Posts published on April 13, 2016

New Federal And State Policies: Implications For Researchers and Data Systems

In this video, Michael Kirst discusses the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the CA overhaul of accountability based on local control of education policy. The federal law requires multiple measures for accountability, including some with state choice. Data bases for English learners will change significantly. Federal requirements for Teacher evaluation will be deregulated significantly. State assessments are all over the place and will be hard to summarize. California is building an integrated federal /state/local accountability system that includes 23 metrics, primarily for local use in local control accountability plans (LCAP) that focus on improving budget strategy. Longitudinal data bases from the past will be difficult to integrate with these policy shifts.

Six New Transparency Requirements in the Every Student Succeeds Act

By Alyson Klein , Education Week

If you haven’t read through all 1,000-plus pages of the brand new Every Student Succeeds Act, you may have missed a key theme: The new law includes a host of new transparency requirements that will give the feds, states, districts, educators, advocates and (yes) education reporters a much clearer picture of how different populations of kids are doing and what kind of access they have to resources, including money.

So what exactly will districts and states need to report on under ESSA that they didn’t have to report on under No Child Left Behind, the previous version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act?

Here’s a list, courtesy of congressional staff:

  1. State accountability systems: Under NCLB waivers, it was not easy to make heads or tails of state accountability systems—and believe me, we tried here at Politics K-12. Under ESSA, state report cards will now have to explain a lot about their accountability systems, including their overall student achievement goal, how many kids a school must have from a particular subgroup for those students to be included for accountability purposes (otherwise known as an “n” size), the list of indicators used to measure a schools’ performance and how much weight each indicator has, how schools are singled out for extra support, and what schools need to do to move on from improvement status.
  2. Foster kids, homeless kids, and military connected kids: For the first time, states will have to break out the student achievement data and graduation rates of these students, just like they do for other “subgroups” like racial minorities, kids from low-income families, and students in special education.
  3. Long-term English-language learners: States and districts will have to report the number and percentage of students who have been identified as English-language learners, and attended school in the district for five years or more without being reclassified as proficient in English. This shines a spotlight on a population of students who have flown under the radar for years: long-term English-language learners.
  4. Per-pupil expenditures: States will have to enumerate just how much they are spending per kid in each district and each school, which could help highlight disparities.
  5. Post-secondary enrollment: For the first time, states will be required to report these rates, if available, on their report cards.
  6. Crosstabulation: States will have to report data—including test scores and participation rates, performance on school quality indicators, and graduation rates—and in a manner that can be “crosstabulated.” That means that a researcher, advocate, journalist, or anyone else could see say, whether a state is improving graduation outcomes for Hispanic English-language learners who are also in special education. Under NCLB, it would have been possible to see how ELLs were doing, how students in special education were doing, and how Hispanic students were doing, but much tougher to isolate the kids who were in all three groups. This wonky-sounding requirement was a big priority for the civil rights community.

Where did all this transparency come from? ESSA largely puts states in the driver’s seat when it comes to how to rate schools and intervene in schools that aren’t up to snuff. The transparency requirements, however, can help advocates and policymakers ensure that states, schools, and districts are still making progress with historically overlooked groups of students. They were part of the law’s bipartisan bargain, and were important to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., one of the Democratic architects of ESSA, among others.

“As we worked to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act, my top priority was ensuring that all kids have access to a quality education, regardless of where they live, how they learn, or how much money their parents make,” Murray said in a statement. “I’m proud that this law takes important steps to improve transparency so parents, schools, and advocates have as much information as possible about how students are doing in school.”

On the flip side, some school district officials say that while transparency is important, new reporting requirements can put further strain on scarce time and resources.

Speech Presentation Tips for College Students



During your college career, there are going to be times when you are required to make presentations. For some people, being in the spotlight comes naturally, and they have no problems giving presentations. Others, however, get nervous, tongue-tied, and even physically ill when they have to present their work in front of their peers, professors, etc. Here are some tips that will make giving presentations a whole lot easier.

  • Be Prepared – The first thing you need to do is make sure that you are completely prepared for the presentation. Practice it over and over again until it is pretty much committed to memory. That way, you won’t have to look at notes all the time, and you can make more eye contact with your audience. If you are going to be using props, make sure that you have everything you need, and that everything works. Make sure that all of your notes are in the proper order. The better prepared you are, the less anxious you will be about giving any presentation, or doing any other type of public speaking.
  • Make it Exciting – One way to make your presentation more exciting is to make it animated. This is really going to get the attention of the people in the audience, and hold it. They will be entertained, while learning at the same time. You don’t have to be an experienced designer, or spend a lot of money to get great animations. You can create awesome videos and presentations, with animations, easily, when you visit PowToon. You can use the free basic service, which offers Slides Basic, 38 royalty-free songs, 11 styles, and up to five minutes of animation. If you decide you like the service, packages start at just $19 per month.
  • Be Organized – Once you have done all of your research, it is time to organize everything. No matter what type of outline you are using (web, mind map, or traditional), be sure to write down a minimum of three key points that you want to make, along with details to support those points. Have everything in order, so as not to confuse your audience, and yourself. There are many different ways to keep your presentations organized. One popular method is to use color coded index cards. Put one point on a card, along with the supporting data. Do this with all of the points you intend to make.
  • Create a Story – When your audience is entertained, they are going to pay more attention to what you are saying. Your introduction should be short and sweet, with a story that is going to grab the attention of your audience. Then, you can dive right into the heart of the presentation, knowing that they are ready to be receptive to your ideas. The main part of your speech should be right after the introduction, and it should include your main point. Use key words to get the audience to connect the points you are making so they can see the big picture easily. Don’t overwhelm them with boring statistics. Keep things simple, and your presentation will be successful.
  • Relax and Take the Stage – When the time comes to give your presentation, take a couple of minutes to relax and ground yourself. Take a few calming breaths, chant a mantra, do some relaxing stretching exercises, etc. Basically, do whatever it takes to get you relaxed enough to give an awesome presentation. When you get on that stage, be sure to scan the audience, and try to make eye contact with each person in the audience at least once. Move around so you don’t look and feel stiff, speak clearly and slowly, and speak loudly enough so you can be heard by all. Use different vocal tones to make your presentation more interesting.


Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter!