Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Federal officials urged not to step on state’s school reforms | EdSource

Federal officials urged not to step on state’s school reforms | EdSource:

Federal officials urged not to step on state's school reforms

Superintendents, teachers, advocates for students and business and community leaders sounded a strong, though not unanimous, call Monday for federal officials to give California wide berth to fashion a school improvement system without micromanagement from Washington.
“The best-run companies empower front-line workers. Focus on being a partner, not on telling us how to do the job but on helping us do the job,” David Rattray, executive vice president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, told U.S. Department of Education officials at a hearing in Los Angeles on the Every Student Succeeds Act, the successor to the No Child Left Behind Act.
In all-day hearings last week in Washington, D.C., and at UCLA on Monday, federal education officials led by Ann Whalen, senior adviser to Acting Education Secretary John King, sought advice on regulations to implement the new law. The  watchword from California – from the State Board of Education to the local level – was that the new regulations shouldn’t encroach on the flexibility that Congress intended when it passed and President Barack Obama signed the law last month.
“Implementation depends on lessons learned from the failure of NCLB,” said Patricia Rucker, a member of the state board who spoke in her role as a lobbyist for the California Teachers Association. “Balance federalism with local control. Rule making should be disciplined to respect the nuances of state plans.”
The state board is in the process of designing a school improvement system under parameters that the Legislature set in the 2013 Local Control Funding Formula. It will use various yardsticks of student achievement and school improvement, including measures of college and career preparation, parental involvement and student suspension rates as well as standardized test scores. The new law marks a shift from NCLB’s prescriptive state requirements on turning low-performing schools around, based primarily on test scores. The Every Student Succeeds Act is compatible, in principle, with the state’s approach.
But Congress also pared back the authority of future secretaries of education to negotiate exceptions to the law, and the federal and state laws have differences that could prove problematic.
State law focuses on assisting districts that need help, while the Every Student Succeeds Act directs aid to schools. The federal Federal officials urged not to step on state’s school reforms | EdSource: