Tag Archives: State Budgets

What Happened in Your State This September?

During September, thirteen policy analysts published reports about what occurred in Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)

Arizona: Tricia Parker shared that Arizona’s ESSA plan was approved.

District of Columbia: Martha Cohen wrote that Secretary DeVos approves DC’s ESSA plan.

Oregon: Joanne Yatvin noted that the Oregon ESSA plan was approved.

Vermont: Anne Slonaker reported that Vermont’s ESSA plan was accepted.

Washington: Barbara Ward informed members that Washington was still seeking feedback on their consolidated plan until September 5, 2017.

PreK–12

Arizona: Tricia Parker described Save Our Schools Arizona as a grassroots organization fighting voucher expansion in Arizona. She also shared that YA author Meg Medina was the keynote speaker at the Arizona English Teachers Association [AETA]2017 Conference.  Tricia highlighted a number of bills opposed by AETA passed in Arizona’s 2016 Legislative Session, including replacing the word “teacher” with “person,” expanding the private school voucher program, and funding that did not provide a permanent salary increase for teachers and supported high-stakes testing.

Idaho: In Teachers Climbing the Ladder May Need a Boost, Darlene Dyer described the many steps teachers must take to qualify for a “Masters Teacher Premium.”

Louisiana: Jalissa Bates shared that Secretary Betsy Devos Visits Texas and Louisiana for Hurricane Harvey Relief.

New York: Derek Kulnis reported that New York City Offers Free Lunch to all 1.1 million students in the NYC public school system.

Oklahoma: Claudia Swisher described Deborah Gist’s volunteering to teach third grade in Amid Teacher Shortage, Tulsa Superintendent Returns to the Classroom. Claudia also reported that Jacob Rosecrants, a middle school teacher from Oklahoma, won a special election for House District 46. Claudia described the conflict over the accurate reporting of school funding in Is Oklahoma School Funding “Fake News?

Texas: In No Excuses, Teri Lesesne expressed the concern of many over the Commissioner of Education’s unwillingness to postpone state testing despite the impact of Hurricane Harvey on many students and schools.

Virginia: Leila Christenbury noted that public comments are open for standards of accreditation (8VAC20-131) until October 6, 2017. Comments can be submitted here.

Higher Education

California: Carol Olson reported that EdSource Expands Postsecondary Coverage in order to focus on the challenges faced by students graduating from high school.

Michigan: Robert Rozema shared that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Vows to Review and Repeal Obama-Era Sexual Assault Guidelines.

What Happened in Your State This August?

During August, thirteen policy analysts published reports about what occurred in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia.

ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)

Delaware: Zoi Philippakos shared the Approval of ESSA Plan for Delaware with “an ambitious and rigorous plan addressing graduation rates, ELA and math goals, and English Language Learners.”

Louisiana: Jalissa Bates also reported that Louisiana’s ESSA plan was approved.

Montana: Anna Baldwin described Montana’s ESSA Plan as relying on test scores and emphasizing graduation rates and school quality. Anna describes the disconnect over the treatment of English language learners and the bottom 5% of schools.

Ohio: In her Status Update on ESSA Implementation, Robin Holland relayed that after review by Governor Kasich, Ohio will submit its ESSA application to the US Department of Education in September.

Texas: In her ESSA Update, Teri Lesesne noted that despite stakeholders emphasizing critical thinking, raising salaries, and funding as important, the plan under review “relies on the same old, same old measures of ‘excellence,’ namely, test scores.”

Vermont: Anne Slonaker listed the additional information and revisions that the US Department of Education requested of Vermont.

Virginia: Leila Christenbury described the Accountability Plan Proposed for Struggling Virginia Schools as “far less draconian and also less prescriptive than previous Virginia-recommended school interventions.”

PreK–12

California: Laurie Stowell presented both sides of the Assembly Bill to delay middle and high school start times, concluding that if it passed, California would be the first to legislate statewide school start times.

Pennsylvania: Aileen Hower reported on the introduction of a bill to expand Pennsylvania’s Education Savings Account (ESA) program to provide funding for low-income students at private schools. She then provided a rebuttal by critics who claim that ESAs are “just vouchers by another name.” Aileen shared that Governor Tom Wolf announced a reduction in PSSA testing.

Texas: Teri Lesesne shared that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has created a new “parent portal” that provides information about the state test (STAAR) and Lexiles. She referred to Shona Rose’s blog post describing her phone call with TEA about the writing portion of STAAR. Teri also reported that school finance would wait two years until the Texas legislature convenes again.

Higher Education

California: Referring to the 2017 IES report, Carol Olson highlighted that “context (e.g., type of institution, SAT/ACT scores, age, and race) matters when it comes to remaining enrolled or graduating from programs.”

Florida: Jeffrey Kaplan delineated the struggle in Florida over Online Higher Education, with the governor wanting to expand the number of students taking virtual courses and legislators viewing such an expansion as detrimental to Florida having an “elite” higher education system.

