Tag Archives: Title I

Mrs. Stuart Goes to Washington: Teacher Preparation, Global Education and CA Senators

Is there a better way to kick off the week than by spending time with pre-service teachers?The NCTE team (Jenna Fournel, Lu Ann McNabb and Felice Kaufmann) and I took a field trip to Capital City Public Charter School where Inspired Teaching hosts a summer program. Inspired Teaching is a “professional learning community of master teachers and teacher residents that  ensures that a diverse group of students achieves their potential as accomplished learners, thoughtful citizens, and imaginative and inquisitive problem solvers through a demanding, inquiry-based curriculum.”

Seated in a circle, teachers were doing an exercise that examined the different roles that students tend to play in the classroom, e.g., mean girl, class clown, etc. After the discussion, teachers used chart paper to write down both positives and negatives of each of the roles. Then we divided into teams and brainstormed ways to break students of these roles.I loved the insightfulness of the group, one teacher remarked that students can “go invisible” in some roles. Another pointed out these roles teach students that they as a person are static, and not dynamic. When chatting with Mara Duquette, Senior Manager, Strategic Engagement, she talked about the importance of these experiences- by saying, “We teach them to discover who I am as a learner, because I need to know that before I can become a teacher.” 

NCTE’s Felice Kaufmann and I discuss some of the strategies Inspired Teaching uses with their pre-service teachers. I loved the quotes about education, and I plan to use them as an opening activity to get my students thinking about why they are in school.

Global Education

I had no idea that the US Department of Education had an International Affairs Office. Since I am a Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow (see P&O below for more details), I was eager to learn more. Maureen McLaughlin, who is a senior advisor to Secretary DeVos and the Director of International Affairs, was gracious enough to meet with me to talk global education. She shared with me the department’s strategy, created under Arne Duncan, to succeed globally through international education and engagement. They have three objectives: increase global competencies, learn from other countries, and engage in education diplomacy. Recently, Maureen was on a team that created a Framework for Developing Global and Cultural Competencies to Advance Equity, Excellence and Economic Competence. This is a great tool for those looking to start embedding global competencies in their curriculum.

This framework is a great way to start thinking about ways to incorporate global education in the classroom.

California Delegation

Midweek I met with both of my California senators’ offices. Small world: Brett Rosenberg, the legislative aide in Senator Kamala Harris’s office, actually received an NCTE Achievement Award in Writing when she was in high school. I shared with Brett NCTE’s policy recommendations, and she shared with me the senator’s education passions (DACA, combating sexual assault on campus, gainful employment). At Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office I met with education legislative aide Crystal Martinez. She anticipates the Senate will preserve Title I funding at equal or increased levels, and that Title II and LEARN will be preserved in some fashion. That was good news! Check out last week’s post for a refresher on ESSA funding. Senator Feinstein’s interests are access to high-quality education for all students, ensuring California receives its due share of federal funding, and accountability and transparency for all schools.

My traditional selfies with the plaques.










I Really Love Global Education

Never felt more secure in my life! I also enjoyed the alumni ribbon, as it got people chatting with me about my experience with Teachers for Global Classrooms.

Friday brought me to the Department of State for the Annual Global Teaching Dialogue to continue my learning on global education. As a Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow, it was exciting to hear all the phenomenal work that both the TGC and Fulbright Fellows are doing in their schools with global education. Mark Taplin, the acting assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, opened the dialogue, pointing out that investing in teachers is critical to our nation’s future.  Andy Rabens, the special advisor for global youth issues, wrapped up the evening by talking about the three areas of focus for youth issues: youth and economic opportunity (jobs of the future), youth and the political process (getting them involved, young women especially) and youth and violent extremism (understanding how and why youth are vulnerable). There is a great video he did on the Global Youth Issues website which can tell you more about why young people matter. I think I’ll use this video in my classroom to kick off the year to show my kids why they are important.

I don’t know why, but I get a kick out of branded water bottles, especially ones that say Department of State.

If you are interested in learning more about global education, check out the State Department’s programs for teachers and students (spoiler alert, there are a lot), The Diplomacy Center for educating students about diplomacy,  or reach out to me and I can help guide you. Also, follow #NCTEcitizen to join in the conversation on creating global citizens. This recent blog post entitled “Putting Citizenship in Global Perspective in the ELA Classroom” is a great place to get started. Being in DC during a tumultuous time in world news has only strengthened my resolve that if we want our students to be successful in college, career and beyond, it is our responsibility as educators to help them explore how they fit into a global society.

P&O (People and Opportunities) There were a lot this week, so I’ll keep this list to stuff I didn’t mention above.

