Education Report September 24, 2010

The Education Report

SEPTEMBER 24, 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. Event Focuses on High School and College Graduation Rates
  3. In Brief
  4. New Publications
  5. In the News
  6. About WPLLC

  7. Budget and Appropriations
    On Capitol Hill, this week was not a productive one, and that situation is not likely to change for
    several weeks. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had hoped to begin deliberations on a
    Department of Defense (DOD) reauthorization bill on Tuesday that would have been a vehicle to
    move the Dream Act, which has been a longtime goal of many in Congress. Unable to muster a
    single Republican vote, and with the defection of two in his own party, that effort failed, and the
    Senate was left with time on their hands. In the House, a light schedule got even lighter as
    Members waited for the Senate to take some hard votes on the DOD bill or move on tax extender
    legislation. Neither came to fruition, so both bodies announced that what was a brief three-week
    legislative period set to end on October 8th would get even shorter. A new adjournment date of
    October 1st was announced.

The one “must pass” bill that is keeping Members who would rather be campaigning in the
Nation’s capital is the budget for Fiscal Year 2011. In order to avoid a government shutdown on
October 1st, a continuing resolution (CR) must be negotiated and passed. Those talks are now
underway. The administration has asked that billions of dollars in education funding to address
the Pell Grant shortfall and ensure another round of Race to the Top (RTTT) and Investing in
Innovation Grants (i3) be added to the CR. The response so far from the Congress has been
frosty at best. A CR only extends funding in the new year for programs that were funded in the
previous year’s spending bill. Because RTTT and i3 were funded through a supplemental
spending bill, they would be left out of the CR. This request makes one think that the
administration believes that a rare year-long CR is a distinct possibility.

One other education bill that just might make it to the finish line before the adjournment date is
the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, the funding source for school lunches and other
feeding programs. While education advocates have been pushing hard for Congress to act on
this important legislation, the fact that the bill is paid for by cutting food stamp benefits is a
significant sticking point. One hundred Members signed a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-
CA) objecting to the food stamp offsets, but in the interest of time, and because no other revenue
sources are available, the bill just might move forward as written.

The overarching conversation on Capitol Hill all week, and the real obstacle to getting any work
done, is the pending mid-term election. Nervous Members have watched once-popular
colleagues get defeated by unknown candidates who rail against big government spending and
business as usual on Capitol Hill, and they appear unwilling to vote on anything that might
annoy constituents. Polls show support for the President in decline and toss up races all over the
country. At this point, no one knows for sure if voters are angry at everyone or just angry at the
majority party. That question won’t be answered until November 3rd.
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  1. Event Focuses on High School and College Graduation Rates
    On Tuesday, Education Sector and Washington Monthly co-hosted a forum discussion on
    “Getting to Graduation.” The event consisted of two panel discussions; one focused on the high
    school dropout crisis, the other on the quality of America’s colleges. Paul Glastris, Editor in
    Chief of Washington Monthly, moderated the first panel and opened the discussion by reminding
    the audience that the Obama Administration made increasing the nation’s high school graduation
    rate, which once was the highest in the developed world, a priority since the President’s first first
    address to Congress, when he said, “Dropping out of high school is no longer an option.” Since
    this has been a “regular theme” in education reform for the last 50 years, Glastris, working with
    Richard Colvin, Director of the Hechinger Institute, began a research effort to see if best
    practices and examples were available to make “good use” of the Administration’s
    unprecedented federal investment in education reform. Both men agreed that they were
    “cautiously optimistic” and that “it’s not all that hard,” according to Colvin. Thanks to increased
    technology and the “data-driven revolution” dating back to the late 1980’s, students most at-risk
    of dropping out can be identified as early as sixth grade and provided with “individualized
    supports” and “multiple pathways.” Carmel Martin, Assistant Secretary of Education for
    Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, said that meeting the President’s challenge of
    having the U.S. once again lead the world in the number of college graduates drives staff at the
    Department of Education. Their goal is to create an aligned system of education around the
    overarching goal of graduating college- and career-ready students. In addition to reinventing the
    accountability system, Martin cited the need to “build human capacity” through the equitable
    distribution of teachers; increase quality of data systems; turnaround the lowest-performing
    schools and review how federal dollars are being spent. Michelle Cahill, Vice President of the
    National Program and Program Director of the Urban Education at the Carnegie Corporation of
    New York, agreed that accountability, especially at the district level, is key to reform efforts, as
    are federal incentives to innovate. All of the panelists concurred that community partners and
    intermediaries can play a critical role in helping to turnaround schools and involving more of the
    community in student success.

