Coordinating Education Policy

posted in: Assessment, Reform | 0

There are two types of legislation that are in conflict with each other: The legislative budget (Budget2015) and the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA2015). Add to this the President’s budget requests, the Secretary of Education’s requests and Congress’ requests and you have a moving target that is hard to pin down. So let’s start with what the US Department of Education keeps track of:

 

FY 2016

  • FY 2016 Congressional Action—On June 24, 2015, the House Committee on Appropriations completed action on the FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill; and on June 25, 2015, the Senate Committee on Appropriations completed action on the FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. No date had been scheduled by either the House nor Senate for floor action on the bill. PDF [264KB] and MS Excel [421KB].
  • FY 2016 President’s Budget Request —On February 2, 2015 President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget. See what is requested for the programs and activities of the Department of Education.

FY 2015

  • FY 2015 Congressional Action—On September 19, 2014, the President signed into law, P.L. 113-164, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution (CR), 2015. The CR provides continued appropriations to the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies through December 11, 2014. The FY 2015 CR requires a 0.0554 percent across-the-board reduction to discretionary programs. PDF [215KB] and MS Excel [319KB].
  • FY 2015 President’s Budget Request —On March 4, 2014 President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2015 Budget. See what is requested for the programs and activities of the Department of Education.

The disconnect for education policy is that good teaching and learning cannot be coordinated under these conditions. I respect the legislative process up to the funding point that the policy change becomes un-supported and un-agreed upon by the field. And the field is no better at being aligned within the three parts of research, supervision and actual teaching of schools. We need to go beyond the usual comparison with the field of medicine, in designing a new way for good teaching and learning to be supported by principals, superintendents, federal administrators and congress.

At the heart of this is student-centered work. We have to design schools that allow students to do most of the work. Teachers need to step away from direct instruction and propel students to collaborate with other students, much as they will do in their adult working careers. Student-centered work means flipping classrooms so that students watch the best teachers on video in their respective subjects, arrive in class ready to collaborate with other students and to apply what they learned in the videos, and are assessed by professional teachers who use the assessment to better student learning and not to sort and rank.

Let’s find the political will to align ourselves behind student-centered work, quality teachers, supportive principals, superior superintendents and collaborative congress men and women. Who wants to lead this? The President? With all due respect, I suggest we make a task force of the principal players and improve the coordination of our education policy.