|6-19-14 p.m. Education Week on potential loss of federal funds within Race to the Top, Common Core and-or teacher evaluations process|
Education Week -Teacher Evaluation Changes Could Cost New York a Slice of Its Race to the Top Grant...
Education Week - Fact Check: Can a State Lose Federal Funds for Ditching Common Core..."...So where did Jindal and Fallin get the idea that money could be on the line if their states ditched Common Core? Both states currently have waivers from the NCLB law, and it's possible that the states could risk that flexibility if they don't come up with other standards that meet with the approval of their post-secondary institutions.
But there are two things to keep in mind here, says Anne Hyslop, a policy analyst at the New America Foundation. First off, the department has been reticent to pull waivers from states because of issues with standards and tests—so far, only Washington state has lost its waiver, and that was due to teacher evaluation issues. And other states on "high-risk status" are there because of teacher evaluation, too, not standards implementation...."
Education Week - Fact Check: Can a State Lose Federal Funds for Ditching Common Core?
By Alyson Klein on June 19, 2014 10:49 AM
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A day before announcing that he wanted to withdraw Louisiana from the Common Core State Standards and tests, Gov. Bobby Jindal laid the groundwork for his decision, in part by accusing U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan of coercing states to adopt the standards. He even said that the feds had threatened Oklahoma (which recently ditched the standards) with a loss of federal funding.
"The proponents of Common Core claim it is not a federal takeover, but Secretary Duncan's comments and actions prove otherwise. He has already threatened Oklahoma with a loss of funding, and we may be next," Jindal said, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
The problem? Duncan never actually told the Sooner State that it could lose federal dollars if it withdrew from common core. In fact, during a White House briefing, he said precisely the opposite, in response to a reporter's question about Oklahoma's funding future.
"We are partnering with folks who have high standards. If people want to dummy down standards, that's a very different thing. We partner with states whether they're in common core or have their own high standards. But where we will challenge status quo is when states dummy down standards," Duncan said.
It's true that, in signing the bill that repealed the standards, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, said it was "a possibility" that the state could be jeopardizing federal funds.
But, now that the law has been changed for a couple weeks, Oklahoma isn't particularly worried about the loss of funding—and Oklahomans say the Obama administration never actually "threatened" the state, as Jindal contends.
"Oklahoma has not been threatened with the loss of federal funds for the repeal of common core. We don't see that as a possibility, really," said Phil Bacharach, the executive director of communications for the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
Does that mean that Jindal's broader point, that the feds "coerced" states into adopting Common Core is also bogus? That depends on who you ask. The Obama administration gave states that adopted uniform, rigorous standards an edge in the Race to the Top competition (in practice, only common core fulfilled that requirement).
And the education secretary called for states seeking waivers from the many mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act to embrace standards that would get students ready for post-secondary education and the workforce. Common core met that requirement, but states could also develop their own standards, with the blessing of their post-secondary institutions, which is the point Duncan was attempting to make the press briefing. Virginia and Texas, for instance, went this route.
So where did Jindal and Fallin get the idea that money could be on the line if their states ditched Common Core? Both states currently have waivers from the NCLB law, and it's possible that the states could risk that flexibility if they don't come up with other standards that meet with the approval of their post-secondary institutions.
But there are two things to keep in mind here, says Anne Hyslop, a policy analyst at the New America Foundation. First off, the department has been reticent to pull waivers from states because of issues with standards and tests—so far, only Washington state has lost its waiver, and that was due to teacher evaluation issues. And other states on "high-risk status" are there because of teacher evaluation, too, not standards implementation.
Secondly, even if a state loses its waiver, it doesn't actually lose federal funding. It just means that districts in the state would lose flexibility over Title I dollars; they would have to spend that money on school choice and tutoring instead of their own remedies. That's not great, and states might "feel like [they've] lost something, but what they've lost is flexibility," Hyslop said.
Louisiana is a bit of a special case, Hyslop added, because it won a small, late-round $17.4 million Race to the Top grant, which is dedicated, in part, to beefing up standards. So there's a chance Jindal's move, could ultimately put that funding at risk. (More on that in this great Hyslop piece.)
But that's not something any state that has ditched common core, including Oklahoma, has to worry about.
Teacher Evaluation Changes Could Cost New York a Slice of Its Race to the Top Grant
By Alyson Klein on June 18, 2014 11:27 AM
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New York state could lose nearly $300 million in Race to the Top funds if the state follows through on a proposal to put off incorporating test scores from common-core-aligned exams in teacher evaluation.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and policymakers in the state are mulling plans to put off using scores on new common core tests as a factor in teacher evaluations, after widespread complaints about the rollout of the standards in the Empire State, according to published reports. Adding to the pressure: State test scores fell sharply last year when the new common core tests were in place.
But delaying the use of the tests in evaluations would run afoul of the state's plan for improving teacher effectiveness, as outlined in its Race to the Top proposal, and could result in a loss of coveted federal funding, said Ann Whalen, the director of the department's implementation and support unit in a statement first provided to the online news site Chalkbeat New York.
"New York committed to a system of educator evaluation and feedback based on multiple measures of effectiveness, including student growth on statewide assessments. Stopping that progress now will undermine four years of hard work by the state's educators, school leaders and stakeholders. As the Secretary has said before, breaking promises made to students, educators and parents and moving backward on these commitments—including stopping the progress the state has made to improve student achievement—puts at risk up to $292 million of New York's Race to the Top grant for improving schools and supporting their educators and students."
The statement came in response to a question from the smart reporters at Chalkbeat, who wanted to know whether the proposed change would impact the state's Race to the Top funding.
If the department does indeed decide to withhold the Empire State's funding, it wouldn't be the first time. Last year, federal officials withheld a sliver of Georgia's grant, also because of issues with teacher evaluation.
But so far, the department hasn't put a slice of anyone's Race to the Top grant on hold because of changes to common-core-aligned exams, even though both Georgia and Florida ditched the PARCC assessment consortia and Race to the Top rockstar Tennessee has delayed implementation of their common core assessment for one year, and may switch from PARCC to another test.
Garden State Coalition of Schools