Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Is homelessness among U.S. kids declining, or surging? It depends on who you ask. - The Washington Post

Is homelessness among U.S. kids declining, or surging? It depends on who you ask. - The Washington Post:

Is homelessness among U.S. kids declining, or surging? It depends on who you ask.

Sierra Oliver, age 2, eats in the lobby at the Days Inn motel in Washington in July 2015. She and her family were homeless and living in the motel as a temporary shelter. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

Is child homelessness declining, or is it skyrocketing? If you are looking at federal government figures for the answer, you could be forgiven for being confused.

According to new data the Department of Housing and Urban Development released Thursday, family homelessness has declined 12 percent since 2008. And on a single night in January, there were 127,000 homeless children nationwide, according to the data, which comes from HUD’s annual point-in-time count.

But data from another branch of the federal government paints a very different and far less rosy picture: There are 1.36 million homeless students in the nation’s K-12 public schools, 70 percent more than in 2008 and double the number in 2006, according to the Education Department.

[Number of U.S. homeless students has doubled since before the recession]

The discrepancy is due to the two agencies’ differing definitions of what it means to be homeless. HUD counts families who are living in shelters and on the streets, whereas schools also include students in more hidden situations, such as families who are paying for motel rooms or are doubled up with other families.

Some advocates are pushing HUD officials to adopt Education’s broader definition, arguing that there are many families in unstable and unsafe housing situations who need help but who don’t have access to services because they are not on the street and therefore aren’t considered homeless.

“The urgency of child and youth homelessness requires an alignment of federal definitions of homelessness,” Barbara Duf­field of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth said in a statement earlier this month, when HUD released 2014 figures that reflected the same disparity.

Congress is considering legislation that would require HUD to begin counting students in motels or doubled up as homeless. HUD officials said that would make it more difficult for them to target their limited resources for the most vulnerable children: those who have no place to go but a shelter or a patch of sidewalk.

“We really want to make sure that those young people are served first and served well,” said Ann Oliva, HUD’s deputy assistant secretary for special needs.

Oliva cautioned that the agency’s estimates of child homelessness are imperfect because of recent changes in the counting method. She also said that HUD is working closely with officials from Education and from Health and Human Services to figure out what the varying figures on homelessness mean and how they should shape policy. In its 2014 report on homeless Is homelessness among U.S. kids declining, or surging? It depends on who you ask. - The Washington Post:

Curriculum materials a sticking point in Common Core implementation | EdSource

Curriculum materials a sticking point in Common Core implementation | EdSource:

Curriculum materials a sticking point in Common Core implementation




During the five years since California adopted the Common Core State Standards for mathematics and English language arts, the search for high-quality textbooks and curriculum materials has been a sticking point, in some cases the major one, in effectively and speedily implementing the new standards.
That’s according to leaders in several school districts where EdSource is tracking Common Core implementation. School districts are making progress in finding and selecting the right materials, but the complicated effort is still underway in these districts and many others across the state.
“Preparation and timing of available resources has been the most difficult aspect of this rollout,” said Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson when the state released scores from the Smarter Balanced tests, which were based on the Common Core standards and administered last spring. After going through a months-long process of piloting new materials with 350 teachers, Hanson said, “we’re only now using appropriate math materials.”
Hanson is not alone. In four of six districts being tracked by EdSource (Fresno, Elk Grove, Garden Grove and San Jose Unified) as they implement the Common Core, district leaders said that finding appropriate instructional materials has been a significant obstacle to teaching classes aligned with the new standards.
“The biggest challenge has been the lack of textbooks and materials,” said Gabriela Mafi, superintendent of Garden Grove Unified, a predominantly Latino district in Orange County.
The root of the problem, argued Phil Daro, a principal author of the Common Core math standards, is that “districts tried to switch to the Common Core before there were any books aligned with them.”
That, however, was not the fault of districts. The state adopted the Common Core in 2010, but the State Board of Education only approved a recommended list of K-8 math textbooks and materials in January 2014 – and only did so two weeks ago forK-8 materials in English language arts. During that five-year period, students took new Smarter Balanced tests aligned with the standards.
Textbook publishers were slow to come up with materials that were fully aligned to the Common Core standards. In many cases, materials that were purportedly aligned with them were just hastily updated versions of older materials.
“In some situations I think publishers have taken a sticker and put it on the old set of standards and called it a Common Core book,” said Elk Grove Curriculum materials a sticking point in Common Core implementation | EdSource:

