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Kicking off the 112 th Session of Congress: Federal Education Policy Overview. Noelle Ellerson American Association of School Administrators. Economic Environment. State and local economies struggling to experience the stability and recovery starting to take hold at the federal level.

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Kicking off the 112 th session of congress federal education policy overview

Kicking off the 112th Session of Congress: Federal Education Policy Overview

Noelle Ellerson

American Association of School Administrators

Economic environment
Economic Environment

State and local economies struggling to experience the stability and recovery starting to take hold at the federal level.

Continued issue of supplement/supplant from ARRA and, now, education jobs fund.

Confluence of the end of ARRA (2010-11/2011-12 school years) and the delayed economic recovery represent very real obstacle to schools as they try to balance increased emphasis on innovation with ever slimmer operating budgets.

Fy11 budget
FY11 Budget

  • Operating under CR; expires March 4

  • CR cuts $4.9 billion from USED’s FY10 budget (15.4%)

    • Title I funding is cut $693.5 million.

    • IDEA Part B funding is cut $557.7 million.

    • Rural Education Achievement program (REAP) funding is level funding, receiving NO CUTS.

    • Education Technology State Grants are cut $100 million (elimination).

    • Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE) is cut $271.6 million.

    • 21st Century Learning Community Centers funding is cut $100 million.

    • Head Start funding is cut by just over $1 billion.

  • Moving Forward – voting today!

Obama fy12 budget proposal
Obama FY12 Budget Proposal

  • FY12 budget proposal released Feb 14 (2012-13 school year)

  • Despite tight economic times, including non-defense discretionary budget freeze, education receives historic increases

  • Proposal includes massive restructuring in ESEA reauthorization

  • Policy shift toward competitive grants

  • Despite overall increases:

    • Title I receives $300 million

    • IDEA received a $200 million increase, remaining at 17% instead of the promised 40%

112 th congress what about esea
112th Congress: What About ESEA?

  • With Republicans in control of the House, ESEA can be finished in 2011 --- IF

    • House Republicans can find a internal consensus

    • House Republicans can compromise with the White House

    • A bipartisan House consensus can be achieved

    • House and Senate Republicans can agree

    • Senate Democrats can find a consensus

    • Senate Democrats can find a consensus with republicans

112 th congress what about esea1
112th Congress: What About ESEA?

  • Many new members may not be inclined to compromise especially if it involves expanding the federal role

  • The House committee will be dominated numerically by new members who

    • Will take a while to know the issues

    • May not be very interested in federal education policy making

112 th congress what about esea2
112th Congress: What About ESEA?

  • Many new Members of Congress want:

    • Deep budget cuts,

      • $100 billion promised - will be less

      • the debt ceiling vote

    • Vouchers

    • Eliminate the Department of Education

112 th congress what about esea3
112th Congress: What About ESEA?

  • House: Hit the ground running, with focus on educating froshies. Expect more hearings before any bill is dropped. Have expressed interest in piece-meal approach.

  • Senate: Committed to moving the full bill, and have proposed a timeline that would introduce language before Easter and have the bill to the floor for vote by August.

  • Optimism toward moving forward. Reformers’ iron-lock on legislative proposals is reduced.

Competitors for dominance in education policy
Competitors for Dominance in Education Policy?



  • Blow it up and start again Choice & Corporate control model

    • Democrats for Education Reform

    • Education trust

    • Fordham foundation

    • Alliance for Excellent Education

    • Aspen Group

    • Gates Foundation

    • Broad Foundation

    • Walton foundation

  • Federal support for state and local leadership

    • AASA

    • AESA

    • NSBA

    • NEA

    • AFT

    • CCSSO

    • PTA

    • NAESP

    • NASSP

    • NABSE

    • etc

Competing views standardization vs poverty
Competing Views: Standardization vs. Poverty

Federally Mandated


  • Federal requirements & mandates dictate

  • State as federal enforcer

  • Diminished Local authority

  • Increased Local Responsibility

  • Decreased Local authority

Federal Assistance Focused on Poverty

  • Federal leadership in Equity, Research & Demonstration

  • Federal Assistance for Students With Greater Needs

  • Federal Funds to Help Address Systemic problems

  • Balance local/state federal authority and responsibility

  • Greater federal/state transparency in rule making

Reauthorization issues formula vs competitive
Reauthorization Issues Formula vs. Competitive:

  • The Administration requested an increase in the proportion of federal dollars that would move through competitive grants.

  • Reformers want to use competitive grants to force compliance to get grants.

  • School administrators like formula grants because the funds are forwarded funded and therefore more predictable for staffing and long term plans.

  • There is no solid data on which method of distributing funds produces the best student outcomes

Reauthorization issues charter schools
Reauthorization Issues Charter Schools:

Reformers think charter schools are essential everywhere for large, wide scale improvement in student outcomes

Educators think some charter schools work about as well as regular public schools, and ought to be a local option.

