How Dumb Do We Want Prospective Teachers To Be?

Teacher at Maxwell AFB Elementary/Middle School
(Air Force photo/Kelly Deichert)

Not much smarter than the dumbest students they will teach, it seems. But the exact answer will depend on the “research” read by those few who still read. If this National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) publication is accorded the status of research, they may accept one of its many internal (and misleading) conclusions:  “…there is mixed evidence on the number or type of courses a teacher takes and his or her performance in the classroom” (p. 75).

Its authors are suggesting that we really don’t know if teaching ability depends on the kinds of courses and how many of them a teacher takes, so they have no clear advice to give on whether we would have better elementary school teachers if they took any or more academic coursework in the subjects they taught.

Actually, the NCEE assertion was poorly stated, and the evidence isn’t mixed. What is mixed are the kinds of studies that were combined for an analysis addressing the wrong question. Evidence will be unclear if not misleading if all studies of K-12 teachers’ academic background are put into one basket to analyze, whether the teachers taught elementary or high school, and if one talks about the relationship of background courses to teaching skills, not to student achievement.

It has long been obvious that one can’t teach what one doesn’t know. That is why teacher licensing began many decades ago as an effort to ensure that prospective teachers understood the subjects they were going to be legally licensed to teach. Education schools quickly objected that licensure test scores weren’t related to teaching ability. Quite right. They didn’t correlate because licensure tests of subject knowledge weren’t designed to predict teaching skill. They came into being to assess whether the test-taker had the subject area knowledge needed for teaching the range of students at the grade levels specified by the license (see Ann Jarvella Wilson’s thesis-based paper, ED 262 049, on the history of teacher licensure tests).

That didn’t stop education school faculty from criticizing teacher licensure tests of subject area knowledge on spurious grounds. Unfortunately, irrelevant criticism did change the tests; they were watered down in content demand, and came to feature pedagogical items, especially at the elementary level.  However, the public was simply told that licensure tests didn’t predict teachers’ teaching skills and were thus useless. The public wasn’t told that these tests had a different purpose, and that one did not use a knowledge test to predict pedagogical skill (even pedagogical subject knowledge), especially since there was and is no consensus on what good teaching skills look like.  The public wasn’t told that real tests of subject knowledge could be useful for the purpose for which they were constructed, and that the more prospective teachers knew about a subject, the more students would learn in that subject.

But if one looks only at studies of the relationship between students’ academic performance (not teachers’ skills) and the college math and science courses that high school mathematics and science teachers have taken, there is a correlation. See the text on p. 13 here.

And it turns out that when one looks only at studies of those who teach math in K-8, there is little or no relationship. Why? We don’t know, because education researchers haven’t tried to find out the math content of the math or methods courses future math teachers in K-8 were required to take or what the qualifications of their education professors were for the math or science methods courses future math/science teachers were required to take. We don’t know what high school math or science courses K-8 teachers took when they were in high school themselves. Or what grades they got. We don’t know if they took few or any courses in math or science in college. And if they took special college math and science courses designed for future teachers (like “Science for Poets”), they may have had so little content that future nurses and engineers were not allowed to take them for credit.

But Chad Aldeman and Ashley Mitchel, authors of “No Guarantees: Is it Possible to Ensure Teachers Are Ready on Day One?” weren’t interested in the fact that students learn more from a subject-knowledgeable teacher (e.g., if one looks at studies of the students of teachers who had to take math or science courses in order to get licensed as math or science teacher—in 9-12). It seems Aldeman and Mitchel had a different agenda for their report, issued in February 2016 by Bellwether Education Partners. This organization was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop Common Core-aligned test items—to be used in a variety of Common Core-aligned tests for, it seems, teachers as well as students.

The agenda is explicit in the final section:  “…If the Common Core-aligned assessments uncover consistent variations among preparation programs, it will be easier to know how to improve teacher preparation pathways… (p. 27).”

Their agenda seemingly was to promote use of Common Core-aligned test items (to tell us that coursework in “pedagogical content knowledge” is needed to prepare future teachers), not to note that since research already indicates the benefit of mathematics or science coursework for those who teach mathematics or science in grades 9-12, requiring mathematics coursework of those who will be licensed to teach it in a self-contained elementary classroom is probably a good idea. However, readers must ask if there is any need to take a Common Core-aligned test to find out what common sense alone has told intelligent educators for centuries. Nothing replaces actual coursework in “content knowledge,” whether in high school or college.

Otherwise, why bother going to college? Indeed, why should we require prospective teachers for K-6 to get a college degree? Many countries don’t. (But they do expect prospective primary grade teachers to have taken strong academic courses in high school.) Based on the studies they have looked at, Aldeman and Mitchel also recommend (p. 8) that, since (as they misleadingly conclude after posing the wrong question) licensure has no relationship to teaching ability, we should let unlicensed people teach and be evaluated by their local school district on whether they should get a license. In other words, no licensure tests at all to determine whether prospective teachers know enough mathematics to teach it at all. And to determine the award of a teaching license, criteria would include success in teaching the Common Core-aligned math tests that they had passed. This is a circular system now being promoted for evaluating reading comprehension itself.

As an Education Week reporter has already noted “Deep reading comprehension refers to the process required to succeed at tasks defined by the Common Core State Literacy Standards, as well as to achieve proficiency on the more challenging reading tasks in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) framework.” The reporter took this circular definition directly from the “research” study she looked at.

It in turn was promoting something called Global Integrated Scenario-based Assessments (GISA), computer-based assessments developed by Educational Testing Service (ETS) that use scenarios, technology, and reading strategies to motivate students.  GISA is described by the reporter as “a theoretically based measure designed to reflect an updated understanding of the construct of reading comprehension.” Apparently, the definition of reading comprehension has been “updated” to mean the results of a test claiming to assess it.  Neat!

That may be why the NCEE report on the training of elementary school teachers can say towards the end, on p. 74: “…content courses should be aligned to the level of the curriculum being taught.”   So, how much will prospective primary grade school teachers ever learn, if teacher education policy makers read Common Core-aligned research?