Charter school supporters raise concerns about impact on LAUSD | 89.3 KPCC

Charter school supporters raise concerns about impact on LAUSD | 89.3 KPCC:

Charter school supporters raise concerns about impact on LAUSD 




Heads of three large California nonprofits that support charter schools called this week for careful consideration of a plan for a major expansion of charters and its impact on the Los Angeles Unified School District.
In a letter Tuesday to LAUSD, its teachers union, and the Broad Foundation that drafted the charter school expansion plan, the three leaders called on all parties to bring more members of the community into the discussion.
“As part of the analysis of the Broad proposal, careful consideration should also be given to the effect of such alternative school expansion on the LAUSD. School initiatives in other cities have demonstrated that the intended reforms often fall short if they are done to communities rather than with communities,” the letter said.
Signing the letter were Fred Ali, president of the Weingart Foundation, Antonia Hernandez, president of the California Community Foundation, and Robert Ross, president of the California Endowment.
The groups have awarded grants to charter schools to help the alternative campuses train parents to get involved in their children's education and improve student health, among other efforts.
The letter follows release of a report this month by a blue-ribbon panel that painted a grim picture of the district's financial future given rising worker benefits and declining enrollment that reduces state funding. 
At a recent panel discussion, LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer criticized the expansion plan and its aim to enroll 130,000 new students in charter schools. He said it could push LAUSD into bankruptcy because state funding would follow the students.
Broad Foundation Executive Director Gregory McGinity responded that he didn't think that would happen, saying he had faith in the school board and arguing that other districts around the country have a high percentage of charter schools and are thriving.
The three nonprofit leaders who signed the letter said they are aware of the financial hardships the school district will be facing.
Ross told KPCC that given the district's problems, he's concerned that opening large numbers of new charters “actually leaves children who don’t have access to those charter schools with a lower quality of education than they had before.”
The foundation leaders propose that the charter plan be significantly modified to include input from other community groups. They also proposed using some of the $490 million funds projected to start 260 new charters envisioned in the plan to fund non-charter campuses in LAUSD, such as high-performing magnet schools and pilot schools that have modified teacher contracts.
The three said they were not interested in taking a position on the Broad initiative, but offered to act as neutral conveners of discussion about “doing what is best for all of our parents and children.”
Meanwhile, a new group called Great Public Schools Now is taking over administration of the charter expansion from the Broad Foundation. 
“The idea is not to give money to existing high-quality schools,” said the group’s spokesman Glenn Gritzner. “We want to fund those students that don’t have educational options.” 
That could include giving money to magnet schools or pilot schools run by LAUSD, if the district is expanding seats in those schools, he said.
Gritzner said the charter expansion plan is still in a draft form and will be modified before the final version is released in the first part of next year.
He also said $490 million price tag is on the high end and meant to attract funders. Some funders have already come forward, although he would not name them.
The Weingart Foundation, California Community Foundation and The California Endowment are among the supporters of SCPR, but are not involved with its editorial operations.




Charter school supporters raise concerns about impact on LAUSD | 89.3 KPCC:








Choosing Democracy: Friedrichs v California CTA #WORKTOGETHER

Choosing Democracy: Friedrichs v California CTA:

Friedrichs v California CTA



Friedrichs_3_800


Choosing Democracy: Friedrichs v California CTA:

U.S. Department of Education: Information Security Review - United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

U.S. Department of Education: Information Security Review - United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: INFORMATION SECURITY REVIEW




Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
HEARING DATE: NOVEMBER 17, 2015 10:00 AM 2154 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING

