The State Government Leadership Foundation believes that states, not the Federal government, are the best conduits for producing lasting and effective education reform across our country.
The SGLF understands that real education reform must start locally. The SGLF intends to work with state elected leaders, statewide education officials, and business advocates to help advance and implement reforms that improve the quality of education in classrooms state by state.
The SGLF wants to help state and local government prioritize youth through meaningful and farsighted education reform that will increase student achievement and prepare students for success well beyond high school and into college or career paths.
The SGLF believes that education reform within states should be based upon the six broad reform goals below:
- From grades K-3, children learn to read, and from grades 4-12, children read to learn.
- States would be well served to make reading a priority early on.
- Placing a critical focus on reading in the early grades will not only increase the likelihood that a student will graduate from high school, but also increase their life-long earning potential.
- 2011 report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that kids who are not proficient readers by the end of grade 3 are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
- Further, reading is an area that can garner tremendous support from parents.
Linking Teacher and School Leadership Effectiveness to Student Achievement
- States must start evaluating teachers and school leaders on the basis of student achievement. Period.
- Right now, teacher evaluation systems focus too heavily on inputs such as credentials and not enough on outputs such as student achievement. By shifting evaluation systems to significantly include measures of student outcomes, in addition to objective observation protocols, student surveys, and other locally decided measures, state leaders can not only create buy-in at the local level, but also engage parents in a meaningful way with transparent data on teachers and school leaders.
Rewarding Excellence, Not Tenure, and Replacing Failure with Success
- The current system deters some of America’s brightest young adults exiting the college system from joining the teaching profession because of low earning potential and the lack of professionalism.
- States should compensate and reward teachers commensurate with student achievement in the classroom, rather than number of years in the classroom.
High Academic Standards for Every Student
- Each state will better serve their students as they raise the expectation for each student across every grade level.
Scrupulous Accountability on Multiple Levels
- States are ultimately accountable for the learning that does or does not take place within their schools.
- States must hold their schools accountable on more than one level. And there are multiple levels to rate schools.
- States should be encouraged to measure both proficiency and growth for all students to meaningfully differentiate support at the school and classroom level.
School Choice for all Students
- From charters, to tax credits, to virtual, conservative state leaders need to frame the conversation around more effective choice options, not simply more choice options.
- As conservative state elected officials develop policy to increase the number of charters, extend the use of tax credits, and expand virtual learning offerings, prioritizing best practices will not only build support for the policies, but also provide students with better learning options.
News & Articles
Expanded voucher system approved by Arizona Senate
Freedom Drives Success in New Orleans Charter School Revolution
Site-based autonomy gives schools more control over personnel, curriculum and budget
Branstad signs bill to expand tax credits for private school scholarship donations
Scott Walker says no changes planned to voucher school legislation
He says he'll 'stay true' to agreement that included cap on statewide expansion
As the Joint Finance Committee's proposal stands, 500 students would participate in the statewide voucher program in its first year, increasing to 1,000 students in the second year. The voucher program allows students from lower- and middle-income families to attend private school using state funds. "We worked to find a reason to believe that lawmakers in both the Senate and Assembly could support this," Walker said. "So as I've done in the past in other agreements, I'm going to stay true to that agreement." Walker also said that, in general, he would not announce any vetoes or non-vetoes because, theoretically, the Senate or Assembly could change any proposal before it reaches his desk. He continued on to say that people should remain confident that the cap aspect of the agreement will remain.
New Jersey making good progress in Race to the Top
SC House OKs private-school tax credits
State representatives limited the total private-school donations to $10 million and capped the tax credit at 60 percent of a donor’s tax liability – meaning the state potentially could lose $6 million in tax collections in next year’s budget, according to state Rep. Eric Bedingfield, R-Greenville, who sponsored the amendment. Critics say that money would be better spent on public education, which, they say, the budget underfunds by $598 million because lawmakers did not follow a 36-year-old funding formula for public education. The tax credit would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2014. It automatically would expire in six months – as all budget provisos do – unless the General Assembly votes to reauthorize the tax break.
Governor signs education reform bill
The legislation encourages school districts to adopt new career ladders and evaluations for teachers by giving districts that chose to do so roughly $300 more per student to help pay for the costs of implementing the new programs. The bill was the governor’s top priority this legislative session after a reform bill from the previous year didn’t address teacher and administrator career paths. “This is a key turning point in Iowa history,” Branstad said. “Having good schools is no longer good enough.” The bill also carved out a new set of rights and abilities for parents who home school and set state aid for school funding for the next two years.