It in turn was promoting something called Global Integrated Scenario-based Assessments (GISA), computer-based assessments developed by Educational Testing Service (ETS) that use scenarios, technology, and reading strategies to motivate students.  GISA is described by the reporter as “a theoretically based measure designed to reflect an updated understanding of the construct of reading comprehension.” Apparently, the definition of reading comprehension has been “updated” to mean the results of a test claiming to assess it.  Neat!

Kentucky Legislature Sends a Common Core Review Bill to Governor

Photo credit: Matt Turner (CC-By-2.0)

An update on SB 1, after it passed in the Kentucky Senate 35-0 back in February it was amended in the Kentucky House and then passed 94-0 on March 15th. Since it was amended the Senate had to take it up again and they passed it on Wednesday 37-0.

The bill was then delivered to Governor Matt Bevin for his signature.

What does it do?

Here is how the Associated Press described it:

Kentucky lawmakers have wrapped up work on an education bill that would gradually repeal Common Core standards and give school districts more control in how to turn around low-performing schools.

Here’s what the bill calls for:

Beginning in fiscal year 2017-2018, and every six (6) years thereafter, the Kentucky Department of Education shall implement a process for reviewing Kentucky’s academic standards and the alignment of corresponding assessments for possible revision or replacement to ensure alignment with postsecondary readiness standards necessary for global competitiveness and with state career and technical education standards.

They get into some specifics:

The revisions to the content standards shall:

  1. Focus on critical knowledge, skills, and capacities needed for success in the global economy;
  2. Result in fewer but more in-depth standards to facilitate mastery learning;
  3. Communicate expectations more clearly and concisely to teachers, parents, students, and citizens;
  4. Be based on evidence-based research;
  5. Consider international benchmarks; and
  6. Ensure that the standards are aligned from elementary to high school to postsecondary education so that students can be successful at each education level.

I’m seeing a ton of Common Core advocate catch phrases here. Granted if they actually consider international benchmarking then they should be throwing Common Core on the garbage heap. Having fewer standards are better. “Evidence-based research” is good if it goes beyond the research provided by the National Governors’ Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. Also, having elementary school be the starting point for standards should cause some improvements with early elementary standards. Previously it appeared the process was the exact opposite.

So I don’t want to say this is all bad, but it isn’t a repeal.

The review process looks very similar to what I’ve seen in other states. It leaves the door open to replacement, but it is set up to primarily be just a revision of the standards.

If I lived in Kentucky I wouldn’t get too excited about this. Granted it’s better than status quo at the moment, but, in my opinion, this bill is far from what was promised.

What The College Board Does With Data Collected From PSAT & SAT

College Board President David Coleman announces the SAT redesign.

In schools all over the country, middle and high school students will soon take PSAT and SAT assessments. I’m a parent and after my child’s class was asked to take the PSAT 8/9 (given to eighth and ninth graders) this past October, I discovered that the College Board, owner of these assessments, solicits personal information from each student without parental consent.

Several weeks after the test, the College Board returned the completed PSAT answer sheets and test booklets to students once the exam had been scored and recorded. I was surprised to learn that the PSAT 8/9 answer sheet begins by asking many very personal questions of each student; though nowhere on the form or booklet does it say these questions are optional.

The PSAT 8/9 instructions printed on the answer sheet said only this:

  • Use a Number 2 pencil only. Print the requested information in the boxes for each item.
  • Fill in the matching circle below what you write in each box. Erase errors completely.
  • In very fine print, at the top of Page 4 on the answer sheet, it states:                                                                                                              “QUESTIONS TO HELP THE COLLEGE BOARD HELP YOU — Your answers to the following questions will help the College Board ensure that tests and service are fair and useful to all students. Your responses may be used for research purposes and may be shared with your high school, school district and state.”

The answer sheet had spaces for the student’s name, grade level, sex, date of birth, student ID number or Social Security number, race/ethnic group, military relation, home address, email address, mobile phone,  grade point average, courses taken, and parents’ highest level of education.

If parents or students were to take it upon themselves to peruse the College Board website, they would find a page which urges students to participate in the College Board’s Student Search Service. See the table below for a list of the data that is potentially collected and shared, depending on the specific College Board assessment — SAT, PSAT or Advanced Placement.   Many of these questions are also asked of students right before they take the exam, as part of the Student Data Questionnaire.

As you can see, among students’ personal information collected and possibly sold includes citizenship — a particular concern given the increased risk that undocumented students may be identified and targeted by immigration officials. In New York City, apparently because of these concerns, public schools that are administering the SAT have now been alerted not to include the Student Questionnaire as part of the test.

After searching the College Board website, I contacted the College Board and asked why students are being asked about their family’s race, religion or military background. What does the College Board do with this personal data? Who specifically do they share data with? You can see my questions and the confusing and evasive response from the College Board here.

It took the College Board over three months to answer. Additionally, my immediate follow up questions sent two months ago, which include asking whether they sell student data and whether it is required for students to provide their religion, are still unanswered.

In their January response, the College Board claimed that students were told which questions were optional and that students had given “express consent” to share this information. In actuality, after talking to students, parents, and administrators at the school, it was clear they were unaware that these questions were optional. Additionally, Colorado law saysstudents must be at least 18 years old to consent to the use, sharing, or retention of their personally identifiable information.

Neither the PSAT 8/9 answer sheet or test booklet informed students that most of these questions were optional, or distinguished them from the obligatory questions, demanding they fill out their name, school, etc. In fact, the “optional” questions are not identified in the PSAT 8/9 Supervisor Manual or the script which proctors are instructed to follow.

However, according to the College Board’s response to my query, only the first five questions on the answer sheet are obligatory, including student name, grade level, sex, date of birth, and student ID numberThe remainder of personal questions, including race, religion, military background, GPA, home address, phone, etc. are optional.

When sitting down to take this high-stakes test, how is a student able to know which questions are considered voluntary if this is not clearly marked or communicated? With the answer sheet instructions stating to fill in every box, students tend to follow suit, fearing that an incomplete answer sheet could render their scores invalid. Why does the College Board even have a space for a student’s social security number in place of student ID number, when most states forbid using social security numbers as primary identifiers? Why aren’t parents asked for consent before information about their child’s attitudes, religion and race are collected and apparently shared, accessed by outside organizations via purchased license according to the College Board website?

Under federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, sensitive questions such as religion or income require prior informed parental consent.

