I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Senators Offer Principles for No Child Left Behind Overhaul

EdWeek reports that a group of moderate Democrats (including Senators Bennet, Hagan, and Manchin) has published a statement of goals for reform of the ESEA.

A summary of the principles outlined in the statement is below:

Accountability Structure: Reward growth and progress. The No Child Left Behind Act treated all schools that failed to make adequate yearly progress the same and did not tailor interventions to meet the specific needs of schools. The old accountability system fails to recognize growth and constantly labels failure. A new accountability structure needs to provide more flexibility for schools to determine the best way to meet the needs of their students, instead of a one-size-fits all approach from Washington.

(EdWeek: this includes using accountability measures of student growth over time, instead of comparing groups of students to other groups of students. The proposal also emphasizes giving flexibility to schools to achieve their targets, especially when the schools struggle with one type of student rather than struggling with most students).

School Turnaround: Support bold, aggressive action to change the odds for students in schools that persistently fail to provide them with a quality education. Under current law, states and districts frequently choose the least intensive option for reform.

Teachers and Leaders: Dramatically improve our system for recruiting, training, supporting, retaining and paying teachers and leaders. Competitive funds to create and replicate effective teacher and leader preparation programs is an essential element. Require better teacher and leader evaluation systems that include examination of student learning gains and provide extra compensation for those who take on additional responsibilities.

(EdWeek: the proposal suggests the use of student outcome data in teacher evaluations. It also supports increasing the pay of teachers who take on more responsibilities).

Foster Innovation: Create opportunities for states, districts and schools that want to push beyond the status quo through innovative and promising new approaches.

(EdWeek: the Senators support continuing Race to the Top as well as extending the Investing in Innovation program).

Equity in Resources (Close the Title I Comparability Loophole): Closing the loophole to require school districts to report actual expenditures at the school-level, including those devoted to salaries for teachers, when applying for Title I funding. Title I, the largest program in ESEA provides grants to districts with children living in
concentrated poverty. Closing this loophole will result in more equitable funding between schools."

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