When new teachers graduate from preparation programs unprepared to manage their classrooms or help all their students learn at high levels, it’s not just unfair to the teachers, but unjust to their students — often low-income students and students of color who tend to be disproportionately assigned to novice teachers. True, most teachers will grow their skills with experience. But, in the meantime, teachers struggle, students suffer, and districts are left to do the work that teacher preparation programs aren’t doing.
Last week, the Senate HELP Committee marked up Chairman Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013, the latest bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The bill was reported out of committee as amended.
On June 4, The Education Trust submitted comments in response to the Department of Education’s request for public comment on whether it should reinitiate a process for developing gainful employment regulations. These crucial regulations can ensure that for-profit institutions of higher education provide value to students and taxpayers by meeting minimum standards of quality and economy.
WASHINGTON (June 11, 2013) — Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is long overdue. Eleven years since the passage of No Child Left Behind, it is clear that the law needs updating — and it is encouraging that members of Congress have taken steps to get the process moving. Today’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee markup of legislation proposed by both Senator Harkin (D-Iowa) and Senator Alexander (R-Tenn.) is the first step on the journey toward improving upon our existing law and ensuring the academic and career success of all children.
On Tuesday, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced the Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013, continuing the long-overdue process of trying to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which expired in 2007.
Programs like Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) are designed to provide high school students with challenging academic course work and a head start on a college education. But despite aggressive efforts — by federal and state lawmakers, private philanthropy, and districts and schools — to expand participation, there remain significant differences in the rates at which students from different racial and economic groups gain access.
Planning for the rapidly escalating cost of college can be difficult, especially when students cannot anticipate how much tuition will rise from one year to the next. A bipartisan bill from Representatives Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.) and Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) will require institutions of higher education to provide accepted students with anticipated costs over the course of their degree, including projected tuition increases.
One of the many unscrupulous tactics for-profit colleges use to remain in compliance with federal regulations is to artificially lower their student loan default rates by pushing students into forbearance or deferment on their loans, even when it’s not in a student’s best interest. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) recently introduced the Proprietary Institution of Higher Education Accountability Act, which would encourage for-profits to help their students find employment, rather than pushing them toward repayment decisions that aren’t right for them.
Two educational shifts currently underway could change the game for students. The Common Core State Standards have the potential to get all schools to engage all students — not just a privileged few — in rich and rigorous content that will prepare them for success in college and careers. And more meaningful educator evaluations are poised to generate information that can drive teacher improvement and ensure that the students who need the most effective teachers get them. Effectively implementing both efforts is challenging, but essential to their success. Not only must their timelines be aligned in ways that they currently aren’t, but both must be coherently messaged and deliberately executed in ways that help educators see them as symbiotic. A new report outlines specific recommendations for how states and districts can ensure that these efforts are undertaken in ways that complement and support one another.
Federal accountability policy for K-12 school performance must be based on two key elements: ambitious but achievable expectations for raising achievement and closing gaps, and meaningful action when schools consistently fall short of those goals. Last week, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced the Growth to Excellence Act, which makes big strides in that direction. Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) introduced the companion bill in the Senate.