A New Year in Education Policy: A January Policy Roundup

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January Policy RoundupBelow you will find a synopsis of the hottest topics in education policy from January 2015.

  • Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Senate education committee, has jump-started the process to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by releasing a draft rewrite bill(PDF) for discussion purposes. The draft eliminates NCLB’s Adequate Yearly Progress requirements and instead requires states to submit plans for accountability systems based in part on student academic achievement. The draft bill also increases flexibility for how states could spend federal funds. Public comment should be sent to Alexander’s staff by Monday, February 2 at: fixingNCLB@help.senate.gov.
  • “When our educators are strong, our students are strong, and our nation’s union is strong,’ states ASCD’s Director of Public Policy, David Griffith, in a recent response to President Obama’s January 20th State of the Union address. Griffith addresses the President’s ambitious proposal for affordable education, the rising high school graduation rate, and reiterates the importance of supporting the whole child.
  • Are educators being prepared to help students reach the new college- and career-ready goals outlined in the Common Core State Standards? ASCD’s latest Policy Priorities examines this timely issue and explores various efforts to ensure that teachers enter the classroom prepared to succeed with the new standards. The publication explains why proper training of incoming teachers provides a logical first step in helping students reap the benefits of the new standards; how the standards could affect teacher evaluations; the federal government’s plans to improve the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs; and how some states, such as New Jersey, have effectively engaged all stakeholders in moving teacher preparation programs and the standards forward.
  • The 114th Congress was sworn in earlier this month, and its members will determine the direction of many of our nation’s education policies. ASCD’s latest Policy Points(PDF) takes a closer look at the new Congress, featuring information on the shift to a Republican majority in the Senate demographic basics, and profiles of the chairs of the Senate and House education committees.
  • See how Capitol Connection pays tribute to the compelling people, policies, and pursuits of the past year and entertainingly predicted their attention-grabbing successors. Here’s a preview: Watercress and Chromebooks are “in” while Kale and iPads are “out.” Read the full list.