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tv   Hearing Focuses on Every Student Succeeds Act Implementation  CSPAN  May 18, 2016 8:00pm-10:11pm EDT

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i never want another child do grow up with that type of burden. because one of those burdens that never goes away. >> shocka singer, author of writing my wrongs discussion of his life in prison and after. go to for the complete weekend schedule. coming up on c-span 3. a hearing on education programs and funding. then a discussion on the economy with treasury secretary jack lew and then a look at efforts to disrupt isis recruitment efforts on the internet and later security experts on protecting health care data from cyber attacks. next, a hearing on the every student succeeds act. the legislation that replaces the no child left behind act. education specialists testified before the senate health
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education and labor and pensions committee on topics including attracting high quality teachers and the impact of the law in rural areas. this is two hours and 10 minutes. the senate committee on health education and labor and pensions will please come to order. senator murray and i will each have an opening statement and then introduce our witnesses and senators will have five minutes of questions each. i am delighted to have the witnesses here. this is an extraordinary group of broad -- individuals of broad perspective about children and elementary and secondary education and we welcome your comments on how we implement the -- the new reauthorization of the elementary and secondary education act.
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this is our third of six hearings to discuss the implementation of the every student succeed act which the president signed in december. it is the second opportunity for this committee to hear from states, school districts, teachers and principals and others that helped us pass this overwhelmingly bipartisan law and are today working together to implement it in a way that is consistent with congressional intent. i want to focus my remarks on the administration's proposed supplement not supplant regulation. this is a very first opportunity the administration has to write regulations on our new law. and in my view, they earned an f. the reason for that is that the regulation violates the law as implemented since 1970 and seeks to do it in a way that specifically prohibited it in the new law. in writing the new law last year congress debated and ultimately chose to leave unchanged a
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provision in the law referred to as comparability. that is section 1605. this provision says, school districts have to provide at least comparable services with state and local funding to title one schools and nontitle one schools, but the law plainly states that school districts shall not include teacher pay when they measure spending for purposes of comparability. that is the law since 1970. we didn't change it last year. there is an entirely separate provision known as supplement not supplant that is intended to keep local school districts from using federal title one dollars for replacement for state and local dollars and low income schools. what the department's posed supplement not supplant regulation attempts to do is to change comparability by writing a new regulation governing supplement not supplant. in other words, their proposal would force school districts to
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include teacher salaries in how they measure state and local spending and would require each title one school be at least equal to the average spent in nontitle one schools. the effect of this would be to violate the law as implemented since 1970, section 1605. so the administration may get an a. for cleverness, but an f. for following the law in my opinion. the negotiated rule-making committee couldn't agree on the posal. one member, a witness here today, tony evers, said congressional intent isn't necessarily being followed here, unquote. last week the nonpartisan congressional research said the same thing. crs issued a report that said, quote, the department's interpretation appears to go beyond what would be required under a plain language reading of the statute. crs found that the proposed
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supplement not supplant regulations quote, appear to directly conflict, unquote, with statutory language that, quote, seems to place clear limits on the department's authority and thus raises significant doubts about the department's legal basis for proposed solutions for proposed regulations, unquote. today i'm looking forward to hearing from witness wlz what i've been hearing from principals and teachers and educational leaders across the country is true. here is what i've been hearing. that the department's proposed regulation could turn upside down the funding formulas of almost all of the state and local school districts across the country. most states and local districts allocate k-12 funding to schools based on staffing ratios. this often results in different amounts going to different schools, and the same district because teacher salaries vary from school to school for reasons having nothing to do
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with the school's participation in title one. instead, salaries vary because of teacher experience or merit pay or subject or grade level they teach. two, i've been hearing that the proposed regulation could effectively require wholesale transfers of teachers and the breaking of collective bargaining agreements. number three, i've been hearing that school districts won't receive enough funds to comply with the proposed regulation. number four, that students could be forced to change schools. number five, that the proposed regulation could increase the segregation of low income and high income students. and number six, that it could require state and local school districts to move back to the burdensome practice of detailing every individual cost on which they spend money to provide a basic education program to all students which is exactly what we trying to free states and districts from when we passed the law. according to the counsel of great city schools, the proposed regulation would cost
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$3.9 billion a year just for their 69 urban school systems to eliminate the differences in spending between schools. what the department has done for the first time is to try to put together the two major provisions of law that have always been separate. on comparability, which is the first one, members of this committee discussed and debated changing this provision. we discussed it at great length over the last six years. senator bennett of colorado has lots of experience with this. had one proposal. i had another. we ultimately decided not to make changes in comparability. instead, we included more transparency in the form of public reporting on the amount districts are spending on each student, including teachers salaries so parents and teachers know how much money is being spent and can make their own decisions about what to do rather than the federal government mandating it be used in comparability calculations.
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then on the second provision on supplement not supplant, we address this provision and made changes with an effort to simplify the law and make it -- not make it more complicated. by no stretch of the imagination did we intend to -- does any of the language in the law say that supplement not supplant may be used to modify the comparability provision. in fact, we specifically prohibited that. we prohibited expressly the secretary from requiring local school districts to identify individual costs or services as supplemental. we prohited the secretary from prescribing any specific methodology that districts use to distribute state and local funds. and most importantly, we prohibited the secretary from requiring a state and local school district or school to equalize spending. the proposed regulation is
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nothing less than a brazen effort to deliberately ignore a law that passed the senate 85-15, passed the house 359-64 and was signed by the president. no one has to guess what the law says. as the congressional research service says, we can just read its plain language. and if the administration can't follow language on this, it raises grave questions about what we might expect from future regulations. senator murray. >> well, thank you chairman alexander for holding this hearing. i really appreciate all of our witnesses for taking the time to be here with us today. last year, as you know, chairman alexander and i worked together on legislation to fix no child left behind. and we both agreed, in fact, nearly everyone across the country agreed the law had been badly broken and i'm proud we were able to break-through that partisan gridlock and find
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common ground and pass the every student succeeds act with strong bipartisan support. at its heart, the nation's primary elementary and secondary education law is a civil rights law and it is in that spirit that i along with my colleagues work to help make sure all students will have access to a quality education regardless of where they live or how they learn or how much money their parents make. now that our law is on the books, i'm committed to making sure it helps our students and our parents and our teachers and our schools in my home state and across the country. as a reminder, here is what our education law. the every student suck said act gives states more flexibility. but it also includes strong federal guard rails for states as they design their accountability systems. it preserves the department's rule, to implement and enforce the laws federal requirements and also reduces reliance on high-stakes testing and makes significant new developments to
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expand access to preschool for the nation's youngest learners to name just a few provisions of the law. right now the department of education and states are taking this law from legislative text to action steps. while the department goes through this process, and as states develop new systems and policies, i'll continue to closely monitor several issues to make sure our law lives up to its intent, to provide all students with a high quality education. i expect the department to use its full authority under the every student succeeded act to hold schools and states accountable. while we were writing this law, we were deliberate in granting the department the authority to regulate on the law and hold schools and states accountable for education and that includes things such as making sure states and districts take action every year to improve student achievement in any school that has groups of students who are struggling. i'll be taking a close look at any guidance and regulations from the department for school intervention and support. those things will be crittal to
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helping -- critical to helping low performing schools improve. one important part of holding states responsibility for educating every child is fiscal accountability. i hear from teachers and principals in my home tate of washington about how important federal funding is to support their work. we need to make sure we support local and state resources and do not simply replace them. the regulation known as supplement not supplant is an important fiscal accountability measure, it is important to get this right. many stakeholders, including teachers and administrators and civil right groups have provided thoughts on how to regulate in this area. i hope as the process moves forward the department will continue to work with these groups on this issue. collaboration will be critical, not just for one particular regulation or another but throughout the prose to im -- process to implement every student succeeds act. and gets information from parents and right groups is
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essential in making sure the law works in the coming months and years. i've been frustrated to hear from many stakeholders that they don't feel like they have a seat at the table as their states work on implementation and that includes teachers who rnts receiving -- aren't receiving time off to be part of state planning sessions and parents who can't attend meetings during the work day. a long with the ranking member bobby scott in the house have asked the department to help states and districts eliminate the systemic barriers that stakeholders face in getting involved in the implementation process. i'll continue to encourage stake holders like all of those represents here today and many more to stay active and make their voices heard throughout the implementation process. it is up to all of us to uphold the legacy and promise of the primary education law works for all students and i look forward to hearing from everyone today on how we can make sure that this law helps provide a good education for every child. thank you. >> thank you senator murray and
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thanks to you and the other members of the committee for your hard work on this legislation. i'm pleased to welcome seven witnesses to our hearing today. thank you to each of you for coming and for all you've done to help improve the education of the nation's children. senator hatch, former chairman of this committee, will introduce our first witness. who is miss lily garcia, president of the national education association. senator hatch. >> thank you, and i appreciate this opportunity and i'm pleased to be here today and grateful we could be joined by a true leader in education policy, lily garcia. i consider myself lucky to know lily. and even lucky to call her a friend. it is truly an honor to introduce her to the committee today. miss garcia has had a remarkable path in education. she began her career as a cafeteria worker and became an aide to a special education teacher. and as young mother, she worked
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her way through the university of utah where she graduated magnum couple laudy with a bachelor's degree in education and laster earned a master's degree in instructional technology. she taught fourth and fifth and sixth grade in utah. and while in utah, she also worked with homeless children in a single classroom, mentored student teachers and acted as a peer assistant team leader. after demonstrating her effectiveness in the classroom, she was named utah teacher of the year in 1989. her passion for education extended beyond the classroom. and eventually led her to a career in policy making. she served as president of the utah education association before joining the national education association where she has served as a leader since
