to find the students who lett their school and enrolled elsewhere to
determine whether these students, too, graduated. The National Student Clearinghouse will help in many of these cases, the
Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange will help in others, state higher education system offices will help in still others,
and we might even get the interstate compacts (e.g. the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education) into the act.
Require our postsecondary institutions to report the students they find in a fourth bin. They will not be taking credit for
credentials, but will be acknowledged as contributing to student progress.
No, this is not as full an account as we would get under a student unit record system, but it would be darned close - and all
it takes is a rewriting of a bad formula.
After 27 years of research for the U.S. Department of Education, Clifford Adelman recently left to be a senior associate at
the Institute for Higher Education Policy. His last monograph for the department was The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree
Completion from High School Through College (2006).
Page 116

Nonresponsiv
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 12, 2007 9:03 AM
To: Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David;
Eve’s, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrel!; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy
Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Bush Claims About NCLB Questioned (EDWEEK)

Bush Claims About NCLB Questioned (EDWEEK)


By David J. HoffAnd Kathleen Kennedy Manzo
Education Week,, March 14, 2007
Data on gains in achievement remain limited, preliminary.
Is the No Child Left Behind Act working?
President Bush says it is, pointing to student-achievement results f]-om a single subsection of the National Assessment of
Educational Progress and tentative Reading First data. But the evidence available to support his claim is questionable.
"Fourth graders are reading better," the president said during a March 2 visit to a school in NewAIbany, Ind. "They’ve made
more progress in five years than the previous 28 years combined."
In mathematics, he said, elementary and middle school students "earned the highest scores in the history of the test."
The data Mr. Bush cited at that event are from just the ’long-term trend" NAEP in reading and math, researchers say. All
available data, they add, show modest improvements that can’t be attributed to the 5-year-old law. Instead, progress in
achievement is more likely a continuation of trends that predate the law.
’There’s not any evidence that shows anything has changed," said Daniel M Koretz, a professor of education at Harvard
University’s graduate school of education.
Other researchers suggest that the standards and accountability system of the NCLB law is drawing attention to
achievement gaps and other inequalities and is causing educators to change their practice. But it’s too early to say whether the
federal law will result in achievement gains, they contend.
The laws "mechanisms are just coming into play, and not enough time has passed to establish a trend," said Adam
Gamoran, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
’I’m Lobbying Congress’
Portraying the No Child Le~ Behind law as a success is a critical element in President Bush’s argument that Congress
should renew it on schedule this year. The president signed the legislation, an overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act, with much fanfare in January 2002 and has cited it as his most important accomplishment in domestic policy.
’I’m not only speaking to you, I’m lobbying," Mr. Bush said at the Silver Street Elementary School in NewAIbany earlier this
month. "I’m lobbying Congress. I’m setting the stage for Congress to join me in the reauthorization of this important piece of
legislation."
Congress is laying the groundwork for reauthorizing the measure. This week, the Senate education committee held a
hearing on the laws teacher-qualib/requirements. Next week, the House and Senate education committees plan to hold a joint
session on an overview of the law.
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the chairmen of the education committees and two of
the architects of the bipartisan law, say they hope to renew it this year. But many observers expect the process will be delayed
until next year or even atter Mr. Bush leaves office in 2009.
At the New Albany school, IVL Bush highlighted the gains on the national assessment’s long-term-trend tests in reading
and mathematics. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings pointed to the same NAEP data on the laws fitth anniversary in
January, and during several other recent speeches.
Between 1999 and 2004, the reading scores of 9-year-olds climbed from 212 to 226 on the test’s 500-point scale. The gap
between African-American and white students that age narrowed to 26 points in 2004, compared with 35 points five years earlier.
The gap between Hispanic 9-year-olds and their non-Hispanic white peers tapered from 24 points to 21 points in that same time
period.
Page 117
On the math test, 9-year-olds’ scores rose by 9 points, and the gaps between Hispanics’ and African-Americans’ scores
and whites’ scores narrowed slightly as well.
Although the results for 9-year-olds on the reading test are positive, researchers say they can’t be linked to the law. The
testing window extends back to 1999-three years before President Bush signed the NCLB legislation into law and even before he
was president.
’With some of the claims that Spellings has made, for most of the time period there was no NCLB, so she can’t really say
[any improvement] is because of the law," said Gerald W. Bracey, the author of Reading Educational Research: Howto Avoid
Getting Statistically Snookered,who runs a LISTSERV, or e-mail forum, tracking what Mr. Bracey calls the administration’s
"disinformation."
Mr. Bracey, a frequent critic of testing programs, points out that implementation of the law began in 2002, but didn’t start to
fuel significant change in schools until the 2003-04 school year. "So I guess [the Bush administration] should be sharing some of
the credit with the Clinton administration," he said.
In math, the gains since 2002 are the extension of an upward trend that dates back more than 20 years, researchers say.
’They just pay attention to what happened after NCLB," said Jaekyung Lee, an associate professor of education at the
State University of New York at Buffalo. "Part of it is just a continuation of a trend from pre-NCLB."
The administration appears to ignore other data that suggest the law has had little or no positive effect on achievement.
On a different NAEP exam, gains haven’t been as signiticant, Mr. Lee said. What is known as the "national" NAEP, as
distinguished from the long-term-trend tests, shows 4th grade reading scores the same in 2005 as three years earlier, when the
law was signed. Math scores rose 1 point between 2003 and 2005. While that increase was statistically significant, it was smaller
than the 9-point gain between 2000 and 2003.
The scores on the "national" NAEP demonstrate that the NCLB law’s impact is incomplete, said Katherine McLane, the
U.S. Department of Education’s press secretary.
’The secretary is the first to say we have more work to do," Ms. McLane said in response to the criticisms. "That is one of
the issues we have to look at in education."
Regardless of whether NAEP scores go up or down, it’s almost impossible to link those changes to the NCLB law without a
well-designed research study, said Mr. Koretz of Harvard. That would compare a group of students who were exposed to NCLB
policies against one that hadn’t participated in the testing and accountability measures in the law.
Those are the types of studies that the Bush administration says must be presented as evidence to select reading materials
for the Reading First program and to win approval for research grants from the department.
Also, scores in the upper grades on both versions of the national assessment are for the most part unchanged from before
the laws passage.
NAEP is given to a sampling of students nationwide. Scores on states’ own tests, however, are used to determine whether
schools have made adequate yearly progress under the federal law. Mr. Gamoran of the University of Wisconsin said the debate
over NAEP scores is probably irrelevant. Even in 2005, the laWs most significant policies weren’t fully phased in. Those include
the requirements that all teachers be "highly qualified" and that all states annually assess math and reading achievement in
grades 3-8 and once in high school, said Mr. Gamoran, the director of the university’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research.
’Reading First’ Results
In addition to speeches citing the NAEP long-term-trend data, members of the Bush administration have lauded the
success of the $1 billion-a-year Reading First program, the largest new initiative in the NCLB law.
In the administration’s blueprint for the reauthorization of the No Child Lett Behind Act, unveiled in January, the Education
Department described Reading First as "the largest, most focused, and most successful early-reading initiative ever undertaken
in this country."
Few disagree that it is the largest and most focused. The initiative, which requires that participating schools use
"scientifically based" materials and assessments, includes more than 5,600 schools in 1,600 districts. An estimated 100,000
teachers have had some kind of professional development associated with the program, according to the blueprint.
But there is scant empirical evidence showing the program’s effect on student achievement. An independent interim study
on Reading First implementation, released last year, included survey results from state otficials. It showed that the program had
led to significant increases in the time participating schools spent on reading instruction, as well as more substantive professional
development and support for teachers, and the use of assessment data to inform instn.lction.
A later survey, conducted by the Center on Education Policy, a Washington-based research and advocacy group, indicated
that states were generally pleasedwith the program, with most claiming some improvement in student scores on state tests.
President Bush’s blueprint includes preliminary results showing some gains in students’ reading fluency. "For the 2004-05
school year, students in Reading First schools demonstrated increases in reading achievement across al! performance
Page 118
measures," Education Department officials wrote in the blueprint.
’The percentage of 2nd grade students who met or exceeded proficiency in reading on Reading First outcome measures of
fluency increased from 33 percent in 2003-04 to 39 percent in 2004-05 for economically disadvantaged students; from 27 to 32
percent for [limited-English proficient] students; from 34 to 37 percent for African-American students; from 30 to 39 percent for
Hispanic students; and from 17 to 23 percent for students with disabilities," the document adds.
Those gains, however, are based on a compilation of all test results in annual state reports for Reading First.
That compilation includes results from the DIBELS assessment, or Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills,
developed by researchers at the University of Oregon and used in more than 35 states to monitor student progress on fluency
and other measures. But they also include results from a variety of other assessments, including the Iowa Test of Basic Skills
and Terra Nova.
’The results showthat more kids in the early grades are making great progress on learning the basic components of
reading under Reading First," Ms. McLane, the department’s press secretary, said of the data reported in the blueprint.
Although such an assemblage of test scores can provide a general view of student progress, some researchers question
whether the compilation says much about reading proficiency.
’If the goal is just to see if students are improving, I think there is nothing wrong with using different tests as long as it is
established that the tests are reliable and valid, and reasonably comparable," Stephen D. Krashen, an education researcher and
linguist at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, wrote in an e-mail. However, "many [researchers] feel that
DIBELS is not valid."
Critics of DIBELS cite the tendency of some educators to teach to the tests or give the measures too much weight in
judging reading ability. They also question whether a test that gauges how many words a student can read accurately in a
minute, as DIBELS does, is a valid indicator of their proficiency. ("National Clout of DIBELS Test Draws Scrutiny," Sept. 28,
2005.)
According to Mr. Bracey, fluency-the ability to read a text accurately and quickly-is not a good indicator of reading mastery,
which requires comprehension.
"Kids can be very fluent and not have a clue abo~ what they just read," he said.
Success of Standards
While most researchers say it’s too early to measure the NCLB laws impact on achievement, many are beginning to see
evidence that educators are changing their behavior as a result of both the federal law and policies that took root in the 1990s at
the onset of the movement for higher standards and greater accountability in education.
’The big success of No Child Let~ Behind so far is to galvanize attention to the challenges we face, particularly the
challenges of inequity," Mr. Gamoran said.
But critics of the law question, in any case, the central place it gives to test scores. They say it puts too much emphasis on
the negative consequences of failing to meet annual student-performance targets and glosses over the professional
development and other interventions needed to improve struggling schools and get to the heart of elevating student
achievement.
’~that’s troublesome about it is the idea that you can eliminate [achievement] gaps by putting pressure on schools and
nothing else," said Gary A. Ortield, the director of the Civil Right Project at Harvard and the University of California, Los Angeles.
"It’s making a bad situation worse."
Vol. 26, Issue 27, Pages 1,26-27
Page 119

NonresponsiI
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 12, 2007 8:40 AM
To: Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David;
Eve-s, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Sire on, Ray; Tada, Wen dy; Talbert, Kent; Toom ey, Liam; Tracy
Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Chamber Hopes State Grades Spur School Reform (BusJrnls)

Chamber Hopes State Grades Spur School Reform (BusJrnls)


By Kent Hoover, Washington Bureau Chief
Business Journal% March 12, 2007
States should be grateful the U.S. Chamber of Commerce graded their school systems on a curve: Otherwise, according to
the chamber, there would have been many more Ds and Fs.
The chamber, which has made education reform one of its top priorities, decided to grade each state because national
statistics hide wide variations in how schools are doing in educating America’s future work force. The chamber evaluated state
school systems in nine categories, ranging from academic achievement to management flexibility. States -- in what may be a first
-- also were graded on their return on investment in education.
States didnt receive an overall grade -- properly weighting the categories was too complicated, chamber officials say.
Some states, however, were clear leaders: Massachusetts got As in seven categories, and Washington got As in five.
Florida and Virginia each got four As.
Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico and Rhode Island were at the bottom of the class, with four Fs each.
Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue says he hopes the grades will act "like fingernails on the chalkboard that make
everyone sit up and take notice."
"We’re going to have a bunch of chambers that are mad as hell at us," Donohue says. "My answer to them is: If you cook
the soup, you eat it."
Arthur Rothkopf, who heads the chamber’s educationtwork force initiative, calls the report card "a clarion call for action."
"We want the business community at the table in every state pushing for tougher standards, more innovation, better data,
better teaching," he says. ’Fundamental reform’ needed
Even states with good grades have a lot of room for improvement, Donohue says. There wasnt a single state where a
majority of fourth-graders and eighth-graders were proficient in math or reading on the National Assessment of Educational
Progress in 2005.
That’s "unconscionable," says John Podesta, president and C EO of the Center for American Progress and White House
chief of staff under President Clinton.
Despite years of well-intentioned but insufficient reforms, American students still aren’t prepared to compete in the global
economy, he says.
"We need to be honest with ourselves," Podesta says. "We need fundamental stn.~ctural reform."
Podesta’s think tank joined with the chamber to call for.
Overhauling how teachers are trained and paid;
Spreading innovations such as charter schools, online learning, early enrollment in college-level courses and
apprenticeships; and
Giving principals more authority over budgets and personnel, while holding superintendents accountable for academic
outcomes relative to their district’s expenditures.
Donohue says schools can improve by applying business practices to education -- "a hard thing to talk to educators about."
No state, for example, could provide systematic data on teacher performance and its reb.~rn on investment in education, he
says.
No business "could success&~lly operate with such a lack of information," he says.
Return on investment is important because education spending has tripled in the past four decades, but there is little
evidence that students are learning more as a result, according to the study. The report card tracked return on investment by
Page 120

dividing state expenditures into student achievement, alter firs~ controlling for student poverty, the percentage of students with
special needs and cost of living.
Utah, North Carolina and Washington had the best ROI; the worst were Washington, D.C.; New Mexico; and Hawaii. ’Lot
behind these numbers’
The report card received mixed grades from the education community.
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings applauded the initiative.
"I’ve found that when business leaders take a stake in the education of our nation’s future leaders, good things happen,"
she says.
The Council of Chief State School Officers also welcomes the chamber’s report.
’lt’s just another sign that people realize how critical a solid -- and a redefined -- education is," says Gene Wilhoit, the
council’s executive director.
The council, however, contends the chamber didnt give states enough credit for work already under way to raise student
achievement. It’s too early to conclude that recent standards-based reforms are failing, the council contends.
’q-here’s a whole lot behind these numbers," Wilhoit says of the report card. "It wont be helpful if people just sort of look at
it and make an immediate judgment about states and move on."
Page 122

..Nonrespons]
............................. .......................... ]
March 09, 2007 5:50 AM
To: rebeccca.neale@ed.gov; Quesinberry, Elaine; Conaty, Joseph; scott m. stanzel@ed.gov;
Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private-
Spellings, Margaret; Mesecar, Doug; Simon, Ray; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof,
Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young,
Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: In War Over Teaching Reading, a U.S.-Local Clash (NYT)

March 9, 2007
In War Over Teaching Reading, a U. S.-Local Clash

By DI_A_NA JEAN SCHEMO


MADISON, Wis. -- Surrounded by five first graders learning to read at Hawthorne Elementary
here, Stacey Hodiewicz listened as one boy struggled over a word.

"Pumpkin," ventured the boy, Parker Kuehni.

"’Look at the word, " the teacher suggested. Using a method known as whole language, she
prompted him to consider the word’s size. "Is it long enough to be pumpkin?"
Parker looked again. "’Pea,’" he said, correctly.

Cal! it the $2 million reading lesson.

By sticking to its teaching approach, that is the amount Madison passed up under Reading
First, the Bush administration’s ambitious effort to turn the nation’s poor children into
skilled readers by the third grade.

The program, which gives $i billion a year in grants to states, was supposed to end the
so-called reading wars -- the battle over the best method of teaching reading -- but has
instead opened a new and bitter front in the fight.

According to interviews with school officials and a string of federa! audits and e-mail
messages made public in recent months, federal officials and contractors used the program
to pressure schools to adopt approaches that emphasize phonics, focusing on the mechanics
of sounding out syllables, and to discard methods drawn from whole language that play dom-n
these mechanics and use cues like pictures or context to teach.

Federal officials who ran Reading First ma~ztain that only curriculums including regular,
systematic phonics lessons had the backing of "scientifically based reading research"
required by the program.

But in a string of blistering reports, the Education Department’s inspector general has
found that federal officials may have violated prohibitions in the law against mandating,
or even endorsing, specific curriculums. The reports also found that federal officials
overlooked conflicts of interest among the contractors that advised states applying for
grants, and that in some instances, these contractors wrote reading programs competing for
the money, and stood to collect royalties if their programs were chosen.

Education Secretary ~rgaret Spellings has said that the problems in Reading First
occurred largely before she took over in 2005, and that her office has new guidelines for
awarding grants. She declined a request for an interview.

Madison officials say that a year after Wisconsin joined Reading First, in 2004,
contractors pressured them to drop their approach, which blends some phonics with whole
langumge in a program called Balanced Literacy. Instead, they gave up the money -- about
$2 million, according to officials here, who say their program raised reading scores.

In New York City, under pressure from federal officials, school authorities in 2004
Page 123
dropped their citywide balanced literacy approach for a more structured program stronger
in phonics, in 49 !ow-income schools. At stake was $34 million.

Across the country -- in Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Iv~ine and New Jersey -- schools
and districts with programs that did not stress phonics were either rejected for grants or
pressured to chmnge their methods even though some argued, as Mmdison did, that their
programs met the law’s standard.
"We hmd data demonstrating that our children were learning at the rate that Reading First
was aiming for, and they could not produce a single ounce of data to show the success
rates of the program they were proposing," said Art Rainwater, Madison’s superintendent of
schools.

Both the House and the Senate are laying the groundwork for tough hearings on Reading
First, which is up for renewal this year.

Robert Sweet Jr., a former Congressional aide who wrote much of the Reading First
legislation, said the law aimed at breaking new ground by translating research into lesson
plans. Under the law, the yardstick of a reading program’s scientific validity became a
2000 report by the National Reading Panel.

That panel, created by Congress, with members selected by G. Reid Lyon, a former head of a
branch of the National Institutes of Health, set out to review the research and tell
~ericans what worked. It named phonics and related skills, vocabulary, fluency and
reading comprehension as the cornerstones of effective reading instruction.
Mr. ~eet firmly believes that phonics is the superior method of instruction; he is now
president of the National Right to Read Foundation, a pro-phonics group. His e-mail
address begins phonicsman.
With Reading First, he said, "we felt we could put education on a new path.’"

Dr. Lyon, another architect of the legislation, also strongly favors phonics. Teaching
children to read by reason and context, as Parker did in Madison, rather than by sounding
out letters to make words, is anathema, he said in an interview, suggesting that teachers
of the whole language approach be prosecuted for "educational malpractice."
~k~. ~{eet agreed. "You’ve got billions used for the purchase of programs that have no
validity or evidence that they work, and in fact they don’t, because you have so many kids
coming out of the schools that can’t read," he said.

But educators in Madison and elsewhere disagree about the effectiveness of phonics, and
say their results prove their method works.

Under their system, the share of third graders reading at the top two levels, proficient
and advanced, had risen to 82 percent by 2004, from 59 percent six years earlier, even as
an influx of students in poverty, to
42 percent from 31 percent of Madison’s enrollment, could have driven do~rn test scores.
The share of ~[adison’s black students reading at the top levels had doubled to 64 percent
in 2004 from 31 percent six years earlier.

And while 17 percent of African-Americans lacked basic reading skills when Madison started
its reading effort in 1998, that number had plunged to 5 percent by 2004.
The exams changed after 2004, mmking it impossible to compare recent results with those of
1998.
Other reading experts, like Richard Allington, past president of the Internationa! Reading
Association, also challenge the case for phonics. Dr. Allington and others say the
national panel’s review showed only minor benefits from phonics through first grade, and
no strong support for one style of instruction. They also contend that children drilled in
phonics end up with poor comprehension skills when they tackle more advanced books.

"This revisionist history of what the research says is wildly popular," Dr. Allington
said. "But it’s the main reason why so much of the reading community has largely rejected
the National Reading Panel report and this large-scale vision of what an effective reading
program looks like."
Page 124

Under Reading First, many were encouraged to use a pamphlet, "A Consumer’s Guide to
Evaluating a Core Reading Program Grades K-3," written by two special education
professors, then at the University of Oregon, to gauge whether a program was backed by
research.

But the guide also rewards practices, like using thin texts of limited vocabulary to
practice syllables, for which there is no backing in research. Dr. Allington said the
central role Washington assigned the guide effectively blocked from approval all but a few
reading programs based on "made-up criteria."

Deborah C. Simmons, who helped write the guide, said it largely reflected the available
research, but acknowledged that even now, no studies have tested whether children learn to
read faster or better through programs thmt rated highly in the guide.

Fatally for Madison, the guide does not consider consistent gains in reading achievement
alone sufficient proof of a program’s worth.

In making their case, city officials turned to Kathryn Howe of the Reading First technical
assistance center at the University of Oregon, one of several nmtionwide paid by the
federal Education Department thmt helped states apply for grants. But early on, they began
to suspect that Dr. Howe wanted them to dump their program.

At a workshop, she showed them how the guide valued exposing al! children to identical
instruction in phonics. ~dison’s program is based on tailoring strategies individually,
with less emphasis on drilling.

Dr. Howe used the Houghton Mifflin program as a model; officials here believed that
approval would be certain if only they switched to that program, they said.

In interviews, Dr. Howe said she had not meant to endorse the Houghton Hifflin program and
used it only for illustration, and had no ties to the company. She added that she might
have been misunderstood.
"i certainly didn’t say, ’You should buy Houghton Mifflin,’ " she said. "I do remember
saying: ’You can do this without buying a purchased program. It’s easier if you have a
purchased program, so you might think about that.’ "

Dr. Howe said Madison’s program might have suited most students, but not those in the five
schools applying for grants. "Maybe those students needed a different approach," she said.

Mary Watson Peterson, Madison’s reading chief, said the city did use intensive phonics
instruction, but only for struggling children.

After providing Dr. Howe extensive documentation, ~dison officials received a letter from
her and the center’s director, saying that because the city’s program lacked uniformity
and relied too much on teacher ~udgment, they could not vouch to Washington that its
approach was grounded in research.

Ultimately Madison withdrew from Reading First, said Mr. Rainwater, the superintendent,
because educators here grew convinced that approval would never come.
"It really boiled doeth to, we were going to have to abandon our reading program," the
superintendent said.

A st~sequent letter from Dr. Howe seemed to confirm his view. "Madison made a good
decision" in withdrawing, she wrote, "since Reading First is a very prescriptive program
that does not m~tch your district’s reading program as it stands now."

Never miss an email again!


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Page 125

Nonresponsiv
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 08, 2007 7:22 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David;
Eve-s, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy
Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: From IHE Quick Takes: More Scrutiny on Lender

A group of Democrats in the House of Representatives have asked the Education Department
<http://~vww.house.gov/appsilist/speectfedlabor dem/RelMar7.html> to explain why it let the National
Education Loan Network keep $278 million in federal subsidies that the department’s inspector general said
were paid to the lender improperly under a now-closed loophole in federa! law. In a letter Wednesday to
Education Secretary Marg~et Spellings, Rep. George Miller (D-Ca!if.), chairman of the House Education and
Labor Committee, and nine other lawmakers ca!led the decision not to require Nelnet to return the payments a
%erious misuse of federa! fimds’" and asked the department to explain the decision and to department’s
approach to the controversy. <http:i/insidehi~hered.com/news/2007/01/22/nelnet>
Page 126

INonresponsl
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 08, 2007 7:20 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; ’scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov’; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerd; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson,
Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar,
Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara MaRinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, C~thia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: What NCLB Needs (IBD)

What NCLB Needs


INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY
Posled3/7/2007

Education: The 2001 school reform la~v is far from perfect, but its no-excuses approach to school accountability is worth keeping. Its
weakest link is a lack of national standards, not a shortage of funds.

No Child Left Behind, enacted during George ]3ush’s brief bipmtisan honeymoon, is up for renewal this year in a much-changed
environment. With Democrats fully in charge of Congress and the president no longer popular, it’s a safe bet that the debate over
NCLB will include a big fio~t over money.
Bush has hiked federal outlays on elementary and secondary education 75% since taking office, more than any president since LBJ.

Much of the increase is due to the spending added under NCLB, but Bush won’t get much credit for that. NCLB was passed in 2001
with authorization to spend even more, and Democrats have long complained that NCLt3 wasn’t being funded to the limit.

You can expect to hear that theme repeated, loud and long.

Rep. George Miller, the new chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, dropped a hint of things to come last fall
when he gave the law an "A" but its funding an "F."
But if the Democrats are making too much of an alleged mone3, ~p, the administration is too inclined to dismiss NCL]3’s real fla~vs.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has said the law, like Ivory Soap, is "99.9% pure" with "not much needed in the way of
change"

There is plenty about the law that needs changing, though not in a way that many Democrats or Republicans may like.

The main problem is that, as American Enterprise Institute scholar Frederick M. Hess put it, "Congress and the Bush administration
punted on most of the tough questic~s when they negotiated NCLB." So standards are slippery, definitions are vague and
consequences of failure are uncertain. States must have a "highly qualified teacher" in each chssroorrg but states get to decide what
"highly qualified" means. The law doesn’t spel! out what it means to "restructure" a school, even though this is supposed to be the
penalty for schools that don’t fai! to make yearly progress for five years.

It’s also left to the states to set the standards that schools are supposed to meet. NCLB says all students must be "proficient" in reading
and math seven years from now.

But each state gets to define "proficient." Thus, states with the weakest schools have a built-in temptation to windo~v-dress their
performance by lowering standards to make more schools look adequate. Perversely, the states that take the NCLB mandate most
seriously and are toughest on their schools end up looking the worst

NCLB has other problems that can be blamed on "punting" in 2001, such as the failure of lawmakers to offer private-school vouchers
to parents with children at failing public schools.

But the most fundamental flaw is the lack of credible national benchmarks for school performance. Without these, no reform has much
of a chance. Parents armed with vouchers, for instance, still would fred it tough to make an informed choice as long as the schools can
use weak or shifting standards to mask their failures.
Page 127

Teacher unions, with their enormous statehouse clout, can continue to influence state and local assessment systems to defend their turf,
keep inflexible work roles in place and prevent private firms from gating a shot at running schools.

NCLB has the right idea in demanding school accountability nationally. That attitude of demanding results and not accepting excuses
is the law’s great strength. It’s probably one big reason the law gets an "A" fi-om Miller and still enjoys bipartisan support, even though
it has made little progress toward closing the achievement gaps related to race and social class.
But to even get close to that goal, it needs to close the loopholes that let states judge their own work. Without national standards
behind its tests, especially in the k~ subjects of reading and math, No Child Left Behind will be remembered as just one more school
reform that failed by putting rhetoric before results.
Page 128

N_onresponsi
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 08, 2007 7:15 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; ’scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov’; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson,
Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar,
Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, C~thia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Dems seek US Education Dept student loan scrutiny (Reuters)

Attachments: Picture (Metafile); Picture (Metafile)

Dems seek US Education Dept student loan scrutiny


WedMar 7, 2007 7:24PM EST
(Refiles to fix spacing in paragraph 1.)
By Kevin Drawbaugh
WASHINGTON, March 7 (Reuters) - Ten Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education
Margaret Spellings on Wednesday urging scrutiny of a student loan pro~am involved in a January settlement
with Nelnet Inc. (NNI.N: Quote </stocks/quote?sgmbol=NNI.N>, Profile </stocks/companyProfile?
sgmbol=NNI.N>, Research </stocks/researchReports?svmbol=NNI.N>).
Student lender Nelnet in January ageed on a settlement with the Education Department over disputed payments
under a 1980s program that gamranteed lenders a 9.5 percent interest rate.
The settlement came after the department reported m September that Nelnet had misused loan rifles "to receive
hundreds of millions of dollars in overpayments in loans by the federal government," said a statement from
California Rep. George Miller, who sig-ned the letter to Spellings.
Miller, chairman of ~e House Education and Labor Committee, wrote to the secretary that t~e Nelnet case,
"represents a serious misuse of federal funds, and it is likely that this is not an isolated case. It is critical for you
to conduct fifll oversight of the use of~e 9.5 percent provision."
The letter was signed by nine other Democratic lawmakers.
Nelnet said on Jan. 19 it had agreed to a settlement that would eliminate all of its special allowance payments
for certain loans on and al~er July 1, 2006. The company said it would incur a related $24.5 million fourth-
quarter chmge.
The lawmakers’ letter asked Spellings for information about the depar~-nent’s intentions regarding the 9.5
percent program, "including any oversight of additional lenders."
The request to the Education Department comes at a time of turmoil for the student loan industry.
The Bush administration last month proposed to slash subsidies paid to financial institutions that make college
loans, hammering sector leader Sallie Mae’s (SLM.N: Quote </stocks/quote?swnbol=SLM.N>~ _Profile
</stocks!companyProfile?sgmbol=SLM.N>~ Research </stocks/researchReports?sgmbol=SLM.N>) stock.
SNares of the lender, formally known as SLM Corp., dosed do~m 55 cents at $42.02 on Wednesday, near a two-
1
Page 129
year-low, on the New York Stock Exchange in a generally flat market.
Nelnet closed down 75 cents at $24.82 on the Big Board.
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy and other lawmakers also are moving to reshape student
lending.
Kennedy is seeking support for legislation that would directly threaten Sallie Mac and other student lenders by
rewarding colleges for steering students to direct government loans, instead ofgovernment-g~aaranteed loans.
The House of Representatives has approved halving interest rates on many student loans to 3.4 percent over five
years.
© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching,
framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior "~,aitten coment of Reuters. Reuters and the
Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the
worl4
Reuters journalists are subject to the Reuters Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure

of relevant interests.
Page 130

[Nonresponsi
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 08, 2007 7:12 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; ’scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov’; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson,
Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar,
Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Mad’inez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; ’Tracy Young’; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: NCLB School Reform Deserves Renewal, and It’s Not Enough (RCP)

March 08, 2007

NCLB School Reform Deserves Renewal, and It’s Not Enough


By Mort Kondracke <http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/author/mort kondracke/>
<http:www.rollcal!.com/subscribe>There’s reason to hope that Congress ~vill reauthorize, extend and improve
the landmark 2001 No Child Left Behind Act school-accountability law. But, by itself, the federal program is
clearly not going to solve America’s education crisis.
The crisis, documented in one alarming report aRer another, is that American schools systematically are failing
their students and endangering the nation’s ability to match global economic competition.
Beyond NCLB, there has to be drastic action at the state level, where responsibility for education primarily lies.
And school reform needs the backing of 2008 presidential candidates, who so far have said little about it.
The newest dismal evidence came out from the National Assessment of Education Progress last month:
American 12th graders in 2005 performed worse in reading than 12th graders did in 1992. Only 35 percent of
students about to graduate could read at grade level. Only 23 percent were proficient in math.
And these numbers apply only to students finishing high school. Fully a quarter of youngsters entering high
school drop out, including 50 percent of minority kids.
The Bush administration once again is proposing to extend NCLB’s regimen of state standards-setting, testing
and accountability to the nation’s high schools and, this year, Congress likely w~l go along -- inthe process,
upping Bush’s paltry request for just $1.2 billion to finance the effort.
In an interview, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings told me "the major focus of NCLB has been on our
elementary and middle schools, grades three through eight. And that is where we have seen the power of the
improvement, pro~4ng the adage that ’what gets measured, gets done.’"
Spellings can cite some evidence of progress in the lower grades -- 70 percent of schools meeting state-set
adequate yearly progress marks, record-setting reading and math scores for 9-year-olds and math scores for 13-
year-olds, plus some closure of disparities beb,veen whites and minorities.
And yet, the goal of NCLB is that all American schoolchildren will be proficient in reading and mathby 2014 --
not world-class, just proficient, able to read with critical judgment and solve minimally complex math problems.
Right now, five years into the NCLB era, the United States is far from there -- far.
Study results in 2005 showed that in 1992, 29 percent of fourth graders read proficiently. By 2005, that
percentage was up to just 31 percent. The same applied to eighth graders. Average math scores increased
significantly, but the percentages performing proficiently in 2005 were 36 percent for fourth graders and 30
Page 131
percent for eighth graders.
"Scores have increased, but they are really low," commented Phillip Lovell, education specialist at the youth
advocacy group First Focus. "At 30 percent proficiency, you’d have to say that on a traditional grading scale of
A to F, as a country we are still way below the lowest F."
Beyond proficiency levels, Lover noted, "the scariest numbers" are a doubling in the number of schools failing
to meet adequate yearly progress levels for four or five years, requiring either corrective action or restructuring.
Nearly 10 percent of schools serving low-income children are expected to need restructuring by 2008.
As part of his runup to formal hearings on NCLB reauthorization, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) last week
called for special efforts to attract top-quality teachers to high-needs schools. But he and other Democrats
stoutly oppose the administration’s favorite remedy, vouchers to permit ill-served pupils and parents to escape to
private, parochial or out-of-district public schools.
Kennedy, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has blessed the
recommendations of a bipartisan commission assembled by the Aspen Institute that included a requirement that
school teachers serving low-income students receive the same salaries as teaching higher-income students.
Democrats tend to resist, however, a proposal of the Bush administration that chronically poor-performance
schools be freed from the strictures of union contracts so that they can be restaffed and more effectively
managed by principals.
To its credit, the administration is budgeting $500 million to help schools needing improvement. But it has no
position, as of yet, on a Kennedy-sponsored measure, the Keeping Pace Act, to facilitate community support for
low-income schools or a forthcoming measure sponsored by Sens. JeffBingaman (D-N.M.) and Richard Burr
(R-N.C.) to target $2.5 billion at "dropout factories," the 15 percent of schools accounting for more than half of
the nation’s dropouts.
Welcome as federal action on the schools is, SpellinN points out that the states account for 92 percent of
national school funding and the bulk of education responsibility. And half of the states failed to meet their
planning responsibilities under NCLB until the last minute.
A new report just issued jointly by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the liberal Center for American Progress
and the American Enterprise Institute, "Leaders and Laggards," rates the states on overall academic
achievement, minority progress, return on investment, proficiency troth-in-advertising and other measures.
Its bottom line is that "despite decades of reform efforts and many trillions of dollars of public investment, U.S.
schools are not equipping our children with the skills and knowledge they -- and our nation -- so badlyneed."
The state ~vith the best academic achievement records of all -- Massachusetts -- could boast only that about half
of its students scored proficiently on the National Assessment of Education Progress. At the bottom was
Washington, D.C., with proficiency ratings barely above 10 percent.
The chamber hopes to equip its state affiliates and member businesses to confront state legislatures, local school
boards and teachers tmions to demand reform. It’s a worthy purpose.
And it could use some help from a presidential candidate whdll call for a grand trade -- professional level pay
for teachers in return for professional accountability, pay-for-performance and an end to rigid union work rules.
Also, equalization of funding bet~veen rich and poor school districts, a longer school day and a longer school
year and more investment in early childhood education.
Republicans resist spending more. Democrats chronically do the bidding of the teachers unions. America’s kids
and the country’s future need a president who’ll break that rancid mold.
Page 132

Mort Kondracke is the Executive Editor of Roll Call <http://ww~v.rollcal!.com/>, the newspaper of CapitoI Hill
since 1955. © 2007 Roll Call, Inc.
Page Printed h’om:
http~//~vww.rea~c~ear~litic~c~m/artic~es/2~7/~3/nc~b-sch~-ref~rm-deserves-re.htm~ at March 08, 2007
- 06:07:49 AM CST
Page 133

LN,~onresponsi!
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 07, 2007 8:18 AM
To: Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David;
Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy
Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Governors Edge Toward Position on NCLB (EDWEEK)

Governors Edge Toward Position on NCLB (EDWEEK)


By By Michele McNeil
Education Week., March 7, 2007
In a shift of direction, NGA vows a lobbying effort in law’s renewal.
The nation’s governors, who were noticeably absent when Congress passed the No Child Let~ Behind Act more than five
years ago, are vowing to take a front-row seat as the law comes up for renewal this year.
Led by Gov. Christine Gregoire of Washington and Gov. Donald L Carcieri of Rhode Island, the bipartisan lobbying effort
kicked into high gear during the National Governors Association’s winter meeting here Feb. 24-27.
The two met privately with U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings last week to start the discussion, and they will
urge fellow governors to work with their chief state school officers to appoint one person from each state to coordinate policy
efforts on NCLB reauthorization. Representatives from all interested states will convene in the next couple of months to nail down
changes the governors would like to see.
After that, Gov. Gregoire, a Democrat, and Gov. Carcieri, a Republican, may seek a follow-up meeting with Secretary
Spellings. And, if needed, the governors will testify before Congress.
’We will be very active," Gov. Carcieri said in an interview. "We want to fairly quickly come together and develop very strong
opinions on the policy."
In their initial meeting with Ms. Spellings, Gov. Carcieri said, he and Gov. Gregoire laid the groundwork for fi.~ture
discussions by listening to the secretary’s take on the reauthorization, and indicating the governors wanted to be closely involved
in shaping the next version of the law.
Joan E. Wodiska, the director of the NGA’s education committee and the coordinator of the lobbying effort, said the
governors are concerned about four key areas: increasing the support for teachers; giving states more flexibility on
accountability; increasing funding; and giving states more say in which tests are used, who is tested, and what penalties can be
used for poorly performing schools, for example.
The next step, she said, is to get a majority of governors-both Democrats and Republicans-to agree on policy
recommendations.
’The governors are in the game. Now, we just have to work out the details to make sure our suggestions are meaningful,"
Ms. Wodiska said.
One common theme emerged at the governors’ meeting: Though they agree with the fundamental components of testing
and accountability at the heart of the NCLB law, many governors feel states need more flexibility and funding to see the changes
through.
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat and the chairwoman of the NGA, summed up the existing federal law as a "one
size fits all" approach to school improvement that isn’t as effective as it could be.
Katherine McLane, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education, said the priorities Ms. Spellings laid out for the
reauthorization include "a number of flexibilities," such as allowing states to use so-called growth models to measure student
progress and alternative standards to measure special education students’ achievement.
Even though education is a top priority for the NGA, the bipartisan organization that represents all the state governors
generally has shied away from particularly divisive issues, which has deterred the group-until now-from lobbying on the NCLB
law.
’We admit the NGA was not involved," said Gov. Gregoire. "It’s a different day. Whether we are in charge of education or
not, it always comes back that we’re responsible for it. We will make sure our voices are heard."
Page 134
Power Struggle
Disputes about the NCLB law are an example of the ongoing power struggle over what a number of governors at last
week’s meeting complain are unfunded mandates from the federal government. Governors also complain that the federal
government is interfering in what should be state-level decisions. In particular, a number of them object to part of the Bush
administration’s blueprint for the NCLB reauthorization that calls for the federal law to override state moratoriums on the
expansion of charter schools.
Gov. Carcied is one of those who object-even though he said it would help his cause in Rhode Island, where he wants to
see lawmakers lift the moratorium they placed on charter schools in 2004. His point is that the federal government shouldn’t be
interfering.
’That’s the state’s role," he said of such changes.
Such debates come at a time when the governors are being pressured from all sides to make improvements in K-12
education, which takes up about 50 percent of states’ budgets. Around the country, for example, local education groups are
pushing for increased school funding and taking their states to court-in Missouri, for example, a coalition comprising nearly half
the state’s public school districts is suing to increase school funding.
Meanwhile, the federal government is bearing down on states to comply with the No Child Left Behind law, which requires
annual testing in reading and math in grades 3-8 and once in high school, a range of penalties for schools that don’t show
adequate yearly progress, and extra help for students in underperforming schools. The goal of the law is that all students be
proficient in reading and math by the end of the 2013-14 school year.
But achieving consensus among the 50 states on how to improve the law won’t be easy. Many states have their own
specific concerns about the act.
Virginia, for example, has tangled with the U.S. Department of Education over how English-language learners are tested.
Connecticut is suing the federal government over what it contends is a failure to provide enough money to implement the law.
In Minnesota, one of the biggest issues, as Republican Gov. Tim Pawtenty sees it, is labeling an entire school as needing
improvement if one subset of the student population, such as special education students, lags behind on achievement tests.
North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven, also a Republican, echoed that sentiment. "Governors believe in accountability," he said.
"But how we measure that progress-that’s going to be a big part of the discussion."
Vol. 26, Issue 26, Pages 16-17
Page 135

Nonresponsi
From: Yudof, Samara
Sent: March 06, 2007 4:38 PM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David;
Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnit[, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; ’Tracy
Young’; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy; Oldham, Chery; Schray, Vickie; Conklin, Kristin
Cc: McLane, Katherine; Ditto, Trey, Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie
Subject: (U.S. News and World Report) The Measure of Learning: Can you test what colleges teach?
Academics are appalled that the government wants to try

This story appears in the March 12, 2007 pdnt edition of U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. News and World Repo~t


Nation & World
The Measure of Learning
Can you test what colleges teach? Academics are appalled that the government wants to ta3~
By Alex Kingsbury
In his autobiography, The Eah~cation of Henry Adams, the grandson of the sixth president delivered the
American school system one of its most memorable intellectual smackdowns. His treatise on the value of
experiential learning concluded that his alma mater, Harvard University, "as f~ as it educated at all ... sent
young men into the world with all they needed to make respectable citizens. Leaders of men it never tried to
make." His schooling, replete with drunken revelry and privileged classmates, didn’t prepare him for a world of
radical change: the birth of radio, X-rays, automobiles. "[Harvard] taught little," he said, "and that little, ill."
Todays undergraduate education, of course, is far more than just the canon of classics that Adams studied. And
with heavy investments in technology, it’s hard to argue that colleges don’t prepare students for the job market or
the emerging digital world. But the question remains: What sho~dda student learn in college? And whatever that
is, which colleges teach it most effectively?. With the average cost of private college soaring--and with studies
consistently showing American students falling behind their peers internationally--it’s a question being asked
more and more. And it’s one that colleges are at a loss to fully answer. "Every college tries to do what it says in
the brochures: ’to help students reach their full potential,’" says Derek Bok, folrner Harvard president and the
author of Our Underachieving Colleges. But, he says, "most schools don’t know what that means. Nor do they
know who is failing to achieve that full potential."
It’s called "value added," an elusive measurement of the thinldng skills and the body of knowledge that students
acquire between their freshman and senior years. In other words, how much smarter are students when they
leave college than when they got there? Trying to quantify that value--and assessing how effective each of the
nation’s 4,200 colleges is at delivering it--is at the heart of one of the most ambitious and controversial higher-
education reforms in recent history.
Later tNs month, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings will meet with college leaders to discuss the
findings of her Commission on the Future of Higher Education and its plan to assess college learning through
one or a number of standardized tests. "For years the colleges in this country have said, ’We’re the best in the
world, give us money and leave us alone,’" says Charles Miller, the chairman of the commission. "The higher-ed
comlrnmity needs to fess up to the public’s concerns."
Page 136

Along with the parents footing the bills, the federal government has a vested interest in knowing how the
nation’s colleges are doing their jobs. Although the government provides only 10 percent of the furlcting for all
K-12 schools, it is responsible for 24 percent ofa!l money spent on higher education. Despite this inflow of
public money, colleges have largely escaped the accountability movement that has been shaping policy and
curricula in the early grades.
One size. Not surprisingly, cdleges abhor the idea ofgovermnent-imposed testing, insisting that they are
reforming themselves and that government oversight is not the answer in any case. A one-size-fits-all solution is
grossly impractical, they argue, given the variety of American colleges, and it undermines the prized
independence of the institutions, widely regarded as among the finest in the world. "No one wants standardized
No Child Left Behind-style testing in colleges--not parents, not students, not colleges," says David Ward,
president of the American Council of Education. Adds Lloyd Thacker, author of College Unranked: Ending the
College Admissions Frenzy, "The danger is that the soul of education will be crushed in the rush to quantify the
unquantifiable."
A combination of factors has prompted the government to rethink its historically hands-offpolicy toward higher
education. They include a staggeringly high dropout rate, a perceived decline in international competitiveness,
and sky-high tuitions. Nationwide, only 63 percent of entering freshmen will graduate from college within six
years--and fewer than 50 percent of black and Hispanic freshmen will. And while degree holders have far
greater earning power than nondegree holders, the students who incur debt only to drop out are often worse off
than if they had never attended college in the first place.
And debts they have. A year of t~tion at Harvard cost Henry Adams $75, or nearly $1,750 in today’s dollars.
Now, four years at a public in-state, four-year college costs $65,400, up more than 27 percent in the past five
years. Four years at a private school costs more than $133,000. In the past 30 years, the average constant-dollar
cost of a degree from a private schoo! has more than doubled. So it’s hardly surprising that college students with
loans graduate with an average of $19,000 in debt.
Yet an expensive degree does not necessarily a literate citizen make. In 2003, the government surveyed college
graduates to test how well they could read texts and draw inferences. Only 31 percent were able to complete
these basic tasks at a proficient level, down from 40 percent a decade earlier. Fewer than half of all college
students, other studies show, graduate with broad proficiency in math and reading. And, according to Bok,
evidence suggests that several groups of college students, particularly blacks and Hispanics, consistently
underperform levels expected of them given theix SAT scores and high school grades.
It is just these sorts of reports that have triggered the goveira-nent’s demands for greater accountability. "It was
always assumed that higher education knew what it was doing," says John Simpson, president of the University
at Buffalo-SUNY. "Now, the government wants provable results."
There are currently two major tools used to measure student learning in college. The Collegiate Learning
Assessment, administered to freshmen and seniors, measures critical thinking and analytical reasoning. About
120 schools use it--though nearly all keep the results confidential. Hundreds of schools also administer the
National Survey of Student Engagement, which tracks how much time students spend on educational and other
activities--a proxy for value added. Colleges have also made efforts to monitor student satisfaction, faculty
effectiveness, and best classroom practices. The problem is, schools largely keep these results from the public.
Many graduate programs require standardized tests for admission, from the Graduate Record Exam to the more
specialized tests for law, medicine, and business. So demonstrating a college’s effectiveness could be as simple a
matter as tabulating its graduates’ pass rates on those exams. But many colleges have no way to determine if
their graduates take these exams or how well they score. Nor, colleges argue, can they easily and
comprehensively monitor starling salary, graduate school acceptance, or years spent in debt. This is despite the
prodigious data-gathering capabilities of the fundraisers in the alumni office.
Page 137

