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Education Report November 19, 2010

The Education Report

NOVEMBER 19, 2010
Della Cronin, Editor

The Education Report, a weekly publication of WPLLC, provides an executive summary of
public policy issues affecting American education. Please use the bookmarks below to
navigate to your area of interest:

  1. Budget and Appropriations
  2. NCATE Panel Calls for Turning Teacher Education “Upside Down”
  3. In Brief
  4. New Publications
  5. In the News
  6. About WPLLC

  7. Budget and Appropriations
    This week was the first Congress has been in session since the mid-term elections, and the newly
    empowered Republican party has already begun to flex their muscles. Announcing his support
    on Tuesday for a two-year earmark ban, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who
    is known for being “an unapologetic earmarker,” said the Senate may vote on the proposal when
    the Senate reconvenes after Thanksgiving on November 29. Those who do not support the
    earmark ban, view the measure as “political shenanigans” explaining that eliminating earmarks is
    not a solution to the nation’s fiscal deficit since they comprise only one percent of the federal
    budget. According to a statement from Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK), “[A]n earmark
    moratorium will not reduce the level of spending by one cent or decrease the deficit. We
    recognize that we need to stop out-of-control spending, but let’s make sure that the action we
    take actually translates into spending and deficit reduction rather than just messaging.”

Also adding to the heightened activity on the Hill, newly-elected Members of Congress were in
town for freshmen orientation and to partake in party leadership elections. Senate leadership
elections took place Tuesday, and most Members retained their positions. Senator Harry Reid
(D-NV) will again be Majority Leader, as will Majority Whip and Assistant Majority Leader
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). Newly re-elected Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) remains as
Secretary of the Democratic Conference, and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was elected
Democratic Policy Committee Chairman. Moving up the ladder was Senator Debbie Stabenow
(D-MI), who was elected Vice Chairwoman of the Democratic Policy Committee. There were
no changes in Senate Republican leadership, leaving Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as
Minority Leader, Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) as Minority Whip and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-
TN) as Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. In the House, Representative John
Boehner (R-OH) was elected Speaker of the House and Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA) was
elected to serve as the Republican Majority Leader. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will
lead Democrats as Minority Leader. While Pelosi was easily elected, there are many disgruntled
members of the Democratic Caucus who believe that the American public made it clear they
wanted to see a change in the Democratic Party leadership.

Outside of earmark bans, freshman orientation and leadership elections, Congress must focus on
completing the FY 2011 federal budget. Before leaving town in September, Congress was
forced to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the wheels of government moving because
of their failure to pass any of the 12 appropriations bills. That current CR will expire on
December 3rd. Negotiating an omnibus spending bill for FY 2011 or extending that CR must be
completed during this lame duck session, and Congress is leaning towards a three month CR.
For education advocates, a CR means losing the promise of increased funding for popular
programs such as Head Start, the Child Development Block Grant, Title I, IDEA, Race to the
Top and School Improvement Grants and punts budget decisions to the 112th Congress. What
Congress will do remains to be seen; however, with the mid-term election results that came after
political campaigns touting fiscal constraint and reducing the size of government, future
budgetary action most likely will not be described as “plentiful.”

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  1. NCATE Panel Calls for Turning Teacher Education “Upside Down”
    On Tuesday, a Blue-Ribbon Panel of education experts, commissioned by the National Council
    for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), released a report calling for teacher education
    programs to be “turned upside down” by revamping programs to place clinical practice at the
    center of teacher preparation. The report, “Transforming Teacher Education Through Clinical
    Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers,” also places a great deal of
    emphasis on the development of partnerships with school districts in which teacher education
    becomes a shared responsibility between P-12 schools and higher education. “This was an
    historic coming together of major stakeholders to make excellent programs the norm in teacher
    education,” said Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of the State University of New York and Co-Chair
    of the Panel. James Cibulka, President of NCATE, noted the concurrence among the expert
    panel that teacher preparation must be tied to improved student learning. He added that there is a
    gap currently between how educators are prepared and what students actually need in the
    classroom. “The nation needs a system of high-performing preparation programs—not a cottage
    industry of path breaking initiatives,” stated Cibulka.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also attended the briefing and enthusiastically endorsed the
work of the Panel. “Without getting into the specific recommendations of your report, I love its
direction.” Agreeing that the new report marks “the most sweeping recommendations for
reforming the accreditation of teacher preparation programs in the more than century-long
history of our nation's education schools,” Duncan strongly endorsed the report’s
recommendations and encouraged stakeholders to “persist in your efforts, and don’t lose faith.”

