Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Federal

NEA to Arne Duncan: New NCLB Should Track Student Access to Early Ed., Funding

By Alyson Klein — January 26, 2015 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

UPDATED

What’s high on National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen Garcia’s wish list for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act?

An “opportunity” dashboard that would show how much access low-income and minority students have to the kinds of supports that add up to a great educational experience, she said in a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Jan 26. Those supports include: advanced coursework (such as Advanced Placement classes), fully qualified teachers, support personnel (like school psychologists and nurses), high-quality athletic and arts programs, and strong early-learning programs. (See Duncan’s response below).

The union also wants federal funding incentives put in place to give districts and states a good reason to make sure that low-income and minority kids get their fair share of these resources.

Several of these indicators are tracked in the Education Department’s various data collections, such as the massive one from its office of civil rights. But states and districts don’t typically put that information together in one easy-to-find place. The NEA says that states and districts ought to report the information and disaggregate it for groups of students, such as needy students and English-language learners.

The department and NEA don’t see eye to eye on much (see teacher evaluations, standardized testing, and competitive grants, for starters). But Duncan may be more open to this particular suggestion. The department has already put states and districts on notice that they must make sure low-income students have the same access to educational supports as their more advantaged peers—and the OCR is already looking into potential disparities in New York.

There’s been a longstanding debate (as in, going on for decades) in Washington over whether the federal government should hold districts and states accountable for “inputs” (like the ones outlined in Eskelsen Garcia’s letter) or “outputs” (such as student outcomes on the standardized tests the union wants to do away with.) So while the NEA is ready to take a big step from the federal role in accountability and assessment, it sounds like the union wants to keep some sort of a federal footprint when it comes to ensuring equity of opportunity. The dashboards Eskelsen Garcia is proposing here would provide some transparency in that area, if nothing else.

UPDATE: Raymonde Charles, a spokeswoman for the department, provided this response to the NEA’s proposal. Bottom line? The department likes equity and transparency, too.

Secretary Duncan has called for scrapping No Child Left Behind and replacing it with an updated law that ensures and expands true educational opportunity for every child. One vital part of that effort is making sure all students have fair and equitable access to resources in school. Through efforts including guidance and Civil Rights Data Collection reports, we have worked to support states and districts in identifying and addressing gaps in opportunity. We agree with NEA President Lily Eskelsen García that it is essential to push for fair access to resources under a new ESEA, and that transparency about access is vital to that effort. That information, along with consistent information about student learning progress, is what families, educators and communities need and deserve.

Related Tags:

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


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
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
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
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

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 White House Launches Hispanic Education Initiative Led by Miguel Cardona
President Joe Biden said his administration intends to address the "systemic causes" of educational disparities faced by Hispanic students.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona writes down and draws positive affirmations on poster board with students during his visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits students in New York City at P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school in the Bronx last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
3 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal How Biden Will Mandate Teacher Vaccines, Testing in Some States That Don't Require Them
President Joe Biden's COVID-19 plan will create new teacher vaccination and testing requirements in some states through worker safety rules.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela administers a COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site for at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa.
Matt Rourke/AP
Federal Biden Pushes Schools to Expand COVID-19 Testing, Get More Teachers Vaccinated
President Joe Biden set teacher vaccine requirements for federally operated schools as part of a new effort to drive down COVID's spread.
7 min read
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington. Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.
President Joe Biden in a speech from the White House announces sweeping new federal vaccine requirements and other efforts in an renewed effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew Harnik/AP