New Mexico: Kate Mangelsdorf noted that New Mexico is “one of ten states in the country with the highest reductions in spending per student in higher education,” even though the “value . . . for students in New Mexico remains high.” She continued that Budget Cuts Affect University Writing Programs, with fewer students being served and successful initiatives being curtailed.

Both PreK–12 and Higher Education

Connecticut: In English Language Learners in Connecticut, Stephen Ferruci described the challenges that English language learners face in light of new ESSA requirements. He referenced H.B. 3865 that would have required bilingual education, but was never brought up on the floor, and a study concluding that dual-language programs are successful. He raised concerns over Connecticut loosening requirements for certification and employing the “use of the Relay Graduate School of Education, a program that fast-tracks certification . . . and . . . that has been rejected by Connecticut’s Board of Higher Education.”

New Mexico: Kate Mangelsdorf provided an Educational Equity Court Case Update regarding the lawsuit filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty claiming that ELL, Native American, and low-income students were not receiving the “educational opportunities guaranteed by the New Mexico Constitution.”

What Happened in Your State This February?

capitol-building-150x150This past month, twenty policy analysts published reports about what occurred in the following states: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

ESSA Implementation

Louisiana: Clancy Ratliff posted Louisiana Department of Education Publishes Public Feedback on ESSA.

Virginia: In Virginia’s Transition to ESSA, Mabel Khawaja examined ESSA implementation through the lens of both K–12 and higher education.

Vermont: Anne Slonaker shared Vermont’s State Plan in response to ESSA.

Ohio: Robin Holland noted that Ohio’s ESSA Draft Plan (was) Now Available for Comments.

Readers may want to visit ESSA Implementation in the States to see what your state is doing.

Higher Education

Idaho: In 60X20 in Idaho: Update on Complete College Idaho, Karen Uehling noted the formation of a task force by the governor, the governor’s “adult complete” scholarships, and a proposed new community college.

Indiana: Katherine Wills described a dual credit program between a Fort Wayne high school and East Allen University that endeavors to ensure that refugee students have the same opportunities to succeed in college as their non-refugee classmates.

Washington: Amanda Espinosa-Aguilar shared concerns about dual enrollment.

Connecticut: Stephen Ferruci analyzed Proposed Legislation Regarding DREAMERs, Illegal Aliens, and Higher Education in CT with legislators proposing bills reflecting both sides of the debate.

Nebraska: Gretchen Oltman wrote about Governor Ricketts agreeing to cut only $13.3 million from the University of Nebraska’s current budget.

Georgia: Janice Walker shared that Senate Bill 79 would create a gaming commission, and a portion of revenue generated by casinos would be directed toward scholarships.

North Dakota: In Updated North Dakota 2017, Ronda Marman reported the following:

  • The governor cut the North Dakota University System by 20%.
  • A regulation proposing to reduce notice of termination to faculty from one year to 90 days generated a lot of comment.
  • A new workforce report was released.

California:  In his Report on Contingent Faculty in Higher Education, Dan Melzer wrote, “contingent faculty are now the majority of all faculty at U.S. colleges and universities.”

Kentucky: Mary P. Sheridan encouraged faculty and educators in Kentucky to look at the impact of charter schools as Kentucky decides whether to allow them.

Pre-K–12

Idaho: Darlene Dyer reported that the State Board of Education will oversee the evaluation process, and monies are to be allocated to train administrators and supervisors to conduct the evaluations.

Arkansas: Grover Welch shared that the Arkansas Senate Education Committee passed legislation that would exempt records of “security incidents, emergency planning and those that [can] ‘reasonably be expected to be detrimental to the public safety’” from FOIA.

Minnesota: Ezra Hyland posted a number of reports:

New Jersey: Kristen Turner wrote that the New Jersey Board of Education rejected proposed amendments that would give charter schools “the authority to grant provisional and standard certificates.”

Pennsylvania: Aileen Hower shared two articles about the following:

Pre-K–12 and Higher Education

Michigan: Leslie Roberts discusses the debate in Michigan regarding the retention of the Common Core. 

South Dakota: Liza Hazlett posted 2016–2017 Raises for SD Educators Facing Discrepancies and Discord.

Ah, a New Year: Iowa Report

This post is written by NCTE’s Iowa P12 policy analyst James Davis. 

JimDavis200607 Holding Journal - chestIn November and December, education organizations prepared for a daunting 2017; while not prescient, their work was warranted. Iowa’s November elections had substantial implications for pre-K through higher education, especially for teacher retention and recruitment. Legislative targets include dismantling a collective bargaining law in effect since 1975 (health care, contract arbitration, and job-performance grievance procedures are at risk); limiting fiscal responsibility to the public employee retirement system; teacher licensure and credentialing.

