FEDERAL ROLE IN EDUCATION

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1 FEDERAL ROLE IN EDUCATION KEY ISSUES The majority of decisions on public education are made at the state and local levels, but the federal government does contribute resources to North Carolina s public school system. Although it fluctuates year-to-year, about 11% of North Carolina s education comes from the federal government in the form of program support and recurring or one-time grants. North Carolina was a recipient of the federal government s Race to the Top state grants. As the Race to the Top funding comes to an end, North Carolina must decide how to continue the programs and initiatives implemented through Race to the Top. OVERVIEW In the United States, it is the responsibility of states and communities to establish schools, develop standards and curricula, set graduation requirements, and determine the logistics of school governance. While education policy is mostly determined by state and local administrative units, the federal government plays an important role in funding, overseeing, and developing education policies. The federal government currently provides about 14% of the funding to schools in North Carolina in the forms of grants and recurring support. 1 This percentage is larger than usual due to North Carolina s current Race to the Top grant. Much of that funding is channeled through the US Department of Education, but portions of it come through the Department of Health and Human Services (Head Start Program) or the Department of Agriculture (School Lunch Program). Generally speaking, these funds are targeted to areas of highest need. Allocating federal funding in a targeted way has allowed the U.S. Department of Education to become an emergency response system, to fill in funding gaps between state and local support in areas of highest need. The role of the federal government in education is minimal when compared to the state and local roles, but the federal government does play an important role in guiding and overseeing education on a national scale. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION The U.S. Department of Education was created in 1867 and became a Cabinet level agency in The Department s mission is to promote student achievement by ensuring equal access and developing efficient school systems. The chief tasks of the U.S. Department of Education include: Establishing, allocating, and monitoring federal inancial aid programs for education. Collecting data on schools nationwide. Focusing national attention on key educational issues. Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education. FEDERAL PROGRAM MONITORING AND SUPPORT SERVICES DIVISION The NC Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) houses the Federal Program Monitoring and Support Services Division, which provides oversight of state and local programs to ensure compliance with federal regulations and to guard against waste, fraud, and abuse. The division oversees federal programs such as Title I (discussed in more detail below), Title IV, the Rural Education Achievement Program, and Homeless Educa Local School Finance Study, Public School Forum 1

2 tion. This division monitors the allocation of federal funds to ensure that such funds contribute to student achievement and progress. The Division is subdivided into two sections: the Program Monitoring Section, which works to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to access a high-quality education; and the Support Service Division, which aids LEAs in preventing violence and illegal substance abuse at schools to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for students. RACE TO THE TOP DEFINITION North Carolina was one of 12 states selected to receive the 2010 federal Race to the Top (RttT) grant. This grant brought nearly $400 million to the state s public school system for use over a four-year period. The grant was designed to spur public school innovation, and was awarded to states with promising plans and concrete goals toward school improvement. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) created the Race to the Top Project Management Office (PMO) to manage Race to the Top implementation. The PMO facilitates and monitors local implementation, as well as implementation of the state-led Race to the Top initiatives. North Carolina has used the Race to the Top funding to remodel the state system through the READY initiative, an ambitious plan to increase student achievement, close achievement gaps and continue to increase the number of career- and college- ready graduates by making sure every student has an excellent teacher. The READY plan is built on the following two principles: 1. All students should be held to high academic expectations, allowing them to graduate fully prepared for college or a career. 2. Effective teachers and principals are necessary for facilitating the academic growth and development of students. ACCOMPLISHMENTS In the third year of Race to the Top s implementation, North Carolina showed progress in the following areas: Building local capacity for implementation of the Standard Course of Study through webinars, regional trainings, online modules, and collaborative resources. Effective collection of data assessing educator effectiveness in NC public schools. Continued development of technological resources to support NC s Race to the Top grant. Improvements in student achievement and graduation rates in NC s lowest performing schools. CHALLENGES Despite such dynamic progress in North Carolina s education system as a result of the Race to the Top grant, a number of challenges still require further resources and attention. Delays hindered the technological development of NC s main initiatives like icloud and HomeBase across the state. NC Final Exam administration was disrupted by local in lexibility, printing problems, and other logistical issues. 2