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1996. in 2014, she was elected to serve as the president of the nea. she was instrumental in helping congress pass the every student succeeds act and i'm sure she will be an equally helpful person as we work to implement this ground-breaking legislation. essa represents a momentous opportunity for students and teachers alike by removing many of the overbearing federal policies stifling classroom instruction in the past. this new law allows educators more room to innovate and tailer their teaching to the needs of individuals and individual students. we're grateful for the role miss garcia played in helping this reform become a reality. miss garcia, we really welcome you to today's hearing and look forward to your guidance on the questions at hand and i just want to personally testify how much i appreciate what you've
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done with your life. thanks so much. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator hatch. i'll introduce the other witnesses and beginning with miss garcia, we'll ask you each to summarize your views in about five minutes and that will leave time for senators to engage in conversation and ask questions. our second witness is miss randy weingarten, the president of the american federation of teachers when represents 1.6 million members nationwide and prior to that she served for 12 years as president of the united federation of teachers, aft local 2. our third witness is dr. tony evers. we're getting accustomed to seeing him here. welcome dr. evers. he is the wisconsin state superintendent of public instruction. he serves as president of the board of council of the chief state school officers and served on the department of education's recent negotiated rule-making
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panel for regulations on the every student succeeds act. our fourth witness is dr. thomas ahart. he is the superintendent of des moines public schools in iowa and also served on the department of education recent negotiated rule-making panel for regulations on the every student succeeds act. our fifth witness, dr. nora gordon, associate professor at georgetown university and focusing on economics of education and federalism. and next we'll hear from denise marshall, from the executive direct -- patient attorneys and -- parent attorney and advocates. parent attorney and advocates. she has over 30 years of experience working in the field of disabilities. our final witness is miss janet morgue ooeya, she is president and chief executive council of
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la raza and advocates for the latino community for education and workforce and civic engagement. thank you each for being here. miss garcia. >> thank you so much and thank you senator hatch. i appreciate that introduction. i am president of the 3 million member national education association but more important than that, i am a sixth grade teacher. and not only that, i'm a really, really good sixth grade teacher. i give myself goose umps. i'm amazing. i have spent the last 13 years fighting against what i saw as a cloud of test and punish that was hanging over every public school in the united states of america. and i cried for joy the entire day that the president signed the new law, every student succeeds. that day would not have come without the leadership of senator alexander and senator murray and i just want to start by thanking you and thanking all
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of your colleagues for making in a day possible. i have about 14 hours worth of really good advice to give you. they told me i have five minutes. so i will talk really, really fast. number one, and i cannot stress this enough, i am a really good teacher. you should really listen to me. and i mention that because i remember, i was in my classroom at the salt lake homeless shelter in a one-room classroom, a k-6 classroom in the shelter when congress was debating the passage of this thing called no child left behind. and i just was beside myself thinking, wait a minute, 100% of the kids are going to hit a cut score on a standardized test. that is not even possible. and i remember thinking, did anyone stop to ask a working classroom teacher how we made out a report card, how we measured success.
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did anyone stop to ask a working classroom teacher what might be the unintended consequences of high stakes testing on the most vulnerable students like the students i was teaching so for me, a huge part and the first thing i want to talk about is the fact that in this new law states and districts must engage the people who know the names of the students. it says over and over again that you have to include the educator's voice in developing that dashboard of indicators and how we're going to be pleasuring student success. some folks in states are going to respect that and some folks aren't. we're already hearing back where someone -- an educator has asked to sit on a committee, but they meet during the school day. and they don't provide a substitute tie substitute teacher. or you put an educator on a committee and she has to drive three hours to the meeting and
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there is no reimbursement for her gas to get to the meeting. so we know it is possible to do it right. we are hearing good things from places like oregon. the oregon education association knocked at the door and folks on the state level said come on in and their at the table and making amazing things happen. very collaboratively. and then you go to new mexico, where our new mexico affiliate knocked on the door and the door was slammed in their faces and they said we don't need you. so we're going to have -- we're going to have this implemented in very different ways across the country. we have so much hope that if our voices are in the room, we will get something really good out of this much better law and we hope you'll continue to encourage the state leaders to abide by the law you passed and welcome the educators to the table. number two, you cannot possibly
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imagine how excited we are about better data, better information. aside from that one side fits all standardized test, to have the dashboard of indicators we believe is the game-changer for our students. as you know, the original 1965 esea did give school districts some important resources for title one schools and other programs to help fill that resource gap that was so obvious among schools that had so much sand schools that had -- and schools that had so little, depending on what zip code you were in. but it was never meant to take over the primary responsibility of state and local government for running our schools. the federal government's role in if esea is still to assist but what is new and what is completely appropriate for the federal government is to require that we have better data, more
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complete data that transparency that the community deserves, so everyone can see whether all students have that equal opportunity to learn. and where it is unequal, what the state and the local school district plan to do about it. that needs to be on the table. we're thrilled that everyone seems to be using the word "equity." that is what we feel like we got away from, looking at the equitable resources that are given our most vulnerable students. but finally, i do want to say that even though we're all using that word, governors, the department of education, the unions and certainly congress in putting it in the law, we're defining it sometimes in very different ways. we think you did a very good thing in spelling out in the law that school districts have flexibility in how they're going
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to report what services are being provided to our students. you rejected that continuation of a one-size fits all number. there is only one way to judge this. we think it is very good. and so we're very worried at the proposals of the department of education that appear to take away that flexibility. we absolutely -- and i need to say this very clearly, we support the new reporting element that requires all public schools to report their actual per pupil expenditures. local state and federal. disaggregated by personnel and nonpersonnel and that is a improvement and gives better transparency. but we know we're seeing popping up around the country some very creative programs in giving services to students. if all you're doing is counting those specific dollars spent by education departments, you are
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going to miss some services that are provided in a community school concept maybe by social services. you might not count some of the services that are provided by a boys and girls club. >> excuse me for interrupting, i want to make sure everyone has the five minutes. >> okay. >> go ahead and wind up. >> winding up right now. if you are just counting dollars that a district makes in teacher placement decisions based on the specific salary or benefits cost, so that things look -- you're going to worry about things looking equal instead of saying are we actually giving services to our students. all we're saying is why in the world would you want to cut off reasonable flexibility that a district might have in giving something creative and meaningful to our students. and to discourage districts from finding those creative solutions. we hope that will you make your
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intent crystal clear. and in closing, i would just say we are ready, willing and able to find those creative solutions. we're excited about being at the table. and we appreciate you giving us the chance to show you what we can do. >> thank you. miss wine garden. >> thank you. am i on now? >> thank you. it takes a state superintendent to tell me that. thank you. so my name is randi weingarten and i'm president of the aft and it is my privilege to be here to talk about the views on the implementation of esea but i want to start with my colleague and friend lily garcia started with as well which is i cannot thank this committee, and particularly senator alexander and senator murray enough for listening to parents and
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practitioners and helping to navigate this bill to law and to break the gridlock in d.c. to enact esea. we need to thank you over and over again on that issue. what i wanted to discuss was the promise of esea but i'll focus my comments on the regulatory process particularly on what the u.s. department of education has released so far on the supplement not supplant provisions and what we anticipate will be released on accountability systems. now we at the aft view the policy details through the lens of whether they both work in america's classrooms and reflect the voices of educators and i particularly today am speaking with two decades of experience in the largest school district in the united states, where we actually had to deal and had to work through and make sure equity matters in terms of some
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of the provisions. i am particularly pleased that senator murray and representative scott as senator murray has already referred, reiterated the priority that getting the voices of practitioners and parents in this implementation is absolutely critical. unfortunately, in the first regulatory action on the supplement, not supplant rules, the education department demonstrated it was neither listening to stake holders nor following the framework of the legislation. instead by con flating as senator alexander has already said, the supplement not supplant and comparability solsys, the department seems to be pushing or pursuing an agenda that was rejected in the legislative process. now the pursuit of both equity and excellence for the children is part of the equity dna and there are several ways to do this. one is through full funding of title one. something we will keep fighting
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for through this appropriations process. i would suspect that almost anyone involved in education would be fighting to level up spending rather than level down spending so that schools currently spending the least could be made whole. in addition, esea continues important equity safeguards so you could not deny disadvantaged children to level the playing field. that includes the maintenance of effort provisions as well as the s and s provisions an the way in which the title one formula is currently structured, all of which we fought very hard for you, as all of you know. and this is why i disagree with the supplement, not suppose plant proposal. the department as lily said wants to make dollar for dollar comparisons rather than what happens right now. so this is what that means in practical terms. right now principals have a number of teachers they can hire based on positions rather than
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an exact dollar amount they can spend. that principal, if it that changes, then a teacher's salary and benefit is what will determine whether the teacher gets hired, whether the teacher gets retained or gets transferred, not anything else. not what the school needs to run a program, not what the schools particular problematic focus is, not the needs of school children. so what will happen is that some schools will face cuts that will compel them to make no-win choices about which teachers they keep or they hire. dollar for dollar comparisons and i can talk about this for hours, because i've lived this. dollar for dollar comparisons in a district could even be thrown off by something as simple as how many teachers in each school have individual health coverage as opposed to family coverage. the difference between $5,000
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per coverage versus $20,000 for coverage. these types of unintended consequences are major disruptions that have nothing to do with equity or opportunity when you force districts to count exact spending in a school, the goals get lost in translation. we cannot equalize spending that way. finally, we are concerned that the education department will take the level of prescription as proposed for supplement not supplant to the upcoming regulations on school and district accountability systems. this could strip the flexibility necessary to create accountability systems that envision new ways to define and measure learning as opposed to the current and far too restrictive and counter productive focus on test scores. the promise of esea lies in the opportunity for stakes, for states with broader stakeholder input to create robust systems of accountability that redefine how we measure learning.
