Legislative Action Team Advisory

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Senate Cuts Reading First.

Read details below. We will keep you informed.

On July 20th, the Senate appropriations full-committee approved the FY07 Labor-HHS-Education funding bill (HR 5647) by voice vote with $55.8 billion for education.

Senator Byrd (D-WV) offered the only amendment which would have increased Title I funding by $6.1 billion. The amendment failed by voice vote.

Chairman Specter (R-PA) indicated his great disappointment with the funding levels, “constituting what I view as really the disintegration of the appropriate federal role of health, education and worker protections.”

Senator Harkin (D-IA), ranking member, stated that he would work with Senator Specter to add $2 billion more to the bill later in the process.

All numbers are in millions.

Program Increase

Striving Readers +$5.3

Title I- School Improvement +$100

Math and Science Partnerships +$12.8

Advanced Placement Fees +$7.8

Arts in Education +$1.2

Elminated Programs:

Even Start -$99

Comprehensive School Reform -$7.9

State Grants for Innovative Education Programs (title V) -$99

Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities -$36.6

Dropout Prevention -$4.9

Smaller Learning Communities -$93.5

Programs Cuts

Reading First State Grants --$29.2

Early Reading First -$3.1

Improving Teacher Quality State Grants -$140

Javis Gifted and Talented -$4.6

Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities, national programs -$10.0

Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities, state grants -$36.5

Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants -$2.9

Reading First - US Department of Education Report

July 24, 2006 US Dept. of Ed. Press Release- New Report Shows Progress in Reading First Implementation and Changes in Reading Instruction:
Children in Reading First classrooms receive significantly more reading instruction and schools participating in the program are much more likely to have a reading coach, according to the Reading First Implementation Evaluation: Interim Report, released today by the U.S. Department of Education. The report shows significant differences between what Reading First teachers report about their instructional practices and the responses of teachers in non-Reading First Title I schools, which are demographically similar to the Reading First schools.
"The goal of Reading First is to help teachers translate scientific insights into practical tools they can use in their classrooms," Secretary Spellings said. "The program is helping millions of children and providing teachers with high-quality, research-based support. As we push towards our ultimate goal of every child reading and doing math on grade level by 2014, Reading First is a valuable help to our efforts."
The report shows Reading First schools appear to be implementing the major elements of the program as intended by the No Child Left Behind legislation. Reading First respondents reported that they made substantial changes to their reading materials and that the instruction is more likely to be aligned with scientifically based reading research; they are more likely to have scheduled reading blocks and spend more time teaching reading; they are more likely to apply assessment results for instructional purposes, and they receive professional development focused on helping struggling readers more often than non-Reading First Title I schools in the evaluation.
The report is based on data collected from surveys completed in spring 2005 by 6,200 K-3 teachers, 1,570 principals and 1,320 reading coaches in nationally representative samples of 1,090 Reading First schools and 540 non-Reading First Title I schools and from interviews with Reading First state coordinators and reviews of states' applications for Reading First awards. As of July 2006, states have awarded sub-grants to approximately 1,600 local school districts, and these districts have provided funds to 5,300 schools nationwide. A final report in 2008 will include data on changes in student reading achievement in Reading First schools.
Highlights of the report include:
· Teachers in Reading First schools reported, on average, they spent significantly more time on reading than did teachers in non-Reading First Title I schools—a difference of about 19 minutes per day, or about 100 minutes per week.
· Reading First teachers were significantly more likely than their counterparts in non-Reading First Title I schools to place their struggling students in intervention programs.
· Reading First schools were significantly more likely to have a reading coach to support teachers in the implementation of their reading programs than were non-Reading First Title I schools.
· Teachers in Reading First schools were more likely to report applying assessment results for varied instructional purposes (e.g., for planning, grouping, progress monitoring and identifying struggling readers) than their non-Reading First Title I counterparts.
The full text of Reading First Implementation Evaluation is available online at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/opepd/ppss/reports.html#reading.

Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act

Passage Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act:
Secretary Spellings on July 29th, 2006 made the following statement on the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act:
"Congress deserves credit for making some needed reforms to the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education program. For the first time, Career and Technical Education [CTE] programs will be held accountable for continuous improvement in performance, measured by the academic proficiency of CTE students. Success will be determined through valid and reliable tests, including No Child Left Behind assessments in reading, math and science. These changes will help ensure that students graduate with the academic skills valued by employers and colleges alike. We now look forward to working with Congress to promote accountability, high standards and rigorous coursework in our high schools, essential to staying competitive in the global economy."

Title I/ELL

U.S. Department of Education Regulations on Title I (ELL flexibility:

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today (July 27, 2006) announced a partnership with states to improve and develop fair and accurate testing designed for limited English proficient (LEP) students.
"The goal of No Child Left Behind is to give every child in America a great education and a successful start in life. This new initiative will increase the visibility of limited English proficient students and enable schools to more accurately measure their progress," Spellings said. "The 5.4 million LEP students in U.S. schools are our fastest-growing student population and are expected to make up one out of every four students by 2025. Our schools must be prepared to measure what English language learners know and teach them effectively."
Testing is the lynchpin of the No Child Left Behind Act, created to bring every child to grade level in reading and math by 2014. The best tools for this effort are valid and reliable content-based assessments in every state. The U.S. Department of Education will bring together experts from around the country to help states address the challenges of developing high-quality assessments for LEP students. The LEP Partnership with states will improve accommodations and content assessments in reading and mathematics for LEP students.
The Department is immediately inviting approximately 20 states to participate in intensive work on these assessments, but all states are welcome to participate in the LEP Partnership. These states submitted evidence for the Department's 2005-06 peer review of state assessment systems, focused on tests tailored to LEP students. In most cases the tests designed for LEP students have not yet met with full approval under NCLB.
A fact sheet on the LEP Partnership Initiative can be found at: http://www.ed.gov/nclb/methods/english/lepfactsheet.html.

Response to Intervention

IDEA final regulations- which include information on RTI - will be released on Thursday, August 3, 2006. These regulations will hopefully be available on the U.S Department of Education webpage that afternoon. Details to follow.