STATE OF THE UNION: Obama Announces Competition for High Schools in Address to Congress, Nation: In his February 12 State of the Union address centered on a “growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs,” President Obama outlined several education proposals, including high-quality preschool available to every child, greater access for high school students to take college courses, and a new competition to redesign America’s high schools.
SEQUESTER TO HIT MARCH 1: White House Details Impact of Across-the-Board Cuts to Federal Education Programs in New Report: On February 24, the White House released a report with state-by-state funding tables detailing how the “sequester”—the formal name for the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts to domestic and defense spending scheduled to occur on March 1—will affect federal programs, including education programs such as Title I and special education.
TURNING BACK THE CLOCK?: ESEA Waivers Could Slow Progress on High School Graduation Rate Accountability, New Alliance Analysis Finds: An extensive analysis by the Alliance for Excellent Education shows that recent progress in holding schools accountable for how many students they graduate from high school—the ultimate goal of K–12 education—may be slowed in some states based on waivers recently granted under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The Alliance’s findings are contained in a new report, The Effect of ESEA Waiver Plans on High School Graduation Rate Accountability, which includes a review of approved waiver plans submitted by thirty-four states and the District of Columbia.
HELP ON NCLB: Senators Harkin and Alexander Affirm Need to Go Back to Work on NCLB Rewrite During HELP Committee Hearing on Early Lessons from NCLB Waivers: During a February 7 hearing on “Early Lessons from State Flexibility Waivers” under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), both Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN), said Congress should go back to work on a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as NCLB.
A STEP FORWARD OR A STEP BACK?: New Education Trust Report Finds “A Lot of Backsliding” in States’ Approved NCLB Waiver Plans: A new report from the Education Trust finds that, by granting states waivers from certain requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, the U.S. Department of Education “opened the door for some innovation” but also allowed for “a lot of backsliding” on the nation’s commitment to close gaps and raise achievement for all students. The report, A Step Forward or a Step Back?: State Accountability in the Waiver Era, finds that schools in “far too many” states can get good ratings even with low performance for some student groups and that approaches to improving poorly performing schools are “too timid.”
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS: In-State Coalition Building and Outreach Around the Common Core State Standards: Achieve, in partnership with the Alliance for Excellent Education, Council of Chief State School Officers, and the James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, through a grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, is launching a new opportunity to support in-state coalition building and outreach around the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The multiyear project seeks to identify, support, and advise third-party coalitions in up to six states from May 2013 through October 2015 to help ensure successful CCSS implementation and sustainability. Successful applicants will receive funding up to $200,000 per year, for three years.