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so that learning is really about learning and not simply math and english test scores. thank you very much and i'm sorry i went over by 34 seconds. >> but it was an enthusiastic 34 seconds. so thank you ms. weingarten. dr. evers. >> thank you chairman and ranking member and members of the committee for allowing me to testify. it is good to be back. i'm back again. as i highlighted in previous testimony before this committee, state and local leaders are committed to making sure that all kids achieve rat tat the hi level. overly prescripted mandates left states an local districts without tailoring strategies to meet the needs of the kids. as a life long educator i believe we must learn from our mistakes. we have the -- the every student succeeded act which gives us a chance to move our state and local education systems forward
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in ways that are impactful. but in doing so, we have to admit and recognize that essa is a last mark piece of civil rights law and one that presents us with the opportunity to see our challenges with new eyes in the hopes of finding a solution that makes a difference for kids. last week, i sent invitations to convene a advisory group with equity andesa stakeholder and i reached out to civil rights and organization groups that have not focused on k-12 issues. they will join education related organization parents and legislators an teachers and others to advise on the state plan which will help districts increase the opportunities for all kids. as i told perspective members of the counsel in their invitation, we need a diversity of experience and expertise if we are going to be successful in closing one of the nation's largest achievement gaps and
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that is in state of wisconsin. in addition, wisconsin's broader outreach plan has three listening sessions and two virtual sessions. and we use web based feedback for anyone in the state who wants to provide us information and this information will be received and then used with the -- to inform the equity counsel as they convene. so i'm proud of the work we're doing in wisconsin and i believe the best solutions often come from places closest to the kids. to support states in doing that kind of local work and regulation and guidance as said before developed by essa should be limb theed to providing clarity on otherwise ambiguous and confusing areas, not implementing requirements that were not envisioned by congress. flexibility has been a essential element of essa and because i believe there is recognition that states have very different systems and support for k-12
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education. the flexibility currently provided in the law allows states to focus the most important and difficult work ahead that is supporting each and every student in the united states. in contrast, the regulations the department proposed during the negotiated rule-making process on supplement and not supplant, they were well-intended, i will grant them that but it will have significant impacks on our students drawing focus away from student learning and service to unwielding fiscal balancing acts. it is the responsibility of school leaders to put the best teachers in front of kids who need them the most. they weigh qualifications, diversity and skillsets and service to kids, they contemplate optimal grade configuration and staffing patterns, facility needs, all with an eye towards increased student achievement for all
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kids. i worry that the proposed supplement not supplant rules reduce these complex decisions to an overly simplified financial calculation which in the end of the day does not actually guarantee student access to high quality educators. as a member of the negotiated rule-making committee i understand the arguments on both sides of the issue but it is clear that i also believe and it is clear that the proposed regulations on supplement, supplant, exceed the department's authority under the law. state and local schools absolutely have a responsibility to their kids, to examine current federal funding and how it is used. they owe it to parents and families that they support that they have discussions that are open and meaningful and transparent and they need it be sure they are reaching all of the people that make up the school community. but that type of authentic
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discussion and problem-solving simply cannot be achieved through a federal mandate. i firmly believe that states should be held accountable for the students' results when it comes to funding and educational practices. states are committed to using additional flexibility found in ittesa to improve educational out comes for all kids. let us lead way and thank you so much again for allowing me to testify and i look forward to your questions. >> dr. ahart. >> good morning, chairman alexander and senator murray and the rest of the help committee and thank you for your leadership on finally achieving the reauthorization of esea, long overdue. i'm tom ahart, superintendent of the des moines public schools with my seven member board of education i'm responsible for the education of the largest school district in the state of iowa. we are committed to meeting the educational needs of each one of our students by recruiting and supporting a team of talented professionals and in each of the
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63 schools. our 33,000 students were born in 106 different countries and speak different languages and qualify for meals at a rate of 75% and are 58% minority. that commitment is reflected in a steady increase in the graduation rate and in reading and math and proficiency in closing achievement gaps. des moines continues to operate under the antiquated no child left behind act since iowa is one of the few states without a waiver. we have more reasons than most to welcome the enactment of the every student succeeds act and we're working closely with the state department of education on a statewide implementation process. virtually all of the school-based representatives of the essa regulations negotiations committee expressed practical concerns regarding the impact and feasibility of the number of the proposed regulations. these operational concerns relate to regulatory barriers to effective instructional services for students, interference in
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school autonomy and classroom and placement and workable criteria and [ inaudible ] and additional costs and unrealistic obligations. while regulations are intended to clarify provisions of the statute and facilitate effective implementation, many of the regulations restrict condition redefine and even expand essa. i'm hard pressed to identify any regulatory additions or offered by the education department necessary for implementation at the local level. the most troubling regulatory proposal was the department's draft regulation to impose per pupil expenditure under the supplement not supplant provision of the act. despite no changes in the current esea provisions, the department require per pupity expenditure between [ inaudible ] between title one schools. this proposed regulation would
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require salary equivalency between such schools. as senator alexander already mentioned, since the nation's teacher salary system is based on years of experience and advanced education, schools with older higher paid staff compared to younger and less higher paid staff would trigger noncompliance on an unprecedented scale and more over requirements ensure the same number of equivalent teachers are employed in title one as in nontitle one schools. to comply districts would have to spend additional state and local funds to cover salary deferential between higher paid and lower paid teachers or in an alternative complaint scenario districts potentially could shift the higher paid teachers to title one schools and lower paid teachers to nontitle one schools. unfortunately neither of these options correlate with improving student performance because state -- to state is simply there is no relationship between salary level and teachers effectiveness. teachers do not have the state
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and local funds for compliance and nor should districts disrupt continuity of practice in our schools by summarily transferring teachers. more over, it would violate more collective bargaining agreements. many districts would be facing with an impocket of performance under the regulation which have no reasonable basis in the act and appear to violate three separate statutory prohibitions in the essa. neither of the solutions even if possible to implement reflect best education practice. what often seems to be lost on the department is that many high poverty schools are not served with title one -- with title one because frankly there is not enough to go around. while a 40% free and reduced price meal rate can qualify for title one services, just in des moines public schools we have multiple schools with an over 70% free and reduced price lunch rate that we are not able to provide with title one services. additionally, our ability to
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serve schools with concentrated poverty for which we do not have title one funds would be jeopardized under the proposal regulations. esaa was enacted with good support and at the national and state and local regulations. [ inaudible ] could undermine that broad support. no child left behind has demonstrated that the best intentions for improving achievement of at risk students could not be micromanaged from the federal level. i could suggest that state and local officials be given the opportunity to get it right under essa. on the other hand, the education department could be helpful in issue ing nonregulatory guidance that provides a nonexclusive range of examples of implement options for various provisions of esa. there is no such thing as one size fits all. even in iowa, the broad range of individual district to characteristics vary widely. the only hope for successful results rest in the state
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agencies craft of guide abc meaningful to individual state and district contexts. finally, i am proud of the progress that my zrik has made over the last -- district has made over the last four years despite insufficient state funding and ever increasing student needs. the supplement not supplant regulations focus on positions not funding have helped to make that possible. dmps is becoming the model for urban education in the united states. the proposed essa regulations will force us to disrupt some of the effective reform in the country and threaten the progress of the nations most disadvantaged students. we could do better if regulation as line with the letter and the spirit of the statute itself. thank you for the opportunity to discuss the new regulations with you. >> thank you, dr. ahart. >> dr. gordon. >> thank you. chairman alexander, ranking member murray and remembers of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today.