Dwight Jones, Colorado’s Commissioner of Education and Co-Chair of the Panel, summarized
the report’s recommendations through ten identified design principles for clinically-based
programs and emphasized that all sectors—higher education, P-12 leadership, teacher union
representatives, colleges of education faculty and even federal policy makers—need to be
involved in the redesigned model. Specifically, this includes more rigorous accountability to P-
12 student learning along with a more rigorous program accreditation process. Additionally, the
candidate selection and placement process must be strengthened to include more diverse cohorts
of students, and to consider academic achievement and “key attributes that lead to effective
teachers” among candidates. Prospective teachers must be exposed to hard-to-staff schools and
have access to effective mentors, coaches and clinical faculty. It is also time to fundamentally
redesign the curriculum of teacher preparation programs along with “significant changes” in the
reward structure and staffing models of P-12 schools. New state policies must support
partnerships between higher education and the P-12 system and “any inhibiting legal or
regulatory barriers” should be removed. Lastly, the knowledge base should be expanded to
identify what works and to support continuous improvement.

To watch a video of the briefing and more information, go to:
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  1. In Brief
    The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) hosted a discussion on Monday titled,
    “Performance Pay: Where It’s Working,” that pointed to significant academic gains in
    classrooms where performance pay is at work. Jonathan Eckert, moderator of the discussion,
    former Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the Department of Education and author of the report,
    “Performance-Based Compensation: Design and Implementation at Six Teacher Incentive Fund
    Sites,” studied six out of the thirty-three sites participating in ED’s Teacher Incentive Fund
    program and said, “If the change in compensation is clearly designed, articulated and
    implemented, the revised structure has the potential to improve the teaching profession through
    two avenues: compositional and behavioral.” Eckert’s observations suggest performance pay is
    most effective when: 1) It is part of a “comprehensive approach to system-wide improvement”
    that includes professional development; 2) All stakeholders are involved; 3) The financial
    incentives are also valued as a component of a broader emphasis on improving teaching and
    learning; 4) Teachers are appointed to leadership positions and charged with overseeing
    institutional improvements and evaluation; 5) Reforms are folded into existing systems and
    objectives; and 6) Local and state funding is reallocated and secured to ensure long-term
    financial sustainability. Panelists shared how their respective schools effectively implemented
    performance-based compensation programs. Dr. Roseanne Lopez, the Teacher Incentive Fund
    Director in Amphitheater Unified Public Schools in Tucson, Arizona, explained how the use of
    focus groups and design teams gave over 120 teachers and staff involved in the program the
    opportunity to voice opinions about the program and foster trust between the educators and the
    district staff. Michael Savage, Principal of Audelia Creek Elementary School in Dallas, Texas
    and Dr. Andrea Thomas Reynolds, Chief Executive Officer at the Algiers Charter Schools
    Association in New Orleans, Louisiana, both described a dramatic shift in school culture once
    the program was implemented where teachers felt “order and professionalism” was restored.
    Providing a state perspective, Dennis Dotterer, Executive Director of South Carolina’s
    Department of Education Teacher Advancement Program, explained how the state’s education
    agency has shifted from a “monitoring agency to a support agency.” His role has been to help
    districts overcome state-based obstacles when implementing such programs and to teach them
    how to work within current state funding streams to financially support the program. Overall,
    every panelist saw significant academic gains and professional growth once their performance-
    based compensation programs were fully and properly implemented. For more information,

