Education Week’s Andrew Ujifusa and Christiana Samuels report on NASBE’s recent Legislative Policy Forum. Read excerpts below.
From Education Official Stresses Need for ‘Results-Driven Accountability’:
“While states are being asked to change how they evaluate their special education programs, the U.S. Department of Education also plans to change the way it interacts with states, Michael Yudin, the acting assistant secretary of the office of special education and rehabilitative services, told state board leaders gathered for a legislative policy forum.
The new ‘results-driven accountability‘ framework will require states to make moves that improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities, Yudin told members of the National Association of State Boards of Education held Thursday at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel near Washington, D.C. Board members also planned to visit legislators as part of the conference.
Yudin said the department is also attempting more nimble and responsive to states, offering intensive services in areas that need support, and backing off if a state appears to be making sufficient progress on its own.
‘We’re directing resources to where they’re needed most, Yudin said. …”
From Communicate Better About Standards and Tests, Duncan Urges State Boards:
“U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has a clear message to state school boards about thorny issues like standards and new tests: Make sure you talk to people when rolling out important new policy measures, and keep on talking as needed.
In remarks at the National Association of State Boards of Education’s policy conference on Friday, Duncan urged officials to counter what he said was “misinformation” percolating in states about content standards, as opposition to and concern about the Common Core State Standards and their aligned assessments continues to bubble in legislatures. At one point, he urged the state policy officials to redouble their efforts to provide accurate information to schools, parents, and others. (He’s been pushing that theme for a while as he seeks to protect the common core.)
Without such efforts, he told the NASBE conference, ‘the vacuum gets filled up’ with misinformation and disinformation.
On new state assessments aligned to the common core, which are being field-tested this spring, he told state board members something counterintuitive—that if field tests go smoothly, something’s gone wrong. The reason? The whole point of field-testing is to identify problems with the assessments. Duncan also stressed that leaders needed to broadcast the fact that careers and educations don’t hang in the balance based on the field-testing results: ‘This is ‘no-stakes … communicate that now.’ …”