• December 2017 Report

    SBE School Report card Workshop #2:  December 6th

    SBE Workshop - Usability and Accessibility of School Report Cards under ESSA

    The second in a series of workshops and opportunities to learn more about the state, district, and school report cards/profile report changes and gather feedback to help inform and guide the process was held on 12/6/17. Resources and presentations from the event are posted in the event linked above.

    The Department of Education has created a website where information about the  School Report Card  design process and stakeholder events is provided.

    National Summit on Education Reform - Conference Report:

    Panelist names on this page link to a PDF of their presentation, if available.

    Advancing Equity with ESSA: The Good, The Bad & The Wonky


    What’s New in Education Funding? Tools for Policymakers


    Social & Emotional Learning & Academic Development: The Science & Art of Integration

    Moderator:  Brooke Stafford-Brizard, Ph.D. , Director, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative  @StaffordBrizard


    The Teacher Shortage: Myths, Realities & Solutions

    Moderator:  Daniel Weisberg , Chief Executive Officer, TNTP


    Doubling Down on Early Literacy: Ensure Every Child Can Read

    Moderator:  Cari Miller ,  Policy Director of K-3 Reading, ExcelinEd


    News Articles of Interest

    Standards and Assessments

    Youth benefit from early financial education 
    Many young people grow up unprepared to face a world where they are increasingly in charge of their own financial well-being. A June 2015 assessment by the National Endowment for Financial Education, “Overconfident and Underprepared: The Disconnect Between Millennials and Their Money,” noted that this generation is in a “fragile” financial position compounded by their well-publicized educational debt. The report calls for greater access to financial education.

    Computer Science Education Week Kicks Off in VI 
    The revelations were part of the launch of Computer Science Education Week in Virginia, which kicked off with a series of events at the Science Museum of Virginia. The week comes less than a month after the state became the first in the U.S. to adopt mandatory computer science learning standards, a move officials hope will spur both interest and knowledge in the growing field. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, Dec. 4)

    Related Education Commission of the States Resource:  State of the States Landscape Report: State-Level Policies Supporting Equitable K–12 Computer Science Education

    Gov. Larry Hogan announces tech education initiatives for Maryland public schools
    Gov. Larry Hogan plans to ask state lawmakers to set standards for computer science training in public schools, one of several steps he says will help create a more tech-savvy workforce in Maryland. The Republican governor said Thursday that he’ll work with teachers, school system officials and business leaders in the coming months to develop goals for what children should be taught and a timeline for working the lessons into the curriculum.

    State awards first Certificates of Multiliteracy
    Secretary of Education Susan Bunting today honored the first students in the state to earn Delaware’s new Certificate of Multiliteracy, which recognizes and honors students for attaining high levels of proficiency in languages in addition to English. “Proficiency in multiple languages is a critical career skill in today’s workplace,” Bunting said. “This certificate provides the students with a credential that will help differentiate them on job, college, and scholarship applications as well as military admissions documents.”

    State grants go to financial literacy
    The state is granting $290,000 from its Financial Literacy Education Fund to schools and nonprofits that teach the public how to be smart with their money. Delaware’s FLEF program adds a $1,500 surcharge to businesses making short-term loans, and uses the money to fund programs that educate the public on how to make better financial decisions.

    Accountability and School Supports

    Christina postpones vote on Wilmington schools agreement
    The Christina School Board postponed voting on a memorandum of understanding with Gov. John Carney Tuesday night, with one member calling the latest draft of an agreement to improve academics in Wilmington “a power-play gut punch” that doesn’t focus on students, but on buildings and “adults” instead. "If we voted on this tonight, I would absolutely say no," said Elizabeth Campbell Paige, who actually voted against tabling the item because she wasn't sure if further negotiations with the governor's office would make any difference.

    Give citizens better information about school spending: Editorial
    State Auditor Tom Wagner has pointed out one way to improve taxpayers' trust in public schools: Overhaul the way spending is reported. In a report issued this week, Wagner says he tried to determine which districts are doing the best job of keeping funds in the classroom. But the current reporting system is used so inconsistently among the 19 school districts statewide that such an analysis is impossible, Wagner said.

