On Monday, March 13, the Education Department changed how ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) accountability for schools would be determined. Previously, the schools would establish student performance goals and create a system of accountability for student progress. This was determined through consultation with stakeholders that included teachers, principals, parents, administrators, and others. The new language in the accountability plans will only consult with the governor. This creates a problem because it removes involvement from the stakeholders.
A good analysis of what has changed in the ESSA language can be found at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/03/14/did-betsy-devos-just-ask-states-to-ignore-part-of-federal-education-law/?utm_term=.b512d5ddab78
Secretary DeVos’s statement can be found at https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-secretary-education-betsy-devos-announces-release-updated-essa-consolidated-state-plan-template
On March 16, Trump released the FY 2018 Budget Blueprint: A Blueprint to Make America Great Again. This proposal gives support to many programs including DeVos’s school choice program. The plan will invest $1.4 billion in school choice programs. The press release can be found at https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/statement-secretary-education-betsy-devos-america-first-budget
H.R. 1510 was introduced to the House on 3/10 which will, “Provide for the elimination of the Department of Education, and for other purposes.” Currently it has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Workforce. Clearly we oppose this.
On Crossover Day, some education bills are moving over to the Georgia Senate. The first is HB 273, Quality Basic Education Act. This would provide daily recess for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
HB 338 on Low Performing Schools.
“Summary: To amend Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to education, so as to provide for system of supports and assistance for the lowest-performing schools identified as in the greatest need of assistance; to provide for a Chief Turnaround Officer; to provide for turnaround coaches; to provide for consultation with the State School Superintendent; to provide for the identification of the schools in the greatest need of assistance; to provide for contract amendments; to provide for a comprehensive on-site evaluation and recommendations; to provide for the development of an intensive school improvement plan; to provide for a two-year period to implement the intensive school improvement plan; to provide for interventions after two years if the school does not improve; to provide for an Education Turnaround Advisory Council; to provide for the creation of the Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process; to provide for its membership and duties; to provide for the creation of the Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a Leadership Academy; to provide for its membership and duties; to provide for removal of members of a local board of education if one-half or more of the schools in the local school system have received an unacceptable rating for five or more consecutive years; to provide for temporary replacement members; to provide for petitions for reinstatement; to provide for a hearing; to revise provisions relating to contracts for strategic waivers school systems; to revise provisions relating to charters for charter systems; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”
Senate Resolution 192 is a resolution that will allow for the election of local school superintendents by voters and the members of the local school boards will be determined by grad juries. This is a change from the current law that appoints local school superintendents by the local boards of education. Voters choose the school board members currently.
This bill will effectively start the school voucher system to be used by children ages 5-17, and starts the defunding process of public schools.
In addition the bill will eliminate the Elementary and Education Act of 1965, which is the nation’s educational law and provides equal opportunity in education.
It would repeal ESSA (Every Students Succeeds Act):
ESSA is a big comprehensive program that covers programs for struggling learners, AP classes, ESL classes, classes for minorities such as Native Americans, Rural Education, Education for the Homeless, School Safety (Gun-Free schools), Monitoring and Compliance and Federal Accountability Programs.
The Bill also abolishes the Nutritional Act of 2012 (No Hungry Kids Act) which provides nutritional standards in school breakfast and lunch.
The bill has no wording whatsoever protecting Special Needs kids, no mention of IDEA and FAPE.
Some things ESSA does for Children with Disabilities
-Ensures access to the general education curriculum.
-Ensures access to accommodations on assessments.
-Ensures concepts of Universal Design for Learning
-Includes provisions that require local education agencies to provide evidence-based interventions in schools with consistently underperforming subgroups.
-Requires states in Title I plans to address how they will improve conditions for learning including reducing incidents of bullying and harassment in schools, overuse of discipline practices and reduce the use of aversive behavioral interventions (such as restraints and seclusion).
Please call your representative and ask him/her to vote NO on House Bill 610 (HR 610) introduced by three Republican reps.
Higher Education –
An executive order was signed on Tuesday that put Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to move operations from the Education department to the White House. HBCU leaders are cautiously optimistic about the change, but feel the proof will come in action. They are asking for $25 billion for infrastructure, college readiness, financial aid, and other priorities, but the GOP lawmakers do not have any plans yet for increased funding.
Betsy DeVos supported the action and said that HBCUs are the “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.: These comments gained much criticism due to the historic need for HBCUs during the Jim Crow era which force racial segregation and did not allow black students to attend prestigious universities.
The details of the bill are here:
The mission of the U.S. Department of Education is “to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”
December 10, 2015 Former President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Some provisions of the law include:
- more equity by protecting America’s disadvantaged and high-needs students
- all students are required to be taught high academic standards in preparation of college and careers
- statewide assessments provide students’ progress
- support local innovations
- high-quality preschool investment
- accountability and action for change in low-performing schools
The Georgia Department of Education Is currently using the current 2016-2017 school year as a transition period. The legislation is allowing local schools and districts to make education decisions that are best for students. The states develop plans that address standards, assessments, school and district accountability, and special help for struggling schools and students.
Most Recent Proposal
H.R. 414: Encourage our Educators Act “To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow an individual to qualify for both teacher loan forgiveness and public service loan forgiveness, and for other purposes.” The bill was introduced by Brenda Lawrence (D) and is currently assigned to congressional committee to be considered before going on to the House and Senate.