Below you will find a list of the hottest topics in education policy from June 2014.
- The newest issue of ASCD’s policy newsletter, Policy Priorities, examines the benefits and challenges of more meaningful accountability systems and profiles pioneering states and districts that are implementing these systems. ASCD has been calling for a new accountability model that encompasses a range of subjects, includes multiple measures of student performance, and considers the influence of conditions such as school climate and safety on learning. Read more.
- A California court deemed the state’s teacher tenure laws unconstitutional because they violate the right to an equal education. According to the Vergara v. California (PDF) ruling, California’s tenure policy affects minority students adversely and unequally by making it difficult to fire ineffective teachers who predominantly teach low-income, minority students. Students Matter, a nonprofit that supported the plaintiffs, has stated its intention to open similar cases in other states. See U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s comments on the verdict.
- The National Core Arts Standards (NCAS), which are unrelated to the Common Core State Standards and were developed by a coalition of arts and education organizations, are voluntary guidelines that states or districts can adopt or adapt. The new preK–12 grade-by-grade standards were developed for dance, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts. The standards integrate the four artistic processes—creating, performing, responding, and connecting—with the skills and knowledge, sample assessments, and criteria necessary for successful arts learning. Visit the interactive NCAS website for resources.
- Both chambers of Congress are debating whether or not to relax new school meal nutrition regulations that require schools to offer more fruits and vegetables; cut back on fat, salt, and sugar; and serve grains and breads that are at least 50 percent whole-grain rich. See a recent Inservice blog post for more details as well as information about where educators stand on the issue. .
For more news and information on ASCD’s policy and advocacy activities, please visit www.ascd.org/public-policy.aspx.