Although the federal fiscal year began October 1, Congress has yet to finish work on any of this year’s 12 Appropriations bills. Instead, the government is running on a Continuing Resolution (CR) through November 18.
In late September, President Obama announced that states would be invited to apply for waivers of the current requirements in No Child Left Behind. However, it was made clear that any flexibility must be in exchange for “serious state-led efforts to close achievement gaps, promote rigorous accountability, and ensure that all students are on track to graduate college- and career-ready.”
Numerous congressional hearings over the past year have featured principals and superintendents bemoaning onerous regulations, many of which have been pinned on No Child Left Behind. In fairness to schools and districts, it’s not always clear whether a regulation originates with the federal, state, or local government—and all play a part.
The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services announced October 20 that 35 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico submitted applications for the Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge (RTT–ELC), a $500 million state-level competitive grant program to improve early learning and development.
On October 20, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee marked up the Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act. The legislation is meant to update the current iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which was signed into law in 2001.
This month's newsletter includes a discussion of education data systems and their use in helping to target resources, improve instruction, and respond to other education challenges in our nation's schools--all actions that are critical to improving student learning.
One federal rule that goes into effect on July 1, 2011 is a new definition of "credit hour." The new definition has created considerable confusion, particularly among providers of adaptive and distance learning.
Another federal proposal that threatens to set back the online learning movement is the so-called “state authorization” rule. Currently, every state has its own rules and regulations for the chartering, authorization, and oversight of higher education institutions.
If the United States is going to educate more of its population to higher levels of attainment, policymakers will have to reconsider basic assumptions about the way higher education is funded and regulated. Higher education leaders will also have to take a hard look at their institution’s capacity for change and assess whether they are embracing technology in a way that lowers costs and improves quality.