Public Engagement

Below are the most recent news and reports around public engagement.

FL: Education Commissioner Waives High-Stakes Consequences of Tests

As spring testing kicked off across the sunshine state this week, Florida education officials confirmed that typical “high-stakes” consequences of the exams, like grade promotions and school accountability measures, would be paused this school year. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said the move would alleviate the…

New Report Highlights Disparities in Use of School Resource Officers, Recommends Changes

A new report from the Southern University Law Center is examining and recommending changes to policies around school discipline and, particularly, the utilization of school resource officers (SROs). Elizabeth Crain, the author of the report, argues that young students of color are disproportionately punished by…

D.C.: Request to Cancel Spring Tests Approved by Federal Officials

D.C. is now the only state to have its waiver request for federally-required assessments approved by the Education Department, even as handfuls of other states saw their requests to cancel spring tests this school year denied. Deputy Education Secretary Ian Rosenblum cited D.C. having among…

TN: Education Commissioner Discusses Need for Data to Inform COVID-19 Recovery Efforts

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn discussed her state’s rationale for moving forward with assessments this spring in a Q&A with the Collaborative for Student Success. Schwinn detailed why data collection, in her department’s view, is so important to guide efforts to accelerate learning amid the…

GA: Education Officials Open Survey on Proposed Math Standards Changes

Georgia education officials have opened a public survey on proposed changes to the state’s mathematics standards. After a year-long delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Board of Education plans to vote on the proposed standards by late spring. The changes to the standards,…

A Resource for Parents on Using Student Testing Data

EdNavigator, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing student access to opportunities from preschool through college and beyond, recently published a comprehensive and compelling discussion on student assessments specifically geared for parents. The piece, titled What Parents Need to Know About Tests, explores misconceptions about the…

MD: Reading Plus Program Achieves Highest ESSA Evidence Tier, Approved for Baltimore Schools

Reading Plus, an online program that provides “personalized intervention and instruction for students” in reading and literacy, has been approved as a research-backed resource in Baltimore City Public Schools – a district that serves nearly 80,000 students. The program has achieved the highest level of…

Improving School Mental Health and Wellness Efforts Through Arts Education

Arts education can be leveraged by schools to deepen mental health and wellness resources for students, says the Education Commission of the States, which in a time of great disruption in education, should include trauma-informed approaches to instruction and student and family outreach. State, district,…

New Parent Dashboard Provides New York Parents with Access to School, District Details

New York education officials are gathering feedback on a new parent data dashboard that provides access to detailed information on schools and districts. The dashboard was built to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 and includes data on student enrollment and ethnicity,…

Illinois Report Card Celebrated by Peoria Public Schools Superintendent

A newly released Illinois School Report Card depicted impressive growth for one district’s programs in particular for the 2019-2020 school year. Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat took to the Journal Star to celebrate the fact that, prior to the pandemic, the district saw its…

Nine West Virginia School Districts Flagged By State For Support

The West Virginia Department of Education has marked nine school districts as needing assistance in the areas of finance, special education, and Pre-K readiness after an accountability report was completed ahead of a recent Board of Education meeting. State education officials noted that the nine…

The Career and Legacy of Senator Lamar Alexander

In this in-depth profile, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Chester E Finn, Jr. captures the life and service of three-term, retiring Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Detailing his time as the Chairman of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, or HELP, Committee, Finn states…

How Districts Can Begin Preparing for Looming Budget Cuts

Long term financial considerations are quickly becoming a top concern for district and school leaders as federal stimulus discussions falter and local budget projections increasingly show massive shortfalls in communities across the nation. In reviewing lessons learned from the 2008 Great Recession and the resulting…

Association of Business Leaders Releases Education Priorities

Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies, recently issued a set of education recommendations for members of the business community, who the council says “can be part of the solution [to the opportunity gap] by investing further in programs that…

Parent Details How Accountability Measures Have Helped Students With Disabilities

Writer and mom to a student who happens to have Down’s Syndrome, Vicki Vila discusses how accountability measures put into place by ESSA have helped and motivated schools to ensure a proper learning environment for students who receive special education services at a greater rate…

Virginia Seeking Public Comment On Proposed ESSA State Plan

The Virginia Department of Education is accepting feedback on three proposed changes to it’s ESSA state plan, all of which were introduced prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes would clarify requirements for students who take advanced math courses prior to the…

Next Stimulus Might Bring Changes to Federal Education Aid

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Michael Petrilli, in examining the developing conversation around additional K-12 stimulus funding for schools, argues that any federal investment should be distributed in a way that directly provides services to kids “most at risk of falling even further behind.” To…

Education Data and COVID-19 Recovery: Resources for Leaders

Two new reports from the Data Quality Campaign discuss the need for educational data as officials continue to make many, complex decisions amid the COVID-19 pandemic and in recovery. The first report focuses directly on the importance of transparency and provides clear ways that education…

New Analysis Suggests That Districts Should Be Held Accountable For Student Learning Too

Chad Aldeman of Bellwether Education Partners and Anne Hyslop of the Alliance for Excellent Education ask questions about the focus of accountability measures during and after the COVID-10 pandemic. If districts were, in most places, the entities setting up food distributions, purchasing Chromebooks, making decisions…

School Bus Rides During a Pandemic: Considerations for States and Districts

Transportation has become a significant thorn in the sides of districts working to craft back-to-school plans for the fall, as officials struggle to identify workable solutions for social distancing, sanitation, and scheduling of fleets of busses. In order to meet guidelines released by the Center…

Virginia Implements New Professional Development Program to Retain Novice Teachers

To mitigate teacher shortages, the Virginia Department of Education and the James Madison University College of Education have announced a new partnership called the Virginia New Teacher Support Program, which aims to retain novice teachers in the state. Under this program, first and second-year teachers…

Georgia DOE Requests Input on Seeking Standardized Testing Waiver for 2020-2021 School Year with New Online Survey

As previously reported, Georgia has become the first state to announce its intent to seek a federal testing waiver for the 2020-21 academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Officials at the Georgia Department of Education are now asking the public for feedback on this…

Investment in Social-Emotional Learning Means Investment in Academic Growth

Students’ social-emotional learning is being prioritized by education stakeholders more than ever before. That why in this Ed Surge article, Dr. Bill Daggett, “founder of the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) and former teacher, administrator, and director with the New York State Education…

CARES Act Funds Must Benefit Private Schools Equitably Says USDOE

According to the Catholic News Agency, “Federal coronavirus aid to private schools is now enforceable by law.” This notice comes after “concerns that Catholic and other non-public schools were being excluded from sufficient epidemic relief funds to support protective equipment for students and teachers, cleaning,…

Five Existing Policies Officials May Lean On to Face Looming Budget Cuts

Celina Morgan-Standard, founder and CEO of the Technology for Education Consortium, and David DeSchryver, Director of Research at Whiteboard Advisors, take to EdSurge to discuss some ways in which school leaders and policymakers might begin facing the very expensive reality of reopening schools following COVID-19….