Celeste Rodriguez, Teacher Liaison, Department of Education: Lu Ann and I had lunch with Celeste. Taco truck lunch, sitting outside, chatting teacher leadership – what more can a gal ask for? Just because there has been a change in administration, it doesn’t mean the department isn’t listening. Celeste is working hard, continuing to incorporate teacher voice at all levels. Big shout out to her and all she does for teachers and students. 

Felice Kaufmann, Publications Developer, NCTE: Felice, based at the NCTE office in Urbana, Illinois, was in DC this week. I was lucky enough to spend time with her and get to know her a bit. You can check out our membership magazine, The Council Chronicle, which Felice manages, and also follow her on Twitter. 

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, CHCI: I ran into this group while I was waiting in Senator Harris’s office. I encourage you to check out this program, which “places Latino youth on a new trajectory by inspiring high school and college completion, and then providing programs to explore public policy and leadership in our nation’s capital.” The group of kids I saw were giddy after meeting the senator, and I loved seeing students so inspired by our government.

Teachers for Global Classrooms: This is a great program for teachers to start or continue their global education journey. It consists of a graduate-level 10-week online course on global education, a symposium in DC, and it culminates in a 2-3 week study abroad. I am looking forward to doing my travel piece this spring!


Mrs. Stuart Goes to Washington

This post is written by the 2017 NCTE Kent Williamson Policy Fellow Lauren Stuart. This will be the first of a weekly series. 

Greetings from Washington, DC.! I thought I would start by introducing myself. My name is Lauren Stuart and I teach 8th- (and soon 6th-) grade ELA for the Beverly Hills Unified School District.

I am honored to be this year’s Kent B. Williamson Fellow. What does that mean? As a way to honor Kent Williamson’s dedication to teacher leadership, NCTE established this fellowship, which allows a member to come to DC and be immersed in education policy. Each week during my stay, I will share my experiences with you. Also, you can follow me along daily on Twitter @laurenpstuart.

Week 1

The week began with a training from the McKeon Group on both education policy and NCTE’s priorities. I was reminded that the actual policymaking process is nothing like the textbook version.

As a member, you should know that NCTE is asking Congress to support ESSA’s Title I, $190 million for LEARN, and student grant and loan programs. NCTE is also asking Congress not to eliminate Title II funds. If you would like to contact your representatives to discuss these priorities, let me know and I will help you make contact with them. You can write me at laurenpstuart@gmail.com.

My second day brought me together with our esteemed Executive Director, Emily Kirkpatrick, as well. We traveled together to sit in on the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Summer Legislative Institute. NCSS and NCTE share the same concerns! Our colleagues have proven that social studies is relevant, needed, and wanted by our students, and yet they must constantly convince decision makers to fund their programs. Participants visited their legislators, and most had positive responses. If you know a social studies teacher who would like to get involved, encourage them to join NCSS and attend the NCSS annual convention this year.

I was also able to attend School Vouchers and Segregation, an event at the American Federation of Teachers headquarters. The Center for American Progress released a paper on this topic, and brought together a panel for discussion. Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) opened the session by stating that research shows that vouchers negatively affect student achievement. He urged the government to support public schools and not divert funds to private schools.

Justin Reid from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities told the story of Prince Edward County, and how their students came to be a part of the class action lawsuit that became Brown v. Board of Education. What I did not know was that because of the verdict, the Board of Supervisors decided to shut down the schools for five years instead of integrating. Kids went five years without an education. In addition, white students were given tuition grants to attend private schools, which led to segregated schools.

Also in attendance at this event was Catherine Lhamon, the Chair of the Commission on Civil Rights. She called for a promise from the federal government to ensure simple justice and civil rights for all students.

People and Opportunities to Watch

This section will highlight people I met while in town, as well as opportunities I come across.

Jill Cullis, Bill of Rights Institute.

Jill is a fellow Hope Street Group alum hailing from Colorado Springs. She was in town for the Bill of Rights Institute, Founder’s Fellowship. “It was a week of incredibly rich discussion based upon primary source documents in history. I rarely get professional development that is content based so the week with the BRI was so valuable to improving my instruction in US History.”

Doug Hodum, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship

Doug is a science teacher from Maine who is here on a yearlong fellowship.

Luella Wagner

Luella is a fellow Californian, who was here for the NCSS SLI. I loved chatting with her about her interest in Native American studies and being a studio teacher.

Lauren Pfeffer Stuart is an 8th grade ELA teacher for the Beverly Hills Unified School District. She is a Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow and a Teach Plus California Fellow. She has two young boys and lives in Sherman Oaks.


