National Education Association
October 24, 2003.
Welcome to the National Education Association's weekly update on the Great Public Schools for Every
Child Action Plan and the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA is also known as the No Child Left
Behind (NCLB) Act.
Great Public Schools Action Plan:
Reg on TV...NEA's ESEA speakers making the rounds...Membersspeak Web page a growing hit...Lawsuit update.
Legislative Update: Congress revisited...Citizens
for Effective Schools takes on ESEA.
Department of Education (ED)
News: New ED guidance available...School crime report.
State Reports: Two more governors speak out...NM amendment
adds $78 million annually to school coffers...Florida's retirement system may purchase struggling Edison Schools.
Studies, Articles and Reports: Brookings
2003 Report...ASCD Smartbrief on ESEA...State "highly qualified" numbers vary.
Quote of the Week: Rural state governors
draw the line.
Great Public Schools Action Plan
Reg TV: This past week, NEA President
Reg Weaver taped two broadcasts that will be nationally televised in the near future. Reg touched on a variety of NCLB-related
topics - vouchers, education spending, and politics - in his interviews with Fox News (national) and CNN NewsNight with Aaron
Brown. CNN went a step further and interviewed the principal and teacher of an esteemed Georgia school unfairly branded "in
need of improvement."
ESEA Speakers: Keeping members and other factions
of the education community aware of NEA's proposed changes to ESEA, has Great Public Schools ESEA manager Joel Packer in perpetual
motion. Packer was one of three NEA staffers who recently met with the General Accounting Office to provide input for a study
on how ESEA's definition of highly qualified affects special education teachers. The GAO - the audit, evaluation, and investigative
arm of Congress - plans to release its report next summer.
Packer also talked ESEA to 125 local members of the Montgomery County Education Association
earlier this month and to 130 emerging leaders at the Southwest Region Minority Leadership Training last weekend in Atlanta.
GR lobbyist Steve Nousen addressed 700 members at the Maryland State Teacher Association annual conference last week. Not
only did he summarize the changes NEA is attempting to make in ESEA, "I told the delegates that through the use of political
action we could make the changes necessary to 'fix' ESEA," Nousen said. And last weekend, Marilyn Hutton of NEA's Human and
Civil Rights Division, discussed ESEA's impact on students, teachers and support professionals and helped NAACP members, parents
and community leaders understand their role at the 63rd annual Maryland State NAACP conference Oct. 24. Other upcoming ESEA
briefings: AERA, NSAII, TSTA-TFT Issues conference, NCUEA, and the Organizing Institute.
Popular site: The video clips of NEA members talking
about the negative impact ESEA has on their students, schools, colleagues and classrooms is one of the most visited pages
on the NEA Web site - 2000 page views in less than a month. There are currently 12 video clips of NEA members speaking out,
with three new clips being added each week. "I think this can be a powerful message vehicle for us - teachers, administrators,
and education support professionals giving first-person testimony about what's wrong with NCLB," says Eddy Gattis of NEA Public
Relations. Access this site at http://www.nea.org/video/membersspeak.html
Lawsuit update: NEA has been diligently working
to find one or more states to act as the lead plaintiff in its planned ESEA lawsuit. NEA's Office of General Counsel is in
current discussions with several states that have expressed interest in doing so and hopes to have final agreement from one
or more of these states shortly. As soon as something is firm, all state affiliates will be informed.
NEA follow-up: NEA lobbyists lost no time making follow-up calls on the
Congressmen visited earlier this month when NEA's board of directors tried to recruit more cosponsors for our bills to improve
ESEA. Since Oct. 12, two bills aimed at changing ESEA - Rep. Strickland's Student Testing Fairness Act (HR 3049), which incorporates
all of NEA's proposed changes to assessments and Rep. Moore's HR 2394, which asks for a suspension of all penalties until
ESEA is fully funded - has added five new cosponsors each. The Moore bill now has 46 sponsors, the Strickland bill 19.
New group takes on ESEA: Citizens for Effective
Schools, a newly formed group of educators, administrators and civic leaders from across the USA, is asking Congress to rewrite
ESEA. According to the group's members, which include New York's Urban League and the Education Law Center of New Jersey,
meaningful education reform should not focus on punishment, but instead on techniques that help schools improve. In a letter
to President Bush, ED Secretary Rod Paige and members of Congress, Citizens for Effective Schools said that "Instead of inducing
the states to institute the necessary systemic changes, the Act has caused many of them to severely lower their improvement
goals. The Act's accountability system is an invitation to manipulation, permitting states to postpone major reforms and perpetuate
the failing status quo in the name of meaningless compliance." The group goes on to recommend a number of changes to the heavily
criticized law. For the full text of it's letter, go to
Department of Education (ED) News
New guidance on Title I funding: ED's newest guidance, released
Oct. 21, gives info on how public schools should disburse Title I funds to local children attending private schools. Since
1965, public schools have been obligated to provide Title I services to eligible private school children in their geographic
area. But ESEA resulted in a number of changes to the old format and public school officials have had a hard time explaining
the new rules to their private school counterparts. View it at http://www.ed.gov/programs/titleiparta/psguidance.doc
School crime report: With ESEA's emphasis on "persistently
dangerous" schools, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has prepared a report on school violence. NCES's 2000
School Survey on Crime and Safety says:
- Violence is more likely to take place in secondary schools. The size of a school's enrollment
is directly related to its number of violent incidents.
- Approximately 71 percent of public elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. had a least
one violent incident during the 1999-2000 school year.
- Twenty percent of all schools had at least one violent incident involving rape, sexual battery,
robbery or physical attack with a weapon.
- Seven percent of all schools accounted for 50 percent on the violent incidents on record.
In addition to school type and enrollment size, NCES also says violent incidents are
more likely to occur in urban schools. The number of incidents also hinge on the number of class changes as well as the percentage
of students who consider academics important at that school. For more info on this study, go to