Conm~on knowledge. One of the major hurdles for measuring value added is agreeing on what students should
learn </usnews/news/articles/070312/12college.b.htm>.
Should a philosophy major be proficient in calculus? Should a physics major be able to conjugate French verbs?
A study of hundreds of students at the University of Washington suggests that measuring success within
disciplines might be the way for~vard instead. "We found that learning outcomes were highly dependent on a
student’s major," says Catharine Beyer, who has compiled the results of that research into a book to be published
this spring. "A chemistry student will learn something very different about writing than a philosophy major.
That’s why standardized tests across institutions are too simplistic to determine what learning takes place."
Others contend that a myopic focus on testing is simply the wrong way to think about learning. Peter Ewell, vice
president at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, says that alternative assessments,
like portfolios of student work or senior-year capstone projects, can be effective yardsticks for gauNng progress.
Ball State University in Munde, Ind_, for instance, requires that all students must pass a writing test in order to
graduate; in two hours, students must produce a three-page expository essay. In several majors, including
architecture and education, students must maintain an electronic portfolio of their work.
In the ne~ five years, Ball State will also give all students the oppommity to ~ticipate in an "immersive
learning project," in which they solve a real-world problem. One recent class, for example, produced a DVD
about the American legal system for the local Hispanic communities. "The limitation of the Spellings
commission is that they only think about universities in terms of the classroom," says Jo Ann Gora, Ball State’s
president. "We see our educational mission in much broader terms, including community involvement that is
not easy to quantify with a test."
To a large degree, schools already are held accountable for their performance. It happens through the
accreditation process, in which an independent panel reviews the operation of an institution and gives its official
blessing. When the process started, there were fewer colleges and far fewer federal dollars at stake. But now,
with federal student loans contingent on a school’s credentials, a loss of accreditation could put a college out of
business. Thus, accreditors are reluctant to fail schools, preferring instead to issue warnings and encourage
improvement. Accreditors meeting in Wastfm~on recently also confessed that some were reluctant to shutter
schools that are "failing in the numerical sense" because those institutions were serving students who othenvise
might not have options.
Freeze. But if the feds have their way, that sort of attitude may change. The Department of Education recently
made an example out of the American Academy for liberal Education, a minor accrediting agency, by freezing
its authority for six months for--among other things--failing to clearly measure student achievement. It was an
indication of how quickly the government is moving.to implement the recommendations of the commission.
"We’re not just going to sit around and study this," says Cheryl Oldham, the commission’s executive director.
"We’re going to begin to correct the problems."
Another key resource for evaluating schools is, of course, college ranldngs--the Best Colleges
</usnews!edu/colle~e/ranldn~s/ranldndex brief.php> list by U.S. Ne~,,s in particular. College rankings have
been blamed for all manner of ills, from runaway tuition costs to unhealthy adolescent stress. But chief among
critics’ complaints is that U.S. News relies more on "inputs" such as SAT scores and the high school class ranks
of admittees than "outputs" of the sort that Spellings wants to measure.
"U.S. Nears ranldngs heavily weight the wealth of a school, thro ~ugh things like spending per student, rather than
how much a student learns," says Kevin Carey, a researcher at the nonpartisan think tank Education Sector.
Unless colleges release them, U.S. Ne~,s does not have access to such data. But if such measures were
incorporated, the ranldngs could change. Florida, for example, makes data about student learning public, often
with sm~rising results. The average student at the University of Florida, for example, has SAT scores a full 100
points higher than those at Florida International University. There are fewer fifll-time faculty members at FIU,
Page 138
and only 4 percent of alumni donate money back to the school, compared with 18 percent of University of
Florida grads. Those are just two reasons that the University of F!orida ranks higher than FIU in the U.S. News
list. Yet the average earnings of FIU grads--only one measure, to be sure--are significantly higher than those of
their University of Florida counterparts.
The state of Texas also requires its public colleges to release more data. In a recent report, the state announced
that the tiny University of Texas of the Pem~an Basin in Odessa far outperformed the larger UT campuses in E1
Paso and Dallas on the Collegiate Learning Assessment. What’s more, Permian Basin also had a greater
percentage of students either employed or enrolled in a graduate pro~am within a year after graduation for
every year between 2001 and 2004, when compared with its counterparts in E1 Paso and Dallas.
These are the sorts of statistics students should consider ~vhen looking at colleges, g~dance counselors say. In
their absence, students look dsewhere for comparisons--to campus luxuries like room service or Jacuzzis, for
instance, or to the success of a school’s sports teams. "Students will choose a college because of its party
reputation or its campus facilities or how many limes it’s been on ESPN, because they don’t have a lot of other
meaningful information to base their choice on," says Steve Goodman, an educationa! consultant and college
counselor. The irony is that ifs often easier to find statistics about a college football running back thanit is to
find, say, the college’s expected graduation rate for black males from middle-class households.
Spellings, for her part, sees outcomes as inseparable from the college search process. She envisions a database
on the Web where people can shop for a school the way they shop for a new car--an analogy that incenses
academics to no end. (These critics also point out that the Department of Education already maintains such a
website, though it is far from user-friendly.)
A~ling ,ow. Some schools are already taldng the hint. The University of North Carolina recently announced
that it was considering requiring the Collegiate Learning Assessment. The Kentucky and Wisconsin
governments require that state schools prove learning outcomes. In Texas, in addition to the testing it already
mandates, Gov. Rick Perry has proposed a college exit exam. The Arizona State University system has moved
to give individual deans more power to require learning assessments. And businesses are lining up to provide
the tools to do it. "Employers, governments, and parents want to know what they are paying for," says Catherine
Burdt of the educational research firm Eduventures. As the college going population includes more part-time
and older students, studies show, the demand for measuring learning outcomes will only increase.
In a few ~veeks, colleges will hear how Spellings intends to move forward. Colleges, meanwhile, continue to
search for that elusive value-added measure, which, however flawed, can lead to better teaching.
"We should not be afraid of a culture of self-scrutiny on campus, but only the faculty can create a culture of
learning," says Bok, who is wary of a federally imposed solution. "Those who say it’s impossible to quantify a
college education are not being honest or they are dissembling. All the things you learn can’t be counted, but
some can. We need to get more schools interested in examining their own successes and shortcomings."
That might be something Spdlings could support--provided that the colleges publish the results.
Posted 3/4/07
Page 139

lNonresponsiv!
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 06, 2007 8:31 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; ’scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov’; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs,
Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson,
Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar,
Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Co: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Reauthorizing No Child Lel~ Behind (MBARONE)

Reauthorizing No Child Left Behind (MBARONE)


IVichael Barone, March 5, 2007
Mchael Barone
The No Child Left Behind Act - the education bill passed by Congress in 2001 and signed by George W. Bush in 2002 --
comes up for reauthorization this year. NCLB injected into the federal aid to education program important doses of accountability
-- yearly testing of kids from grades 3 to 8, consequences for failing schools, disaggregation of data by race and ethnicity -- and it
seems to have resulted in some modest improvements in test scores.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is optimistic that it will be reauthorized. Sen. Edward Kennedy and Rep. George
Miller have scheduled a bipartisan joint meeting of their committees for March 13 -- both played major roles in 2001 shaping the
bill, which passed with bipartisan majorities. Yet 11 members of a bipartisan group of 12 Washington education law professionals
surveyed in December by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute predicted that the new version will not be passed until 2009.
President Bush, second from left, and first lady Laura Bush, left, meet with members of Congress in the Oval Office of the
White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 8, 2007 on the Fifth Anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act. from left are, Mrs.
Bush, the president, Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. (AP
Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Perhaps this is because they think that Kennedy and Miller would rather wait until a Democratic president is in office. They
have made it plain that they want a bill authorizing considerably more funding. Kennedy has been complaining since 2002 that
the administration hasnt fulfilled its promise to spend the full amounts authorized then. Others do not recall such a promise and
note that few programs are funded up to the fiJII authorization amount. And the teachers unions -- an important Democratic
constikrency -- would probably like more money and less accountability. The Republicans involved -- Spellings and Sen. Mike
Enzi of Wyoming and Rep. Buck r,,/bKeon of California -- seem primarily interested in more accountability.
On that, they have received serious intellectual support in recent months. An Aspen Institute panel headed by two former
governors, Republican Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin and Democrat Roy Barnes of Georgia, called for beefed-up
accountability measures, more public school choice, aligning state test standards with college and workplace standards, and
more assessments in high school grades.
Bill Gates, whose foundation has been concentrating on education, is pushing for more rigor and better results in high
schools. The Center for American Progress, headed by former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, has teamed with the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce and Frederick Hess of the conservative American Enterprise Institute to urge more in the way of
accountability.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and high-tech CEOs have emphasized that America needs better schools if it is
to remain competitive. At the same time, there appears to be little support in liberal think tanks for the positions the teachers
unions have taken over the years.
Spellings calls for some interesting changes: merit pay for teachers in districts with "challenging" schools, overriding
teachers union contracts when they conflict with NCLB sanctions and more assessments of students’ progress in high school. It’s
not at all clear that Kennedy and Miller are going to oppose all such changes (though the teachers unions will press them to
oppose the second).
Their support of the 2001 legislation represented a sharp shit~ from the Democrats’ approach to the 1994 reauthorization,
which added more money but did little about accountability. Kennedy and Miller, impressed by the success of state accountability
programs in the intervening years and acting out of a heartfelt conviction that schools without accountability were poorly serving
disadvantaged children, led their party to a sharp change on policy.
Page 140
But more progress is needed. Something more needs to be done about the 15 percent of high schools that produce 50
percent of high school dropouts. Only about half the blacks and Hispanics who enter high school graduate within four years.
Kennedy and Miller seem willing to plunge ahead with elaborate hearings, and my sense, based on observing them over many
years, is that they will be not only open, but inclined, to support many tougher accountability measures. They proved that in their
work on the bill in 2001.
It’s also my sense that Spellings, Enzi and McKeon are open to more funding. The Bush budget already adds $1.2 billion
for Title I aid to disadvantaged schools, $500 million for low-performing schools and $600 million for tuition to alternatives to
failing schools.
The fact is that our schools are not as good as they could be. This doesnt hurt kids from affluent, stable, book-filled
households too much -- they’re mostly going to do well even if they go to mediocre schools. But it does hurt kids from low-
earning, single-parent, bookless households who fall behind in poor schools and too often never reach their potential. It would
help them if these Democrats and Republicans could once again reach a deal. Let’s hope the insiders are wrong on this one.
Mchael Barone is a senior writer with U.S. News & World Report and the principal co-author of The Almanac of American
Politics, published by National Journal every two years. He is also author of Our Country: The Shaping of America from
Roosevelt to Reagan, The New Americans: Howthe Melting Pot Can Work Again, the just-released Hard America, Soft America:
Competition vs. Coddling and the Competition for the Nation’s Future.
Page 141

Nonresponsi
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 06, 2007 8:29 AM
To: Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; ’scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov’; Beaton, Meredith; Bdggs,
Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson,
Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar,
Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Fixing No Child Left Behind (WSJ)

Fixing No Child Left Behind (WSJ)


The Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2007
The No Child Left Behind education law is up for renewal this year, and an independent commission recently released
some recommendations for improvement. Not [o be outdone, the White House has also put out its own "blueprint" for
strengthening the law. The legislation could use a serious reworking, but any fixes wont go far enough unless they do more to
expand public and private school choice.
NCLB’s political bargain was that, in return for a big increase in federal education spending, the government would hold
schools more accountable for results in the classroom. Six years later, taxpayers have done their part. Since 2001 overall NCLB
funding has risen by 34% and federal spending on Title I schools serving low-income students has gone up 45%
NCLB and [he Bush Administration also deserve some credit for shifting the terms of the education debate. The taw has
focused attention on learning gaps between students of different races and economic backgrounds that persist even at some of
the nation’s best public schools. The laws requirement that schools test annually in grades 3-8, and report both averages and
the results of racial and economic subgroups, has made it much more difficult for administrators to hide the fact that all students
aren’t learning.
NCLB has been much less successful in bringing pressure to bear on states and school districts that fail to implement the
law. That’s especially true of the school choice provisions, which are the best way to get the attention of the education
bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration abandoned its voucher proposal very early in the 2001 negotiations. What
passed was a watered-down version of public school choice, which in theory’ allows a child in a failing school to transfer to a
better public school or get free after-school tutoring from private providers. * **
In practice, however, the Education Department has too often allowed school districts to skirt even these limited choice
provisions, either by granting exemptions or looking the other way. It took a formal complaint from the Alliance for School Choice
before Secretary Margaret Spellings did anything about Los Angeles failing to notify parents of their transfer rights as required
under the law. So far she’s sent the district a sternly worded letter.
And the Chicago public school system, which has been repeatedly labeled "in need of improvement" and thus should be
banned under NCLB from offering its own after-schoo! tutoring, has been given a waiver to do exactly that. So while it would be
nice if the Bush Administration enforced its own law, the larger lesson is that school choice "life" turns out to be no substitute for
the real thing.
To be fair, some of these problems are structural. Even if more school districts were implementing NCLB’s transfer
provisions, [here often isn’t enough room in decent schools to handle all the children who qualify for a transfer. And many of the
private after-school tutoring services allowed under the law are simply employing the same teachers from the local public school
system who are failing the kids during regular school hours.
There’s also the problem of allowing each state to develop its own standards and tests to determine proficiency in reading
and math. The Administration was deferring to federalist prindples on an issue that’s traditionally been handled at the state and
local level. But the reality has been a "race to the bottom," with some states constructing easy tests to avoid federal penalties.
"If you’re in Oklahoma right now, you’re told that 95% or 96% of your schools are doing fine," says Frederick Hess, who
follows education at the American Enterprise Institute. "And if you’re in Massachusetts, you’re told that 40% to 45°/0 of your
schools are doing fine. But if you look at the actual achievement data, it suggests that kids in Massachusetts are doing far better
than kids in Oklahoma."
Some education reformers are now calling for "national standards" to address this problem. But we tried national history
standards in the 1990s, and the politicized results weren’t pretty -- unless, of course, you favor a history curriculum that
Page 142
downgrades the Founding Fathers while playing up the working experiences of midwives in 19th-century Nebraska.
Rather than force a national test on states, the best compromise here may be to require them to benchmark their own
assessments against the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), a federal standardized test that already exists and
that most educators agree is fairly rigorous. "So people at least have a common metric by which to judge the rigor of the state
assessment," says Mr. Hess.
It’s worth considering, and w~ wish we could say the same about the Commission on No Child Left Behind, which was
ft~nded by private foundations and co-chaired by former Governors Tommy Thompson and Roy Barnes. But the panel’s report is
more interested in tinkering than l~ndamental change, and its 75 recommendations dont include the one that would make the
biggest difference: school vouchers. ** *
The Administration’s proposed fixes are bolder and potentially more consequential. President Bush’s 2008 budget sets
aside $250 million for "promise scholarships" for low-income students in schools that have consistently underperformed for five
years. The scholarships would average about $4,000 and "the money would follow the child to the public, charter or private
school of his or her choice."
Thorn’s fightin’ words for the Democrats who now control Congress. But Mr. Bush has the bully pulpit, as well as the moral
authority from five years of evidence on failing schools. We hope his Administration uses them to explain why real school choice
is essential to any reform in K-12 education.
Page 143 Page 1 of 11

lNonresponsivI
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 02, 2007 4:22 PM
To: Private- Spellings,~Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Ken-i; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Jehnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela;
Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam;
Tracy Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Jutie;
Yudof, Samara
Subject: From WH: REMARKS BYTHE PRESIDENT ON NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND
REAUTHORIZATION

THE WHITE HOUSE

office of the Press Secretary


(New Albany, Indiana)

For Immediate Release March 2, 2007

RE~RKS BY THE PRESIDENT

ON NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND REAUTHOR!ZATION

Silver Street Elementary School

New Albany, Indiana

2:38 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated.


(Applause.) A little bossy today, aren’t I? (Laughter.)
Thrilled to be here in New Albany. Thanks for coming out to
say hello. I want to talk about schools and the federal role
in schools relative to local governments -- is what we’re here
to talk about.

I’m glad to be here in the home of the Stars, the Silver


Street Stars. (Applause.) I brought a lot of cameras and
limousines. (Laughter.) Kind of fits in with the theme,
doesn’t it -- Silver Street Stars. I understand the school is

06/05/2008
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90 years old. You’ve seen a lot of decent people come here to


teach, I’ll bet you -- a lot of people who said, I want to put
my community first, and became teachers and principals and
caring citizens of the state. And so I’m real proud to be
with you.

I’m here because I think it’s important for a President


to herald success and to talk about what’s possible,
particularly when it comes to schools. Hy only regret is that
my wife hasn’t joined me today. She’s, by far, the best deal
in our family. (Applause.) Just like in Hitch’s family I
want you to know. I know the Danielses well and I can certify
that the person from New Albany is, by far, the best part of
his family, too. (Laughter.)

I’m real proud of Hitch. I know him -- he worked in my


administration. I called him out of the private sector when I
first got sworn in. I said, would you come and work for the
country? And he did. He was the watchdog for the people’s
money -- it’s what’s called the OMB. And he did a fine job
there, really, and I miss him a lot. I love his sense of
humor. I knew he’d make a fine governor. He asked me about
governor; I said, listen, it’s the greatest job in America --
next to President. But it’s a great -- (laughter.) And he’s
an innovative, smart, capable, honest guy, and I’m proud to be
with him.

I know he cares a lot about schools, too. And so when I


talk about education, I can talk confidently about the schools
here in Indiana, because you’ve got a Governor who will
prioritize education. I used to say to people, public
education is to a state what national defense is to the
federal government. It ought to be the number one priority.
And I know Hitch is making it so. (Applause.)

I want to thank Tony Dully. Dully has done a find job of


dealing with a impossibly large entourage. (Laughter.) I
really appreciate your spirit. It turns out that if you were
to correlate education in a school with educational
entrepreneurship at the principal leve!, the two go hand-in-
hand. In other words, you have to have a good principal in
order to be able to challenge failure when you find it,
mediocrity when you see it, and praise excellence when it’s
evident. 9md you’ve got a good principal here. I can’t thank
you enough, Tony.

I want to thank all the teachers, as well, who teach


here. Teaching is a hard job, it’s a really hard job, and
it’s never really appreciated enough in some circles. And I
just want the teachers to understand full well that I know the
community here thanks you from the bottom of their heart, and

06/05/2008
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the parents thank you. And for the parents who are here, I
appreciate you paying attention to your school. It turns out
parental involvement is an essential part of having excellence
in the school system. So when parents pay attention, it not
only gives confidence to the teachers, :it also enables the
school to listen to the needs of those who matter most, and
those are the parents and the chilc~en.

I appreciate very much Congressman Baron Hil! joining us


today. The Congressman flew down on the airplane. As you
know, we’re not from the same political party, but we both
care about education. And it’s nice of you to come. You’l!
meet a friend of mine who is with us, Mike and Keta --
appreciate you all coming.

Now is not the time to be involved with politics when


we’re talking about the education of our children. This is an
issue that needs to rise above politics and needs to focus on
what’s right, because getting the schools right in America
will make sure that this country remains competitive and
hopeful and optimistic. So I’m proud you traveled with me,
and it’s good to see you both again. Thanks for coming.

Mayor Jim Garner and Debbie are with us. Mr. Mayor,
thank you for being here, sir. Proud to be in your city. I
appreciate the reception that we received from the citizens.
People respect the presidency, and sometimes they like the
President. (Laughter.) I appreciate the fact that people
came out to wave.

I want to thank Dr. Reed, who is the Indiana


Superintendent of Public Instruction. Thank you for coming,
Dr. Reed. There you are. I appreciate Mr. Don Sakel, who is
the President of the School Board. Don, where are you? There
you are, yes. I saw him coming in. I said, you’ve probably
got the toughest job in America, being on the school board.
For those of you who know school politics, you know what I’m
talking about. But I appreciate the school board and the
board of trustees, people who serve the loca! community by
serving on the school board, making sure that local control of
schools remains an essential part of the school system in this
state and around the country. Dr. Dennis Brooks, who is the
superintendent of the New Albany and Floyd County schoo!
system is with us; and community leaders, thanks.

So there is a bill coming up for reauthorization called


the No Child Left Behind Act. I happen to think it’s if not
the, one of the most substantial pieces of legislation I wil!
have had the honor to sign -- I’ve signed a lot. I want to
describe to you the philosophy behind the act and why I
strongly believe it needs to be reauthorized by the United

06/05/2008
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States Congress.

I first became directly involved with public schools from


a public policy perspective as the governor of Texas, and I
was deeply concerned about systems that quit early on a child
and just moved them through. In other words, I was concerned
about a system where people would walk in the classroom and
say, these children are hard to educate, therefore, let’s just
move them through the system. It may not have happened in
Indiana, but it happened in Texas. And it was unacceptable,
because guess who generally got shuffled through the system.
The poor, the newly arrived, the minority student. And I knew
that unless we confronted a system which gave up on children
early, that my state would not be a hopeful place.

And so I decided to do something about it. And I took


that spirit to Washington, D.C. Now, look, I fully understand
some are nervous when they hear a President talking about
federal education -- you start thinking to yourself the
government is going to tell you what to do here at the local
level. Quite the contrary, in this piece of legislation. I
strongly believe in local contro! of schools. I believe it’s
essential to align authority and responsibility. And by
insisting upon loca! control of schools, you put the power
where it should be -- c!osest to the people.

On the other hand, I know full well that to make sure a


system doesn’t lapse into kind of the safety of mediocrity
that you’ve got to measure. See, in my state we said we want
to know whether or not a child can read or write early, before
that child gets moved through the system. And so I insisted
upon accountability.

And the spirit of the No Child Left Behind Act is the


same. It says if you spend money, you should insist upon
results. Now, I recognize the federal government only spends
about 7 percent of the total education budgets around the
country, and, frankly, that’s the way I think it should be.
In other words, if local people are responsible or the state
is responsible, that’s where the primary funding ought to
come. But I also strongly subscribe to the idea of the
federal government providing extra money for what’s called
Title I students, for example, students who go to this school
-- money that I think bolsters education for students in the
community.

But I also believe that in return for you spending that


money -- it’s your money, after al! -- it makes sense for
government to say, is it working? Are we meeting objectives?
Are we achieving the results necessary for all of us to say
that the school systems are working nationwide? And so step

06/05/2008
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one of the No Child Left Behind Act was to say you’ve got to
measure.

We didn’t design a federal test because I believe a


federal test undermines local control of schools. As a matter
of fact, Hitch and Baron and I were talking in the car about
how Indiana has had a longstanding accountability system, and
that’s good. It ought to be your accountability system; after
al!, it’s your schools. But I do believe you need to measure,
and I know you need to set high standards and keep raising
those standards.

In life, if you lower the bar you get lousy results. If


you keep raising that bar, it’s amazing what can happen. I
call it challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations. And
that’s an important part of the No Child Left Behind Act. We
expect people to set high standards and measure to determine
whether or not those standards are being met.

Now, one of the interesting debates in the schoo! system


is curriculum. I imagine you’ve had a few of those tussles
here; we had a lot of them in the state of Texas. Reading
curriculum, for example, there was a !ongstanding debate over
which type of system works better. And it can get pretty
heated. One way to cut through all the noise, however, is to
measure. If the children are learning to read given a basic
curriculum, then you know you picked the right way to teach,
the right set of instructions. If your children aren’t
meeting standards, then an accountability system gives you the
opportunity to change. And school systems, in my judgment,
need to be flexible. That’s why local control of schools
makes sense. When something isn’t working, you need to
correct. But what the accountability systems enable you to do
is determine if it’s working at all.

I think it’s very important for there to be


transparency. In other words, when you have scores -- I don’t
know if you do this, Hitch, or not, but I would strongly
suggest that you post them for everybody to see across the
state of Indiana. It’s kind of hard to tell how you’re doing
relative to your neighbor unless there’s full accountability -
- in other words, unless everybody can see the results. A lot
of times people think their school is doing just great -- the
principal, in all due respect, says, we’re doing just fine,
don’t worry about it -- to the community. But you may not
be. And it’s important for people to fully understand how
your schoo! is doing relative to other schools, so that if you
need to correct, you’re able to do so. See, if you have high
standards, then you want to aim to those standards and make
sure that you’re doing well relative to other schools that are
setting high standards.

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Finally, what we need is to make sure that we


individualize, as best as possible, the school system. That’s
what happens here at Silver Street. In other words, when you
use your accountability system properly, you can tailor it to
each individual student. That’s why the act is called the No
Child Left Behind Act. It doesn’t say "all children shouldn’t
be left behind," it says, "no child." In other words, you can
individualize curriculum based upon accountability. And this
school does that.

Testing data has helped teachers tailor instruction.


Here’s what your principal said. He said, "We drill down in
the data." In other words, they take the data and drill down
-- I presume you meant analyze a lot. Yes, excuse me. I’m
from Crawford, Texas, too, so I know. (Laughter.) They
analyze, they drill down in the data and figure out what the
best practices are that we need to be using in the classroom.
In other words, they use the data not as a way to punish, but
as a way to improve.

The spirit of the No Child Left Behind Act says we will


spend money, we will use accountability to drill down, to make
sure no child gets left behind. You know, one way you can
really use this, particularly in your early grades, is for
literacy. Science doesn’t matter if the child can’t read.
It’s really hard to be good in math if you don’t have the
capacity to read the problems in the first place. And so I
know this school is focused on literacy, as it should be, as a
step toward educational excellence in all subjects.

I appreciate very much the fact that this school uses the
accountability to focus on teaching techniques. Sometimes,
probably not in this school, but sometimes teachers have got
the right heart, but they don’t have the techniques necessary
to deliver the results that are expected. And so you can use
your accountability system, if you’re wise, to make sure that
the techniques are analyzed and the compassion in the
classroom is backed with the skills necessary to be able to
achieve objectives.

Here’s what the principa! also says -- and this is an


important part of excellence -- "We never give up. There are
no excuses." Sometimes if you don’t measure, you can find all
kinds of excuses. And it’s just not in schools, it’s life.
The easy position sometimes is the default -- saying, well, I
just didn’t have what was necessary to get the job done, or
something like that. This is a no excuses school. That means
high standards. Low standards are a place where people find
excuses; high standards, there is no excuse, and there’s a
focus on what’s right for each child.

06/05/2008
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Page 149

And that’s why I’m here at Silver Street. I appreciate


so very much that this school has met state standards for
progress under No Child Left Behind every year since 2002.
Isn’t that interesting? (Applause.) Isn’t it interesting to
be able to say that? You can’t say something that draws
applause unless you measure. Without a measurement system the
President would be saying, well, we anticipate that we are
doing well. We certainly hope that we’re meeting state
standards. Under this system you can say, we know we’re
meeting state standards. And that should give the parents who
pay attention to this school a great comfort, and give the
teachers who teach here great pride.

The No Child Left Behind Act is working across the


country. So when members of Congress think about
reauthorization -- by the way, I’m here to -- I’m not only
speaking to you, I’m lobbying. I’m lobbying Congress. I’m
setting the stage for Congress to join me in the
reauthorization of this important piece of legislation.

The test scores across the country are heartening.


There’s still a lot of work to be done, don’t get me wrong.
But there’s improvement. One of my issues is that there’s an
achievement gap in America; certain students are doing better
than other students. White students are doing better than
African American students, or Latino students. And that’s not
-- that’s simply not acceptable. It’s not acceptable to the
country. It’s not -- it forebodes not a positive future, so
!ong as that achievement gap exists. The gap is closing.
It’s heartening news.

Fourth graders are reading better. They’ve made more


progress in five years than the previous 28 years combined.
In other words, we’re able to measure whether or not all
children -- and by the way, we disaggregate results -- that is
a fancy, sophisticated word meaning that we’re able to focus
on demographic groups. And the progress has been
substantial. You just heard that it’s easy to quantify how
well we’re doing because there’s measurement.

In math, 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds earned the highest


scores in the history of the test. I hear some people say,
oh, we don’t like tests. I didn’t like them either. But it’s
really important to make sure that we’re achieving standards.
And so reauthorizing this good piece of legislation is one of
my top priorities. And my claim is, it’s working. We can
change parts of it for the better, but don’t change the core
of a piece of good legislation that’s making a significant
difference in the lives of a lot of children. (Applause.)

We’re living in a competitive world. Whether people like

06/05/2008
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Page 150

it or not, the reality is we live in a world where our


students are going to have to compete for jobs with students
in China or India or elsewhere. And if this country.wants to
remain the economic leader in the world, we’ve got to make
sure we have a workforce capable of filling the jobs of the
21st century. And it’s a real challenge for us. It’s a
challenge we’re going to meet, by the way. There’s no doubt
in my mind we can meet it.

But it really starts with elementary school. It really


starts here, in schools like this. It’s important to get it
right early, to make sure that children have got that
foundation necessary to become the scientists and the
engineers and the leaders for tomorrow. No Child Left Behind
Act is a central part of the competitiveness initiative, to
make sure that America remains on the leading edge of change
and is the economic leader of the world.

We can do some other things around. One thing we need to


do is to make sure that we align our high school graduation
requirements with college readiness standards, which is
precisely what the state of Indiana has done. We want to make
sure that a high school diploma means something. I happen to
believe that we ought to take the same accountability that
we’ve got in elementary and junior highs, and get it to high
school, just to make sure; to be able to say with certainty
the high school diploma that somebody gets really means
something, that it’s working.

I fully believe that we need to advance -- that we need


to spread advanced placement courses around the country.
Advanced placement is a fabulous program. (Applause.) It’s a
way to set high standards, isn’t it? We need to train
teachers in AP, and help students afford the AP exam.
(Applause.) AP is a good way to -- we’ve got an AP teacher
back there.

Hath and science are really important subjects. I can


remember -- math and science probably doesn’t have cachet,
it’s not cool, but it’s important to emphasize math and
science. And one way to do that is to take math and science
professionals and encourage them to go into classrooms. I
went to a school with Margaret Spellings, who happens to be
the Secretary of Education, a dear friend of mine and doing a
fine job -- and we went to a school in Maryland, and there was
a scientist from NASA explaining the beauties of science.

Parents sometimes have trouble explaining the beauties of


science. I certainly did when I was trying to work on those
science projects. (Laughter.) But when you get a
professiona!, somebody who knows what they’re talking about,

06/05/2008
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Page 151

they can really enlighten the child to the benefits of math or


science focus. And so we’ve got a program to work with
Congress to get more of those professionals in classrooms. We
call them adjunct professors. I hope the Congress funds that
program. So there’s one way, for example, to build on the No
Child Left Behind Act, focus on high schools and math and
science.

Secondly, one of the things that we’ve got is -- in our


budget is to understand that when a school struggles, that
there ought to be extra federal money to help the struggling
school. I !ook forward to working with Congress to fully fund
that. We’ve got incentive -- a teacher incentive fund, grant
programs to encourage teachers to go to schools that need
extra help with the teachers. I think it makes sense to give
school districts grant money, or states to give grant money,
to say, here’s a district that needs focus, test scores
probably aren’t as good as they should be; if there needs to
be additiona! qualified teachers there, we’ll provide
incentives for the teachers to go.

Thirdly, I strongly believe that there needs to be


consequences when there’s failure. And, oh, by the way, Baron
and I talked about this, and Mitch and I talked about the
accountability systems. They ought to be flexible, we
understand that. Flexibility does not mean watering down
standards. In other words, when we talk about accommodating
special needs students in terms of the accountability system,
which I understand is an issue, and so does Margaret
Spellings, who is working with Congress on this issue, we
cannot use that flexibility to water down accountability.

And so we -- Margaret briefed the governors and told


Mitch and all the other governors we’ll work with them, just
so long as we maintain those high standards. And I believe we
can make sure that we accommodate schoo! needs without
watering down this important piece of legislation. Watering
down No Child Left Behind Act would be doing thousands of
children a disservice, and we can’t let it happen.
(Applause.)

We’ve got a -- one of the problems we have -- one of the


good things in the bill was that when a child is in a school
and has fallen behind -- a Title I child -- there’s going to
be extra money for tutoring. I think it’s a great idea. In
other words, you find a young child early in his or her
career, school career, and they can’t read, there’s extra
money. One of the problems we’ve had is for -- is to make
sure we get the test scores out in a timely basis to schoo!
districts who, therefore, can then get the information on a
timely basis to their parents, to make sure that the extra

06/05/2008
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Page 152

tutorial money is available for their child.

Sometimes the best intentions get stuck in getting the


information to students. And so Margaret is going to work
hard with Congress to make sure that parents whose child is
not meeting standards and who is eligible for this extra money
gets notified early enough to be able to take that money
wherever the parent may want their child to receive tutorial
help. See, I’m a person who believes that parents know best
when it comes to the interests of their child. And,
therefore, when we find a school that is persistently in
failure, parents must be given different options. There has
to be a consequence; something has to happen if schools refuse
to change and a child stays trapped in mediocrity. And one
such consequence is to give parents the ability to send their
child to a different school -- public or private, as far as
I ’m concerned.

Another option, and something I strongly support, is for


there to be competitive grant programs for opportunity
scholarships. You know, in Washington, D.C. we’ve got a
terrible problem there in the public school system because
it’s not meeting standards. They’re just simply not getting
the job done in too many instances. And so I work with the
Mayor, a Democrat Mayor -- a Democratic Mayor -- who, by the
way, believes what I believe, that when you find failure you
can’t accept it. And so you know what we did? We put forth
what’s called opportunity scholarships for families of the
poor students, so their family, if the schoo! isn’t meeting
needs, can afford to go to a different kind of school. What
matters is the child getting the education. That’s what
matters most. And my attitude is if there’s persistent
failure, it makes sense to liberate the parents so their child
can have a better chance.

So here’s some reforms I look forward to working with


Congress on. This is a piece of legislation that is vital for
the country, in my judgment. It is working and I think we
ought to make sure it stays in law. And I’m looking forward
to working with both Republicans and Democrats to get it
done. I’ve reached out to the bill sponsors in 2001, Senator
Kennedy of Massachusetts, Congressman ~ller of California,
Congressman Boehner of Ohio, and Senator Gregg of New
Hampshire. These four gentlemen worked with the White House
the last time to get the bill done; we’re in consultations now
to get it reauthorized.

I’m pleased to report we’re all headed in the same


direction. In Washington when you get everybody like that
headed in the same direction, sometimes you can get some
things done. Believe it or not, it is possible to put aside

06/05/2008
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the sharp elbows of partisan politics and focus on what’s


right for the country. And in my strong opinion, the
reauthorization of No Child Left Behind is right for the
country. And that’s what I’ve come to New Albany to tel!
you. God bless. (Applause.)

END 3:06 P.M. EST

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~ onrespons
From: Ditto, Trey
Sent: March 03, 2007 11:12AM
To: McLane, Katherine; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerd;
Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich,
Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts,
Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Co: Colby, Chad; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Weekend News Clips 03.03.2007

Weekend News Clips 03.03.2007

Los Angeles Times on Bush visit to Indiana


AP on Bush visit to Indiana
Local Virginia TV on ESL situation
Kathleen Leos in WaPo on LEP achievement gap
Hattiesburg American on Tom Meredith

Preserve ’core’ of No Child Left Behind Act, Bush urges


He warns Congress against ~atedng down’ the education law.
B~i J.-’..~mes ¢~e,’~..’.er~z~.,.,’~& Times S..’.af~ W..’iter
March 3, 2007

LOUISVILLE, KY. -- President Bush urged Congress to avoid broad changes to the education law
that represented one of his key domestic policy accomplishments, saying Friday that "watering down"
the No Child Lett Behind Act "would be doing thousands of children a disservice."

"It’s working," Bush said. "We can change parts of it for the better, but don’t change the core of a
piece of good legislation that’s making a significant difference in the lives of a lot of children."

The law, which Bush signed in 2002, is to expire this year, and the president expressed his
willingness to work with Capitol Hill’s new Democratic majority on renewing it. He singled out the
Democratic chairmen of the Senate and House education committees -- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of
Massachusetts and Rep. George Miller of Martinez -- as crucial to those negotiations.

Kennedy and Miller helped provide bipartisan support for No Child Left Behind, but since its passage
they and other Democrats have said that the administration has failed to provide sufficient funds to
carry out its requirements.

Democratic leaders now can push for these and other changes to the law that they could not enact
when Republicans controlled Congress.

Bush spoke to a crowd in the gymnasium of an elementary school in New Albany, Ind., before
addressing a Republican Party fundraiser in nearby Louisville, Ky., later Friday.

Even as Bush focused on the education issue, reminders were plentiful of the foreign policy matters
that have defined his presidency -- his response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and his decision to
invade Iraq.

As Bush’s motorcade neared the school, it passed a clutch ofantiwar demonstrators; one held a sign
reading, "War Leaves Every Child Left Behind." Elsewhere, he passed a banner reading, "Thank You

06/0512008
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Page 155

for Keeping Us Safe."

At the fundraiser, Bush spoke to about 650 conlributors to the National Republican Senatorial
Committee and Mitch McConnell’s 2008 reelection campaign. The Kentucky Republican, the Senate
minority leader, will be seeking his fitch term.

McConnell estimated that Bush’s appearance would take in about $2.1 million.
A key provision of the No Child Left Behind Act required states to establish uniform tests for
assessing students’ progress and school quality.
The measure’s supporters say this has promoted greater accountability in public education and
helped motivate improved student performance in some subjects.
But along with criticism of the funding level for the law, some skeptics have charged that it has
hamstrung teachers by putting too much emphasis on "teaching to the test."
Earlier this year, an independent commission assembled by the nonpartisan Aspen Institute think tank
recommended more than 70 changes to the law, including requiring an "exit exam" for high school
seniors.

Bush has not said what changes he would accept. But he opposes relaxing testing requirements or
requiring a national test to replace state exams.

He said Friday that he also favored speeding up the process through which parents learn about a
school’s test results to make it easier for them to decide whether to seek additional help for their
children.

james, gerstenzang@latimes.com

Bush: Reauthorize No Child Left Behind

By DEB RIECHMANN

NEW ALBANY, Ind. - President Bush, who wants his legacy engraved with
his education policy, lobbied Congress on Friday to reauthorize the No
Child Left Behind law_ and do it this year.

"My claim is it’s working," Bush said at Silver Street Elementary School
where he stopped before heading to Kentucky for a dinner to raise money
for Senate Eepublican Leader Hitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the National
Republican Senatorial Committee.

"We can change parts of it for the better, but don’t change the core of a
piece of legislation that is making a significant difference in the lives of a
lot of children."

It was the second day in a row that Bush called for renewing the law he
signed in 2002, requiring math and reading tests in grades 3 through 8
and once in high school. Schools that fail to show progress face
consequences, such as having to provide tutoring or overhaul their staffs.

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Page 156

"We didn’t design a federal test because I believe a federal test


undermines local control," Bush said. "But I do believe you need to
measure and I know you need to set high standards."

He also cautioned against weakening the law by making compliance too


flexible.

"Watering down No Child Left Behind would be doing thousands of


students a disservice," he said.

On Thursday, Bush made similar remarks at a charter school in New


Orleans, pitching reauthorization of the law this year before the 2008
election makes is difficult to get legislation passed through Congress.

Democrats have complained that Bush has not provided enough money
for education. In his budget proposal released last month, funding for the
law would increase by a little more than $1 billion with an emphasis on
boosting aid for low-income high school students. The proposal calls for
new reading and math tests to be added in high school.

Before he spoke, Bush visited with kindergartners wiggling in tiny blue


seats anticipating sharing their math lesson with the president. They told
him it was the birthday of children’s poet Dr. Seuss.

"Open up your bag of M&lVls," teacher Beverly Juliot told the children.
"Just like Dr. Seuss wrote sentences with words, we’re going to learn how
to write sentences with numbers today."

Bush also visited with fifth graders who were learning about the
Declaration of Independence. They asked Bush to sign his name in large
letters _ like John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence _ to
their Declaration of Patriotism in which they pledged to be strong U.S.
citizens.

They also showed hi m pictures of others who signed the Declaration of


Independence.

"I know who that is _ with the kite," Bush said. "Ben Franklin."

A service of the Associated Press(AP)

ESL Letter
The U.S. Department of Education is threatening to cut funding to localities with high populations of n0n-English speal4ng
students if they do not ccrnply with a portion of the No Child Left Behind Act. Now this includes Harris0nburg

Friday. Senator Mark Obenshain and Delegate IVlatt Lohr sent letters to President Bush and the entire Virginia Congressional
Delegation requesting urgent attention.

The federal g0vemment wants the Harris0nburg to administer SOL tests to students who cannot read English. But if they fail it,

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Page 157

the school will lose funding. So city school officials have dedded to suspend the tests until the group of students acquire the
skills to understand it. But the federal government says if the city suspends the test Harrisonburg will loose about a million
dollars in funding.

Senator Mark Obenshain says it’s difficult because state and federal regulators are not seeing eye to eye. "Harrisonburg public
schools have done exactly what they are suppose to do, they have worked with federal regulator worked with the State Board
of Education, and with other school divisions with similar problems, however, the federal regulators refuse to cooperate."

Obenshain says the letter simply asks for assistance and intervention.

Limited-En~ish Students Struoo oto Close Language


Gap
Four-Fifahs of En~ish-Poor Students Are U.S. Natives
Kathleen Leos
Director of the Office of English Language Acquisition
Friday, March 2, 2007; 1:00 PM

A 2005 Urban Institute report found that 56 percent of children who enter high school with
limited En~ish proficiency are U.S.-bom -- which means, according to the institute, "that
many children are not learning English even after seven or more years" in U.S. schools.

With one in four new U.S. students expectedto have limited fluency by 2025, Office of
English Language Acquisition Director Kathleen Leos was online Friday, March 2 at 1
p.~n. ET to discuss the problem and what the Education Department is doing to address it.

A transcript follows.

As assistant deputy secretary, Leos has visited 35 states and Puerto Rico to interpret No Child
Left Behind, train administrators and create federal-to-state-to-!ocal ixtrtnerships to ensure
that state agendes and communities understand the responsibilities they have to inclnde
limited-English students in the Act’s accountability systems.

Kathleen Leos: Good afternoon, thank you for joining me in today’s chat on a topic of great
importance to me personally and professionally -- the education of our nation’s 5 !/2 million
English language learners and the role oflangnage development as the foundation of strong
literacy skills for our ELL academic achievement.

San Bruno, CaliL: What should we be doing with the large number of working adults who
have limited English language ability?. What new programs have been developed in the last
! 0 years?

Kathleen Leos: There are many new programs developed for English language development
for adults. The office that can provide information to you is the Office of Adttlt Education. I
am happy to pass this request to them and they can give you current information.

Silver Spring, Md.: I’ve heard similar statistics before, but in different contexts. The last

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Page 158

time I heard it, it was a Latino activist aim ost advertising that "The vast maj ofity of third
generation Americans of Lafino decent speak En~ish fluently". Third generation[ ? Over 50
percent of high schoolers non-fluent in English were born in this country! ? What is the
reasoning for these mtmbers in recent years? Certainly there is FAR better education than
there was 90-plus years ago. But yet, when my great-grandparents came here from eastern
Europe spealdng not a world of English, they learned enough to get by. And my
~andparents, first generation Americans, didn’t even speak Hungarian outside of a few
words. While I don’t claim that the attitude of my great-grandparents was correct -- don’t look
back, thafs the old country and we’re Americans now -- I feel like there’s a certain pride in
being a part ofon~s new culture t~t is lost in family’s of foreign descent these days. I just
can’t see any other reason -- it’s by no means the educational system,because I promise you
no one was teaching any of my grandparents English aside from their, parents who struggled
to learn it themselves. Ifs not that ethnic groups live in closed commtmities -- my great
grandparents all lived in HEAVILY Hungarian neighborhoods of N.J. So what is possibly the
reasoning that makes the end result so vasty different from the turn of the century?

Kathleen Leos: There are over 5 million non-English speaking students in America’s
schools. They are the fastest growing group of students at an annual rate ofl0 percent.
Currently 1 in 9 students in our classrooms are "limited English profident," or LEP. By 2025
that number will hover around 1 in 4 students. No Chad Left Behind, the current
reauthorizafion of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is the education legislation
that addresses the En~sh language development and academic achievement of all LEP
students in a systemic and comprehensive manner. All children identified as LEP must
acqt~e the English language and achieve at the same high standard in reading and math set
by the state for all students.

Washington, D.C.: I find the quote used to introduce this topic incredibly simple and
unsophisticated, much like the authors, policy makers, and business leaders, at the forefront
of this debate. First, all native English speakers are academic English language learners,
whereas ESL learners must first attain communicative competence prior to malting the
transition to academic language. The Urban Institutes report also fails to point out the fact
that meaningful learning is almost entirely experiential, i.e., driven by family and commlmity
norms. If English langamge learners are perpetually being modeled nonstandard, poor
English, what do you expect these students to learn? Add the fact that most of these students
are taught with black Americans that also speak a nonstandard form of English creates a
major obstacle to learning academic language. Simple solutions are agvays championed by
simpletons that are almost always monoling~oa! and have never migrated to a new country,
with no money or education, and then forced to take a test to prove their mastery of the
English language. Proposed solutions, from the right, are always brutal and tantam otmt to
parental outsourcing and brute force hnmersion. Please respond.

