Congress reconvened for the “lame duck” session this week. Lawmakers will break for Thanksgiving recess next week, and return the last week of November to resume talks on the “fiscal cliff” (see more below). Read brief biographies of the 12 new Senators and 81 new Representatives that have been elected to the 113th Congress at this time here. There are six House races that remain undecided.
Federal Education Funding
- CNN published an article on How education could plunge off the 'fiscal cliff' that covers what the pending budget cuts could mean to education.
- In a press conference with House Democratic women on Tuesday, Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated "I have made a decision to submit my name to my colleagues to once again serve as the House Democratic leader," ending speculation that she could be considering retiring from Congressional leadership. As a result, the current lineup of Democratic leadership should remain the same. Huffington Post covered the story here. Senate Democrats voted to maintain their current leadership as Reid (NV) as Majority Leader, Durbin (IL) as Assistant Majority Leader. Republican Senators reelected Sen. McConnell (KY) as Minority Leader and Sen. Cornyn (TX) as the new Minority Whip (replacing Sen. Kyl (AZ) who retired.
- We continue to craft our advocacy agenda and strategy for the next Congress. Next week we will be meeting with key Senate and House staff to hopefully learn more about which bills will come up first (i.e. ESEA or higher ed?). Again, see this report and materials under legislative activities that we are using to draft legislation. We will continue to seek your input and feedback by establishing A-Teams after Thanksgiving. We will discuss what we learn on the Hill and the A-Teams on the upcoming Tuesday call.
Administration and Regulatory Update
- Here we go! Secretary of Education Arne Duncan outlined the second-term education agenda in his remarks to the Council of Chief State School Officers this week. He said the Department will continue focusing on work started during the first term at the state and local level, as well as focusing on principal preparation and evaluation. On ESEA reauthorization, Duncan said the Department will help and push for it, but only if Congress “wants it”, and added that he does not want to reauthorize a “bad” ESEA bill. During his speech, Duncan said that district-level ESEA waivers don’t make sense and are “off the table,” but he later recanted his remarks in an interview with Education Week, saying that district waivers are “very much still on the table.”
- This week ED honored 314 great American schools as the 2012 Blue Ribbon Schools. NAESP President Mark Terry attended the event to join the Department in honoring the accomplished principals.
- A new study has been published which compared the Marzano Observation Protocol, the foundation of the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model with the Danielson Framework for Teaching. The comparative case study, a dissertation by Paul George Mielke, took a qualitative approach, dividing teachers into two cohorts, one using the Marzano Protocol and the other the Danielson Framework, to determine the benefits of research-based teaching frameworks for teachers.
- The Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report, “The State of Teacher Evaluation Reform: State Education Agency Capacity and the Implementation of New Teacher Evaluation Systems.” The report outlined the key challenges states face as they begin to implement teacher evaluation systems that include: 1) variation in the philosophical, statutory, constitutional debate over the proper role of the state education agencies; 2) variation in the degree of flexibility in state evaluation systems; 3) meeting the human capital demands necessary for this type of new system development; 4) shrinking funding streams intended to support the system; and 5) keeping pace with the implementation timetable in place.