TAKEAWAYS:
• The Department of Education (DoEd) has at least 139 million unique social security numbers in its Central Processing System (CPS).
• Reminiscent of OPM’s dangerous behavior, DoEd is not heeding repeat warnings from the Inspector General (IG) that their information systems are vulnerable to security threats.
o In the IG’s latest report, there were 6 repeat findings and 10 repeat recommendations.
o The Department scored NEGATIVE 14% on the OMB CyberSprint for total users using strong authentication
o The Department received an “F” on the FITARA scorecard
• The Department maintains 184 information systems.
o 120 are managed by outside contractors
o 29 are valued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as “high asset”
• The National Student Loan Database (NSLD) houses significant loan borrower information. There are 97,000 accounts/users with access to this significant data yet only 5,000, less than 20%, have undergone a background check to establish security clearance.
o The IG penetrated DoEd systems completely undetected by both the CIO or contractor
• The Department needs significant improvement in four key security areas:
o Continuous monitoring
o Configuration management
o Incident response and reporting
o Remote access management
PURPOSE:
• To examine information security at the U.S. Department of Education, including the Agency’s efforts to secure the personally-identifiable information (PII) provided by federal student aid applicants and their parents.
• To review recent findings of the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Department’s Inspector General (IG).
BACKGROUND:
• The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for managing the portfolio of over 40 million federal student loan borrowers holding over $1.18 trillion in outstanding debt obligations. The Department also manages other student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant program that annually serves 8.3 million students. These programs often require applicants and their parents to provide the Department with their PII.
• In FY2014, the IG found that, “While the Department made progress in strengthening its information security program, many longstanding weaknesses remain and the Department’s information systems continue to be vulnerable to serious security threats.”
KEY VIDEOS:
Chairman Chaffetz (R-UT):
“Here they’re managing more than $1 trillion dollars in assets, liability for the United States, it’s basically the size of Citibank and the CIO meets with the Secretary maybe twelve times a year. That’s absolutely stunning. And looking at the vulnerability of almost half of the population of the United States of America has their personal information sitting in this database which is not secure.”
Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA):
“How in the world can you give yourself a 7 out of 10 when you’re using technology that isn’t even supported?…When can we expect the system to be secure?…This is an issue, Mr. Chairman, that hits every district in this country.”
Rep Will Hurd (R-TX):
“IG reports show that since 2011 there was no mechanism to restrict the use of unauthorized devices on the network. Having the ability to find devices on your network, does it really take four years to figure that out?…To implement controls on 6000 users should not take four years… This is completely unacceptable. This is the kind of issue that the American people are completely frustrated with.”

WITNESSES AND TESTIMONIES

NameTitleOrganizationPanelDocument
Mr. Greg WilshusenDirector, Information Security IssuesU.S. Government Accountability OfficeDocument
The Honorable Kathleen S. TigheInspector GeneralU.S. Department of EducationDocument
Mr. Danny A. HarrisChief Information OfficerU.S. Department of EducationDocument

RELATED DOCUMENTS

NameDocument
FY 2015 Cybersecurity Sprint ResultsDocument
Dept. of Education FITARA Implementation ScorecardDocument
U.S. Department of Education: Information Security Review - United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:


ESEA Reauthorization: What’s in the Box? | deutsch29

ESEA Reauthorization: What’s in the Box? | deutsch29:

ESEA Reauthorization: What’s in the Box?






In July 2015, I read that Senator Lamar Alexander expected to have the next version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) completed by December 2015.
It looks like he will accomplish that goal. Here’s how:
In July 2015, both House and Senate passed bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. The House version is known as the Student Success Act (SSA); the Senate version is called the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) of 2015.
Both are an effort to reauthorize the last version of ESEA known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. Since both House and Senate have passed versions of an ESEA reauthorization, they now must come together and sort out the issues that differ between their two versions so that they might present a single bill to both houses for a vote.
The committee chairs who presided over the House and Senate bills, Representative John Kline (R-MN) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), respectively, apparently had their people work with the people of Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) during September and October so that the four of them (likely through their people) could create what they are calling a “framework” for a single ESEA reauthorization bill.
On November 17 and 18, 2015, both House and Senate, respectively, decided upon the members of the conference committee that is supposed to negotiate the single ESEA reauthorization bill. But events are moving at warp speed for this conference ESEA Reauthorization: What’s in the Box? | deutsch29:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 11/18/15



CORPORATE ED REFORM



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LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION
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