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i'm associate professor the georgetown university mccourt school of public policy and research at the economic research. i conduct research on u.s. education policy and school finance and desegregation. in the course of my research on title one i have analyzed finance data and interviewed many tate and district title one directors. today i'll discuss how it changes the definition of supplement not supplant and how the department proposed to regulate is and discuss the unintended consequences that could come perfect the proposed regulation. the department's proposed rule as other witnesses have testified is meant to up support equity. this is a laudable goal. but when you look at the compliance incentives it generates and consider what district might do in order to comply with the rule, you could see how it could actually wind up hurting disadvantaged students both in title one schools and in nontitle one schools. supplement not supplant is meant to ensure districts do not
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reduce the amount of state and local money they give to a title one school compared to what they would give the school if it did not participate in title one. this is an important mission given the history of the law and past abuses. under no child left behind, an earlier versions of the esea districts could comply with supplement not suppose play based on what they bought with title one dollars even if they gave title one schools less state and local money and had title one make up the difference. essa fixes that and their methodology does not reduce the school state and local funding because of the school's participation in title one. federal law still requires districts to spend funds in accordance with program goals and track their spending regardless of how supplement not supplant is regulated. the department of education proposed rule would require districts to use a methodology to allocate state and local
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funds as others have discussed but just -- please, one more time, this one sentence, that results in each title one school spending an equal or greater amount per pupil than the average amount it spends per pupil in the nontitle one schools. current data don't permit us to generate reliable evidence on how many districts are in compliance with the proposed rule based on current resource allocations or how much they would need to spend in order to comply. aside from these unknown costs, the rule could trigger consequences that are bad for equity as districts are forced to consider compliance first and what is best for kids second. for example, the rule could penalize districts working to increase economic or racial inintegration and those in title one schools. the rule could penalize district efforts to increase teacher diversity in title one schools because increasing teacher
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diversity requires the recruitment of new and therefore typically less expensive teachers. it could penalize districts that ol okay state and local funds through weighted per pupil formulas that generate more money for low income and special education or english language learning students. such districts could nonetheless fail under the proposed rule if higher weighted students attend nontitle one schools. importantly, the proposed rule only compared funding levels in title one schools to nontitle one schools. this narrow focus penalized other low income schools that do not receive title one funds as we've just heard. this could punish districts that attempt to mitigate poverty effects in those poor but nontitle one schools. stake holders are ab slight will you right to make sure they are not used for title one schools.
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as the now startory language does this by requiring districts to have allocation methodology that do not reduce a school's access to state and local funds because of the participation in title one. an alternative regulatory approach than the one propose wod be to require districts to make their methodology like their spending data publicly available. then parents and voters would not only see how much is spent at each school, but they would also see district priorities as revealed through their funding mechanisms. thank you for the opportunity to comment on this topic. >> thank you, dr. gordon. miss marshall. >> chairman alexander, ranking member murray and members of the committee. i'm honored to be here today to represent copa, a national peer to peer network that works to protect the civil rights of students with disabilities and their families. we stand strong to say our kids count, they can achieve and what they need and deserve is an equal opportunity to succeed. copa thanks for your bipartisan
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leadership in passing our nation's general education law, the every student succeeds act. we worked very closely throughout the reorganization with our disabilities civil rights and business communities ensure that esea included critical issues it is intended to support. this includes 7.7 million black students, 13.1 hispanic student, 25 million students from low income families, 4.5 million english language learners and 6.4 learning students with disands. esea gained support precisely because although it has that great focus on flexibility which is important, we were also able to ensure it had accountability, key provisions that protects all. it's harsh to recall and unbelievable to realize that students only had the access in
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my lifetime. it took 40 years prior to the passage of the no child left behind. they were not counted. thaw were not included in the assessments, in the state, local, or district accessibility systems and as a result, they were all be invisible. not including them in the account and not holding students accountable for their learning in the curriculum created september and often segregated instruction. parents had no idea how their students were doing in school as compared to the state standards. now the requirements of esea can access the regular curriculum and have a real shot at a regular diploma. this is a civil rights law and we have fought hard for equal access. our kids want in and our families deserve to have the same data as err other child in the building. through the eyes and ears of the copa network, we know how to
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keep expectations high coupled with the requirements of idea and other federal laws, protecting the rights of students and their families, esea can change the lives of students. i want to share two stories, one about bruce from north carolina who was unable to keep up because of his dyslexia. but with relentless efforts of his parents and educators and the right services for dyslexia, he's graduating high school, has a full tooimt job and heading to college in the fall and blair, a young student from pennsylvania with the support of her service dog graduated high school and is currently a public relations major in college. we have a long way to go before we can report the success of all students, but we know the possibilities for each to succeed are substantial and real. today i focus on some important provisions of esea for us. creating the public transparency
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in the data i know we all share and requiring school leaders do something about it when the data shows there is reason to act. kltability i think we were all dancing for that but the responsibility lies squarely with the schools. esea includes core principles and guardrails that we know can guide decisionmaking and protect resources and students. critical provisions are intended to ensure and strong regulations must support the requirement for action when outcomes are demanded. we've got have state designed measures of goals chld clear requirements for identification and intervention in each of the three categories of the law, timely evidence-based intervention focused on raising achievement. we simply cannot leave any child's language with no
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intervention. they need to have the intervention and services in a time frame that can have an impact in their educational lifetime. we also want title 1 regulations that provide for a range of statistically reliable end sizes and we want to ensure state support is reduced in bullying. all of which are disproportionately used on students of disabilities and color and result not only in harm and trauma but make it impossible for them to learn. we need safe school climates. you passed esea. that is the test and the measurement that counts. state and district efforts must target policies and resources on urgent needs of students on what is an important journey in their lives. i want to finally add i urge us to get past the tug-of-war of control and figure out a way
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tony vest equitably in students and find innovative ways to ensure the greater number of students including those of color, ell, and disabilities are able to succeed. i thank you for this opportunity and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, miss marshall. miss lugaia. >> thank you, mr. chairman, chairman alexander and ranking member murray. i want to thank you all and all members of the community for the opportunity to appear before you today and to discuss a subject that is so critically important to the civil rights community, this implementation of esea. for over a decade i have chaired over la rasa where the organization in the united states representing hispanics, and we represent over 250 affiliates which are community local-based organizations
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serving latino and immigrant populations nationwide. i was very proud to stand with many of you behind the president when this important legislation was signed into law. and, again, i want to thank you for your leadership. we know it has the potential to benefit 13 million latino students and 5 million english learns across the country. for the first time enlive learner students will be included in states' account bltd systems and states must standardize entrance and skpitd criteria for these students. that is a big step. my remarks focus on latino educational attainment. i will share ways appropriate implementation of esea can improve outcomes for communities of color. last year american schools reached a significant demographic milestone. a majority of students in our classroom were students of color. as schools across the country
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have become increasingly diverse, latino students make up 25% of our k through 12 enrollments. the second largest group of students in schools after white students. in part as a result of comparable standardized assessments and college and career-oriented crick la, latino students are now graduating at higher rates than ever and they're enrolling in post-secondary institutions in record numbers. however, despite improvements in key areas, inequality and access and achievement among latino and other students of color remain persistent, and still too many latino students are not college-ready. according to the 2015 national assessment of educational progress, regrettably nearly half of latino fourth graders were reading at below basic levels compared to 21% of whites, a startling statistic given our changing work force.
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as the department of education moves forward implementing esea, it is important to recognize the legacy of the original elementary and secondary education act in promoting equity for our nation's most vulnerable children. it is imperative that federal funds are used to sup meant state and local resources for those most in need. students in high pofberty districts receive nearly 10% less in state and local funds per student than those in the lowest poverty districts, meaning students in districts most in need of extra services staff or educational supports including english language instruction are being short change. the future success of students of color and english learner students in large part depends on addressing this resource gap. in addition to furthering equity, esea mandates that the department of education issue
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regulations to hold schools accountable if groups of students are not meeting challenging academic standards. while states and districts have flexibility in designing their accountability plans, the federal government must play a role to ensure progress for these students does not erode. to this end, the department of education should set clear parameters for state accountability systems and timely interventions for stud t students falling behind. finally, we know the didn't of education cannot fulfill its mandate alone. stake holders from the business and civil rights communities have a role to play to ensure states and districts thankfully implement the laws' requirements. already a nashville based affiliate has organized partner organizations to jinltly engage the tennessee department of education on the state's accountability and equity plans making case for needs of latino and immigrant students. in the months ahead, these
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stakeholders will be closely monitoring the regulatory process to emphasize esea's potential to promote an educational system that is transparent, accountable, and equitable to further the achi e achievement of all students. thank you, and i look forward to working with all of you as we implement this important law. >> thank you very much. we'll now move to a round of five-minute questions by the senators. dr. gordon, you're a scholar of education, finance, and legislation. let me ask you this. the language in the law on supplement and supplant has as its goal to say that a school district can't use tight 18 money to replace local money, a fairly straightforward proposal. why -- the language, we thought, was pretty plain and clear.
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why is there a need for regulation of that law? isn't it possible just to read the law and know what to do without the department elaborating on it through regulation? thank you for your question, senator. i'll read the law because there's a lot of questions about the law. >> you only have five minutes. >> it's one sentence. the methodology to allocate local funds ensures that such school receives all of the state and local funds it would otherwise receive weret not receiving assistant under this part, this part being title 1. to me that sentence is clear. i've read that sentence more than some. i understand how clarification could be useful to some people but interestingly this part of the law already applied to schoolwide programs under no child left behind, and the department of education issued
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extensive guidance in 2015 clarifying how to clarify this with types of examples. >> let me interrupt because i only have a short five minutes for questions. if the effect of the proposed regulation because it would require title 1 schools to spend on average an amount that's at least as much or greater than nontight 18 schools, that would seem to me -- would you say that would be an attempt to equalize spending among schools in a school district? wouldn't the effect of doing that attempt to equalize spending? >> i'm not an attorney. i'm an economist. so tomy, yes. >> well, there's a provision in the law, 6 and 1605, that says nothing in this title shall be construed to mandate equalized spending per purm for state, local, education agency or school.