Kathleen Leos: There is a statutory provision in NCLB Title III that requires states to ensure
that the teachers who teach "limited Englishproficient" students are fluent in the lang, aage of
instruction. The level of fluency is determined by the state but must be demonstrated by the
individual with both oral and written exams. The district is al!owed to develop the assessment
and receive state approval or the state may develop the assessment and send it to the districts
to administer.

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Arlington, Va.: At the risk of sounding too hide-bound, maybe part of the problem is that
English language programs are more aimed at promoting communitythan teaching En~ish. I
know a little of what I speak. Ivly stepson matriculated into Arlington’s English for foreig-ners’
program (HILT) in the middle of the seventh grade. He was one of two students who were
not of Hispanic origin. Most of his class had been in the HILT since first grade. Part of his
incentive to move on to the "regular" classes (he tested out of HILT by ninth grade) is he felt
like the proverbial you-know-what at the family reunion. Now I realize that my stepson had
the advantage of living with a native speaker, but it seems to me that somehow the school
system should be putting more pressure -- thafs right, pressure -- on students to learn En~sh
more quickly so that these limited resources can be best applied. I get the feeling that these
kids would rather have stayed with their friends than learn English.

Kathleen Leos: All students identified as a Limited English Proficient student through a
language assessment are immediately recommended for placement in a lang~aage education
instruction pro~. The program is to address the English language development needs of
the student and academic content knowledge that is at the appropriate grade level as soon as
the students enters the school. NCLB Title ]II then requires each student to be assessed
armually for progress made in their acquisition of the English lan~o-uage and attainment of the
language. In grades 3-8, and one time in hitch school, the student must also take a content test
in reading and math unless the student is a "recent arrival," then a different maimer of
assessment is allowed.

San Juan de Pnel~o Rico, USA:"Limited-English" speakers, second-lang~aage households,


when Spanish became a foreign language in Estados Unidos? The move for universal
bilingual education makes sense in economic terms. Should not the USA educational system
be geared towards a global economy?

Kathleen Leos: Yes.

Springfield, Va.: I’m bothered that so many high school t~eshrnen with poor English have
been in U.S. schools for so long. But it sounds to me like a problem with the homes, not the
schools. Kids who have received ESOL inslraction for that long and still have limited
English are not hearing, speaking, or reading English at home. As a result, they come to
school each Monday having heard no En~ish since Friday, and they come to school each
September having heard no English since June. How can parents with limited English skills
themselves help their children with homework, reading, etc? And how can we encourage
parents to take a more active role in helping their children acquire English without cross~g
the line into cultural assimilation?

Kathleen Leos: There have been several surveys Nken in households where English is not
the first language spoken at home. Eighty-seven percent of the families surveyed indicated
that the No. 1 priority for them and their children is education and that they want their
children to learn English.

Washington, D.C.: Ms. Leos, good luck on your quest. I am bilingual and run a day care

06/05/2008
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Page 160

center in a predominantly Hispanic section of the city. It has been horrifying to discover that
many of my children not only don’t speak English, which is to be expected, but many don’t
speak Spanish, either[ Their parents are so harried try~g to make a living, worried about
being deported, and the like that they barely talk to their children, much less read to them or
teach them their ABC’s. There was an article in The Post to this effect a couple years ago,
which caused outrage but no action that I Cml discern. This simply shows the scope of the
problem. I think that my two children, who are also bilingual, are getting a decent education,
but keeping in contact with their teachers, monitoring the~ progress, mid helping with
homework, etc., takes a major commitment of time and energy. If parents don’t have time to
even talk to their children, it’s tmreali~dc to think they will be able to do this. I wish you well
but can’t say I am optimistic about your chances of success.

Kathleen Leos: The U.S. Department of Education has published and distributed
information nationwide to parents (in multiple languages), teachers, districts and states on the
importance of the parent’s involvement in their child’s education. Title I fimds are also made
available for districts and schools to support and encourage a variety of acti~dties to include
parents in school deeision-maldng. The goal is to have parents have as much information as
possible to make good decisions related to the education of their child.

Rockville, Md.: We are seeing some school districts in Virginia resisting the testing of
English Language Learners (ELL) on the Commonwealth’s Standards of Learning
assessments because ELLs are not ready to lake the assessments. Do you have any
suggestions on how Virginia can make the assessments ready for ELLs? It seems that this is a
two-~vay street and states can also make the tests more accessible for ELLs and well as ELLs
getting ready to take them.

Kathleen Leos: Secretary Spellings announced a special LEP State Partnership Initiative in
2006 that invited all states to work with assessment experts and practitioners in the
development of valid and reliable content assessments that appropriately include LEP
students. All states are voluntary members of the parknership.

Fairfax, Va.: As aimmigrant to the United States who was in ESL for one year, I have many
opinions about the issue. I noticed that some of the kids that learned En~ish the fastest were
those that completely stopped speaking Spanish at home. I recall that several of my
classmates learned English this way, and it really annoyed me. Sure, they may learn the
language, but at the same time, they lose Sparfish. Only 10 years later, when they realize that
spealdng Spanish is an asset in the job market, do they acknowledge that they should have
continued speaking their native language. So the answer to the problem, therefore, must be
found at schools, ~d not primarily at home, I feel.

Kathleen Leos: The No Child Left Behind Act allo~vs states and districts to select any
lan~oxlage education program approach that the community, district or state thinks is
appropriate for the children in the district Some may choose bilingual programs, others may
choose English as a Second Lang~lage programs or variations of either. The program choice
is a state or local decisiorc

06/05/2008
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Page 161

Baltimore: There shouldn’t be any excuses not to be able to help your children improve
English, no matter your socioeconomic or cultural condition.

Is the child failing English? Make the child take intensive English classes after school, take
the child to the liblary, read a book .... make the chad proud.

Parents don’t speak En~sh? Make time to take ESL courses or free English courses offered.
I did it.

Don’t have time to learn English or help your kids? That is paternalistic and getting the
parents offthe hook. People should be held responsible.

Kathleen Leos: The U.S. Department of Education provides funds for adult education
classes, including learning English. Funds ~re available for family literacy programs and also
parent involvement activities. Different program offices within the Department of Education
monitors states and local districts to ensure that the federal funds are spent on the activities to
increase English language acquisition and parent involvement and increased information to
parents about their child’s academic status.

Sprin~ield, Va.: I’m not as interested in surveying parents’ avowed dedication to helping
their children learn EngJ_ish as I am in statistics showing ho~v many parents learn the
langa~age themselves and help the children learn it. 21ais information would be far more
telling. Isn’t it important to determine if the problem here is a problem at home, rather than
attributing it to something the schools aren’t doing correctly?.

Kathleen Leos: The Office of Adult and Vocational Education has current statistics and can
be provided at a later date. There was a study done a few 3rears ago that determined that 40
million adults in the U.S. are not functionally literate. The majority ofthe adults are English-
langa~age learners. Also there are more adul~ in ESL classes in the U.S. than in basic adult
education classes.

Manassas, Va.: The last words of the article resonated the most with me.
"In other words, cultural differences shouldnot be allowed to become a justification for
inaction."

Action, I fervently believe, starts with the family.

Ten years ago, I came to this country with my wife and baby with practically nothing. I
already knew English, but my mfe did not. For two years, she took ESL classes every
weekday in the evening for four hours. Now, she reads and writes En~sh correctly, is a
proud U.S. citizen, and is expected to get her BA degree at the end of the year.

Al! of us went through tremendous hardships those years, but we always understood how
important it was to speak and write EnNish correctly. We constantly apply this understanding
by being very involved in our kids’ education.

06/05/2008
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Page 162

By the way, I work two fi~-fime jobs, yet my wife and I still fred enoug~h time to be together
as a family and to contribute to their development.

The way I see it, there simply is no excuse to neglect one’s child’s mastery of EnNish.

Kathleen Leos: Your personal story is an inspiration to many families and children. I hope
you tel! your story often and in varied audiences.

N.Y.: That "many children are not learning English even after seven or more years" has far
more to do with nurture than nature.

Most remedia! En~ish classes fail because of the basic fact that you’re recreating the same
conditions that have prevented people from improving after "all those year in U.S. schools."
Instead of clustering non-proficient kids together, as it always happens --which is
segregation, even if unintended -- spread them out. Set up your envirom-nent for immersion.
Draw people out of their comfort zones -- I’m not talldng about assimilating the poorer
performers (legs face it, inevitably there’s a slight supremacist tone to that kind of talk). I’m
talking about drawing the "native-sounding" speakers out of their comfort zone just as well,
so that people do not just naturally fa!l in with people like them, as most humans are naturally
inclined to do.

Kathleen Leos: NCLB Title III has new requirements in how limited En~ish proficient
students receive language instruction. The program approach is up to the state or local
district. Ho~vever, no matter what approach is used it must be based on current scientific-
based research. There are many ne~v research projects underway in the U.S. related to the
acquisition and development of language while lemaing academic content knowledge.
Several researchers are begimdng to publish their work and lrain teachers in new methods
and strategies.

Northern Virginia: So what you are saying is that the $60 million ddtars a year Fairfmx
County Public Schools pay each year for ESOL programs is basically a waste?

Kathleen Leos: I think this question references the article.

Washington: Why is it that Maryland (and other states) can successfully test second-
language children and Va. cannot?

Kathleen Leos: All states have joined Secretary Spellings LEP Parhnership Initiative to
develop content assessments that appropriately include LEP students in reading and math
assessments.

Kathleen Leos: I ~vant to thank everyone today for joinmg me in this i~nportant discussion
on how to best educate our Limited English Proficient students throughout America’s

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Page 163

classrooms.

Editor’s Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online
discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hos~s; g~ests and hosts can
decline to ans~ver questions, washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by
tIfird parties.

Hattiesburg American

costs
Special I:o the American

Mississippi Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Thomas C. Meredith has been selected by the
U.S. Department of Education to head a working group responsible for developing recommendations
on howto make information about college costs more available to the public.

Meredith is one of five working group leaders who will present action steps to approximately 300
academicians, elementary and secondary school leaders, business leaders, and philanthropists at a
national higher education summit scheduled for March 22 in Washington, D.C.
In addition to Meredith’s working group on college cost and openness, other groups are focusing on
such topics as aligning kindergarten-12th grade curricula with college and university requirements;
increasing need-based student aid; measuring s~udent-learning outcomes; and providing higher
education to nontraditional students.

The working groups and the corresponding summit, "A Test of Leadership - Committing to Advance
Postsecon dary Education for All Americans," have been convened by U.S. Secretapj of Education
Margaret Spellings to directly address the recommendations made by the Secretary’s Commission on
the Future of Higher Education.

The commission, which was appointed in September 2005 to develop a plan for postsecondary
education that would address the economic and workforce needs of the future, released its
recommendations in September 2006 in their report, "A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of
U.S. Higher Education."

06/05/2008
Page 164

INonresponsi t
From: Neale, Rebecca
Sent: March 01, 2007 9:42 AM
To: Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Cariello, Dennis; Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Dunn, David;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Herr, John; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; McLane, Katherine; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Neale,
Rebecca; Pitts, Elizabeth; Reich, Heidi; Rosenfelt, Phil; Ruberg, Casey; Scheessele, Marc;
Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Terrell, Julie; Toomey, Liam; tracy_d.
_young@who.eop.gov; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Williams, Cynthia; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Spellings Defends Testing Under NCLB (B’berg)

Testing Anxiety: The High Cost Of Educational Testing (Bloomberg)


By Rhonda Schaffler
Bloomberg
February 28, 2007

Welcome to the special report, ’Testing Anxiety: the High Cost of Educational Testing." We’re a nation in the middle of a
testing frenzy. The No Child Left Behind Act signed in 2002 is an attempt by the federal government to force states to
improve public education. This mandate requires every third to eighth grader to take a math and reading test every year.
As a result, 45 million tests are now being administered nationwide. In the next half hour, we’ll show you how the rapid
growth of the testing industry has led to a lot of test anxiety, caused by companies misscoring tests, delaying results, and
compromising the quality of exams. Some cdtics now say it’s time to regulate the industry.

An elementary school in southern Alabama with 310 students was the victim of a testing error. After the students took
mandatory standardized tests in reading and math last Apd!, the school was told in July that it had failed.

Harcourt Assessment, one of the world’s largest educational testing companies made an error grading the exams. The
school had not failed.

This was not a first for Harcourt. It was at least the thirtieth time in five years that the company had made errors including
improper scoring. Harcourt wrongly flunked three other elementary schools in Alabama plus made errors on tests in
Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia and Hawaii. The company declined requests for an interview. Another testing
company, CTB-McGraw Hill, misscored standardized tests for 1,000 students in NewYork City last year, including a few at
P.S. 48 in the Bronx.

Principal John Hughes says his school’s low scores put P.S. 48 on the departm ent of education’s needs improvem ent list.
Once the law passed, the sanctions on our school intensify. It becomes increasingly m ore difficult to get off the list,
because they raise the bar every year.

The way schools must show the government their students are learning is passing the standardized tests administered
and graded by private testing companies.

Educational testing is already a 2.8 billion industry and it is expected to grow 30% in 3 years. But that quick growth, critics
say, is what has led to so many mistakes.

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings recently celebrated the five-year anniversary of "no child left behind." She
remains convinced that more progress has been made in the last five years than in the previous 28.

Spellings was shown saying, ’"¢#e have 49 million individuals taking assessments, just like if you had 49 million people
filling out a form of any kind, tax return or anything like that, you would certainly find some places where there were errors,
but that’s not a reason to retreat from the ability to measure and the ability to understand the quality of the education
system as a quality of performance by individual students."

Curt Langraph is C.E.O. Of Educational Testing Service, the biggest standardized testing company. He says even though
99.9% of the scoring is correct, on tim e, that’s not what draws attention.

The industry test scoring errors go beyond grade level testing. Last June, shane fulton, a freshman at northeastern
university in Boston, took his first S.A.T. and scored 1910 out of a possible 2400. Intending to im prove his math score, he
took the test in October, and his score came back nearly 600 points lower.
Page 165
Shane asked to have his exam scored by hand. When the results were in, his score was actually 390 points higher.
Pearson Assessments, the company that scored the October test declined an interview.

The no child left behind set off a fierce battle for state contracts among companies that create and grade standardized
tests and no wonder, the United States General Accounting Office estimates states will spend up to $5 billion by 2008 on
tests mandated by NCLB.

Dozens of testing companies compete for the right to create and administer standardized tests for districts in all 50 states.
Each state sets its own standards and awards its own contracts.

Stewart Call is founder of measured progress, a New Hampshire-based test-making company. His company has won
contracts in about 25 states.

Educational Testing Services profit margins for these tests are as low as 3%. The company actually lost $2.5 million on a
$200 million contract in California. Pearson Educational Measurement won the current contract for the state of Michigan
for $44 million, beating out competitors which were bidding as high as $120 million. V~hy do companies bother if the profit
margins are slim to none? Because one contract leads to another. Two years ago, Harcourt Assessments won a four-year
$44 million contract with the state of Illinois. As a result, it also got a nearly $2 million higher margin test prep contract for
Chicago’s school district, but critics worry low-ball bids can lead to lower quality tests.

CTB-Mcgraw Hill’s contract with the state of Florida requires its scorers to have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics,
reading, science education or a related field, but information obtained by the state showed one had a associate’s and
others were a janitor, a personal trainer and som cone from Hungary with a degree in physical education who did not
correctly spell physical. CTB-Mcgraw Hill officials declined interview requests.

And with the science test being added to the list of mandatory tests, the state education departments and testing
companies will be under intense pressure to put in place an infrastructure that can handle the volume of testing. Coming
up, profits from fear. How test companies are cashing in on schools and students afraid of failing tests, but do the prep
materials their hawking really work?

More standardized tests mean more students and teachers who fear failing the tests and that fear has translated into
opportunity for companies promising to help them prepare. With $1.7 billion in sales, the test prep business is bigger than
the $1.1 billion testing market.

At P.S. 48 in the Bronx, students attend classes on Saturday to help them get ready to take their standardized tests.
Schools use a variety of books, software programs and practice tests to help their students prepare. Principal John
Hughes says he keeps the costs down by relying on his teachers to develop their own test prep materials. Other principals
May have little choice.

States can spend between $10 and $30 per student to administer their basic testing programs. Some school system s
spend twice that amount just to prepare their students to take those tests.

Companies are rushing into this part of the business, because the profit margins on test preparation materials can be 20%
or higher compared with margins on exams themselves, which are as low as 3%.

Laura Dresco is the C.E.O. Of test-prep, a company based in gainsville, F!odda. She sold her test maker software to half
of the 67 school districts in the state. For this small publisher, NCLB has been good for business.

Even the President’s brother, Neil Bush is in the test prep business.

How do you answer the critics that you don’t have an education background?

Neil Bush responded, "1 will tell you flat out I’m not qualified as an educator. I’m qualified as a parent of three kids and have
observed their going through school. My vision comes from personal experience, but l think I’m a smart enough executive
to know I have to hire good people to bring my reaction of my vision into reality."

Bush projects that his test prep business will generate more than $100 million in revenue in the next three to four years.
Despite the big business, former Bush administration education official Michael Petrilli cautions there is no proof any prep
m atedals work.

Even if some schools do score better, Robert Schaefer of the education watchdog group fair test says preparation
materials may do more harm than good in the long run.

Some observers say that the federal government needs to do more to make sure the public is protected as the testing
2
Page 166
industry grows.

No federal agencies regulate educational testing. The individual state departments specifications are solely responsible for
the quality of their tests, and the contractors they hire.

Michael Petrilli of the Fordham Foundation, a group that has supported the no child left behind law, says a national testing
system is the answer.

This topic was front and center at the U.S. Capitol in November.

The no child left behind law faces reauthorization this year. It is expected to be approved, helped by intense lobbying from
the testing companies. The testing company will watch closely as the debate continues on how much federal money
should be spent to implement NCLB.

Companies that stand to profit from the nation’s ongoing obsession with testing will remain in the spotlight. As the pressure
increases on students an schools to improve, so will the demands on an industry that, as we’ve heard; not al\~ays making
the grade.
Page 167

From: McLane, Katherine


Sent: February 28, 2007 8:38 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Students Taking More Demanding Courses (EDWEEK)

The results "showthat we have our work cut out for us in providing every child in this nation with a quality education," U.S.
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said in a statement. "If, in fact, our high school students are taking more challenging
courses and earning higher grades, we should be seeing greater gains in test scores."
The No Child Left Behind Act has raised accountability for the nation’s elementary and middle schools, and states had begun
changing their education policies and practices at those levels over a decade ago.

Students Taking More Demanding Courses (EDWEEK)


By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo
Education Week, February 28, 2007
Scores on national tests show no improvement.
The proportion of high school students completing a challenging core curriculum rose significantly between 1990 and 2005-
from 31 percent to 51 percent-and students are doing better in their classes than their predecessors did.
But that good news is tempered by other findings in two federal reports released last week. The performance of the nation’s
high school seniors on the National Assessment of Educational Progress has declined in reading over the past decade and is
showing no signs of improvement Student performance is also lackluster in mathematics.
Moreover, a third of high school graduates in 2005 did not complete a standard curriculum, which includes four credits of
English and three credits each of social studies, math, and science.
"Kids are doing more of what we would like them to do, on the surface," Darvin M Winick, the chairman of the National
Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for NAEP, said in an interview. ’1~ut my question is, are we not yet seeing the
results, which means we will be soon? Or are we not doing what we need to do to raise student achievement?"
Some observers say the mixed results suggest that while access to a curriculum defined as challenging is increasing for
many students, the quality of the coursework is not keeping pace.
The 12th grade reading and math results on "the nation’s report card" are based on a nationally representative sample of
21,000 seniors at 900 public and private schools who took the tests between January and March of 2005. The report on their
performance was accompanied by the latest NAEP transcript study, which analyzes the coursetaking patterns and achievement
of high school graduates.
Lackluster Performance
On the reading test, 12th graders’ average score has declined significantly since the first time the test was given in 1992.
The test-takers averaged 286 points on a 500-point scale, a 6-point decline over 13 years, but statistically the same score as in
2002.
Achievement levels in reading have also declined since 1992; 80 percent of the students tested that year scored at the
"basic" level or better, but only 73 percent did so on the 2005 test, the same proportion as in 2002. In addition, the gap in scores
between members of minority groups and higher-scoring white students has not narrowed significantly.
In math, the scores are not comparable with those from previous tests since the 2005 assessment was based on a new
framework. Students scored, on average, 150 points on a 300-point scale. Just 61 percent of the seniors demonstrated at least
basic command of the subject, with 23 percent considered "proficient" and 2 percent "advanced."
Transcripts Analyzed
Two-thirds of the 26,000 graduates who were followed for the transcript study also participated in the 2005 NAEP math and
science assessments. It is the fifth such study since 1990. The sample of private school students taking part in both studies was
too small to allow comparisons with their peers in public schools.
Page 168

Among 2005 high school graduates, 68 percent completed at least a standard curriculum, while 41 percent took a more
challenging course load that could be considered college-preparatory. Ten percent took classes deemed even more rigorous,
which could include those offered through the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs.
In 1990, just 40 percent of graduates completed at least a standard curriculum, and 36 percent took additional courses,
while 5 percent took what was deemed a rigorous course load.
Students who took the more challenging course loads tended to score higher on the NAEP tests than those who completed
a standard or less-than-standard curriculum.
Francis M. "Skip" Fennell, the president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, was not surprised to see
results showing that students taking more difficult courses, particularly Algebra 2, were scoring higher on NAEP.
’It sort of validates that Algebra 2 is a gatekeeper" to college and high academic achievement, Mr. Fennell said. "It confirms
some of the things we’ve been saying: If we want to field a competitive workforce, students need a steady diet of math, from pre-
K through grade 12."
The transcript study also shows that students who take more demanding classes early in high school are far more likely to
progress to advanced math.
For instance, 34 percent of participating students who took Algebra 1 as 9th graders went on to take advanced math or
calculus. But the likelihood of taking advanced math soared, to 83 percent, among students who took geometry by 9th grade-
which probably meant they took Algebra I as 8th graders. Mr. Fennell said he believes more schools are moving Algebra 1 to
the middle grades.
The results "showthat we have our w~rk cut out for us in providing every child in this nation with a quality education," U.S.
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said in a statement. "If, in fact, our high school students are taking more challenging
courses and eaming higher grades, we should be seeing greater gains in test scores."
The No Child Left Behind Act has raised accountability for the nation’s elementary and middle schools, and states had
begun changing their education policies and practices at those levels over a decade ago. Trends on the national assessment for
4th graders have shown some improvement over that time. President Bush has proposed more-rigorous standards and
accountability for secondary schools in the law’s reauthorization.
’Big Steps Needed’
More students across minority groups are on a college-prep track than previously, and the gap between the proportion of
black students participating in a challenging curriculum-which includes more math and science classes and foreign language
study than the standard-and that of their white peers has disappeared. The gap between Hispanic students and non-Hispanic
white students is statistically unchanged. A little more than half of white and black students completed a challenging course of
study in secondary school, according to the findings, while 44 percent of Hispanic students did.
’It seems to dovetail a little with some anecdotal evidence we see around the country that there’s been progress in terms of
increased recognition for the need for rigorous courses," said Marie Groark, a senior policy officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, which underwrites high school reform ventures in a number of states. Ms. Groark noted that the College Board
reported recently that more students, and more minority students, are taking Advanced Placement courses.
"Small steps have been taken, but big steps are needed," she said. "All students should graduate ready for college-level
work and careers, but these scores indicate that’s just not the case."
The grades students have earned generally have improved. The overall grade point average of the graduates increased
over 15 years, from a 2.68 in 1990 to a 2.98 in 2005, the equivalent of about a B on a 4-point scale.
The GPAs of all subgroups of students improved over that time as well. But some minority students have not bridged the
gap in grades. African-American students, for example, earned on average a 2.69 GPA, compared with the 2.82 average for
Hispanic students, and 3.05 for whites. Asian-American students were highest, on average, with a 3.16 GPA.
The change could be caused by a variety of factors, according to the report, including grade inflation, differences in grading
practices, and improved student performance.
The National Center for Education Statistics, the arm of the U.S. Department of Education that administers the national
assessment, collected transcripts for students in schools randomly selected to take NAEP in 2005. The course titles and
descriptions were analyzed to ensure consistency in how the transcripts were evaluated.
The report cautions that the transcript information does not identify reasons for the findings.
But some observers say there is wide variation in the content of courses from district to district, and even within schools.
Courses labeled "advanced" are not always so, they contend.
’We’ve collected examples within the same school and the same course title of huge differences in the assignments and
the expectations for students," said Daria L. Hall, the assistant director for K-12 policy development for the Washington-based
Education Trust, which promotes high academic standards for disadvantaged children. "When we see that more students are
Page 169
taking more advanced courses, bt~t that their achievement is not increasing, it’s a sign that they are not getting what they need
out of those courses."
Staff Writer Sean Cavanagh contributed this report.
Vol. 26, Issue 25, Pages 1,17
Page 170

Nonrespons
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 27, 2007 8:49 AM
To: Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; Posny, Alexa; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David;
Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Sire on, Ray; Tada, Wen dy; Talbert, Kent; Toom ey, Liam; Tracy
Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Let Vouchers Help Kids, Not Pain Schools (AJC)

’q-hat was part of the problem with No Child Left Behind’s choice provisions, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret
Spellings acknowledged here earlier this month. Parents of poor children in persistently nonperforming public schools could go
elsewhere. They had choice, but some systems made that information difficult for parents to access or understand. Choice, then,
was chance."
Let Vouchers Help Kids, Not Pain Schools (AJC)
The Atlanta Journal-constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 27, 2007
Lanetta Estrada is a special education teacher in the public school system of Miami-Dade County, Fla. She came to
Georgia last week to tell state legislators why they should pass the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act, which is being fought
here by the alphabet-soup organizations that congregate to defend their public school turf.
She stood before a House education subcommittee as a teacher - and as the mother of a 10-year-old autistic son. Her
story of his journey through public school, and of her growing awareness that despite her "utmost respect and admiration" for her
fellow teachers, "my school was not the best place for my son."
Uke most special education parents, she devoted enormous time and effort to finding out what her son needed. Her
research led her to the decision to remove her son, Lucas, from "the school I loved."
She applied for one of Florida’s McKay scholarships, the program on which the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act is
patterned. ’1 was scared," she said. ’I loved my school. After all, this is my job. I prayed that this was the right decision."
She enrolled her son in a private school specializing in disabilities. "At this school, he is now reaching his full academic and
emotional potential," said Estrada. ’q-he bottom line is that the Florida McKay Scholarship program has been a blessing for me
and my son and for 17,000 other children and families in Florida," she said.
Estrada was one of a string of teachers, parents, alphabet-soup lobbyists and others who argued for and against bills
sponsored in the Senate by state Sen. Eric Johnson (R-Savannah) and in the House by schoolteacher and state Rep. David
Casas, (R-Lilburn). Casas and Johnson have different ideas about the extent to which private schools should be subject to state
regulation in taking special needs students on scholarships or vouchers, whatever one prefers to call these and the HOPE
stipends that currently go to private schools.
This effort, along with charter school legislation initiated by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and state Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth)
and a bill by state Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) to o~fer educational tax credits to individuals and corporations, marks
this as the most reform-minded legislatures yet.
Nothing being offered is revolutionary in the sense that it is particularly daring. It’s patterned, by and large, on programs
elsewhere. It’s noteworthy simply because Georgia has been so resistant to altering the status quo, except by the means
endorsed by the traditional interests that dictate public policy- the unions and alphabet organizations representing public school
groups. None of them are bad people or bad organizations. They are, like every other industry confronted by a changed
marketplace, eager to limit and manage the competition - and for decades, they’ve done that.
The trick now- and it was evident in last week’s debate - is to avoid planting poison pills in the special needs scholarship
act.
On regulation, for example, the alphabet organizations know that the quickest way to eliminate the appeal of scholarships
to potential private sector competitors is to package them with paperwork, with rules and regulations that make it too time-
consuming and expensive to admit scholarship kids. It’s paper choice - existing on paper, but not in reality.
That was part of the problem with No Child Left Behind’s choice provisions, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings
Page 171
acknowledged here earlier this month. Parents of poor children in persistently nonperforming public schools could go elsewhere.
They had choice, but some systems made that information difficult for parents to access or understand. Choice, then, was
chance.
As the House and Senate work together to advance reform, it is essential that choice and scholarships for parents of
special needs children not become, or be seen as, an indirect way of regulating private schools. The intent should be to actually
give parents options and to trust them to buy the education services they believe their child needs from any willing and able
provider.
It’s up to the parents, not the government, to decide - just as Lanetta Estrada did - which approaches will best serve the
needs of their children. The goal here is to empower parents, not to regulate the competition.
Jim Wooten is associate editor of the editorial page. His column appears Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Page 172

[Nonresponsi!
From: Yudof, Samara
Sent: February 26, 2007 10:49 AM
To: Private-Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; ’TracyYoung’;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie;
McLane, Katherine
Subject: Chronicle of Higher Ed: Education Dept. Official Describes Plans for March Summit on
Commission’s Recommendations

Monday, February 26, 2007

Education Deist. Official Describes Plans for March Summit on Commission’s


Recommendations
By KELLY FIELD

Washington

Last fall, the secretary of education, Margaret Spellings, announced she would hold a summit with higher-
education leaders to discuss ways to carry out the recommendations of her Commission on the Future of Higher
Education.
On Friday, in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle, the under secretary of education, Sara Martinez
Tucker, filled in the details.
The summit witl be held in Washington on March 22 and will include some 300 selected participants from the
worlds of academe, business, philanthropy, and elementary and secondary education. Over the course of the day,
participants will complete a list of 25 "action items" and assign responsibility to states, colleges, and other
groups for putting them into practice.
"We want to create ownership and accountability for the thilNs that w~l happen outside the federal
govemment," said Ms. Tucker, a former member of the commission.
The day will begin ~vith a progress report in which Ms. Tucker will describe the steps the Bush administration
has taken to bring about the commission’s recommendations. In her speech last fall announcing the summit, Ms.
Spellings laid out a separate five-point action plan for her department that included creating a "unit record"
database to track students’ progress through college, focusing accreditation more on student-learning outcomes,
and simplifying the federal student-aid system.
After the under secretary gives her report, the heads of five small working groups that began meeting this month
via conference calls will offer five proposed "action items" each. The summit attendees will then jointhe
working groups to discuss whether items should be added to or dropped from the agenda.
During lunch, Ms. Spellings will speak about "the imperative for reforming higher education and the principles
that will guide that reform," Ms. Tucker said. The working groups wil! then reconvene to discuss how to bring
about the proposed changes and whom to put in charge of doing so.
In the late afternoon, two panels will convene, one on "best practices" in the states and one on issues affecting
students.
Page 173

At the end of the day, the heads of the worldng groups will report back to the secretary and her steering
committee on their final 25 action items. The secretary created the steering committee, which comprises roughly
25 representatives of government, business, and higher education, to serve as a sounding board for the action
items.
Worldng Up the Working Groups
Work on the summit’s agenda began last fall, when Education Department staff members met to review the
more than 40 recommendations made bythe commission_ The officials identified 15 that would affect many
students and were likely to transform higher education and sorted the recommendations into five groups, by
goal:
, Better aligning elementary and secondary schools’ cumcula with higher education’s requirements.
, Increasing nee&based student aid, outside of the federal government.
¯ Using accreditation to measure student-learning outcomes.
¯ Serving adults and other nontraditional students.
o Making more information about college costs available to the public.
The deparlrnent then created working groups of eight to 10 members each to come up with ways to turn the
recommendations into reality. At the helm of each group, it put an expert on the issue:
° On alignment, Gov. Donald L. Carcieri of Rhode Island, a Republican_
° On aid, Natala K. (Tally) Hart, senior adviser for economic access at Ohio State University.
® On accreditation, Geri H. Malandra, vice chancellor for strategic management, and interim executive
vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Texas system.
° On adult learners, Charlene R. Nunley, another former member of the commission and at the time the
president of Montgomery College, in Maryland.
° On cost and openness, Thomas C. Meredith, Mississippi’s commissioner of higher education.
In December the department sent e-mail messages to the heads of several higher-education associations asldng
them to nominate 10 members each to participate in the summit.
From the resulting list of nominees, the department chose 300 people, half from higher education and half from
other sectors, such as business and philant~opy.
After the summit, the department will hold a series of regional meetings -- in Atlanta, Boston, Kansas City,
Phoenix, and Seattle -- to "highlight best practices that are occurring" in those cities and to introduce attendees
to ideas from other states, Ms. Tucker said.
Meanwhile, the department continues to move on Ms. Spellings’s own five-point action plan. This month it
released a budget plan for 2008 that includes $25-million for a pilot project to test a unit-record database. And
last week it held the first of three rule-malting sessions on accreditation.
The department has also held a series of meetings with students and other federal officials on how to streamline
the federal student-aid system and make it easier for students to apply for aid. Last Wednesday it continued that
conversation in a close&door meeting with financial-aid administrators and lending-industry officials. The 23
attendees, Ms. Tucker said, discussed who should be eligible for student aid, how the federal system should be
2
Page 174

structured, when students should be notified of their eligibility for aid, and how the aid should be delivered.
The under secretary said she had kept the meeting private so that at*endees could speak freely, without fear that
their remarks would be attributed to their institution or organization_
"I wanted to create a safe place," Ms. Tucker said, "where we could have a candid conversation."
Page 175

Nonresponsi]
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 26, 2007 8:43 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; ’scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov’; Beaton, Meredith; Bdggs,
Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich,
Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddex, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pit[s,
Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert,
Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; William s, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Co: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Magna Charters (WSJ)

U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings recently proposed reauthorization language permitting local officials to reopen
a failing school as a charter even if it would exceed a state charter cap. The secretary’s idea is on-target, but Congress should go
her one better, permitting cap-free chartering wherever students lack suitable public schools. And the local school board should
not be the only game in town. In states where universities and state boards can approve charter schools, they too should be able
to override restrictive caps.

Magna Charters (WSJ)


By Nelson Smith
The Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2007
As he prepared to announce the Aspen Commission’s recent recommendations for revamping the No Child Lett Behind Act
(NCLB), co-chair Tommy Thompson made a telling remark: "We have been much more successfi.~l at identifying struggling
schools than we have been in actually turning them around." Regrettably, as with other mainstream groups that have weighed in
on the NCLB, the commission’s report focuses almost exclusively on fixing ailing schools rather than starting healthy new ones.
Both tracks are needed.
The NCLB has laid bare the troubling gaps in student achievement among racial and socioeconomic groups, and it has
spurred some improvement, particularly in the early grades. Yet its prescriptions for reform have provoked meager change in
schools and systems that produce chronically weak results.
The law lets parents move kids to a higher performing public school -- but in many dries there simply aren’t any better
choices available. Using federal dollars for "supplemental services" can help -- but tutoring otten takes place after students have
spent the school day in learning-deprived classrooms.
The act’s coup de gr§ce, atter years of failure, is to require "restructuring" a dysfunctional school from scratch, through
state takeover, contracting-out, or re-opening as a public charter school. But its impact has been stifled by legislative language
allowing "any other" step as well. Districts and states have opted to switch principals, give pep talks and hire "turnaround
specialists" instead of coming to terms with intractable failure.
Indeed, according to a recent analysis by SRI International for the U.S. Department of Education, only one of 12 states with
Title I schools identified for restructuring as of 2004 had reopened a school as a public charter, one turned over operations to the
state; two states replaced school staff and eight took no action.
Ironically, the best illustration of the NCLB’s mission may be outside this whole "turnaround" apparatus, in the open sector
of public education called charter schooling, where parents, teachers and entrepreneurs are creating new schools that are
publicly accountable but independent of bureaucratic rules. Reporter Paul Tough recently wrote about three charter-school
networks (Achievement First, the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), and Uncommon Schools) for the New York Times
magazine. Students attending these institutions made large learning gains despite years of educational neglect elsewhere.
Rather than cobbling together remediation strategies, these schools create an unyielding culture of high expectations, offer
significantly longer learning time than traditional public schools, and organize everything (including personnel decisions) around
evidence of student achievement. While these are superstars, dozens of independent studies show that public charter schools
around the country are closing achievement gaps at a faster pace than their district counterparts.
Despite low participation rates for "official" NCLB-driven choice (less than 1% of those eligible to transfer, according to
federal figures), more than a million families, disproportionately poor and minority, have sought out public charter schools on their
own. Charters now educate 26% of all public school kids in Washington, D.C.; 28% in Dayton; and 18% in Detroit (and climbing
1
Page 176
since that city’s recent teacher strike). According to our research, charters now account for more than 13% of public school
enrollment in 19 jurisdictions.
By all means, the next No Child Left Behind Act should continue pushing to improve existing schools. But the reauthorized
NCLB should also be an engine for creating new, high-quality schools in communities where they’re most needed. Here’s how:
Quality first. The federal Charter Schools Program, authorized in Title V of the NCLB, provides critically important seed
fi.lnding for startups. It has been an important source of support, especially for small, community-based charters. Created with
bipartisan support when only seven states had charter laws (there are 40 today), the program is due for an overhaul, placing
more emphasis on ~lnding the strongest startups and replicating top-quality charters.
Grants should be targeted toward places with high numbers of schools "in need of improvement." And states should be
expected to promote and monitor quality like the best venture capitalists -- or lose the right to administer the grant program
altogether.
The charter program has been flat-lined for four appropriations cycles; it’s time to align funding levels with need. Related
programs that support charter fac~ities should be reauthorized and put on a sound financial footing as well, since charter schools
do not qualify for state capital programs and only 11 states offer any kind of compensation for facilities needs.
Bust caps. More money will be pointless unless artificial limits on charter growth are litted in the 26 states that now have
them. In some cases these "caps" directly pre-empt the intent of the NCLB. It’s actually illegal to create a new charter school in
New York State right now -- meaning that a mother desperate to pull her child out of a failing school in the South Bronx may
simply have to wait until Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has a change of heart about the state’s limit of 100 public charter
schools.
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings recently proposed reauthorization language permitting local officials to reopen
a failing school as a cha~ter even if it would exceed a state charter cap. The secretary’s idea is on-target, but Congress should go
her one better, permitting cap-free chartering wherever students lack suitable public schools. And the local school board should
not be the only game in town. In states where universities and state boards can approve charter schools, they too should be able
to override restrictive caps.
Add teeth. Persistently failing schools need fundamental change, not cosmetic touch-ups. Re-opening as a charter, with a
proven academic model, new team and clear accountability for performance, can provide a fresh start. But to work, such "re-
opened" charters must have independent governance with frill autonomy over budgets, personnel and working conditions. That
independence must be spelled o[it in the federal law, or else ~ risk creating a ratt of so-called "charters" still tethered to the
same central offices that let students down in the first place.
In its first five years, the NCLB has affirmed a national commitment to educational opportunity for all. In the next five years,
it should do more to galvanize real change by ratcheting up its support of public charter schools. A vibrant new-schools sector is
the best way to challenge the status quo and offer real promise of achievement for every American public-school student.
Nelson Smith is president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Page 177

Nodr~~~o:nsi
Me From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 26, 2007 8:30 AM
To: Private-Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Hatrick Joins Foes Of Rule On Testing Immigrants (WP)

Hatrick Joins Foes Of Rule On Testing Immigrants (WP)


By Michael Alison Chandler, Washington Post Staff Writer
The Washin,qton Post, February 24, 2007
Loudoun Hasn’t Decided Whether to Defy U.S.
The longest-serving school superintendent in the Washington area, Loudoun County’s Edgar B. Hatrick IIIi this week joined
a growing number of Virginia educators in denouncing a federal requirement to give tougher reading tests to immigrant stt~dents.
But whether Loudoun will, like Fairfax County, defy the mandate remains an open question.
Hatrick said in an interview that it was "wrong-headed" to give grade-level tests to students in the early stages of learning
English. Until now, Virginia schools have given such students proficiency tests that do not cover the same material as the exams
that native English speakers must take.
"It’s a frustration to me because it’s so obvious. I don’t understand why policymakers don’t understand," Hatrick said
Wednesday. "1 think it’s ethically and professionally wrong to give a child a test for which they can’t be prepared and aren’t
prepared."
Denunciations of the No Child Lett Behind laws testing rules are multiplying in immigrant-rich Northern Virginia. In Fairfax
and Arlington County, educators are preparing to defy the rules even though they are at risk of losing federal aid; other area
officials are moving more cautiously.
Federal officials have said repeatedly that grade-level testing is needed for immigrant students after they have been in U.S.
schools for one year, a requirement they say will help hold schools to high standards. Most states, including Maryland, are
following the rules. So are D.C. public schools, officials say.
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has criticized Virginia educators who are resisting. "It’s time to remember that
yes, Virginia, there is a Standards Clause," Spellings wrote recently in a caustic open letter.
Fairfax, with the region’s largest school system, has led the state’s rebellion. The county School Board voted in January to
continue giving proficiency tests to immigrant students who have not progressed enough to take grade-level tests that assume
language fluency. Fairfax school officials appear to be standing firm even though the U.S. Department of Education has
threatened to withhold $17 million in aid if the county follows through with its plan.
The Arlington School Board has also authorized officials to shield some immigrant students from tests the federal
govemment insists they take. "Most people believe the rule makes no sense," said Arlington School Superintendent Robert G.
Smith.
The Alexandria School Board has not taken similar action. "Right now, there are not plans to do anything different from
what’s required," Alexandria schools spokeswoman Amy Carlini said yesterday. She added that some School Board members
want to determine how much federal funding is at stake.
The Prince William County School Board is tiptoeing around the battle. It has passed a resolution that expresses "concern"
over the federal requirements but notes that the school system will abide by them. School Board Chairman Lucy S. Beauchamp
(At Large) said that she applauds Fairfax’s stand but that Prince William cannot risk losing federal aid because it is already facing
a significant budget shortfall.
In Loudoun, Hatrick and his staff have proposed a resolution similar to what Fairfax and Arlington have adopted. Officials
estimate that as much as $2 million in federal aid could be at risk if the county defies the federal government.
Loudoun School Board Vice Chairman Tom Reed (At Large) said he supported the staff recommendation. "1 think the
decision about who should take which tests should be at the classroom level, not imposed from Washington," he said.
Page 178
The Loudoun board has not yet scheduled a vote. Loudoun board member J. Warren Geurin (Sterling) said the county
should follow the federal requirement.
"We don’t have to take a sharp stick and poke the federal government in the eye," Geurin said.
Staff writers Tara Bahram 3our and lan Shapira contributed to this report.
Page 179

02.24.07 In the News

The Washington Post: Hatrick Joins l~oes of Rule On Testing hnmigrants, Loudoun
Hasn’t Derided Whether to Defy U.S. (Michael Alison ChandlerE~)

The Washington Post: Colleges Go Online to Calm the Admissions Jitters (Susan
I(inzie)

The Washington Post: If Fenty Gets the Schools, Does He Have a Plan? (Colbert I.
K_ingLJ)

The New York Times: I~ederal Supervision of Race in Little Rod~ Schools Ends
(Steve Barnes)

The New York Times: A New Modal for Schools in the Boston Archdiocese (Katie
Zezima)

The Assodated Press:: ~VIassachusetts: Gay Topics and Schools

The New York Times: Protecting All Students (Editorial)

The Assodated Press (Hartford, CT): Testing, funding questioned as No Child law
faces reauthorization
Page 180

The Washin~on Post

Hatrick doins Foes of Rule On Testing Immigrants

Loudoun Hasn’t Decided Whether to Defy U.S.

By Michad Alison Chandler[~, Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, February 24, 2007; B02

The longest-serving school superintendent in the Washington area, Loudolm County’s


Edgar B. Hatfick III, this week joined a growing number of Virginia educators in
denouncing a federal requirement to give tougher reading tests to immigrant students. But
~vhether Loudolm ~vill, like Fairf-mx County, defy the mandate remains an open question_

Hatrick said in an intervie~v that it was "wrong-headed" to give grade-level tests to


students in the early stages of learning Enghsh. Until now, Vir~a schools have given
such students proficiency tests that do not cover the same material as the exams that
native English speakers must take.

"It’s a frustration to me because it’s so obvious. I donX understand why polic?nnakels


don’t understand," Hatlick said Wednesday. "I think it’s ethically and professionally
wrong to give a child a test for which they can’t be prepared and aren’t prepared."

Denunciations of the No Child Lell Behind la~¢s testing rules are multiplying in
immigrant-richNorthem Virginia. In Fairf~x and Arlington County, educators are
preparing to defy the rules even though they are at risk of!osing federal aid; other area
officials are moving more cantiously.

Federal officials have said repeatedly that grade-level testing is needed for immigrant
students after they have been in U.S. schools for one year, a requirement they say will
help hold schools to high standards. Most states, including Maryland, are following the
rules. So are D.C. public schools, officials say.

U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spe!lings has criticized Virginia educators who are
resisting. "It’s time to remember that yes, Virginia, there is a Standards Clause," Spellings
wrote recently in a caustic open letter.

Fairfmx, with the region’s largest school system, has led the state’s rebe!lion. The county
School Board voted in Januals, to continue giving proficiency tests to immigrant students
who have not progressed enough to take grade-level tests that assume language fluency.
Fair~x school officials appear to be standing firm even though the U.S. Department of
Education has threatened to withhold $17 million in aid if the cotmty follows through
with its plan.
Page 181

The Arlington School Board has also antholized officials to shield some immigrant
students from tests the federal government insists they take. "Most people believe the rule
makes no sense," said Arlington School Superintendent Robert G. Smith.

