Education

House Cheat Sheet, Part 2

August 30, 2007 2 min read
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Just finished my reporting for my story that will appear in the Sept. 5 issue of Education Week. It should be posted on edweek.org soon. I plan to blog a comment or two on it when it’s posted.

First here’s my summary of the differentiated interventions of the House proposal. Under the current law, schools receive the same menu of interventions if they miss their AYP targets by a little or a lot, in one subgroup or all of them. This section is intended to tailor the intensity of the interventions to the needs of the school. But Michael J. Petrilli calls it the Suburban Schools Relief Act because he believes it would protect suburban schools from making serious changes.

The Basics
The House plan would categorize schools the don’t make AYP as either “priority schools” or “high priority schools.”

Priority schools would be ones that miss AYP in one or two of the demographic subgroups that NCLB’s accountability system tracks. High priority schools would be ones that miss AYP in “most, if not all” subgroups.

Schools in both categories would need to provide professional development and mentoring that is linked to the state’s standards and assessments. They also would need to “ensure that students who need the most help are assigned to the teachers best equipped to help them,” according to the summary of the draft.

Proven Programs
The bill would create a menu of what it calls “proven interventions” for schools in both categories to use. High priority schools would need to use the first four on the list and could choose more; priority schools would need to choose from at least two on the whole list.

The list is:

1.) Proven instructional programs that are aligned with state standards. High school instruction also would adopt programs that prepare graduates for college and the workplace.

2.) Formative assessments and data-based decision-making that gives teachers information about students’ progress through the year.

3.) Parental options for free tutoring and public school choice.

4.) Extended learning time such as after-school programs, summer school, and “other opportunities that go beyond the current typical school day.”

5.) Supervised intervention models such as Response to Intervention.

6.) Specialized support and parent and community involvement that find ways to link students’ families with counselors, school social workers, and other supports. In high schools, this category could include career academies.

7.) Personalized learning environments that encourage dropouts to return to school, help 9th graders move into 10th grade, or increase interest in schools at all grade levels.

Redesign

Once schools enter the redesign phase, they would continue to be divided into the “priority” and “high priority” categories.

“Priority redesign schools” would need to make “significant revisions” to their leadership and instructional programs as well as offer services to the students who didn’t meet their proficiency targets.

“High priority redesign schools” would have to close and reopen with new leadership and staff. They could do this as a traditional school or as a charter school. Under both options, the school would need to re-create its instructional program.

A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.

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