An April Roundup from ASCD’s Policy Pros

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Ed Policy News in April 2014Below you will find a list of the hottest topics in education policy from this month.

  • To help schools and educators foster relationships that build capacity for student achievement, the U.S. Department of Education has released its Family and Community Engagement Framework. The framework is not a blueprint for increasing engagement, but is instead a compass to set the path for effective engagement. The framework addresses (PDF) current challenges faced by schools in building family-school partnerships, the necessary conditions for successful family-school initiatives, the identification of program goals, and a description of desired outcomes for school staff and families.
  • Recently, Secretary Arne Duncan testified before a House appropriations subcommittee to defend the Obama Administration’s proposed $68.6 billion FY15 education budget. The main area of contention among House members of both parties is the administration’s reliance on competitive grant funding instead of formula funding programs such as Title I of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
  • Fifteen-year-old students from 44 countries and regions participated in the first-ever Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012 problem-solving assessment. The test was designed to evaluate how prepared students are to confront—and solve—the kinds of problems that are encountered in daily 21st-century life. While Singapore, South Korea, and Japan scored highest, U.S. students ranked 18th (PDF)—notably higher than expected when compared to students in other countries who show similar performances on the PISA tests assessing mathematics, reading, and science. Test your own abilities by trying these sample questions.
  • The new bipartisan charter school legislation, which calls for charter school funding to be increased from $250 million to $300 million per year, would merge existing federal funding programs for charter school development and facilities management. The bill is expected to pass through the House, as a similar measure passed in 2011 on a 365–54 vote. Regarding the measure’s future in the Senate, Chairman John Kline (R-MN) stated that he is “increasingly optimistic.” To learn more about the details of the bill, visit Capitol Connection.
  • Indiana has become the first state to repeal its adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Governor Mike Pence (R)—who has been vocal about the need for Indiana to have standards written “for Hoosiers, by Hoosiers“—signed the recent legislation to void the standards within the state. Later this month, the Indiana State Board of Education will vote on replacement standards that are a combination of the Common Core standards and Indiana’s previous standards.

For more news and information on ASCD’s policy and advocacy activities, please visit www.ascd.org/public-policy.aspx.