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i agree that the proposed regulation specifically attempts to equalize spending which could be a laudable goal. i think wyoming may do that. i think it's the only state that may do that. the federal law says you may not do that. let me move to miss wine garden for a moment. you mentioned in your testimony you were not only concerned about this regulation either contradicting or not following specific provisions of the law but what that might mean for future regulations. my understanding is that the whole discussion or most of the discussion about fixing no child left behind was the consensus that we had was -- was we'd keep the federal riri requirements tests and expand the amount of data to let the people know what the results of the tests were.
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but what to do with the result f of the tests became the responsibility of those close toast the children, the classroom teachers, the school boards, the governors, the legislators, and the parents. what about this worries you about what might happen with future relg lagss involving the so-called accountability system? >> well, thank you for the question. i share janet murguia's concerns in terms of the accountability system. that is where most of the real thought needs to go into what are the guardrails and what is the flexibility that states should have to actually think about what constitutions learning these days and how do we actually help them get there, particularly our most vulnerable
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kids, and the fact that the departments seem to be doing the same old same old in terms of being the -- doing -- trying to rewrite history in terms of supplement not subplant as opposed to really thinking about how do we ensure that there's flexibility that really looks at what kids need through the lens of the practice prak ticticers is like the defi of weight, what's going to happen in terms of the 95% participation rate and so it's whittling away the good will that all of us have at actually helping all kids succeed. particularly vulnerable kids. >> thank you. >> as i said, it's to provide
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all children access to fair equitable high quality qualification. esea maintains that to cla fie each school where any student is consistently underperforming for districts to take meaningful action. i agree with the civil rights community includes those who advocate. that without that our nation's most vulnerable students could be ignored or left behind. miss marshall, i want to ask you could you speak to why a regulation should focus on performance of individual groups of students rather than on comparing students to each other within the same school and can you explain why that's particularly important for students with disabilities? >> thank you, senator murray, to your commitment. students with disabilities are general education students first. it's imperative that they be compared against the same state standards that every other student is compared against.
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we want to make sure that they have a fair and equitiability opportunity to both access and to benefit from their educations, and so in order to find out how they're doing in that regard as compared to peers at their grade level, we've got to look at the sub group or individual scores against the state standard. we want to make sure that we know how they're doing in regards to the possibility of getting a diploma. research is very clear. high expectations equal being further in life, having no diploma, basically equals lack of outcomes, no jobs sitting at home. and so -- so the stakes could not be higher for our students. >> okay. for miss garcia and ms. weingarten, just yesterday was the 62nd laanniversary of the
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landmark brown versus brown decision. in particular, gao found that schools with high percentages of low income and minority students are less likely to have access to advanced coursework and more likely to experience high rates of exclusionary discipline. esea requires any school in which one or more sub groups is performing at the level of the bottom 5% to address resource and equities and include significant new reporting requirements related to resource equity. i wanted to ask both of you how important is it particularly in light houf far we have go in terms of the promise of brown versus brown. >> i think for all educators, it's the game-changer here. it's what we haven't been measuring. and i think it's why so many of the comments today were on let's
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not go back to a numbers game where we pretend that if we hit this number, it must mean that we have equitable opportunity to learn. you can be measuring things on that dashboard. the dashboard is absolutely crucial for us because when you have that collaboration between the professional educator that knows the kids, the parents, the administrators, the elected school board members saying here's what we believe will be the game-changer, how many of our students are graduating from high school having already earned college credit. you can measure that. that's an opportunity to learn. that's a program that could look very different if you're in a rural community or an urban kmuchblt if you have a community college, if you have a.p. classes, international back laureate programs. we want to actually have that dashboard marsh the real services and supports that those kids have, and we believe that that is how you're going to move
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the needle. >> miss weingarten on issue of resource equity. >> resource equity is absolutely essential, but i would go one step further which is not covered by this law which is resource adequacy. we need to actually level the playing field for kids and there are many, many times that vulnerable kids actually need a lot more and that's baked into some of the title 1 formulas, but what happens is we have to make sure there's not counterproductive efforts here. so adequacy and equity are essential to leveling the playing field, but that includes a much broader view than just actual dollars. it includes what are the programs? what do we need to do in terms of dual emergence andasm p. what do we do with the kids i taught at clair a barton which was a title 1 school that could actually compete in debate with kids in scarsdale school which
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was a very well funded school. so that requires a lot of thinking about how do you contour schools to the needs of your students. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to start by saying that the department of education that they've taken over the last fewments is of concern to me and the people i represent. i want to thank all of you that have testified. you've provided great information both in the printed testimony and what you said. i want to thank the chairman and ranking member for the tremendous leadership they provided so this committee could have an influence on changing the law in a way that the president signed and that we're now trying to get done, and now is not the time to implement the law differently. it's important that we pimm
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pleament it as it was written, and we're in charge of that and it's a good start. it's not the time to bring up things we did not agree to and change executive action. when i first got here, i had a principle who wanted to find the reports. cement his time over at the department of education and when he reported back to me, he said, you know, they took a look at every one of those forms. make sure it has a logical answer. if not, they send it back and then when it's completed, they file it and nobody looks at it. we've been in the process of eliminating some of those in the meantime, but this particular supplement nonsup plant sounds like an opportunity to get new reports that contain a lot of information that may not be used or could be used detrimentally. i know the devastating effects that could be in the proposed changes that it could have on
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state states such as wyoming as the chairman mentioned calls for a complete and uniform system of public instruction, one that mandates the equitable resources of all school districts in the state. wyoming doesn't need it for all students. we've been doing it since 1889 and taking it to court regularly to make sure that would happen and it's not just the dollars. it's the supplies, and it's even the school buildings that have to be equal. and i'm hearing from my state that the proposed action by the department of education would cause the forced transfer of public school teachers across our county and maybe even the state. i'm the father of a public school teacher and the grandfather of public school students and there's no reason that the federal government should be interfering with where my daughter chooses to teach or where my children get their instruction.
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so, dr. ee bers, can you tell me how this will impact frontiers of wyoming? we're the least populated state in the nationnd i understand forced teaching sounds understandable to people here. but it seems to me that rural and frontier states will be hit the hardest with such an outcome. as a former teacher of the year in rural -- well, no. as the superintendent of a rural state, can you tell me what kind of an impact this will have? >> absolutely. and just as an aside, the -- one of the major issues in rural wisconsin and i'm sure in rural wyoming is who's going to teach in those schools? we're having an extraordinarily severe teacher shortage and it can be blamed on a whole number of issues. i have my own opinions on that. but when we take the ability for local school districts, rural or
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local, and confine the way they hire people in a way that isn't going to help kids necessarily and we try to -- and i get the idea that it's important to have some transparency around equitable distribution of money, this just doesn't get it. that's the main thing. but what it would do is give rural districts who have a very difficult time to begin with in hiring staff members, it would amplify that concern in that it would take away principles and superintendents and those that do the hiring to really conflate a number of different issues that really doesn't matter, and that's the equalness of the distribution. so it's going to make their jobs more difficult to find high quality teachers. that's the bottom line. and for rural wisconsin and wyoming, that's, you know, a huge issue. in rural areas, teachers are the
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main backbone of those communities, and we have to make sure that we get the best people in those positions. >> thank you. and i'll be providing you with some written questions regarding the negotiating rule making panel you were on, and i want to thank dr. gordon for the specificity of the accounting consequence use had in your testimony and in what you said, and i'll be providing some more questions regarding that. i know that those have a tendency to put the audience to sleep, but they're really important to what we're doing. thank you. >> we have one accountant on the committee, which is senator enzi. thank you, senator enzi. senator bennett. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, panelists, for being here today and everything you do if our schools and our kids. it's been said this federal law is a civil rights law and i believe that. what that means to me as we sit here is thinking about the
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millions of kmirn that are marooned in public schools in urban school in america today that nobody on this panel would ever send one of our own kids or grandkids and it's the reason why i tried so hard to close the accountability loophole. we didn't get there. wi reported on actual salaries and other costs. i think that's important because it will ee kwipt teachers and parents with information they need to be able to make the case going forward about how to create a system of public education that actually will work in america for kids living in poverty, and that won't be done by the people on this panel. it's going to be done by all the people that you represent all across america. so let me start with one question which is we are one of three countries in the oecd who spend more money on wealthy students than we do on poor students. is there anybody on the panel who will defend that system in
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terms of closing the achievement gap in the united states? in other words, do you expect if we continue to spend more money on wealthy kids than we do on poor kids, we will have any hope of closing america's achievement gap? it was said today -- there was testimony today, mr. chairman, i think we spent $620 billion all in on education in america, and if you're running a decent school district, you know 80% of that ought to be spent on teachers or more in my view. the testimony from my fellow superintendent today was, quote, there is no relationship between salary level and teacher effectiveness. does anybody want to defend that? there is no relationship between the expenditure of 80% of what we spend in the effectiveness of teachers. randi? >> i mean -- >> i mean what i -- >> i mean, of course, there's a
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relationship. i mean i won't speak for who is an amazing superintendent in des moines, but there's much evidence that there's relationship between the experience of teachers and the stability of schools and frankly part of what we're trying to do in schools that are struggling is how do we nurture and secure great teachers to stay at those schools. so obviously there is both on a macro and a micro way there are real correlations here and things like that. i think what my colleague was saying is the dollar-for-dollar piece that the department is proposing doesn't get you there -- doesn't get you to the equity issues that you have spent your life, senator, fighting. >> and you as well. what i'm saying is whether the department ends up with this rule or doesn't end up with this rule, the reality is the way we
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are spending resources in this country, i'm the first to say, maybe i'll be the second or third because the two of you are here -- the first to say we should pay teachers more in this country. it's a disgrace what we pay teachers in the united states. but how we pay them is really important and i don't think we should be having people come here ten years from now and say there is no correlation between how we pay teachers and their effectiveness, and i think we need to work together to make sure that's not the case because then you can't make the case that we should have more resourc resources. it worries me that, you know, we -- we come here and we tinker around the edges, and the reality is if we don't have a solution to the kids that are showing up to kindergarten, having heard 30 million words than their affluent peer, if a kid doesn't have a choice and if higher education continues to
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accelerate in its cost so that if you're in the bottom core tell of income earns, it costs you 85%. and in the bottom, it's 15%. you add all that together and our system of education is reinforcing the income inequality that we have and the opportunity that we have rather than liberating people from it and that's an invitation from me to anybody on the panel to figure out how we go forward so that ten years from now we're not sitting here having seen these kinds of results. and that's going to happen in america, not here. >> well, i would just -- can i just comment on that, senator? i'd appreciate -- >> you have seven seconds left. >> would say, look. it took an extraordinary amount of effort for all f us to kind of sort of barely come together to get this law over the finish line. it involved a lot of engagement of a lot of stake holders.
