Three quick things before I run off and spend the day in downtown D.C.
1. The Center for American Progress holds a one-day conference today on the teacher comparability rules in NCLB’s Title I. The center says that the rules are “intended to ensure that federal funds are added to an already-level playing field of state and local funding for schools,” but they have “been ineffective and enforced inconsistently.” For a primer about how districts sometimes unknowingly funnel Title I dollars to affluent areas, read a story Bess Keller wrote last year and one I wrote back in 2005. I’ll be there all day. The panelists look great—and the brownies CAP serves are always excellent.
2. A group made up of 60-plus big names in education today releases a new statement calling for a “broader, bolder approach to education.” A central theme is that NCLB assumes that schools are the central ingredient for improving achievement. But the group believes other factors—socioeconomic background, lack of access to other social services, among other reasons—contribute to some students’ academic struggles. Of the people who signed it, five used to work for the Clinton administration, and two are in the current Bush administration.
3. In its latest step in reauthorization-through-administrative action, the Department of Education is telling states they can apply to allow districts to offer supplementary services one year before school choice in schools failing to make AYP. That’s the reverse of what the law requires. Before last week’s notice, only a select few could do this as part of a pilot project. (I’m a bit behind the curve here; Title I Monitor reported this last week.) BoardBuzz is happy with the change but says the move shows that Congress should reauthorize NCLB rather than letting the Bush administration make changes on its own.
A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.