Roundup: ESEA Next Steps, Effective Teachers, Clinton vs. Sanders

Today’s news includes updates on next steps for the federal ESEA law, plus new research on teacher effectiveness during the recession, and the ongoing saga of the AFL’s attempt to coordinate endorsements for Clinton or Sanders:

Senate’s ESEA rewrite would do away with supplanting rule SI&A Cabinet Report: A compromise revision of the nation’s primary education law would essentially eliminate long-standing federal prohibitions on using Title I dollars to replace or supplant state and local funds, a top education policy expert said Tuesday.

To get support for education bill, senators conjure lost art: Compromise  Washington Post: Alexander, 75, and Murray, 64, had never worked closely but they were suited to the task. Murray had a growing reputation as a dealmaker after negotiating a budget with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in 2013; Alexander had stepped down from Republican leadership in 2011, saying he wanted to focus on bridging divides rather than scoring political points.

Schools are able to hire stronger teachers when economy is weak, study finds Washington Post: Teachers who entered the profession during recessions were roughly one-tenth of a standard deviation more effective in raising students’ math test scores than teachers who entered the profession during better economic times. The recession effect was smaller in reading — about half as large. Other factors — such as teachers’ age and race, and the characteristics of the schools they worked in — could not explain the differences that researchers found between teachers hired during recession vs. non-recession periods.

The Complicated Problem Of Race And Special Education HuffPost: A group of experts who spoke with HuffPost Live last week said that while minorities may be underrepresented in some categories of special education, they’re overrepresented in the most “stigmatizing” groups.

Education officials say PARCC tests saved $2.5M compared to previous assessment Baltimore Sun: Statewide, 1.3 million tests were completed during the school year. More than 80 percent of students took the assessments online.

Teacher-Turned-Congressman: Rep. Mark Takano’s Take on ESEA Rewrite PK12: Takano favors grade-span testing, supports the federal mandate that states and schools test 95 percent of students, and thinks accountability should be entirely left up to states.

Labor Wrestles Over Choice Of Clinton Or Sanders AJAM: “I don’t quite know where this is coming from, because it’s rare for AFL to endorse in the primaries,” said AFT head Randi Weingarten, whose union has already endorsed Clinton. “And AFL always waits for what its affiliates are doing. What would have been surprising is if AFL did any kind of endorsement now instead of waiting.” 

Why schools are rushing to hire more bilingual teachers Fusion: Some districts are sending officials to Mexico or Puerto Rico to find qualified bilingual Spanish teachers. For many districts, however, it’s languages other than Spanish that are most in demand. Facing growing numbers of refugees from places like Iraq and Myanmar, the Lincoln, Neb. school district budgeted $1.2 million this month to hire more English Language Learner teachers, as well as bilingual liaisons to help families keep in touch with their schools. Most of the new students are young, in kindergarten and first grade, officials said.

The struggle to breathe life back into empty schools WBEZ Chicago: It’s the same story across the country in cities like Atlanta, Detroit and Chicago, where district leaders are facing the big question — what to do with all of those empty schools?

School Funding Fight Back in Hands of Washington State’s Supreme Court State EdWatch: One of the most contentious K-12 spending battles in the nation could be close to a conclusion after over three years of legal and legislative wrangling.

Is This The Beginning Of The End For The SAT And ACT? NPR: George Washington University is the latest and one of the largest private universities to drop its admissions testing requirement.

How Squeezed Are the Schools? We May Get a Better Picture WNYC: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration had convened a working group to examine the Blue Book, and six months ago, they submitted recommendations to the mayor and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.