Remarkably, there is no federal law prohibiting the sale of personal student data. However, there is a self-policed software industry privacy pledge in which signers promise not to sell a student’s personal information. The College Board has signed this pledge.

In addition, like many other states that have recently enacted student data privacy laws, Colorado’s student data transparency and security law alsoprohibits vendors from selling personal student data except in the case of a merger or acquisition. Accordingly, the amended contract between the state of Colorado and the College Board for SAT and PSAT 10 (the PSAT for 10th graders) expressly says that the “contractor shall not knowingly….License or sell Covered Information, including PII  to any third party.” PII means personally identifiable information.

Consider the astonishing amount of data collected on students today. In particular, think of the data collected and analyzed when students take a college entrance assessment. Many states now require high school students to take the SAT in eleventh grade. Some states, districts, or individual schools require students to take the PSAT assessment in eighth, ninth or tenth grades in hopes of improving their scores later on the SAT.

However, what many parents and schools do not know is that their student’s personal data, including “geographic, attitudinal and behavioral information” can be profiled and accessed by organizations via a license they purchase from the College Board. Yet the College Board’s privacy policy to parents and students claims they do not sell student data. Rather, they sell a license to access a student’s personal data. What is the difference? Indeed, this distinction seems only semantical.

The College Board sells licenses to access the data through a tagging service called College Board Search. The Segment Analysis Service™ is one of three featured tools of the Search, along with the Enrollment Planning Service™, and the Student Search Service®. These are “enhanced tools for smart recruitment.” The College Board’s Authorized Usage Policies states, “Student Search Service in connection with a legally valid program that takes such characteristics into account in furtherance of attaining a diverse student body.”

The pricing for the College Board Search student data tagging service is$0.42 cents per student, and allows college admission professionals to identify prospective students based on factors such as zip code and race and to Leverage profiles of College Board test-takers for all states, geomarkets, and high schools.”

Segment Analysis Services is “for admission offices that need market and attitudinal information early in the recruitment process in order to better segment and target the admission pool,” and “Use Educational Neighborhood and High School Clusters as criteria when licensing names with Student Search Service, Access individual cluster factor scores. Tag an unlimited number of files…”

Which organizations buy personal student data licenses from the College Board? They are not listed anywhere on the website. A New York Civil Liberties Union fact sheet reveals that the Department of Defense is among the institutions which buys student data for recruiting purposes.

The College Board, ostensibly a non-profit, had $77 million in profits and $834 million in net assets in 2015,  according to Reuters. How much of that income  was garnered through the licensing of student data?

Why is the College Board allowed to share personal student data through the Student Search Service, in which companies are charged via a “license agreement” if this is specifically prohibited by Colorado law?

Is the College Board selling personal student data in other states, through their “license” agreements, despite having signed the student privacy pledge?

 Interestingly, since I’ve started asking questions to the College Board and the state, the College Board recently sent home Student Data Consent Forms for the PSAT 10 and SAT to some Colorado families the week of March 6, 2017. This is a good first step and should have been done prior to students taking the PSAT 8/9 assessment last fall.

However, there is no parent signature required on these new consent forms. Why is the College Board still asking for consent from a minor student and not the parent?

Here is an excerpt of the new SAT consent form sent home to Colorado students:

The SAT Student Data Questionnaire asks students about their personal attitudes and interests.

The Colorado contract with the College Board for SAT and PSAT10 states the following about this Student Descriptive Questionnaire:

Curiously,  the SAT Consent Form links to instructions for the College Board’s Student Data Questionnaire which say, “The data you provide will be added to your College Board student record, even if you choose to not participate in Student Search Service.” What personal information is being “added” to a student’s record and what is the purpose? Can that information still be licensed and shared?

As reported by independent consultant Nancy Griesemer in 2015, ACT also has a lengthy pre-test survey that collects personal data from students which, combined with other data, is being used by colleges and universities to assess the student’s “Overall GPA Chances of Success” in various majors and courses, measured in terms of likely to receive “B” or “C” or in these areas. You can see what these scores look like on this updated sample ACT report. (Notice this ACT report also includes the student’s citizenship status.)

As discussed in The Washington Post last year, there’s still a lot students and parents need to know about how data is collected, shared, and accessed via licenses sold. And as Politico reported in 2014:

Many kids also put their personal profiles on the market — whether they realize it or not — when they take college entrance exams. Students taking the SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement exams and other standardized tests are asked to check off a box if they want to receive information from colleges or scholarship organizations. Depending on the exam, at least 65 percent — and as many as 85 percent — of test takers check that box, according to the College Board and ACT. That consent allows the College Board and ACT, both nonprofits, to market students’ personal profiles…

That struck me as almost predatory, playing on students’ hopes and fears by having them surrender their personal data. So, I wrote to the College Board and asked this: “What happens if students do NOT give their data to Student Search? Will this limit their ability to get into colleges? Will they still be considered for scholarships?

The answer from the College Board is important for every student, parent and school administrator to hear: “If a student does not opt in to Student Search Service it will not impact their chances at being accepted into colleges or scholarship programs in any way.”   This should be printed on instructions, every test booklet, and website.

My experiences as a Colorado parent show that this frustrating lack of transparency still exists today. And it’s getting worse as  data and algorithms are being increasingly used to make decisions about students’ lives, without their knowledge. These algorithms can analyze and recombine data to make predictions about their futures. As an article in “Fast Company” reveals, students’ data footprints are affecting their lives in ways they can’t even imagine:

…Even major life decisions like college admissions and hiring are being affected. You might think that a college is considering you on your merits, and while that’s mostly true, it’s not entirely. Pressured to improve their rankings, colleges are very interested in increasing their graduation rates and the percentage of admitted students who enroll. They have nowhave developed statistical programs to pick students who will do well on these measures. These programs may take into account obvious factors like grades, but also surprising factors like their sex, race, and behavior on social media accounts. If your demographic factors or social media presence happen to doom you, you may find it harder to get into school—and not know why.

Despite much opposition, a 2011  regulatory change to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, FERPA,  weakened this federal law that once protected student information from being shared without consent.  FERPA needs to be fixed and parents need to be given back their rights to consent to student data sharing. State laws as well as the Student Privacy Pledge need to be scrupulously enforced so that personal student data is not sold for profit. Bottom line, parents and students after they reach 18 should own and control their own data. They should have a say as to whether and how personal information about their child is shared outside of the school walls.