The latest high quality research says that 17% of charters get significantly better results than traditional public schools and that 37% get significantly worse results. CREDO, Stanford University, June 2009

Reauthorization issues accountability
Reauthorization Issues Accountability:

  • Reformers like NCLB accountability system, because it finds every low scoring punishes educators where test scores are low

  • Educators think ESEA requires an accountability system that is fair & accurate as well as valid & reliable

  • The new measures will be expensive but will guide instruction and are accurate enough to also guide policy improvements.

Reauthorization issues assessment
Reauthorization Issues Assessment:

  • Educators, including AASA, would like to move beyond the current generation of state tests to assessment systems because one test cannot serve all purposes.

  • Reformers are largely silent on the issue of better tests, but the really like having a single score for accountability.

  • Current state tests were designed to show the distribution of achievement - not for accountability.

  • Two consortia of states, PARCC (26 states) developing year end and “through course” tests & SBAC (31 states) developing adaptive year end tests and interim performance tasks. Both will establish a consistent measure of student performance aligned with college and career readiness.

  • AASA supports assessment systems designed to improve student achievement and hold fairly and accurately schools accountable.

  • Will the new assessments meet AASA’s goal?

Reauthorization issues assessing special learners
Reauthorization Issues Assessing Special Learners:

  • Reformers are largely silent on this issue.

  • Educators have fair, accurate and instructionally useful assessment for ELL and special education students at the top of their Christmas list

  • Reformers view educators concerns in these areas as just making excuses

  • The 2% rule must either be eliminated or made sensible because it is contrary to the research on student learning.

Reauthorization issues teachers
Reauthorization Issues Teachers:

  • Differences between reformers and teacher unions

  • Reformers want:

    • New teacher preparation programs

    • Alternative paths to teaching

    • Uniform and rigorous evaluation based on test scores

    • To be able to fire teachers more easily

    • To eliminate sonority in teacher placement decisions

  • School administrators want:

    • Better teacher programs that are tied to specific practices in school districts

    • To retain control of teacher evaluation at the local level

    • To be able to remove ineffective teachers more easily

    • Teacher placement strategies that encourage effective teachers to work in hard to staff schools

Reauthorization issues teachers1
Reauthorization Issues Teachers:

  • AASA believes that:

    • States should determine teacher qualifications

    • ESEA should support improved teacher education by tying it directly to schools needs;

    • States & LEAs should develop evaluation systems that improve instruction

    • ESEA should provide supplemental incentives to teachers in hard to staff urban and rural isolated schools

    • Performance pay is a local decision not a federal mandate

    • Reconstitution of schools is a local or state decision not a federal mandate for every low scoring school

Reauthorization issues early childhood education
Reauthorization Issues Early Childhood Education:

  • Reformers are largely silent in this area, but there doesn’t seem to be significant opposition.

  • Educators view developmental and educational support for children in their first five years of life as essential.

  • There is solid research that early support at home in in organizational settings makes a difference

  • The Obama administration strongly supports state efforts to increase access to and the quality of early childhood programs.


  • The debate is very contentious between Educators and “Reformers”, though voice of reformers is increasingly muted.

  • The administration has sided almost entirely with the “Reformers”

  • The hill is split between educators and reformers.

ESEA: Reframing the Federal Role

Separating the false link that current statute places between accountability and assessment.

Focus the federal government on serving students in poverty.

Services should meet not only their academic needs but also provide a continuum of services from mental health to afterschool enrichment.

We should shift away from a punitive system to one that rewards achieving and maintaining success.

Assessments should be aligned to high standards but truly measure individual students where they are.

Fight the shift to competitive grants away from more traditional formula grants as they lead to inequality.

Aasa on esea our heaviest lifts
AASA on ESEA: Our Heaviest Lifts

  • Limit the federal oversight to children served with federal funds – in the case of school wide programs –schools served by Title I funds

  • Separate Accountability and Assessment for learning

    • Accountability assessments focus on growth (value added if desired) by sampling & including multiple measures

    • Instructional assessment includes a variety of methods of measuring growth, formative, adaptive, embedded teacher developed, etc., that provide immediate feedback to teachers and administrators

Other hot issues
Other Hot Issues

  • Standardizing public education

    • Per pupil expenditures/Comparability

    • Teacher contracts

    • Standards/curriculum

    • Personnel decisions

    • Instructional strategies

    • Instructional methods

Title i funding equity
Title I Funding Equity

  • There will be a formula fight within ESEA reauthorization.

  • Title I allocations are made up of four formulas:

    • Basic Grant, Concentration Grant, Targeted Grant, Education Finance Incentive Grant

  • Idea is to focus on concentrations of poverty

    • Current law uses numbers or percentages

  • Since NCLB, all new money in Title I has been split between the Targeted Grant and the Education Finance Incentive Grant.