The second panel, moderated by Doug Lederman, Editor of Inside HigherEd, focused on the role
of the federal government in holding institutions of higher education accountable for the federal
funds used to provide financial assistance to low-income students. Kevin Carey, Policy Director
at Ed Sector, declared that in terms of college rankings, higher education institutions have not
been judged on an outcome basis, i.e., how many students actually graduate, until the
Department of Education’s (ED) recent work on “gainful employment” rulemaking of the for-
profit education sector. In addition, Washington Monthly’s September/October issue presents its
own 2010 “College Rankings” which looks at a much different set of factors than those used by
the well-known U.S. News and World Report rankings. Glastris noted that the new rankings are
an effort to “redefine quality, excellence and value.” In addition, the issue of Washington
Monthly also includes a new listing of the America’s “worst” colleges which they call “college
dropout factories.” These schools “boast” the highest dropout rates of students, the majority
attending the school using federal financial aid. When asked about ED’s gainful employment
rules, Eduardo Ochoa, Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, noted that the rules are
based on clear and limited language based on statute and do not widely address the issue of
quality. The development of the metrics, according to Ochoa, is “based on wanting to protect
student consumers as well as being good stewards of federal dollars.” Bethany Little, Chief
Education Counsel of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, believes
ED’s gainful employment metrics are “outstanding” and agreed that the federal government has
the responsibility to ask “tough questions” about how federal dollars are being spent. She also
agreed with Lederman that certainly the impact of the downturn of the economy has had an
effect on education policy, which has forced policymakers to look at how to meet the need of a
shifting workforce, which requires postsecondary education. All presenters agreed that there
must be more alignment between the K-12 and postsecondary systems, and that institutions of
higher education must be open to more accountability around student success. “We are at a new
normal,” according to Stephen Lehmkuhle, Chancellor of the University of Minnesota-
Rochester, and “we have to continue to grow as institutions; but growing by expansion is just not
going to happen, we need to grow by redesign.”

For more information about this forum, go to:
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  1. In Brief
    McKinsey & Company held a webinar to release the report, ?Closing the Talent Gap: Attracting
    and Retaining Top-Third Graduates to Careers in Teaching,? on Monday. This report examines
    the best practices of three countries: Singapore, Finland and South Korea. This new research
    attempts to answer how these best practices might apply here, close the talent gap and help the
    US develop a ?talent strategy for world class education.? The study revealed that 100 percent of
    teachers in these three countries come from the top one-third of their college class, unlike in the
    United States, where only 23 percent come from this same echelon. Here, over 90 percent of the
    top one-third of students do not want to teach. The question posed by the report: Why?
    Ultimately, the report suggests that if you improve the working environment of teachers, which
    includes the caliber of co-workers and opportunities for professional development, and double
    their pay, the United States could quadruple the percentage of students from the top tier of
    colleges and universities. Armed with this information, McKinsey recommends the United
    States pilot a top-third talent strategy in a district, a collection of districts or a state and, as a
    nation, develop a national teaching talent plan. Kaya Henderson, Deputy Chancellor of D.C.
    Public Schools, said these results charge the Nation to ?rethink the talent quotient in the
    classroom if we are going to change outcomes.? Louis Malfaco, Vice President of the American
    Federation of Teachers (AFT) and President of Education Austin, said colleges of education ?are
    seen as the path of least resistance to get a university degree in the United States,? and this must
    change. In order to set rigorous criteria to enter teacher preparation courses, Kate Walsh,
    President of the National Council on Teacher Quality, said that both the state and the colleges
    themselves should implement higher standards. Malfaco suggested that such standards be
    developed similarly to Common Core Standards, which were not federally mandated but
    nationally coordinated. To view this report, please visit:

