Education Trust News

Efforts to Build a Cadre of Strong Principals Under Way in Six Districts

School leadership matters when it comes to boosting student achievement. But in order to put a strong school leader in every school, districts have to self-grow their pool of effective principals and continue to evaluate and support them in schools. This is the Wallace Foundation’s “theory of change,” and in 2011, the foundation launched the Principal Pipeline Initiative, giving grants to six districts to take on the work of developing a cadre of strong principals. A new report outlines the districts’ progress in the first year of implementation.

Joint Statement From Six Student, Youth, Consumer, and Education Organizations on Today’s Senate Vote on Student Loan Interest Rates

WASHINGTON (July 10, 2013) — Today, a minority in the Senate succeeded in blocking legislation to reverse the doubling of interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans for students who need to borrow for college this fall. While a majority of senators voted to extend the 3.4% rate for one year, support fell short of the 60 votes needed to move forward with the legislation.

Ed Trust Analyses Examine State Track Records in Performance and Improvement

WASHINGTON (July 9, 2013) — Common Core standards have the potential to dramatically raise the rigor of instruction – and the level of achievement – in schools across the country. But these standards will also demand more of our students and teachers than ever before. While there is much work to be done in all states to lift all students to the college- and career-ready level, a new analysis shows that the stretch is far bigger in some states than in others.

Webinar Gives Advocates Strategies for Closing Gaps at the High End of Achievement

In New York state, only 58 percent of black and Latino high school students graduate on time; an even smaller percentage heads to college. But at Elmont Memorial High School in Nassau County, N.Y., where 9 in 10 students are black or Latino, 97 percent of students graduate in four years and nearly all are college bound. Elmont is one of several schools featured in a new Education Trust report series, “Shattering Expectations,” which focuses on closing gaps at the high end of achievement. And in a June 18 webinar for state advocates, The Education Trust brought together report authors and Elmont principal John Capozzi to discuss how to link policy and practice on this issue.

Statement from The Education Trust on the Student Loan Interest Rate Increase

WASHINGTON (July 1, 2013) — We are disappointed that Congress was unable to agree on a solution to keep interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans from doubling today. By failing to pass a plan to keep interest rates from increasing to 6.8 percent, Congress missed an important opportunity to limit college debt for the millions of students who receive subsidized Stafford loans every year, most of them low-income.

Supreme Court Upholds Affirmative Action Policies

The Supreme Court’s decision on June 24 to send Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin back to the Fifth Circuit Court was a judicial win for affirmative action policies. In this 7-1 decision, the Court reaffirmed the precedent that pursuing diversity through a balanced admissions policy is a legitimate pursuit that justifies the consideration of race as one factor. This is good news because diversity on campus and in the classroom benefits all students — not just students of color.

Brief Analysis and Statement from The Education Trust on the NAEP Long-Term Trend Assessment

WASHINGTON (June 27, 2013) — The results from the 2012 long-term trend National Assessment of Educational Progress show that over the last four decades, our nation has made very real progress for all groups of students.

Since the 1970s, reading and math performance for 9 and 13-year-olds has increased significantly. At all ages, gains have been largest among students of color. And they are meaningful: In math, for example, African American and Latino 9-year-olds are performing about where their 13-year-old counterparts were in the early ’70s.

Statement from The Education Trust on Supreme Court’s Fisher v. University of Texas Decision

WASHINGTON (June 24, 2013) — The Supreme Court’s decision today in Fisher v. University of Texas reaffirmed the bedrock constitutional principle that universities have a compelling interest in considering racial and ethnic diversity as one factor in developing a carefully crafted admissions policy. Although the Court found that the Fifth Circuit applied the wrong standard, it did not question the compelling nature of diversity as a factor in admissions. Even when you control for income and other advantages, students of color are still admitted to college at lower rates than their white peers. Colleges and universities need tools to address this inequity, and today’s decision ensures those tools remain available.

Congressional Committees Move Forward on ESEA Reauthorization

Last week, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce followed in the path of the Senate HELP Committee by marking up its own Elementary and Secondary Act reauthorization bill, the Student Success Act. Unlike the Senate proposal, this bill is close to an exact replica of last year’s bill, which didn’t make it to the House floor. Despite numerous concerns, particularly with its lack of a robust accountability system, the Student Success Act was reported out of committee and is expected to reach the House floor before the August recess.

Statement from The Education Trust on the Department of Education’s Announcement Concerning the College- and Career-Ready Transition

WASHINGTON (June 18, 2013) — Today’s Department of Education announcement misses the mark on a responsible transition to new college- and career-ready standards and assessments. If students are going to meet these new standards, then we need teachers to teach to the standards and schools to support them. But today’s announcement does little to make that a reality. Rather, the department is sending harmful mixed signals that students should meet the new standards, but it’s still okay for teachers and schools to be evaluated on the old ones.