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Education Policy Topic — Key Cards and Arguments

April 4, 2017
by News
Published in Newsletter

In preparation to write my topic essay (which I am a bit behind on), I have prepared a document that has some key evidence related to Background, Topicality, Harms/Advantages, Cases/Plans, Solvency Answers, Disadvantages, Counterplans, and Kritiks.

If you read through this evidence, I think you will have a good understanding of the basic and most common arguments on the topic as well as a some evidence to get you started writing key arguments. Of course, I also encourage you to look through the growing bibliography I have produced as well as the list of generally useful websites.

If you have suggestions for additions (arguments or key cards), please email them to [email protected]

*Background – History of the Federal Role in Education Policy

Douglas N. Harris is a professor of economics and the Schleider Foundation Chair in Public Education at Tulane University; Helen F. Ladd is the Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; Marshall (Mike) S. Smith is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Martin R. West is an associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, A Principled Federal Role in Pre-K-12 Education Policy, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/gs_20161206_principled_federal_role_browncenter1.pdf

Debates over the federal government’s role in primary and secondary (PreK-12) education reflect tensions inherent in two amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The Tenth Amendment reserved to the states and their citizens all powers not mentioned in the Constitution, including the provision of public education. The Fourteenth Amendment gave citizenship to all persons born in the U.S., including former slaves, and required each state to “provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction.” If states fail to provide equal protection, then the federal government may have to intervene, even in domains that otherwise would be left to the states.

The Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause laid the groundwork for the federal government’s most crucial responsibility in K-12 education: the protection of civil rights. It was this responsibility that led to the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education banning legally segregated schools. Partly to help states to implement the Brown decision and pursue its implied goals, the federal government passed an assortment of laws establishing programs, funding, and requirements to educate underprivileged children. For example, it created Head Start in 1965 to focus on early education for low-income students, and President Johnson signed the Bilingual Education Act in 1968 to provide resources for immigrant education. Most prominently, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 sought to enhance educational opportunity for low-achieving students in high-poverty schools— primarily by allocating resources to school districts through its Title I. These programs were central to President Johnson’s War on Poverty and built momentum for the broader civil rights movement. The federal role continued to expand in the early 1970s with legislation that broadened the scope of efforts to provide all students with equal access to education. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 required gender equality in school activities. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, together with the Education for All Handicapped Act of 1975 (now the Individuals with Disabilities Act, or IDEA), ensured free access to an appropriate public education for students with disabilities. These judicial and legislative actions created a firm foundation for the federal role in the protection of civil rights that has stood for a half-century.

The history of the federal role in education prior to ESEA is less well known. Since 1867, the federal government has assumed the responsibility of gathering and reporting data on the progress of education in the states. Later, the federal government responded to the crisis in farming after WWI and the Industrial Revolution in part by establishing grants to states to support vocational education. The Cold War, and especially the Soviet launch of Sputnik, created fear of U.S. military and technological decline. Congress quickly responded by passing legislation providing resources for improving math and science education. Provisions were included in ESEA to fund professional development for teachers, state offices of education, and a number of other state and local education activities to help improve overall quality. In 1972, the federal government established the National Institute of Education with the responsibility to carry out research on education issues. These steps were separate from the protection of civil rights and highlight a broader national interest in educational success.1

Nevertheless, there have always been implicit limits on the federal role. During much of the past 200 years, the government restrained itself from direct involvement in the basic functions of teaching and learning in the schools. The funds that went to activities such as vocational education, collecting and reporting data, and research were generally not tied to specific mandates concerning school and classroom practices. That changed somewhat with civil rights legislation and related court rulings. Judges in desegregation suits began to require schools to make specific, often controversial, changes in the design of local school systems. IDEA directly affected school-level practices by attempting to equalize student experiences for disabled and non-disabled students. Over time, the alphabet soup of federal education legislation became layered with more and more requirements. The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) was created in 1979 partly to coordinate and administer these growing responsibilities.

By the early 1980s, some saw the federal role as too large and attempted to scale it back. The 1981 ESEA reauthorization simplified many of the requirements and regulations that had amassed over the prior 20 years. But this retreat was short-lived. A Nation at Risk, a 1983 report commissioned by the young Department of Education, argued that U.S. schools were not producing graduates that could compete with other nations (a concern that has been reiterated in every decade since then). Other reports quickly concurred, and through the 1988 ESEA amendments, many prior requirements were put back into law and others were added. Most notably, the amendments required achievement test results to be gathered and analyzed in at least three grades in schools receiving Title I funds and established accountability requirements for these schools, including specific penalties if a school was consistently low-performing. Federal involvement in teaching and learning continued to grow.

At this point there remained an implicit understanding that the federal role should be focused on specific protected classes and disadvantaged populations, especially low-achieving students in low-income communities. This understanding began to change with the 1994 reauthorization of ESEA, known as the Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA). IASA required that Title I schools adopt challenging content and performance standards, align their assessments to those standards, and establish an accountability system based on them. More importantly, the law required that the standards and accountability for Title I schools be the same as the rest of the state’s schools. This change effectively expanded the scope of law, because to receive Title I funding, states and districts needed standards, assessments, and an accountability system that applied across all schools, regardless of whether they received federal funds. As a result, the Title I requirements for standards and assessments now affected most schools throughout the country. Thus began the modern era in which the federal government has directly influenced the educational experiences of all students.

In 2001, still dissatisfied with the rate of improvement in student achievement, Congress reauthorized ESEA and relabeled it as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Title I of the new law retained the same structure but intensified its accountability requirements. It increased the number of tested grades from three to seven, set extremely ambitious goals for the percentage of students reaching academic proficiency (while leaving definitions of proficiency to individual states), and prescribed a specific set of sanctions for schools that failed to reach those goals. Even setting aside the near-impossibility of meeting a goal of 100 percent proficiency, this top-down approach went against the long federal tradition of providing support rather than applying pressure.

President Obama’s administration took the top-down approach further with Race to the Top, paid for with $4.35 billion in Congressionally approved funds. It held competitions among states that provided resources to winners to pursue the administration’s priorities: develop state data systems, turn around the bottom five percent of schools, adopt or create high-quality college and career-ready standards, and establish and implement teacher evaluation systems linked to student outcomes. Nineteen states won these competitions and began to undertake the required changes. Further, many states that did not win still adopted one or more of the policies, thereby aligning themselves with the administration’s priorities.