    Groups want to spend millions of state dollars on initiatives to help at-risk youth
    When Delaware lawmakers return to Dover next month, they will be asked to support a special four-year initiative to "improve the lives and futures" of low-income children. Money for the program that was developed by the Coalition for Delaware's Kids comes from unanticipated one-time revenues heading into the next budget cycle.

    As Districts Across the Country Try to Drive Down Absenteeism, New York City Leads the Way
    In recent years, New York City’s education department has been paying more attention to chronic absenteeism, which is linked to lower test scores, higher dropout rates, and even a greater risk of entering the criminal justice system.  (Chalkbeat, Nov. 30)

    ExcelinEd Releases State Landscape
    ExcelinEd has looked at ESSA plans for all 50 states and the District of Columbia and  released  its landscape analysis. Dr. Christy Hovanetz, who authored the analysis, said, “It’s encouraging that in the majority of states, schools will earn summative ratings that are easily understandable for parents and can spur school improvement. However, there are some concerns with many states planning to measure achievement using index systems – and growth using peer comparisons – rather than grade level expectations. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the plans can help advocates and policymakers support effective implementation of state plans.”

    State Report Cards Improving, Education Data Experts Say
    State education report cards are providing more timely and useful data that goes beyond assessment results to include information on school climate, teacher collaboration and family engagement, but further improvements — such as using simpler language and fewer acronyms — would make the reports even more accessible, according to a Data Quality Campaign (DQC) report.  (Education Dive, Dec. 6)

    A plan to simplify and balance Ohio’s school report cards    Fordham’s latest report suggests significant changes to Ohio’s school report cards that would reduce their complexity and produce ratings fairer to all schools.  Read more .

    Opportunity Wasted: Second-Round ESSA Plans Get Largely Lackluster Reviews from Independent Experts   | The 74

    “States largely squandered the opportunity to create strong, innovative education plans through the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan group of independent reviewers found,” writes Carolyn Phenicie in The 74’s review of today’s  CheckStatePlans.org  release. “This is really challenging work. No state has seemed to figure out how to do it well, across the board, for every student, in a comprehensive manner and in a sustained way over time,” Erika McConduit, President and CEO of the Urban League of Louisiana and a peer reviewer, told The 74. The peer reviewers, “a bipartisan group of more than 45 advocates,” joined together “in an effort led by the Collaborative for Student Success and Bellwether Education Partners” to rate “each plan in nine areas, on a scale of 1 to 5.” Among the 34 states submitting plans in the second round, “nine got a 5 in at least one category, and only Indiana received a 5 in two categories.” Among first-round states, “six of the 17 plans got a top rating in at least one category, with three states getting 5’s in more than one category.” 

    Many State ESSA Plans are 'Uncreative, Unambitious,' Analysis Finds Education Week
    ESSA “was supposed to free states up to go off in bold, new directions on K-12 policy,” writes Alyson Klein in  Education Week . Did state plans live up to that promise? “Not so much,” Klein writes. These poor results come despite the fact that this set of states submitted their plans in September, and therefore “had more time to refine their blueprints than the 17 states, including the District of Columbia, that turned in their plans in the spring.” Some of the “weakest areas of state plans included goals,” which aren’t grounded in evidence; “confusing school ratings systems;” and “states' failure to incorporate student subgroup performance into school ratings.” States also “weren't specific about how they would address the needs of English-language learners and students in special education.” The plans were “examined by dozens of reviewers who rated each state on a variety of categories,” each graded on a five-point scale. Some states, “including Alabama and Virginia, did not get a single score above a 2 in any area,” while others fared better, “including Indiana, Minnesota, and Washington, each of which got a 3 or better in every category.” 

