Education news. In context.
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ESSA Wrap up
October 11, 2017
Colorado bows to federal pressure, adopts second school quality system that penalizes schools for testing opt-out
Some state board members worried two quality systems would create additional work for teachers, create confusion among the public or misidentify schools.
October 4, 2017
New York’s graduation rate could drop under new federal education law
It’s possible the federal graduation rate will exclude New York’s “local” diploma, a less rigorous diploma earned by only about 4 percent of graduating students.
October 3, 2017
What states told Chalkbeat about how they will monitor their chronic absenteeism data
Students’ rates of chronic absenteeism are going to be used to judge schools in most states.
October 3, 2017
Student absences are about to have higher stakes in most states. Will cheating follow?
It’s unclear if most states have systems in place to accurately monitor absenteeism data at all.
September 20, 2017
Indiana has a curious plan to sidestep federal rules — give schools two A-F grades next year.
Grades based on 2017 ISTEP tests that are set to come out next month, which schools have already seen, are not part of this change.
September 13, 2017
How should Colorado respond to federal concerns about its testing opt-out policy? State board members don’t agree.
The Colorado State Board of Education will vote next month on direction for whether to change the state's ESSA plan or not, and if so how.
All-clear on ESSA
August 31, 2017
Tennessee and feds strike a balance in how to track historically underserved students
The change enables the state to intervene when any racial group of students fall far behind their peers.
August 25, 2017
Colorado tells feds it needs more time to rethink opt-out policy
Colorado’s response follows a trip by one state official to Washington, D.C., to discuss the issue in person.
try try again
August 14, 2017
Feds to Colorado: You must count students who opt out of standardized tests
The U.S. Department of Education told state officials that the policy is not acceptable. Colorado faces losing millions in federal funding if it doesn’t change course.
Detroit week in review
August 11, 2017
Week in review: A hurry-up-and-wait moment for Detroit’s landmark education lawsuit and more in this week’s school news
If the suit does move forward, it’s likely to take years to have any real effects on local schools.
August 4, 2017
As Indiana schools try to make every graduate count, educators fear struggling students will lose out
Schools will certainly try to steer more students to the Core 40; if they don’t, their graduation rates will plummet.
August 4, 2017
No Child Left Behind is dead. But have states learned from it?
Are states really changing course from No Child Left Behind? Are they learning from what many viewed as the problematic aspects of the law ESSA replaced?
ESSA and Equity
August 2, 2017
Tennessee’s plan to ensure schools help students of all races raises red flags for advocates and feds alike
Tennessee is the only state to propose lumping black, Hispanic, and Native American students together into a single “supergroup” when assessing schools.
July 27, 2017
Colorado’s education plan earns cheers, jeers from national reform groups
Official approval from Washington is still pending.
a failure of accountability
July 14, 2017
High-stakes testing may push struggling teachers to younger grades, hurting students
it’s a big problem when schools encourage their least effective teachers to work with their youngest students. And a new study says that the pressure of school accountability systems may be encouraging exactly that.
July 11, 2017
Critics call NY state’s plans to rate schools based on racial, ethnic group performance ‘dangerous’ and ‘confusing’
New York state’s proposed rating system for reporting on how well schools serve specific “subgroups” sends the wrong message, some advocates say, by creating…
June 29, 2017
Memphis suburbs are receiving federal money for more poor students than they have. Here’s why.
A quirk in rules for allocating federal funds for poor students will give most municipal districts a big budget boost. Meanwhile, Shelby County Schools will receive less.
June 27, 2017
Tennessee’s ESSA plan gets solid marks in independent review
The state's proposed plan for school accountability rates strong on measuring academic progress, but weak on counting all kids, reviewers say.
June 22, 2017
Growth plus proficiency? Why states are turning to a hybrid strategy for judging schools (and why some experts say they shouldn’t)
The idea has a high-profile supporter: The Education Trust, a civil rights and education group now headed by former U.S. Education Secretary John King.
June 16, 2017
New data will reveal which schools are winners — and losers — in the school funding fight
In many places across the country, schools that primarily serve low-income families are getting less money than schools with more affluent populations.
April 20, 2017
Tennessee reveals quicker exit plan for schools in the Achievement School District
A school will return to its local district if it improves and stays off of two consecutive “priority lists, or if it fails to improve.
April 20, 2017
Counting attendance in school ratings could be smart — or completely misleading
Joshua Starr asks the real question: What are schools doing to create good reasons for students to attend?
April 13, 2017
Vote on Colorado education plan erupts into war of words over which kids benefit
Ultimately, the board agreed to send the 145-page plan to Washington, D.C., for approval.
April 4, 2017
Tennessee overhauls approach to low-performing schools under plan sent to Secretary DeVos
The state will delay its next “priority school” list by one year, while creating a new office to oversee low-performing schools and clarifying the role of its ASD.