Iowa Senate Poised to Vacate Decision to Use Smarter Balanced

Last year the Iowa State Board of Education approved the Smarter Balanced Assessment as the new statewide assessment to replace the current Iowa Assessments developed by the Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa. The Iowa Senate will consider a bill, SF 240, that would stop the implementation from taking place.

The Des Moines Register in their coverage says the bill takes Iowa back to square one.

A bill moving through the Iowa Statehouse could undo four years of work to bring new state exams to Iowa schools.

Convened at the direction of state lawmakers in 2013, the Iowa Assessment Task Force met 16 times over 13 months to review proposals by eight testing vendors, including one marathon,12-hour day of interviews.

The task force’s recommendation for a new state exam was heralded as a major step forward for Iowa education: The Smarter Balanced tests it selected use technology to better pinpoint student ability, potentially giving teachers and schools more accurate and immediate information.

Governor Terry Branstad put the implementation of Smarter Balanced on hold at the start of the legislative session. Here’s the thing… the assessment move was heralded by those who were already in favor of Smarter Balanced. This move to Smarter Balanced was not heralded by parents, and certainly not taxpayers.  While the leadership of certain organizations were on board with Smarter Balanced it is questionable how much their members actually support it.

I reported in December how this assessment was impacting one school district in Western Iowa. I also shared the fiscal impact Smarter Balanced was going to have on the state.

Carroll Community School District is a school district in Western Iowa who has an enrollment of 1773 students. District Superintendent Rob Cortes told KCIM 1380 AM that the change represents an increase of $25,000 to the district’s assessment costs. This is an increase the state of Iowa has not set money aside to cover. Cortes noted that in order to pay for Smarter Balanced they will discontinue other assessments they used along with the current Iowa Assessments.

This represents a significant increase, consider what this is costing larger school districts.

Here are hard cost estimates to Iowa’s districts based on 2013-2014 enrollment (see spreadsheet of district breakdown):

  • SBAC summative: nearly a $5.5 million increase (500% increase)
  • SBAC summative, interim, digital library: over a $6.8 million increase (nearly 700% increase)
  • Next Generation Iowa Assessment: over a $3.2 million increase (300% increase)

Those numbers have only gotten worse. Also when you consider the budget shortfall of $131 million Iowa is projected to have this fiscal year with FY 2018 looking even more grim implementing this test would just be irresponsible.

Then there is the problem of Smarter Balanced showing no validity or reliability. Missouri Education Watchdog reported back in 2015:

An eye opening report  “Issues and Recommendation for Resolution of the General Assembly Regarding Validity and Reliability of the Smarter Balanced Assessments Scheduled for Missouri in Spring 2015″ authored by Dr. Mary Byrne of the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core, in consultation with other teachers and a test development expert, shows that the SBAC test Missouri schools are poised to give this spring has no external validity or reliability. In laymen terms this means that the test developers have no corroborating outside confirmation to prove that their test questions measure what they claim to measure or can produce consistent results in repeated administrations. All they have is their own claim of validity and a plan to develop this external validity some time in the future. This means that no meaningful conclusions can be drawn from student scores on this exam. Despite the fact that SBAC piloted both the test items AND the delivery system simultaneously, making determination of why a student may have missed an answer extremely difficult to tease out, SBAC went ahead and set cut scores from data collected during the pilot tests given last spring. Further, by design, those cut scores have been set so that 62% of the children will score below proficient according to this EdWeek article.

Improvements have not been made on that front.

Then, the assessment task force process was a sham since it was guided by the Iowa Department of Education. They had already invested in Smarter Balanced. I have yet to see a task force make a recommendation that is contrary to the will of the Iowa Department of Education.

The current bill requires the Iowa Department of Education to issue an RFP by April 30, 2017 for a new assessment to be ready by July 1, 2018. The assessment has to be in both paper-and-pencil and computer-based format. The bill then says this:

In evaluating the proposals, the department shall only consider the feasibility of implementation by school districts; the costs to school districts and the state in providing and administering the statewide assessment and the technical support necessary to administer the statewide assessment; the costs of acquiring the infrastructure necessary for implementing technology readiness in all of Iowa’s school districts, including technology required for accommodations; the degree to which the submission is aligned with the Iowa core academic standards; the ability of the assessment to measure student growth and student proficiency; the ability of the assessment to meet the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, Pub. L. No. 114-95; and the instructional time required to conduct the statewide assessment.

Unfortunately Iowa will still end up with a Common Core-aligned test since the bill requires it and Iowa’s math and ELA standards are Common Core. Every Student Succeeds Act requires a state’s assessment be aligned with their standards. The bill also does not require the state to withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium as an affiliate member. I don’t see how the Department can feign independence while maintaining affiliate member status with the Consortium. Governor Branstad supposedly withdrew Iowa from the consortium, but Smarter Balanced still lists Iowa as an affiliate member. Iowa was a governing member before.

The best case scenario out of this legislative session is that a better fiscal decision for taxpayers will be made and a better assessment will be selected. Putting this back into the hands of the Iowa Department of Education and Iowa State Board of Education though I have my doubts.

Senate GOP Helps Nix Troubling Appointment

We finally have some good news the area of appointments to the U.S. Department of Education. One troubling appointment has been nixed because of her support for Common Core.

Politico reported this morning:

Well, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education may still be up for grabs after the Trump administration recently reversed plans to nominate New Mexico Education Secretary Hanna Skandera for the assistant secretary job, POLITICO has learned. The administration’s decision to pull back an offer came after Republicans raised concerns about Skandera’s support for the Common Core standards. The offer appears to have been extended before Hill Republicans were consulted.

“About a dozen Republican offices were skeptical that they could ever vote yes” on Skandera because of her embrace of the standards, said a senior GOP aide. Those English and math standards are reviled by conservatives as a symbol of federal overreach. Republicans also weren’t interested in another fight over an education nominee after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ bruising confirmation process. Skandera, who sits on the governing board for the Common Core-aligned PARCC test, declined to comment.

Hanna Skandera was not a welcome nominee for those of us who are opposed to Common Core. We wonder when President Trump was going to act on his opposition to the standards, and we are still waiting.

