Federal

ESEA’s Effect on Rural Areas, ELLs, Spec. Ed. Eyed

By Dakarai I. Aarons — March 26, 2010 2 min read

School administrators and policy analysts are calling attention to the needs of students in rural districts, as well as English-language learners and students with disabilities, as Congress begins the process of reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Daniel D. Curry, the superintendent of the 4,000-student Kent County, Del., school district, told lawmakers at a March 18 House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education hearing that shifting from formula funding to more competitive funding, as the Obama administration proposes in an ESEA plan released March 13, would harm rural schools. With central-office staffs often composed of only a handful of people, rural districts lack the capacity to compete, he said, as well as the money in the current economy to hire grant consultants.

He also noted that the small size of rural schools could have a major impact on teacher evaluations based in part on student-achievement data, as favored by the administration. “The results of just one or two students can throw off the results,” he said.

ESEA Renewal
Overview:
ESEA Renewal Blueprint Faces Legislative Hurdles
See also:
ESEA Plan Would Add ‘Well-Rounded Education’ Fund
Unions Object to Proposals on Teachers, Principals
ESEA’s Effect on Rural Areas, ELLs, Spec. Ed. Eyed

Another sticking point may be how to measure college and career readiness, the new standard by which the administration has proposed schools be held accountable, said Jack D. Dale, the superintendent of the 173,000-student Fairfax County, Va., district.

“We don’t have a universal definition of what college readiness means,” he said. “We have a train wreck coming in that definition.”

Mr. Dale encouraged lawmakers at the hearing to keep the boost in funding provided for special education under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He said that districts have seen a rise in the number of students requiring extra services.

Arelis E. Diaz, an assistant superintendent of the 2,200-student Godwin Heights schools in Wyoming, Mich., called for boosting resources to the Title III program, which focuses on English-language learners. She also said states need permission in the ESEA reauthorization to use growth models in their accountability systems, as the administration has proposed, as a way to measure progress, especially for groups such as ELL students.

In a statement last week, the Arlington, Va.-based Lexington Institute, a free-market oriented think tank, questioned a provision in the administration’s reauthorization plan that would have the federal government evaluating instructional programs for English-learners.

“Throughout the past 20 years, the more federal education officials have gotten directly involved in how schools teach English-learners, the worse the results,” Don Soifer, the group’s executive vice president, maintained.

During a question-and-answer session U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan held in Washington with urban superintendents and school board members last week, Yolie Flores Aguilar, a member of the Los Angeles school board, criticized the blueprint’s lack of details on parent engagement. The need to inform and involve parents is critical to eliminating achievement gaps, she said.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 31, 2010 edition of Education Week as Special Populations Spec. Ed., Rural Ed., ELLs Pose Challenge

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Lawmakers Press CDC About Teachers' Union Influence on School Reopening Guidance
Republican senators asked CDC Director Rochelle Walensky about reports a teachers' union had input on guidance for schools on COVID-19.
3 min read
Dr. Rochelle Walensky speaks during an event in Wilmington, Del., to announce President-elect Joe Biden's health care team on Dec. 8, 2020.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, speaks during an event in Wilmington, Del., to announce then-President-elect Joe Biden's health care team on Dec. 8, 2020.
Susan Walsh/AP
Federal Biden Taps Ex-Obama Aide Roberto Rodriguez for Key Education Department Job
Rodriguez served as a top education staffer to President Barack Obama and currently leads a teacher-advocacy organization.
3 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Getty
Federal Biden Pitches Plan to Expand Universal Pre-K, Free School Meal Programs, Teacher Training
The president's $1.8 trillion American Families Plan faces strong headwinds as Congress considers other costly administration proposals.
8 min read
President Joe Biden addresses Congress from the House chamber. Behind him are Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress Wednesday night, as Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., applaud.<br/>
Chip Somodevilla/AP
Federal Education Department Kicks Off Summer Learning Collaborative
The Summer Learning and Enrichment Collaborative will boost programs for students acutely affected by COVID-19 in 46 states.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, left, talks with Fort LeBoeuf Middle School teacher Laura Friedman during a discussion on safely returning to schools during the COVID-19 pandemic on March 3, 2021.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, left, talks with Fort LeBoeuf Middle School teacher Laura Friedman during a discussion on safely returning to schools during the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
Greg Wohlford/Erie Times-News via TNS