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honestly as we look to implement this law, we're going to have to do the same thing. local district by local school district, state by state, and for us, those of us obviously who are very invested in seeing that equity outcome that we know is so important and consistent with our american values, you know, we believe that that flexibility is there now that we've created this law, but it does not in my view undermine the importance of requiring appropriate rigorous federal oversight. and striking that balance as we move forward is going to be the challenge and the charge for all of this. but i feel like in many ways our work has just begun as we look at how we're going to try to do this with that flexibility in mind. but i want a guarantee of strong appropriate federal oversight as we move forward. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator bennett.
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senator isakson -- whoochlts senator mikulski. i did that twice. >> actually, i will defer to senator isakson as i just came back in and am finding out what was already discussed. >> all right. senator isakson. >> thank you. i appreciate that. ranking member murray -- she left. i want to commend the ranking chair on leadership and the point we're at today. i think it ooh going to be a great empowerment for the local boards of education and state to carry out the mandate in their state. throughout the debate and i'm one of the last remaining that wrote no child left behind. it was a great act for six years but it went for seven years where it didn't get reauthorized
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but became an impediment rather than progress. the ceiling got too low and people got put into nonperformance schools that shouldn't have been put in that category. but the think i focused most in the assessment of disands, i am married to a teacher of special education. our kids with learning disabilities to try to provide as much quality rules as we could. one of the things we had was a 1% exception, i guess you'd call it, for kids with that kind of disability to have an alternative assessment rather than a mandated test on the no child left behind. when we rewrote it, the 1% cap stayed for the state but it was over ruled by regulation that said the state board could not keep a local system from determining if a kid needed an alternative assessment based on the iep to ensure there was more flexibility. so all of those in the 1% cap,
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it really doesn't apply because the local agency's idea governors and the idep is the one. as two superintendents, would you tell me how that's working and how you intend to kaye that out in your respective systems? >> well, the -- that was an issue of discussion and negotiations. it is. it's clearly the -- esea has changed the -- flipped the equation in that schools aren't held to the 1%. states are. and we have an obligation to -- i think it's an obligation as a state to make sure that we don't as a state exceed that 1%. in addition when we negotiate rules around that, there are rules that -- asking for a waver
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for any particular district, we have to go through a relatively rigorous process to make sure it doesn't happen, so it's going to be about providing technical assistance of those districts that exceed 1%. we deal that. it's our responsibility. in the past it's been a local responsibility, but it's clear that this committee determine that this state be accountable for that and we will be. it's something we take very seriously. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. my district probably has a bigger challenge in meeting that 1% mark simply because of some of the specialized programming that we have for medically fragile and severely and profound disabled students, but we always meet -- we always fall under that 1% mark. i think this is another example where it's very difficult at the federal tloevl set benchmarks that translate into an equitable measure at the state and local
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level, so one of the things that came up during regulations negotiations was just this issue, and there's certainly what seems to be a bit of a paradox there. the state can't go over 1%, but individual districts can. i would argue that a district could have a lower percentage of students with that alternative assessment than what i have in my district and be inappropriately efforting more students than i am because of the nature of the programming that we offer. so, again, i think with good guidance from the state and the state offices, you know, working closely with the local education agencies, i don't see this as being particularly problematic. >> well, that's good to hear because chairman alexander made a point of saying that we got out of the national school board business and empower the local and state school boards and this is one of those areas where the federal agency decided to enforce that side, it would be negative for the local system in
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the state. so we want to empower you to be in complete control and appreciate what you did for our kids. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator isakson. senator warren. >> we talk about the department of education's plans for enforcing these provisions. now, we've heard concerns from witnesses who represent is professionals on the front lines implementing esea, but i want to make sure we have the opportunity to clarify a few key points regarding these provisions and why they're in the law in the first place. congress strengthened the kent in essa to ensure federal money is used to meme the purple of title one. to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair equitable and high quality education, and i
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underline "all," not just children in wealthy districts. so, miss weingarten, let me start there. why do you feel it's federal law to provide quadcy and how money is spent? >> sorry. i've been having a microphone problem all morning. essa is a civil rights law and it is about trying to make sure that there's opportunity for all children. so if that is the case, equity is absolutely essential in order to get to excellence, but as i was saying to senator murray earlier, what we're seeing locally is we actually have to have a fight for adequacy, too, because it's not simply what is equal. in order to level the playing field, we actually have to give our vulnerable kids more, and as senator bennett said, we have to flip what's going on in this
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country. so what the law does is it starts us on that path but it's at the end of that path and we need to be vigorous and rigorous in making sure that the kids who have had the least get the most. >> all right. thank you. i agree. and let me follow up on that by asking do you believe that the department has the opportunity to ensure that states and districts do not divert state and local funds away from public schools in low income neighborhoods? >> i'm very glad, senator warren, you asked the question that way because in the entire testimony we've been talking about increasing as opposed to diverting. i believe that the federal government and the department of education has the authority to ensure there's no diversion. we have that in three ways. i think dr. gordon is probably
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better at this than i would ever be, but it's the maintenance of issues an provisions and it's the s & s provisions as were clarified several months beforehand. so they do have that authority, they need that authority, and part of what we're concerned about is making sure it's not overreached so they can actually do their job. >> good. well, let me then turn to that part of it. they have the authority, but how can the department enforce these provisions in a manner that doesn't result in the unintended consequences that you and others have discussed? >> so that is a really -- you know, that, frankly, should have been what was -- what consumed the time of the negreg committee as janet said earlier. this is a complicated law, and there's a lot of complicated factors, because it is very much a law that is about human behavior and about lots of
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different multiple parts as many of the senators and many of the witnesses have talked about. the law provides some very powerful new provisions, including transparency provision. and that transparency provision can be over methodology, not just over resources. so we need to actually see what the funding levels are. we need to see how those transparency provisions operate. that could be the first set of enforcement processes. and then after that one looks at what you do next. but right now to move to something that some one size fits all enforcement mechanism that's not even allowed by the law seems like -- seems not -- >> not in the right direction. thank you. and i will ask more on questions for the record. it's about making sure federal dollars are used to make sure that the money goes to the
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children who need it most. there are legitimate disagreements over how the department of education can best enforce financial accountability provisions, but these are not disputes over whether those accountability provisions should be enforced or whether the department of education has the power to enforce those provisions. on that issue, i believe that the democrats and the teachers are in very strong agreement republicans on the other hand seem to be arguing that financial accountability provisions of the law need to be ignore. the didn't needs to enforce it in a way that doesn't have unintended consequences that disrupts schools. it is critical the that the department listen to our teachers and school leaders, but ignoring accountability provisions is not an option. financial accountability is essential to ensure that states and districts actually give our teachers the resources they need
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to do their jobs and that the states and districts use federal money to help our most vulnerable kids get a decent education. that is the law. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator warren. i'd like to say to the witnesses that i have an unavoidability conflict at 11:40, and i will need to leave, but senator cassidy has agreed to continue chairing and i want to thank you. senator mikulski. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you all for the discussion this morning. very important on a lot of different levels. i come from a state where we spend a lot of money per pupil on our students, and yet the outcomes are not consistent throughout. most particularly in our rural areas. back in 2007 a case was heard
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before our state supreme court brought by stakeholders in three rural districts, and this was based on the concern that these districts were low performing because of a lack of funding equity, and considerable deliberation, long-term fact-finding, but the judge came back and said that the problem wasn't money because each rural district got about the same per pupil, but what they were seeing were, again, very different outcomes among them and among the individual schools. and what the judge found was that the issue was the degree of state support and its effectiveness within different communities or perhaps lack thereof within the communities. so it was local support for schools, it was community school relationships, it was effective,