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education announced the 21 recipients of the Promise
Neighborhoods Planning Grants. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, flanked by Director of
the President’s Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes, Secretary of Housing and Urban
Development Shaun Donovan and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius,
said of the announcement, ?These Promise Neighborhoods applicants are committed to putting
schools at the center of their work to provide comprehensive services for young children and
students.? Over 300 communities in 48 states submitted applications for these one-year grants
that are aimed to provide cradle-to-career services that include ?health, safety and stability of
neighborhoods, and boost family engagement in student learning? in order to improve the
educational and health outcomes of children. Each recipient will receive up to $500,000, and
recipients represent both urban and rural areas and one Indian reservation. To read more about
this program, visit

On Tuesday, the New American Foundation, in partnership with the Saving for Education
Entrepreneurship and Down Payment Initiative (SEED), released a new publication titled,
Lessons of SEED, which shares the first-ever research to be conducted on Child Development
Accounts (CDAs). Noting that these accounts chart a path over time toward economic security,
Dr. Michael Sherraden, Director of the Center for Social Development at Washington University
in St. Louis, presented findings from CDAs of over 1,171 children and their families from 12
different states and communities. The research showed the household saves, the expectation of
the level of a child’s education increases. In addition, if there are savings specifically set aside
for children, they are more likely to attend college. Sherraden emphasized that it is a
household’s assets, not a household’s income, that predicts college attendance. Sharraden
explained when developing the structure of CDAs, they must include all children; be set up as
life-long accounts; and the savings should be progressive and fair. Jose Cisneros, Treasurer of
the City and County of San Francisco, announced the launch of the ?Kindergarten to College?
program in San Francisco. The program will provide CDAs for every child enrolled in public
school within three years from implementation in 2010 with an initial deposit of $50 dollars in
each account from the local government. Programs such as these demonstrate the many
opportunities for children to learn financial literacy skills; save for college from birth to 18; and
help shift the Unites States’ economic model from debt driven to savings driven. For more
information about the SEED Initiative, visit:

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) held a press briefing and panel discussion on Tuesday to release
the results of a meta-analytic review titled, "Children's Access to Print Materials and Education-
Related Outcomes.? Carol Rasco, RIF President and CEO, opened the event by thanking those
who have formally acknowledging the impact of this study. She highlighted the research
performed by panelist Jim Lindsay of Learning Point Associates, whose team conducted the
?rigorous study of an unprecedented, near-exhaustive search uncovering 11,000 reports and
analyzing 108 of the most relevant studies? to prove that children's book lending and ownership
programs have positive behavioral, educational and psychological outcomes. In addition,
panelist Earl Phalen, Founder and CEO of Reach Out and Read, cited his organization’s
partnership with RIF, emphasizing their work through hospitals and clinics to reach the ?96% of
children who visit their pediatricians at least once a year? and to establish good reading habits as
part of the health recommendations for children. Also present at the event was Ida Thompson,
Director of Instructional Technology Services and RIF Coordinator for the 12,000 students in the
Richland County School District, and surprise panelist Richard Riley, former Clinton-era
Education Secretary. For more information about the study, visit:

On Wednesday, the Center for American Progress (CAP) held an event titled, ?Innovative
Strategies for Community Schools,? to highlight the implementation of community schools as a
strategy to improve rural education and also to link expanded learning time (ELT) to community
schools as a reform strategy to improve student outcomes. Community schools can provide
strong academics, healthcare and social services, among other necessities through community
partners to youth, families and the community in one shared location. This ability arguably
makes community schools a fiscally responsible way to provide high quality services in an
accessible manner to those families most in need, since they are offered without having to
support building costs associated with multiple structures for multiple services. Saba Bireda,
Education Policy Analyst for CAP and moderator of the event, provided an overview of two
reports released at the event. ?The Rural Solution: How Community Schools Can Reinvigorate
Rural Education? focuses on the positive impact of community schools on rural areas.
?Breaking the Mold: Combining Community Schools with Expanded Learning Time to Help
Educationally Disadvantaged Students,? highlights that ELT in conjunction with community
schools can decrease the achievement gap and provide better educational opportunity for
students. While there is no rigid definition for a community school, the flexibility, according to
Doris Terry Williams, Executive Director of the Rural School and Community Trust and
Director of the Trust's Capacity Building Program, is key to its success in educating all students,
as well as providing other opportunities for the community. Each panelist gave their top
recommendation to improve the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Williams
explained that the current turnaround school strategies that require the firing of faculty and
school leaders will not work in rural areas because of a shortage of replacement teachers.
Instead, she recommended that the community school strategy be offered as a turnaround option.
Adeline Ray, Director of the Chicago Community Schools Initiative, offered that the federal
government should model aligning resources as is necessary in community school
implementation. Martin Blank, the Director of the Coalition for Community Schools and
President for the Institute for Educational Leadership, called for broader language in ESEA,
inclusive of community schools. He also recommended that community schools be included in
21st Century Community Learning and Title I. For more information, visit

On Thursday, House Republicans presented their promise for a new governing agenda built on
what they consider to be the priorities, principles and founding values of the United States,
calling it ?A Pledge to America.? While the creation of jobs and economic recovery were front
and center, the ?Pledge? strikes a similar tone to the 1994 Republican ?Contract With America.?
Promises to stop ?out-of-control spending and reduce the size of government; create a smaller,
more accountable government; lower taxes; implement fiscal responsibility; protect life,
American values, and the Constitution; and provide for a robust national defense? underline their
election-year agenda. Republicans included proposals to rescind unspent American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, block any extensions for additional ARRA funds, and
reduce government spending to FY 2008 levels to save ?at least $100 billion in the first year
alone.? Regarding cuts to specific education programs, Republicans propose a ?hard cap on new
discretionary spending? and the end – or ?sunset? – to certain federal programs. The document
includes a pie chart of all federal agencies and the number of programs per agency that should be
eliminated, including173 programs at the Department of Education. Largely absent from the ?A
Pledge to America,? are plans for continued investment in high-quality education for young
children or a promise to grow science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
education or increasing technologies and fields of training for key industries like clean energy
and manufacturing for rebuilding our roads, rails and runways. The text of ?A Pledge for
America? can be found at:

At a standing-room-only briefing held in the Capitol on Thursday, STEM education advocates
and others invested in the country’s competitiveness gathered to hear about an updated report
titled, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5” that
examines the lack of progress the US has made in confronting the global competitiveness
challenges it faces, as detailed five years ago in the renowned “Rising Above the Gathering
Storm” report. The new report was released by the National Academy of Sciences, National
Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. The 2005 Gathering Storm report arguably
led Congress to pass the America COMPETES Act in 2007 and the 2008 stimulus legislation
provided funding for many of the report's recommendations. This updated report cites dozens of
economic and education factoids from the US and abroad, particularly in China, that illuminate
the current path of U.S. competitiveness. The report also addresses the need to reauthorize the
America COMPETES Act, which has passed the House, but awaits Senate action. "While
progress has been made in certain areas, the latitude to fix the problems being confronted has
been severely diminished by the economic recession and the growth of the national debt over this
period from $8 trillion to $13 trillion," the report finds. Concluding that the U.S. position has
“worsened” since 2005, the report’s authors call for more efforts to “strengthen” education and
“double” the federal government’s research budget. For more information, visit