Michelle Rhee: Michigan a national leader with 'innovations' in education reform
New Poll: Moms Prefer More School Choice
Vouchers were supported by 66 percent of respondents and opposed by 26 percent, while charter schools were favored by 63 percent with 25 percent opposed. "So many moms, who want only the best for their children, are left powerless in today's education system," said Virginia Walden Ford, a mother whose child received a private school scholarship and attended a charter school. "Moms are dissatisfied with the lack of progress in education. That's why they're demanding school choice." By nearly a two-to-one margin, the poll shows that mothers of school-age children believe K−12 education in the United States is on the "wrong track," compared with those saying it is going in the "right direction." And almost eight out of 10 school moms, or 79 percent, give a "fair" or "poor" rating to the federal government's involvement in education.
Gov. Deal signs order addressing Common Core standards
Deal, a Republican, acknowledged in his remarks that the personal information is not currently being collected, but said his order was designed to ensure no one's rights are violated. "Georgia has not been collecting that data, and Georgia will not collect that data. To make the above clear and unambiguous, I have signed an executive order and I will ask the Legislature to embrace the content of that executive order in legislation during the next session of the General Assembly," Deal said.
Bill would loosen cap on Mass. charter schools
2 bills in N.C. House would bolster charter schools
The first bill would allow local school boards to approve charters and convert their own schools to a charter format. Under existing law, local boards can grant preliminary approval, but ultimate authority lies with the State Board of Education. The program would start on a trial run of up to 10 districts that would maintain oversight of the charters. The second bill would allow districts to create schools operating under special curricula, budgets and admissions criteria. That’s currently possible only with failing district schools. The so-called satellite schools would be able to experiment with different pay models, and districts could petition the State Board to waive the requirement that at least 50 percent of the school’s staff hold instructional certifications.
Alabama's private schools don't want state involvement (update)
The Legislature passed the Alabama Accountability Act on Feb. 28. It provides tax credits to parents who chose to send their children to a private school or non-failing public school rather than a public school rated as failing. It also gives tax credits to individuals and businesses who donate to organizations that will provide scholarships for children from low-income families who can't afford private school tuition even though their children qualify to move from failing public schools. Bills have been offered in the legislative session to clear up some questions about the new law. One of the architects of the new law, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, has written a bill to make several changes. One provision that he said he put in to assure quality has raised concerns among private school organizations. It says private schools accepting scholarships would have to administer state achievement tests or nationally recognized tests to measure learning in math and language arts by participating students.
Division lingers in Iowa Legislature on how best to evaluate teachers
Debate on using test scores is holding up reform bill
Many Democrats and teachers union leaders say they fear the legislation could be used to judge educators solely on their students’ standardized test scores. That strategy has proven ineffective in other states and has created tension between teachers and administrators in some districts, they say. But Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass insists that’s not the goal of proposals introduced by Gov. Terry Branstad and House Republicans. The bill now under review in a conference committee calls for student growth to be one of multiple measures gauging teacher effectiveness.
Senate expected to consider education budget on Tuesday
Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, chairman of the committee, had supported the 1 percent raise. “I feel like the 1 percent with the 1 percent bonus would be more conservative with all the unknowns we’re dealing with,” Pittman said. But Pittman said there was strong support in the Senate for the 2 percent raise and said that would give it the best chance to pass the Senate. Education employees last received a cost of living raise in fiscal year 2008. Gov. Robert Bentley had proposed a 2.5 percent raise for education employees. The budget bill, HB166 by Rep. Jay Love, R-Montgomery, would appropriate $5.76 billion from the Education Trust Fund for public schools, colleges and other entities for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
Brewer signs bill creating new teacher evaluations
Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a bill that makes it easier to fire some low-performing teachers. The bill signed Monday allows experienced teachers to be placed on probationary status if they received the lowest rating on one yearly performance review. That status allows a school board to fire a teacher with little notice. Proponents say the measure will help remove bad teachers. House Bill 2500 easily passed in the Republican-led House, but Senate Republicans and Democrats initially rejected it in a tight 14-15 vote. The Republican-led Senate eventually passed the bill in a 19-11 vote. Critics say an overhaul of evaluations passed last year still isn’t fully implemented and lawmakers shouldn’t pass additional changes.
Charter schools win $91 million for facilities
“We’re very pleased that the Legislature worked to get specific capital outlay dollars to charter schools,” said Larry Williams, who represents the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools. The money is a one-time allocation, most of which will come out of the Public Education Capital Outlay fund. PECO dollars are generated from the state’s gross receipts tax on cable-television, electricity and land-line telephone bills. Charter school advocates had hoped to secure a recurring source of funding for capital outlay projects this year. On Sunday, they acknowledged that the goal was unlikely to become reality before the end of this year’s legislative session on Friday.