Following a similar top-down approach, the U.S. Department of Education began issuing waivers to the original NCLB provisions to states that agreed to adopt many of the same policies that had been key components of Race to the Top. In exchange for loosening some of the more onerous elements of the NCLB accountability framework, such as its target of universal proficiency, the administration required states to adopt accountability and teacher evaluation policies similar to those that states could (voluntarily) adopt under Race to the Top.

The combination of NCLB, Race to the Top, and NCLB waivers was widely seen as an overreach by the federal government. In 2015, under pressure from education groups and the public, Congress passed with bipartisan support the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA reduced the federal role in school accountability, eliminated the objective of 100 percent proficiency, and omitted requirements for teacher evaluation. The student testing requirements remained, as did a requirement that states intervene in some fashion in their lowest-performing five percent of schools, but states regained control over how those schools would be identified and what form these interventions would take.

That is where we stand today as the Trump administration prepares to take the reins of the federal government. We have seen ebbs and flows in federal activity, and yet many of the broader issues remain unresolved. What is the appropriate federal role in education? Is there a set of principles to guide its action that could achieve broad support? How have changes in the world around us altered or accentuated certain principles? We now endeavor to answer these questions. The historical evolution and expansion of the federal role in education were natural outgrowths of changes in society that led to new public demands and political pressures. The founders had delegated not just responsibility for education, but also responsibility for almost everything else, to the states. Over time, the federal government’s role increased in all walks of life, especially in economic affairs. Interstate commerce became much more widespread, as did the need for national transportation networks, and both required more federal involvement.

*Topicality

Laws are different than regulations — they are distinguished from such —  and do not include incentives

Rippner, 2016, Jennifer A. Rippner, Ph.D., J.D., is Executive Director for Policy and Partnerships for the University System of Georgia and the Coordinator for the state of Georgia’s P– 20 Council, the Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH), Kindle edition, page number at end of card

While, theoretically, it could be said that the president coordinates all federal policy by establishing policy priorities, budgeting funds, and directing agencies to implement such policies, a long-time federal education policy official and observer notes that we, as a nation, do not have a national education policy, though most people assume that we do. Instead we have a hodgepodge of federal laws, executive branch policy decisions, regulations, and incentives that have accumulated like so many geological layers since the passage of the National Defense Education Act in 1958. Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 87). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Guidance is not a regulation, it doesn’t have the force of law

Thomas Hehir is a Professor of Practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a former special education teacher and administrator, December 14, 2016, Memo: Special Education, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2016/12/14/memo-special-education/ —

The Department of Education recently promulgated guidance concerning IEPs that emphasized the importance of integration. Though this is a step forward, policy guidance does not have the force of law. The new administration should move forward with rulemaking proposing the following regulations

*General Harms/Advantage Areas

US students perform poorly on many national and international tests

Rippner, 2016, Jennifer A. Rippner, Ph.D., J.D., is Executive Director for Policy and Partnerships for the University System of Georgia and the Coordinator for the state of Georgia’s P– 20 Council, the Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH), Kindle edition, page number at end of card

Leading up to high school graduation, performance on nationally normed tests is very low. Standardized testing and sophisticated data systems now   allow us to compare student progress across districts, states, and countries. Only 34% of fourth grade public school students score “proficient” in reading and/ or math on the National Assessment of Education Performance, a test that is administered to students across the nation by the U.S. Department of Education (Education Week Research Center, 2014a). U.S. performance compared to international countries is not any better. According to the latest international tests given to students across several countries, American students are faring poorly. U.S. students place ninth of 42 countries in eighth-grade tests in math and tenth place in eighth-grade science tests. In high school, U.S. students place 17th of 34 economically developed countries in reading literacy, 27th in mathematics, and 20th in science (National Center for Education Statistics, 2015). Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 81). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

A high percentage of individuals is lacking associates and college degrees

Rippner, 2016, Jennifer A. Rippner, Ph.D., J.D., is Executive Director for Policy and Partnerships for the University System of Georgia and the Coordinator for the state of Georgia’s P– 20 Council, the Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH), Kindle edition, page number at end of card

Given its potential impact on the economy, these statistics have caught the interest of our national and state leaders. In 2009, President Obama set a nationwide goal for 60% of U.S. citizens to attain a college credential by 2020 so the U.S. can regain its position of leadership among developed countries (The White House, 2009). The U.S. is far from meeting that goal. Recent data show that 37.7% of persons aged 25 and older in the U.S. have at least an associate’s degree (National Center for Education Statistics, 2015). The American Education Policy Landscape (p. ii). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Improving education key to economic competitiveness

Bart Gordon, 2007,Issues in Science and Technology, Spring, US Competitiveness: The Education Imperative http://issues.org/23-3/gordon/

However, there is widespread agreement that one necessary condition for ensuring future economic success and a sustained high standard of living for our citizens is an education system that provides each of them with a solid grounding in math and science and prepares students to succeed in science and engineering careers. Unless the United States maintains its edge in innovation, which is founded on a well-trained creative workforce, the best jobs may soon be found overseas. If current trends continue, along with a lack of action, today’s children may grow up with a lower standard of living than their parents. Providing high-quality jobs for hard-working Americans must be our first priority. Indeed, it should be the central goal of any policy in Congress to advance U.S. competitiveness.

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Improving the educational system critical to military readiness

Committee for Education Funding, April 29, 2015, Education Matters: Invest in Learning for Military Readiness, https://cef.org/wp-content/uploads/Fact-Sheet-Invest-in-Learning-for-Military-Readiness.pdf

Mission: Readiness, the nonpartisan national security organization of over 500 retired admirals, generals, and other retired senior military leaders has articulated the national security case for investments in education. Our military’s most important asset is the men and women willing to serve. A successful military needs Americans who have graduated from high school, can pass the military entrance exam, are physically prepared for military training and service, and do not have a criminal record. Military service has done a tremendous amount of good for many of our young people, helping them to master skills and gain knowledge that both serves them—and the rest of us—well. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Department of Defense, our public education system is failing to adequately prepare youth for military service:

  • Over 70 percent of young Americans ages 17-24 are unable to qualify for the military, primarily because they are poorly educated, physically unfit, or have a criminal record.1
  • More than 1 in 5 high school graduates aspiring to join the Army could not score high enough on the military entrance exam to be able to enlist.

Investing in education is essential to building a strong and capable military.

Ø Quality early education is important for our nation’s future security. o High-quality early childhood education can prepare children to start school ready to learn, ultimately contributing to stronger graduation rates and deterring youth from high-risk activities

. o Early childhood learning helps children develop pre-literacy and pre-math skills, preparing them for a successful K-12 experience. o School-based physical education and physical activity programs help reduce obesity rates by instilling healthy habits for a lifetime of fitness. Ø

The military needs high school graduates prepared for rigorous intellectual pursuits.

O Without qualified personnel, investments made in sophisticated, 21st Century military systems will be severely compromised and U.S. national security will be put at risk.

o More than twice as many African Americans fail to quality than white candidates and when they do qualify, they score much lower on the assessment tool used by the military than their white peers.

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Strong education system important to the economy

Douglas N. Harris is a professor of economics and the Schleider Foundation Chair in Public Education at Tulane University; Helen F. Ladd is the Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; Marshall (Mike) S. Smith is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Martin R. West is an associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, A Principled Federal Role in Pre-K-12 Education Policy, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/gs_20161206_principled_federal_role_browncenter1.pdf

The economic returns to education have continued to grow with the global information economy. Basic skills are no longer enough in many jobs and, for this reason, the labor market returns to bachelor’s and master’s degrees have grown ever larger. And since education is so important to individuals’ success, it is also a tool for addressing what is widely seen as one of the nation’s most pressing problems: wealth and income inequality. The flipside of the rising return to higher education is that those without such credentials increasingly struggle. It is no coincidence that the title of the 2001 federal reauthorization of ESEA highlighted the students who were “left behind.” Education is seen as one of our primary tools for fighting poverty.

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Strong education important to longevity and a high quality of life

Douglas N. Harris is a professor of economics and the Schleider Foundation Chair in Public Education at Tulane University; Helen F. Ladd is the Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; Marshall (Mike) S. Smith is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Martin R. West is an associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, A Principled Federal Role in Pre-K-12 Education Policy, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/gs_20161206_principled_federal_role_browncenter1.pdf

The benefits of education go beyond the economic, however. Research strongly suggests that more educated adults live healthier, longer lives and are less likely to divorce, have children out of wedlock, and commit crimes. It is not just about economic growth but quality of life and social well-being. The divides in society increasingly fall along the lines of education. Education will continue to play a major role in promoting individual opportunity, social mobility, national prosperity, and progress in areas such as health and democratic citizenship.3 Other policies and institutions also affect these outcomes (trade, labor unions, and monetary policy, to name a few), but the national interest in having a well-educated populace is as strong as ever.

Racial inequality in education

Rippner, 2016, Jennifer A. Rippner, Ph.D., J.D., is Executive Director for Policy and Partnerships for the University System of Georgia and the Coordinator for the state of Georgia’s P– 20 Council, the Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH), Kindle edition, page number at end of card

Pulling the U.S. even further from the goal is the disparity in educational attainment between races and   ethnicities. Minorities represent the fastest growing populations in the U.S., but proportionally, their postsecondary attainment is lower (Carnevale & Strohl, 2013; Nunez & Oliva, 2009; U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). Almost 59% of Asians, 42% of Whites, 27% of Blacks, and 20% of Hispanics aged 25 or older have at least an associate’s degree (National Center for Education Statistics, 2015). Not only are there disparities in attainment between races, but students of different races are receiving different educations. “Whites have captured most of the enrollment growth at the 468 most selective and well-funded four-year colleges, while African Americans and Hispanics have captured most of the enrollment growth at the increasingly overcrowded and under-resourced open-access two- and four-year colleges” (Carnevale & Strohl, 2013, p. 6). Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 3). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

School to prison pipeline

Jason Nance, 2016, law professor, University of Florida, Over-disciplining students, racial bias, and the school to prison pipeline, http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1766&context=facultypub

Over the last three decades, our nation has witnessed a dramatic change regarding how schools discipline children for disruptive behavior. Empirical evidence during this time period demonstrates that schools increasingly have relied on extreme forms of punishment such as suspensions, expulsions, referrals to law enforcement, and school-based arrests to discipline students for violations of school rules. For example, from the 1972–73 school year to the 2009–10 school year, the number of students expelled or suspended from secondary schools increased from one in thirteen to one in nine.1 Between 1974 and 2012, the number of out-of-school suspensions increased nationally from 1.7 million to 3.45 million.2 There is also substantial evidence that referrals to law enforcement and school-based arrests have significantly increased in recent years.3 The U.S. Department of Education‘s Office for Civil Rights estimates that during the 2011–12 school year alone, schools referred approximately 260,000 students to law enforcement, and there were approximately 92,000 schoolbased arrests.4 While it may be justifiable to suspend, expel, or refer a student to law enforcement under some circumstances (for example, when a student harms another student with a dangerous weapon or sexually assaults another member of the school community), schools routinely invoke such extreme disciplinary measures for much less serious offenses.5 Many have referred to this disturbing trend of schools directly referring students to law enforcement or creating conditions under which students are more likely to become involved in the justice system—such as suspending or expelling them—as the ―school-to-prison pipeline.