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it was effectiveness. these -- the data really demonstrated that this was what mattered here. not that money doesn't matter. you have to have the money in order to do these things, but the judge back in 2007 denied the move for more money and ruled that what the state needed to provide was more effective state support. and then back in 2012 there was a settlement because it was -- there was still an argument about whether or not adequate financial funding was being provided. so in 2012, we see a settlement where the department of education in the state agreed to create programs to support pre-k, targeted resource graduates, teacher grant, exit remediation, but it went specifically to the level of support that could be made available to these respective
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districts rather than a dollar-for-dollar comparison. so i guess i'd throw it out to anyone here on the panel. i noted miss garcia, i wasn't here when you made the comment, but you apparently made a comment that we want to measure actual service and supports, not just the dollars. so can you all comment on this situation in alaska and what our state's courts found? >> i want to begin by saying i was a utah teacher but a fairbanks, alaska, student. i didn't like go to school when the stars were out in the middle of the day. i want to tell you the best teaching assignment i ever had was the salt lake homeless shelter because the surrounding support i had as the teacher that the district placed there, there were social workers that
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worked with the family, there was a health clinic, a dentist that came in every two weeks, the nutrition programs that they had. i was never alone. i had the support i needed as the professional who could deal with sometimes mental health issues that that family had. so i understand when you say you do need -- every school needs the technology, the textbooks, the facility. you need the stuff. but you also need to deal with the reality of that child's life. and some children come to us with so many more needs that aren't met in their home, in their community. they come from homes where they don't have disposable income, sometimes, to take a child to the dentist. and so that child walks into our classroom in pain. and we have to do something about it. whether or not we've been given
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the resources to do anything about it or not. and so for me it is more than just counting the dollars. the dollars are important. but you also have to say how creative can i be in seeing what kind of service and supports, what kind of community organizations are out there that can help me. in utah, we're the lowest per pupil funded school district in the nation. we can stretch a dollar until you can see through it. we're the most creative educators on the planet. give us more money. that would be nice. but whatever we're given, then we try and leverage that into something more meaningful in supporting those children. that's why we want to say which services, which supports, which
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programs. it may cost a different number of dollars in this community than in this community, but, for instance, i keep using support as how can we make sure our kids graduate from high school having already earned college credit? what would that look like? it might look like something very different if you're in nome than if you're in anchorage where you have a university there and another might look like something online, but what we want is that power of professionals working in collaboration in each community to design something that makes sense for that community, and if what you're measuring is do you have the ability, do these children have the opportunity to earn college credit before they graduate from high school? how many of them are doing that? how many of them use graduation day as a springboard into higher
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education? talk about what -- describe what you're trying to accomplish and then be creative about designing something that meets the needs of that specific school community. >> senator mikulski, may i respond briefly? >> it's over my time, but if the chairman allows. >> what jumped out at me that you said initially about the case is the judge ruled there was already a per pupil equality expenditure. to us that's what it sounded like you said. that it wasn't the money that necessarily made the difference. but for us, that equality is important because i've been in a lot of schools on both ends of the spectrums, and when you walk in the front door and the starkness of the resources hit you in the face, i cannot imagine how adding some extra dollars there equals supplement when the scale is so tipped.
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>> thank you. >> would just add a point. look. we know right now that black and latino students are 1.5 times more likely to be taught by novice teachers. you know, is there a dollar-for-dollar solution that's going to directly address that in every part of the country and in every district and every state? i'm not sure. but i do know that a zip code should not dictate the resources available to students, and we need to make sure that there is an opportunity for the voices of those communities most affected and impacted by the plans that are going to be set forth at the state level to be represented. and i think for us, having affiliates -- and we have affiliates in alaska, to have that voice heard so that they can be represented in those
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state plans is going to be an important part in getting to an outcome that hopefully achieves that equity that is at the heart of the original legislation that i believe is embodied in this legislation, but for me it's the strong federal oversight role that's going to be the down perbalance that's to me set forward in a manner consistent with what we intended. >> i didn't mean to cut you off. >> mr. chairman, thank you. i would like to add that within the alaska court, the supreme court there, the funding may have been equally adequate. but the problem was the results are not. so, again, when you're trying to measure this dollar for dollar, this is where the discussion gets more intriguing. i thank you for the additional allowance of time for others to answer and the opportunity to speak. >> mr. chacy? >> thank you very much. let me say thank you to the
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panel and your good work on this legislation. i'll submit a question for the record, which will focus on neafta and la raza. i want to direct my question to miss marshall for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. i guess maybe two, if i can get to that. it's good that we had this win, that we codified an important policy, made it law. and i just want to ask you, how do you think in terms of how it's going to work, how will this policy, which is a continuation of prior policy, help special education teams, help schools, help school districts making that very critical decision about which children should take which test. >> thank you, senator casey.
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and i want to thank you for your leadership on this issue. it was a huge win for us to get this cap, and we are the students that are represented around the table at the ieps whose teams are making these decisions, and for all too often for whom there is a lack of presumption of competence, and before there was such a cap, we saw untold numbers of students taking off access to the general education curriculum as early as second grade, and that's just unconscionab unconscionable. so we're very -- we think this cap is important as someone alluded to earlier or stated earlier. it's adequate. we have far more fights for students trying to stay on the alternate -- i mean on the regular assessment and graduate than we are. that's crick cat. i think the negreg process was
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put up with guardrails to make sure teams are asking the right questions and they're very careful to not put students on there on the basis of their disability or the basis of their past test performance but that they push harder to make sure students have what they need to succeed. >> i want to ask you because i know your work validates this principle. i think the policy we were able to get done in this bill validates that students with disabilities have a lot of ability, and that's, i think, an important validation. but i wanted to ask you. how can we ensure the districts and states implement this guidance to ensure all students are held to these very high expectations? what would you hope happens? >> in our experience, the clearer the guidelines, the brighter the lines, the easier for the families to enforce the law, and it falls on their
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shoulder, and so that's kwhie, you know, we appreciate the federal oversight. we have needed it repeatedly. we continue to need it to this day to make sure our kids have access to what they need, and in response to what senator enzi was saying before about the department of ed and the check boxes, we rely on that data. we need it. and if we don't -- that's how we can show what's -- how our kids are being shortchange ed and wh they need to get equitable access to receive the benefit they deserve from an appropriate and excellent education just like any other student. >> thanks very much. appreciate it. >> thank you, senator casey. well, heck. i may take a little contrarian viewpoint to some. miss marshall, you mentioned the 1% cap. let's go back to those dyslexic children. now, most children -- in fact,
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if anyone differs with me, i'm not sure of any -- i don't think there's any school district in the nation that screens for dyslexia in grade one and if anyone knows of such a district, let me know. so you have 20% of the population dyslexic, and at some point, somewhere between third and fourth grade, children -- a typical child begins to learn to read, whereas, the dyslexic child is still learning to read. i think i've got that right. so we're going have a standardized test in fourth grarksd which assumes fluency, and yet that child who's dyslexic is still learning to decode and is not a fluent reader. so in a sense we have programmed failure. at fourth grade we're going to teach -- we're going to test 20% of the children in a way in which they are not yet ready to be tested by.
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now, i suppose if you have a 1% cap, let's imagine that in the future some progressive school district would actually screen all the children and find that 2 20%. would we still test them with the same standardized test knowing by grade four they will still not be reading adequately? and for some reason that doesn't make any sense to me. you do have any thoughts on that? >> well, i can just tell you in my home state is that we do skraening of children entering school. >> for dyslexia? >> it's a more general screening, but it has to do with understanding and decoding skills and skills relating to phonics and things like that. so i'm sure some of those children are caught -- or are captured by that screener.