The Alexandria School Board has not taken similar action. "Right now, there are not
plans to do anything different from what’s required." Alexandria schools spokeswoinan
Amy Carlini said yesterday. She added that some School Board members want to
determine howmuch federal funding is at stake.

The Prince William County School Boardis tiptoeing around the battle. It has passed a
resolution that expresses "concern" over the federal requirements but notes that the
school system will abide by them. School Board Chairman Lucy S. Beauchamp (At
Large) said that she applauds Fairfax’s stand but that Prince William cannot risk losing
federal aid bec~mse it is already facing a significant budget sholtfall.

In Londoun, Hatlick and his staffhave proposed a resolution similar to what Fairfmx and
Arlington have adopted. Officials estimate that as much as $2 mi!lion in federal aid could
be at risk if the county defies the federal government.

Loudoun Schoo! Board Vice Chairman Tom Reed (At Large) said he suppolted the staff
recommendation. "I think the decision about who should take which tests should be at the
classroom leve!, not imposed from Washington." he said.

The Loudoun board has not yet scheduled a vote. Loudoun board member J. Warren
Geufn (Sterling) said the county should follow the federal requirement.

"We don’t have to take a sharp stick and poke the federal government in the eye," Geulin
said.

Staff ,~riters Tara Bahrampour and lan Shapira contributed to this report.
Page 182

The Washington Post

Colleges Go Online to Calm the Admissions Oitters

By Susan Kinzie[], Washington Post Staff Writer []

Saturday, February 24, 2007; A01

Daniel Creasy and the other Johns Hopkins University admissions office staffhave to
read 200 files a week to get through the 14,840 applications piled on chairs and crates in
the hallways. That’s 65 percent more applicants than they hadjnst five years ago -- so
many, Creasyj oked, that he has to get his dog to help read them.

He even posted a photo of his dog, paws planted next to a stack of files, on the Hopkins
admissions Web site.

Creasy is trying to lighten things a little and ease some of the arbxiety of the application
process as the admissions frenzy whips up. With more applicants than ever competing to
get into the top schools, students’ stress is obvious. It chokes online message boards about
college admissions. (One site -- where overachievers crunch numbers, analyze their
chances and obsess over scores -- had 17,048 posts about Hopkins None.)

Now, some schools have staffmembers like Creasy who not only read files but monitor
message boards, field questions on their c~.vn Web sites and try to hmnanize the process.

In charge of Hopkins Insider, "a behind-the-scenes look at the Johns Hopkins Admissions
Office," Creasyhopes to take away some of the mystery, correct misinformation here and
there, crack some jokes and, occasionally, talk students off the ledge.

"When I got into the field, I was told this is a very secretive field. Not a lot of people
lmow what we do," Creasy said. "I agreed with that." Many in admissions still do. Creasy
used to think of himself as an admissions officer, working for the institution to create the
strongest possible 1,200-student incoming class. Now, he has far more contact with
applicants -- at least electronically -- and knows just how much the~ire sweating the
admissions process.

He’s begun to see himself as more of an admissions counselor instead.

"So many applicants think of admissions as this abyss where you toss in an application
and never hear what happens to it," said Ben Jones, who helped transform the
Massachusetts Institute of Teclmology’s admissions Web site into apercolating
conversation among hundreds of students and staff members. "That creates a level of
amxiety and stress that is increasing as yem-s go on and admissions become increasingly
competitive."
Page 183

Last month, MIT posted winners of an essay contest about the admissions process. One
applicant created animation set to the Zombies’ "Time of the Season" with a stick figure
waiting by a mailbox in the sno,,v. Another,,vrote about anxiety, pressure and a classmate
who applied to Stanford and hanged himsel£

Jeannine C. Lalonde, an assistant dsan of admission at the University of Virginia, said:


"They picture people in a room with a big ’REJECT’ stamp. This makes people realize
we’re real we’re accessible, we~:e not scary."

So Creasy blogs. He ,,mites about how many files he has to read, explaining the
admissions process, the months of late-night reading and discussion about applicants. He
introduces other stagfers, giving their backgrounds, favorite animals (’2got a Bnshbaby --
those things scare me," one wrote) and admissions pet peeves. (Tip: Don’t leave the "s"
out of Jolms.)

He describes ho~v he works, with a blue binder, Nass of water, iPod, calculator and eight
-- eight! -- calendars. He adds photos of the stacks of applications and of his niece,
crawling along the floor. Andhe writes such things as: "...most ofus have dreams
(nightmares???) about application files, letters of recommendations, paper/folder cuts,
grading scales, aaaaahhhhh!"

And even with application folders filling 23 five-drawer filing cabinets along a wall of
the office and @ling onto most other flat surfaces, Creasy has gotten to know more
about individual students such as Christy Thai, a high school senior from Olney.

She was womed about her scores last year. Then she found a college admissions message
board with people posting their statistics and felt even ~vorse. "It was bad," she said,
"because it made me believe I ~von~t get accepted to any college."

As decisions near, the drama peaks online, with people writing, for example, "ONE
MORE HOUR!! !! !" until admission and rejection results would be posted and "I can’t
take it!"

When Creasy reads those message boards, he knows the people who wite often are a
small minority even of those who are competing for the most selective schools. "But it
does scare me sometimes," he said. "The intensity."

It’s great that students have access to so nmch more information, said John Latting,
director of undergraduate admissions at Hopkins. "The flip side is a sort of hysteria about
college admissions." He worries about college rankings, which can make families think
their options are limited to a short list of elite schools, and the misinformation floating
around.

On arecent night, someone listed his SAT scores (in the 700s on each part) on a site and
wrote: "Guys, do you think I have a chance to be admitted. I am really nervous..."
Page 184

Someone told him he had a 50-50 chance.

"Some of the information out there is just shockingly, shockingly bad," said Laionde,
who monitors sites for U-Va. and often pests corrections and clarifications. "I get
bombarded," she said, with nervous students and parents dragging her to other online
discussions to answer new questions.

Creasy tries to fight the stereotypes of Hopldns -- that the school cares only about
numbers and scores, not the applicants, and that the atmosphere on campus is
hypercompefifive and cutthroat. He takes questions. How many?.

"More," he said, "than you could ever image."

Thai sent some after finding that her early-decision application had been deferred to the
regular admissions pool. She didn’t know quite what to think -- was it all over for her?. --
so she posted to the Hopkins message board and got answers and alist of suggestions
from Creasy right away. "I felt like ’Oh, good, I have another chance!’ "she said.

Now at Hopldns, a group of students gives Creasy ideas for admissions, helps him
monitor the message boards and answers questions. Some biog.

Creasy rtms contests, shares his Oscar picks, posts pictures of teddy bears wearing little
Hopkins hoodies and chats online about his favorite TV shows, such as "24." "24 is on in
just a few hours!" one applicant posted recently. "Haha sweet i was the closest!" another
wrote alter a contest.

Thai checks the site often. "It’s really better. It kept my nerves down and stress down."

Not that a!l the applicants are laid-back no~v. Far from it.

"We definitely get students who communicate with us on an obsessive leve!," Creasy
said. BUt overall, he thinks the changes the school has made help it connect better.

That means making Hopkins more appealing, he hopes -- and luring more applicants.
And malting it even tougher to get in.
Page 185

The Washington Post

If Fenty Gets the Schools, Does He Have a Plan?

By- Colbert I. King[]

Saturday, February 24, 2007; A19

The car screeched to a halt in the driveway. The drive~; flushed with excitement, jumped
out, rm~ into the house and shouted upstairs to her husbcmd" "Hey, I just hit the lottery
jackpot. Pack your bags!"

Her husband rushed into the hallway, giddy with delight, and called" "That’s great,
honey. How should we pack? For the mountains or the seashore?"

She shot baclc ’7 don’t care. You just get the hell out of her!!"

That, I fear, could be the gist of the exchange between Mayor Adrian Fenty and
Superintendent Clifford Janey once Fenty gets control of the District’s public schools.

Not that Fenty said any such thing when I met with him and his deputy mayor for
education, Victor Reinoso, this week at the Petwolth Library in Nolthwest.

Fenty was careful not to reveal his thoughts on Janey’s performance; not so former school
board member Reinoso. With little prompting, Reinoso was quick to provide examples of
Janey’s alleged shortcomings as superintendent. Janey should be Oad he doesn’t selaze at
Reinoso’s pleasure. Reinoso, however, has Fenty’s ear.

The meeting wasn’t arranged to critique the superintendent. My purpose ~vas to learn
more about Fenty’s education plan and how and when it ~vould be implemented, should
he become Janey’s boss.

11eft convinced that Fenty has dear school-related obj ectives (reconstitute failing
schools, end sodal promotions, give plindpals more autonomy, create parent training
academies, etc.). But despite my best effolts (which obviously weren’t good enough) to
find out, I still don’t know how Fenty ranks his objectives or how he intends to achieve
them.

Before Reinoso arlived, I asked Fenty to state the tl~ee things he would do immediately
after he gained control of the schools. Fenty said he would examine the school system’s
structure, review its policies and assess the system’s leadership and top management.
Page 186

I reminded him of numerous studies of District schools beady on the shelf, including
one recently prepared by his own consult~mt, the Parthenon Group. "What’s there to
know," I asked, "that isn’t already known?"

Fenty said he doesn’t have the fN1 picture and won’t until the school system is under his
control -- a point Reinoso also made in response to other questions.

Pressed for his plan of action, Fenty repeatedly referred to well-known school
deficiencies and his commitment to address those problems with a greater sense of
urgency.

As the conversation unfolded, it was apparent -- at least to me -- that while Fenty brings
to the mayor’s job more enthusiasm, energy and desire to solve problems than this city
has seen in many years, Reinoso knows the Fenty plan better than Fenty knows it.

As it happened, the Council of the Great City Schools completed its own analysis
(available with the online version of this column) of Fenty’s plan this week. The council
is no apologist for D.C. schools. It has expertise with large urban school districts and over
the past three years has issued two critical repol~s on the school system’s instructional
program and financial operations.

The 21-page analysis is a must-read.

In short, the council faults Fenty’s plan as faiBng to:

¯ Address low and stagnant student achievement.

¯ Set measurable goals or benchmarks for academic achievement.

¯ Set accountability measures for the mayor and his leadership team.

¯ Address the issue of standards and training of teaching staff on content and use.

¯ Address professional development.


Page 187

¯ Have a mech~sm for getting reforms into the classroom.

¯ Have a stated strategy for addressing the lowest-performing schools.

That’s for starters.

The analysis concluded that Fenty’s plan, rather than reducing decision-malting layers,
makes decision-making more top-heavy and harder to coordinate. It suggests that Fenty’s
plan lacks a clear vision about the direction of the school system and that it actually relies
on Janey’s master education plan and other school system special education plans. It also
charges that Fenty’s proposal to give the D.C. Council line-item authority over the budget
will only worsen an already cumbersome process.

Finally, the council criticizes Fenty as not presenting a specific plan of action.

I presented these criticisms to the mayor and Reinoso by e-mail andreceived a response
(also available online) the follo~4ng day.

Feuty said he didn’t believe that specific student performance targets or academic
achievement benchmarks should be legislated. He rejected criticism of his proposed
decision-makdng process.

There’s no disagreement on the list of student performance issues that need to be


addressed, Fenty said. "What has been missing is implementation, and, specifically, the
accelerated implementation that responds to the urgency our students, parents,
community members.., feel when we think about our public schools."

Feuty wrote that under his plan, he is the "one person ultimately held accountable for
whether our children are receiving a qual~y education" and said the structure he proposes
"takes a comprehensive approach at establishing a framework by which the Mayor can
effect change."

-Tall get that?

Clifford Janey, pack your bags.


Page 188

The New York Times

February 24, 2007

Federal Supervision of Race in Little Rock Schools Ends

By- STEVE BARNES

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Feb. 23 -- The Little Rock Schoo! District was released on Fliday
from federal court supervision of its desegregation efforts, almost 50 years aRer President
Dwizht D. Eisenhower dispatched federal troops to eifforce an integration order that the
Arkansas governor defied.

In a written order, Jndge William R. Wilson Jr. of Federal District Court declared the
district "unitary." That meant it had met its obligations under court-ordered remedies to
address lingering questions about its commitment to equal opportunity in education.

Judge Wilson s~id the school board could’°now operate the district as it sees fit,
an~verable to no one" save its students, patrons and voters.

Superintendent Roy G. Brooks, who is black, told The Associated Press, "I think that this
is a clear indication that 1957 is not 2007:’

But John W. Walker, a civil fights lawyer here who is counsel to the Joshua Intervenors,
a group of black cb~ctren and parents who were a party in the long-running case,
disagreed_

"In 2007, ~ve have people in neckties lixring in big houses celebrating the return to 1957, a
return to the concept of white supremacy," Mr. Walker said in an interview.

In 1957, Gov. Orval E. Fanbus, a conservative Democrat, resisted the federal court order
to desegregate Central High School by surrounding it with National Guardsmen who
Page 189

blocked the entry of nine black students. Eisenhower responded by federalizing the
Guard troops and sending paratroopers from the !01st Airborne Dwision.

The black pupils ~vere admitted to classes, ruth the military provid~g security on campus
for the duration of the school year.

The confrontation was a seminal part of the civil rights movement. It was followed by
decades of litigation that devoured miNons of dollars m legal fees ~d went through
several judges, dozens of school board members and more than one superintendent.

Judge Wilson granted the district/the l~rgest in Arkansas, with 27,000 pupils --
conditional release from supervision several months ago, but retained jurisdiction unti! it
could demonstrate a resolve to monitor progress in reducing racial disparity in student
achievement.

The order on Friday said the district "has gone the e~m mile" in doing so.

Mr. Walker saidhe had not decided whether to appeal the order.
Page 190

The New York Times

February 24, 2007

RELIGION JOURNAL

A New Model for Schools in file Boston Archdiocese

By KATIE ZEZIMA

BROCKTON, Mass., Feb. 21 -- To the Rev. James Flavin, pastor of St. Edith Stein
Roman Catholic Church here, the notion of giving up control of his pafish’s elementary
school is one of the best ideas he has heard in a !ong time.

St. Edith Stein and two other churches inthis city of 94,000 about 25 miles south of
Boston, are consolidating their schools, wtfich together serve 500 children in kindergarten
through eighth grade, and ceding contro! to a bomd of directors.

The mrangement, which starts in September, will restflt in two ne~vly renovated schools,
one for louver grades and another for upper grades, at two different churches.

The move is the first in the Archdiocese of Boston’s 2010 Initiative, a plan to revitalize
its schools, particularly the elementary schools, which have been suffering from falling
eurollment and finances. The goal, officials said, is to offer the resources of a public
education with the morals and faith of a Roman Catholic one.

"It’s like Catholic education on steroids. It’s going to be great," saidthe Rev. David
O’Donnell of Christ the King Parish, which is also part of the consolidation plan.

The change represents a major shift in the ~,way schools are managedin the B oston
Archdiocese. For the last century, schools here and elsewhere have generally operated
from the top down, with the diocese overseeing schools that are aligned with one parish,
Page 191

~vhose priest deals with day-to-day administrative issues.

The Brockton schools will still fall under the umbrella of the archdiocese, but the board
and its supervisor will act as their administrator. Stonehill College, a Roman Catholic
institution in Easton, Mass., will provide curriculum support and trNNng for teachers.
For the fnst time the schools will have aworldng cafeteria and g~ium.

"Our students always had to settle for having no gym or computer lab," Father O’Donnell
said. "Now this takes all of the values we have plus the quality education?’

Not surprisingly, the plan to consolidate raised some concerns among parents.

"Some parents wondered why they weren’t let into the process sooner, others had
concerns about transportation," Father Flavin said, noting that parents were notified about
the changes last month.

Still others were concerned about start times, which led to the creation of a staggered
schedule.

Most parishes in the archdiocese’s cities --Boston, Brockton, La~vrence and Lowell --
once had large, xdbrant elementary schools.

Enrollment started dwindling in the 1970s and ’80s as many Roman Catholics moved to
the submbs, leaving the schools starved for money. A shortage of priests and nuns has
also hurt, leading to more lay employees and, therefore, salaries.

In 1965, about 150,000 students attended archdiocesan schools; today about 50,000 do.
No archdiocesan schools have beenbuilt since 1953.

"This is what we as a church need to do for our schools to endure," said Jack Connors Jr.,
Page 192

chairman emeritus of the advertising firm Hill, Hotliday, who helps lead the 2010 plan
and tins securedpledges of at least $15 million to’~ard the program.. "We want to build
schools, fix schools, re-energize our mission. And we have to say that a bake sale can’t
be the only source to do that."

The archdiocese is focusing its efforts oncity schools, and plans to take the Brockton
model to Boston and Lowell. City parishes are growing thanks to aninflux of Catholic
immigrants -- here Cape Verdean and Haitian-- and making a Catholic education
available and affordable is a priority. Tuitionin Brocktonis being catted at about $3,000

a student.

"We want to help the poor get ahead," Father Ylavin said. "We want college to be a no-
brainer, the next step in their lives."

Last year the archdiocese partnered with Boston College to nm a Boston eleinentary
school, becoming the first diocese in the country to hand over educational responsibility
to a university, said Sister Dale McDonald, director of public policy and education
research for the National Catholic Education Association.

Sister McDonald said that about 14 percent of Roman Catholic elementm3r schools
nationwide were consolidated from different parishes, but said that all but a few followed
the old top-down governance model. Many are also bringing in Catholic colleges and
universities to help with such things as student assessments and cunicttlttm development.

The plan is familiar to the president of Stonehill, the Rev. Mark Cregan, who ran a
Catholic school in the South Brorcx in the 1990s that received help from Fordham
University. The difference in Brockton, Father Cregan said, is that Stonehill will have
more of a hand in how the school runs, rather than simply providing extra support.
Page 193

"The genus of Catholic education throughout history is its ability to work with limited
resources and help immigrant children come into the mainstream," Father Cregan said.
"I’ve been on the receiving end, and I know how appreciative we were by the effort a
university made when we were under-resourced."

The archdiocese chose to begi~ the program in Brockton after Father O’Donnell, Father
Flavin and the Rev. Richard Clancy of St. Casimir asked that they be first. Father
O’Donnell said his school would probably dose if it were not merged.

The priests look forward to September and being able to preach, not teach.

"I’m the head of my school, you’re the head of your school. We ~veren’t trained to rtm a
school," Father Flavin said to Father O’Donnell. "Now we have experts involved to run
the school. We don’t have to rely on Father’ s talent, or lack thereof, to run the school."
Page 194

The Assodated Press

February 24, 2007

Massachusetts: Gay Topics and Schools

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed by parents who wunted to keep their young
children from learning about same-sex marriage in school. The judge, Mark L. Wolf of
Federal District Court, said the courts had decided in other cases that parents’ rights to
exercise their reli~ous beliefs were not violated when their children were exposed to
con~ary ideas in school. Schools are "entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related
to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens," Judge
Wolf said. The parents ~vho filed the lawsuit, Touia and David Parker of LexingtolL sued
after their 5-year-old son brought home a book from kindergarten that depicted a gay
family. Another Lexington couple joined the lawsuit after a second-grade teacher read a
class a fairy tale about two princes falling in love. Jeffrey Delmer, alawyer for the
parents, said they would file a federal aPl~al and ref~e state-coult claims.
Page 195

The New York Times

February 24, 2007

EDITORIAL

Protecting All Students

Like all too many school districts, Toms River, N.J., has done a poor job of protecting
gay students from bullying. According to the New Jersey Supreme Court, the district
punished students for being one minute late for class, but made harassing another child
for being gay punishable only after a third offense.

In a landmark ruling this week, the court unanimously held that public school districts
like Toms River’s are liable for damages ff they fail to take reasonable steps to stop
prolonged anti-gay harassment of a student by another student. It correctly found that
students had aright to be protected aga~st this sort of abuse.

The decision changes the legal landscape in New Jersey, and we hope it wi!l be the start
of a new national approach to the problem.

A study by the National Mental Health Association a few years ago found that more than
three-quarters of teenagers reported that students who were gay or thought to be gay were
teased and bullied in their schools and communities.

The anonymous student who brought the suit against Toms River schools clearly
deserved better. He complained of being tatmted almost daily from fourth grade on. In
high school, he was physically attacked twice, and he said he eventually had to change
schools. School administrators disciplined the worst offenders, but failed to address the
overall school climate by taking such basic steps as talldng to parents and holding student
assemblies to make it clear that harassment wonld not be tolerated_
Page 196

The court’s ruling provides much-needed support to some of the nation’s most vulnerable
young people, mid it sets a wolthy standard for courts and educators nationwide.
Page 197

The Assodated Press

Testing, funding questioned as No CMId lmv faces routhorization

HARTFORD (AP) - Connecticut education offidals issued an infolana! report card


Friday to U.S. Sen. Joe Liebelman on the federal No Child Left Behind Act, lauding its
intentions but criticizing several of its regulations.

With the five-year education act set to expire on Sept. 30, Liebennan, I-Colm., hosted a
forum Friday at the state Capitol on ways to improve the rules before Congress votes on
reauthorization this summer or fall.

Among the concerns voiced: an emphasis on constant testing, inadequate funds to meet
mandates, the lack of consistent methods to track and compare progress, and a perception
that some states get more latitude than Connecticut to excuse large rmmbers of special-
education students from testing.

Signed by President Bnsh in 2002, the No Child law is intended to dose achievement
gaps by ensuring t~t all children can read and do math at their grade level by 2014.

Colmecticut has a federa! lawsuit pending against the U.S. Department of Education over
the law, saying its mandated testing requirements far exceed the federal reimbursements.

Those concerns were echoed at Friday’s forum, where education officials said lack of
funding hinders their ability to reduce class sizes, recruit and retain the best teachers and
offer early childhood education.

"Testing, testing, testing without doing the appropriate measures to help the children does
not get you where you want to be," said Sharon Palmer, president of the Connecticut
chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

There is no standard nationwide test to measure progress tinder the No Child Left Behind
Act, so each state uses its own tests.

The percentage of special education students exempted from testing also varies from state
to state. The number of children with severe cognitive disabilities who are tested can
skew a school’s and district’s reslllts.

For example, the federal government allows Texas to exempt about 5 percent of those
students, compared with the 1 percent that Connecticut can excuse from testing, said state
Sen. Thomas Gaffey, D-Merider~ co-chairman of the legislature’s Education Committee.

The sheer volume of testing required also frustrates many educators, who believe those
exams do not reflect much of the progress in classrooms, some officials said.
Page 198

%Vith all of the testing we’re doing, we’re not going to have any time for instruction,"
said Robert Hale, president of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education,
whose comments prompted a spontaneous outburst of applause ffoIn education officials
in the heating room Friday.

Lieberman said he will host more forums to discuss the law before the congressional
reauthorizationvote, and the Connecticut State Conference of NAACP Branches also
plans sevelN statewide gatherings to help pments understand the issues and voice their
thoughts.
Page 199

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Flowers, Sarah; Young, Tracy, tyoung@who.eop.gov; Williams, Cynthia; Beaton, Meredith;
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Subject: 02.24.07 In the News

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02.24.07 In the News

The Washington Post: Hatriok Joins Foes of Rrtle On Testing Immigrants, Loudou~ Hasn’t
Decided Whether to Defy U.S. (~chael Alison Chandler)

The Washington Post: Colleges Go Online to Calm the Admissions Jitters (Susan Kinzie)

The Washington Post: If Fenty Gets the Schools, Does He Have a Plan? (Colbert I. King)
The New York Times: Federal Supervision of Race in Little Rock Schools Ends (Steve Barnes)

The New York Times: A New Model for Schools in the Boston Archdiocese (Katie Zeziraa)

The Associated Press: ~ssachusetts: Gay Topics and Schools


The New York Times: Protecting Al! Students (Editorial)

The Associated Press (Hartford, CT): Testing, funding questioned as No Child law faces
reauthorization

The Washington Post

Hatrick Joins Foes of Rule On Testing Immigrants

Loudoun Hasn’t Decided Whether to Defy U.S.

By Michael Alison Chandler, Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, February 24, 2007; B02


The longest-serving school superintendent in the Washington area, Loudoun County’s Edgar
B. Hatrick III, this week joined a growing number of Virginia educators in denouncing a
federal requirement to give tougher reading tests to immigrant students. But whether
Loudoun will, like Fairfax County, defy the mandate remains an open question.

Hatrick said in an interview that it was "wrong-headed" to give grade-level tests to


students in the early stages of learning English. Until now, Virginia schools have given
such students proficiency tests that do not cover the same materia! as the exams that
native English speakers must take.

"It’s a frustration to me because it’s so obvious. I don’t understand why polic!rmakers


don’t tlnderstand," Hatrick said Wednesday. "I think it’s ethically and professionally
~ong to give a child a test for which they can’t be prepared and aren’t prepared."
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Denunciations of the No Child Left Behind law’s testing rules are multiplying in
immigrant-rich Northern Virginia. In Fairfax and Arlington County, educators are preparing
to defy the rules even though they are at risk of !osing federal aid; other area officials
are moving more cautiously.

Federal officials have said repeatedly that grade-level testing is needed for immigrant
students after they have been in U.S. schools for one year, a requirement they say will
help hold schools to high standards. Most states, including Maryland, are following the
rules. So are D.C. public schools, officials say.

U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has criticized Virginia educators who are
resisting. "It’s time to remember that yes, Virginia, there is a Standards Clause,"
Spellings wrote recently in a caustic open letter.

Fairfax, with the region’s largest school system, has led the state’s rebellion. The
county School Board voted in January to continue giving proficiency tests to immigrant
students who have not progressed enough to take grade-leve! tests that assume langumge
fluency. Fairfax school officials appear to be standing firm even though the U.S.
Department of Education has threatened to ~ithhold $17 million in aid if the county
follows through with its plan.

The Arlington School Board has also authorized officials to shield some immigrant students
from tests the federal government insists they take. "Most people believe the rule makes
no sense," said Arlington School Superintendent Robert G. Smith.

The Alexandria School Board has not taken similar action. "Right now, there are not plans
to do anything different from what’s required," Alexandria schools spokeswoman Amy Carlini
said yesterday. She added that some School Board members want to determine how much
federa! funding is at stake.
The Prince William County School Board is tiptoeing around the battle. It has passed a
resolution that expresses "concern" over the federa! requirements but notes that the
school system will abide by them. School Board Chairman Lucy S. Beauchamp (At Large) said
that she applauds Fairfa){’s stand but that Prince William cannot risk losing federa! aid
because it is already facing a significant budget shortfall.

In Loudoun, Hmtrick and his staff have proposed a resolution similar to what Fairfax and
Arlington have adopted. Officials estimate that as much as $2 million in federal aid could
be at risk if the county defies the federal goverr~ment.

Loudoun School Board Vice Chairman Tom Reed (At Large) said he supported the staff
recommendation. "I think the decision about who should take which tests should be at the
classroom level, not imposed from Washington," he said.

The Loudoun board has not yet scheduled a vote. Loudoun board member J. Warren Geurin
(Sterling) said the county should follow the federal requirement.

"We don’t have to take a sharp stick and poke the federal government in the eye," Geurin
said.
Staff writers Tara Bahrampour and Ian Shapira contributed to this report.

The Washington Post


Colleges Go Online to Calm the Admissions Jitters

By Susan Kinzie, Washington Post Staff Writer?


Saturday, February 24, 2007; A01

Daniel Creasy and the other Johns Hopkins University admissions office staff have to read
200 files a week to get through the 14,840 applications piled on chairs and crates in the
hall~ays. That’s 65 percent more applicants than they had ~ust five years ago -- so many,
Creasy joked, that he has to get his dog to help read them.

He even posted a photo of his dog, paws planted next to a stack of files, on the Hopkins
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admissions Web site.

Creasy is trying to lighten things a little and ease some of the anxiety of the
application process as the admissions frenzy whips up. With more applicants than ever
competing to get into the top schools, students’ stress is obvious. It chokes online
message boards about college admissions. (One site -- where overachievers crunch nttmbers,
analyze their chances and obsess over scores -- hmd 17,048 posts about Hopkins alone.)

Now, some schools have staff members like Creasy who not only read files but monitor
message boards, field questions on their o~~ Web sites and try to humanize the process.

In charge of Hopkins Insider, "a behind-the-scenes look at the Johns Hopkins Admissions
Office," Creasy hopes to take away some of the mystery, correct misinformmtion here and
there, crack some ~okes and, occasionally, talk students off the ledge.
"When I got into the field, I was told this is a very secretive field. Not a lot of people
know what we do," Creasy said. "I agreed with that." Many in admissions stil! do. Creasy
used to think of himself as an admissions officer, working for the institution to create
the strongest possible 1,200-student incoming class. Now, he has far more contact with
applicants -- at least electronically -- and knows ~ust how much they’re sweating the
admissions process.

He’s begun to see himself as more of an admissions counselor instead.

"So i~ny applicants think of admissions as this abyss where you toss in an application and
never hear whmt happens to it," said Ben Jones, who helped transform the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology’s admissions Web site into a percolating conversation among
hundreds of students and staff members. "That creates a level of anxiety and stress that
is increasing as years go on and admissions become increasingly competitive."
Last month, MIT posted winners of an essay contest about the admissions process. One
applicant created animation set to the Zombies’ "Time of the Season" with a stick figure
waiting by a mailbox in the snow. Another wrote about anxiety, pressure and a classmate
who applied to Stanford and hanged himself.

Jeannine C. Lalonde, an assistant dean of admission at the University of Virginia, said:


"They picture people in a room with a big ’P~EJECT’ stamp. This makes people realize we’re
rea!, we’re accessible, we’re not scary."

So Creasy blogs. He writes about how many files he has to read, explaining the admissions
process, the months of late-night reading and discussion about applicants. He introduces
other staffers, giving their backgrounds, favorite animals ("Not a Bushbaby -- those
things scare me," one wrote) and admissions pet peeves. (Tip: Don’t leave the "s" out of
Johns.)

He describes how he works, with a blue binder, glass of water, iPod, calculator and eight
-- eight[ -- calendmrs. He adds photos of the stacks of applications and of his niece,
crawling along the f!oor. And he writes such things as: " . most of us have dreams
(nightmares???) about application files, letters of recommendations, paper/folder cuts,
grading scales, aaaaahhhhh~"

And even with application folders filling 23 five-drawer filing cabinets along a wall of
the office and spilling onto most other flat surfaces, Creasy has gotten to know more
about individual students such as Christy Thai, a high schoo! senior from Olney.

She mas worried about her scores last year. Then she found a college admissions message
board with people posting their statistics and felt even worse. "It was bad," she said,
"because it mmde me believe I won’t get accepted to any college."

As decisions near, the dramm peaks online, with people writing, for example, "ONE MORE
HOUR![ ![ [" until admission and re~ection results would be posted and "I can’t take it["

When Creasy reads those message boards, he knows the people who write often are a small
minority even of those who are competing for the most selective schools. "But it does
scare me sometimes," he said. "The intensity."
It’s great that students have access to so much more information, said John Latting,
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director of undergraduate admissions at Hopkins. "The flip side is a sort of hysteria
about college admissions." He worries about college rankings, which can make families
think their options are limited to a short list of elite schools, and the misinformation
f!oating around.

On a recent night, someone listed his SAT scores (in the 700s on each part) on a site and
wrote: "Guys, do you think I have a chance to be admitted. I am really nervous. ."

Someone told him he had a 50-50 chance.

"Some of the information out there is just shockingly, shockingly bad," said Lalonde, who
monitors sites for U-Va. and often posts corrections and clarifications. "I get
bombarded," she said, with nervous students and parents dragging her to other online
discussions to answer new questions.

Creasy tries to fight the stereotypes of Hopkins -- that the school cares only about
numbers and scores, not the applicants, and that the atmosphere on c~mpus is
hypercompetitive and cutthroat. He takes questions. How many?

"More," he said, "than you could ever imagine."

Thai sent some after finding that her early-decision application had been deferred to the
regular admissions poo!. She didn’t know quite what to think -- was it all over for her?
-- so she posted to the Hopkins message board and got answers and a list of suggestions
from Creasy right away. "I felt like ’Oh, good, I have another chance!’ " she said.

Now at Hopkins, a group of students gives Creasy ideas for admissions, helps him monitor
the message boards and answers questions. Some blog.

Creasy runs contests, shares his Oscar picks, posts pictures of teddy bears wearing little
Hopkins hoodies and chats online about his favorite TV shows, such as "24." "24 is on in
just a few hours!" one applicant posted recently. "Haha ~eet i was the c!osest[" another
wrote after a contest.

Thai checks the site often. "It’s really better. It kept my_nerves down and stress down."
Not that all the applicants are laid-back now. Far from it.

"We definitely get students who communicate with us on an obsessive level," Creasy said.
But overall, he thinks the changes the school has made help it connect better.

That means making Hopkins more appealing, he hopes -- and luring more applicants. And
making it even tougher to get in.

The Washington Post

If Fenty Gets the Schools, Does He Have a Plan?

By Colbert I. King

Saturday, February 24, 2007; AI9


The car screeched to a halt in the driveway. The driver, flushed with excitement, jumped
out, ran into the house and shouted upstairs to her husband: "Hey, I just hit the !ottery
~ackpot. Pack your bags["
Her husband rushed into the hallway, giddy with delight, and called: "That’s great, honey.
How should we pack? For the mountains or the seashore?"

She shot back: "I don’t care. You just get the hel! out of here["

That, I fear, could be the gist of the exchange between Mayor Adrian Fenty and
Superintendent Clifford Janey once Fenty gets control of the District’s public schools.

Not that Fenty said any such thing when I met with him and his deputy rLmyor for education,
Victor Reinoso, this week at the Petworth Library in Northwest.
4
Page 203

Fenty was careful not to reveal his thoughts on Janey’s performance; not so former school
board member Reinoso. With little prompting, Reinoso was quick to provide examples of
Janey’s alleged shortcomings as superintendent. Janey should be glad he doesn’t serve at
Reinoso’s pleasure. Reinoso, however, hms Fenty’s ear.

The meeting wasn’t arranged to critique the superintendent. My purpose was to learn more
about Fenty’s education plan and how and when it would be implemented, should he become
Janey’s boss.

i left convinced that Fenty has clear school-related objectives (reconstitute failing
schools, end social promotions, give principals more autonomy, create parent training
academies, etc.). But despite my best efforts (which obviously weren’t good enough) to
find out, I still don’t know how Fenty ranks his objectives or how he intends to achieve
them.

Before Reinoso arrived, I asked Fenty to state the three things he would do immediately
after he gained control of the schools. Fenty said he would ex~_mine the school system’s
structure, review its policies and assess the system’s leadership and top management.

I rem~nded him of numerous studies of District schools already on the shelf, including one
recently prepared by his ow~ consultant, the Parthenon Group. "What’s there to know," I
asked, "that isn’t already known?"

Fenty said he doesn’t have the full picture and won’t until the school system is under his
control -- a point Reinoso also made in response to other questions.

Pressed for his plan of action, Fenty repeatedly referred to well-known school
deficiencies and his commitment to address those problems with a greater sense of urgency.

As the conversation unfolded, it was apparent -- at least to me -- that while Fenty brings
to the mayor’s job more enthusiasm, energy and desire to solve problems than this city has
seen in many years, Reinoso knows the Fenty plan better than Fenty knows it.

As it h~ppened, the Council of the Great City Schools completed its own analysis
(available with the online version of this column) of Fenty’s plan this week. The council
is no apologist for D.C. schools. It has expertise with large urban school districts and
over the past three years hms issued two critical reports on the school system’s
instructional program and financial operations.

The 21-page analysis is a must-read.

In short, the council faults Fenty’s plan as failing to:

Address low and stagnant student achievement.

Set measurable goals or benchmarks for academic achievement.

Set accountability measures for the mayor and his leadership team.

Address the issue of standards and training of teaching staff on content and use.

Address professional development.

Have a mechanism for getting reforms into the classroom.

Have a stated strategy for addressing the lowest-performing schools.

That’s for starters.

The analysis concluded tb~t Fenty’s plan, rather than reducing decision-mmking layers,
mmkes decision-making more top-heavy and harder to coordinate. It suggests that Fenty’s
plan lacks a clear vision about the direction of the school system and that it actually
relies on Janey’s master education plan and other school system special education plans.
It also charges that Fenty’s proposal to give the D.C. Council line-item authority over
the budget will only worsen an already cumbersome process.
Page 204
Finally, the council criticizes £enty as not presenting a specific plan of action.

I presented these criticisms to the mayor and Reinoso by e-mail and received a response
(also available online) the following day.

Fenty said he didn’t believe that specific student performance targets or academic
achievement benchmarks should be legislated. He rejected criticism of his proposed
decision-making process.
There’s no disagreement on the list of student performance issues that need to be
addressed, Fenty said. "What has been missing is implementation, and, specifically, the
accelerated implementation that responds to the urgency our students, parents, community
members . . feel when we think about our public schools."

Fenty wrote that under his plan, he is the "one person ultimately held accountable for
whether our children are receiving a quality education" and said the structure he proposes
"takes a comprehensive approach at establishing a framework by which the Hayor can effect
change."
Y’all get that?
Clifford Janey, pack your bags.

The New York Times

February 24, 2007

Federal Supervision of Race in Little Rock Schools Ends

By S TEVE BAP$~ S

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Feb. 23 -- The Little Rock School District was released on Friday from
federal court supervision of its desegregation efforts, almost 50 years after President
Dwight D. Eisenhower dispatched federal troops to enforce an integration order that the
Arkansas governor defied.

In a written order, Judge William R. Wilson Jr. of Federal District Court declared the
district "unitary." That meant it had met its obligations under court-ordered remedies to
address lingering questions about its commitment to equal opportunity in education.

Judge Wilson said the school board could "now operate the district as it sees fit,
answerable to no one" save its students, patrons and voters.

Superintendent Roy G. Brooks, who is black, told The Associated Press, "I think that this
is a clear indication that 1957 is not 2007."

But John W. Walker, a civil rights la~-yer here who is counsel to the Joshua Intervenors, a
group of black children er~d parents who were a party in the long-running case, disagreed.

"In 2007, we have people in neckties living in big houses celebrating the return to 1957,
a return to the concept of white supremacy," Mr. Walker said in an interview.

In 1957, ®or. Orval E. Faubus, a conservative Democrat, resisted the federal court order
to desegregate Central High School by surrounding it with National Guardsmen who blocked
the entry of nine black students. Eise~ower responded by federalizing the Guard troops
and sending paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division.

The black pupils were admitted to classes, with the military providing security on campus
for the duration of the school year.

The confrontation was a seminal part of the civil rights movement. It was followed by
decades of litigation that devoured millions of dollars in legal fees and went through
several ~udges, dozens of school board members and more than one superintendent.

Judge Wilson granted the district --the largest in Arkansas, with 27,000 pupils --
conditional release from supervision several months ago, but retained ~urisdiction until
it could demonstrate a resolve to monitor progress in reducing racial disparity in student
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achievement.

The order on Friday said the district "has gone the extra mile" in doing so.

FLr. Walker said he had not decided whether to appea! the order.

The New York Times

February 24, 2007


RELI®ION JOURNAL
A New Model for Schools in the Boston Archdiocese

By KATIE ZEZII~

BROCKTON, Mass., Feb. 21 -- To the Rev. James Flavin, pastor of St. Edith Stein Roman
Catholic Church here, the notion of giving up contro! of his parish’s elementary school is
one of the best ideas he has heard in a !ong time.
St. Edith Stein and two other churches in this city of 94,000 about 25 miles south of
Boston, are consolidating their schools, which together serve 500 children in kindergarten
through eighth grade, and ceding contro! to a board of directors.
The arrangement, which starts in September, will result in two newly renovated schools,
one for !ower grades and another for upper grades, at two different churches.
The move is the first in the Archdiocese of Boston’s 2010 Initiative, a plan to revitalize
its schools, particularly the elementary schools, which have been suffering from falling
enrollment and finances. The goal, officials said, is to offer the resources of a public
education with the morals and faith of a Roman Catholic one.
"It’s like Catholic education on steroids. It’s going to be great," said the Rev. David
O’Dom_nell of Christ the King Parish, which is also part of the consolidation plan.

The change represents a major shift in the way schools are manmged in the Boston
Archdiocese. For the last century, schools here and elsewhere have generally operated from
the top down, with the diocese overseeing schools that are aligned with one parish, whose
priest deals with day-to-day administrative issues.

The Brockton schools will still fall under the umbrella of the archdiocese, but the board
and its supervisor wil! act as their administrator. Stonehill College, a Roman Catholic
institution in Easton, Mass., will provide curriculum support and training for teachers.
For the first time the schools will have a working cafeteria and gymnasium.

"Our students always had to settle for havLng no gym or computer lab," Father O’Oon~ell
said. "’Now this takes all of the values we have plus the quality education."

Not surprisingly, the plan to consolidate raised some concerns among parents.
"Some parents wondered why they weren’t let into the process sooner; others had concerns
about transportation," Father Flavin said, noting that parents were notified about the
changes last month.
Stil! others were concerned about start times, which led to the creation of a staggered
schedule.

Most parishes in the archdiocese’s cities -- Boston, Brockton, Lawrence and Lowell -- once
had large, vibrant elementary schools.

Enrollment started dwindling in the 1970s amd ~80s as many Roman Catholics moved to the
suburbs, leaving the schools starved for money. A shortage of priests and nuns has also
hurt, leading to more lay employees and, therefore, salaries.
In 196S, about 150,000 students attended archdiocesan schools; today about 50,000 do. No
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archdiocesan schools have been built since 1953.

"’This is whmt we as a church need to do for our schools to endure, " said Jack Connors Jr.,
chairman emeritus of the advertising firm Hill, Holliday, who helps lead the 2010 plan and
has secured pledges of at least $15 million toward the program. "We want to build schools,
fix schools, re-energize our mission. And we have to say that a bake sale can’t be the
only source to do that."

The archdiocese is focusing its efforts on city schools, and plans to take the Brockton
model to Boston and Lowell. City parishes are growing thanks to an influx of Catholic
immigrants -- here Cape Verdean and HaitianN and making a Catholic education available
and affordable is a priority. Tuition in Brockton is being capped at about $3,000 a
student.
"’We mant to help the poor get ahead," Father £1avin said. "We want college to be a no-
brainer, the next step in their lives."

Last year the archdiocese partnered with Boston College to run a Boston elementary school,
becoming the first diocese in the country to hand over educationa! responsibility to a
university, said Sister Dale McDonald, director of public policy and education research
for the National Catholic Education Association.

Sister McDonald said that about 14 percent of Roman Catholic elementary schools nationwide
were consolidmted from different parishes, but said that all but a few followed the old
top-down governance model. Many are also bringing in Catholic colleges and universities to
help with such things as student assessments and curriculum development.

The plan is familiar to the president of Stonehill, the Rev. Mark Cregan, who ran a
Catholic school in the South Bronx in the 1990s that received help from Fordham
University. The difference in Brockton, Father Cregan said, is that Stonehill will have
more of a hand in how the school runs, rather than simply providing extra support.

"The genius of Catholic education throughout history is its ability to work with limited
resources and help immigrant children come into the mainstream," Father Cregan said. "’I’ve
been on the receiving end, and I know how appreciative we were by the effort a university
m~de when we were under-resourced."

The archdiocese chose to begin the program in Brockton after Father O’Donnell, Father
Flavin and the Rev. Richard Clancy of St. Casimir asked that they be first. Father
O’Donnell said his school would probably close if it were not merged.

The priests look forward to September and being able to preach, not teach.

"I’m the head of my school, you’re the head of your school. We weren’t trained to run a
school," Father Flavin said to Father O’Donnell. "Now we have experts involved to run the
school. We don’t have to rely on Father’s talent, or lack thereof, to run the school."

The Associated Press


February 24, 2007

Massachusetts: Gay Topics and Schools

A federal ~udge threw out a lawsuit filed by parents who wanted to keep their young
children from learning about same-sex marriage in school. The 9udge, Mark L. Wolf of
Federal District Court, said the courts had decided in other cases that parents’ rights to
exercise their religious beliefs were not violated when their children were exposed to
contrary ideas in school. Schools are "entitled to teach anything that is reasonably
related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens,’"
Judge Wolf said. The parents who filed the lawsuit, Tonia and David Parker of Lexington,
sued after their 5-year-old son brought home a book from kindergarten that depicted a gay
family. Another Lexington couple ~oined the lawsuit after a second-grade teacher read a
class a fairy tale about two princes falling in love. Jeffrey Denner, a lawyer for the
parents, said they would file a federa! appeal and refile state-court claims.
Page 207

The New York Times

February 24, 2007

EDITORIAL

Protecting All Students


Like all too many school districts, Toms River, N.J., has done a poor ~ob of protecting
gay students from bullying. According to the New Jersey Supreme Court, the district
punished students for being one minute late for class, but made h~rassing another child
for being gay punishable only after a third offense.

In a landmark ruling this week, the court unanimously held that p~lic school districts
like Toms River’s are liable for damages if they fai! to take reasonable steps to stop
pro!onged anti-gay harassment of a student by another student. It correctly found that
students had a right to be protected against this sort of abuse.

The decision changes the legal landscape in New Jersey, and we hope it will be the start
of a new national approach to the problem.

A study by the National Mental Health Association a few years ago found that more than
three-quarters of teenagers reported that students who were gay or thought to be gay were
teased and bullied in their schools and communities.

The anonymous student who brought the suit against Toms River schools clearly deserved
better. He complained of being taunted almost dmily from fourth grade on. In high school,
he was physically attacked twice, and he said he eventu~lly had to change schools. School
administrators disciplined the worst offenders, but failed to address the overall school
climate by taking such basic steps as talking to parents and holding student assemblies to
make it clear that harassment would not be tolerated.