This week, retiring Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) held the last of four hearings on the state of the
American child. These hearings, convened by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Subcommittee on Children and Families, chaired by Dodd, examined virtually every aspect of
the lives of Americans under 18 years of age. This last hearing focused on “Securing Our
Children’s Future.” Many of the opening statements from the Members present paid tribute to
Dodd, who is retiring after three decades in the Senate. During her remarks, Senator Barbara
Mikulski (D-MD) noted that she hopes to assume the Chair of the Subcommittee in the next
Congress. Throughout his long career, Dodd has been a champion of children's issues. While
the panel of witnesses featured experts and staunch children advocates such as Marian Wright
Edelman, President of the Children’s Defense Fund, it also featured Hollywood starlet Jennifer
Garner, who has taken up the cause of impoverished families and children as an Artist
Ambassador for Save the Children. The testimony of the witnesses visited familiar statistics
related to the state of poor families and the educational opportunities they lack. Investments in
early childhood education, wraparound services and effective federal programs such as Head
Start and Early Head start were recommended. In addition, Wright Edelman said that
Congressional scoring procedures—the rules that govern the cost of proposed programs—should
be altered to accommodate the cost savings of preventive programs. More specifically, because
investments in early childhood programs to be provided to poor children and families result in
savings by preventing remediation in later grades, incarceration or other costs, those savings
should be reflected in Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates of these programs. The
idea met praise from Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and other members of the Subcommittee.
Senator Dodd also reiterated his call for a new, national council to focus on improving the lot of
the nation's children. The National Council on Children would provide an annual assessment of
the state of the American child and make recommendations to Congress on policies effecting
children's health, education and overall well-being. "This subcommittee has provided an
important forum for our country's elected leaders and children advocates to focus on the needs of
our children. And it has played a vital role, shedding light on the struggles our nation's children
face," Dodd said in a press release. "What we have learned is that our children are in crisis. It is
critical that we create a new national council on children to closely examine the needs of children
and identify solutions to improve their lives." For more information on the hearing, including a
webcast and testimony, visit:

On Monday, the Institute for International Education (IIE) released “Open Doors 2010: Report
on International Educational Exchange,” an annual report of data on international students and
scholars studying in the U.S., as well as U.S. students studying abroad. Ann Stock, the Assistant
Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the Department of State, delivered
opening remarks and was happy to report that the findings of Open Doors 2010 indicate that the
U.S. is still a highly sought destination for international students, stating that about 700,000
international students studied in the U.S. last year. She also highlighted that those students
contributed $20 billion to the American economy. Stock noted the positive outcomes of
studying abroad, noting that American students who participate in study abroad programs are
better prepared to participate and compete in a global economy, and she reaffirmed the
Department’s commitment to exchange programs. Following Stock’s opening remarks, IIE staff
presented a summary of the annual Open Doors survey on international educational exchange.
Dr. Rajika Bhandari, Director of Research and Evaluation at IIE, presented findings that indicate
that the largest number of international students in history studied in the U.S. during 2009/2010.
Students sent from China increased by 30 percent (or 128,000), making it the leading sending
country. India, South Korea, Canada and Taiwan round out the top five sending countries, and
students from these nations comprise over 50 percent of international students studying in
America. Patricia Chow, Research Manager at IIE, explained the data on U.S. study abroad
includes U.S. citizens and permanent citizens who received academic credit at their educational
institution in the U.S. for their studies abroad. Data from 2008/2009 indicates that there has been
a 0.8 percent decrease in students who received academic credit for their study abroad compared
to 2007/2008. While the largest percentage of American students choose to study in European
nations, the largest increases were seen in students studying in Africa (16 percent increase) and
the Middle East (9 percent increase). To conclude, Peggy Blumenthal Executive Vice President
at IIE, presented findings from Project Atlas, a study of global student mobility, and explained
that there were more than 3.3 million international students worldwide in 2008, which is an 8
percent increase over 2007. Since 1979, the number of students who study abroad has tripled,
and it is projected that 8 million students will study abroad by 2025. To view the report, go to:

Event Features the Intersection of Business and Education
On Wednesday, the National Journal hosted a policy summit sponsored by the Lumina
Foundation to examine whether companies can afford not to invest in education and support
America’s competitive stance in today’s global economy. The event, “Making the Business
Case for Business: Why Should Business Be Invested in Increasing Educational Attainment?”
featured a conversation with Melody Barnes, Director of the White House Domestic Policy
Council, as well as a panel discussion with education stakeholders. The moderator for the event,
Michael Hirsh, National Journal’s Chief Correspondent, began the discussion by pointing out
that while the economy is now growing, it is expanding more slowly than it was pre-recession
and, as a result, there are still not enough job openings to hire back workers who have lost jobs.
In addition, a longer-term problem is that the unemployed who need jobs do not have the
necessary skills to fill current job openings. When asked how “bad is the problem” currently
facing the nation, Barnes responded by stating, “We are in a hole,” and need to work together to
get out of it. She went on to reiterate that “education is the engine for the American dream and
the country that out educates us today will outcompete us tomorrow,” echoing what President
Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have often said. Acknowledging the post-
election atmosphere, Barnes also predicted, “Education is an area where Republicans and
Democrats can get together.” However, she added that “We have been lying to our kids for far
too long.” When asked to clarify her statement, Barnes explained she meant the lowering of
state standards and not graduating college- and career-ready students. During the panel
discussion, Andy Van Kleunen, Executive Director of the National Skills Coalition, made the
point that the business community is very focused on creating a skilled workforce, but it is not a
monolithic group, as it is made up of a variety of employers. Van Kleunen noted that often small
and medium sized firms are not part of the conversation, and it is necessary to understand the
diverse skill sets needed across the country. Dane Linn, Director of the Education Division of
the National Governors Association, stressed that implementation of the Common Core
Standards adopted by 43 states will be challenging and business must play an important role. He
added that most often governors hear from the business sector that higher education is not
responding to changes in the workforce and new models of partnership and education delivery
systems are needed. To read more about the event, go to:

On Thursday, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) hosted the first event in a symposium
series titled, “Connecting Research, Policy and Practice: Supporting Success for English
Language Learners.” This first event, titled, “RTI to Improve Achievement for English Language
Learners,” highlighted the strong impact that response to intervention (RTI) can have on the
academic success of English language learners (ELLs) when implemented as intended. The
event featured two distinguished panels that spoke to various aspects of RTI and the needs of
ELLs. The first panel, moderated by Joe Harris, the Managing Research Analyst for AIR,
focused on providing a general understanding of the benefits of RTI for ELLs. Julie Esparza-
Brown, Director for the Bilingual Teacher Pathway at Portland State University, emphasized a
point that was reiterated throughout both panels: ELLs are often incorrectly identified as students
with disabilities. In order to correctly identify students, Esparza-Brown explained, it is critical
that educators know their students well enough to be able to determine if the student is struggling
as a result of a language disability or a language difference. She urged that the screening of
English learners be conducted with “unique considerations,” such as monitoring needs for
instructional support in both their primary language as well as in English; language skills must
be assessed in both languages; and the students must be taught to transfer their knowledge from
their primary language to English. Rounding out the first panel, Rosalinda Barrera, the Assistant
Deputy Secretary and Director of the Office of English Language Acquisition at the Department
of Education (ED) stated that the role of the federal government is to provide funding streams to
support RTI. She explained that streams come from the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act (ESEA) through Title I and Title II, as well as through Coordinated Early Intervening
Services (CEIS) in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The funds, she
explained, may support professional development for academic and behavior intervention;
intensive instructional intervention; and progress monitoring. However, the federal funds do not
support RTI core instruction or universal screening. Lou Danielson, moderator of the second
panel and the Managing Director at AIR, provided some context for the discussion, saying,
“There are a lot of wrong ways to do the right thing,” and RTI is the right thing. He voiced
concern that states mandating the use of RTI may have unintentionally forced poor
implementation. The panelists shared that concern and emphasized the importance of proper
implementation, with special focus on the importance of, as explained by the first panel,
recognizing the difference between a learning disability and difficulty learning a new language.
Melody Musgrove, the Director of ED’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), voiced
similar concerns of RTI morphing into a special education only model, but she reaffirmed that all
students are general education students first. Musgrove explained that RTI is a prevention
model, aiming to to “reach students before they fall behind,” and help them get and remain on
track to college- and-career readiness. For more information, visit