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education announced 62 applicants of the Teacher
Incentive Fund (TIF) grant competition. The recipients include state education organizations,
nonprofit organizations and school districts. A total of $442 million has been distributed, which
is the first two years of funding in the program to last five years and provide $1.2 billion dollars
to support performance-based compensation of school personnel. To view the list of winners,

The Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE) hosted a briefing, ?Future of the Profession: A New
Learning Ecology for Teachers and Students? on Friday, September 17, that examined how to
incorporate technology into the classroom to provide students a higher quality, content-rich,
individualized learning environment. Governor Bob Wise, who leads AEE, facilitated a
discussion between two panels that addressed why and how to use innovative technology to
bring about an individualized, engaging classroom learning environment. Dr. Barnett Berry,
Founder and President of the Center for Teaching Quality and the author of the yet-to-be-
released book ?Teaching 2030: What We Must Do for Our Students and Our Public Schools,?
said the classroom of 2030 will be largely unfamiliar to today’s educators and training for
teachers will be transformed into a ?new learning ecology.? Berry listed four emergent realities
from this new learning ecology: 1) a more personalized system of learning for students and
teachers; 2) seamless connections in and out of cyberspace; 3) differentiated pathways to enter
the teaching profession; and 4) empowering and rewarding entrepreneurial teachers. Berry
introduced three teachers, Dr. Carrie Kamm, Jennifer Barnett and Jose Vilson, who currently
utilize these emergent realities in their schools and classrooms, and who acknowledge the
important role a teacher plays in the classroom but described ?hybrid? model of teaching as
where the profession should move. In order to address a child’s learning needs ?It takes a team,?
Kamm stated. Shifting curriculum into an online space would allow teachers to work easily in
teams, access mentors and ultimately individualize and address each child’s needs more
effectively. Karen Cator, Director of the Office of Education Technology at the U.S. Department
of Education, spoke during the second panel and stated that four opportunities where technology
can be seamlessly used in a classroom include: 1) mobile devices; 2) the proliferation of social
networks online; 3) applying personalization profiles that sites, such as, use to
meet the individualized needs of students; and 4) the ability to extend learning time through
technology that is already being used by students at home after school. Cator stated that
professional development is not required in instances when classroom technology is ?Facebook
friendly,? but Antonia Cortese, Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers,
argued that in order to facilitate such a shift in the classroom, intensive professional development
will be necessary. To view additional materials please visit:
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  1. New Publications
    ?Education Pays 2010? (September 2010)

?Teacher Pay for Performance: Experimental Evidence from the Project on Incentives in
Teaching? (September 2010)

?The Rural Solution: How Community Schools Can Reinvigorate Rural Education? (September

?Breaking the Mold: Combining Community Schools with Expanded Learning Time to Help
Educationally Disadvantaged Students? (September 2010)

"Children's Access to Print Materials and Education-Related Outcomes? (June 2010)

?Levers for Change: Pathways for State-to-District Assistance in Underperforming School
Districts? (September 2010)

?Rising Above the Gathering Storm Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5? (September
Back to top.

  1. In the News
    ?College Grads Expand Lead in Job Security? Wall Street Journal (9/20/10)

?Internet Service Upgrade Coming to Poor and Rural Schools? New York Times (9/20/10)

?Victims of Online Bullying may be More Likely to be Depressed? Washington Post (9/20/10)

?The Face of Making Private-School Growth, Familiar but Profit-Making? New York Times

?Teacher Bonuses not Linked to Better Student Performance, Study Finds? Washington Post

?Summers to Leave White House? Boston Globe (9/22/10)

?City Reports Nearly Fivefold Increase in Students Repeating a Grade? New York Times

?Facebook Founder Giving $100M to Newark Schools? Wall Street Journal (9/24/10)

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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
guarantee the information, services, or products described or offered at these other Internet sites.

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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