3 As Race to the Top funding comes to an end, North Carolina must decide how resources will be allocated to continue newly developed programs to sustain successes. The following State Race to the Top measures and target outcomes were set through the and school years. The goals were then revised in December of The school year is the first in which the Common Core standards and assessments were implemented, which, as anticipated, will require the goals to be adjusted to ensure ambitiousness and feasibility. State RttT Goal Measure Baseline Targets Student Achievement % of All Students Proficient - Grade 4 Reading 71.6% 74.6% 77.6% 80.6%* 83.6%* * In the school year, new (State End of Grade test; a proxy for NAEP Grade 4 Reading) assessments aligned to new standards (including the Common Core) will be implemented in NC. This introduction of new % of All Students Proficient - Grade 4 Math 83.0% 85.0% 87.0% 89%* 91.0%* assessments may require the adjustment of these targets to ensure ambitiousness and (State End of Grade test; a proxy for NAEP Grade 4 Math) feasibility. % of All Students Proficient - Grade 8 Reading 69.5% 72.5% 75.5% 78.5%* 81.5%* (State End of Grade test; a proxy for NAEP Grade 8 Reading) % of All Students Proficient - Grade 8 Math 83.9% 86.9% 89.9% 92.9%* 95.9%* (State End of Grade test; a proxy for NAEP Grade 8 Math) 2. Graduation Rates** 4-Year Cohort Rate 74.2% 76% 79% 82% 85% ** Targets for this measure have been updated since the initial RttT application to reflect actual, rather than projected, baseline data; the targets are now more ambitious. 3. College Readiness Average SAT Composite in Reading & Math (% students taking)*** 1,004 (64%) 1,005 (66%) Average ACT Composite*** Language for these three goals has been modified or added since the initial RttT application to more clearly identify the specific indicator/data being referenced and/or to reflect policy updates. Legislation passed in 2011 requires the administration of the ACT statewide, which impacts the representativness of the SAT as a college readiness measure. The State will request the ACT be included as a measure for college readiness and will establish targets in the fall of (% students taking)*** 4. College Enrollment % of AP exams taken on which students scored 3 or above (% of students taking AP exams)*** 57.6% (10.4%) 60% (11%) 62% (13%) 64% (15%) 66% (17%) % of high school graduates who enroll in post-secondary education programs **** 66.0% 67% 68% 70% 72% TITLE I: IMPROVING THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF THE DISADVANTAGED The Title I program provides financial assistance through State Educational Agencies (SEAs) to local educational agencies and public schools with high percentages of economically disadvantaged children to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards. 3

4 Schools enrolling at least 40% of students from economically disadvantaged families are eligible to use Title I funds for school programs. Title I funding reaches about 12.5 million students in both public and private schools nationally. Sixty-five percent of the Title I funding serves students in grades 1 through 6; twelve percent in preschool and kindergarten; and the remaining twenty-three percent goes to middle and high school students. 2 Under the current Elementary and Secondary Act Title I School Designations, Title I schools are categorized as: Focus Schools an elementary or middle school that is contributing to the achievement gap in the state or a high school with a graduation rate less than 60 percent over a number of years that is not identi ied as a priority school. The total number of Focus Schools must equal at least 10 percent of the Title I schools in the state (130 schools in North Carolina). Priority Schools a school that has been identi ied as among the lowest-performing schools in the state. The total number of priority schools must be at least 5 percent of the total number of Title I schools in the state (77 in North Carolina). Reward Schools a school that is a highest-performing school (all student groups make AYP) and does not have signi icant achievement gaps across subgroups; or a high progress school which is a Title I school among the 10 percent of Title I schools in the state that are making the most progress in improving the performance of all students over a number of years and exhibit no signi icant achievement gaps across student subgroups. There are 120 Reward Schools in North Carolina. Focus and Priority Schools are required to take actions to improve educational services for students. Local school districts will have discretion to decide how to intervene in Focus Schools. Priority Schools will receive more prescriptive interventions to improve performance. Schools remain on the Focus or Priority lists for three years, and a new list of Focus and Priority Schools will be developed in Reward Schools will be identified annually. Reward Schools are eligible for public recognition and to apply for additional earmarked Title I funds. NATIONAL TITLE I DISTINGUISHED SCHOOLS PROGRAM The National Title I Distinguished Schools program recognizes exemplary Title I schools that hold students to high standards and demonstrate exemplary school effectiveness in: teaching and learning based on the approved state curriculum, use of research-based instructional strategies, opportunities provided for all students to achieve, established partnerships with parents, families, and the community, implementation of sustained research-based professional development, and innovation and modeling for other schools. Distinguished schools fall into two categories: Sustained Achievement schools or Closing the Achievement Gap schools. Sustained Achievement schools record at least 80% of students are proficient in math and reading and have achieved AYP for at least two years. Schools in the Closing the Achievement Gap category exemplify progress in closing gaps between different subgroups of students. Schools in both categories are recognized at a National Title I Conference. 2 NC DPI Title I 4