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Suspicionless searches in schools are racially targeted

Jason Nance, 13, law professor, University of Florida, 2013, University of Colorado Law Review, Suspicionless searches of students’ belongings: A legal, empirical, and normative analysis, http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1295&context=facultypub, p. 425-6

Other schools, however, perform random, suspicionless searches on students to prevent students from bringing drugs and weapons on campus. These searches include random drug testing, dog sniffs, metal detector checks, and searches through students’ belongings. The use of these search tactics raises important questions regarding students’ civil rights under the Fourth Amendment. While several articles discuss students’ Fourth Amendment rights in school settings, this Article provides a legal, empirical, and normative analysis of a particularly intrusive type of search practice: random, suspicionless searches of students’ belongings. This Article first argues that, consistent with Supreme Court precedent and a recent Eighth Circuit decision, random, suspicionless searches of students’ belongings are not permitted under the Fourth Amendment unless certain conditions are present. Specifically, in order to justify performing suspicionless, intrusive searches on the general student population, the Fourth Amendment requires that a school official have particularized evidence demonstrating that the school has a substance abuse or weapons problem, unless the school official reasonably believes that students are in immediate danger. Conversely, if the school official offers nothing more than “generalized concerns about the existence of weapons and drugs in [her] school[] ,” she is not entitled to conduct such searches. Second, this Article argues that the above standard is not only legally sound, but it is also more consistent with good educational policy and practice because it limits the authority of school officials to conduct random, suspicionless, intrusive searches absent extenuating circumstances. Research demonstrates that strict security measures deteriorate the learning climate by engendering alienation, mistrust, and resistance among students, instead of building a positive climate based on mutual respect, support, community, and collective responsibility. In fact, empirical studies cast doubt on whether strict security measures effectively reduce school crime, and many researchers argue that implementing such measures increases misbehavior and crime. Rather than relying on coercive measures, research demonstrates that there are alternative, more effective methods for reducing school crime that maintain students’ dignity, do not degrade the learning environment, and teach students to value their constitutional rights. Third, this Article presents an empirical analysis that seeks to identify how many schools use this intrusive search practice and the conditions under which they do so. The data for this analysis came from two restricted-use datasets from the School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), primary sources of public school data that the U.S. Department of Education made available in 2010 and 2011 to qualifying researchers. Each of the SSOCS databases is a collection of survey responses on crime and safety from over 2,500 public school principals throughout the United States. The results of this empirical analysis raise concerns that many public schools may be conducting searches that are either (1) unconstitutional under current precedent or (2) inconsistent with good educational policy. Specifically, the SSOCS data suggest that during the 2009-2010 school year, approximately seventy secondary schools in the sample and an estimated 1,932 secondary schools throughout the United States conducted suspicionless searches of students’ belongings without reporting any incidents relating to using, possessing, or distributing weapons, alcohol, or drugs. Furthermore, the estimated number of schools that conducted suspicionless searches of students’ belongings sharply climbs for schools that report only a minor problem with drugs, alcohol, or weapons. Although these preliminary findings signal that some schools may be violating students’ Fourth Amendment rights, more research is needed to draw clearer conclusions. As explained more fully below, the primary survey question on which this analysis is based–whether “it was a practice in the principal’s school to . . . [p] erform one or more random sweeps for contraband (e.g., drugs or weapons), but not including dog sniffs”–is somewhat ambiguous. That question does not allow researchers to precisely ascertain (a) the nature of the “random sweeps”; (b) the conditions under which school officials performed the searches; (c) whether the “contraband” searched for was something other than weapons or drugs, such as stolen money; or (d) whether school officials conducted the search on the general student body or on a subset of students that had a lower expectation of privacy. Nevertheless, these preliminary findings demonstrate the need to conduct more research in order to probe more deeply into the types of searches school officials perform and why they perform them. Additionally, and more disturbingly, the analysis suggests that during the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 school years, schools with higher minority student populations were more likely than schools with lower minority populations to perform these searches without reporting any incidents relating to weapons, alcohol, or drugs. These findings hold true even when taking into account school officials’ perceptions of the levels of crime where students live and where the school is located. The fact that minority students are more often subject to intrusive searches without apparent justification raises serious concerns that schools are perpetuating racial inequalities. Such practices also incorrectly teach students that white students are privileged, leading to increased racial tensions and an undesirable society that harms people of all races.

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Strict security measures undermine citizenship and democracy

Jason Nance, 2013, Random, Suspicionless searches of students’ belongings;: A legal, empirical, and normative analysis, University of Colorado Law Review, Nance — Assistant Professor of Law, University of Florida Levin College of Law. J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School; Ph.D., M.A., Educational Administration, The Ohio State University, http://lawreview.colorado.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/10.-Nance_Final_s.pdf DOA: 6-23-16

Strict security measures also skew students’ mindets about constitutional values and the role of government in their lives, causing students to discount important constitutional rights. As Betsy Levin explains, schools play a critical role in helping students learn skills and values that enable them to exercise the responsibilities of citizenship and benefit from participation in a free economy.176 Those values include the right to privacy.177 If schools do not honor students’ constitutional rights, schools cannot effectively teach students about those rights.178 This principle has been observed by the Supreme Court as early as 1943 when it stated: “That [schools] are educating the young for citizenship is reason for scrupulous protection of Constitutional freedoms of the individual, if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes.”179 Furthermore, school officials’ treatment of students in schools socializes students to tolerate and expect similar treatment by government officials outside of schools.180 If students encounter drug sniffing dogs, metal detector checks, frisks, and authorities rummaging through their personal belongings on a regular basis, these practices will seem normal to them.181 The citizenry now may have divergent views regarding individual privacy rights and the role the government should play in our personal lives, but as the rising generation becomes more accustomed to more intrusive invasions, it is possible that those healthy debates may shift towards greater acceptance of strict security measures or disappear altogether.

Poverty and economic inequality in schools increasing

Rippner, 2016, Jennifer A. Rippner, Ph.D., J.D., is Executive Director for Policy and Partnerships for the University System of Georgia and the Coordinator for the state of Georgia’s P– 20 Council, the Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH), Kindle edition, page number at end of card

Greater numbers of students and employees, more variety in student needs, and higher expectations for public schools create complex organizational and political issues that are not as easily solved as some leaders and pundits would have us believe. The current student population provides a good picture of the variety of student needs   facing American public schools. In 2001, 38.3% of public school students qualified for the federal free/ reduced-price meals program. This program is based on family income. So, a family of four with an annual income of $ 31,005 in 2014– 15 would qualify for free meals, and a family of four with an income of $ 44,123 would qualify for reduced-price meals. In 2013, the percentage of students qualifying for this program rose to over 50% for the first time, an increase of over 10 percentage points in just 10 years (National Center for Education Statistics, 2015). These numbers vary widely by state; New Hampshire has only 27% of students qualifying for the program, while Mississippi has almost 72% of students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals (National Center for Education Statistics, 2015). Student needs are Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (pp. 79-80). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