Will he finally appoint someone to the the Department who actually opposes Common Core and wants to shrink the Federal role in education? Or will he continue to make the Department in Jeb Bush’s image?

When a Repeal Isn’t a Repeal

West Virginia State Capitol Building – Charleston, WV
Photo credit: O Palsson (CC-By-2.0)

SB 524 currently before the West Virginia Senate is being touted as a Common Core repeal. The bill, unlike the HB 2443 introduced in the West Virginia House of Delegates, does not effectively repeal the Common Core State Standards.

Let me explain.

Right now SB 524, if passed, would prohibit the State Board of Education from implementing the Common Core State Standards by July 1, 2018. Sounds good right?

Well, that in itself is a a watering down of the bill as this reflects an amendment, the introduced version said the prohibition was effective July 1, 2017. So this gives Common Core another year to be entrenched in West Virginia schools.

Then the HB 2443 and the original version of SB 524 required the adoption of Massachusetts’ ELA standards pre-Common Core and California’s math standards pre-Common Core. This was amended out.

Why? Susan Berry with Breitbart News reports the explanation State Senator Robert Karnes (R-Ripley), the author of that amendment, told her:

I’m fine with those standards, but there was a real concerted effort by some to…I don’t know if you could exactly say slander, but let’s just say they hit those standards very hard for being old and out of touch…and it was carrying a lot of weight. So, the amendment, essentially, served one purpose, and that was to keep the bill alive and move it over to the House.

And there’s an effort over there to define more clearly what we did in the amendment, essentially saying that state teachers, state educators, will be involved in any standards formulation, adoption, etc. We put that in there, and I’m told that on the House side they’ve got some even better language.

But, having those specific standards in there, I believe would have essentially killed the bill. It’s better to keep it moving than to watch it die.

There is not requirement for the state to adopt proven standards right away, but move straight to the development of new standards which would require the Board to “allow West Virginia educators the opportunity to participate in the development of the academic standards.”

There would then be a sixty day comment period and four public hearings.

Needless to say, that doesn’t provide any assurances West Virginia won’t end up with a rebrand. Actually what we’ve seen thus far in other states pretty much guarantees it.

The State Board of Education recently voted to move away from Smarter Balanced starting next school year. What will the state end up with?

It’s important to note that the Every Student Succeeds Act requires as part of a state’s accountability plan to have standards and an assessment that are aligned with one another.

If the State Board of Education is develops a new assessment before being prohibited from implementing the Common Core State Standards what do we think their new assessment will be aligned to?

When they develop new standards under this new assessment what do we think those standards will be aligned to?

In the end you have Common Core or some version of it.

I agree with Erin Tuttle, co-founder of Hoosiers Against Common Core, that saw a rebranding in their own state Susan Berry quotes Tuttle in her piece:

Despite boastful claims from state legislators that Common Core was repealed, the people of West Virginia aren’t buying it. The fact that every school is still using Common Core textbooks and administering a Common Core test (Smarter Balance) is an everyday reminder to students, parents, and teachers that the state legislature’s claim is false….

….Until state legislators stop lying to themselves and admit what everyone else knows to be true, very little progress will be made by West Virginia’s schools. The state legislature needs to face reality and pass a bill that not only repeals Common Core, but ensures it is replaced by standards that work.

Rouzer Files Bill to Eliminate the U.S. Department of Education

Photo credit: UpstateNYer (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) is not the only one in Congress who wants to see the U.S. Department of Education eliminated. I’m sure there are several legislators who would love to see that happen. One of his colleagues joined him in filing a bill to do just that.

Congressman David Rouzer (R-NC) last Friday introduced H.R. 1510, the States’ Education Reclamation Act, to eliminate the Department in order to increase teachers’ pay.

The bill proposes to reallocate the Department’s billions in funding to be proportionally distributed to the respective states to be used for any education purpose as they see fit, such as teacher pay raises, new school construction, investment in technology and more.  Taxpayer dollars provided to the U.S. Department of Education from each state would be returned to the states in the form of grants.

“Given the challenges and special needs that all teachers and school administrators continually face, we can get far more out of the tax dollars currently being spent on education by dismantling this billion dollar federal agency and returning those resources back to the states,” Rouzer said in a released statement.

Under this bill certain Department programs would be retained, such as the job training program, special education grant program, Federal Pell Grant program, and federal student loan programs.  Those entities would remain intact, but transferred to other government agencies.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is the bill’s sole co-sponsor at the moment.

Below is the text of the bill:

To provide for the elimination of the Department of Education, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “States’ Education Reclamation Act of 2017”.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress finds the following:

(1) Principles of federalism embodied in the Constitution of the United States entrust authority over issues of educational policy to the States and the people and a Federal Department of Education is inconsistent with such principles.

(2) Tradition and experience dictate that the governance and management of schools in the United States are best performed by parents, teachers, and communities.

(3) The education of the Nation’s students is suffering under a managerial government.

(4) The Department of Education has weakened the ability of parents to make essential decisions about their children’s education and has undermined the capacity of communities to govern their schools.

(5) In the 34 years of its existence, the Department of Education has grown from a budget of $14 billion to almost $65.7 billion in annual discretionary appropriations administering around 100 programs. Meanwhile, education performance for 17-year-olds has stagnated since 1971.

(6) The Department of Education has fostered over-regulation, standardization, bureaucratization, and litigation in United States education.

(7) The Department of Education expends large amounts of money on its own maintenance and overhead. While the average national salary for public school teachers is $56,103 the average salary for a Department of Education employee is $108,571.

(8) In certain States, the average State salary for a public school teacher is less than the national average. In North Carolina, the average salary for a public school teacher is $45,737.

(9) Recent tests reflect poor results in mathematics, science, and reading for American students compared with students from other nations.

(10) Only through initiatives led by parents and local communities with the power to act can the United States elevate educational performance toward an acceptable level.

(11) The current system of top-down education uniformity is detrimental to local businesses and communities, the economic needs of the States, and the Nation’s ability to compete globally for jobs.

(12) The Department of Education has been hostile to many promising reforms, including reforms that would empower parents, teachers, and local communities. The United States, once a laboratory of innovation through the experiments of the States, is moving toward education standardization that does not consider the individual educational needs of our diverse population of students.