The court’s ruling provides much-needed support to some of the nation’s most vulnerable
young people, and it sets a worthy standard for courts and educators nationwide.

The Associated Press

Testing, funding questioned as No Child law faces reauthorization

HARTFORD (AP) - Connecticut education officials issued an informal report card Friday to
U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman on the federal No Child Left Behind Act, lauding its intentions
but criticizing several of its regulations.

With the five-year education act set to expire on Sept. 30, Liebermmn, I-Conn., hosted a
forum Friday at the state Capitol on ways to improve the rules before Congress votes on
reauthorization this summer or fal!.
Among the concerns voiced: an emphasis on constant testing, inadequate funds to meet
mandates, the lack of consistent methods to track and compare progress, and a perception
that some states get more latitude than Connecticut to excuse large numbers of special-
education students from testing.

Signed by President Bush in 2002, the No Child law is intended to close achievement gaps
by ensuring that al! children can read and do math at their grade level by 2014.

Connecticut has a federal lawsuit pending against the U.S. Department of Education over
the law, saying its mandated testing requirements far exceed the federal reimbursements.

Those concerns were echoed at Friday’s forum, where education officials said lack of
funding hinders their ability to reduce class sizes, recruit and retain the best teachers
and offer early childhood education.
Page 208
"Testing, testing, testing without doing the appropriate measures to help the children
does not get you where you want to be," said Shmron Palmer, president of the Connecticut
chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

There is no standard nationwide test to measure progress under the No Child Left Behind
Act, so each state uses its own tests.

The percentage of special education students exempted from testing also varies from state
to state. The number of children with severe cognitive disabilities who are tested can
skew a school’s and district’s results.

For example, the federal government allows Texas to exempt about 5 percent of those
students, compared with the t percent that Connecticut can excuse from testing, said state
Sen. Thomas ®affey, D-Meriden, co-chairman of the legislature’s Education Committee.

The sheer volume of testing required also frustrates many educators, who believe those
exams do not reflect much of the progress in classrooms, some officials said.

"With all of the testing we’re doing, we’re not going to have any time for instruction,"
said Robert Hale, president of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, whose
comments prompted a spontaneous outburst of applause from education officials in the
hearing room Friday.

Lieberman said he will host more forums to discuss the law before the congression~l
reauthorization vote, and the Connecticut State Conference of NAACP Branches also plans
several statewide gatherings to help parents understand the issues and voice their
thoughts.

I0
Page 209

INonresponsi
From: Ditto, Trey
Sent: February 23, 2007 1:10 PM
To: McLane, Katherine; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn,
David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Sim on, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toom ey, Liam; ’Tracy
Young’; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Colby, Chad; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey;, Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Chronicle on Higher Ed on NAEP

Didn’t see this one in the clips...

http://chronicle.comldaily12007/0212007022301 n.htm

Chronicle of Higher Education


High-School Students Are Aiming Higher Without hnproving Their Performance,
Federal Studies Find
By PETER S CH1VEDT <mailto:peter. schmidt(&.chronicle.com>

Washington

Two reports released on Thursday by the U.S. Education Department offer a paradox: More high-school
students are taking advanced classes and earning high grades, but they are not doing any better on a federal test
aimed at determining how much they have learned.
In fact, the performance of high-school seniors on the reading portion of the National Assessment of
Educational Progress declined from 1992 to 2005, even though high-school students were taldng more classes in
tougher subjects, and their median grade-point average had risen markedly and steadily -- from 2.68 to 2.98 --
from 1990 to 2005.
Education Department officials declined on Thursday to offer an explanation for why the improvements in
students’ course-taking habits and grades had not translated into clear improvements in learning. They noted that
the studies measure only educational trends, and do not try to pin down the trends’ causes.
But Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings issued a statement making clear her frustration with the studies’
findings. "The two reports released today show that we have our work cut out for us in providing every child in
this nation with a quality education," she said. "If, in fact, our high-school students are taking more challenging
courses and earning higher grades, we should be seeing greater gains in test scores."
Outside the Education Department, experts on elementary and secondary schools suggested that the findings of
the two studies, taken together, might point to the effects of grade inflation, or a watering down of the
curriculum in advanced high-school classes, or the presence of students with a wider range of ability levels in
such classrooms, or some combination of those or other factors.
Emerson J. Elliott, a retired commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, said the department’s
analysis of course-taking patterns is based solely on course rifles and does not look into the courses’ content, so
it is possible that the classes many students are taking seem more advanced than actually is the case.
Ross E. Wiener, vice president for program and policy with the Education Trust, a Washington-based nonprofit
group, said that there had been "progress in making sure more students take a college-prep curriculum, but there
has not been sufficient attention to ensuring consistency in the rigor of those college-prep courses."
Page 2!0

Mr. Wiener, whose organization seeks to promote equity in public education, suggested that colleges could help
improve the situation "by articulating more clearly the level of knowledge and skills that are ’good enough’ to do
college-level work."
The reports released Thursday were "The Nation’s Report Card: America’s High School Graduates"
<http://nationsreportcard. ~ov/hsts 2005/> and "The Nation’s Report Card: 12th-Grade Readin~ and
Mathematics 2005." <http://nces.ed.~ov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007468> Both were based on long-
term studies by the Education Department’s research-gathering arm, the National Center for Education Statistics,
and involved students who were part of the classes graduating from high schools in 2005.
The "High School Graduates" study involved an analysis of the transcripts of a nationally representative
sampling of 26,000 students who graduated from 640 public and 80 private high schools in 2005. Along with
finding that the overall grade-point average of students had risen by about a third of a letter grade since 1990,
the study found that the average 2005 graduate earned about three more credits -- or had 360 more hours of
instruction -- in high school than did graduates in 1990.
Over those years, the transcript analysis found, there had been a doubling, from 5 percent to 10 percent, in the
share of high-school graduates who had taken a curriculum classified as "rigorous," with at least four credits
each of English and mathematics (including precalculus or higher) and at least three credits each of social
studies, a foreign language, and science (including biology, chemistry, and physics.) The share of graduates who
had taken at least the "standard" curriculum -- three credits each of social studies, mathematics, and sdence, and
four credits of English -- had risen from 40 percent to 68 percent.
The "Reading and Mathematics" report was based on tests administered to students as part of the National
Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which seeks to measure how students perform in various subjects
over ~e. Its data for 2005 were based on a representative sample of 2!,000 seniors from 900 public, private,
and Deparkment of Defense schools across the nation.
The report said that the percentage of students who had perfoirned at or above a basic level in reading had
decreased from 80 percent in 1992 to 73 percent in 2005, while the percentage of students performing at or
above a level viewed as proficient had declined from 40 percent to 35 percent_
Althongh the National Center for Education Statistics has not attempted to correlate various skill levels with
college expectations, its report provided examples of the types of tasks students must be able to perform for
each level. To be considered as having reached the basic level in reading, for example, students must be able to
do things like retrieving information from a highly detailed document or recognizing a sequence of plot
elements. The tasks used to measure whether students have reached the advanced level include identifying how
an author attempts to appeal to readers and using a theme to explain a character’s motivation.
The mathematics test given to high-school seniors in 2005 was changed significantly from the past versions of
the test, precluding a direct comparison of the 2005 scores with those of years past. At least as far as the 2005
seniors were concerned, however, the NAEP tests’ results were generally not viewed as anything to crow about.
Just 61 percent of seniors performed at or above the basic level, and just 23 percent performed at or above levels
that could be considered proficient. (Among the tasks assigned at the basic level are converting a decimal to a
numerical fraction and finding the length of the sides of a square. At the advanced level, students are asked to
perform tasks such as calculating a weighted average for two groups.)
"The NAEP scores, on their owr~ tell us that kids are not doing ~vell enough by the end of high school, and they
are likely to not be well-prepared for college," said Matthew Gandal, executive vice president of Achieve, a
Washington-based organization that seeks to align high-school standards with the expectations of colleges and
employers.
Both of the "Report Card" studies found substantial gaps between students based onrace, ethnicity, and gender,
Page 211
but also some signs of progress in closing them.
Substantially larger shares of students from each of the transcript-based report’s four major racial and ethnic
classifications -- white, black, Hispanic, and Asian or Pacific Islander -- were complel~g at least a mid-level
curriculum in 2005 than had 15 years earlier, and the gap bet-vveen the proportions of white and Mack students
taldng at least a midlevel curriculum had closed as of about 2000. But sizable gaps remained in the share who
had completed a curriculum deemed rigorous -- 22 percent of Asian or Pacific Islander high-school graduates,
11 percent of white graduates, 8 percent of Hispanic graduates, and 6 percent of Mack graduates had transcripts
suggesting they had reached this level.
The math- and reading-test report found no significant closing in either the white-black or white-Hispanic gap in
reading-test scores since 1992. In 2005, scores at or above the proficient level ~vere earned by 43 percent of
~vhite students, 36 percent of Asian or Pacific Islander students, 26 percent of American Indian or Native
Alaskan students, 20 percent of Hispanic students, and 16 percent of black students.
The education level of a students’ parents correlated heavily with test performance; scores at or above proficient
were earned by 47 percent of those who had at least one parent who graduated from college, but just 17 percent
who reported that neither parent finished high school.
The transcript analysis found that the share of all female graduates completing a rigorous cmriculum rose from 4
percent in 1990 to 11 percent in 2005, allowing them to overtake male graduates, whose share completing such
a curriculum rose to 10 percent from 5 percent. But while girls had higher grade-point averages and
outperformed boys on the NAEP tests in science and math, boys fared better on most such tests when their
scores were compared to those of girls in equally difficult classes.
On the NAEP reading test, girls substantially outscored boys, and the gap between the genders was wider than it
had been in 1992, but had narrowed somewhat since 2002.
Page 212

N o r4 c~’n_~i "
ve From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 23, 2007 8:35 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Co: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Glaxo Donates $1M To Support U.S. Science Teachers (PHt)

Glaxo Donates $1 M To Support U.S. Science Teachers (PHI)


By Thomas Ginsberg
The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 23, 2007
GlaxoSmithKline P.LC. chief executive J.P. Garnier is known for unusual outspokenness as a global CEO. Now, he
appears to be putting money where his mouth is.
Earlier this week, Garnier, who lives part of the time in Philadelphia where the London-based drug giant has a U.S.
headquarters, let loose during a Wharton health-care conference on the deficiencies of the U.S. education system.
"In this country, you can take a college class in video gaming. It’s appalling," Garnier told a roomful of aspiring corporate
executives.
The French-born executive noted that Chinese and Indian colleges are cranking out science graduates in "waves," and
half-jokingly urged the audience to switching from financial training to science. "If you’re in the sciences, you can always get into
private equity later," he said, drawing laughter from the audience.
Today, GlaxoSmithKline announced it will donate $1 million to support science teachers pursuing additional training and
credentials under the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
The GlaxoSmithKline scholarship will expand a program already assisting teachers in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
The goal is improving the quality of science education. Only about one out of 10 teachers who hold National Board Certification
currently teaches math or science, the company said.
In a company statement, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings was quoted as saying: "If we’re going to reach our
goal of having all children learning at grade level, we must arm teachers with the best practices to get the job done through
programs like these. Nothing helps a child learn as much as a great teacher, and we must ensure our teachers have the tools to
lead the way."
GlaxoSmithKline said the donation is part of its broad commitment to "social investment that focuses on health care and
education."
David Pulman, GlaxoSmithKline’s president of global manufacturing and supply, was quoted as saying: "A critical mass of
science teachers across the country will now have access to this powerful program which will ultimately result in greater student
achievement gains."
Joseph A. Aguerrebere, president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, expressed gratitude to
GlaxoSmithKline and said it would enable about 50 more teachers to become certified.
Its grant exemplifies "the belief that the single most important action this country can take for our children is to improve our
schools by strengthening teaching," Aguerrebere said.
According to the group, the total number of certified teachers is 55,306, tdple the number five years ago. The group’s
certification process involves performance-based assessments and training that takes one to three years to complete. It includes
an analysis of teacher’s actual classroom performance, the statement said.
Page 213

INonresponsit
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 23, 2007 8:33 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara MaRine.z;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Changing SEOG To Save It (IHE)

Changing SEOG To Save It (IHE)


By Constantine W. Curris
Inside Hi,qher Ed, February 23, 2007
American higher education’s system of need-based grants for college students, like Gaul, is divided into three parts. The
largest and by far the most significant is higher education’s voucher model, the Pell Grant - transportable to any institution listed
as accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. The second, considerably smaller in scope, is state- and institutional-
administered need-based aid, the most noteworthy of which is the Supplementary Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
program. The rest of the need-based grant world is an amalgam of donor programs, some of which are administered through
recipient institutions, and others that come to students via community foundations and private entities.
AJl three parts serve college students who have financial need, and each has its proponents. Not surprisingly, executive
branch officials favor the free-market enshrouded Pell Grant, while Congressional leaders continue to support institutional aid
programs like SEOG, which were conceived and implemented in years when access and educational opportunity were viewed as
a federal-state-institutional partnership.
Last week’s controversial comments - in which Education Department officials and college leaders traded statistics and
barbs over President Bush’s budget proposal to help fund a Poll Grant expansion by eliminating SEOG - while reflecting those
differences, also represented a postscript to the Report of the Secretary’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education.
Relative to that exchange, several points need to be made.
First and foremost, the proposed increase in Poll Grant awards (a $550 boost, to $4,600) represents a significant
commitment on the part of the Bush administration to need-based aid. Beyond the actual increase (assuming appropriations and
legislative language are enacted by the Congress), this increase in an austere fiscal period represents noteworthy and successful
advocacy by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Charles Miller, who was chair of the Spellings Commission.
They deserve our sincere commendation.
Secondly, the SEOG program needs to be retained for several important reasons. It directs supplemental funds to the
neediest students and helps part-time students as well. As long as the Poll Grant fails to cover - or even come close to covering -
the basic cost of college for the neediest students, the SEOG program is a critical tool for student financial aid offices. The S EOG
program, it must be remembered, is more than a federal grant program. Each institution participating in the program must
provide institutional funds equivalent to 1/3 of the federal allotment. In the process the $771 million in annual federal
appropriations is leveraged into approximately $1 billion in need-based aid.
Rather than eliminating the SEOG program, it should be expanded as part of a public effort to encourage institutions and
state governments to refocus funding from merit aid competition to need-based assistance. We should not forget that the SEOG
program targets "need."
Having said that, the criticisms of the SEOG program outlined by Chairman Miller in the debate over the White House Pell
proposal need to be addressed. My viewpoint is that one of his criticisms is not warranted, the other clearly justified. To criticize
the SEOG program for having 5 percent administrative costs is not particularly persuasive. Student aid offices are exemplars of
efficient administration, and the 5 percent administrative figure is entirely consistent with other federal aid programs. But let’s
place this criticism in a contemporary context. At a time when billions of dollars cannot be accounted for by the U.S. Provisional
Authority in Iraq, a $40 million expenditure, audited and fully accounted for, in university spending clearly passes muster.
On the other hand, the administration’s budget proposal that criticizes institutional distribution under "an outdated statutory
formula" is absolutely correct. Miller’s observation that "colleges Wnich enroll 70 percent of low-income students get only 46
Page 214
percent of the SEOG funds" is a critical indictment of the SEOG program and warrants our support for Congressional correction.
The formula that drives distribution under the SEOG program decidedly shortchanges colleges and universities in areas
experiencing population growth and, specifically, institutions that have made a commitment to serving the less advantaged. In
short, there is a gap between our rhetorical commitments and our ~~nding priorities. Until we address programmatic
shortcomings, we will remain at risk to calls for elimination of programs such as SEOG.
One of the underlying criticisms that repeatedly surfaced during deliberations of the Spellings Commission was that of
higher education’s unwillingness to adapt to change. We were and are pictured as blindly defending the status quo. The higher
education community should take those criticisms to heart and be proactive in effecting change. If we so act and are so
perceived, our credibility in important policy discussions would be enhanced in Washington and throughout the nation.
Constantine W. Curtis is president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
Page 215

2.23.07 NAEP Coverage

Advanced Courses May Not Be All That Advanced, Some Say Educators Say
(S PT FL)
Grades Rise, But Reading Skills Fall, Data Suggest (USAT)
Grades Rise, But Reading Skills Do Not (NY’I)
Test Scores At Odds With Rising High School Grades (WP)
Report Raises Questions About High.School Courses (WSJ)
Study Says Students Are Learning Less (LAT)
Higher Grades Contradict Test Scores (AP)
High Schoolers’ Scores Lag Despite Courses, Grades (WT)
U.S. High Schools Raise Grades, Don’t Test Better (Update2) (BLOOM)
Grades No Indication Of Proficiency (AAS TX)
No Reading Gains On Nation’s Report Card (DET NEWS)

Advanced Courses May Not Be All That Advanced, Some Say Educators Say
(SPT FL)
By THOMAS C. TOBIN
St Petersburq Times, February 23, 2007
tests show U.S. high schools need a major overhaul.
Years of education reforms have failed to lift the performance of U.S. high school students,
according to a gloomy set of numbers that stmned educators and brought calls Thursday for more
urgency.
In the most recent national test on reading, the nation’s 12th-graders scored lower than they did in
1992. Only 73 percent scored at or above the ’basic" level in the National Assessment of EducalJonal
Progress, also kn~vn as The Nation’s Report Card. That was down from 80 percent in 1992.
Students showed a similar lack of traction in science. Learning gaps beiween white and minority
students were as w~de as ever.
’~/e clearly have a major problem, and ifs not going to be addressed just by some minor changes in
our system," said David P. Driscoll, the education commissioner of Massachusetts, which, like Florida,
was an early adopter of strict school accountability.
Driscoll complained that American high schools have shorter years and shorter days than
competing systems overseas. "Clearly," he said at a news conference arranged by the National
Assessment Governing Board, ’We need to look at some major changes in the way schools are organized
and the way teaching and learning is delivered."
Results were not available by state.
Page 216

The stagn~on among high school students contrasts with gains made by younger students,
especially those in elementary school. It also has occurred even as high school students are exposed,
more than ever, to rigorous courses.
A study of 26,000 transcripts from public and private high school students who graduated in 2005
found that 51 percent took a ’tnid-level" or "rigorous" curriculum with challenging requirements for math,
science and foreign languages. Thatwas up from 30 percent in 1990.
"lfs a disconnect for sure," said Margaret Spellings, the U.S. Education Secretary, in Tampa
Thursday to discuss the federal No Child Left Behind Act. ’It does affirm that, by damn, we better pay
attention to our high schools."
For many top educators, the search for causes leads back to classrooms. The chief explanation,
they said, is that too many classes are rigorous in name only.
"It’s important what we teach and how it is taught has to be carefully inspected course by course,
textbook by textbook, classroom by classroom," said David Gordon, school superintendent in
Sacramento, Calif.
He called on teachers and administrators to collaborate in making sure classes are as rigorous as
they should be.
’qhis is difficult, time-consuming work," he said. "But without pulling back the curtain and taking a
hard look inside the classroom, nothing is likely to change."
Pinellas school superintendent Clayton Wilcox said many districts have begun talking about just
such an exercise.
In Pinellas, he said, a two-year-old program to assess students more frequently will help the district
detect gaps in teaching.
Wilcox also argued that the ~ends may not be as disheartening as they appear. Though graduation
rates have been flat since the 1970s, he said, a case can be made that the actual number of students
getting diplomas is up.
’~ou have kids (graduating) that never were there before," he said.
What made Thursday’s results more alarming for some was the fact that the students tested were
the best the system had to offer -- kids who had made it to 12th grade and were ready to graduate. The
numbers also included a slight decline among students whose parents graduated from college, another
group thought to be high performers.
At the Education Trust in Washington, an advocacy group that rails against the achievement gap,
president Kati Haycock said the numbers revealed a broad, systemic failure.
"Students are doing what is asked of them -- they are taking more academic courses and getting
higher grades -- but they aren’t being taught any more than in the past," she said, calling for more
qualified teachers and higher expectations.
As in the past, one number that stood out Thursday was the performance of Asian students, who
perennially out-acl’ieve students of all other ethnic backgrounds in every academic category.
Gordon, the Sacramento superintendent, said he noticed that Asian graduates annually have some
of the top grade point averages in his district, many of them after only recently irrrnigraling to the United
States and learning English.
’t/~/hat we need to do is have our own American kids, born here, speaking the language from the
tine they’re born ... to get motivated about something other than their iPod," said Driscoll, the
Massachuse~ official.
’There has to be a sense of urgency on behalf of everybody," he said. ’q’hat includes, by the way,
the kids."
Tines staff writer Leti~a Stein contributed to this report.

Grades Rise, But Reading Skills Fall, Data Suggest (USAT)


By Greg Toppo
Page 217

USA Today, February 23, 2007


WASHINGTON -- High school seniors are taking more challenging classes and earning higher
grades than ever, but their reading skills have actually worsened since 1992, data released Thursday by
the U.S. Education Deparlrnent suggest.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said the results show that "we must act now to increase
rigor in our high schools." The No Child Left Behind law, up for reauthorizatJon this year, currently applies
only minimally to tigh schools.
The report brought mixed-- and contradictory -- results:
A record 68% of the class of 2005 completed at least a standard curriculun with four years of
English and three each of math, science and social studies. That’s a huge jump from 1990, when only
40% did the same, according to the study of 26,000 public- and private-school transcripts.
In 2005, 51% of students were doing college-preparatory work, up from 31% in 1990. And 10%
were earning college credit, up from 5%in 1990.
¯ The average high school senior doesn’t read as well as those in 1992, the first year the National
Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) was given to 12th-graders. In 2005, 35% of seniors scored
"proficienf’ or"advanced," down from 40%in 1992.
Reading at a "prot~cier~’ level means students can make critical judgments -- for instance,
describing how two editorials argue different viewpoints. "Basic" means students can read and retrieve
information from a document and recognize a sequence of plot elements.
The government has no comparable long-term data on math scores since it changed the test in
2005. But the 2005 scores show that, overall, 12th-graders’ skills are basic at best.
"Clearly we need to look at some major changes in the way schools are organized and how
teaching is delivered," Massachusetts Education Commissioner David Driscoll said.
The Brookings Ins~tution’s Tom Loveless, who researches the NAEP and course content, said that
the reading results"should really be an area of concern" -- and that perhaps even the brightest students
don’t read as much as they used to.
Critics have long said the NAEP is a poor measure of how well 12th-graders do, and the new data
could give them ammunition: Even students whose transcripts show they took calculus score only, on
average, "proficienf’ in math.
Loveless noted that the test includes no calculus, which forces advanced students to do math work
they haven’t done in three or four years.
Education researcher Gerald Bracey said 12th-graders take the NAEP in the last semester of their
high school careers, and they have no real incentive to do well. Poor results are "senior slLrnp writ large,"
he said.
Grades Rise, But Reading Skills Do Not (NY~
By Diana Jean Schemo
The New York Times, February 23, 2007
WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 -- High school students nationwide are taking seemingly tougher courses
and earning better grades, but their reading skills are not improving through the effort, according to two
federal reports released here Thursday that cite grade inflation as a possible explanation.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, an exam commonly known as the nation’s
report card, found that the reading skills of 12th graders tested in 2005 were significantly worse than those
of students in 1992, when a comparable test was first given, and essentially flat since students previously
took the exam in 2002.
The test results also showed that the ove~hekning majority of high school seniors have not fully
mastered high-school-level math.
Page 218

At the same tine, however, grade-point averages have risen nationwide, according to a separate
survey by the National Assessment, of the transcripts of 26,000 students, which compared lhem ~th a
study of students’ coursowork in 1990.
’3"here’s a disconnect between what we want and expect our 12th graders to know and do, and
what our schools are actually delivering through instruction in the classroom," David W. Gordon, the
superintendent of schools in Sacramento, said at a news conference announcing the results.
The reports offered several rationales for the disparity between rising grade-point averages and
tougher coursewo~k on the one hand and stagnant reading scores on the otfier, including "grade inflation,
changes in grading standards" or the possibility that student grades were being increasingly affected by
things like classroom participation or extra assign’nents.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress is considered the yardstick for academic
performance because it is the only test taken all across the country. The test of 12th-grade achievement
was given to a representative sample of 21,000 high school seniors al~ending 900 public and pdvate
schools from January to March 2005.
It showed that the share of 12th-grade students lacking even basic high school reading skills --
meaning they could not, for example, extract data about train fares at different times of day from a
brochure -- rose to 27 percent fiom 20 percent in 1992.
The share of students proficient in reading dropped to 35 percent from 40 percent in 1992. At
same ti’ne, the gap between boys and girls grew, with girls’ reading skills more than a year ahead those of
boys.
In math, only 23 percent of all 12th graders were proficient, but the exam has been revamped, so
the results could not be compared with those frem earlier years, officials said. The new test has fewer
questions requiring arithmetic and more using algebra and geometry. Some 39 percent of 12th graders
lacked even basic high school math skills.
These results came about even though the separate study of transcripts showed that 12th graders
in 2005 averaged 360 more hours of classroom instruction during their high s~nool years than students
had in 1990.
Their overall grade-point average was 2.98 -- just shy of a B. That was one-third of a letter grade
higher than in 1990. The share of students taking a standard curriculum or better, intended to prepare
them for college, jamped to 68 percent from 40 percent.
In math, girls had higher grades than boys, and closed the achievement gap, scoring about as well
as boys did on the national assessment. Boys who had taken advanced math and science courses,
however, scored higher than girls who had also taken such courses.
The Bush administration, which has been pressing to expand testing in high school under
federal educalJon law, No Child Let~ Behind, seized upon the results as proof that high schools were not
measuring up.
’qhe consensus for strengthening our high schools has never been stronger," Margaret Spellings,
the secretary of education, said in a statement released in advance of the report. "Schools must prepare
students to succeed in college and the 21st-century work force."
Just how students can be getting better grades in classes that are supposedly more challenging yet
lag in reading may become clearer in the future. Mark Schneider, the commissioner of the National Center
for Education StalJslJcs, the branch of the Education Department that administers the e×ams, had also
collected a warehouse full of course descriptions, reading lists and textbooks to investigate the actual
content of classes students are taking.
The Education Trust, a nonprofit group representing urban schools, attributed the disparity to a kind
of academic false advertising, saying that schools may seem to offer the same courses to all students, but
that the content ofthose courses is sometimes less demanding for poor and minority children.
For example, the group found, a ninth-grade English teacher at one school assigned students a two-
to three-page essay comparing the themes of Homer’s "Odyssey" to those in the movie "O Brother,
Page 219

Where Art Thou?" At the same school, assignments in another class covering the same material were
considerably less demanding. There, students broke up into ~ree clusters, with one designing a brochure
for "Odyssey Cruises," another drawing pictures and the third making up a crossword using characters
from the "Odyssey."
"Just slapping now names on courses with weak curriculum and il!-prepared teachers won’t boost
achievement," Kati Haycock, the Education Trust’s president, said.

Test Scores At Odds With Rising High School Grades 0NP)


By Amit R. Paley
The Washin.qton Post, February 23, 2007
High school seniors are performing worse overall on some national tests than they did in the
previous decade, even though they are receiving significantly higher grades and taking what seem to be
more rigorous courses, according to government data released yesterday.
The miomatch between stronger transcripts and weak test scores on the National Assessment of
Educational Progress, often called the nation’s report card, resonated in the Washington area and
elsewhere. Some seized upon the findings as evidence of grade inflation and the dumbing-down of
courses. The findings also prompted renowed calls for tough national standards and the expansion of the
federal No Child Left Behind law.
"We have our work cut out for us," Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in a statement "If,
in fact, our high school students are taking more challenging courses and earning higher grades, we
should be seeing greater gains in test scores."
About 35 percent of 12th-graders tested in 2005 scored proficient or better in reading - the lowest
percentage since lhe test was launched in 1992, the now data showed. And less than a quarter of seniors
scored at least proficient on a new version of the math test; officials called those results disappointing but
said they could not be compared to past scores. In addition, a previous report found that 18 percent of
seniors in 2005 sc~’ed at least proficient in science, down from 21 percent in 1996.
At the same time, the average high school grade-point average rose from 2.68 in 1990 (about a B-
minus) to 2.98 in 2005 (about a B), according to a study of transcripts from graduating seniors. The study
also found that the percentage of graduating seniors who completed a standard or mid-level course of
study rose from 35 to 58 percent in that time; meanwhile, the percentage who took the highest-level
curriculum doubled, to 10 percent.
"The core problem is that course titles don’t really signal what is taught in ~he course and grades
don’t signal what a kid has learned," said Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust, a D.C.-based
nonprof’t group tha~ supports No Child Left Behind. She added hyperbolically, "What we’re going to end
up with is the high school valedictorian who can’t write three paragraphs."
Some expe~ say these educational mirages, which obscure low student achievement with inflated
grades and tough-sounding class titles, disproportionately harm poor and minority students.
A visit to two nintfi-grade English classes in Prince George’s County this week showed that
instruction can vary immensely even in classrooms -- just 15 miles apart -- that share the same
champagne-colored textbook, the same course tilJe and the same syllabus.
In Room 101 at Bowie High, a racially diverse school in one of the county’s more affluent areas,
assignment was: Compare and contrast the themes of disillusior~rnent, pove~ and frustration in George
Orwell’s"Animal Farm" and the poems of Langston Hughes.
In Room 31 at Suitland High, which has more poor and black students, the assignment was: What
are your imrnedia~ goals? How would you feel if no one close to you supported you in reaching your
goals?
The teacher at Suitland, R’Chelle L Mullins, walked around the classroom and repeated
assignment several times to the students, some of whose heads were slumped on their desks. "What are
your iromediate goals?" she asked one boy again.
Page 220

"To pass the ninth grade," he finally answered.


After class, tvlullins said she had "stuck vmy close to the curriculum" and "was doing exactly what
the county wants me to do." But when told of the more complicated questions asked in the Bowie High
class, Mullins acknowledged that she sometimes modifies assignments based on the background of her
students.
Mullins, 24, who began teaching two years ago because she wanted to help underprivileged
children, said she had "a different caliber" of students in her classroom. "Not to dumb my kids down," she
added. "1 hate the bad reputation that they get, and I don’t think it’s fair at all .... Not to pass the blame,
but some of these kids should never have been allowed to graduate middle school."
County Superintendent John E. Deasy said he is working hard to reduce inequities among schools
and cited uneven teacher quality as a key issue. He said that the courty curriculam has been
standardized and that the challenge now is to ensure an equal level of instruction in every classroom by
investing in teacher training and increasing the nu’nber of Advancement Placement courses.
’q-his is the civil rights issue of our ti’ne," Deasy said.
The potential for grade and course-title inflation is not confined to low-performing schools. Julie
Greenberg, a math teacher at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, said she was under such
pressure to raise grades that she used to keep two sets of books in her statistics class: one for the grades
students deserved and one for the grades that appeared on report cards.
"If" a teacher were to really grade students on their true level of mastery, there would be such
extraordinary levels of failure that it would not be tolerated, so most teachers dorft do that," she said.
At a news conference yesterday near Capitol Hill, educafion experts expressed concern that white
and Asian students continue to score consistently higher than black and Hisparic students in all subjects.
They also said the overall discrepancy between the test scores and transcripts desewes close
examination. Darvin M. Winick, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversaw
the exams and the transcript study, called the gap"very suspicious."
"For all of our talk of the achievement gap amongst subgroups of students, a larger problem may be
an instructional gap or a rigor gap," said David W. Gordon, superintendent of Sacrarnento County schools
in California. "There’s a disconnect between what we want and expect our 12th-grade students to know
and do and what our schools are actually delivering through instruction in the classroom."
Lawmakers said the low test scores would reinvigorate the debate over high school reform as
Congress considers the renewal of No Child Left Behind.
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said
"disappointing" results underscore the need to recruit first-rate teachers to low-performing schools.

Report Raises Questions About High-School Courses (WSJ)


By Robert Tomsho
The Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2007
American educators have complained aboLt grade inflation for years. But new findings suggest that
U.S. high schools may also suffer from another type of inflation --in the labeling of courses.
Under pressure to produce graduates better prepared for college and the workplace, dozens or
states have stiffened high-school gradualJon requirements in recent years, pushing a broader array of
students to take more years of core subjects and eliminating less rigorous lower-tier courses altogether.
Reflecting these e~rts, a review or high-school transcripts by the staff ofthe National Assessment
of Educational Progress shows that high-school students are taking, and receiving higher grades in, more
college-prep courses than ever.
Yet just-released test results for 12th graders on the NAEP, a widely respected barometer of
educational achievement known as the "nation’s report card," indicated that students are graduating with
mediocre math skills and reading abilities that have tumbled to their lowest level since the early 1990s.
The 12th-grade tests are designed to measure the sorts of high-level thinking demanded in college work.
Page 221

The findings raise queslions about whether college-prep courses are as tough as their titles indicate,
and, if so, whether high schools and their instructors are adequately prepared to teach such courses to a
rapidly changing mix of students.
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings expressed disappoinl~’nent with the findings, saying:
"If, in fact, our high-school students are taking more challenging courses and earning higher grades, we
should be seeing greater gains in test scores."
Other observers said the results suggest that some school districts are teaching watered-down
versions of everything from history to trigonometry. "A course title alone does not make rigor," said David
Conley, a University of Oregon professor who studies high-school course content.
The NAEP results are likely to fuel calls for reform measures as the federal No Child Left Behind act
approaches a reauthorization debate. The Bush ad~’ninistration has proposed requiring states to conduct
additional reading and math achievement tests at the high-school level.
In December, the Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, a private group that
includes former governors and cabinet secretaries from both political parties, called for such radical
measures as ending high school after 10th grade for some students and denying entry to public colleges
and universilies to anywho ca~ft pass so-called board exams in core subjects.
The NAEP review of high school transcripts, released yesterday, found that 51% of the graduating
class of 2005 completed at least a midlevel college-prep curriculun that included four years of English;
three years of ma~, including geometry and algebra; and three years of science including at least two of
biology, chemistry and physics. In 1990, only about 31% of seniors completed a similar curriculum.
The NAEP review also found that the class of 2005 received about 360 more hours of instruction in
high school than their 1990 counterparts and earned higher grades. On a zero-to-four point scale, the
2005 seniors had a c[rnulative grade point average of 2.98 points, or about a B, up from 2.68 points in
1990. But the benefits of such changes weren’t evident in the results of NAEP reading and math
achievament tests for the class of 2005.
On a zero-to-500 point scale, their average reading score was 286 points. That was down a point
from 2002, the last fine the test was given, and was the lowest average score since 1992, when the
average was 292 points. About 40% of the test takers scored at or above the proficient range, down from
44%in 1992.
On the math side, the average score was 150 on a zero-to-300 point scale and only 23% of" the
seniors were scored at or above the proficient range. NAEP officials said results of the 2005 math test
aren’t comparable with those fiom previous years because of recent changes in the exam’s structure and
content
Reflecling demographic changes in society, the sorts of students taking the NAEP test have
changed significantly in recent years. Hispanics accounted for !4% of all 12th graders in 2005, up from
7%in 1992. The scoring gap between them and white students has changed little since 1992.
Since 1998, when NAEP began allowing accommodations such as longer testing limes, more
English-language learners are also taking the NAEP. In 2005, they accounted for about 4% of all seniors
taking the NAEP reading test and posted an average score of 247. The effect was to lower the overall
average score by two points, to 286, which NAEP officials said was statistically significant.
The decline in reading abilities was not a complete surprise. A recent study by ACT Inc., the
nonprof’~ testing concern based in Iowa City, Iowa, found that only about 51%of high school graduates
who took the ACT test in 2005 were prepared to tackle college-level reading, down from 55% in 1999.
ACT also found a decline in reading skills through the high-school years, with more eighth- and 10th-
graders on track for college reading than seniors. "Reading just drops off the radar in high school," said
Jon Erickson, ACT’s vice president for educational services.
And the NAEP results aren’t the only signs that college-prep courses may not be delivering all that
they premise.
Page 222

The College Board, the New York nonpro~ that gives the SAT admissions test, is in the midst of a
nationwide audit of its high-school Advanced Placement Program courses, amid concerns that some
districts aren’t offedng college-level content.
Meanwhile, a recent study by the state of Maryland found that 30% of its 2005 high-school
graduates who completed a college-prep curriculam needed remedial math in college, up from 26% for
the class of 2000.
States may require students to take more upper-level courses, but content is still largely left up to
local school boards and varies widely. And few states have instituted mandatory end-of-course tests to
measure what is actually being taught in high-school classrooms or taken concrete action to ensure that
high-school graduation standards are aligned with what colleges and universities expect incoming
freshmen to know.
Hodan Janay, of Boston says she earned B’s during four years of high-school English, took a
college-prep literature course her senior year and passed the state English exams required to graduate.
"But I wasn’t as ready as 1 thought," says the 21-year-old, who is now enrolled in a remedial English
course at Boston’s Bunker Hill Community College.
Wdte to Robert Tomsho at rob.tomsho@wsj.com3

Study Says Students Are Learning Less (LAT)


By Mitchell Landsberg
The Los Anqeles Tines, February 23, 2007
U.S. high school students are taking tougher classes, receiving better grades and, apparently,
learning less than their counterparts of 15 years ago.
Those were the discouraging inplications dtwo reports issued Thursday by the federal Department
of Education, assessing the performance of students in both public and private schools. Together, the
reports raised sobering questions about the past two decades of educational reform, including whether
the movement to raise school standards has amounted to much more than windew dressing.
"1 think we’re sleeping through a crisis," said David Driscoll, the Massachusetts ¢ornmissioner of
education, during a Washington news conference convened by the Deparlment of Education. He called
the study results "stunning."
Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, said
he found the results "dismal." After years of reforms aimed prinarily at elementa-y schools, Fuller said the
studies"certainly support shining the spotlight on the high school as a priodtyr for reform efforts."
The reports summarized two major government efforts to measure the performance of high school
seniors as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. One was a standardized test of 12th
graders conducted in 2005. The other was an analysis of the transcripts of students who graduated from
high school that year.
The t~anscript study shewed that, compared to students in similar studies going back to 1990, the
2005 graduates had racked up more high school credits, had taken more college preparatory classes and
had strikingly higher grade point averages. The average GPA rose from 2.68 in 1990 to 2.98 -- close to a
solid B-- in 2005.
That was the good news -- or so it seemed. But the standardized test results showed that 12th
grade reading scores have generally been dropping since 1992, casting doubt on what students are
learning in those college prep classes.
Math scores posed a different sort of mystery, because the Department of Education switched to a
new test in 2005 that wasn’t directly comparable to those used before. Still, the results of the new test
didn’t inspire confidence: Fewer than one-quarter of the 12th graders tested scored in the "proficienf’
range.
The reports also showed that the gap separating white and black, and white and Hispanic students,
has barely budged since the early 1990s. And while the results were not broken down by state, a broad
Page 223

regional breakdown showed that the West and Southeast lagged well behind the Midwest and, to a lesser
extent, the Northeast.
David Gordon, the Sacramento County, Calif., superintendent of schools and a participant in the
Deparlment of Education news conference Thursday, said he found it especially disturbing that the
studies focused on"our best students," those who had made it to 12th grade or who had graduated.
"It’s clear to me from these data that for all of our talk of the achievement gap among subgroups of
students, a larger problem may be an instructional gap or a rigor gap, which effects not just some but
most of our studerts," Gordon said.
The reading and math test was given to 21,000 high school seniors at 900 U.S. schools, including
200 private schools. The transcript study was based on 26,000 transcripts from 720 schools, 80 of them
private. The repo~ did not give separate results for public vs. private schools.
Policy analysts nationwide said the studies were gloomy news for the American economy, since the
country’s educational system already measured poorly in international comparisons.
"What we see out of these results is a very disturbing picture of the knowledge and skills of the
young people about to go into college and the workforce," said Daria Hall, assis~nt director of the
Education Trust, a Washington-based nonprofit dedicated to improving education especially for poor and
minority students.
Among other things, Hall said the transcript study provided clear evidence of grade inflation, as well
as "course inflation" - offering high-level courses that have "the right names" but a dLrnbed-down
curriculum.
"What it suggests is that we are telling students that they’re being successful in these courses when,
in fact, we’re not teaching them any more than they were learning in the past," she said. "So we are, in
effect, lying to these students."
Although the reports came out five years after passage of President Bush’s signature education
reform initiative, No Child Let~ Behind, Hall and others said it would be unfair to blame that program for the
students’ poor showing. They were already in high school when No Child Let~ Behind was enacted, and it
is primarily aimed at elementary and middle schools.
Driscoll recalled an earlier president’s contribution to education reform -- the Nation at Risk report
that seemed to ga!~anize the educational establishment when it was issued by Resident Reagan in 1983.
"That was a shocker," said Driscoll. "But here we are, 25 years later (and) ... we’ve just been
ignoring what it’s going to take to really change the system."

Hig her Grades Contradict Test Scores (AP)


By Nancy Zuckerbrod
AP, February23, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Large percentages of high school seniors are posting weak scores on national
math and reading tests even though more of them are taking challenging courses and getting higher
grades in school, say two new government reports released Thursday.
"The reality is that the results don’t square," said Darvin Winick, chair of the independent National
Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the national tests.
Nearly 40 percent of high school seniors scored below the basic level on the math test. More than a
quarter of seniors failed to reach the basic level on the reading test. Most educators think students ought
to be able to work at the basic level.
The reading scores show no change since 2002, the last time the tests were giverL "We should be
getting better. There’s nothing good about a flat score," Winick said.
The government said it could not compare the math results to old scores because the latest test
was significantly different.
Page 224

The National Assessment of Educational Progress -- often called the nation’s report card -- is
viewed as the best way to compare students across the country because ifs the only unifomn national
yardstick for how well students are learning.
The tests were given in 2005. The goverrrnent released the scores ThLrsday along with a report
examining the high school transcripts of 2005 graduates.
The transcript study shows high school students are earning more credits, taking more challenging
courses and getting higher grade-point averagesthan in the past.
In 2005, high school graduates had an overall grade-point average just shy of 3.0 -- or about a B.
That has gone up from a grade-point average of about ?_7 in 1990.
It is unclear whether student performance has improved or whether grade inflation or something
else might be responsible, the report said.
More students are completing high school with a standard curriculum, meaning they took at least
four credits of English and three credits each of social studies, math and science. More students also are
taking the next level of courses, which generally includes college preparatory classes.
But the study showed no increase in the number of high-schoolers who completed the most
advanced curriculu-n, which could include college-level or honors classes.
On the math test, about 60 percent of high school seniors perfo~ed at or above the basic level. At
that level, a student should be able to convert a decimal to a fraction, for example.
Just one-foLrth of 12th-graders were proficient or better in math, meaning they demonstrated solid
academic peffon-nance. To qualify as "proficient," students might have to deten-nine what type of graph
should be used to display particular types of data.
On the reading test, about three-four~s of seniors performed at or above the basic level, while 40
percent hit the proficient mark.
Seniors working at a basic reading level can identify elements of an author’s style. At the proficient
level, they can make inferences from reading material, draw conclusions from it and make connections to
their own experiences.
As in the past, the math and reading scores showed large achievement gaps between white
students and minorities.
Forty-three percent of white students scored at or above proficient levels on the reading test,
campared with 20 percent of Hispanic students and 16 percent of black students.
On the math test, 29 percent of white students reached the proficient level, compared with 8 percent
of Hispanics and 6 percent of blacks.
The gap in reading scores between whites and minorities was relatively unchanged since 2002.
The federal No Child Left Behind law has put added emphasis on math and reading, largely in the
elementary- and middle-school grades. It also requires states to separate out their test scores by race so
officials can track and try to narrow achievement gaps between groups of students.

High Schoolers’ Scores Lag Despite Courses, Grades (wr)


By Amy Fagan, The Washington Times
The Washin,qton Times, February 23, 2007
More 2005 high school graduates took chalenging classes and got higher grades than their peers a
few years prior, bLt overall, large percentages d high school seniors are scoring poorly on reading and
math tests, two new reports found yesterday.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said these results mean "we have our work cut out for us,"
in providing quality education.
"If, in fact, our high school students are taking more challenging courses and earning higher grades,
we should be seeing greater gains in test score,~" she said, a~er the release of the National Assessment
of Educational Progress (NEAP).
Page 225

These reading and math tests, released by the government yesterday, were given in 2005 to a
representative sample of more than 21,000 high school seniors free 900 schools. Accompanying that
report was a separate study examining the ~-anscripts of 2005 high school graduates.
According to the NAEP, neady 40 percent of high school seniors didn’t per~orrn at the basic level on
the math test and 23 percent performed at or above proficient level
The average reading scores didn’t change much since 2002 but declined since 1992. Seventy-three
percent of 2005 high school seniors performed at or above basic reading level, meaning more than a
quarter of seniors ~tdn’t reach that threshold.
In 2000, about 13 percent of high school graduates completed standard course work, and 36
percent went beyond and completed midlevel course work, according to the transcript study. Those
percentages increased in 2005, to 17 percent and 41 percent.
The 2005 graduates also carried a slightly higher grade point average - about a 3.0 - than 2000
graduates and notably higher than the 2_7 GPA in 1990. The study noted "many possible reasons" for the
increase, including grade inflation, changes in grading standards and practices, and growth in student
performance.
Lavtrnakers and education researchers agreed that improvement is needed but disagreed on the
best way of getting there -- with seee arguing the federal government should get more involved in high
schools and seee saying that is exactly the wrong approach.
"The No Child Left Behind Act is working to improve our nalJon’s elemertary and middle schools,
and we must act now to increase rigor in our high schools and inprove graduation rates," Mrs. Spellings
said, touting President Bush’s proposal for more testing and i-nproved curricula in high schools as paY[ of
his suggestions for renowing the law.
House education panel Chairman Rep. George Miller, California Democrat, called the scores a
"disappointmenf’ and said that as lawmakers work to renew federal education law for younger students
"part of our charge will be to develop strategies for helping our struggling high schools," such as recruiting
better teachers and ensuring all students have access to advanced courses.
Nea! McClusky, education policy analyst at the Cato Institute, noted that the disappointing scores
ceee despite "huge increases in per-pupil expenditures, the installation of ’standards and accountability’
mechanisms all around the country, and ever-greater federal intervention" in America’s schools.
"With all this in mind, the lesson free the latest NAEP scores is clear. American education needs
fundamental restructuring away from the top-down, government control that has wrought regular
academic failure, to a system that empowers parents to take their children and tax dollars out of broken
public schools and put them into institutions that work," he said.