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*Cases/Plans

Federal Right to education

Barry Friedman & Sara Soloow, law professors at Yale & NYU, The Federal Right to an Adequate Education, http://www.gwlr.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/friedman_solow_81_1.pdf

Common wisdom has it that there is no federal constitutional right to an education; indeed, under our charter of negative liberties the common understanding is that there are no positive rights at all. This Article challenges common wisdom, arguing that there is in fact a federal constitutional right to a minimally adequate education. In doing so it calls into question the value of long-standing debates about the proper way to interpret the Constitution and suggests an alternative—not a new one, but a time-honored methodology. While theoretical battles about interpretation rage, judges (on both the right and left) continue to interpret the Constitution in much the same way: by looking at text, framing intentions, pre-ratification practice, judicial precedents, and subsequent practice by the state and federal governments. Particularly in Due Process cases, this is how judges discern the “history and traditions of the American people.” Employing this methodology, the case for a federal right to a minimally adequate education is remarkably compelling. This analysis also raises interesting questions about the possibility of finding other positive rights in the Constitution.

Equal protection Aff – Overturn Rodriguez?

Rippner, 2016, Jennifer A. Rippner, Ph.D., J.D., is Executive Director for Policy and Partnerships for the University System of Georgia and the Coordinator for the state of Georgia’s P– 20 Council, the Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH), Kindle edition, page number at end of card

Finally, a discussion of school finance must acknowledge the role of courts. Since the 1960s, 46 states have been embroiled in some type of school funding litigation (Dinan, 2009). These lawsuits center on the adequacy (not enough funding allocated by the state) and/ or equity (funding distributed inequitably across the state) of school funding and have occurred in three phases. Dinan (2009) found that until 1973, litigation generally first took the form of equity suits based in federal equal protection claims. This ended in 1973 with the Supreme Court’s rejection of a federal equal protection suit (San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez). From 1973 to 1988, plaintiffs had only mixed success with equity suits based on state equal protection clauses. Recent plaintiffs have had more success with adequacy challenges based on state constitution education clauses (Dinan, 2009). Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 95). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Civil Rights Aff?

Mark Walsh, November 23, 2016, Education Week, Civil Rights Groups Wary on Federal Enforcement Stance Under Trump, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/11/30/civil-rights-groups-wary-on-federal-enforcement.html?r=182315226

The prospect that the incoming Trump administration could scale back the federal role in civil rights enforcement in education has many rights advocates deeply worried after nearly eight years of high-profile attention to such issues under President Barack Obama. The Obama administration has emphasized such concerns as addressing racial disparities in school discipline and special education; ensuring that transgender students may use the restrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their gender identity; and combating sexual violence in higher education. Those have been among the top priorities of the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights. Meanwhile, in the U.S. Department of Justice, the educational opportunities section of the civil rights division has reinvigorated desegregation enforcement at a time when many schools have become more racially isolated, and it has pressed cases on alleged religious discrimination, sex bias, and discrimination against English-language learners. Shortly after President-elect Donald Trump’s victory, however, Gerard Robinson, a member of the Trump presidential-transition team responsible for K-12 education—speaking for himself and not on behalf of any organization—suggested to Education Week that the new administration could shift the Education Department’s office for civil rights back to its less activist stance under Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush. He did not give details. But Robinson also stressed that he expects the OCR to ensure that students’ rights are not “trampled on.” So far, some leading civil rights organizations are not optimistic.

The federal government should protect civil rights in education

Douglas N. Harris is a professor of economics and the Schleider Foundation Chair in Public Education at Tulane University; Helen F. Ladd is the Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; Marshall (Mike) S. Smith is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Martin R. West is an associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, A Principled Federal Role in Pre-K-12 Education Policy, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/gs_20161206_principled_federal_role_browncenter1.pdf

The federal government should ensure that no student is denied the right to equal educational opportunity based solely on race, ethnicity, gender, disability, or other protected status. This role is rooted in the Equal Protection Clause, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board. Although the Court has continued to stop short of calling education a right under the federal Constitution, it argued in Brown that education is so important to functioning in a democracy that “where the state has undertaken to provide it, [education] is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.” The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) within the USDOE plays an important role in this effort to ensure that students’ civil rights are protected in the provision of education.

Transgendered Students protections Aff?

Logan Casey, Brookings, March 1, 2017, After Trump Rescinds Title IX Guidance, What’s Next for Transgender Students’ Rights? https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2017/03/01/after-trump-rescinds-title-ix-guidance-whats-next-for-transgender-students-rights/

Last week, the Trump administration’s departments of Justice and Education formally rescinded guidance issued by the Obama administration on the treatment of transgender students and their rights to access sex-segregated spaces, including bathrooms and locker rooms, in public schools. The previous guidance stated plainly that Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education, also protects transgender students. The guidance also directed school districts to, among other protections, allow transgender students to use school facilities in accordance with their gender identity. By withdrawing this guidance, the Trump administration has declared its belief that this question–how school districts should treat transgender students, and what spaces they should be allowed to access–be addressed at the state or school district level.Trump’s rescission of the earlier guidance creates confusion rather than clarity about the enforcement of transgender students’ rights under Title IX. The potential implications of this decision include a shifting patchwork of protections for transgender students in some school districts or states but not in others, and an increasingly critical Supreme Court case (Gloucester County School Board v. G.G.) over the meaning of sex discrimination in modern America.

[Note: Useful opportunity to discuss “guidance” v. “regulation.” Is there a difference? Are they the same? If they are different, where does the Guidance Counterplan work?

Thomas Hehir is a Professor of Practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a former special education teacher and administrator, December 14, 2016, Memo: Special Education, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2016/12/14/memo-special-education/ —

The Department of Education recently promulgated guidance concerning IEPs that emphasized the importance of integration. Though this is a step forward, policy guidance does not have the force of law. The new administration should move forward with rulemaking proposing the following regulations]

Race K Aff?

