“The SMART Act underscores the importance of maintaining statewide annual testing, while acknowledging there are too many redundant and unnecessary tests — many of which are not required by federal law and are a waste of time and money. This bill shows a federal commitment to relieving the burden of useless tests by providing additional resources for this important work, which states and districts have already committed to do.
The Education Trust 2014 National Conference is over, but there's no need to fret if you missed one of the thought-provoking concurrent sessions. Conference presentations are posted here, and you can read The Equity Line blog for stories you might have missed from the two marvelous days we spent together in Baltimore. Thanks for a great conference!
WASHINGTON (November 18, 2014) — The Education Trust is pleased to announce Matt de Ferranti as the new Director of Legislative Affairs. In this position, Matt will lead the development and execution of The Education Trust’s K-12 and higher education government affairs work. His extensive background as a director of public affairs, policy advisor, attorney, campaign director, and teacher makes him uniquely qualified for this leadership position.
WASHINGTON (November 13, 2014) — Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Education’s ESEA waiver renewal guidelines announced today.
“Amid all the controversies created by No Child Left Behind, most educators agree that the law got one thing right: It fundamentally reshaped school accountability for an increasingly diverse country. No longer was it possible to be a ‘good’ school coasting by on schoolwide averages and sweeping large achievement gaps under the rug. To be a good school, a school had to do well by all the children it served.
“The administration’s 2011 waiver guidelines allowed states to back away from that focus on all groups of children. The results were worrisome. As we demonstrated in our October 2014 report, Making Sure All Children Matter, many schools received top ratings when their performance for low-income students or students of color was, at best, mediocre — and sometimes declining.
WASHINGTON (November 10, 2014) — The U.S. Department of Education’s new guidance on equitable access to strong teachers creates an opportunity for action on one of the most important levers to close long-standing gaps in achievement among students. While there are excellent teachers in every community, evidence is clear: Too many students of color and low-income students don’t have the strong, well-supported teachers they need and deserve.
The guidance is an opportunity to correct this. We are hopeful about the possibilities it creates, but not naïve. The guidance could result in little more than a compliance exercise with no meaningful impact on students. Indeed, that’s what happened in 2006, the first time the Department of Education attempted to enforce the equitable access provisions in federal law.
WASHINGTON (November 6, 2014) — Nationwide, roughly 500,000 students drop out of high school each year. These students are disproportionately students of color, low-income — and male. Though graduation rates among such students are rising — often as a result of significant efforts from both educators and community groups — many students of color and low-income students continue to achieve far below their potential and gradually disengage from school. The Education Trust’s latest paper, “Butterflies in the Hallway,” digs underneath the numbers to describe in searing detail the often-gradual process of school disengagement.
WASHINGTON (October 31, 2014) — The Education Trust issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s final Gainful Employment rule:
“The abuses by career colleges are well documented. Many aggressively recruit students by offering the false promise of a rewarding career and charging ridiculously high fees for a low-quality education that rarely results in completion. Students of color and low-income students are disproportionately hurt by these predatory practices. Without the protections offered by stronger oversight and accountability, students will continue to enroll in these programs and be left with debilitating debt, no degree, or a degree with no labor market value.
WASHINGTON (October 28, 2014) — The Education Trust is pleased to welcome Ryan Smith as Executive Director of The Education Trust-West. In this position, Ryan will lead an ambitious effort to close opportunity and achievement gaps for students who have been traditionally underserved in California’s public education system. His background as a community organizer, education advocate, and champion for equity makes him an outstanding leader for the Education Trust-West team.
Thirteen advocacy and civil rights organizations submitted a letter urging the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to correct course and ensure that in the next round of waiver renewals, states must make the achievement and attainment of each group of students count in ratings for all schools. Moreover, underperformance for any groups of students must trigger meaningful supports and interventions.
WASHINGTON (October 15, 2014) — The Education Trust is pleased to voice its support for a joint statement released by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Council of the Great City Schools that reaffirms their commitment to high-quality annual assessments aligned to college- and career-ready standards. The organizations also called for greater utility and transparency, and an end to redundant assessments and those that offer little value to students, parents, or teachers.