U.S. High Schools Raise Grades, Don’t Test Better (Update2) (BLOOM)
By Paul Basken
Bloomberq, February 23, 2007
Feb. 22 (Bloornberg) -- U.S. high schod students are showing no overall improvement on a
nalJonwide achieva’nent test, even as they take more challenging courses and earn higher grades, the
U.S. Education Department reported.
Nationwide, 73 percent of 12th-grade students achieved a "’basic" reading score in 2005, down
free 80 percent in 1992, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a sampling test
the government calls the "’nation’s report card." Sixty-one percent scored at or above the basic level in
math.
At the same time, 68 percent of high schod graduates completed at least a "’standard" curricukrn,
up from 59 percert in 2000, with the overall grade point average about one-third of a letter grade higher
than in 1990, the department said in a report The figures raise questions aboutthe quality of the courses
being taught at U.S. high schools, it said.
Page 226

"’If, in fact, our high school students are taking more challenging courses and earning higher
grades, we should be seeing greater gains in test scores," U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings
said in a statement The results "’show that we ha~e our work cut out for us," she said.
In May, NAEP said there were declines in science scores for high school students. Among 12th-
graders, 54 percent were at or above the basic level in science in 2005, statistically similar ~o 2000 and a
decline from 57 p~cent in 1996, the report said.
"Disappointing’ Results
Business and education leaders said the latest results reinforce fears that the U.S. school system
isn’t preparing its students to be competitive in the global workplace.
"’lt‘s disappointing and unacceptable," said Susan Traiman, director of educalJon and workforce
policy at the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based association of chief executive officers of U.S.
companies including General Motors Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Citigroup In~
"’These numbers perfectly book-end the rating of employers last fall," who in a nationwide survey
said more half of companies are finding workers inadequately training in ma~h or reading, said Linda
Barrington, labor economist and research director at the Conference Board, a New York-based business
group.
Bush Budget
Today’s report on reading and math follows President George W. Bush’s release earlier this month
of his fiscal 2008 budget recommendation, in which he again asked Congress to devote a greater share of
federal funding toward raising high school achievement levels.
Congress hasn’t endorsed that plan in the past, in part because Democrats opposed Bush’s calls for
financing high school improvements through spending cuts in other parts of the federal education budget.
Representative Buck McKeon, the California Republican who headed the House education
cemmi~tee last year, believes the NAEP results mean Congress must continue to demand more from
schools, spokesman Steve Forde said.
The NAEP report "’is a further indication that backing away from that comrnitment would be a huge
mistake," Forde said.
Others weremore cautious. Some of the lower performance at the 12th-grade level could be due to
older students realizing their scores on the NAEP test have no effect on their personal records, said
Antonia Cortese, executive vice president of the 1.3 million-member Amedcan FederalJon of Teachers,
the nation’s second-largest teacher union.
"No Child’ Testing
The federal No Child Left Behind law currertly requires schools to test students in grades 3 through
8, then once in high school. Researchers including Bruce Fuller, an education professor at the University
of California, Berkeley, have suggested that states may be weakening their tests to help raise their
passing rates under the federal law.
The NAEP reports today may reinforce fears that the quality of high-level courses suffers as more
students are allowed into them, the Education Trust, a Washington-based research and advocacy group,
said in a statement. "’This pattern is undoubtedly playing out in some schools," Education Trust said.
"’But we know thatit doesn’t have to be this way."
The NAEP tests for 2005 were given to a nationally representative sample of more than 2!,000 high
school seniors in 900 schools.
The results shaw 35 percent of 12th-grade students scored at or above "’proficient’ in reading in
2005, down from 40 percent in 1992. Only 23 percent of 12th-graders achieved the proficient rating in
math in 2005.
Math Scores
The math scores aren’t comparable wilh previous years because NAEP introduced a new
assessment test in 2005, the report said. A separate analysis provided by NAEP of common math
Page 227

questions, however, showed a "’statistically significant increase," to 44 percent in 2005 from 42 percent in
2000, in the percentage of students answering each question correctly.
The scores released today also showed persistent gaps among racial and ethnic groups, including
white students scoring 31 points higher than black students in math and 24 points higher than Hispanic
students.
The comparisons to high school transcripts were based on data from 26,000 graduates of about 640
public schools and 80 private schools. The report defined a "’standard cu~iculum" to mean the student
has taken at least four credits of English and three each in social studies, mathematics and science.
In addition to more students enrolling in such a curriculum and receiving higher grades, the NAEP
study found that U.S. high school graduates in 2005 earned about three credits more than their 1990
counterparts. That translates to about 360 additional hours of instruction during their high school years, it
said.
Possible reasons for the increase in high school grades include "’grade inflation, changes in grading
standards and practices and growth in student performance," the report said.
Grades No Indication Of Proficiency (AAS TX)
By Carlene Oisen
Austin h’nerican-Statesman, February 23, 2007
High school students taking harder courses but not meeting basic standards, study finds.
WASHINGTON -- High school students across the nation are earning higher grades in tough
courses, but, on average, graduating seniors failed to make gains in reading or reach proficient math
levels on 2005 assessment exams, according to a report released Thursday.
Graduating seniors had the lowest reading scores since 1992, and only 23 percent of tested
students scored at or above the exam’s math proSciency level, according to data from the 2005 National
Assessment of Educational Progress. The results are based on a sampling of 21,000 12th-grade students
from 900 public and private schools.
Math results from the recent exam could not be compared with past scores because significant
changes were made to the test
Reading scores for white and black students were lower in 2005 than in 1992, though white
students continued to score higher than other studied groups, according to the report In math, Asian
students outperformed white students by 6 points, taking the lead on the 2005 exam.
"Not improving over 1992 scores is not good news," former Michigan Gov. John Engler said. "We
need to step it up h education."
However, 2005 graduates earned more sd~ool credits than those in previous years, according to
data from the High School Transcript Study, featured in the same report The study evaluated transcripts
for 26,000 graduates from more than 700 private and public schools.
David Gordon, superintendent of schools in Sacramento County, Calif., said curriculum rigor should
be questioned when looking at the discrepancy between enrolknent and exam performance.
"A larger problem than the achievement gap may be a rigor gap," Gordon said. "And that affects not
just some students, but most of our students."
Educators charged that some high school courses do not challenge students enough or prepare
them with key skills for college and the job market.
"We need to get serious about making fundamental changes in the system," said David Driscoll,
Massachusetts coromissioner of education. "1 dortt think we’ve raised the expectations."
In Texas, ela’nentary school students show more progress than those in high school, said Darvin
Winick of the National Assessment Governing Board.
"Our elemertary school kids perform above most other states," Winick said. "But, a lot of work still
needs to be done atthe high school level."
Page 228

No Reading Gains On Nation’s Report Card (DET NEWS)


By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Detroit News, February 23, 2007
High school seniors didn’t make any gains h reading on a nationwide test even though students are
taking more challenging courses and earning higher grades, according to test results f.rorn the 2005
National Assessmen~ of" Educational Progress released today.
The tests, ot~en called the Nation’s Report Card, have served as a national bellwether of. students’
academic achievement since 1969.
Officials from the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees and sets policy for the
assessments, said the two reports released today-- one on how seniors scored on reading and math and
another on high school graduates -- present a mixed picture.
"On the surface, these results provide lit’de comfort and seem to confirm the general concern about
the per~on-nance of America’s high school studerts," Darvin M. Winick, chairman of the governing board,
said in a statemert. "The findings also suggest that we need to know much more about the level of rigor
associated with the courses that high school students are taking."
The percentage of. seniors scoring at or above proficient in 2005 on the reading test dropped from
40 to 35 percent since 1992. There was no significant change in reading scores since 2002, the last t~ne
students took the tssts.
The assessments in reading and math were given to a sample of. more than 21,000 high school
seniors in 900 public and private schools. There were no trend scores available for math because the test
is new.
You can reach Jennifer Mrozowski at (313) 222-2269 or ~rozowski@detnews.com.
Page 229

Nor}respdnsi
ve From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 23, 2007 8:29 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: NAEP Coverage

Attachments: 022307 NAEP COVERAGE.doc

022307 NAEP
~V~AGE.doc (~7 K2.23.07 NAEP Coverage

Advanced Courses May Not Be All That Advanced, Some Say Educators Say (SPT FL)
Grades Rise, But Reading Skills Fall, Data Suggest (USAT)
Grades Rise, But Reading Skills Do Not (NYT)
Test Scores At Odds With Rising High School Grades (WP)
Report Raises Questions About High-School Courses (WSJ)
Study Says Students Are Learning Less (LAT)
Higher Grades Contradict Test Scores (AP)
High Schoolers’ Scores Lag Despite Courses, Grades (WT)
U.S. High Schools Raise Grades, Don’t Test Better (Update2) (BLOOM)
Grades No Indication Of Proficiency (AAS TX)
No Reading Gains On Nation’s Report Card (DET NEWS)

Advanced Courses May Not Be All That Advanced, Some Say Educators Say (SPT FL)
By THOMAS C. TOBIN
St. Petersburq Times, February 23, 2007
tests show U.S. high schools need a major overhaul.
Years of education reforms have failed to lift the performance of U.S. high school students, according to a gloomy set of
numbers that stunned educators and brought calls Thursday for more urgency.
In the most recent national test on reading, the nation’s 12th-graders scored lower than they did in 1992. Only 73 percent
scored at or above the "basic" level in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as The Nation’s Report
Card. That was down from 80 percent in 1992.
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Students showed a similar lack of traction in science. Learning gaps between white and minority students were as wide as
ever.
’We clearly have a major problem, and it’s not going to be addressed just by some minor changes in our system," said
David P. Driscoll, the education commissioner of Massachusetts, which, like Florida, was an early adopter of strict school
accountability.
Driscoll complained that American high schools have shorter years and shorter days than competing systems overseas.
"Clearly," he said at a news conference arranged by the National Assessment Governing Board, ’~ve need to look at some major
changes in the way schools are organized and the way teaching and learning is delivered."
Results were not available by state.
The stagnation among high school students contrasts with gains made by younger students, especially those in elementary
school. It also has occurred even as high school students are exposed, more than ever, to rigorous courses.
A study of 26,000 transcripts from public and private high school students who graduated in 2005 found that 51 percent
took a "mid-level" or "rigorous" curriculum with challenging requirements for math, science and foreign languages. That was up
from 30 percent in 1990.
’It’s a disconnect for sure," said Margaret Spellings, the U.S. Education Secretary, in Tampa Thursday to discuss the
federal No Child Left Behind Act. "It does affirm that, by damn, we better pay attention to our high schools."
For many top educators, the search for causes leads back to classrooms. The chief explanation, they said, is that too many
classes are rigorous in name only.
’It’s important what we teach and how it is taught has to be carefully inspected course by course, textbook by textbook,
classroom by classroom," said David Gordon, school superintendent in Sacramento, Calif.
He called on teachers and administrators to collaborate in making sure classes are as rigorous as they should be.
’This is difficult, time-consuming work," he said. "But without pulling back the curtain and taking a hard look inside the
classroom, nothing is likely to cha~ge."
Pinellas school superintendent Clayton Wilcox said many districts have begun talking about just such an exercise.
In Pinetlas, he said, a two-year-old program to assess students more frequently will help the district detect gaps in teaching.
Wilcox also argued that the trends may not be as disheartening as they appear. Though graduation rates have been fiat
since the 1970s, he said, a case can be made that the actual number of students getting diplomas is up.
’You have kids (graduating)that never were there before," he said.
What made Thursday’s results more alarming for some was the fact that the students tested were the best the system had
to offer - kids who had made it to 12th grade and were ready to graduate. The numbers also included a slight decline among
students whose parents graduated from college, another group thought to be high performers.
At the Education Trust in Washington, an advocacy group that rails against the achievement gap, president Kati Haycock
said the numbers revealed a broad, systemic failure.
"Students are doing what is asked of them - they are taking more academic courses and getting higher grades - but they
aren’t being taught any more than in the past," she said, calling for more qualified teachers and higher expectations.
As in the past, one number that stood out Thursday was the performance of Asian students, who perennially out-achieve
students of all other ethnic backgrounds in every academic category.
Gordon, the Sacramento superintendent, said he noticed that Asian graduates annually have some of the top grade point
averages in his district, many of them a~er only recently immigrating to the United States and learning English.
’What we need to do is have our own American kids, born here, speaking the language from the time they’re born.., to get
motivated about something other than their iPod," said Driscoll, the Massachusetts official.
’There has to be a sense of urgency on behalf of everybody," he said. ’That includes, by the way, the kids."
Times staff writer Letitia Stein contributed to this report.

Grades Rise, But Reading Skills Fall, Data Suggest (USAT)


By Greg Toppo
USA Today, February 23, 2007
WASHINGTON - High school seniors are taking more challenging classes and earning higher grades than ever, but their
reading skills have actually worsened since 1992, data released Thursday by the U.S. Education Department suggesL
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said the results show that "we must act nowto increase rigor in our high schools."
The No Child Lef~ Behind law, up for reauthorization this year, currently applies only minimally to high schools.
The report brought mixed - and contradictory - results:
A record 68% of the class of 2005 completed at least a standard curriculum with four years of English and three each of
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math, science and social studies. That’s a huge jump from 1990, when only 40% did the same, according to the study of 26,000
public- and private-school transcripts.
In 2005, 51% of students were doing college-preparatory work, up from 31% in 1990. And 10% were earning college credit,
up from 5% in 1990.
¯ The average high school senior doesnt read as well as those in 1992, the first year the National Assessment of
Educational Progress (NAEP) was given to 12th-graders. In 2005, 35% of seniors scored "proficient" or "advanced," down from
40% in 1992.
Reading at a "proficient" level means students can make critical judgments - for instance, describing how two editorials
argue different viewpoints. "Basic" means students can read and retrieve information from a document and recognize a
sequence of plot elements.
The government has no comparable long-term data on math scores since it changed the test in 2005. But the 2005 scores
show that, overall, 12th-graders’ skills are basic at best.
"Clearly we need to look at some major changes in the way schools are organized and how teaching is delivered,"
Massachusetts Education Commissioner David Driscoll said.
The Brookings Institution’s Tom Loveless, who researches the NAEP and course content, said that the reading results
"should really be an area of concern" - and that perhaps even the brightest students dont read as much as they used to.
Critics have long said the NAEP is a poor measure of how well 12th-graders do, and the new data could give them
ammunition: Even students whose transcripts show they took calculus score only, on average, "proficient" in math.
Loveless noted that the test includes no calculus, which forces advanced students to do math work they haven~ done in
three or four years.
Education researcher Gerald Bracey said 12th-graders take the NAEP in the last semester of their high school careers, and
they have no real incentive to do well. Poor results are "senior slump writ large," he said.

Grades Rise, But Reading Skills Do Not (NYT)


By Diana Jean Schemo
The NewYork Times, February 23, 2007
WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 - High school students nationwide are taking seemingly tougher courses and earning better
grades, but their reading skills are not improving through the effort, according to two federal reports released here Thursday that
cite grade inflation as a possible explanation.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, an exam commonly known as the nation’s report card, found that the
reading skills of 12th graders tested in 2005 were significantly worse than those of students in 1992, when a comparable test was
first given, and essentially flat since students previously took the exam in 2002.
The test results also showed that the overwhelming majority of high school seniors have not fully mastered high-school-
level math.
At the same time, however, grade-point averages have risen nationwide, according to a separate survey by the National
Assessment, of the transcripts of 26,000 students, which compared them with a study of students’ coursework in 1990.
’There’s a disconnect between what we want and expect our 12th graders to know and do, and what our schools are
actually delivering through instruction in the classroom," David W. Gordon, the superintendent of schools in Sacramento, said at
a news conference announcing the results.
The reports offered several rationales for the disparity between rising grade-point averages and tougher coursework on the
one hand and stagnant reading scores on the other, including "grade inflation, changes in grading standards" or the possibility
that student grades were being increasingly affected by things like classroom participation or extra assignments.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress is considered the yardstick for academic performance because it is the
only test taken all across the country. The test of 12th-grade achievement was given to a representative sample of 21,000 high
school seniors attending 900 public and private schools from January to March 2005.
It showed that the share of 12th-grade students lacking even basic high school reading skills - meaning they could not, for
example, extract data about train fares at different times of day from a brochure - rose to 27 percent from 20 percent in 1992.
The share of students proficient in reading dropped to 35 percent from 40 percent in 1992. At the same time, the gap
between boys and girls grew, with girls’ reading skills more than a year ahead those of boys.
In math, only 23 percent of all 12th graders were proficient, but the exam has been revamped, so the results could not be
compared with those from earlier years, officials said. The newtest has fewer questions requiring arithmetic and more using
algebra and geometry. Some 39 percent of 12th graders lacked even basic high school math skills.
These results came about even though the separate study of transcripts showed that 12th graders in 2005 averaged 360
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more hours of classroom instruction during their high school years than students had in 1990.
Their overall grade-point average was 2.98 - just shy of a B. That was one-third of a letter grade higher than in 1990. The
share of students taking a standard curriculum or better, intended to prepare them for college, jumped to 68 percent from 40
percent.
In math, girls had higher grades than boys, and closed the achievement gap, scoring about as well as boys did on the
national assessment. Boys who had taken advanced math and science courses, however, scored higher than girls who had also
taken such courses.
The Bush administration, which has been pressing to expand testing in high school under the federal education law, No
Child Le~ Behind, seized upon the results as proof that high schools were not measuring up.
’The consensus for strengthening our high schools has never been stronger," Margaret Spellings, the secretary of
education, said in a statement released in advance of the report. "Schools must prepare students to succeed in college and the
21 st-century work force."
Just how students can be getting better grades in classes that are supposedly more challenging yet lag in reading may
become clearer in the ft~ture. Mark Schneider, the commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, the branch of the
Education Department that administers the exams, had also collected a warehouse full of course descriptions, reading lists and
textbooks to investigate the actual content of classes students are taking.
The Education Trust, a nonprofit group representing urban schools, attributed the disparity to a kind of academic false
advertising, saying that schools may seem to offer the same courses to all students, but that the content of those courses is
sometimes less demanding for poor and minority children.
For example, the group found, a ninth-grade English teacher at one school assigned students a two- to three-page essay
comparing the themes of Homer’s "Odyssey" to those in the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" At the same school,
assignments in another class covering the same material were considerably less demanding. There, students broke Lip into three
clusters, with one designing a brochure for "Odyssey Cruises," another drawing pictures and the third making up a crossword
using characters from the "Odyssey."
"Just slapping new names on courses with weak curriculum and ill-prepared teachers won’t boost achievement," Kati
Haycock, the Education Trust’s president, said.

Test Scores At Odds With Rising High School Grades (WP)


By Amit R. Paley
The Washin,qton Post, February 23, 2007
High school seniors are performing worse overall on some national tests than they did in the previous decade, even though
they are receiving significantly higher grades and taking what seem to be more rigorous courses, according to government data
released yesterday.
The mismatch between stronger transcripts and weak test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress,
otten called the nation’s report card, resonated in the Washington area and elsewhere. Some seized upon the findings as
evidence of grade inflation and the dumbing-down of courses. The findings also prompted renewed calls for tough national
standards and the expansion of the federal No Child Left Behind law.
"We have our work cut out for us," Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in a statement. "If, in fact, our high school
students are taking more challenging courses and earning higher grades, we should be seeing greater gains in test scores."
About 35 percent of 12th-graders tested in 2005 scored proficient or better in reading - the lowest percentage since the
test was launched in 1992, the new data showed. And less than a quarter of seniors scored at least proficient on a new version
of the math test; officials called those results disappointing but said they could not be compared to past scores. In addition, a
previous report found that 18 percent of seniors in 2005 scored at least proficient in science, down from 21 percent in 1996.
At the same time, the average high school grade-point average rose from 2.68 in 1990 (about a B-minus) to 2.98 in 2005
(about a B), according to a study of transcripts from graduating seniors. The study also found that the percentage of graduating
seniors who completed a standard or mid-level course of study rose from 35 to 58 percent in that time; meanwhile, the
percentage who took the highest-level curriculum doubled, to 10 percent.
’q-he core problem is that course titles don’t really signal what is taught in the course and grades don’t signal what a kid has
learned," said Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust, a D.C.-based nonprofit group that supports No Child Left Behind.
She added hyperbolically, "What we’re going to end up with is the high school valedictorian who cant write three paragraphs."
Some experts say these educational mirages, which obscure low student achievement with inflated grades and tough-
sounding class titles, disproportionately harm poor and minority students.
A visit to two ninth-grade English classes in Prince George’s County this week showed that instruction can vary immensely
Page 233
even in classrooms -just 15 miles apart -- that share the same champagne-colored textbook, the same course title and the
same syllabus.
In Room 101 at Bowie High, a racially diverse school in one of the county’s more affluent areas, the assignment was:
Compare and contrast the themes of disillusionment, poverty and f~ustration in George Orwell’s "Animal Farm" and the poems of
Langston Hughes.
In Room 31 at Suitland High, which has more poor and black students, the assignment was: What are your immediate
goals? How would you feel if no one close to you supported you in reaching your goals?
The teacher at Suitland, R’Chelle L. Mullins, walked around the classroom and repeated the assignment several times to
the students, some of whose heads were slumped on their desks. "What are your immediate goals?" she asked one boy again.
’q-o pass the ninth grade," he finally answered.
A~er class, Mullins said she had "stuck very close to the curriculum" and "was doing exactly what the county wants me to
do." But when told of the more complicated questions asked in the Bowie High class, Mullins acknowledged that she sometimes
modifies assignments based on the background of her students.
Mullins, 24, who began teaching two years ago because she wanted to help underprivileged children, said she had "a
different caliber" of students in her classroom. "Not to dumb my kids down," she added. "1 hate the bad reputation that they get,
and I don’t think it’s fair at all .... Not to pass the blame, but some of these kids should never have been allowed to graduate
middle school."
County Superintendent John E. Deasy said he is working hard to reduce inequities among schools and cited uneven
teacher quality as a key issue. He said that the counb! curriculum has been standardized and that the challenge now is to ensure
an equal level of instruction in every classroom by investing in teacher training and increasing the number of Advancement
Placement courses.
’q-his is the civil rights issue of our time," Deasy said.
The potential for grade and course-title inflation is not confined to low-performing schools. Julie Greenberg, a math teacher
at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, said she was under such pressure to raise grades that she used to keep two
sets of books in her statistics class: one for the grades students deserved and one for the grades that appeared on report cards.
"If a teacher were to really grade students on their true level of mastery, there would be such extraordinary levels of failure
that it would not be tolerated, so most teachers don’t do that," she said.
At a news conference yesterday near Capitol Hill, education experts expressed concern that white and Asian students
continue to score consistently higher than black and Hispanic students in all subjects. They also said the overall discrepancy
between the test scores and transcripts deserves close examination. Darvin M. Winick, chairman of the National Assessment
Governing Board, which oversawthe exams and the transcript study, called the gap "very suspicious."
"For all of our talk of the achievement gap amongst subgroups of students, a larger problem may be an instructional gap or
a rigor gap," said David W. Gordon, superintendent of Sacramento County schools in California. "There’s a disconnect between
what we want and expect our 12th-grade students to know and do and what our schools are actually delivering through
instruction in the classroom."
Lawmakers said the low test scores would reinvigorate the debate over high school reform as Congress considers the
renewal of No Child Le~ Behind.
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.~ chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said "disappointing" results
underscore the need to recruit first-rate teachers to low-performing schools.

Report Raises Questions About High-School Courses (WSJ)


By Robert Tomsho
The Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2007
American educators have complained about grade inflation for years. But new findings suggest that U.S. high schools may
also sdfer from another type of inflation -- in the labeling of courses.
Under pressure to produce graduates better prepared for college and the workplace, dozens of states have stitfened high-
school graduation requirements in recent years, pushing a broader array of students to take more years of core subjects and
eliminating less rigorous lower-tier courses altogether.
Reflecting these efforts, a review of high-school transcripts by the staff of the National Assessment of Educational Progress
shows that high-school students are taking, and receiving higher grades in, more college-prep courses than ever.
Yet just-released test results for 12th graders on the NAEP, a widely respected barometer of educational achievement
known as the "nation’s report card," indicated that students are graduating with mediocre math skills and reading abilities that
have tumbled to their lowest level since the early 1990s. The 12th-grade tests are designed to measure the sorts of high-level
Page 234
thinking demanded in college work.
The findings raise questions about whether college-prep courses are as tough as their titles indicate, and, if so, whether
high schools and their instructors are adequately prepared to teach such courses to a rapidly changing mix of students.
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings expressed disappointment with the findings, saying: "If, in fact, our high-
school students are taking more challenging courses and earning higher grades, we should be seeing greater gains in test
scores."
Other observers said the results suggest that some school districts are teaching watered-down versions of everything from
history to trigonometry. "A course title alone does not make rigor," said David Conley, a University of Oregon professor who
studies high-school course content.
The NAEP results are likely to fi.~el calls for reform measures as the federal No Child Let~ Behind act approaches a
reauthorization debate. The Bush administration has proposed requiring states to conduct additional reading and math
achievement tests at the high-school level.
In December, the Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, a private group that includes former governors and
cabinet secretaries from both political parties, called for such radical measures as ending high school atter 10th grade for some
students and denying entry to public colleges and universities to any who cant pass so-called board exams in core subjects.
The NAEP review of high school transcripts, released yesterday, found that 51% of the graduating class of 2005 completed
at least a midlevel college-prep curriculum that included four years of English; three years of math, including geometry and
algebra; and three years of science including at least two of biology, chemistry and physics. In ! 990, only about 31% of seniors
completed a similar curriculum.
The NAEP review also found that the class of 2005 received about 360 more hours of instruction in high school than their
1990 counterparts and earned higher grades. On a zero-to-four point scale, the 2005 seniors had a cumulative grade point
average of 2.98 points, or about a B, up from 2.68 points in 1990. But the benefits of such changes weren’t evident in the results
of NAEP reading and math achievement tests for the class of 2005.
On a zero-to-500 point scale, their average reading score was 286 points. That was down a point from 2002, the last time
the test was given, and was the lowest average score since 1992, when the average was 292 points. About 40% of the test
takers scored at or above the proficient range, down from 44% in 1992.
On the math side, the average score was 150 on a zero-to-300 point scale and only 23% of the seniors were scored at or
above the proficient range. NAEP officials said results of the 2005 math test aren’t comparable with those from previous years
because of recent changes in the exam’s structure and contenL
Reflecting demographic changes in society, the sorts of students taking the NAEP test have changed significantly in recent
years. Hispanics accounted for 14% of all 12th graders in 2005, tip from 7% in t992. The scoring gap between them and white
students has changed little since 1992.
Since 1998, when NAEP began allowing accommodations such as longer testing times, more English-language learners
are also taking the NAEP. In 2005, they accounted for about 4°/0 of all seniors taking the NAEP reading test and posted an
average score of 247. The effect was to lower the overall average score by two points, to 286, which NAEP officials said was
statistically significant.
The decline in reading abilities was not a complete surprise. A recent study by ACT Inc., the nonprofit testing concern
based in !owa City, Iowa, found that only about 51% of high school graduates who took the ACT test in 2005 were prepared to
tackle college-level reading, down from 55% in 1999. ACT also found a decline in reading skills through the high-school years,
with more eighth- and 10th-graders on track for college reading than seniors. "Reading just drops off the radar in high school,"
said Jon Erickson, ACT’s vice president for educational services.
And the NAEP results aren’t the only signs that college-prep courses may not be delivering all that they promise.
The College Board, the NewYork nonprofit that gives the SAT admissions test, is in the midst of a nationwide audit of its
high-school Advanced Placement Program courses, amid concerns that some districts aren’t offering college-level contenL
Meanwhile, a recent study by the state of Maryland found that 30% of its 2005 high-school graduates who completed a
college-prep curriculum needed remedial math in college, up from 26%for the class of 2000.
States may require students to take more upper-level courses, but content is still largely lett up to local school boards and
varies widely. And few states have instituted mandatory end-of-course tests to measure vTnat is actually being taught in high-
school classrooms or taken concrete action to ensure that high-school graduation standards are aligned with what colleges and
universities expect incoming freshmen to know.
Hodan Janay, of Boston says she earned B’s during four years of high-schoo! English, took a college-prep literature course
her senior year and passed the state English exams required to graduate. "But I wasn’t as ready as I thought," says the 21-year-
old, who is now enrolled in a remedial English course at Boston’s Bunker Hill Community College.
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Write to Robert Tomsho at rob.tomsho@wsj, com3
Study Says Students Are Learning Less (LAT)
By Mitchell Landsberg
The Los Anqeles Times, February 23, 2007
U.S. high school students are taking tougher classes, receiving better grades and, apparently, learning less than their
counterparts of 15 years ago.
Those were the discouraging implications of two reports issued Thursday by the federal Department of Education,
assessing the performance of students in both public and private schools. Together, the reports raised sobering questions about
the past two decades of educational reform, including whether the movement to raise school standards has amounted to much
more than window dressing.
"1 think we’re sleeping through a crisis," said David Driscoll, the Massachusetts commissioner of education, during a
Washington news conference convened by the Department of Education. He called the study results "stunning."
Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, said he found the results
"dismal." Atter years of reforms aimed primarily at elementary schools, Fuller said the studies "certainly support shining the
spotlight on the high school as a priority for reform efforts."
The reports summarized two major government efforts to measure the performance of high school seniors as part of the
National Assessment of Educational Progress. One was a standardized test of 12th graders conducted in 2005. The other was
an analysis of the transcripts of students who graduated from high school that year.
The transcript study showed that, compared to students in similar studies going back to 1990, the 2005 graduates had
racked up more high school credits, had taken more college preparatory classes and had strikingly higher grade point averages.
The average GPA rose from 2.68 in 1990 to 2.98 -- close to a solid B - in 2005.
That was the good news -- or so it seemed. But the standardized test results showed that 12th grade reading scores have
generally been dropping since 1992, casting doubt on what students are learning in those college prep classes.
Math scores posed a different sort of mystery, because the Department of Education switched to a new test in 2005 that
wasn’t directly comparable to those used before. Still, the results of the new test didn’t inspire confidence: Fewer than one-
quarter of the 12th graders tested scored in the "proficient" range.
The reports also showed that the gap separating white and black, and white and Hispanic students, has barely budged
since the early 1990s. And while the results were not broken down by state, a broad regional breakdown showed that the West
and Southeast lagged well behind the Midwest and, to a lesser extent, the Northeast.
David Gordon, the Sacramento County, Calif., superintendent of schools and a participant in the Department of Education
news conference Thursday, said he found it especially disturbing that the studies focused on "our best students," those who had
made it to 12th grade or who had graduated.
"It’s clear to me from these data that for all of our talk of the achievement gap among subgroups of students, a larger
problem may be an instructional gap or a rigor gap, which effects not just some but most of our students," Gordon said.
The reading and math test was given to 21,000 high school seniors at 900 U.S. schools, including 200 private schools. The
transcript study was based on 26,000 transcripts from 720 schools, 80 of them private. The reports did not give separate results
for public vs. private schools.
Policy analysts nationwide said the studies were gloomy news for the American economy, since the country’s educational
system already measured poody in international comparisons.
"What we see out of these results is a very disturbing picture of the knowledge and skills of the young people about to go
into college and the workforce," said Daria Hall, assistant director of the Education Trust, a Washington-based nonprofit
dedicated to improving education especially for poor and minority students.
Among other things, Hall said the transcript study provided clear evidence of grade inflation, as well as "course inflation" --
offering high-level courses that have "the right names" but a dumbed-down curriculum.
"What it suggests is that we are telling students that they’re being successful in these courses when, in fact, we’re not
teaching them any more than they were learning in the past," she said. "So we are, in effect, lying to these students."
Although the reports came out five years atter passage of President Bush’s signature education reform initiative, No Child
Lett Behind, Hall and others said it would be unfair to blame that program for the students’ poor showing. They were already in
high school when No Child Left Behind was enacted, and it is primarily aimed at elementary and middle schools.
Driscoll recalled an earlier president’s contribution to education reform -- the Nation at Risk report that seemed to galvanize
the educational establishment when it was issued by President Reagan in 1983.
’q-hat was a shocker," said Driscoll. "But here we are, 25 years later (and) ... we’ve just been ignoring what it’s going to take
Page 236

to really change the system."

Higher Grades Contradict Test Scores (AP)


By Nancy Zuckerbrod
AP, February 23, 2007
WASHINGTON - Large percentages of high school seniors are posting weak scores on national math and reading tests
even though more of them are taking challenging courses and getting higher grades in school, say two new government reports
released Thursday.
’q’he reality is that the results don’t square," said Darvin Winick, chair of the independent National Assessment Governing
Board, ~ich oversees the national tests.
Nearly 40 percent of high school seniors scored below the basic level on the math test. More than a quarter of seniors
failed to reach the basic level on the reading test. Most educators think students ought to be able to work at the basic level.
The reading scores show no change since 2002, the last time the tests were given. "We should be getting better. There’s
nothing good about a flat score," Winick said.
The government said it could not compare the math results to old scores because the latest test was significantly different.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress - often called the nation’s report card - is viewed as the best way to
compare students across the country because it’s the only uniform national yardstick for how well students are learning.
The tests were given in 2005. The government released the scores Thursday along with a report examining the high school
transcripts of 2005 graduates.
The transcript study shows high school students are earning more credits, taking more challenging courses and getting
higher grade-point averages than in the past.
In 2005, high school graduates had an overall grade-point average just shy of 3.0 - or about a B. That has gone t.lp from a
grade-point average of about 2.7 in 1990.
It is unclear whether student performance has improved or whether grade inflation or something else might be responsible,
the report said.
More students are completing high school with a standard curriculum, meaning they took at least four credits of English and
three credits each of social studies, math and science. More students also are taking the next level of courses, which generally
includes college preparatory classes.
But the study showed no increase in the number of high-schoolers who completed the most advanced curriculum, which
could include college-level or honors classes.
On the math test, about 60 percent of high school seniors performed at or above the basic level. At that level, a student
should be able to convert a decimal to a fraction, for example.
Just one-fourth of 12th-graders were proficient or better in math, meaning they demonstrated solid academic performance.
To qualify as "proficient," students might have to determine what type of graph should be used to display particular types of data.
On the reading test, about three-fourths of seniors performed at or above the basic level, while 40 percent hit the proficient
mark.
Seniors working at a basic reading level can identify elements of an author’s style. At the proficient level, they can make
inferences from reading material, draw conclusions from it and make connections to their own experiences.
As in the past, the math and reading scores showed large achievement gaps between white students and minorities.
Forty-three percent of white students scored at or above proficient levels on the reading test, compared with 20 percent of
Hispanic students and 16 percent of black students.
On the math test, 29 percent of white students reached the proficient level, compared with 8 percent of Hispanics and 6
percent of blacks.
The gap in reading scores between whites and minorities was relatively unchanged since 2002.
The federal No Child Lett Behind law has put added emphasis on math and reading, largely in the elementary- and middle-
school grades. It also requires states to separate out their test scores by race so officials can track and try to narrow achievement
gaps between groups of students.

High Schoolers’ Scores Lag Despite Courses, Grades (WT)


By Amy Fagan, The Washington Times
The Washin,qton Times, February 23, 2007
More 2005 high school graduates took challenging classes and got higher grades than their peers a few years prior, but
overall, large percentages of high school seniors are scoring poody on reading and math tests, two new reports found yesterday.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said these results mean "we have our work cLIt or.it for us," in providing quality
8
Page 237
education.
"If, in fact, our high school students are taking more challenging courses and earning higher grades, we should be seeing
greater gains in test scores," she said, atter the release of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP).
These reading and math tests, released by the government yesterday, were given in 2005 to a representative sample of
more than 21,000 high school seniors from 900 schools. Accompanying that report was a separate study examining the
transcripts of 2005 high school graduates.
According to the NAEP, nearly 40 percent of high school seniors didn’t perform at the basic level on the math test and 23
percent performed at or above proficient level.
The average reading scores didn’t change much since 2002 but declined since 1992. Seventy-three percent of 2005 high
school seniors performed at or above basic reading level, meaning more than a quarter of seniors didn’t reach that threshold.
In 2000, about 13 percent of high school graduates completed standard course work, and 36 percent went beyond and
completed midlevel course work, according to the transcript study. Those percentages increased in 2005, to 17 percent and 41
percent.
The 2005 graduates also carried a slightly higher grade point average -- about a 3.0 -- than 2000 graduates and notably
higher than the 2.7 GPA in 1990. The study noted "many possible reasons" for the increase, including grade inflation, changes in
grading standards and practices, and growth in student performance.
Lawmakers and education researchers agreed that improvement is needed but disagreed on the best way of getting there
-- with some arguing the federal government should get more involved in high schools and some saying that is exactly the wrong
approach.
’q-he No Child Lef~ Behind Act is working to improve our nation’s elementary and middle schools, and we must act now to
increase rigor in our high schools and improve graduation rates," Mrs. Spellings said, touting President Bush’s proposal for more
testing and improved curricula in high schools as part of his suggestions for renewing the law.
House education panel Chairman Rep. George Miller, California Democrat, called the scores a "disappointment" and said
that as lawmakers work to renewfederal education law for younger students "part of our charge will be to develop strategies for
helping our struggling high schools," such as recruiting better teachers and ensuring all students have access to advanced
courses.
Neal McClusky, education policy analyst at the Cato Institute, noted that the disappointing scores come despite "huge
increases in per-pupil expenditures, the installation of ’standards and accountability’ mechanisms all around the country, and
ever-greater federal intervention" in America’s schools.
"With all this in mind, the lesson from the latest NAEP scores is clear. American education needs fundamental restructuring
away from the top-down, government control that has wrought regular academic failure, to a system that empowers parents to
take their children and tax dollars out of broken public schools and put them into institutions that work," he said.

U.S. High Schools Raise Grades, Don’t Test Better (Update2) (BLOOIVl)
By Paul Basken
Bloomberq, February 23, 2007
Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. high school students are showing no overall improvement on a nationwide achievement test,
even as they take more challenging courses and earn higher grades, the U.S. Education Department reported.
Nationwide, 73 percent of 1Lffh-grade students achieved a "’basic" reading score in 2005, down from 80 percent in 1992,
according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a sampling test the government calls the "’nation’s report card."
Sixty-one percent scored at or above the basic level in math.
At the same time, 68 percent of high school graduates completed at least a "’standard" curriculum, up from 59 percent in
2000, with the overall grade point average about one-third of a letter grade higher than in 1990, the department said in a report.
The figures raise questions about the quality of the courses being taught at U.S. high schools, it said.
"’If, in fact, our high school students are taking more challenging courses and earning higher grades, we should be seeing
greater gains in test scores," U.S. Edusation Secretary Margaret Spellings said in a statement. The results "’showthat we have
our work cut out for us," she said.
In May, NAEP said there were declines in science scores for high school students. Among 12th-graders, 54 percent were
at or above the basic level in science in 2005, statistically similar to 2000 and a decline from 57 percent in 1996, the report said.
"Disappointing’ Results
Business and education leaders said the latest results reinforce fears that the U.S. school system isn’t preparing its
students to be competitive in the global workplace.
"’It’s disappointing and unacceptable," said Susan Traiman, director of education and workforce policy at the Business
Page 238
Roundtable, a Washington-based association of chief executive officers of U.S. companies including General Motors Corp.,
Exxon Mobil Corp. and Citigroup Inc.
"’These numbers perfectly book-end the rating of employers last fall," who in a nationwide survey said more half of
companies are finding workers inadequately training in math or reading, said Linda Barrington, labor economist and research
director at the Conference Board, a NewYork-based business group.
Bush Budget
Today’s report on reading and math follows President George W. Bush’s release earlier this month of his fiscal 2008 budget
recommendation, in which he again asked Congress to devote a greater share of federal funding toward raising high school
achievement levels.
Congress hasn’t endorsed that plan in the past, in part because Democrats opposed Bush’s calls for financing high school
improvements through spending cuts in other parts of the federal education budget.
Representative Buck McKeon, the California Republican who headed the House education committee last year, believes
the NAEP results mean Congress must continue to demand more from schools, spokesman Steve Forde said.
The NAEP report "’is a further indication that backing away from that commitment would be a huge mistake," Forde said.
Others were more cautious. Some of the lower performance at the 12th-grade level could be due to older students realizing
their scores on the NAEP test have no effect on their personal records, said Antonia Cortese, executive vice president of the 1.3
million-member American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second-largest teacher union.
"No Child’ Testing
The federal No Child Left Behind law currently requires schools to test students in grades 3 through 8, then once in high
school. Researchers including Bruce Fuller, an education professor at the University of California, Berkeley, have suggested that
states may be weakening their tests to help raise their passing rates under the federal law.
The NAEP reports today may reinforce fears that the quality of high-level courses suffers as more students are allowed into
them, the Education Trust, a Washington-based research and advocacy group, said in a statement. "’This pattern is undoubtedly
playing out in some schools," Education Trust said. "’But we know that it doesn’t have to be this way."
The NAEP tests for 2005 were given to a nationally representative sample of more than 21,000 high school seniors in 900
schools.
The results show 35 percent of 12th-grade students scored at or above "’proficient" in reading in 2005, down from 40
percent in 1992. Only 23 percent of 12th-graders achieved the proficient rating in math in 2005.
Math Scores
The math scores arent comparable with previous years because NAEP introduced a new assessment test in 2005, the
report said. A separate analysis provided by NAEP of common math questions, however, showed a "’statistically significant
increase," to 44 percent in 2005 from 42 percent in 2000, in the percentage of students answering each question correctly.
The scores released today also showed persistent gaps among racial and ethnic groups, including white students scoring
31 points higher than black students in math and 24 points higher than Hispanic students.
The comparisons to high school transcripts were based on data from 26,000 graduates of about 640 public schools and 80
private schools. The report defined a "’standard curriculum" to mean the student has taken at least four credits of English and
three each in social studies, mathematics and science.
In addition to more students enrolling in such a curriculum and receiving higher grades, the NAEP study found that U.S.
high school graduates in 2005 earned about three credits more than their 1990 counterparts. That translates to abo[~t 360
additional hours of instn.lction during their high school years, it said.
Possible reasons for the increase in high school grades include "’grade inflation, changes in grading standards and
practices and growth in student performance," the report said.

Grades No Indication Of Proficiency (AAS TX)


By Carlene Olsen
Austin American-Statesman, February 23, 2007
High school students taking harder courses but not meeting basic standards, study finds.
WASHINGTON - High school students across the nation are earning higher grades in tough courses, but, on average,
graduating seniors failed to make gains in reading or reach proficient math levels on 2005 assessment exams, according to a
report released Thursday.
Graduating seniors had the lowest reading scores since 1992, and only 23 percent of tested students scored at or above
the exam’s math proficiency level, according to data from the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The results
are based on a sampling of 21,000 12th-grade students from 900 public and private schools.

10
Page 239
Math results from the recent exam could not be compared with past scores because significant changes were made to the
test.
Reading scores for white and black students were lower in 2005 than in 1992, though white students continued to score
higher than other studied groups, according to the report. In math, Asian students outperformed white students by 6 points,
taking the lead on the 2005 exam.
"Not improving over 1992 scores is not good news," former Michigan Gov. John Engler said. "We need to step it up in
education."
However, 2005 graduates earned more school credits than those in previous years, according to data fi’om the High School
Transcript Study, featured in the same report. The study evaluated transcripts for 26,000 graduates from more than 700 private
and public schools.
David Gordon, superintendent of schools in Sacramento County, Calif., said curriculum rigor should be questioned when
looking at the discrepancy between enrollment and exam performance.
"A larger problem than the achievement gap may be a rigor gap," Gordon said. "And that affects not just some students,
but most of our students."
Educators charged that some high school courses do not challenge students enough or prepare them with key skills for
college and the job market.
"We need to get serious about making fundamental changes in the system," said David Driscoll, Massachusetts
commissioner of education. "1 don’t think we’ve raised the expectations."
In Texas, elementary school students show more progress than those in high school, said Darvin Winick of the National
Assessment Governing Board.
"Our elementary school kids perform above most other states," Winick said. "But, a lot of work still needs to be done at the
high school level."