SEC. 3. ABOLITION OF DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.

The Department of Education is abolished, and, with the exception of the programs transferred under section 7, any program for which the Secretary of Education or the Department of Education has administrative responsibility as provided by law or by delegation of authority pursuant to law is repealed, including each program under the following:

(1) The Department of Education Organization Act (20 U.S.C. 3401 et seq.).

(2) The General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. 1221 et seq.).

SEC. 4. GRANTS TO STATES FOR ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY AND FOR POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION PROGRAMS.

(a) In General.—Subject to the requirements of this Act, each State is entitled to receive from the Secretary of the Treasury, by not later than July 1 of the preceding fiscal year—

(1) a grant for fiscal year 2018 and each succeeding fiscal year through fiscal year 2026, that is equal to the amount of funds appropriated for the State for Federal elementary school and secondary school programs for fiscal year 2012 (except for the funds appropriated for fiscal year 2012 for such programs for such State that are being transferred under section 7); and

(2) a grant for fiscal year 2018 and each succeeding fiscal year through fiscal year 2026, that is equal to the amount of funds appropriated for the State for Federal postsecondary education programs for fiscal year 2012 (except for the funds appropriated for fiscal year 2012 for such programs for such State that are being transferred under section 7).

(b) Appropriation.—Out of any money in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, there are appropriated for fiscal years 2018 through 2026, such sums as are necessary for grants under subsection (a).

(c) Requirements Relating To Intergovernmental Financing.—The Secretary of the Treasury shall make the transfer of funds under grants under subsection (a) directly to each State in accordance with the requirements of section 6503 of title 31, United States Code.

(d) Expenditure Of Funds.—Amounts received by a State under this section for any fiscal year shall be expended by the State in such fiscal year or in the succeeding fiscal year.

(e) Use Of Funds.—Funds made available to a State—

(1) under subsection (a)(1), shall be used by the State for any elementary or secondary education purpose permitted by State law, including increases in teacher salaries; and

(2) under subsection (a)(2), shall be used by the State for any postsecondary education purpose permitted by State law.

(f) Supplement, Not Supplant.—A grant received under subsection (a) shall only be used to supplement the amount of funds that would, in the absence of such grant, be made available from non-Federal sources for elementary school and secondary school programs or postsecondary education programs, and not to supplant those funds.

SEC. 5. ADMINISTRATIVE AND FISCAL ACCOUNTABILITY.

(a) Audits.—

(1) CONTRACT WITH APPROVED AUDITING ENTITY.—Not later than October 1, 2017, and annually thereafter, a State shall contract with an approved auditing entity (as defined under paragraph (3)(B)) for purposes of conducting an audit under paragraph (2) (with respect to the fiscal year ending September 30 of such year).

(2) AUDIT REQUIREMENT.—Under a contract under paragraph (1), an approved auditing entity shall conduct an audit of the expenditures or transfers made by a State from amounts received under a grant under section 4, with respect to the fiscal year which such audit covers, to determine the extent to which such expenditures and transfers were expended in accordance with section 4.

(3) ENTITY CONDUCTING AUDIT.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—With respect to a State, the audit under paragraph (2) shall be conducted by an approved auditing entity in accordance with generally accepted auditing principles.

(B) APPROVED AUDITING ENTITY.—For purposes of this section, the term “approved auditing entity” means, with respect to a State, an entity that is—

(i) approved by the Secretary of the Treasury;

(ii) approved by the chief executive officer of the State; and

(iii) independent of any Federal, State, or local agency.

(4) SUBMISSION OF AUDIT.—Not later than April 30, 2018, and annually thereafter, a State shall submit the results of the audit under paragraph (2) (with respect to the fiscal year ending on September 30 of such year) to the State legislature and to the Secretary of the Treasury.

(b) Reimbursement And Penalty.—If, through an audit conducted under subsection (a), an approved auditing entity finds that a State violated the requirements of subsection (d) or (e) of section 4, the State shall pay to the Treasury of the United States 100 percent of the amount of State funds that were used in violation of section 4 as a penalty. Insofar as a State fails to pay any such penalty, the Secretary of the Treasury shall offset the amount not so paid against the amount of any grant otherwise payable to the State under this Act.

(c) Annual Reporting Requirements.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than January 31, 2018, and annually thereafter, each State shall submit to the Secretary of the Treasury and the State legislature a report on the activities carried out by the State during the most recently completed fiscal year with funds received by the State under a grant under section 4 for such fiscal year.

(2) CONTENT.—A report under paragraph (1) shall, with respect to a fiscal year—

(A) contain the results of the audit conducted by an approved auditing entity for a State for such fiscal year, in accordance with the requirements of subsection (a) of this section;

(B) specify the amount of the grant made to the State under section 4; and

(C) be in such form and contain such other information as the State determines is necessary to provide—

(i) an accurate description of the activities conducted by the State for the purpose described under section 4; and

(ii) a complete record of the purposes for which amounts were expended in accordance with this section.

(3) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY.—A State shall make copies of the reports required under this section available on a public website and shall make copies available in other formats upon request.

(d) Failure To Comply With Requirements.—The Secretary of the Treasury shall not make any payment to a State under a grant authorized by section 4—

(1) if an audit for a State is not submitted as required under subsection (a) during the period between the date such audit is due and the date on which such audit is submitted;

(2) if a State fails to submit a report as required under subsection (c) during the period between the date such report is due and the date on which such report is submitted; or

(3) if a State violates a requirement of section 4 during the period beginning on the date the Secretary becomes aware of such violation and the date on which such violation is corrected by the State.

(e) Administrative Supervision And Oversight.—

(1) LIMITED ROLE FOR SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.—The authority of the Secretary of the Treasury under this Act is limited to—

(A) promulgating regulations, issuing rules, or publishing guidance documents to the extent necessary for purposes of implementing subsection (a)(3)(B), subsection (b), and subsection (d);

(B) making payments to the States under grants under section 4;

(C) approving entities under subsection (a)(3)(B) for purposes of the audits required under subsection (a);

(D) withholding payment to a State of a grant under subsection (d) or offsetting a payment of such a grant to a State under subsection (b); and

(E) exercising the authority relating to nondiscrimination that is specified in section 6(b).