    Did States Blow an Opportunity With ESSA Plans? |    Politico ’s Morning Education
    Politico’s  Morning Education newsletter noted that, “Dozens of bipartisan education policy experts have reviewed 34 state plans that were submitted to the federal government under the Every Student Succeeds Act this fall. Their conclusion? States kind of blew it.” While there were “bright spots,” the peer reviewers “mostly found state ESSA plans to be ‘uncreative, unambitious, unclear, or unfinished,’ according to an executive summary of an analysis released today by the nonprofits Bellwether Education Partners and the Collaborative for Student Success.” The “reviewers convened by Bellwether and the Collaborative said states should've seized ESSA as an opportunity to go above and beyond when laying out a new vision for education and improvement,” but instead, “many states treated ESSA as a compliance exercise.” 

    Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long chosen to participate in national Fellowship on education policy
    Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long will join a group of twenty state officials from across the country who have been selected to participate in the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows Program on education policy. The fellowship, named after former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt and former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, is a bipartisan group assembled to discuss the importance of educational standards, aligned assessments, and accountability systems.

    Layoffs Will Hurt ESSA Implementation, State Education Leaders Say

    State education chiefs say in a  recently released survey  that their departments lack sufficient funding, staffing or expertise to carry out one or more key requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act.  The Center on Education Policy, a national advocacy group based in Washington D.C., surveyed 45 state chiefs on their thoughts about the implementation of ESSA, passed in 2015. All but one of those chiefs said staffing cuts were a major hurdle for them. "The capacity of state education agencies is a persistent and often overlooked challenge," said Maria Ferguson, CEP's executive director. "The survey results suggest the demands of ESSA, coupled with a lack of clear guidance from the [federal Department of Education], are making it difficult for state agencies to show the kind of creative leadership ESSA was meant to encourage." 

    Changes in Indiana’s Graduation Rate Should Be Focus on Diploma Debate
    There’s been no shortage of coverage of the changes that Indiana will be implementing to its high school diploma. By doing away with its general diploma, it has been  reported  that Indiana’s graduation rate could drop as much as 12 percent. But, as Indiana Public Radio reports, Civic Enterprises Senior Research and Policy Advisor Jennifer DePaoli notes that “the majority of Indiana high school students already complete a diploma that meets the new requirements,” arguing that should be the focus. 

    U.S. Graduation Rate Hits All-Time High   | Education Week 
    Catherine Gewertz writes that the “national high school graduation rate has risen to a new all-time high: 84 percent, the fifth straight year of increases, according to data published by the federal government” this week.  Read more.

    Top Senate HELP Dem Says Ed Department Approving Plans That Don’t Conform to ESSA
    Andrew Ujifusa  reports  in  Education Week  that during a recent Senate HELP Committee hearing, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) “took the opportunity in her opening remarks to say that not every state's ESSA plan meets the law's requirements for schools with struggling student subgroups.” 

    Educators as Catalysts

    Is Teacher Recertification Broken?

     Advocates and state officials should think about how the neglected policies could be used as a lever to improve teacher quality, experts say.

    Teacher Professional Development: Many Choices, Few Quality Checks

     A diffuse—and mostly unregulated—set of providers has sprung up to meet teachers’ varying needs for renewal credits.

    Even National Board Teachers Don't Get a Pass on License Renewal

    Only about half of states allow the rigorous certification process to count toward the renewal of teacher licenses—a figure the National Board wishes to change.

    Wisconsin Killed License Renewal. So Why Are Teachers So Upset?

     Wisconsin is one of five states that now gives lifetime licenses, but many teachers say the change could damage their profession.

    It's not how long you spend in PD, it's how much you grow
    The research is clear: The “sit ‘n’ get” model of professional development doesn’t work. Yet the majority of states continue to base the requirements for maintaining a teaching license on clock hours or seat time. And very often, that looks like teachers heading en masse to one-off conferences and seminars, disconnected from their everyday classroom work. But 14 states, including Georgia most recently, are now trying something different.

    Inching Toward Relicensure, One 'Microcredential' at a Time

    The bite-sized competencies are gaining ground as a PD tool. In Tennessee, they can also help teachers maintain their licenses.

    Making a Case for 'Timely, Purposeful, Progressive' PD

    When the professional development that teachers must take to renew their licenses is meaningful, teachers will stay in the profession and maintain a high level of job satisfaction, argues Brian Curtin, an Illinois English teacher.