No Reading Gains On Nation’s Report Card (DET NEWS)


By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Detroit News,, February 23, 2007
High school seniors didn’t make any gains in reading on a nationwide test even though students are taking more
challenging courses and earning higher grades, according to test results from the 2005 National Assessment of Educational
Progress released today.
The tests, o~ten called the Nation’s Report Card, have served as a national bellwether of students’ academic achievement
since 1969.
Officials from the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees and sets policy for the assessments, said the two
reports released today -- one on how seniors scored on reading and math and another on high school graduates -- present a
mixed picture.
"On the sudace, these results provide little comfort and seem to confirm the general concern about the performance of
America’s high school students," DaMn M Winick, chairman of the governing board, said in a statement. "The findings also
suggest that we need to know much more about the level of rigor associated with the courses that high school students are
taking."
The percentage of seniors scoring at or above proficient in 2005 on the reading test dropped from 40 to 35 peroent since
1992. There was no significant change in reading scores since 2002, the last time students took the tests.
The assessments in reading and math were given to a sample of more than 21,000 high school seniors in 900 public and
private schools. There were no trend scores available for math because the test is new.
You can reach Jennifer Mrozowski at (313) 222-2269 orjmrozowski@detnews.com.
Page 240

L
N,~onresponsi
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 23, 2007 8:14 AM
To: Pdvate-Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Sam ara
Subject: High School Report Card Is Grim (TT FL)

High School Report Card Is Grim (TT FL)


By Marilyn Brown
The Tampa Tribune, February 23, 2007
TAMPA -As the nation’s top education official pushed continuation of the massive No Child Left Behind law Thursday, she
didn’t sidestep a new report showing lackluster performance in U.S. high schools.
Large percentages of high school seniors scored poorly on NCLB math and reading tests in 2005 despite taking more
challenging courses and making higher grades in their schools, the nation’s only comparative national test shows.
’Twelfth-grade reading levels are going down," U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings told a small group of
business leaders in Tampa. "That’s not good news, particularly when 50 percent of African-American and Hispanic students don’t
get oet of high school on time."
Thursday’s report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, considered the nation’s report card, shows 23
percent of high school seniors in 2005 scored at or above proficient in math. Thirty-five percent performed at or above proficient
in reading.
Reading scores in 2005 were unchanged since 2002 and significantly lower than 1992. The disparity between low test
scores and high letter grades could be a result of grade inflation or changes in grading standards, the report says, bet more
analysis is needed.
The test sampled more than 21,000 seniors from 900 schools nationwide. Results are not reported by state. The full
significance of the report is not clear, however.
If calculations included high school dropout rates, which some estimate at 30 percent or more, the percentages of students
not proficient in reading and math likely would be much higher, Spellings said. Dropouts never even made it to 12th grade to be
tested.
’q-hat is a key point," Spellings said. "Then it’s even more humongous."
Spellings noted that the Bush administration’s push for accountability through No Child Left Behind has focused on the
lower grades and must move up to high schools.
A new focus on math and science, comparing completion rates of high schools and "national protocols in measurement" for
high schools is called for, Spellings said.
She also promised more accountability for preparing for college admissions and better use of technology in schools.
"We have spent $40 billion on technology in our schools; we have not harnessed the power of technology for teaching.
Why is that?" she asked.
Spellings had praise and good news for Florida despite the grim report issued from an arm of her own department.
This year, Congress is slated to reauthorize the 2002 No Child Left Behind lawthat requires every state to measure
students with the state’s choice of tests. They must report results by racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, disabilities and non-English
speaking subgroups.
If a school with high percentages of students from poor families doesnt do well enough in all subgroups, including yearly
gains, the school is subject to sanctions, including school transfers and private tutoring for some students.
So far, most Florida schools have not made the passing mark on the federal report. Even many not subject to sanctions are
failing the federal mark despite grades of A or B from the state.
Spellings said she has granted Florida permission to include individual student progress when calculating whether schools
pass the federal mark, starting this year. It is one of five states allowed to use that measure.
Page 241
Also on her list to improve No Child Left Behind, Spellings said, is a way to compare how well the private tutoring
companies contracted under the law are doing by measuring their students’ progress.
After meeting with the businessmen, Spellings visited science and computer classrooms at Tampa’s A-graded Dunbar
Magnet Elementary School, which passed the federal mark. There, she attended a short assembly where the gentle voices of the
school choir sang a song about peace.
Spellings met with several parents in the media center.
Teresa G. Mosley told Spellings how her children’s test scores have improved greatJy because of the laws extra tutoring.
"It’s No Child Left Behind, baby," Spellings told her.
Reporter Marilyn Brown can be reached at (813) 259-8069 at mbrown@tampatrib.com.
Page 242

[Nonresponsi]
............................. k~t-heilri e-m el-an e-[ ........................ J
February 21, 2007 6:20 AM
Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerd; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Eve’s, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private-
Spellings, Margaret; Mesecar, Doug; Simon, Ray; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof,
Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young,
Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Lifeline to Low-Income Students (IHE)

Feb. 2 0

Lifeline to Low-Income Students


Inside Higher Ed

That low-income Americans are far less likely to go to college than their peers are is a
fact; less clear are the reasons why. But one oft-cited explanation is that potentia!
college students from !ower socioeconomic groups are either unaware of how much need-based
financial aid is available or intimidmted by the process of applying for federal student
aid.

In a memorable stunt at a news conference in September where she discussed the need to
simplify that process, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings unfavorably compared the
length and complexity of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (F~SA) to the
stanc~rd federal tax form, and the American Council on Education and the Lumina Foundmtion
for Education hmve begun an aggressive public service campaign aimed, in part, at lowering
low-income students’ fear factor in applying for federal aid.

"We bmve all this financial aid, but it doesn’t seem to be reaching the people who need it
most," says Bridget Terry Long, an associate professor of education and economics at
Hmrvard University, who has ~itten widely about college access. "A lot of people just
don’t understand how the system works. And there are lots of calls for simplication, but
what does that really mean?"

Long and some fel!ow researchers are taking an unconventiona! approach to the problem. The
experiment, which is aimed at lower-income people who here teenage or college-age children
or are potential college students themselves, seeks to gauge whether making it easier for
!ow- and moderate-income families to apply for financial aid improves their college-going
rates. What is unusual, however, is the research design -- offering taxpayers a painless
way to turn the information on their tax forms into a financial aid application -- and the
sponsor: H&R Block, the tax preparation company.

Here’s how the project, which involves researchers at Case Western Reserve University and
University of Toronto in addition to Long, works: Randomly selebted taxpayers with incomes
below $45,000 who seek help from their taxes from H&R Block offices in and around
Cleveland, Ohio, will be offered help filling out their FAFSA forms (a control group will
receive only a brochure with publicly available information about attending and paying for
college).
H&R Block’s tax preparers, working with software the company and the researchers jointly
created, will help transport the applicants’ tax information into the federal financial
aid form (more than half of the FAFSA information comes from the tax form), and help them
collect the information for, and complete, the rest of the form. The hypothesis is that
using tax data to automatically fill in a large number of answers to the 108 questions on
the financial aid form, and offering personml help in filling out the rest, will make the
FAFSA less daunting than it might otherwise be.

Next, company representatives, trained by the researchers, will give study participants
projections of how much state and federal finmncia! aid they may qualify for, and how far
that would go in covering the cost of attending selected colleges in the area. "~~hen we
finish that interview, we give them a piece of paper that says, based on the information
we’ve gathered today, here’s the tuition and here’s the aid you’d be eligible for," says
Page 243
Eric P. Bettinger, associate professor of economics at Case Western.
Over time, the researchers plan to collaborate with the Ohio Board of Regents and the
National Student Clearinghouse, which works with colleges to track enrollments and other
information, to monitor whether those who participate in the program (and their
children) are more likely to attend college, receive financial aid, and earn degrees thmn
are students in the control group. The results, they hope, will point the way to possible
ways to build on the approach, perhaps through arrangements in which federal tax
:information would automatically be shared with the Education Department for financial aid
purposes.

"This should certainly give us some information about at what point in the pathway could
we invest money and time and see results," Long says. "if we see there are families
jumping at the chance to have someone help them with their F~SA, that might be one way to
invest our resources. If we find that we don’t get much of a response at all, that may
tell us there aren’t as many problems with process as we thought, and we should invest in
grant size."

Identifying the Problem

Americans" access to higher education varies widely by class. The Secretary of Education’s
Commission on the Future of Higher Education cited this gap as a key problem facing
American colleges and universities, noting that "low-income high school graduates in the
top quartile on standardized tests attend college at the same rate as high-income high
schoo! graduates in the bottom quartile on the same tests. Only 36 percent of college-
qualified low-income students complete bachelor’s degrees within eight and a half years,
compared with 81 percent of high-income students."
(The picture isn’t much better for adults.)

That gap has been much on the minds of higher education policy makers and researchers -
and it also found its way onto the agenda of officials at H&R Block, for whom low- and
moderate income Americans make up about two-thirds of the company’s customers.

The company has an obvious self-interest in improving the financial situation (and assets)
of its customer base, but it also has what Bettinger, the Case Western economist, calls a
"strong public service orientation." That led H&R Block, working initially with the
Brookings Institution, to sponsor a series of randomized research projects in various
realms (other projects dea! with retirement savings and food stamps) aimed at finding
"’nationally scaleable" public policy solutions to under-researched problems affecting low
and moderate income families.

"’As cliched as it sounds, one reason we selected the FAFSA project is that education is
the foundation and the cornerstone for so much," says Jeremy White, vice president for
business development and outreach at H&R Block, which is now overseeing the five research
projects alone. "The idea of getting folks more information and then allowing them to make
an informed decision seemed like a good one to test out, and one that we’re uniquely
equipped to play a role in."

White and the researchers acknowledge that H&R Block is an atypica! sponsor of research.
But its involvement seems unlikely to raise the sorts of conflict of interest concerns
that some corporation-sponsored studies generate; H&R Block isn’t charging clients who
agree to have the company translate their tax data into the federa! financial aid form (in
fact, study participants actually get either a discount on tax preparation or a gift card
for their involvement).

White acknowledges, though, that a company benefits any time it can "provide an additional
service or product to a client," and that it is in H&R Block’s longterm interest if it can
help its customers find their way to college. "The more educated anyone is, the higher
their income, and the higher their income, the more freedom they have to start a savings
program, and to be on the road to asset building."

Like many research projects, it might be some time before the FAFSA research project
produces the sort of verifiable results that can shape public policy. But Case Western’s
Bettinger says he hopes that early results might give researchers some estimate of whether
increased likelihood of filling out that Fi~SA influenced whether participants were more
likely to enrol! in college next fal!, or the amount of financia! aid they received once
Page 244
there.

Despite the longterm curve for research results, the project’s impact, on a personal
level, may be felt much sooner. As the researchers trained H&R Block’s tax preparers to
help study participants with their financial aid forms, Long says, she could almost see
the light bulbs going off in their heads. "They clearly saw this as a no-brainer," Long
says. "One said to me, ~We could be doing a lot of good here.’ "

-- Doug Lederm~n

Be a PS3 g~e guru.


Get your game face on with the latest PS3 news and previews at Yahoo! Games.
http:!/videogames.yahoo.oom/platform?platform=120121
Page 245

NonresponsiI
J
February 21, 2007 6:00 AM
scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby,
Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson;
Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Mesecar, Doug; Simon, Ray;
Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska, Terrell; Toner,
Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Bush Fdends, Loyal and Texan, Remain a Force (NYT)

February 21, 2007


Bush Friends, Loyal and Texan, Remain a Force

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG


WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 -- Israel Hernandez was a fresh-faced college graduate from the Texas
border town of Eagle Pass in the summer of 1993 when he landed a job in Dallas as the
personal aide to the part-o~eller of the Texas Rangers George W. Bush.

Together, they spent months ctriving the dusty back roads of the Lone Star State to promote
the team, Mr.
Hernandez behind the wheel of Mr. Bush’s Lincoln Town Car.

"Me would speak to a rotary or chmmber and say, ’You need to come to the ballpark and
we’l! make it Athens, Texas, Day. We’l! put you in your own special section; we can say
~Welcome Athens, Texas,’ on the big screen; you can come to batting practice, ’’ Mr.
Hernandez recalled.

Today, after nearly 14 years in Mr. Bush’s employ, with a short break to get a master’s
degree, Mr.
Hernandez, 37, travels the world promoting free trade as an assistant secretary of
commerce. From his sun-drenched corner office, with its sweeping view of the Washington
Monument, he can sit at his desk and watch the presidential helicopter, Marine One, ferry
around the man to whom he owes his career.

"In mmny ways," Mr. Hernandez said of Mr. Bush, "’I feel like I have grown up with him."

He is not the only one. Six years into Mr. Bush’s presidency, the corps of loyal Texans
who accompanied him to Washington from Austin remains a powerful force inside the
a~ninistration, a steady source of comfort for an increasingly isolated president. No
matter how grim the polls or dire the news in Iraq, they have stood by Mr. Bush -- and
been rewarded with plum jobs -- as their lives have grown increasingly intertwined with
one another’s and with his.

"We’ve gotten mmrried, gotten remmrried, had babies,"


said Margaret Spellings, who was a single mother with two children when she followed Mr.
Bush to Washington and h ms since been promoted from a domestic policy adviser to secretary
of education. "I remember the Bush twins when they were just little squirts."

To hear these people talk about the president is to meet a man many Americans have either
forgotten or no longer recognize. Their George W. Bush is the compassionate conservative
who helped soften the harsh image of the Republican Party, a m~n who chokes up at going-
away parties, as he did last year for ~drew H.
Card Jr., his departing chief of staff; a man unafraid of giving promotions to openly gay
people, as he did with Mr. Hernmndez, and who always remembers to ask how the family is.

"There’s a lot of devotion to George Bush the person,"


said Clay Johnson, a prep school buddy of Mr. Bush who is now a deputy director of the
Office of Management and Budget.

Like another Bush devotee, the first President Bush, these Texans are increasingly angry
at criticism leveled at him. Karen Hughes, the communications adviser who famously went
back to Texas when her teenage son grew homesick but has since returned as an under
Page 246
secretary of state, says she is tired of seeing Mr. Bush treated as a "caricature."

Mr. Johnson says the most painful accusation is hearing Mr. Brtsh called a liar.

"I said, ’How in the world can you be considered a liar by some?’ " Mr. Johnson said,
recou!~ting a conversation with Hr. Bush. "’i mean, there are bumper stickers about lying.
It’s just incredible.’ ~d he said, ’Well, you’ve just got to get used to it.
Because that’s what we have here.’ "

Every president has his kitchen cabinet, the intimate and informa! circle of friends and
advisers who typically wind up with high-placed jobs. John F.
Kennedy installed his brother Robert at the Justice Department. Ronald Reagan brought
Edwin Meese III and Michael K. Dearer from California. Jimmy Carter hmd the so-called
Georgia H~fia: Jody Powell, Hmmilton Jordmn and Bert Lance.

But in a White House that prizes loyalty, the Texans stand out, in number, influence and
discretion. Those who have left remain supportive even if they have been nudged out the
door, as in the case of Harriet E.
Miers, the former White House counsel.

"’Loyalty and friendship" is one explanation, said Dan Bartlett, counse!or to the
president, who has spent 13 years -- nearly his entire adult life -- with Mr. Bush.
Another explanation, Mr. Bartlett said, is the war in Iraq, which "lengthened a lot of
people’s stay."

Scholars say Mr. Bush has been more strategic than most presidents in sprinkling loyalists
throughout the administration. Paul C. Light, an expert in public service at New York
University, says it has created an "echo chamber" in which the president gets advice he
wants to hear.

"It’s like these are George Bush’s political children that he’s raised from infancy," Mr.
Light said.
"They’re incredibly loyal, and they’re also likely to tell him what he thinks, and that’s
what we’ve seen as the big weakness in this administration."

The Texans, not surprisingly, disagree; they say their closeness to Mr. Bush frees them to
be candid.

Mr. Bartlett, 35, knows the president better than most. His job during Mr. Bush’s first
campaign for Texas governor was to research the candidate’s background, and he is today a
kind of walking presidential biographer, with details crammed into his brain of ~k. Bush’s
triumphs but also his travails, including his National Guard Service and his arrest for
drunken driving in 1976.

"I dealt with him directly at a very young age," Mr.


Bartlett said. "’I don’t even think twice about telling him what I think."

The Texas circle includes three cabinet officials -- Ms. Spellings, the education
secretary; Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzalez; and Alphonso R. Jackson, the secretary of
housing and urban development -- as well as some of the best-known names in Washington:
Kmrl Rove, the chief political strategist, Mr.
Bartlett and Ms. Hughes.
There are also lesser-knowns. Mr. Johnson, the deputy budget director, met Mr. Br~h in
1961 at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., when they were two 15-year-olds far from home.
Mr. Johnson later ran the governor’s personnel office in Austin; in Washington, he keeps a
George Bush doll on his desk and is one of the few people in town to have had the Bushes
at his home for dinner, motorcade, Secret Service and all.

Gordon D. Johndroe, once a $5-an-hour college intern in Austin, is today the chief
spokesman for the National Security Cotuncil. Mr. Johndroe learned the art of dealing with
reporters by literally sitting at the president’s knee on the f!oor of the eight-seat Bush
campaign plane in 2000, monitoring the governor’s interviews.

"My job," he said, "was, ’Let us know if he makes any news. Let Z~ren know or call back to
Dan Bartlett, who was in Austin.’ _And I was able to do that because I had listened to him
Page 247
speak so much. I knew when he said something new. "

Among the benefits to being an old Texas friend of the president is access: the
invitations to Camp David, to dinner and movies at the White House, to Mr. Bush’s annual
July 4 birthdmy bash. Ms. Hughes remains a regular dinner companion, most recently at a
smal! White House gathering for Vaclav Havel, the former president of the Czech Republic.
Among the downsides is being ridiculed as a crony. Ms.
l~iers, who met Mr. Bush when she ran the Texas Bar Association, was excoriated by
lawmakers who deemed her unqualified when Hr. Bush nominated her to the Supreme Court.
Still, she calls her association with the president "one of the great blessings of my
life."

l~r. Hernandez, who is so close to the Bushes thmt he moved in with them in Dallas after
his apartment was burglarized, has been the subject of news articles suggesting that the
president dubbed him Altoids Boy, a reference to his duties dispensing Altoids mints to
Mr. Bush during their Texas travels.

"! hate that," Mr. Hernandez said. "He doesn’t call me Altoids Boy. He calls me Izzy."

Two years ago, the online edition of The New Republic, a liberal magazine, singled out Hr.
Hernandez as a member of the Bush "hackocracy. "

But sitting in his corner office the other day, recounting his trave! this past year to
Peru, China, Vietnam and Panama, Mr. Hernandez -- who in his Department of Commerce job
supervises 1,600 employees in 80 countries -- had the finml word.

Hr. Bush, he said, is simply giving him an opportunity to show whmt he can do.

"Everyone has their own journey, their own story, " he said. "I fee! like I climbed this
mountain with the president, and I’m getting a chance. "

TV dinner stil! cooling?


Check out "Tonight’s Picks" on Yahoo~ TV.
http://tv.yahoo, com/
Page 248

iNonresponsi]
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 20, 2007 8:43 AM
To: Private-Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Perry’s Higher Education Plan Praised (AAS TX)

Perry’s Higher Education Plan Praised (AAS TX)


By Ralph KM. Haurwitz
Austin American-Statesman, February 20, 2007
A senior federal official calls governor’s plan for more aid, incentives and accountability ’a bold step.’
Gov. Rick Perry’s proposal to increase financial aid, require exit exams and hold colleges and universities financially
accountable for students’ performance has been given a strong endorsement by a top federal education official.
Sara Martinez Tucker, undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education, said no other state has put forward a plan as
comprehensive as Perry’s.
’1 think Texas is taking a bold step, and I’m really proud of my home state for doing this," Tucker said in an interview last
week with the American-Statesman.
A native of Laredo, Tucker has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas. She delivered the
commencement address at her alma mater in 2005.
Confirmed in December by the Senate for the No. 3 position in the Education Department, she is Secretary Margaret
Spellings’ point person for implementing the recommendations of the secretary’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education.
The panel, of which Tucker was a member during her previous job as president and chief executive of the Hispanic
Scholarship Fund, issued a report last year recommending some of the same initiatives that Perry is proposing.
’qhere was a lot there that we liked," she said of the governor’s plan. "There’s a lot of similarity with our commission report.
Number one, holding schools accountable and ensuring taxpayers are getting a return on their investment in higher education.
Also, simplifying financial aid and making access (to aid) easier and holding out incentives for academic rigor."
Perry could face a rough ride in pursuing his recommendations. The broad outlines have won praise from higher education
leaders, especially his call to boost state appropriations by nearly 8 percent, or $712 million, for 2008-09. But some lawmakers
oppose his plan to eliminate most "special items," the extra money doled out for favorite programs or to boost overall excellence
at newer, less established campuses in South Texas.
Some lawmakers and higher education leaders are also leery about Perry’s plan to add strings to financial aid programs.
For example, three major grants, ’#nich now do not have to be repaid, would be consolidated into a new program under which
students would have to pay back the aid at zero interest if they didnt graduate on time. Perry would also require students to
maintain a 3.0 grade point average to continue receiving aid, up from the current 2.5 minimum.
Critics say such repayment and grade rules could harm low-income and minority students, who enroll and graduate at
lower rates than their white and more affluent counterparts.
Tucker disagreed.
"1 think it’s a good deal," she said. "To the extent we put a carrot out for students, I think Texas will be very surprised at the
outcome."
She’s also comfortable with Perry’s proposal to require an exit exam for each student earning a bachelor’s degree.
A low score would not prevent a student from graduating. However, colleges, which would be financially rewarded for each
student who graduated, would get even more funding when students did well on the test, when students from low-income
families or otherwise deemed at-risk graduated and when students majored in so-called critical fields such as math and science.
Tucker is facing her own challenges as an architect and promoter of the Bush administration’s efforts to revamp and
simplify the federal financial aid system, persuade colleges to be more open about their spending practices, revise the college-
accreditation system and make other changes.
Page 249
For instance, a centerpiece of the plan is President Bush’s proposal to raise the maximum Pell grant, a major source of
need-based aid, to $5,400 a year from $4,050. The proposal has prompted considerable debate because of howthe president
would pay for the $19.8 billion increase in Pell aid.
Bush wants Congress to cut fees for lenders in the government’s guaranteed loan program to cover the bulk of the cost,
and he wants to eliminate the Perkins loan program and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, which
augments Pell grants.
It’s not clear whether Congress will authorize such changes. Lawmakers rejected his efforts to cut various aid programs
twice in the past, and that was before Democrats took control of both houses of Congress.
Tucker acknowledged that, with two years let~ in Bush’s term, there isn’t much time to push through the changes in higher
education policy the administration is seeking.
She’s a tad jealous of what she regards as somewhat brighter prospects for change in Texas.
"1 wish I were queen of Texas instead of swimming upstream here," Tucker said.
rhaurwitz@statesman.com; 445-3604
Page 250

Nonresponsive
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 20, 2007 8:32 AM
To: Pdvate- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: No Child Left Behind Needs Flexibility To Be Useful To Good Schools (WNJ DE)

No Child Left Behind Needs Flexibility To Be Useful To Good Schools (WNJ DE)
Wilmin,qton (DE) News Journal, February 18, 2007
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings visited a Georgia middle school. AP
Delaware public schools had their problems - and still have them - despite our system’s national reputation for positive
innovations.
Nonetheless, almost a decade before the federal No Child Lett Behind Act laid down markers for school improvement,
Delaware was identifying students who were shortchanged and pushing instructors to gain competence and enrich curriculum.
Frustrations with No Child Lett Behind run coast to coast. The big themes are rigid and unfair targets based on test scores,
insufficient money to fulfill mandates, availability of qualified teachers, and getting useful data that help schools work smarter with
the children they’ve got.
In Delaware and elsewhere, friction also arises when Washington’s regulations -- or lack thereof- become a drag on good
ideas.
The good news is that the goals of No Child Left Behind are taken seriously here. The results are uneven. Black, Hispanic
and poor children do well in some outstanding schools, though an achievement gap persists. Special-education students get
caught in a bind of being judged by standard tests regardless of their capabilities or progress. High schoolers of all kinds fall short
in reading and math.
The complaints are legitimate and solvable with adjustments on the federal, state and local sides.
Congress will take up reauthorization of the 5-year-old education law with important suggested modifications. U.S.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has been persuaded to allow more flexibility and sample projects. Delaware is a model
in one key area this year. measuring individual students’ gains against what they knew when they started, rather than just
monitoring groups and categories of kids.
The federal administration also proposes adding money for teacher training, research-based curriculum and data tracking.
It’s willing to allow school districts to transfer funds to suit local needs. High schools with low-income students would get more
funds too.
Most controversially, the government proposes "scholarships" -- that is, vouchers -- of as much as $3,000 to parents if their
home schools fail and they wish to enroll children in tutoring or a different public or private school. It also wants the ability to get
around collective-bargaining contracts so failed schools could reassign teachers.
The fight will be over the last two ideas. There’s much practical good and common ground in the rest. For states such as
Delaware, these are tools to build on good intentions.
Page 251

Nonresponsi
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 20, 2007 8:27 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara MaRine.z;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Sam ara
Subject: School Officials Resisting Federal Reading-Test Rule (WP)

School Officials Resisting Federal Reading-Test Rule (WP)


By Michael Alison Chandler, Washington Post Staff Writer
The Washinqton Post, February 18, 2007
In Diane Scott’s language a~ts class at Seneca Ridge Middle School in Sterling, students are learning how to use adjectives
to liven up sentences and how to connect sentences to make a paragraph.
The federal government is pressuring the state to give those students, most of them recent immigrants trying to grasp the
building blocks of English, the same standardized reading test as the one administered to native English speakers in their grade.
But Scott, along with Loudoun County school administrators, argues that it is too soon for the recent arrivals to be evaluated with
their classmates.
Sharon D. Ackerman, the school system’s assistant superintendent for instruction, recommended last week that the School
Board defy federal requirements and continue to administer a different test to students with limited English proficiency. The
federal No Child Le~ Behind law requires schools to give such students the same standardized tests that their peers take unless
they have been in the country less than a year.
If the School Board approves Ackerman’s recommendation, Loudoun will follow a path taken in recent weeks by school
boards in Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William counties and in Harrisonburg, further solidifying a block of opposition to a law that
many say sets immigrant students up for failure.
The rift goes to the heart of a national debate about howto evaluate the progress of the country’s fastest-growing student
population, those learning English as a second language.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and other federal officials have argued that students with limited English will be
held to low expectations if they are not judged by the same standards as their classmates. Critics of the federal policy argue that
uniform standards can sometimes be unreasonable.
’qhe main issue is, what is appropriate [for] testing kids who have been in the country for two years or less?" Ackerrnan
said. "It’s about fundamental fairness to kids."
There are 4,000 English as a Second Language students in Loudoun, and the debate involves about 250, those enrolled in
the first two levels of ESL classes. Students at higher levels are given the grade-level standardized test.
Research shows it takes two to five years to become proficient in a new language and five to seven years to be competent
enough to learn content, Ackerman said.
But School Board member J. Warren Geurin (Sterling) said the abilities of students with limited English skills should not be
assumed.
"Rather than say we know these kids cannot pass the test [and] therefore we will not give it to them.., let’s test them and
see. Maybe they will do better than we think," he said. If they don"[ do well, "then we can figure out how to improve" their
instruction.
Geurin has drafted a counter-resolution that says the county should follow the federal requirement.
’I do not want to see us... say we dont like the law, so we are not going to worry about abiding by the law," he said.
Scott said many of her beginning students are focused on the basics of communication and survival. She said it would be
overwhelming for them to take a test they cant understand.
"From the perspective of someone in the trenches, it’s probably not the best approach," she said.
The test the state currently uses for such students, the Stanford English Language Proficiency test, works well to gauge
language proficiency and to measure improvement, Scott said.
Page 252
But last summer the U.S. Department of Education disallowed the use of that test as a substitute for the Standards of
Learning exam.
The state applied for a year-long extension to find another solution and learned last month that its request had been
denied.
If Loudoun defies the federal requirement, some schools probably will not meet federal testing benchmarks because their
testing participation rate will be too low, county school officials said. But if the county complies and administers the SOL tests to
students with limited English skills, schools will have trouble meeting required pass rates.
’You’re damned if you do and damned if you dont," Geurin said.
Either way, such schools would be judged as failing to make adequate yearly progress (AYP). Under the No Child Left
Behind law, schools that fail to make AYP can eventually face sanctions such as corrective action by the state.
It is unclear when the School Board will take up the issue. The board’s curriculum and instruction committee did not reach a
consensus at its meeting Tuesday, and its next meeting is March 6. The item is not listed on the agenda for the full board
meeting next week.
Page 253

[Nonresponsi~
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 20, 2007 8:27 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Va. Raps No Child Testing Rules (AP)

Va. Raps No Child Testing Rules (AP)


By Zinie Chen Sampson
AP, February 20, 2007
RICHMOND, Va. -- Officials in some high-immigrant school districts are threatening to defy a federal law that requires all
children to take the same reading tests, even those struggling to learn English.
This month, the U.S. Department of Education threatened sanctions against Virginia _ including the possibility of
withholding fi.lnds _ if the state doesn’t enforce the provision, which is part of the No Child Let~ Behind law.
The Virginia Department of Education had sought an exemption for another year, contending that the rule is unfair.
Immigrants who have been in the U.S. a short time "are simply unable to take a test written in English and produce results
that are meaningful in any way," said Donald J. Ford, superintendent of the Harrisonburg city school division.
The federal government denied the state’s request, saying Virginia has known about the act’s guidelines for some time and
have had time to prod schools into compliance.
The five-year-old federal law is scheduled to be rewritten this year, and lawmakers have said they will try to change the
rules for recent immigrants and special-education students. The aim is to inject more common sense into the law wh~e sticking
with its promise to leave no child behind his or her peers.
Of Harrisonburg’s 4,400 students, 39 percent are English learners, and nearly 750 of them are classified as beginners,
school officials said. Most of the immigrants are Hispanic, and others are Russian and Kurdish. The Shenandoah Valley city has
many immigrants who work in poultry plants.
School boards in Harrisonburg and the Washington suburbs of Fairfax, Prince William, and Arlington counties have recently
signaled their intent to defy the No Child Left Behind mandates, and others are considering following suit.
Those boards have passed resolutions saying they will continue to evaluate all students’ reading proficiency, but will only
administer the state’s grade-level Standards of Learning tests to students who have an adequate grasp of English, as
determined by teachers and staff. Several school divisions said they will continue using an alternate test to measure progress in
non-native English speakers.
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Virginia is "dragging its feet" and called the testing provision, the law’s
Standards Clause, a necessary measure to counter "the sot~ bigotry of low expectations." In a Feb. 4 letter to The Washington
Post, Spellings said: "It’s time to remember that yes, Virginia, there is a Standards Clause."
Spelling’s comments incensed school division officials.
"We’re all so angry," said Arlington County School Board chairwoman Libby Garvey. She called the required test a "painful
and humiliating experience" for children who havent grasped English.
Similar disagreements will arise in other states that have many students who aren’t proficient in English, said Reggie
Felton, lobbyist for the National School Boards Association. The association has asked that the federal education department
grant each state flexibility "for real-life situations to ensure that the test is valid and reliable for each student."
In Arizona, where there are many Latino immigrants, school officials also are grappling with testing language learners.
"We believe that English language-learner students come to school with different levels of competency," said Panfilo
Contreras, executive director of the Arizona School Boards Association. "They may not be proficient in their o~q language, let
alone English."
The issue is part of a larger debate over the law, which seeks to have all students, regardless of race, poverty or disability,
proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014.
Page 255

Nonresponsive!
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 20, 2007 8:26 AM
To: Private-Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Bipartisan Coalition Pushes For Education Reform (Politico)

Bipartisan Coalition Pushes For Education Reform (Politico)


By Andrew Glass
Politico, February 20, 2007
Business and civic leaders, worried about the poor preparation U.S. public schools are giving students to compete in the
21st century"s global economy, have forged a bipartisan coalition to press for broad education reforms. Some of the first fruits of
their new partnership are scheduled to be shown on Feb. 28, when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Center for American
Progress plan to unveil their joint platform for change. The project has been in the works since last April.
Their common initiative comes in the wake of a nationwide poll the chamber conducted on how the business community
assesses the American education system. In response to one key question, 87 percent of the 571 business organizations that
answered the online survey said the current No Child Left Behind requirements should extend all the way through high school.
To qualify for federal subsidies, the law, enacted in 2001, requires public schools to annually measure the reading and
math skill levels of students in grades three through eight and at least once in high school.
"It absolutely shocked me when I got those results back," said Jacque Johnson, executive director of education and
workforce development at the chamber. "They revealed that there’s wide support out there for taking action. There’s a pre-
election window that’s open to extend the provisions with a target date for action in May or June, but that window is likely to close
next year if nothing is done."
On Feb. 13, a "Commission on No Child Left Behind," sponsored by the Aspen Institute, released its own blueprint for what
Congress should do. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said that report, in laying out needed adjustments, reflects "the
broad, bipartisan commitment to improving our nation’s schools that was behind" the original legislation.
"It was a good optic," Johnson said of the commission’s news conference, which Spellings attended. All four major
congressional players were there, which Johnson took to be a positive sign. They are Sen. Edward M Kennedy, D-Mass.,
chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the
House Education and Labor Committee; and their respective ranking members, Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., and Rep. Buck
McKeon, R-Calif.
’qhe key people on the Hill want it (the reauthorization) to be bipartisan," Johnson added.
For next week’s launch of the education reform initiative, the chamber and the center are presenting their top guns:
Thomas J. Donohue, the chambeCs veteran president and CEO, and John D. Podesta, the center’s president and CEO who was
former President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff. In addition to releasing the reform proposals, the two groups plan to grade all 50
state education programs, plus that of the District of Columbia, from kindergarten through 12th grade. The idea is to gauge how
well today’s students are being prepared for tomorrow’s jobs.
"We will not rank them," Johnson said, referring to the analysis, which is called "Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State
Report Card on Educational Effectiveness." Johnson said the "report card" would cover nine specific areas, including "academic
achievement, the rigor of its academic standards, post-secondary workforce readiness and, somewhat uniquely, a business-
oriented took at ’return on investment.’"
Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute, acted as a
third partner in preparing the analysis. In 2004, he published "Common Sense School Reform" (Palgrave MacMillan). His book
begins: "School reform is the province of utopians, apologists, and well-intended practitioners who inhabit a cloistered world
where conviction long ago displaced competence."
"My views haven’t changed in the last three years," said Hess, who holds a doctorate in government from Harvard.
Page 256

He’ll be joined in a panel discussion on Feb. 28 by Cynthia G. Brown, director of education policy for the Podesta-led
center, and Ulrich Boser, a contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report. Arthur J. Rothkopf, a senior vice president at the
chamber who was President George H.W. Bush’s deputy secretary of transportation, will moderate the discussion; he recently
retired as president of Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.
Page 257

lNonresponsi]
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 16, 2007 8:19 AM
To: Private-Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toom ey, Liam; Tracy Young;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: NY coverage: NY1, NYP

Officials Praise Success Of No Child Left Behind Act At Manhattan School (NY1)
NY1, February 15, 2007
The push for renewal of the federal No Child Left Behind law came to New York Thursday.
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein joined Education Secretary Margaret Spellings at Public School 210 in Washington Heights,
an elementary school Klein praised for its students’ strong results on reading and math tests.
The students have small classes and study in English and Spanish.
’’you hold yourselves to high standards, every kid at [P.S.] 210 is on his or her way to college, and you’re pushing
yourselves forward every year," said Klein. "And I’m looking hard at your performance."
"For the majority of students who are U.S.-bom, is it a reasonable expectation, I would argue that it very much is, that by
the time they get to the end of the third grade they have facility and proficiency in English," said Spelling.
The No Child Left Behind law holds states to strict standards on how students must do on reading and math tests.
Spellings says the rules also apply to children who speak a language other than English at home.

Joel Klein Rules! (NYPress)


New York Press., February 16, 2007
None of the school bus craziness and calls for the firing of Schools Chancellor Joel Klein appear to have made a dent in
Washington. According to Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (pictured), New York schoolchildren are lucky to have him.
Spellings visited PS/I S 210 in Washington Heights today with Klein. While there, she took the time to let anyone who cared
to listen just how awesome she thinks Klein is and how great of a job he’s done with the City’s schools.
"You all are so lucky to have a chancellor, a leader in this community who is so committed to you all, the young people of
this C~ty, that he would give his very strong intellectual and leadership skills...this is a man who could be doing anything, and he
is a person who is serving our young people, and the young people of the City, and we all owe him a huge debt of gratitude,"
said Spellings, who asked for the crowd to give a round of applause to Klein.
Surely those parents who have lost bus service for their children would like to give Klein something.
Page 258

~l~nresponsi!
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 15, 2007 8:29 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Schools Strive For ’No Parent Left Behind’ (CSM)

"...Other reasons for low transfer and tutoring rates cited by vadous experts include a lack of better performing schools into
which students could transfer; a strong desire to stay in neighborhood schools; and poor communication with parents about
tutoring options.
The US Department of Education acknowledges the need for improvements in these areas. "There are about 1,800
schools today ... in this chronic underperformance category," said Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings in a conference call
last month unveiling proposed changes to NCLB, which is up for reauthorization in Congress this year. "We all have to answer
the question ... what are we gonna do about that? No Child Left Behind must be a promise that is lived out and met for these
families."
Her proposals include providing more money for supplemental services for students who live in rural areas, have
disabilities, or are learning English - three groups that have been particularly underserved. "Promise Scholarships" would give an
additional $2,500 to $3,000 to eligible students to help them to transfer to better public schools (even outside their district) or
private schools, or to receive intensive tutoring.
Federal education officials are planning to visit 14 districts to focus attention on parental involvement and supplemental
services."

Schools Strive For ’No Parent Lett Behind’ (CSM)


By Stacy A. Teicher, Staff Writer Of The Christian Science Monitor
The Christian Science Monitor, February 15, 2007
Public schools facing pressure to perform are working to help parents be more engaged in their children’s educations.
With schools increasingly held accountable for the performance of every student, the demand to partner with parents has
intensified. School plays and fundraisers supported by morns, dads, and grandparents are still staples of American public
schools. But in the spirit of "it takes a village," families now might find such activities paired with a workshop on test-prep or a
briefing on how to read state accountability reports.
When "no child left behind" became the mantra of federal education officials five years ago, it was touted as a way to
empower parents to ensure their children received a good education. If schools are chronically failing academically, children can
receive tutoring or transfer. But there have been barriers to parents taking advantage of those offers. In 2003-04, only 1 percent
of eligible students chose to transfer, and only 19 percent participated in supplemental services such as tutoring, according to a
recent report by Appleseed, a nonprofit organization in Washington.
Such escape ~’alves give parents leverage, but it’s perhaps more important for family members to be brought in as allies as
local schools plan improvement, experts say.
’q-he revolution of [the No Child Lelt Behind Act] is it really institutionalized parent involvement in schools in a way that
says, ~(our contribution is more than just sending your kids and baking cookies,’ "says Edwin Darden, director of education
policy at Appleseed. But, he adds, "there’s a long way to go in terms of parents really understanding fully what the rights and the
opportunities are of No Child Left Behind." The vision of the law, the group reported, "remains unfulfilled."
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) actually requires schools that need improvement to ir~orm and involve parents in their
strategies, but federal and state monitors haven’t been paying much attention to that part of the law, says Anne Henderson, a
senior fellow at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform and coauthor of"Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to
Family-School Partnerships."
Parents tend to have widely varied interactions with school staff, partly because of factors such as their socioeconomic
Page 259

background or ability to speak English, Ms. Henderson says. For white, middle-class parents, it’s generally easier to walk into a
school and advocate for a child to take particular classes to be on track for college. For low-income, less-educated families, "they
don’t know ’educationese’.... There are class and cultural differences that make it difficult for them to relate easily and
comfortably to school staff- and school staff may look down on those families," she says.
When Baruti Kafele, principal of Newark Tech high school in New Jersey, hears educators lamenting that certain groups of
parents just won’t get involved, he tells them, "That is an excuse, and it is unacceptable."
The author of"A Black Parent’s Handbook to Educating Your Children (Outside of the Classroom)," Mr. Kafele is often
called upon to give talks to parents and educators. One creative solution he heard about at a school in Charlotte, N.C.: The staff
took a bus tour of the communities the students live in, mostly impoverished areas where the teachers generally didn’t venture.
"Until you get into the community, you don’t even know the child ....You can’t fear the student, nor the community, nor the
parent," he says.
Parent-teacher partnerships
Research shows that students do better when teachers and parents get past their misunderstandings and work together.
Henderson mentions one study of schools with large portions of low-income students, for example, which found that when
teachers did a three-part outreach - getting to know families, sending home assignments that parents could do with kids, and
phoning routinely to talk about students’ progress - there was a 40 to 50 percent faster rate of student improvement in reading
and math.
Monique Taylor is the kind of parent who doesn’t have much time to attend group meetings at school, but she appreciates
that her daughter’s teachers talk to her about any concerns.
"When she was kind of dropping in her reading, you know, they gave me a call, and between me and her teachers, we kept
with her," she says as she’s picking tip her fiSh-grade daughter, Amira Patterson, at the Maurice J. Tobin school in Boston. Soon
mother and daughter will be attending orientation for a summer program that Amira’s teachers suggested, to help the family plan
for college.
Even this school, which tries hard to connect with parents, finds it difficult at times to keep them engaged in broader
decisionmaking, say staff members who attend a monthly parent-council meeting at Tobin. About 15 parents usually attend, but
on this frigid February night, the staff sat for nearly an hour munching on a dinner that’s provided, waiting in vain for any parent to
show up.
Approaches to involving parents at school
A state legislator in Texas, frustrated by what he sees as parents’ lack of engagement, is taking a hard-nosed approach.
Rep. Wayne Smith (R) proposed a law recently that would fine parents for failing to showup at a parent-teacher conference
without a legitimate excuse. Schools would have to send a certified letter proposing three dates for the meeting.
Organizations like the National PTA, on the other hand, prefer the carrot to the stick. It has designated this week as its
second annual Take Your Family to School Week. Hundreds of parent-teacher associations responded with ideas ranging f]om a
parent-teacher basketball match to parents shadowing their children in abbreviated classes.
One bright note as awareness on this issue grows: The percent of parents who participated in a general school meeting
rose fiom 75 percent in t993 to 85 percent in 2003, according to a recent report by the national Center for Education Statistics.
By the time students are in high school, it’s particularly difficult to get parents to participate, says Michelle Walden,
president of the Parent Teacher Student Association at Central High School in Capitol Heights, Md., a participant in the "family"
week.
"A lot of the parents just truly don’t know" of the activities going on, she says. Sometimes they refuse to be on e-mail lists
because they’re unsure what kind of e-mails they’ll receive, or their kids forget to give them announcements. "A lot of them are
kind of like, ’1 don’t get involved,’ unless it relates directly to them," she says.
When it comes to giving parents options if schools are failing, one key is for them to receive clearer and more timely
information.
,-ihe Appleseed study looked at reports on school performance that go out to parents and found "some that were, fi’ankly,
truly awful," Mr. Darden says; they were packed with statistics and jargon. "A parent shouldn’t have to pick up the phone to ask
someone to decode [the report]," he says.
Work still to be done
Other reasons for low transfer and tutoring rates cited by various experts include a lack of better performing schools into
which students could transfer; a strong desire to stay in neighborhood schools; and poor communication with parents about
tutoring options.
The US Department of Education acknowledges the need for improvements in these areas. "There are about 1,800
schools today ... in this chronic underperformance category," said Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings in a conference call
Page 261

~Nonresponsiv!
February 14, 2007 8:28 AM
scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey;, Colby,
Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson;
Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Mesecar, Doug; Simon, Ray;
Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska, Terrell; Toner,
Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: A ’Surge’ Strategy For No Child Left Behind? (EDWEEK)

A ’Surge’ Strategy For No Child Left Behind? (EDWEEK) By John Merrow Education Week,
Februmry 14, 2007 Stay the course? Surge? Or rethink the mission? Those familiar questions
are being asked again, but not about Iraq. This time around, they are domestic-policy
questions, because President Bush’s signature education legislation, the No Child Left
Behind Act, comes up for reauthorization in 2007.
But the parallel with Iraq is oddly appropriate. The No Child Left Behind Act h~s created
an upheaval in American public education. It’s had myriad consequences, positive,
negative, and unintended. Its critics say that the 5-year-old law is replacing a bad
system with one that’s equally oppressive, the tyranny of multiple-choice testing and a
nmrrow curriculum.
No Child Left Behind even has its own version of the Iraq Study Group that former
Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Rep. Lee Hamilton chaired.
This national group, the Conu~ission on No Child Left Behind, hms as its chairs two former
governors, Roy E.
Barnes of Georgia and Tommy G. Thompson of Wisconsin.
But unlike "Baker-HAmilton," its report is endorsing a "surge" strategy of more federal
:involvement, more testing, and greater reliance on test scores. The commission, which was
scheduled to issue its final recommendations this week, is calling for national standards
and nmtional tests, two related notions that have been anathemm to most Republicans and
mmny Democrats. Even though participation would be voluntary, states that chose not to
participate would stil! be measured, publicly, against those that did.
~d while the No Child Left Behind law calls for publicly identifying failing schools, the
Barnes-Thompson report goes beyond that to recommend identifying individual teachers whose
students are not learning.
Does this "surge" strategy make sense? It’s worth recalling the legislation’s history. The
No Child Left Behind Act began with bipartisan optimism, thanks largely to President Bush,
Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., in the Senate, and George Miller, D-Calif., in the House. It’s
quite possible that George W. Bush’s great contribution to ~erican society may be the
memorable phrase "the soft bigotry of low expectations." The expression captures perfectly
the hidden flaw in public education, pre-Bush: Because expectations matter, not expecting
the best of all children is bigotry, pure and simple. By repeating this powerful insight
at every opportunity, candidate and later President Bush made it impossible to ignore.
That led directly to the No Child Left Behind Act, which set ambitious goals: fully
qualified teachers in every classroom by 2006, and all children achieving at or above
proficiency by 2014. It established sanctions, including the possibility that failing
schools would be closed. But it also allowed states to set their o~ standards and choose
their own measuring instruments.