Christopher Emdin, education professor, Columbia Teacher’s College, 2016, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education

Indigenous and diasporic scholars have consistently argued that the ways we view those we consider “indigenous” must move beyond prescribed definitions issuing from colonial and imperial constructs and toward a more inclusive definition that considers how people categorize themselves based on their shared experiences with imperialism and colonialism in their varied forms. 11 This definition allows us to see how the indigenous exist across diverse places yet remain connected. For example, the Aboriginal, the Maori, and the Indigenous American experience colonization and/ or imperialism in different ways across different contexts but each group underperforms when compared to their white counterparts. 12 These same achievement gaps exist between neoindigenous urban youth of color and their counterparts from majority-white schools with students of middle to high socioeconomic status. Given the extended analogies between the indigenous and neoindigenous described above, and the ways that I have both experientially and theoretically showcased the connections between the two, it is clear that many teachers in urban schools today share the misguided, though caring, impulse that maintained poor schooling at the Carlisle School. The work for white folks who teach in urban schools, then, is to unpack their privileges and excavate the institutional, societal, and personal histories they bring with them when they come to the hood. In this work, the term white folks is an obvious racial classification, but it also identifies a group that is associated with power and the use of power to disempower others. My use of the term white folks draws from the short story collection The Ways of White Folks, by Langston Hughes. 13 These stories revolve around interactions between white and black people that can only be described as unfortunate cultural clashes. These clashes occur when the world of one group does not seamlessly merge with that of another group because of a fundamental difference in the ways they are positioned in the world. In each story, the black characters interact with white characters, ranging from the innocuous to the outrightly racist, with negative outcomes for the black characters. Hughes was deliberate in not painting all white people with a broad brush. He even has one of his characters mention “the ways of white folks, I mean some white folks.” Despite this effort, Hughes constructs a context where the societally sanctioned power that white people have over black people results in drama, and some humor, but overall outcomes that are largely unfavorable for the black characters. Drawing from Hughes’s framing, I am not painting all white teachers as being the same. In fact, there are some people of color who engage in what Hughes would call “the ways of white folks.” However, there are power dynamics, personal histories, and cultural clashes stemming from whiteness and all it encompasses that work against young people of color in traditional urban classrooms. This book highlights them, provides a framework for looking at them, and offers ways to address them in the course of improving the education of urban youth of color.

CONTINUES

The work to become truly effective educators in urban schools requires a new approach to teaching that embraces the complexity of place, space, and their collective impact on the psyche of urban youth. This approach is necessary whether we are talking about preservice educators about to embark on their first year of teaching, those who have been in the field for a while, or the millions of people who have been drawn into the dysfunctional web of urban education as a parent, policymaker, or concerned citizen. Addressing the issues that plague urban education requires a true vision that begins with seeing students in the same way they see themselves. Urban youth are typically well aware of the loss, pain, and injustice they experience, but are ill equipped for helping each other through the work of navigating who they truly are and who they are expected to be in a particular place. At seventeen years old, Youth Poet Laureate of the City of Oakland, California, Obasi Davis wrote the poem “Bored in 1st Period.” Obasi, who is now a college student in a predominantly white institution of higher education, wrote this piece as a high school student seeing peers who are rendered invisible by their school and teachers even as he could see their true selves in plain view. In the excerpts of the poem reprinted below, the reader can see his deep analysis of his peers and the difference between who they are in the classroom (place) and who they truly are within a shared emotional space. BORED IN 1ST PERIOD Asia comes from repossessed dreams and nightmares that last as long as the absence of her father I think that’s the reason her clothes are always so Boa Constricting any amount of longing she might have felt for him to me Daniel spent his childhood running from Richmond bullets and the ghost of his dad Daniel is a thug He brags about seeing grown men ground to dust under heavy boots for their iPhones and their wallets He rocks a long gold chain, a grill, and two diamond earrings with every outfit Daniel only cares about money but I can see genius bursting from his pained skin It is the deepest black, pure like Earth’s blood but for some reason, most seem to see it as an impurity. He paints himself a gangster to cover what they call ugly Jonathan chooses to come to class once a month or whenever we have a sub he shoots dice in the back corner of the classroom with Duma and Daniel When I ask them why, they tell me money is everything. It seems they are the products of a broken society and a torn home My home is not broken My parents are divorced but they get along I haven’t known death to come close, and violence hasn’t found me vulnerable And then, while sitting in 1st period pretending to read Macbeth, it clicked for me My classmates and I are different In the words of Dr. King our elbows are together yet our hearts are apart.

I’m not asking for some all holy savior to come and coddle us into equality I’m asking for you to understand our struggles and our hardships To understand that if we have to learn with each other we should also learn about each other so we can bring each other up What Obasi describes in this poem is a reality that many who interact with students on a daily basis will never see. He describes students in a classroom (place) who exist in worlds/ spaces wholly distinct from the classroom. He shows us that what educators and the world at large see when looking at students is often a distortion of their authentic selves. Furthermore, he alludes to the major premise of this work— that what lies beyond what we see are deep stories, complex connections, and realities that factors like race, class, power, and the beliefs/ presuppositions educators hold inhibit them from seeing. Teaching to who students are requires a recognition of their realities. John Searle defines reality as an agreed-upon outlook on or about social life based on how it is perceived or created by a group of people. He also sees reality as “facts relative to a system of values that we hold.” 4 This definition provides a simple yet necessary framework for understanding youth realities— because it moves educators to focus on the ways that youth see the world and their position in it based on the facts, laws, rules, and principles that govern the places they are from and the consequent spaces they inhabit. This provides the educator with a very different vantage point for seeing them and gives information about place while providing insight into emotional spaceIn order to fully understand youth realities, and make some sense of the powerful connection between youth realities, place, and space, I argue that educators need a new lens and vocabulary. This is why I argue for making connections between urban youth, or the neoindigenous, and the indigenous. While the word neoindigeneity may appear to the reader as yet another loaded academic term that has no significance in real urban classrooms, it is far from that. I use this term throughout this work as a way to make sense of the realities of the urban youth experience. Framing urban youth as neoindigenous, and understanding that the urban youth experience is deeply connected to the indigenous experience, provides teachers with a very different worldview when working with youth. From this new vantage point, teachers can see, access, and utilize tools for teaching urban youth. An understanding of neoindigineity allows educators to go beyond what they physically see when working with urban youth, and attend to the relationship between place and space. For the indigenous, the relationship to emotional space is a constitutive part of their existence. For these populations, when one is hurt, healing requires addressing both physical wounds and the “soul wounds.” Healing the physical wound occurs in a certain place, but healing the soul wound requires being in a space. The psychologist Eduardo Duran states that counseling Native Americans and other indigenous people requires entering into the spaces in which they reside, because as Mark Findlay identifies, there are understandings that cannot be visible within the institutions (places) of the power wielder. 5 This type of healing work is necessary for the neoindigenous as well. Situations such as the suspension of the student who believed she was prepared for class and always on time result in soul wounds that are bigger than the disciplinary issue itself and could be avoided if the teacher validated the student’s emotion by allowing her to articulate her feelings. Recognizing the neoindigeneity of youth requires acknowledgement of the soul wounds that teaching practices inflict upon them. If we are truly interested in transforming schools and meeting the needs of urban youth of color who are the most disenfranchised within them, educators must create safe and trusting environments that are respectful of students’ culture. Teaching the neoindigenous requires recognition of the spaces in which they reside, and an understanding of how to see, enter into, and draw from these spaces. In the chapters that follow, I describe how educators may engage in this healing process through an approach to teaching I call reality pedagogy.