  • Focus on percentages of poverty for equity

Common Core Standards

  • Increased Congressional support for common core (not national) standards.

    • CCSSO and NGA have joined together with 48 states and territories to develop them.

    • Draft standards were released in March and open for comment until April 2nd.

    • States may choose to include additional standards beyond the common core as long as the common core represents at least 85 percent of the state’s standards in English language arts and mathematics.

  • What if Congress requires adoption of common core in order to receive Title I?

    • Still unclear what Congress sees as their role in this.

    • Certain competitive grants will give priority to Common Core states

State assessment consortia
State Assessment Consortia

Two consortia, representing 44 states and DC.

Eleven states belong to both, 6 to neither

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) hosts 31 states and received $160 million

Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC) hosts 26 states and received $170 million

Full funding for idea
Full Funding for IDEA

AASA is active in coalition to push for IDEA full funding

Expect bills from Rep. VanHollen and Sen. Harkin

Chrmn. Kline is long supporter of IDEA funding, though shies away from mandatory

FY11 CR proposed $557.7 m cut

FY12 proposal includes $200 m increase

Reauthorization of reap
Reauthorization of REAP

  • Some changes need to be made to improve REAP in the coming reauthorization.

  • Specifically, a number of districts are no longer receiving a financial benefit from the program despite qualifying.

    • Allow districts to choose which program to apply under.

    • Raise the sliding scale from $20,000 - $60,000 to $25,000 - $70,000.

  • For the Rural & Low-income program, use free and reduced lunch instead of census.

  • Update Locale codes.

  • Support the REAP Reauthorization Act

  • Urge your Senators and Representative to join their respective Rural Education Caucus.

Child nutrition act school lunch
Child Nutrition Act/ School Lunch

  • Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was signed in to law in December 2010

  • AASA is actively engaged in the regulatory process to make implementation as smooth as possible

  • Unfunded mandates of the law place funding pressure on local budgets and limit flexibility in school district budgeting

    • Education/training/certification requirements for food service personnel

    • Adoption/implementation of new standards

    • Increased reimbursement of 6 cents…..

    • Calculation of indirect costs

    • National calculation of school lunch price

    • Competitive food restrictions

    • Fines for non-compliance

E rate and education technology
E-Rate and Education Technology

  • FCC’s October point of order adjusted $2.25 billion funding cap to inflation and added dark-fiber to the eligible services list.

  • Continue to push for an increase for the cap, given ever increasing demand and rising costs

  • FY11 CR eliminates Enhancing Education Through Technology

  • Pres. FY12 budget proposal calls for Education Technology Office in Department.

    • Skeptical of what the office would actually mean at the local level

Vo u chers

  • FY11 CR includes language to reverse current sunset provisions.

  • Both the House and Senate have the votes to support voucher provisions, and each chamber has introduced a bill to reinstate and expand the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program

    • 4 consecutive government reports document the lack of reliable, valid academic progress

  • We expect to be fighting vouchers on a regular basis in this Congress.

Foster care
Foster Care

  • Started with the Fostering Connections Act of 2008

    • Not widely implemented; low level of awareness

  • Newly proposed bill could require LEAs to pay for transportation for foster kids and maintain in school of origin (all regardless of transportation difficulties, costs, and records)

  • Could require states to create plan consistent with FCA; Secretaries of both Ed and Child Welfare agencies must approve plans; failure to compromise leaves Governor to decide who pays for transit


  • Anticipate regulatory changes to parental consent requirement

    • Option 1: Rescind consent requirement entirely

    • Option 2: Require consent to be given only a time of enrollment and require schools to notify parents that they are seeking reimbursement each year

Criminal background checks
Criminal Background Checks

  • Legislation would require LEAs to perform the following checks periodically on all school employees:

    • A search of the State criminal registry or repository in the State in which the school employee resides and each State in which such school employee previously resided;

    • A search of State-based child abuse and neglect registries and databases in the State in which the school employee resides and each State in which such school employee previously resided;

    • A search of the National Crime Information Center of the Department of Justice;

    • A search of Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint check system using the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System; and

    • A search of the National Sex Offender Registry established under section 19 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (42 U.S.C. 16919)

Next steps time for you to get involved
Next Steps: Time for You to Get Involved

  • ESEA Reauthorization is on the move. Make sure your voice is heard!!

    • School administrators, principals, school board members and teachers have a unique expertise when it come to the ins and outs of educating children.

  • The timeline for action will be quick: weigh in early and often. Think marathon training: this is interval training!

  • Take the time to educate your senators and representatives of the good work being done in schools to improve student achievement.

  • 15 minutes per month!


Noelle Ellerson

Assistant Director, Policy Analysis & Advocacy

American Association of School Administrators

(703) [email protected]