    TFA, Alternative Programs Marginally Better Than Traditional Teacher Prep, Study Finds
    The study aims to put to rest a long-held debate about whether alternative route teacher training programs, which tend to provide a quick path to the classroom for people who already have a bachelor's degree, can sufficiently prepare new educators. About 20 percent of new teachers enter through alternative programs, according to a 2016 report from the Education Commission of the States.  (Education Week, Nov. 28)

    NCTQ Looks (Again) at Educator Equity
    The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) has released its  analyses  of educator equity in 34 recently submitted state plans under ESSA, completing the organization’s analysis of all state ESSA plans. These new analyses highlight strengths and opportunities, demonstrating how most are not doing enough to ensure that low-income students and students of color are not disproportionately taught by ineffective, out-of-field, or inexperienced teachers. NCTQ designed these analyses, along with an  ESSA Educator Equity Best Practices Guide , to support state efforts to provide all students with strong teachers.

    Study: Black, Latino preservice teachers demonstrate more multicultural awareness
    Research continues to point to how the black and Latino students are affected by attending schools in which the teacher workforce is predominantly white. A study released earlier this year, for example, showed that when low-income black students have at least one black teacher in the elementary grades, they are significantly more likely to graduate from high school.

    Delaware teachers use YouTube to inspire other teachers, share advice
    William "Ry" Culver and Justin Comegys know how important it is for teachers to work together and share new ideas. Culver is an English teacher at St. Georges Technical High School, while Comegys is an instructional specialist for the New Castle County Vo-Tech School District. Together, they make up the YouTube duo Two Guys Who Sort of Know What They’re Doing. Culver and Comegys create videos that provide teachers with strategies and tips they can use in the classroom the very next day.

    Great schools start with great leaders. Let's recognize ours: Delaware Voice
    Opinion by Victoria C. Gehrt, superintendent of the New Castle County Vocational Technical School District
    How would you define a great school? Fifteen years ago, Jim Collins told the business world in his book "Good to Great" that “…doing what you are good at will only make you good; focusing solely on what you can potentially do better than any other organization is the only path to greatness.” I believe great schools start with great leaders, such as those found at Howard High School of Technology. Howard’s Principal, Dr. Stanley Spoor, was selected as Delaware’s Secondary Principal of the Year, and Assistant Principal Colleen Conaty was just named Delaware Assistant Principal of the Year.

    The full  2017 State Teacher Policy Yearbook   is available  here , with comprehensive information regarding each state’s teacher policies available in NCTQ’s  State Teacher Policy Database .  The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its bi-annual 2017 State Teacher Policy Yearbook, finding that states’ previous rapid progress to modernize their teacher policies has largely slowed. Delaware’s overall grade for its teaching policies remained at a B- grade since 2015. By comparison, the overall grade nationally also stagnated, staying at a C- grade. This year, among all 50 states and the District of Columbia, only six states earned a higher grade than Delaware, five states performed as well as Delaware, and 39 states earned a lower grade. Florida and Louisiana each earned a B+, the highest grade in this year’s Yearbook. Delaware has a few key opportunities for improvement. In its 2017 Yearbook, NCTQ reported that the state earned its lowest grades in: Special Education Teacher Preparation (D-), Retaining Effective Teachers (D), and Teacher Compensation (D+). Delaware earned its top grades in: Hiring (B+), where the state meets the goal for Provisional and Emergency Licensure, General Teacher Preparation (B), and Teacher and Principal Evaluation (B-). The Yearbook designated Delaware a “Best Practice” state in Program Reporting Requirements, as the state holds teacher preparation programs accountable for meeting performance standards and for the quality of teachers they produce. It earned a second “Best Practice” designation in Alternate Route Preparation, since the state’s alternate route programs prepare new teachers for the classroom through manageable and relevant coursework, intensive mentoring and induction, and a supervised practice teaching experience.

    To compare Delaware to other states across the country in eight key measures, including teacher pay, teacher diversity, and educator equity, please look  here .