Reality pedagogy is an approach to teaching and learning that has a primary goal of meeting each student on his or her own cultural and emotional turf. It focuses on making the local experiences of the student visible and creating contexts where there is a role reversal of sorts that positions the student as the expert in his or her own teaching and learning, and the teacher as the learner. It posits that while the teacher is the person charged with delivering the content, the student is the person who shapes how best to teach that content. Together, the teacher and students co-construct the classroom space. Reality pedagogy allows for youth to reveal how and where teaching and learning practices have wounded them. The approach works toward making students wholly visible to each other and to the teacher and focuses on open discourse about where students are academically, psychologically, and emotionally. In a reality-pedagogy-based classroom, every individual is perceived as having a distinct perspective and is given the opportunity to express that in the classroom. There is no grand narrative. Instead of seeing the students as equal to their cultural identity, a reality pedagogue sees students as individuals who are influenced by their cultural identity. This means that the teacher does not see his or her classroom as a group of African American, Latino, or poor students and therefore does not make assumptions about their interests based on those preconceptions. Instead, the teacher begins from an understanding of the students as unique individuals and then develops approaches to teaching and learning that work for those individuals. This approach acknowledges the preconceptions, guilt, and biases a white teacher in a predominantly African American or Latino urban school may bring to the classroom because it considers the history of teaching and learning in contexts like the Carlisle School and consciously avoids replicating them. Emdin, Christopher. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education (p. 28). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.

Vouchers – Choice/Charters Aff?

The 74 Million, March 16, 2017, Trump Calls for New School Choice Initiatives, Big Cuts to K-12 Budget, https://www.the74million.org/article/trump-calls-for-new-school-choice-initiatives-big-cuts-to-k-12-budget

President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal includes a huge increase for school choice while making big cuts to the Education Department’s overall budget. The budget includes increases for the charter school fund, a new program for private school choice, and incentives for states to make sure some Title I dollars for low-income students follow them as they move among schools. The $1.4 billion in new dollars for school choice eventually will ramp up to $20 billion, the budget says, matching the amount Trump pledged to spend on school choice during his campaign. “We will give our children the right to attend the school of their choice, one where they will be taught to love our country and its values,” Trump pledged at a rally in Nashville Wednesday evening. The department overall would see cuts of $9 billion, which amounts to 13 percent of its “discretionary” budget (the part not including mandatory higher-education spending)…. The budget proposal, for fiscal year 2018, is an opening salvo in what will be a protracted negotiation with Congress. There has long been bipartisan support on the Hill for the charter school program, but many legislators will be deeply skeptical of the private school choice and Title I initiatives, and history shows proposals to make deep cuts to the Education Department haven’t gone over well in the House or Senate.

The federal government can support a meaningful expansion of school choice through funding formulas and competitive grant programs that make it possible for states to expand school choice options

Blagg & Chingos, 2017, March 30, Kristin & Matthew, Brookings Economics, Who could benefit from choice? Mapping access to public and private schools https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/es_20170330_chingos_evidence_speaks.pdf

School choice is at the center of the Trump administration’s education policy efforts, with initial proposals calling for additional funding for charters and other forms of public school choice, as well as the creation of a new federal private school choice program. Some advocates have raised concerns about whether expanding school choice will help disadvantaged families, especially in rural areas and other places where there may not be many schools from which to choose. Concerns about potential inequities in the availability of different schools to different families, based in large part on geography, are plausible but have not been subject to systematic empirical analysis. In this report, we begin to fill this gap by using nationwide data on the locations of public and private elementary schools to calculate the percent of American families that could potentially gain access to new school options under different national school choice policies. This baseline analysis of school locations does not consider important issues such as school capacity, existing choice programs, or possible changes in the supply of different kinds of schools that might result from choice policies. We estimate that private school choice and intradistrict choice (allowing families to choose any traditional public school in their district) have the largest potential to expand the sets of schools to which families have access, with more than 80 percent of families having at least one of these “choice” schools within five miles of home. Charters and interdistrict choice (allowing families to choose a traditional public school outside their district) still would provide potential new options within five miles for roughly half of families. Families with household incomes below the poverty line are more likely to have an intradistrict choice school or charter school nearby than families above the poverty line. We find few differences in proximity to private schools based on poverty. However, interdistrict choice appears likely to provide more new choices to families not in poverty. We find the largest differences in proximity to schools of choice between families in rural and urban areas. At least 60 percent of rural families are within ten miles of intradistrict choice, interdistrict choice, and private schools, but urban families are more likely to have these choices close by. The distance families are able and willing to travel may be more important for expanding school choice than the type of school the policy provides access to. For example, by increasing “as the crow flies” travel distance from one mile to five miles, we more than double the number of families who could potentially take advantage of a private school or an intradistrict choice policy. We also find that the potential availability of choice varies widely across states. For example, 95 percent of California and Massachusetts families live within five miles of a private school, compared to less than 60 percent of Montana and West Virginia families. We conclude that federal policymakers seeking to expand school choice should focus on policies that can function well in different contexts across the U.S.. For example, some states may want to focus on securing additional funding to improve equity of access to high-quality schools by providing better transportation options. Others may want to focus on expanding their charter or private school sectors, or on fostering more choice within the traditional public sector. A natural federal role is to provide resources to support such varied efforts through formula funding or competitive grant programs.