But that doesn’t mean the fight is over for good. “We need to move forward with a permanent mechanism that automatically funds charter schools’ capital outlay needs,” said former state Rep. Ralph Arza, who represents the Florida Charter School Alliance. “The parents of those children deserve a recurring source.” Charter schools enroll more than 200,000 students statewide, and are run by nonprofit governing boards that function independently of local school districts. Some are managed by for-profit companies.
Lawmakers expand school voucher program, pause Common Core
Vouchers, which allow public school dollars for more than 9,000 low-income children to be used for private school tuition, would be expanded. New provisions would extend the benefit to siblings of those already using vouchers, students in special education or those living within the boundaries of a school rated a D or F by the Indiana Department of Education. Under current law, students have to first attend public school after kindergarten for at least two semesters. Kindergarten would now count toward those two semesters. Rep. Robert Behning, the bill’s author, said that the measure would make an estimated 180,000 more children eligible for vouchers but that the number of new vouchers would be limited. The number of empty seats statewide is estimated to be below 15,000.
Stanford researchers identify troubling patterns of teacher assignments within schools
A study of a major urban school district reveals how high-achieving students tend to get the most experienced teachers, leaving other students in classes with less experienced teachers.
Previous research indicates that high-quality teachers can significantly improve education outcomes for students. However, not all students have equal access to the best teachers. "It is well-known that teachers systematically sort across schools, disadvantaging low-income, minority and low-achieving students," said Demetra Kalogrides, a research associate at the Graduate School of Education's Center for Education Policy Analysis and one of the study's three authors. "Our findings are novel because they address the assignment of teachers to classes within schools. We cannot assume that teacher sorting stops at the school doors." The authors note that more research needs to be done to see whether such patterns exist within schools across the country. The assignment of teachers to students is the result of a complex process, involving school leaders, teachers and parents. While principals are constrained by teachers' qualifications – not all high school teachers, for instance, can teach physics – they also may use their authority to reward certain teachers with the more desirable assignments or to appease teachers who are instrumental to school operations.
Washington state Senate approves K-12 education funding bill
Texas Senate approves more than $2B more for schools
Schools are financed through state aid, local property tax revenue and some federal money. When property values increase, yielding more local tax revenue, the state has to put less money into schools. Senators said they would put the savings realized from the last property valuation increase back into schools. “This is going to allow us to put a substantial amount of new money into public education,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands.
SJR 1 by Williams also will require approval by two-thirds of the Texas House to be placed on a statewide ballot for voter consideration. The rainy day fund is projected to have $11.8 billion at the end of this fiscal period if left untapped. The funding would be a boost for public education, which has been a focal point of this legislative session after lawmakers two years ago cut $5.4 billion from what schools otherwise would have expected.
Snyder: Education system in Michigan, US is broken
House, Senate agree on merit pay raises for teachers
The governor is holding firm on his proposal, one of his top priorities for this year’s legislative session, which ends in early May. House and Senate leaders said they didn’t see Scott’s plan becoming reality. "The Governor has priorities. The Legislature has priorities," said Scott spokeswoman Melissa Sellers late Sunday. "There's still enough time left to determine how successful this session will be for all of us." Said House Education Appropriations Chairman Erik Fresen, R-Miami, earlier in the day: "Regardless of how you look at it, [teacher raises] will have a methodology that ties the increases to merit," said House Education Appropriations Chairman Erik Fresen, R-Miami.
Reaching consensus didn’t come easily for the two chambers. Initially, the House had wanted to spend $676 million and then adjusted the number to $628 million late last week. But on Sunday the lower chamber decided that $480 million would be OK. There had also been some discrepancies over how much flexibility the districts ought to have with the cash. The House wanted to give school systems more freedom than the Senate. But Fresen said the House and Senate were close to reaching consensus on that front, too.
Walker's voucher expansion would redistribute aid
The Fiscal Bureau estimates those districts would collectively lose about $8 million in state aid as students opt to enroll in private schools paid for with the vouchers. That $8 million would be redistributed, with 324 other districts seeing an increase in aid. State aid amounts would remain substantially unchanged in 91 other districts. The analysis notes that the impact would be significantly larger once proposed enrollment caps are lifted as Walker wants after two years.
TN Lawmakers push education bills in final days of session
Both of those proposals have failed. However, the charter school proposal could be heading to the governor soon for his consideration. The bill is waiting to be scheduled for a vote by the full House, and the Senate Finance Committee is expected to take up a companion bill on Monday. The panel would be able to overrule local school board decisions on charter applications in the lowest-performing school districts. Currently, only five counties would be affected, but they include more than 330,000 students in the state’s four largest cities: Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Shelby. Hardeman County also would be affected.