April 3, 2017
Does Colorado’s state education plan fall flat? Some who helped write it think so.
The department expects to file the plan after it receives feedback from the governor’s office and the state board takes a formal vote on the plan at its April meeting.
April 3, 2017
Principals matter — and Tennessee wants to do a better job of equipping them
The State Department of Education launches an initiative to cultivate aspiring leaders who want to become principals, as well as to support existing principals.
March 20, 2017
Tennessee lawmakers want to roll back A-F school grades before they’ve been given
Just a year after deciding that every school should get a single letter grade, Tennessee lawmakers are poised to take it back.
March 14, 2017
Yes, Congress scrapped Obama-era education rules. But states say little is changing
What is changing? A requirement for states to get input from community members. But that doesn't mean input is being scrapped, either.
on the record
March 6, 2017
Congressman Jared Polis is more worried about Congress than about Betsy DeVos. Here’s why.
The Boulder Democrat is nevertheless vowing to keep an eye on the secretary.
February 21, 2017
McQueen rips Tennessee’s school turnaround work as ineffectual, overdue
Calling outcomes "a little embarrassing," Education Commissioner Candice McQueen notes that the state has only moved 10 schools off its “priority” list since 2012.
February 16, 2017
Betsy DeVos’s first week at the U.S. Education Department: What you need to know
She’s having trouble getting into schools, inspired some people to jump into public service, and is still attracting attention far beyond the usual education audience.
February 10, 2017
Colorado’s education department has a plan. And they want to know what you think about it.
Public comment on Colorado's proposed education plan is open until March 10.
February 8, 2017
Tennessee’s Achievement School District would return to its original purpose under a bill that its leaders support
Lawmakers will consider a bill that would stop the state-run district from starting new charter schools, rather than just overhauling struggling schools.
Equity and ESSA
January 27, 2017
Famed researcher Linda Darling-Hammond on the future of New York education — and what she makes of Betsy DeVos
An influential education researcher, who has been helping New York implement ESSA, spells out how the state can focus on equity under the new law.
January 19, 2017
Will Betsy DeVos change education as you know it? Probably not — but your state lawmakers could
The most important upcoming decisions about schools won’t be made by DeVos. They’ll happen in the state legislatures.
January 19, 2017
Tennessee ESSA draft can be improved to help kids of color, says equity group
The Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition is one of the first groups to weigh in on assets and shortcomings in the state's plan.
January 13, 2017
Sponsor of Tennessee’s A-F school grading law wants launch postponed
Rep. Glen Casada says the state should hold off because schools are still transitioning to a new Tennessee test.
January 9, 2017
Here are four education issues to watch as Tennessee’s legislature kicks off
Tennessee lawmakers expect to revisit two perennial questions about school spending and vouchers during the 110th General Assembly, which starts this week.
year in review
December 21, 2016
Ten stories defining Tennessee public education in 2016
From testing and standards to school funding and bus safety, Tennessee has navigated a tumultuous and historic year.
December 20, 2016
Tennessee’s completed schools plan is finally out. Here’s what insiders are saying.
The plan, released in response to a sweeping new federal education law, has the potential to reshape the state’s 1,600 public schools.
Making the grade
December 15, 2016
Tennessee schools soon will receive letter grades. But will poverty be considered?
Not everyone is in agreement about what should constitute an A under Tennessee's new system for evaluating schools.
December 12, 2016
Tennessee’s school turnaround district might lose some power. Here’s why.
Under proposed changes prompted by a new federal law, the Achievement School District would have less flexibility over which schools it can take over.
It's a start
December 6, 2016
Here’s a first look at how Tennessee schools could change under new federal law
The Tennessee Department of Education kicks off meetings about its plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act.
December 6, 2016
New network launches to highlight policies impacting Tennessee’s immigrant students
Tennessee’s growing immigrant population spawns a network for educators, parents and advocates of students who are learning to speak English.
To grade or not to grade?
November 28, 2016
Feds say Indiana can drop its A-F system. But does it want to?
Today federal officials made two announcements about ESSA.
Change in the air
November 11, 2016
What does Trump’s win mean for Colorado schools? Here are some good guesses.
Trump has said little about his education priorities.
October 11, 2016
How Tennessee might drastically change testing, and other potential changes to the state’s schools
State officials share their takeaways from nearly six months of discussions on how Tennessee should adapt to the sweeping new federal education law.
September 12, 2016
What Tennessee’s decision to pull out of a social-emotional learning collaborative means
Tennessee will not get to collaborate with other states — and vice versa — as they draft guidelines around social-emotional learning.
September 12, 2016
Indiana debates giving state exams to newly arrived immigrants
Indiana must soon decide between two options for measuring how well immigrant students are doing in school.
August 22, 2016
State committee ponders changes to school A-F grade system — again
Indiana is beginning the tedious, but important, work of making sure every part of its A-F school grading system meets new federal education rules.
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