    Readiness for Success

    Does preschool pay off? Tulsa says yes
    In 2001, not long after Oklahoma had adopted one of the nation's first universal pre-K programs, researchers from Georgetown University began tracking kids who came out of the program in Tulsa, documenting their academic progress over time. In a new report published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management today, researchers were able to show that Tulsa's pre-K program has significant, positive effects on students' outcomes and well-being through middle school.

    3 Ways Schools Can Use Federal Funding Through ESSA to Support Social-Emotional Learning   The 74
    According to a new RAND Corporation report, “schools looking to implement social-emotional learning programs have several funding options available to them through” the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Read more.

    Businesses and schools can work together: Delaware Voice
    Opinion by Chip Rossi, Delaware Market President for Bank of America and chairman of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, and Terry Murphy, president and CEO of Bayhealth and chairman of the Delaware Business Roundtable
    The world of work is changing rapidly and we need to change with it. Even in our familiar industries — banking and health care — technology has paved the way for massive transformations, and in turn has transformed how we seek and acquire talent for important roles within our companies. From our seats, the more well prepared, well-trained local talent we can develop in Delaware, the better.

    NASBE News

    New NASBE piece discusses the state role in incubating school improvement networks

    States, districts, and schools across the country are forming "networked improvement communities" to address problems of practice, make changes based on data, and make connections across schools. These networks build capacity to improve schools, ensure effective change processes are in place and make it possible to bring innovations to scale. A new NASBE policy update explores how statewide networked improvement communities work and how state boards of education can nurture them. Read the  full piece  on NASBE's website

    NASBE policy update discusses what state boards need to lead for equity

    For decades, state boards have been developing policies aimed at delivering a quality education to all students. Yet students still attend schools that often are still racially segregated and underresourced and receive instruction of uneven quality. A  NASBE policy update  offers state boards a means to address disparities and inequities in education through structured discussions of equity, the achievement gap, and what state boards need to lead for equity and excellence.

    Expanding Computer Science Coursework to All Students

    Computer science continues to advance innovation throughout our economy and society. Yet fewer than half of U.S. schools offer any computer science courses, and only 8 percent of STEM graduates study it. Improving access to computer science coursework for all students, but especially groups who have traditionally been underrepresented, is within the grasp of state policymakers.

    Join NASBE on  Wednesday, January 11, 2018, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm (EDT),  for a conversation with Code.org Chief Operating Officer Cameron Wilson to learn about their policy work to promote computer science classes in more classrooms and improve teacher capacity, design a broadly used curriculum platform for K-12 computer science, and the global Hour of Code movement. Mark Newburn, vice president of the Nevada State Board of Education, will also share Nevada’s experience with expanding access to computer science for students, with lessons for other states.

    Register in advance to attend this webinar.

    State Board Insight is  now updated with 2017 data through June.  Some of the top trends include increasing consideration of social and emotional learning, consistent focus on charter schools, strong emphasis on college and career readiness, and attention to teacher shortages as the new school year nears.
    Visit NASBE’s State Board Insight database:  https://stateboardinsight.nasbe.org/

    • College and Career Readiness.  All but three state boards considered  college and career readiness  between January and June. Boards heard presentations on innovative career programs, worked to enhance equitable access to dual credit courses, and redefined college and career readiness across their states.
    • Teacher Shortages.  Teacher recruitment and retention  are pressing issues as the new school year approaches. More than half of state boards have focused on teacher shortages since the start of 2017 by approving emergency licensure waivers, supporting teacher recruitment campaigns, and learning about innovative preparation programs.
    • Social and Emotional Learning.  Board consideration of social and emotional learning (SEL) has increased since January. A quarter of state boards discussed related topics such as creation of model competency standards, promotion of SEL in policy and strategic plans, and protection of SEL student data. In reports at board meetings, Connecticut and Illinois’s student advisers encouraged their boards to increase support for SEL.
    • Finance academic policy , and  assessment  are hardy perennials on state board agendas, and roughly nine in ten boards have focused on  stakeholder engagement  at least once since January. 

    For more insights, read our new analysis pieces:

Last Modified on April 6, 2018