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and we have a state law in third grade that students are requiring additional help because they're not at grade level in reading, that school districts have to develop a plan for not. and so i think i can answer the question generally. i believe our state is working hard to address the needs of dyslexic children. the question is do we do a scre screening specifically for dyslexia? i would answer no. >> i haven't found one that does. most rely on the child not doing well but by grade 3 the horse is out of the barn so if the child is not doing well by grade 3 typically that deficiency's going to persist. now, if we were able to screen these children and knowing that they've not yet learned to read fluently, would we still give them the same standardized test at game 4 that the other
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children are receiving even if we know they have not yet learned to read fluently? miss marshall, would you advocate doing so? >> yes, senator casey, i would -- >> casey's the last guy -- >> cassidy. i'm sorry. >> that's okay. my mother-in-law makes the same mistake. >> i don't have my glasses on. without that accommodation i'm in trouble. that actually gets to my point. we absolutely agree that students with dyslexia are not being screened or not being taught and the teachers don't have the training they need. and in fact i will broad thaen to say that all students with disabilities who this law protects as well as every other student have trouble reading and are not getting the services they need to succeed. we often hear the argument that you put forth around not taking the test but it is our relief again that we need to know where students are against the standards. we should not throw them in there without the accommodations. and we should make sure if you could just let me finish --
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>> what would you say is an accommodation? for the child who's -- >> it differs for each child, but they need to be able to have the accommodations and the supports that they use in the classroom to learn when they take the test. and that is of grave concern to us right now. we find that students are not having that accessibility. they have to be -- >> but let's go -- >> -- on the content, not their ability to take the test. >> let's get granular, not just conceptual but granular. if the child has not learned to decode and the child does not read fluently, taking a test which presumes fluently, that child is going to fail. period. do we really want to make that child take that particular test as opposed to another test which may -- a different test which may indeed adjust for the fact that the child has not yet learned to read fluently? >> i can't make those decisions. it's on the individual basis with each student. but as a general principle we
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want our kids to count and we want them to be part of the tests that all kids are taking to see where they are on grade level according to the state standards. >> but we would know that these 20% of the kids despite whatever their iq is, they're going to read less by definition dyslexics, there's a disconnection between two. those children are going to read less well. >> well, we've gotten rid of the punitive nature. the intention of the test, the reason to take them is to know where the students are and to give them the appropriate services and supports to move them forward. >> i'm not sure that we came to a common mind, but i'm out of time. and i think it is now senator murphy. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you for all the panelists' time today. i just have one general comment, and then one specific question to i guess our favorite target today, miss marshall. here's my general comment. i think miss weingarten got it
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right when she made it clear that this law is a civil rights law, first and foremost. federal government's in the business of education policy because we're in the business of civil rights. there's no reason for us to be writing federal education policy if it's not at the foundation about equal opportunity for disabled kids and poor sxids minority kids. and i thought your answers to senator warren's questions were spot on. but that's an uncomfortable thing for us to talk about, especially an uncomfortable thing for us to talk about when we're sitting in front of a bunch of educators and superintendents and state officials because we're saying that without some federal requirement that kids of color or poor kids or disabled kids be treated fairly that local political dynamics are going to accrue to the detriment of those kids, that if you don't have a federal requirement that ultimately those kids are not going to get a fair shake. so it becomes a very difficult thing for us to talk about here. but it's been at the foundation
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of our federal commitment to civil rights and at the foundation of our federal education law for decades. and so i do think it's important, and i have since the beginning of the drafting process for this law to have some strong accountability requirements and some high expectations for sxoolz for kids, and i don't think that it ends at the text of the law. i think there's a very important and appropriate role for the department of education to play in setting the guide rails for the financial accountability, as senator warren was talking about, or this accountability system. i understand, dr. gordon, the ways in which a requirement to spend more money on poor kids may occasionally not work to their benefit, but i think in the aggregate if you're spending more money on title 1 schools that's going to help students in title 1 schools, even if maybe it provides some perverse
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disincentives here and there. and on accountability i think we've got a good accountability section in this bill but we've got to make sure the interventions that are being used to try to turn around schools are not just whitewashed. if a school is failing, it's not enough to paint the front of the school green. you've got to actually do something that's meaningful. and again, it's uncomfortable because i don't doubt the willingness of school districts and states to try to be partners in this, but the regulations are important to make sure that we've got some basic guardrails to make sure that what is happening to make these schools better for these populations is based in what we know works. and what we know doesn't work. so i appreciate the conversation here, but i'm intereste in the department of education continuing to move forward on regulations that are in the spirit of the accountability
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sections on our bill. and i don't think there's a lot of disagreement on that. here's my question to you, ms. marshall. and it's on a narrow issue that's a passion of mine, and that's the use of seclusion and restraints in our schools. according to the department of education's latest civil rights data collection in 2011-2012, 70,000 students across the country are physically restrained. 37,000 of them were secluded. i think that's the tip of the iceberg. i don't think we understand how deep and broad this problem is. i'll take ownership of it. in connecticut we've got a problem. scream rooms being used to throw kids into so they can scream out their problems so they're not a disruption to everybody else. we included language in this bill, bipartisan language that would require state plans to address the use of what the bill calls adversive behavioral interventions, which really means seclusion and restraint.
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what would you want to see from the department of education when it comes to the guidance that they give to schools on how they attack this issue of the overuse of both seclusion and restraint? >> thank you very much, senator murphy, for asking me this question because it's also a passion of mine, and also for your leadership in ensuring that that clause was added to the law. we also -- there were many tears of joy when this -- a portion of the law was included to make sure there are positive school climates and that we need to take steps, schools need to unequivocally stop this abuse of students in our schools, secluding a student in a locked room from which they cannot escape is known to be one of the most torturous things you can do to another person. why are we doing that to our kids? restranint can only be used in
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emergency situations. the research is clear. it's used for power and control. on little tiny kids. that must stop. i'd be happy to submit more comments for the record, but i just would like to say one more thing, which is i spent years as a positive behavior support specialist in a school dealing with kids with the most challenging behaviors to keep them in school and keep them learning. again, if you're in a seclusion room or you've got four adults sitting on top of you, what are you or the other students who are watching this learning? the scream rooms in connecticut were called that by the other students because that's what they heard. kids in a room screaming. imagine that effect on a little child when they're trying to learn. that's a life lesson no child in this country should be subjected to. so what i know has made the difference is not money, it is not -- it is about training.
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it is about the belief and the confidence of the teacher to keep all kids safe. the support of the principals and the other people in the building to make sure they have those services around the kids who challenge the most. but it can be done positively and it can be done without those barbaric practices. >> no teacher ever wants to engage in that kind of practice. and so you're right. this is about supporting a climate in schools to make sure those situations never arise. i just want to make the point this conversation about accountability is also uncomfortable because we often place the burden on accountability. simply on the superintendents and the administrators and the teachers. and when you look at the difference in educational outcomes it still persists amongst different groups. it often has to do with all sorts of factors that exist outside of schools.
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so this conversation about accountability that of course i think is incredibly important is not a conversation. it's just about what happens inside the school. it's a conversation about what is happening in systems writ large that are controlled by frankly folks way above the pay grade of teachers and administrators and superintendents. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator whitehouse. >> thank you, chairman cassidy. i would like i guess first to make the point that under title 1 we said quite clearly that a school must get, and if i quote the text correctly, the funds that would otherwise receive under title 1. we did not say it should get the same funds as other schools receive. we could have said, that but there wouldn't have been agreement on it. and the law i think is fairly clear. what worries me is if we get into a wrangle over this
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regulation rereading the law as the latter statement rather than the former statement, which it seems to me as a lawyer a reasonably clear statement, then we're going to start to get distracted from all of the areas that we baked into this law where there was common agreement that there is a great opportunity for reform and innovation. one of the keys was to open up curriculum. we had curriculum get slaughtered in title 1 schools because everything that didn't teach to the test got thrown overboard for fear that the boat would sink if the testing came back poorly. that was a terrible disservice to the students in those schools. we set up innovative dashboard opportunities for people to report in much more effectively on how schools are doing so that there can be real accountability, not ersatz accountability.
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we've opened up the room for interventions in failing and struggling schools so that there's a lot more opportunity to bring different perspectives and different opportunities to bear. we've opened up the opportunity for innovation schools to exist. there are bright green lights in this bill saying let's do this better, and to insist on driving down a street that has a red light on it doesn't seem to me to be constructive. and i hope that it does not take us into a place where we're not taking advantage of all the green lights that this bill clearly lays out. teachers, school administrators, pretty much everybody in rhode island is very excited about the new tools this bill gives us. if we can avoid driving into this particular ditch and instead focus on the areas where there really is i think very, very significant bipartisan, solid, and legally founded opportunity for reform and innovation, boy, i'd like to
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encourage that. that said, it is i think absolutely clear and bipartisan and has always been the case that nobody wants to see federal title 1 money come in and provide an excuse to school districts or states to quietly ease money out of those schools and out of those districts to the favored and wealthier districts knowing that title 1 was going to come in and make up the gap. so if the equality of expenditure rule is not the one that we should be following, i would ask that each of the witnesses let us know what rule they would recommend the department of education to follow because it's to a degree -- i don't want to end up in a situation in which no regulation -- nobody will agree with any regulation of this
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because people are waiting back to be against anything and everything, no matter what it is. so i think it is important to there be some affirmative statement from folks who are here about what they think the regulation should look like, not just what it should not look like. so i only have about a minute, but i do see at least one hand up. so -- go ahead. let me make, it mr. chairman, a question for the record so that anybody can fill in if they'd like to in writing. >> i know what my n.e.a. members think is the standard. there's one thing about interdistrict equality and equity. it's much more dramatic when you look across district lines within a state. if you were to -- if you were to ask anyone with two eyes to go into the best school, the best public school in that state, and
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everyone can think about what public school that would be. in utah you go to park city. and you'd say let's do an inventory of the services, the school nurses, the professional librarians, the programs, the international baccalaureate programs, the art classes, the theater classes, the field trips, if you were to go in and take an inventory of the service supports and the programs in the best school in your state, make that your standard. make that the dashboard. why not? and then say we are going to compare every single school in our state by how well it measures up. do you have a school nurse? do you have a professional librarian? what's your counselor to student ratio? how are you serving your special ed kids? what's your e.l. program in do you have clubs after school? and the federal government, by
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the way, is not saying and if you don't -- if you don't have perfect equality somebody's head rolls. you're saying that role at the federal government is to be transparent to give good information to people like the advocates sitting at this table. to say give us -- put that information in our hands so we can go back and we can fight for the students that are being shortchanged. there are ways that you can do this without -- without micromanaging from the federal level and making it one more level of bureaucracy. >> we've gone over my time. i appreciate it. senator cassidy. and i thank the panel very much for a very helpful conversation. >> the hearing record -- well, first, i also thank y'all. put a little southern touch there, y'all. thank you for being here. the hearing record will remain open for ten business days. members may submit additional information and questions to our
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witnesses for the record within the time if they would like. thanks for being here today. the committee will stand adjourned. [ room noise ]
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[ room noise ]
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