From the Editor RSS Feed

CTE Reauthorization

Despite all the drama in Washington, Congress actually continued to work on real issues. On Wednesday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee passed its Perkins reauthorization bill, H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The markup process proceeded smoothly and only a few changes were made to the introduced version of the bill through amendments. The bill was approved by unanimous voice vote. It's now up to the Senate and there is no set timeline in place for any Senate action. Read More »

Speak Up 2016 Results

Project Tomorrow has been releasing elements of its Speak Up 2016 data at various industry meetings over the past six week, leading up to the Congressional Briefings in Washington D.C. Speak Up has been collecting data about the role of technology for learning since 2003. More than 514.000 surveys were completed during the 2016 data collection (October 2016 to January 2017), from more than 435,000 students, 38,000 teachers, 4,500 administrators, nearly 30,000 parents, and 5,800 community members. Read More »

FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Both the House of Representatives (by a 309-118 vote) and the Senate (by 79-18) have passed the FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which funds the government through the end of FY 2017 (September 30, 2017). The President is expected to sign the bill, though he certainly did not get everything he wanted. The Trump administration had asked Congress to cut 2017 discretionary spending by $18 billion, in order to offset the increases he wanted for defense and security. Read More »

Executive Order on Education

President Trump signed an Executive Order on education this week. It doesn't break any new policy ground. Instead it is a pointed restatement of the President's belief that the states are the ultimate arbiters of education policy with the federal government too often interfering with the state's ability to exert its rightful control. The Executive Order directs Secretary DeVos to review all Department of Education regulations and guidance documents and determine whether they comply with Federal laws that prohibit the Department from exercising any direction, supervision, or control over areas subject to State and local control - specifically curriculum, program of instruction, school administration and personnel; and the selection and content of library resources, textbooks, and instructional materials. The Secretary is to publish any proposed regulations and withdraw or modify any guidance documents no later than 300 days after the date of the Executive Order. Read More »

Annual Assessments

The statewide assessment season is once more in full swing as schools approach the end of the school year. Overall, the 2016-17 state assessment picture was relatively stable. Education Week reported that 21 states, the same number as 2015-16, planned to administer either the PARCC or SBAC assessments, with the remaining states using some combination of custom, state-designed or combination test. Read More »

Principal Autonomy in FL

ASCD Smart Brief picked up a story from the SunSentinel that reports on the Principal Autonomy Program, a new Florida initiative that allows school principals the freedom to make decision for their schools without regard for many of the existing policies and regulations in areas such as textbooks, curriculum and staffing. Last year the Florida legislature passed a bill that exempts participating districts from the state's K-20 Education Code and State Board of Education rules. The program is only open to Broward, Duval, Jefferson, Madison, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Seminole Counties. If districts decide to participate, they can select up to three of their low-performing schools for inclusion in the pilot program. Read More »

Thoughts from CoSN, Redefining Ready!

I was so happy to be able to spend a day at the CoSN Conference this week. CoSN attracts an audience that leans heavily towards CTOs and Instructional Technology Directors, but a number of districts bring teams that might include the superintendent, a curriculum person or a business manager. This year's theme was "Invent the Future" and while many sessions addressed forward-looking strategies and emerging technologies like AR and VR, some old themes surfaced as well. Some of these older topics may always be with us (at least for the next several years), including concerns around student privacy and data security, digital equity and more technical topics such as interoperability and network infrastructure. Read More »

FY 2017 Budget, Use of EngageNY

In a year when dealing with funding the last five months of FY2017—with Republicans in charge of the White House and both houses of Congress—should be fairly straightforward, major news outlets are beginning to publish stories about the potential for a government shutdown when the current Continuing Resolution expires on April 28. In truth, budget negotiations are never easy. The numbers have to balance and so do the political tradeoffs. Those trade-offs are getting tougher by the day. Read More »

New ESSA Guidance

Well it's official now. Congress has acted and the President has signed legislation repealing two sets of Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) regulations—those governing teacher-preparation programs and the school accountability regs—issued by the Obama Department of Education in November 2016. And they've done it using the Congressional Review Act, a rarely used piece of oversight legislation passed in 1996. The CRA requires that a majority in both chambers of Congress must pass a "joint resolution of disapproval," which must then be signed by the President. The joint resolution of disapproval cannot be filibustered, so the process can move fairly quickly. The CRA had been used successfully only one time before, in 2001. Though Congress tried to use the CRA more recently, President Obama vetoed those efforts. There was no question of a veto this time around. Read More »

Trump FY 2018 Budget

The White House released a preliminary version of the President's 2018 Budget request this week. While it largely reflects the priorities the President has detailed throughout his campaign and since taking office, it is still something of a shock to see it all turned into somewhat concrete proposals. "America First: A Budget Proposal to Make America Great Again," which covers only discretionary spending (some 27% of the total), is short on details. The White House says those will come in the full budget, to be released later this spring. It will include the administration's mandatory budget and tax proposals, as well as a full fiscal path. Read More »