Should Federal Funding Follow Students from Public to Private Schools?

capitol buildingSenator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) believe that federal funds should follow low-income students from public school to their choice of private or parochial schools. They liken monies following K–12 students to Pell Grants for college students or the GI Bill for veterans. Senator Scott’s CHOICE Act (S. 265), if passed, would allow parents of students with disabilities to choose which school their child would attend and have it funded by federal dollars. Senator Scott withdrew his Amendment (Title 1, Amendment 1) during the ESEA markup allowing for school choice but will probably introduce it on the floor. Chairman Alexander is considering whether to reintroduce his Scholarships for Kids bill, which would allocate $24 billion in federal K–12 money to let states create $2,100 scholarships for 11 million low-income children to use at any public or private school of their choice.

Most likely, given the resistance by Democrats and the White House, any amendment to the Senate bill reauthorizing ESEA that allows federal funds to follow a student to private school will fail. However, school choice has powerful supporters, and we can expect many more proposals to support it at the federal level in the years to come.

Even if federal funds do follow students to private schools, the question of accountability has yet to be answered. Public school students, including those attending public charter schools, must take standardized tests; those tests hold schools and teachers funded by federal and state tax dollars accountable for student achievement and progress. Private and parochial school students are not subject to either federal or state tests. When I asked in a meeting at the Brookings Institution how legislators can hold these schools accountable for using federal dollars effectively, Chairman Alexander could not answer the question.

In its 2015 Education Policy Platform, NCTE affirmed its belief in equity in education:

“Equity is essential to meet America’s promise of equal opportunity for all citizens. Equity serves the common values of fairness, opportunity, and social good. . . . The federal government has a role to guarantee that all citizens are prepared to participate in a competitive knowledge economy and a strong democracy. . . . To ensure equity in our democracy [we must] provide for the successful participation of students with the greatest needs, ensuring that Title I funding focuses on districts with the greatest percentage of students who lack economic opportunities, including the delivery of wrap-around services (such as before and after school programs, nutrition and health programs, and so on).”

NCTE strongly believes that extending Title I funds to private schools will draw much-needed dollars away from school districts with high concentrations of poor students and defeat the purpose for which Title I was created: “to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education.”




If We Believe in Equity, Then We Fight Title I Portability


capitol buildingAs part of its 2015 Education Policy Platform, NCTE encourages federal legislators to focus on equity, particularly “ensuring that Title I funding focuses on districts with the greatest percentage of students who lack economic opportunities.” Title I portability promises to be one of the more contentious issues senators will face when the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (S. 1177) is introduced on the floor of the Senate. A number of senators plan to introduce amendments that would allocate Title I funding to all public and public charter schools based on the number of students of low socioeconomic status they serve rather than limiting that funding to schools and districts where there are high concentrations of such students. This change in allocation is termed “Title I portability.” (H.R. 5, the House’s ESEA reauthorization bill that was passed out of committee, includes portability language.)

Such portability will dismantle the intent of Title I, which was “to provide low-income students attending schools with high concentrations of other economically disadvantaged students with additional financial support.” [See Robin Hood in Reverse, Center for American Progress, p. 1.]

Opponents of portability between public and charter schools, such as Congressman Bobby Scott, argue that “Title I portability will take away resources from our poorest schools and districts and give them to more affluent ones, undermining the historic federal role of targeting aid to our neediest students.”  An analysis from the Center for American Progress report found that “the poorest school districts would lose more than $675 million, while the lowest-poverty districts would gain more than $440 million” [Figure 1, p. 2]. This would have a devastating effect, particularly on large urban and small rural districts.

NCTE reaffirmed its commitment to low-income students in its 2015 Recommendation to Policymakers  when it suggested that we “Build the Capacity for High-Needs Schoolsnoting thatLocal literacy education capacity building is a powerful and sustainable way of serving children in poverty.” NCTE explains that “[s]tudents learn not as isolated individuals but as members of school communities. To improve the literacy learning of the students most in need, we must build the capacity of whole schools and districts in which these students are most concentrated. . . . This approach becomes self-sustaining and benefits students in the long term.”

In arguing that Title I funds must be devoted to the schools and districts that serve the most
low-income children,”
NCTE notes that “Thriving schools are places where collaboration and community engagement in literacy learning are ubiquitous. This environment is hardest to achieve in districts with the highest concentrations of poverty, where wraparound services and universal access to preschool are especially important to create the conditions for powerful literacy learning. Teachers need increased support for professional learning and collaboration, and principals must be particularly effective instructional leaders. If we want to build the capacity of these schools to remodel literacy learning and bridge achievement gaps, this is where Title I funding should focus. These funds can be critical to supporting the professional learning and collaboration among all educators that is crucial to student success.”

NCTE members who believe that Title I funds need to be dedicated to those districts that serve the most low-income children, rather than follow students to their choice of public or charter school, are encouraged to call, write, or meet with their senators prior to the debate on the Senate floor, which will occur most likely in June.