On Thursday, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), under the direction of
the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), hosted an event to release, “The Nation’s
Report Card: Grade 12 Reading and Mathematics 2009.” This is the first NAEP report on state-
wide results from 12th graders in reading and mathematics. Eleven pilot states, including 1,670
schools and over 100,000 12th grade students participated in the assessments. According to the
results, performance of 12th graders nationwide improved in reading and mathematics since
2005, but when compared to 1992, the average score for reading is lower and significant
achievement gaps among major racial/ethnic groups in both subjects remain constant. Among
the 11 participating states, seven states scored higher than the national average for both reading
and math, yet Stuart Kerachsky, Acting Commissioner for the National Center for Education
Statistics, said the positive changes in scores for both tests showed “no real trend in improvement
since 2005.” He also explained that there has been no change to the significant gap in scores
among African American, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native students when
compared to test scores from Caucasian students, but Asian/Pacific Islander students closed the
gap from 2005 with gains in 2009. Kathi King, a 12th grade mathematics teacher in Oakland,
Maine and member of NAGB, said, “The three point improvement in math scores is a good
result, but it’s not spectacular.” While she acknowledged the benefits of the data coming out of
the NAEP assessments, she said “There is definitely cause for concern,” when only a quarter of
12th graders are at proficient and advanced levels. According to Dr. Steve Payne, West Virginia
State Superintendent of Schools and a member of NAGB, 12th grade is “a crucial and imperative
time to assess reading and math.” With no significant improvement since 1992, however, Payne
believes this an issue that serves as “a call to action for parents to promote reading at home at a
very early age.” To support his claim, the report findings indicate that students who read 20 or
more pages for school daily—either in class or for homework—scored 25 points higher than
students who read just five or fewer pages a day. Former Mississippi Governor Ronnie
Musgrove, Chair of the NAEP 12th Grade Preparedness Commission, concurred with Payne,
adding, “This is important because 12th grade represents the potential of our human capital.”
The impact of remedial training and additional time required for degree completion, he
continued, “also accounts for losses in production and productivity.” NAGB plans to use the
data to conduct additional studies on U.S. academic preparedness and gauge how well schools
are preparing students for postsecondary success. To view the report, visit

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  1. New Publications
    “High School Dropout, Graduation, and Completion Rates: Better Data, Better Measures, Better
    Decisions” (November 2010)

“A New Approach to Principal Preparation: Innovative Programs Share Their Practices and
Lessons Learned” (November 2010)

“Transforming Teacher Education Through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare
Effective Teachers” (November 2010)

“A Call for Change, The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black
Males in Urban Schools” (November 2010)

“Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan of Action” (November 2010)

“Trends in Higher Education” (November 2010)

“Confronting Systemic Inequity in Education: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy”
(November 2010)

“Child and Adult Care Food Program: Aligning Dietary Guidance for All” (November 2010)

“Evaluating Teachers: The Important Role of Value-Added” (November 2010)

“The Nation’s Report Card: Grade 12 Reading and Mathematics 2009” (November 2010)
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  1. In the News
    “Million-Dollar College Presidents on the Rise” Washington Post (11/15/10)

“Obama Bestows Science, Technology Medals” Washington Post (11/17/10)

“Charter Schools Passing Test of Time” Boston Globe (11/18/10)

“Murkowski is Winner of Alaska Senate Race” Wall Street Journal (11/18/10)

“A Trailblazer with Her Eye on the Bottom Line” New York Times (11/18/10)

“Gates Urges School Budget Overhauls” New York Times (11/19/10)

“We Have the Tools to End Childhood Hunger. Let’s Use Them.” Washington Post
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  1. About WPLLC
    For over 30 years, the principals and staff at WPLLC have specialized in the field of education, making sure the voices of
    associations and nonprofit organizations are heard—on Capitol Hill and in the media. As a full service government affairs and
    public relations firm, we work in strong partnership with our clients to position them for the greatest success now and in the
    future. Working as a team, relationships are structured to maximize the strengths of each client; the client’s mission is our driving
    force as we help them clarify needs, set goals and craft and implement successful strategies. WPLLC provides expertise in a
    variety of services:

• Government Relations
• Public Relations & Communications
• Policy Research and Analysis
• Strategic Planning
• Grassroots Activities
• Association Management
• Meeting and Conference Planning

For more information, please call us at 202.289.3900 or visit our website at
• • •
This publication contains links to Internet sites for the convenience of World Wide Web users. Washington Partners, LLC is not
responsible for the availability or content of these external sites, nor does Washington Partners, LLC endorse, warrant or
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Copyright 2010. Washington Partners, LLC. Redistribution of this memorandum or its content outside the immediate
organization of the intended recipient without the express prior permission of Washington Partners, LLC is prohibited. Readers
are encouraged to send comments about this publication to Della Cronin at or call 202.289.3900.

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