Monday, March 14, 2016

I'm Proud to Be Presenting at the National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators Annual Conference

I am pleased to be presenting and making new friends at the National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators Annual Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Yesterday, I was happy to present a preconference session on “The Impact of Research from Education, Psychology, and Neuroscience on Policies, Procedures, and Practices” with a group of state and district administrators from across the USA. My session was facilitated by NAFEPA Past-President Debra Baros. In attendance was Executive Committee Member Anita Farver from Little Rock, Arkansas.

This morning, we are hearing from John King, the acting Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education. Dr. King, a former teacher, will be confirmed as the Secretary of Education very soon, and it is interesting to hear his remarks in light of current changes in federal policy.

A high point from Dr. King's presentation is that we have a higher graduation rate currently than in past years, but we have plenty of work to do to ensure equity with the Every Student Succeeds Act. The measure of our work is in the amount of change we can create in our students, especially those with learning challenges.

The following are additional high points from Dr. King's presentation:
  • From a historical perspective this act is an extension of our efforts toward equity going back to LBJ’s work in the 1960s. 
  • Evidence base toward using what works for all our students P-20.  
  • The new law allows for more flexibility to act to improve outcomes to close the learning gaps. 
  • Basic skills are necessary, but not at all sufficient for students to succeed in the 21st century. 
  • How can we create accountability systems to close the achievement gap?
  • How are we providing professional development to ensure student success?
  • With high poverty, how do we ensure students have housing and enough nutritious foods (with Health and Human Services)?
  • It is imperative that this act be viewed by administrators as a way to engage in a conversation that leads to forward movement, not as only compliance. 
  • Work with organizations such as CCSSO.  
  • All means all: homeless, ESL, ESL with disabilities, juvenile justice facilities along with transition strategies.  
Budget increases:
  • Title I is experiencing an increase.
  • Preschool is being infused with dollars, and it should be linked to health and human services. 
  • Tech needs in urban and rural areas. 
  • Teaching is at the core of building the education system with RESPECT, Teach to Lead, expanded loan forgiveness.
  • Tuition free PROMISE.  
  • College and universities funded for helping students to graduate from college. 
  • Sharper together (driving social-economic equity, integration, and development): Hartford Connecticut, Louisville, Kentucky, etc.
  • Special education has increases especially with preschool and parent involvement.  
  • Administrators need to be involved in the development of plans for equity including PD/Collaboration time, STEM teachers, and bi-lingual teachers.
At the end of the day, I learned that Dr. King had been confirmed as Secretary of Education!!!!!

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