Many educators, including those in teacher preparation, see the last-mentioned–an attack on teacher licensure and credentialing–as something that could lead to lower quality staffing (including the possibility of long-term substitutes), and ultimately, to privatization of schools. Budget shortfalls, even with the existence of a robust “rainy day fund,” are the handy rationale. As Iowa and surrounding states face teacher shortages, making the profession less desirable hardly seems a logical strategy.

The same budget rationale affects other matters, including “initiatives once touted as ways to better Iowa schools” (DMR 1/17/17). A controversial third-grade retention law is to take effect in 2018, but the Iowa Department of Education has not requested funding for the intensive summer-reading program alternative specified in the statute. Educators have questioned the efficacy of the approach, which could be pushed back (likely), seriously reconsidered, and perhaps repealed. A second initiative was to replace the Iowa Assessment Program with Smarter Balanced Assessments in the 2017-18 school year. Legislators question availability of funding for the computer-based exams, even as some lawmakers and educators question the way the Smarter Balanced program was selected. Despite alleged commitment to alignment between Iowa Core standards and state assessment, the program seems to be in jeopardy—the Governor has asked the Department to put a hold on implementation, and has requested fewer state budget provisions for a start in fiscal year 2019 than the Department had requested for 2018.

On a less gloomy note, implementation continues for support of teacher leaders and leadership. Social Studies standards are near implementation. Many teachers maintain professional grounding in the presence of an Iowa Core. Good work continues in schools and classrooms, even with the legislature in session!

One change will occur when the current Iowa Governor begins service as the US Ambassador to China. The current Lieutenant Governor will become the first woman Governor in Iowa history. Educators struggle to find reason to believe it will make any difference.

Jim Davis began teaching in southwest Missouri as an NCTE and affiliate member, attending his first annual convention in Milwaukee in 1968. Now in his 50th year in our profession, he teaches English education and directs the Iowa Writing Project at the University of Northern Iowa.

What Happened in Your State this September?

capitol buildingThis past month, fifteen policy analysts published reports about what occurred in the following states: California, Connecticut, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Higher Education

Stephen Ferruci previews a bill in Connecticut that would help undocumented students “access institutional financial assistance.”

Dan Melzer describes legislation that passed in California, awaiting the governor’s signature, in AB 1690 Outlines Minimum Standards for Adjunct Instructors at California Community Colleges.

Michael Gos continues his series in Campus Carry Law VI, noting that the injunction requested by three professors against enforcement of the new University of Texas campus carry policy was denied while the lawsuit moves forward.

Higher Education/P–12 Education

As part of a trend all over the United States, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Adopts Emergency Teacher Licensing Rules to Address Teacher Shortage. Donna Pasternak notes that softening licensing requirements for K–12 teachers will impact not only school districts but also schools of education and departments of English.

Derek Kulnis describes New York City’s efforts to diversify its teaching force through a program called NYC Men Teach, which recruits men of color through mentoring programs or alternative pathways.

Michael Gos outlines the budget cuts, requested by Texas leaders, to all state agencies, including K–12 and higher education, noting the particular impact on community colleges.

P–12 Education

In Keystone Test No Longer an Exit Exam, Aileen Hower notes that Pennsylvania is reviewing alternative assessments. New Jersey, on the other hand, will “triple the weight of PARCC scores in teacher evaluations,” according to Kristen Turner.

Again in Pennsylvania, Aileen Hower shares Katie Meyer’s article about the National Labor Relations Board ruling that a virtual charter school should be classified as a private corporation, not a public institution. Aileen also published Judge: Lower Merion Schools Misled Taxpayers, Must Revoke Tax Hike, revealing that the Merion school district had a budget surplus.

Darlene Dyer writes about Mastery Education a Reality in Idaho; in mastery education, students “advance from grade to grade based on mastering concepts instead of seat time or a passing grade.”

Karen Henderson reports that MATELA (the Montana Association of Teachers of English Language Arts) will have a “significant presence” at the Montana Educators’ Conference in October through a number of presentations.

In response to a Montana State Board of Education ruling on writing programs, MATELA issued its own policy statement, which Anna Baldwin describes in Policy Assistance Offered for Significant Writing Programs.

Tiffany Rehbein reports from Wyoming that ACT Scores Increase[d] and Town Hall Meetings Give Wyoming Residents Voice on ESSA Implementation.

Robin Holland has been following teachers in Cleveland, posting these two reports: Cleveland Teachers Set to Strike in Ohio and Teacher Strike Averted in Cleveland, Ohio.

Clancy Ratliff describes the release by the Louisiana State Board of Education of a Digital Literacy Guide. Jalissa Bates shares that Louisiana Children with Disabilities Receive Boost with Federal Grant of $7 million.

Pamela Doiley questions whether Massachusetts will pass financial literacy legislation.

Derek Kulnis reports that New York City will revise the way it tests water for lead in all of its schools.