5 HISTORICAL FEDERAL LEGISLATION ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 as part of the War on Poverty program. ESEA has been the most far-reaching federal legislation affecting education passed at the national level. The bill aims to narrow the achievement gaps between students by allocating funding for primary and secondary education, emphasizing equal access to education, and establishing high standards and accountability. The act was originally authorized through 1965; however, the government has reauthorized the act every five years since its enactment until The current reauthorization of ESEA is the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, named and proposed by President George W. Bush. Below are the main provisions of the original ESEA and a few of the earliest additions to the act. Title I Financial Assistance To Local Educational Agencies For The Education Of Children Of Low- Income Families Title II School Library Resources, Textbooks, and other Instructional Materials Title III Supplementary Educational Centers and Services Title IV Educational Research And Training Title V Grants To Strengthen State Departments Of Education Title VI General Provisions New Titles Created by Early Amendments to 1965 Law 1966 amendments (Public Law ) Title VI - Aid to Handicapped Children (1965 title VI becomes Title VII) 1967 amendments (Public Law ) Title VII - Bilingual Education Programs (1966 title VII becomes Title VIII NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND MAJOR POLICY PROVISIONS OF NCLB On January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 into law, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The major focus of the legislation was to raise academic standards for all students and to hold states accountable for student performance. NCLB was based on four principles of President George W. Bush's education reform plan: 1. Stronger accountability for results. 2. Expanded lexibility and local control. 3. Expanded options for parents. 4. Emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work. NCLB mandated that by , states must annually test students in grades 3-8 in reading and mathematics and by , students must be tested once in elementary, middle, and high school in science. States were also required to participate in the 4 th and 8 th grade reading and mathematics National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests, also called the Nation s Report Card, to provide a common measure of comparison across states. The law required that all students must be proficient on state assessments by Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) has been used to determine school proficiency. To make AYP, each subgroup of students within a school and the school as a whole must have 95% participation in state exams and must meet state-set proficiency targets. 5

6 FLEXIBILITY AND NCLB WAIVERS In May 2012, North Carolina was granted flexibility waivers from many of the NCLB provisions. Waivers granted by the U.S. Department of Education make significant changes to North Carolina s implementation of ESEA s requirements especially in the areas of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), parent notifications, public school choice and Supplemental Educational Services. This flexibility allows North Carolina s public school system to move forward with strengthened College- and Career-Ready expectations for all students, new ways to hold Title I schools accountable for students' academic proficiency, and new initiatives to support effective instruction and leadership. Many of the former strict federal requirements regarding AYP and sanctions for schools that do not make AYP are no longer required statewide and are now for local school districts to address. With the new waiver, schools will still be measured against Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) calculated and reported under NCLB, but they are more flexible than AYP. AMOs include more specific achievement targets for each student subgroup, guarantee that at least 95 percent of students participate in testing, establish high school graduation rate targets for each student subgroup, and attendance rate targets for K-8 students. 6

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