(2) LIMITED ROLE FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL.—The authority of the Attorney General to supervise the amounts received by a State under section 4 is limited to the authority under section 6(b).

(f) Reservation Of State Powers.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the power of a State, including the power of a State to pursue civil and criminal penalties under State law against any individual or entity that misuses, or engages in fraud or abuse related to, the funds provided to a State under section 4.

SEC. 6. NONDISCRIMINATION PROVISIONS.

(a) No Discrimination Against Individuals.—No individual shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under, any program or activity funded in whole or in part with amounts paid to a State under section 4 on the basis of such individual’s—

(1) disability under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794);

(2) sex under title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.); or

(3) race, color, or national origin under title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.).

(b) Compliance.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—If the Attorney General determines that a State or an entity that has received funds from amounts paid to a State under a grant under section 4 has failed to comply with a provision of law referred to in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury shall notify the chief executive officer of the State of such failure to comply and shall request that such chief executive officer secure such compliance.

(2) ENFORCEMENT.—If, not later than 60 days after receiving notification under paragraph (1), the chief executive officer of a State fails or refuses to secure compliance with the provision of law referred to in such notification, the Attorney General may—

(A) institute an appropriate civil action; or

(B) exercise the powers and functions provided under section 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794a), title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), or title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.) (as applicable).

SEC. 7. TRANSFER OF CERTAIN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PROGRAMS.

(a) Transfer Of Certain Programs.—Not later than 24 months after the date of the enactment of this Act—

(1) each job training program under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education, including the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (20 U.S.C. 2301 et seq.) shall be transferred to the Department of Labor;

(2) each special education grant program under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1460 et seq.) shall be transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services;

(3) each Indian education program under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education shall be transferred to the Department of the Interior;

(4) each Impact Aid program under title VIII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.) shall be transferred to the Department of Defense;

(5) the Federal Pell Grant program under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070a), shall be transferred to the Department of the Treasury;

(6) each Federal student loan program under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education shall be transferred to the Department of the Treasury;

(7) each program under the jurisdiction of the Institute of Education Sciences shall be transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services; and

(8) each program under the jurisdiction of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program shall be transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services.

(b) Limitation On Transfer Of Certain Programs.—The transfer of programs pursuant to subsection (a) is limited to only the transfer of administrative responsibility as provided by law or the delegation of authority pursuant to law and does not extend to the transfer of personnel employed by the Department of Education to carry out such programs.

SEC. 8. GAO REPORT.

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate report, which shall include—

(1) a review and evaluation as to the feasibility of enhancing the ability of States and local communities to fund education by reducing the Federal tax burden and commensurately eliminating Federal Government involvement in providing grants for education programs; and

(2) an evaluation of the feasibility of the successor Federal agencies for maintaining the programs to be transferred under section 7.

SEC. 9. PLAN FOR CLOSURE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.

Not later than 365 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the Congress a plan to implement closure of the Department of Education in accordance with this Act.

SEC. 10. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) ELEMENTARY SCHOOL; SECONDARY SCHOOL.—The terms “elementary school” and “secondary school” have the meanings given the terms in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 9101).

(2) INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION.—The term “institution of higher education” has the meaning given the term in section 102 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1002).

(3) STATE.—The term “State” has the meaning given the term in section 103 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1003).

Tell Your State to Slow Their Roll With ESSA State Plans

Photo credit: Jerzy Kociatkiewicz

**See updates below**

State Education Agencies seem to be in a rush to submit their state accountability plans, that are required under the Every Student Succeeds Act, to the U.S. Department of Education. The U.S. Department of Education has made some changes to the template they require, and offer some more flexibility.

The “simplification” of the template leaves parents out of the mix and seems to encourage states to submit their plans sooner that what should be considered prudent, especially if they are bypassing adequate public input.

One change that is concerning when comparing the Obama administration state plan template to the Trump administration template is in the area expected consultation.

The preceding template had this to say about consultation:

 Each SEA must engage in timely and meaningful consultation with stakeholders in developing its consolidated State plan, consistent with 34 C.F.R. §§ 299.13 (b) and 299.15 (a).  The stakeholders must include the following individuals and entities and reflect the geographic diversity of the State: 

  • The Governor or appropriate officials from the Governor’s office; 
  • Members of the State legislature; 
  • Members of the State board of education, if applicable; 
  • LEAs, including LEAs in rural areas; 
  • Representatives of Indian tribes located in the State; 
  • Teachers, principals, other school leaders, paraprofessionals, specialized instructional support personnel, and organizations representing such individuals; 
  • Charter school leaders, if applicable; 
  • Parents and families; 
  • Community-based organizations; 
  • Civil rights organizations, including those representing students with disabilities, English learners, and other historically underserved students; 
  • Institutions of higher education (IHEs); 
  • Employers; 
  • Representatives of private school students; 
  • Early childhood educators and leaders; and 
  • The public. 

The Obama administration also required the template to be written in language parents could understand.   How much parents were actually contacted and whether the language of individual state plans meet that particular is debatable, but at least it was included.

The Trump administration’s template says this about consulting:

Under ESEA section 8540, each SEA must consult in a timely and meaningful manner with the Governor, or appropriate officials from the Governor’s office, including during the development and prior to submission of its consolidated State plan to the Department.  A Governor shall have 30 days prior to the SEA submitting the consolidated State plan to the Secretary to sign the consolidated State plan.  If the Governor has not signed the plan within 30 days of delivery by the SEA, the SEA shall submit the plan to the Department without such signature.

They also provide that a state plan can be submitted without the state’s governor’s signature? Really? The Trump administration also says they can use an alternate template working through the Council of Chief State School Officers, the same group that helped to create the Common Core State Standards.

Hey way *to get rid of* Common Core!

Mary Byrne, Cheri Kiesecker, and Sandra Stotsky created a template letter (updated) you can use to send to your Governor and relevant legislators to encourage them to do the four following things (updated):

(1) Postpone submission of the State Plan to USED until September, as allowed by USED;

(2) If it has not yet done so, ask the department of education to post online the proposed State Plan for public comment, and provide on the governor’s website an accessible online response site forsuggestions by individual reviewers;

(3) Ask the department of education to make available all the signed individual reviewer comments online and/or in writing so the public can see how many parents and teachers replied and who replied;

(4) Make an announcement of the public posting of the State Plan, asking parents to send in their comments online or mail them to the governor by a specified date;

(5) Distribute the draft State Plan to the legislature for working out the fiscal implications of the plan;

(6) Submit the Supplemental Plan that includes fiscal and local accountability to a vote by the state legislature and approved by the governor before either one submits it to USED; and

(7) Publish the final versions of the State Plan and the Supplemental Plan online and in the news media.