It’s painful to note that the No Child Left Behind Act has been responsible for increasing
the "soft bigotry’
that the bipartisan coalition hoped the law would eliminate. Because it demands that
students demonstrate rudimentary math and English skills, and because education does
testing on the cheap, we’re witnessing the narrowing of the curriculum and a dramatic
increase in simplistic machine-scored, multiple-choice testing~recisely at a time when
the world economy demands not only higher skills but also different ones.
Pressure on schools to make what the law calls "adequate yearly progress" and avoid
sanctions has led to the narrowing of the curriculum. Science, art, music, history, and
physical education are disappearing, while math and English have been "dumbed down." A
veteran English teacher in a low-income school in Virginia told "’The NewsHour with Jim
Lehrer": "We used to spend time reading novels. I would love to do that, but now I need to
spend my time focused on the bare necessities, those things thmt I know will be tested."
A veteran special education teacher in Maryland wrote that, because her school had failed
Page 262
to make AYP for the second year in a row and was at risk of being shut down, teachers
there were now teaching to the test.
Clearly distraught, she wrote, "In teaching to the test, I am afraid thmt we are raising a
nation of idiots who may be able to pass standardized assessments without being able to
think."
Mmtters are worst in low-income schools, where parents are relatively (or genuinely)
powerless and pressures are greatest to close what’s generally referred to as "the
achievement gap." Schools for the poor are often dreary institutions with heavy emphasis
on repetitive instruction, because the goal is passing the test, not genuine education.
One veteran middle school math teacher put into words what was observably true:
"They’ve got to pass the test. Some of the kids aren’t going to learn all the concepts,
but if they h~ve some of the strategies, they stall can pass."
A teacher in a wealthy community---think Larchmont, N.Y.; Greenwich, Conn.; McLean, Va.;
Winnetka, !11.; or Palo Alto, Calif.---who expressed that view or taught that way would be
out of a job within a week, and perhaps by sundown.

But don’t put the blame on educators. The fault lies with our miserly, backward-thinking
approach to testing and assessment. Public education does testing on the cheap. In the
report "P~rgins of Error: The Education Testing Industry in the No Child Left Behind Era,"
Thomas Toch of the Washington-based group Education Sector estimates that state spending
on No Child Left Behind-related testing was less than $750 million last year, out of a
total K-12 spending of more than $500 billion. In other words, for every $I00 we spend on
K-12 education, we devote 15 cents to testing and measuring. Even Massachusetts, which
takes its responsibility as seriously as any state in the union, only devotes less than 1
percent of its education dollars to testing.
By contrast, chemical-engineering companies spend at least 3 percent or 4 percent on
research and evaluation, according to M. Blouke Carus, a chemical engineer who is better
known for developing the Open Court reading program and, with his wife, Marianne, the
Cricket, Ladybug, and Spider magazines for children. And the pharmaceutica! giant Bristol-
Myers Squibb spends 16 percent of its revenue on research and testing.
Imagine the outrage if Toyota, Gerber, Heinz, or Hartz Mountain spent only a fraction of a
percent of their revenue testing the products they want the public to use.
The No Child Left Behind law has actually undermined earlier efforts by some states,
including Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, and Oregon, to deve!op sophisticated
tests that include analytic essays, research papers, science inquiries, complex
mathematical problems, and projects. Citing the law, the U.S. Department of Education has
" e nc ou r a ge d"
these states to abandon the complex parts of their assessments in favor of off-the-shelf
multiple-choice tests. ~ryland and some other states complied, Nebraska fought back and
seems to have gotten its system approved, and Connecticut has sued.
By aiming too low, the No Child Left Behind Act is endangering our economic future. It is
becoming increasingly clear that any job that can be outsourced will be. Princeton
University economist Alan Blinder has observed that the key to survival in the American
economy will not be the n~er of years of education completed (as has been true), but the
kind of education one receives. Train for jobs that cannot be off-shored (doctor or
plumber), he advises, or become creative and adaptable, because that will empower you to
create jobs and job opportunities.

What should be done about No Child Left Behind? A group called the New Commission on the
Skills of the American Workforce is calling for a "far-reaching redesign" of ~erican
public education, including merit pay for performance, national negotiations for teacher
contracts, and allowing independent contractors to run public schools. ("U.S. Urged to
Reinvent Its Schools," Dec. 20, 2006.) In a culture in which government institutions
change slowly, these sweeping demands n~y relegate this important report to the bookshelf,
to gather dust with hundreds of other nationa! commission reports. But even if those
changes were to come to pass, they would not save the No Child Left Behind law.
Neither would the changes some superintendents are asking for, such as more time to reach
proficiency, greater incentives to succeed, or waivers for students with special needs.
That’s tinkering at the margins.
In August, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings compared No Child Left Behind to
Ivory soap, calling it "99.9 percent pure." Her new mantra--~’mend it, but don’t end it"-
also falls short, because the law needs more than a simple repair job. And Democrats in
Congress say the administration’s call for vouchers is "’dead on arrival."
Because of No Child Left Behind, teachers are teaching to the test. That would not be a
bad thing if the curriculum were sufficiently challenging, so that passing the tests
demanded a convincing demonstration of clear thinking, creativity, and mastery. The exams
Page 263
that students in International Baccalaureate programs have to pass are all these things,
and IB faculty members quite properly "teach to the test."
But the "No Child" tests and the typical public school curriculum aim too low. Schools
need integrated approaches to curriculum, like Seeds and Roots, which integrates literacy
and science for early-elementary students, and high school courses in economics such as
those advocated by the National Fotundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship.
Challenging curriculum is available, but setting the bar higher isn’t sufficient. Because
testing drives curriculum, more money and energy must be devoted to developing
sophisticated testing instruments. But that would create another problem--education
doesn’t have enough sophisticated test-makers. Where are they?
They’re probably working for Hartz Mountain, Squibb, Gerber, and other companies that
spend serious money on evaluation.
"Will this be on the test?" Teachers have grown accustomed to hearing that question from
their students, but, ironically, they’re the ones now doing the asking, largely because of
the No Child Left Behind Act. That perversion of education has to be addressed.
As the law enters its sixth year, "staying the course"
would be disastrous for public education and, eventually, American society. But a "surge"
strategy won’t save the No Child Left Behind Act either.
Washington insiders say there’s no rush to reauthorize the law, particularly with a
presidential campaign already under way. We ought to use the time to debate the kind of
education we want for our children, an opportunity that should not be missed.
John Merrow is the education correspondent for "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS and a
visiting scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, at Stanford
University.
Vol. 26, Issue 23, Pages 32,44

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Page 264

Nonrespons~
J~t~ 1i ~ifl 8]~ii ~!~ ........................
(b)( ~e°n~: .............................
February 14, 2007 8:24 AM
Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby, Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David;
Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private -
Spellings, Margaret; Mesecar, Doug; Simon, Ray; Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof,
Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska, Terrell; Toner, Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young,
Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: IntoThe Lamb’s Den (IHE)

Into The Lamb’s Den (iHE)


By Doug Lederman
Inside Higher Ed, February 14, 2007
Relations between the U.S. Education Department and college leaders have growth
increasingly strained in recent weeks. Accreditors and higher ed association types have
warily watched the department’s aggressive efforts to carry out the recommendations of its
Commission on the Future of Higher Education through possible changes in the rules
governing accreditation.
.And the Bush administration’s proposal last week to increase the maximum Pell Grant by
killing several other student aid programs has had many academic leaders and college
groups spewing venom in private and challenging the administration in public, drawing
sometimes testy responses from department officials and, notably, from Charles Miller, who
led the Spellings Commission and seems to relish the "bad cop"
role.
So Tuesday, when Sara Martinez Tucker, the U.S. under secretary of education who has
become the department’s point person on higher education issues, addressed the annual
meeting of the American Council on Education, the chief lobbying group for colleges and
universities, fireworks seemed possible, even likely.
But apart from one gently phrased question apiece from audience members asking Tucker to
explain the department’s positions on the financial aid proposal and the accreditation
review, the college presidents and other administrators in the room did not direct any
criticism or anger her way. And while she stood by the department’s plans, she did seem to
offer an olive branch to them, at least temporarily.
The decorous tone was set right from the start by David Ward, president of the American
Council on Education. He praised Tucker --with whom he served on the Spellings Commission
-- and the department’s call for increasing the Pel! Grant, and seriously minimized the
objections thmt .ACE officials and others have been voicing in recent days about the
administration’s plan to pay for that increase by killing the Supplemental Educational
Opportunity Grant Program. Ward acknowledged that there have been "concerns" about the
budget plan, but characterized them as a "secondary and lesser issue" and a "’detail." The
Pel! Grant increase, he said, "is the big news and that is the good news."
If Ward was pulling his punches, he may have done so in part because of criticism he and
the council have faced from administration officials and particularly from Miller, who
headed the commission appointed by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and maintains
close ties to her and the department’s leaders, including Tucker. In one e-mail that he
sent only to Ward and to Tucker, and in another message he distributed to all members of
the Spellings panel, Miller blasted Ward for comments made by the counci!’s top lobbyist
in an article last week in Inside Higher Ed, in which the ACE officia! said: "’Every
presidential budget, regardless of party, contains at least one bad idea. For 2008, it’s
eliminating SEOG."
"’What kind of tone is that for a professional organization representing much of higher
education?"
Miller wrote in the e-mail. He continued: "The attitude that no finmncial aid program can
be reduced or eliminated, even if it has serious flaws and even if the funds could be
spent demonstrably more effectively, stands selfishly in the way of making college more
affordable for everyone and does not represent the notion higher education claims of
creating the greater good for the broad community.
"’Does the ACE stand in favor of a major reform of the federal financial aid program? Or
will it be satisfied with defending the status quo and ~ust asking for more money? Those
are truly the only options. It’s time for leadership, not fuzzy dancing around the edges
of the crisis of college affordability faced by American students and families.’"
Tucker had engaged in her own criticism of ACE in the wake of the brouhaha over the
Page 265
budget, specifically calling a reporter last week to challenge data the council h~d
released about the proposal’s impact on students. But she did not go there in her comments
on Tuesday, which followed an awkward hug between her and Ward. Tucker exhorted college
leaders to dea! with the central issues facing the federal student aid system and its
success or failure in ensuring college access for !ow-income and minority students, rather
than tinkering around "the fringes."
"You are the professionals," Tucker said. "’You are probably in the best position to
tunderstand what’s necessary ... to ensure that we have more access and better results."
In the session’s question and answer phase, M. Matthew Owens, assistant director of
federal relations at the Association of American Universities, first praised Tucker’s
strong call for more help for needy students and then suggested that the administration’s
proposal to eliminate the SEOG program, which provides grants to about 1.3 million mostly
needy students, might be "counterintuitive" to that stance. Tucker reiterated the
administration’s view that the supplemental grants program should go because isn’t
targeted enough to the neediest students and is costly to operate, because 5 percent of
its funds go to the costs of administering it.
Belle S. Wheelan, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’
Commission on Colleges, gently questioned the Education Department’s push to require
accreditors to set "bright line"
standards for the colleges to meet to prove that they are educating students effectively,
rather than holding colleges accountable for meeting the standards they have set for
themselves. Tucker acknowledged that "’accreditation has become the lightning rod for our
commission recommendations," and said that it is "important thmt we let institutions stay
mission-centric. "
"But the thing we can’t shy away from, " she said, "is that there has to be some measure of
student learning." She did not specify whether she meant that there should be a common
measure of student learning.
Several college leaders interviewed after Tucker’s speech said they were not surprised
that the anger and frustration that so many college leaders hmve expressed about the
department privately did not bubble forth in public Tuesday. And one higher education
official who chmllenged Tucker when she appeared at a meeting of association leaders last
week said he was heartened by her recognition that the college leaders in the audience at
ACE are "the professionals" who are "in the best position" to understand what needs to be
done to improve college access.
"That’s not the way they’ve been acting up to now,"
said the Rev. Charles L. Currie, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and
Universities. "I sincerely hope that they will act that way, and I’m hoping this indicates
a change in strategy."

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Page 266

Nonresponsiv
(b)(e)om: ............................. .........................
February 14, 2007 8:13 AM
1
Sent:
To: scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey;, Colby,
Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson;
Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Mesecar, Doug; Simon, Ray;
Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska, Terrell; Toner,
Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Suggestions For Education Law (USAT)

Suggestions For Education Law (USAT


By Greg Toppo
USA Toc~y, February 14, 2007
New proposals out Tuesday on reforming President Bush’s No Child Left Behind education law
come as Congress gears up to reauthorize the legislation.
The law already requires schools to test students in math and reading in about half of the
grades beginning in third grade. If scores don’t steadily improve, schools face mounting
sanctions that can include requiring them to offer free after-school tutoring or transfers
to better-performing schools nearby.
A commission, convened last year by the Aspen Institute, a non-partisan think tank,
traveled the country in 2006, hearing testimony on the law’s impact before issuing the new
recommendations.
The panel’s proposal to start measuring the effectiveness of teachers would look at three
years of data to see how well a teacher’s students performed on standardized tests from
the start to the end of each of those school years. It also would need a fortified data
system that tracks individual student scores from year to year.
Other recommendations:
-A set of voluntary national standards in math and reading that would allow parents to
compare the rigor of children’s work nationwide.
oA 12th-grade test of whether high school seniors have mastered material they will need to
be ready for college and work.
oA "growth model" of testing to give schools credit for gains made by students, even if
they don’t meet the law’s strict annual benchmarks.
¯ Limiting to 1% the number of disabled students who can be exempted from regular testing.
-Requiring school districts to increase access to successful schools for students in
struggling schools.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said she was "encouraged" that the commission
addressed the need for highly qualified teachers and new help for underperforming schools.

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Page 267

IN,~onresponsi
(b)( ............................. .........................
February 14, 2007 8:00 AM
To: scott m. stanzel@who.eop.gov; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Ruberg, Casey; Colby,
Chad; Williams, Cynthia; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Kuzmich, Holly; La Force, Hudson;
Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Private- Spellings, Margaret; Mesecar, Doug; Simon, Ray;
Reich, Heidi; rob Saliterman; Yudof, Samara; Scheessele, Marc; Halaska, Terrell; Toner,
Jana; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Young, Tracy; Ditto, Trey; Tucker, Sara Martinez
Subject: Tougher Standards Urged for Federal Education Law (NYT)

February 14, 2007


Tougher Standmrds Urged for £ederal Education Law

By DIANA JE~I SCHEMO


WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 --No Child Left Behind, the federal education law, should be
toughened to judge teachers and principals by their students’ test scores, and to b!ock
chronically ineffective educators from working in high-poverty schools, a private
bipartisan commission recommended on Tuesday.
The recommendmtions were in a report released here by the Commission on No Child Left
Behind, a 15-member group led by former Gov. Roy E. Barnes of Georgia and Tommy Thompson,
the former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and financed by
private foundations. The report is meant to be a blueprint for Congress as it prepares to
consider renewal of the law, President Bush’s signature education initiative, later this
year.

The commission also proposed that states revamp their testing systems to track individual
student progress from year to year, and to give schools credit if students are within
sight of achievement targets, rather than only if they reach them.

The report drew praise from the leaders of the Congl-essional education committees and the
administration, but it was immediately attacked by the teachers’ unions and others.

Edward J. McElroy, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said there were no
reliable assessment systems to tie student achievement to teacher performance. Currently
the law calls for low-income schools to have "highly qualifie~’
teachers, with degrees in the subjects they are teaching. The proposals would ratchet up
that criteria.

"The highly qualified measure was only just introduced, and we’re just coming to terms
with that,"
Mr. McElroy said. "To add another hoop at this point in time just demoralizes people. It’s
the opposite of what you’d want to do if you want the system to work.’"
Joe! Packer, a lobbyist for the National Education Association, the nation’s largest
teachers" union, also criticized the proposals, saying factors outside of schoo! affect
how children fare academically.

Monty Neill, executive director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, which is
skeptical of standardized exams, said the recommendations "will only intensify teaching to
the test."

At a news conference to release the report, llr. Barnes said, "’We believe our
recommendations wil! help improve academic achievement for our nation’s students and, most
importantly, quicken the closing of the achievement gap.’"

The chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate education committees promised
that the recommendations would be part of the debate over renewing the law. That set this
report apart from the flurry of proposals on updating No Child Left Behind coming out in
recent weeks.
believe so many of their recommendations are going to see light," said Senator Edward
Page 268
M. Kennedy, Democrat of ~ssachusetts, and the chairman of the education committee.

Margaret Spellings, the education secretary, said in a statement thmt the recommendations
"recognize the solid foundation built by N.C.L.B. and reaffirm the law’s core principles."

No Child Left Behind, enacted in early 2002, demands that all schools test students
annually in reading and math, and break down the results by ethnic, racial and income
groups. Schools where too few students reach state-established targets for proficiency
face penalties, ranging from paying for private tutoring to reopening the school under new
management.
That number would surely grow with the commission’s recommendations, which were largely
aimed at raising standards and closing loopholes in the law.

For example, the commission said the law should require more uniformity in how states
report student performance. Each state now chooses the minimum number of students who must
be present for a school to report on test results by ethnic and other groups. Some states
set the bar so high that they largely sidestep the law’s full scrutiny. Texas, for
example, sets the minimum at 200 students, while Maryland, at the other end, sets it at 5.

Citing broad variations in achievement standards between states, the commission also
reco~ended that states adopt a national standard of achievement, pegged to the National
Assessment of Educational Progress.

Its report compared the way in many states, students considered proficient in reading on
the state tests were not considered proficient on the National Assessment. In Mississippi,
for example, the state test found that 87 percent of fourth graders were proficient in
reading. According to the national test, only 18 percent were.

Sucker-punch spam with award-winning protection.


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Page 269

Nonresponsi
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 13, 2007 1:38 PM
To: Private-Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: US lawmakers seek Sallie Mac exec stock sale data (Reuters)

Attachments: Picture (Metafile); Picture (Me~afile)

REUTERS

US lawmakers seek Sallie Mae exec stock sale data


Tue Feb 13, 2007 I:13PM EST
By Kevin Drawbaugh
WASHINGTON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - T~vo senior Democratic lawmakers said on Tuesday they are asldng the
White House and Sallie Mae (SLM.N: Quote </stocks/quote?symbol=SLM.N>~ Profile
</stocks/companyProfile?svlnbo!=SLM.N>, Research </stocks/researchReports?symbol=SLM.N>) for
information on stock sales by Sallie Mae’s chairman days before the student loan goup’s share price fell on the
Bush administration’s latest budget proposal.
Reps. George Ivliller and Barney Frank, both committee chairmen, said they sent letters asking questions about
Sallie Mae C~airman Albert Lord’s sale in early February of 400,000 shares for more than $18 milliolt
On Feb. 5, Sallie Mae, formally known as SLM Corp., disclosed that Lord sold the shares on the openmarket
"to provide cash for commitments to business projects."
The sales shortly preceded a sharp decline in Sallie Mae’s share price after Wa!l Street was su~rised on Feb. 5
by a Bush administration fiscal 2008 budget proposal to slash subsidies paid to college loan institutions such as
Sallie Mae.
In their letter to the White House dated Feb. 12, Miller and Frank wrote: "Given the tin~lg between the stock
sale and the public announcement of lender cuts, we seek additional information about these events."
The lawlnakers said they want "any and all communications between the White House and SLM Corp. and its
agents beginning November 1, 2006 through the date of this request."
Sallie Mae spokesman Tom Joyce said the company was "happy to respond to any questions about this that the
members of Congress have."
He said Lord told the company on Jan. 23 of his intent to sell the 400,000 shares. "The timing with the
president’s budget was completely and utterly coincidental," Joyce said.
Miller chairs the House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee; Frank, the Financial Services
Committee.
Page 270

The two also wrote to Lord asking him for any communications he had with the White House and the Education
Department over the same time period. They asked Education Department Secretary Margaret Spellings for
information.
After the stock sales, Sallie Mae said that Lord owns about 1 million shares and units, and options to buy nearly
7.3 million shares, in the Reston, Virginia-based company.
Amid broadly bullish trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Sallie Mae bares were up 5 cents at $42.55,
near the level they hit after an 8.8 percent drop on Feb. 5.
© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching,
framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written coment of Reuters. Reuters and the
Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the
worl&
Reuters journalists are subject to the Reuters Editorial Handbook ~vhich reqt~es fair presentation and disclosure

of relevant interests.
Page 271

~~onrespons
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 13, 2007 12:00 PM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill;
Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox,
Lauren; Mark ; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez;
Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; TracyYoung;
Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Jay Mathews: Had Enough Top-Down Reform?

"...In Virginia, where I sit at my desk in Alexandria and sort through these reports, we have a bitter argument
going on between the school superintendent and school board of Fairfax County and one of the countys best-
known residents, U. S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. Along with at least two other Virginia school
districts, Fairfax is refusing to follow the Me set by Spellings’ department that they, like the vast majority of
other school districts in the country, give children from immigrant families the same state assessment test they
give all their other students.
There are reasonable arguments on both sides. Fairfax says 80 percent of the county’s students of limited
English proficiency are already getting the state test, and the remaining children are in the early stages of
learning the language. To these children, the test would be mostly incomprehensible and a waste of time.
Spellings says that it is important to measure just how far behind they are, and that the law will not work if some
rich and powerful districts such as Fairfax, as in the bad old days before No Child Left Behind, are allowed to
tell the federal role makers to go take a long jump into their nearest recreational reservoir."

Had Enough Top-Down Reform?


By Jay Mathews
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 13, 2007; 10:42 AM

Here comes another helpful report from a five-star, blue-ribbon, highly respected, serious-minded, no-nonsense,
ground-breaking, cannot-be-ignored, significant national commission.
The report <http://www.aspeninstitute.or~/atf/cfi%7BDEB6F227-659B-4EC8-8F84-SDF23CA704F5%
7D/NCLB Book.pdf> of The Commission on No Child Left Behind, co-chaired loy former Wisconsin governor
and former U.S. Health and Human Services secretary Tommy G. Thompson and former Georgia governor Roy
E. Barnes and sponsored by the Aspen Institute, was released this morning. It says all the right things about how
to produce more effective teachers and principals, better school-assessment systems and more sensible ways of
helping our most disadvantaged children.
This may be the most prestigious of the groups recommending improvements in the No Child Left Behind law.
But it isn’t the only one. As Congress lurches toward reauthorizing the most ambitious federal education law in
our history, we are heating all kinds of suggestions about No Child Left Behind from every imaginable quarter.
But the more I read these well-intended documents, the more I wonder. Haven’t we had enough of this stuff?.
Are we really going to get significant improvement in our lowest-performing schools through more reports
telling us how to fix the federa! rules?
Page 272

I share the view of the majority of Congress, and the leaders of both major parties, that No Child Left Behind
was a good idea. It forced the states to pay attention to the poor teaching in our low-income neighborhood
schools. That was something many of those states failed to do under an earlier law that asked them nicely but
had no serious penalties if they told Washington to mind its own business. Nearly everybody in education
applauds No Child Left Behind’s insistence on measuring the progress each school and district is making in
helping low-income students, leaning-disabled students, students from ilnmigrant families and students from
the most neglected minority groups.
There are recommendations in the Thompson-Barnes report that I think both make sense and have a chance of
being implemented. Assessing teacher quality based on improved achievement of their students, allowing low-
income school principals to refuse to accept teachers who have not met the highest quality standards, requiring
education schools to teach courses that prepare future teachers for the real-life conditions of inner city
classrooms and requiring states to evaluate the effectiveness of federally-mandated after-school tutoring are
among the commission’s best recommendations. Some of them may fred support on Capitol Hill.
But there is also a lot of mushin the report. As is usual with such commissions, the members and staffwant to
make sure they reflect many points of views, since thoughtful people took the trouble to attend their hearings
and share their favorite ideas. Unfortunately, many of these proposals don’t make much sense.
The Thompson-Barnes commission recommends that the federal government hold schools accountable for
improving graduation rates. That sounds great, but it will do little good because we have yet to develop
techniques that significantly improve graduation rates in low-income schools of anything but the smallest sizes.
Another commission recommendation, requiring high-performing schools to reserve 10 percent ofthdr seats for
students who want to transfer from low-performing schools, is also bad. Nearly anyone can see it is a recipe for
parental revolt and administrative disaster. A third recommendation, increasing the amount of federal funds set
aside by the states for school improvement from 4 to 5 percent of school poverty allocations, will likewise do
little. State officials can define "school improvement programs" any way they like and send the moneyto the
least troublesome programs, which are often the least effective.
Some of the commission recommendations might bear fruit, lout most of them will just spark more of the
arguments over turf and image that characterize much of what passes for school reform these days.
In Virginia, where I sit at my desk in Alexandria and sort through these reports, we have a bitter argument going
on between the school superintendent and school board of Fairfax County and one of the countys best-known
residents, U. S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. A!ong with at least two other Virginia school districts,
Fairfax is refusing to follow the role set by Spellings’ department that they, like the vast majority of other school
districts in the country, give children from immigrant families the same state assessment test they give all their
other students.
There are reasonable argurnents on both sides. Fairfax says 80 percent of the countys students of limited
English proficiency are already getting the state test, and the remaining children are in the early stages of
learning the language. To these children, the test would be mostly incomprehensible and a waste of time.
Spellings says that it is important to measure just how far behind they are, and that the law will not work if some
rich and powerful districts such as Fairfax, as in the bad old days before No Child Left Behind, are allowed to
tell the federal role makers to go take a long jump into their nearest recreational reservoir.
Fixing schools is not supposed to be about adult fits of pique and petulance. It is supposed to be about kids.
It is, I admit, borderline ridiculous for me to suggest that we stop spending so much time and money pumping
the federal law full of new rules, because this is America and that is about the only way the officials we elect
know how to change things they don’t like. But it would be helpfi~, I think, if we embraced the likely delays in
fixing No Child Left Behind and used the time to think about other ways to go at this.
Page 273

I would like to take much of the money the Education Department spends getting states to obey the law and
invest it instead in the department’s admirable programs to identify which public schools are doing the best jobs
educating low-income children, and why they are succeeding.
The schools that have surprised me by raising student achievement far above expectations have rarely done that
because state and federal school officials gave them new rules to follow. In nearly every case, good teachers
found methods that ~vorked and persuaded other good teachers to join them for the joy of working in schools
where they knew their efforts would help kids in a big way.
Bottom-up reform, I realize, is often slow and uncertain. But is top-down reform any better? A little bit more of
the former, and a bit less of the latter, might be the way to go. The next several good-hearted national
commissions could then spend their time not fiddling with the law, but finding the schools that work and
explaining to the rest of us why that happened, and how other schools could do the same.
Page 274

lNonresponsi
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 13, 2007 8:20 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Flowers, Sarah;
Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mark ;
Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, C~thia; Young, Tracy
Co: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Samara
Subject: Bush Unveils NCLB Proposals (TIM)

"President Bush is right that we cannot afford to go back to the status quo that existed before the enactment of No Child Lett
Behind. But the task of renewing the lawwill be made much more difficult if the president’s budget fails to provide a substantial
increase in funding for schools to carry out their responsibilities under the law," said George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the
newly renamed House Committee on Education and Labor.

Bush Unveils NCLB Proposals (TIM)


By Travis Hicks
-I]tle I Monitor, February 13, 2007
The Bush administration Jan. 23 unveiled proposed changes to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) that would, in part, help
overhaul chronically under-performing schools by giving administrators and parents a variety of new options, including private-
school vouchers.
The administration’s proposal for reauthorizing NCLB would maintain the basic tenets of the law - annual testing, highly
qualified teachers, parental options and having all students proficient in reading and math by 2014 - while looking to make
permanent some of the flexibility offered over its five-year existence. In addition, the plan would turn an eye to improving the
nation’s middle and high schools by including portions of President Bush’s American Competitiveness Initiative in a revamped
NCLB.
One of the main goals, according to the U.S. Department of Education (ED), is to encourage district officials to take a
tougher approach with Title I schools identified as "in restructuring," the final sanction specified under NCLB. The proposed
changes would clarify existing options for those schools failing to meet their adequate yearly progress (AYP) targets for five or six
consecutive years, ED officials s~id.
’There are about 1,800 schools today who are in this chronic, underperforrnance category either in year five or six of not
meeting adequate yearly progress .... I think we all have to answer the question, and this is part of the president’s answer, ’What
are we going to do about that?’" U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings told reporters during a teleconference yesterday.
There currently are five statutory options for schools in restructuring: 1) replace all or most of the school staff, 2) turn the
school over to the state; 3) contract with a private management company to run the school; 4) convert the school to a public
charter school; or 5) implement "other major restructuring of the school’s governance."
Department officials said the vast majority of schools in restructuring typically elect to make only minimal changes in a
school’s operation, rather than take some of the more dramatic steps outlined in the law. Instead of becoming a charter school or
contracting with a private entity, the national Title I evaluation found that 87 percent of these poor performing schools chose the
"other major restructuring" option, which meant they simply brought in outside consultants or tweaked the curriculum. Only 2
percent of schools in restructuring became charter schools, while another 2 percent contracted with a private entity to run the
school, the study concluded.
In one of its more controversial proposals, the administration has suggested requiring schools entering restructuring to offer
vouchers worth approximately $4,000 to all low-income students in grades 3-12. The so-called "Promise Scholarships" would
enable the students to attend a private or out-of-district school, or receive tutoring. The per-student amount would include his or
her share of Title I funding and an additional $2,500 federal scholarship.
President Bush also would expand the competitive Opportunity Scholarship program to areas with a large percentage of
schools in improvement. Modeled after the Washington, D.C., program approved by Congress in 2004, the community-based
effort would provide selected students with vouchers equivalent to the fi.~ll cost of attending the school of their choice or the
Page 275
average per-pupil level for public schools in the state.
Another component of the administration’s focus on chronically underperforming schools is that, as a condition of receiving
Title I kinds, local leaders would be able to convert restructuring schools into charters even if state law caps the number of
allowed charters.
In addition, the administration’s proposal would:
Invest in the never-funded School Improvement Fund, which is designed to offer extra technical assistance money to
underperforming schools and districts;
Bolster accountability and data systems by permitting an expanded number of states to implement growth models;
Require states to validate the quality of their testing by including data from the National Assessment of Educational
Progress along with their own test results;
Substantially increase funding for Title I high schools by requiring districts to give high schools at least 90 percent of their
proportionate share of increased funds (ED says a corresponding hike will ensure that elementary schools’ Title I programs are
not negatively affected);
Provide funding for the Teacher Incentive Fund, which rewards teachers and principals who successfully increase student
achievement;
Institute the Math Now program in elementary and middle schools;
Consolidate the existing Safe and Drug-Free Schools state grant program into a single, flexible discretionary program
focused on four areas: emergency planning; preventing violence and drug use; school culture and climate; and emerging needs;
Expand the percentage of funds that schools hitting their adequate yearly progress (AYP) targets can transfer between
federal programs from 50 percent to 100 percent;
Enable schools missing AYP for only one student subgroup to target their choice and SES options on that particular
subgroup, provided the schools have reached the 95 percent participation requirement for state tests;
Tweak the supplemental educational services (SES) provision by allowing all low-income students to receive tutoring in the
first year a school is designated as "in improvement," rather than making them wait until the following year,
Allow expenditure of larger per-child amounts for SES provided to children in rural areas or with disabilities or limited
English proficiency (LEP); and
Encourage districts to strongly support Title I choice and SES by requiring them to spend all of their 20 percent choice and
SES set-aside or risk forfeiting the funds.
The proposal to take away unspent choice and SES funds is a sign of the administration’s support for these parental
options, but is bound to spark opposition. "The required return of the 20 percent set-aside is just unfair, particularly in rural areas
where there may not be options for SES and public school choice," said Mary Kusler, assistant director of government relations
at the American Association of School Administrators, in an e-mail.
Another proposal relating to LEP students is likely to be more welcomed by district officials. Although details are lacking,
the administration would allow state accountability systems to give credit to districts that quickly move their LEP students to
English proficiency. Existing requirements to test LEP children in reading and math using English-language tests have sparked
nationwide protests and open defiance by some Virginia school boards, which maintain that most LEP children will inevitably fail
the exams. The Bush proposal may be a partial response to these protests.
Timetable Uncertain
Questions remain as to the actual timing of the reauthorization. The administration hopes to complete work by the end of
this year, but many observers have their doubts. Spellings said there are "some real prospects" of revamping NCLB this year, but
added that she "learned long ago not to handicap Congress."
When asked during a conference call with reporters yesterday how hard the administration would push the proposal,
Spellings said she would "fight hard for the whole kit and caboodle."
’1 see this as a very vigorous package of proposals that really are sound and make sense when taken together .... If this
proposal is not what the Congress has in mind, I think we all need to ask them, ’What is their proposal?’" the secretary said.
Many specifics, including funding details, will not be available until President Bush releases his fiscal 2007 budget proposal
on Feb. 5. House and Senate Democrats have made clear that a guarantee of additional funding for federal K-12 programs will
be essential to reauthorization.
’1~resident Bush is right that we cannot afford to go back to the status quo that existed before the enactment of No Child
Lelt Behind. But the task of renewing the law will be made much more difficult if the president’s budget fails to provide a
substantial increase in funding for schools to carry out their responsibilities under the law," said George Miller, D-Calif., chairman
of the newly renamed House Committee on Education and Labor.
Added Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., head of the Senate education committee: ’The president’s budget should
Page 276

demonstrate that leaving no child behind is a moral commitment, not a political slogan."
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., ranking minority member on the Senate education committee, strongly endorsed
the Bush plan’s continued commitment to accountability, and he noted that the "Promise Scholarship" voucher program was
similar to bill he introduced last year.
Both Kennedy and Miller asserted, however, that the voucher proposal would have no support among congressional Democrats
since it would take needed funds away public schools.
Page 277

Nonresponsiv
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: February 13, 2007 8:18 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Dunn, David; Flowers, Sarah;
Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mark ;
Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy;
Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, C~thia; Young, Tracy
Cc: Colby, Chad; Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof,
Sam ara
Subject: Bush Budget Would Boost NCLB Efforts (EDWEEK)

’1 am particularly concerned that the president has once again proposed inadequate funding for the law’s important
reforms," Sen. Kennedy, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said in a Feb. 5
statement, referring to the No Child Left Behind Act. "He used the same old tactics of robbing other education priorities to pay for
his modest increases for school reform. Our schools and children deserve more than accounting gimmicks-they need new
resources to make progress."

Bush Budget Would Boost NCLB Efforts (EDWEEK)


By Alyson Klein
Education Week, February t4, 2007
Key Democrats say plan for 2008 is not enough.
President Bush’s fiscal 2008 budget request aims to help advance his agenda for reauthorizing the No Child Lett Behind
Act this year. But key congressional Democrats, who also want to maintain the laws accountability principles, said the proposed
spending plan for education falls far short of what schools need to get on track to meet the measure’s ambitious achievement
goals.
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the chairmen, respectively, of the House and Senate
education committees, said the inclusion of a long-sought hike for Title I grants to school districts and new money to improve
struggling schools in the administration’s $56 billion spending plan for the U.S. Department of Education won’t make up for two
years of stagnant federal spending on school programs.
Both noted that the president’s plan, unveiled Feb. 5, would shortchange the department’s overall discretionary budget by
2.6 percent compared with the $57.5 billion set for the department in a fiscal 2007 spending bill approved by the House on Jan_
31. The Senate is set to vote on a similar measure as early as this week. Among the most significant cuts in Mr. Bush’s plan is
less money for students in special education.
’1 am particularly concerned that the president has once again proposed inadequate funding for the laws important
reforms," Sen. Kennedy, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said in a Feb. 5
statement, referring to the No Child Lelt Behind Act. "He used the same old tactics of robbing other education priorities to pay for
his modest increases for school reform. Our schools and children deserve more than accounting gimmicks-they need new
resources to make progress."
This budget cycle presents a somewhat unusual situation in which lawmakers are still hammering out a spending measure
to fund the Education Department and most other federal agencies for fiscal 2007, which began Oct. 1, at the same time the
president is introducing his fiscal 2008 budget.
Although the measure approved by the House last month would extend funding for most of the federal government at fiscal
2006 levels, lawmakers bolstered appropriations for some key education programs, including Title I grants to districts and
spending for students in special education authorized under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
The administration’s spending plan illustrates President Bush’s priorities for reauthorization of the 5-year-old No Child Left
Behind Act, slated for this year. It would provide new money to help low-income students in foundering public schools attend
private schools and extra Title I dollars for retooling high schools. ("Bush Plan Would Heighten NCLB Focus on High School,"
Feb. 7, 2007.)
"We believe [that] with the need to ratchet up levels of rigor and make sure that more than half of our minority students
graduate from high school on time that the share of the Title I pie for our high schools ought to be increased," Secretary of
Page 278

Education Margaret Spellings said in a conference call with reporters Feb. 5.


Special Education Cut
But to make room in the budget for the high school program and other initiatives, the administration is proposing cuts in
other programs, including special education. The budget request seeks $10.49 billion for special education programs under the
IDEA. That is about $290 million less than the $10.8 billion for special education approved in the House spending measure, or a
2.8 percent cut.
That’s significant for school districts struggling to keep pace with rising special education enrollment, said Steven P.
Crawford, the superintendent of the 1,700-student Byng school district in Ada, Okla.
Mr. Crawford said that since the extra money for Title I would be directed to new student assessments in high schools, it
wouldn’t go far in helping his district meet the achievement targets set under the No Child Left Behind law.
’It’s ’we’ll give you more money, but we’ll tell you how to spend it,’ "he said. "Money for new expenditure areas is not
money that’s going to help us reach the goals of NCLB."
Rep. Miller, the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, also decried the proposed cuts to special
education, as well as a proposed level-funding of the federal Head Start preschool program.
’The cuts in this budget for students with disabilities and for young children are reprehensible and undermine the efforts of
students and teachers who are working hard in classrooms across the country," he said in a statement.
The Bush administration proposes $500 million in new money to help schools deemed in need of improvement under the
federal school law. The fund, which was authorized under NCLB but has never been financed by Congress, would help schools
cover the costs of implementing improvement plans, providing professional development for teachers, or tutoring. The House
included $125 million for the fund in its fiscal 2007 spending bill approved last month.
The budget also proposes a new-and highly controversial-S250 million "Promise" scholarship program that would allow poor
students in struggling schools to attend private schools using federal money. In addition, the spending request includes $50
million in new aid to establish a competitive grant program to help districts establish their own school choice programs.
Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Miller and Sen. Kennedy, have criticized those proposals as a federal voucher
program. Most Democrats and their political allies, most notably the national teachers’ unions, oppose such use of public funds to
pay private school tuition for K-12 students.
’lt’s clearly a nonstarter with this Congress," in which the Democrats control both houses, said Joel Packer, the chief NCLB
lobbyist for the 3.2 million-member National Education Association.
Teacher Incentive Fund
Mr. Bush’s budget would also increase funding for the Teacher Incentive Fund, which gives grants to districts to create pay-
for-performance and teacher improvement programs, to $199 million, from $99 million in fiscal 2006. The proposed increase
would keep the fund afloat, despite the House’s fiscal 2007 plan, which would slash its funding to $200,000.
Congressional Democrats say that move wasn’t an effort to eliminate the fund, which has drawn criticism from both national
teachers’ unions. The Democrats say they didn’t increase spending for the Teacher Incentive Fund in the fiscal 2007 bill because
the fund still has $43 million in leftover appropriations from fiscal 2006 to dole out for new grants. A Senate budget aide said he
expects congressional Democrats to provide funding for the program for fiscal 2008, possibly by as much as the president
proposed.
Meanwhile, Secretary Spellings is urging the Senate to restore the $99 million for the program when it votes on the fiscal
2007 spending bill, likely this week. If the fund doesn’t receive new appropriations in fiscal year 2007, it might be tough for the
department to continue to finance current grants in a timely manner, she said.
As announced by Secretary Spellings last month, the Bush administration’s budget also proposes increasing the maximum
Pell Grant for the first time in four years, from $4,050 to $4,600 in fiscal 2008. The measure approved by the House last month
would raise the Pell Grant maximum to $4,310 for the 2007-08 school year. Pell Grants help low- and moderate-income students
pay for college.
President Bush’s budget would also bolster Academic Competitiveness Grants, which provide extra money to Pell-eligible
students who take a rigorous high school curriculum. The request would raise the grants from $750 to $1,125 for first-year
students, and from $1,300 to $1,950 for second-year student~ Those increases would be paid for, in part, by cutting federal
subsidies to private student lenders.
44 Programs Targeted
Some advocates for increased math and science spending were pleased to see that the Bush administration has repeated
its calls for ftlnding its American Competitiveness Initiative, a series of proposals for spending on those subjects. The plan stalled
last year but re-emerged in the new budget.
Those proposals include Math Now, an effort to improve math instruction in elementary and middle schools that got $250
Page 279
million in the fiscal 2008 request, and $122 million to support competitive grants to expand Advanced Placement and
International Baccalaureate courses in math, science, and foreign languages, an increase from $32 million in fiscal 2006.
’We’re glad the administration is keeping money on the table. They’ve been true to what they had outlined" a year ago, said
Glenn S. Ruskin, the director of legislative and government atfairs for the American Chemical Society, a Washington-based
organization which advocates on behalf of science education. "Did they lose interest in this? No, not in the least bit. I think that
bodes well."
As in past years, the administration proposes to pay for some of its spending increases by cutting a host of other education
programs. This year 44 are slated for the chopping block. Some of those programs are popular in Congress, such as the $273
million Educational Technology state grants, which help districts buy computers and train teachers. The president proposed
eliminating the fund last year, but the fiscal 2007 measure that passed the House last month would restore its funding.
Other programs escaped targeting for outright elimination, but were still identified for drastic reductions. Vocational
education programs financed under the Cart D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, nearly all of it state grants, would
be cut in half, from more than $1.3 billion to a little more than $610 million, under the president’s request.
Last year, Mr. Bush proposed zero funding for the program, but Congress appears poised to restore that money in the
fiscal year 2007 bill.
Still, the administration took some perennial targets offthe table, including the $303.4 million Gaining Early Awareness and
Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, or GEAR UP, which helps prepare disadvantaged students for college. The
administration had proposed eliminating the program last year, but Congress appears likely to restore funding.
Staff Writer Sean Cavanagh and Assistant Editor Bess Keller contributed to this report.
Vol. 26, Issue 23, Pages 1,25
Page 280

Nonresponsi
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 15, 2007 8:37 AM
To: Private- Spellings, Margaret; Quarles, Karen; Bannerman, Kristin; Sampson, Vincent; Beaton,
Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David; Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska,
Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers, Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend
L; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray;
Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Stevens Upset With Education Cuts To Alaska, Hawaii (AP)

Stevens Upset With Education Cuts To Alaska, Hawaii (AP)


AP, March 15, 2007
Alaska Republican U.S. Senator Ted Stevens Wednesday said he was disturbed by the Bush Administration’s proposed
budget cuts for education’s programs in Alaska and Hawaii.
Stevens comments came during a question-and-answer session with U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings at
Wednesday’s Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on funding the No Child Let~ Behind Act.
Stevens’ office says Bush’s budget request zeros out more than 100 million dollars in funding for all Alaska-specific
authorized programs, including the Alaska Native Education Equity Act and the Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian-serving
Institutions of Higher Education program.
Stevens says, "1 look at what’s been done and I can’t believe that such a meat ax would be placed on the education budget
for Alaska and Hawaii."
He said he was greatly worried to represent a state apparently that is not understood by the Bush Administration. He told
Spellings that these programs have worked to bring Alaska children to the point they can meet the standards of the federal No
child Let~ Behind Act.
Stevens also invited Spellings to come to Alaska to learn more about unique challenges facing the state’s education
system. His office says Spellings said she hoped to visit Alaska.
Page 281

Nonrespon
From: McLane, Katherine
Sent: March 15, 2007 11:20 AM
To: Private-Spellings, Margaret; Beaton, Meredith; Briggs, Kerri; Colby, Chad; Dunn, David;
Evers, Bill; Flowers, Sarah; Halaska, Terrell; Johnson, Henry; Kuzmich, Holly; Landers,
Angela; Maddox, Lauren; Mcnitt, Townsend L.; Mesecar, Doug; Pitts, Elizabeth; Tucker, Sara
Martinez; Scheessele, Marc; Simon, Ray; Tada, Wendy; Talbert, Kent; Toomey, Liam; Tracy
Young; Williams, Cynthia; Young, Tracy
Cc". Ditto, Trey; Neale, Rebecca; Reich, Heidi; Ruberg, Casey; Terrell, Julie; Yudof, Samara
Subject: Cal Thomas: Education renewal

E~d uc’a.tio n renewa~


By Cal Thomas
Congress will soon decide whether to renew President Bush’s signature education program "No Child
Left Behind" (NCLB), the goal of which is to bring every public school student to grade level in
reading and math by 2014.

Though leaving no child behind may be a worthy goal politically and socially, some are questioning
whether it is an obtainable one. Robert L. Linn, co-director of the National Center for Research on
Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing at UCLA, recently told The Washington Post, "There is a
zero percent chance that we will ever reach a 100 percent target." Maybe not, but the poet Robert
Browning said that our reach should always exceed our grasp. By expecting more, we get more from
our institutions and ourselves than if we were to "settle" for less and get less.

Still, after five years of NCLB, the statistics are not encouraging. According to the National
Assessment of Education Progress, between 1992 and 2005, there has been an increase in the
percentage of 12th-grade students who read below the basic level (from 20 percent to 27 percent
since the previous assessment). Only 23 percent of 12th-graders are performing at or above math
proficiency levels. As usual, the figures are worse for black and Hispanic students.

I asked U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings about this. She told me that half of the states
waited until the 2005-’06 school year to do an annual assessment, but that 70 percent of the nation’s
90,000 public schools "are meeting the requirements of NCLB. But for 1,80