 

You can download the template letter here (updated).

Update: See this additional information from Mary Byrne:

The goal of the letter and its request for a supplemental plan is to ask the governor and members of the legislature to take the reins with regard to Consolidated State Plans, and make the process of developing and implementing the plan accountable to the people of their respective states. In contrast, the CSP template (from Obama and Trump administrations) do not ask for the plan developers to consider budget implications on the state — the feds are only really concerned about their agenda, not about the impact of that agenda on the states.
The template can be expanded for individual state’s situation. Not all states plans have the same set of problems, but given that the Guidance did not have a budget page, it’s a sure bet no state department of education submitted a budget section as a supplemental plan. That’s why we ask the governors to do that.
If readers would like to access the state plans initially developed by their states, they can do a search on the internet and/or look for their state on the CCSSO website that has a partial list of state’s draft ESSA plan.

New Jersey Assembly Says Don’t Use PARCC as a Graduation Requirement

Yesterday the New Jersey Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of ACR 215 by a 69 to 3 vote with two members abstaining. The resolution basically says that the New Jersey State Board of Education overstepped and went beyond what the Legislature intended when they passed graduation requirements and that they did not intend for PARCC to be used as a graduation requirement.

Here’s the language:

This concurrent resolution embodies the finding of the Legislature that the State Board of Education’s regulations to revise the assessments required for students to demonstrate graduation proficiency, adopted on August 3, 2016 and published in the New Jersey Register on September 6, 2016, are not consistent with the intent of the Legislature as established in State law, P.L.1979, c.241 (C.18A:7C-1 et seq.).

The State Board of Education will have 30 days from the date of transmittal of this resolution to amend or withdraw the regulations, or the Legislature may, by passage of another concurrent resolution, exercise its authority under the Constitution to invalidate the regulations.

Carolee Adams, the President of Eagle Forum of New Jersey, shared the following message with Truth in American Education.

ACR215 Overwhelmingly Passes the NJ State Assembly overturning the egregious requirement to pass PARCC to graduate that is inconsistent with the intent of the legislature! Now onto the NJ State Senate!

Thank you to my Assembly members Robert Auth (R-39) and Holly Schepisi (R-39) who voted YES along with 65 others!

Voting “No”: Asm. Anthony Bucco-R-25); Erik Peterson (R-23); and Jay Webber (R-26). Abstaining: Jon Bramnick (R-21); Gregory McGuckin (R-10). Not Voting Michael Carroll (R-25); Joseph Egan (D-17); Reed Gusciora (D-15); Declan O’Scanlon (R-13); Eliana Pintor-Marin (D-29); Kevin Rooney (R-40); David Russo (R-40); David Wolfe (R-10.)
(67 Yeas; 3 Nays;2 Abstain; 8 Not Voting)

Please thank those members who voted YES using this link for contact information. http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/abcroster.asp

Here is the picture of the vote roster:

The New Jersey Senate is considering the companion, identical resolution – SCR 132.

President Trump’s First Budget Reflects U.S. Dept. of Education Cuts

President Donald Trump released his first budget’s blueprint that just includes discretionary spending today. The U.S. Department of Education along with most cabinet level department and agencies will experience a significant budget cut in FY 2018 should Congress approve his full budget as is (which will be released later this Spring).

His budget provides $59 billion in discretionary spending for FY 2018 which reflects a reduction of $9 Billion or 13 percent of the annualized 2017 continuing resolution levels. The budget reflects President Trump’s commitment to school choice, but also reflects the elimination of numerous programs within the Department.

Here are the highlights:

  • Increases investments in public and private school choice by $1.4 billion compared to the 2017 annualized CR level, ramping up to an annual total of $20 billion, and an estimated $100 billion including matching State and local funds. This additional investment in 2018 includes a $168 million increase for charter schools, $250 million for a new private school choice program, and a $1 billion increase for Title I, dedicated to encouraging districts to adopt a system of student-based budgeting and open enrollment that enables Federal, State, and local funding to follow the student to the public school of his or her choice.
  • Maintains approximately $13 billion in funding for IDEA programs to support students with special education needs. This funding provides States, school districts, and other grantees with the resources needed to provide high quality special education and related services to students and young adults with disabilities.
  • Eliminates the $2.4 billion Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program, which is poorly targeted and spread thinly across thousands of districts with scant evidence of impact.
  • Eliminates the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports before- and after-school programs as well as summer programs, resulting in savings of $1.2 billion from the 2017 annualized CR level. The programs lacks strong evidence of meeting its objectives, such as improving student achievement.
  • Eliminates the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, a less well- targeted way to deliver need-based aid than the Pell Grant program, to reduce complexity in nancial student aid and save $732 million from the 2017 annualized CR level.
  • Safeguards the Pell Grant program by level funding the discretionary appropriation while proposing a cancellation of $3.9 billion from unobligated carryover funding, leaving the Pell program on sound footing for the next decade.
  • Protects support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions, which provide opportunities for communities that are often underserved, maintaining $492 million in funding for programs that serve high percentages of minority students.
  • Reduces Federal Work-Study signi cantly and reforms the poorly-targeted allocation to ensure funds go to undergraduate students who would bene t most.
  • Provides $808 million for the Federal TRIO Programs and $219 million for GEAR UP, resulting in savings of $193 million from the 2017 annualized CR level. Funding to TRIO programs is reduced in areas that have limited evidence on the overall effectiveness in improving student outcomes. The Budget funds GEAR UP continuation awards only, pending the completion of an upcoming rigorous evaluation of a portion of the program.
  • Eliminates or reduces over 20 categorical programs that do not address national needs, duplicate other programs, or are more appropriately supported with State, local, or private funds, including Striving Readers, Teacher Quality Partnership, Impact Aid Support Payments for Federal Property, and International Education programs.