Icon of School Choice Aff School Choice Aff -- Subscribers Only (169.8 KiB)

Icon of School Choice Neg School Choice Neg -- Subscribers Only (144.6 KiB)

General Federal role ideas — Aff areas

Douglas Harres et al, Brookings, A principled federal role in education, December 7, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/research/a-principled-federal-role-in-prek-12-education/

In this confluence of circumstances, co-authors Douglas N. Harris, Helen F. Ladd, Marshall S. Smith, and Martin R. West offer a set of principles to guide the federal role in education policy. These principles are rooted in the history of American education and consistent with broader principles concerning the role of government in society. According to this bipartisan group of scholars and policy experts, the following principles define the appropriate role for the federal government in PreK-12 education, and should be carefully considered by President-elect Trump, his secretary of education, and Congress: The federal government should ensure that no student is denied the right to equal educational opportunity based solely on race, ethnicity, gender, disability, or other protected status. The federal government should provide compensatory funding to facilitate access to educational opportunity for high-need students, including, but not limited to, students living in poverty and students with disabilities. The federal government should support education research and development, and the gathering and dissemination of information about the scope and quality of the nation’s education system, to inform policy and practice at the state and local levels. The federal government should, in a manner consistent with both its unique advantages and limited capacity, support the development of conditions to promote continuous improvement of state and local education systems.

[Note: Does providing “compensatory funding” render the states counterplan non-competitive?]

Federal government should provide funding for schools in need

Douglas N. Harris, et al 2016 is a professor of economics and the Schleider Foundation Chair in Public Education at Tulane University; Helen F. Ladd is the Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; Marshall (Mike) S. Smith is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Martin R. West is an associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, A Principled Federal Role in Pre-K-12 Education Policy, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/gs_20161206_principled_federal_role_browncenter1.pdf

The federal government should provide compensatory funding to facilitate access to educational opportunity for high-need students, including, but not limited to, students living in poverty and students with disabilities. In addition to the national interest in protecting civil rights, the existence of a national interest in providing educational opportunity to children who would otherwise be underserved is now generally accepted. The government’s primary tool for promoting this principle is to distribute funds to students who would otherwise have more limited educational opportunities than others. Title I of ESEA and IDEA are primary examples.

 

Nora Gordon & Martin West, December 8, 2016, Brown Center for Education Policy, Brookings, Memo: Federal School Finance Policy, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2016/12/08/memo-federal-school-finance-policy/

You will be sworn in as president to a federal education policy landscape requiring immediate attention to the following items.

  1. Exercise leadership in making the federal government excel at what only it can do: redistributing education funding across the states.

Title I has been the cornerstone of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act since its 1965 enactment, sending federal funds to nearly every district in the country. Throughout the program’s history, changes to the formula used to determine state and district allocations have been incremental, with new formulas layered on top of old ones. This has led to a mess of calculations nearly impossible for even highly informed policymakers to understand. The end results of these calculations, however, are allocations that are poorly aligned with the program’s stated intent of addressing “the special educational needs of children of low-income families and the impact that concentrations of low-income families have on the ability of local educational agencies to support adequate educational programs.” The amount of Title I funding per eligible child varies widely across states with similar child poverty rates and, on average, is higher in states with low concentrations of poor children. The latest ESEA reauthorization process, which concluded in 2015 with the enactment of ESSA, was eight years overdue and rightly centered on addressing problems stemming from No Child Left Behind’s unrealistically ambitious benchmarks for improving student achievement and its highly prescriptive mandates for intervention in schools found to be falling short. The bipartisan hashing out of the law’s accountability provisions was a meaningful accomplishment, and Congress understandably lacked the appetite to take up politically-charged formula discussions.

  1. Design a sensible and legal strategy to improve equity within school districts.

While states and school districts can influence the allocation of funds across schools within the same district, so can the federal government. As school-level finance data become more readily available, they reveal major inequities in per-pupil spending across schools within many districts. At the same time, public demand for within-district equity—and a federal role in achieving it—has grown. While ESSA takes several steps in this direction, immediate executive action is needed as districts begin the work of implementing the law.

  1. Limit the use of conditions on formula funds as a means to influence state and local policy to situations in which the policy goals are attainable.

The example of the weighted student funding pilot illustrates a broader point: federal policy can choose to promote policies by adding conditions to formula funds (like ESSA’s annual testing and school-level revenue reporting requirements) or by using them as criteria to award competitive resources, whether they be funds (as in Race to the Top) or flexibility (as in the weighted student funding pilot). The primary purpose of formula funding programs such as Title I is to redistribute resources according to the formula, making the decision to withhold such funds undesirable from a policy perspective and politically fraught. Conditions attached to the receipt of such funds should therefore be ones that districts and states can readily meet, even if they may not want to do so. More challenging goals without proven solutions are better left to competitive grants programs structured to fund innovative solutions devised by state and local educators and accompanied by evaluation requirements designed to allow the nation to learn from their experience. As you consider the full range of your education policy priorities, keep in mind the potential for well-structured competitive funding programs to advance the evidence base and the ability of individual states and districts to make progress even absent federal formula funds.

R & D Aff

Douglas N. Harris is a professor of economics and the Schleider Foundation Chair in Public Education at Tulane University; Helen F. Ladd is the Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; Marshall (Mike) S. Smith is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Martin R. West is an associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, A Principled Federal Role in Pre-K-12 Education Policy, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/gs_20161206_principled_federal_role_browncenter1.pdf

The federal government should support education research and development, and the gathering and dissemination of information about the scope and quality of the nation’s education system, to inform policy and practice at the state and local levels. This principle is rooted directly, though only partly, in the importance of measuring the effectiveness of the federal government’s own programs in providing educational opportunity to high-need children and protecting civil rights. Research also plays a broader role by providing new knowledge about all aspects of education. This knowledge is what economists call a national public good, in the sense that research in any state can inform and benefit other states. In such situations, a higher level of government—the federal government—should step in to subsidize research and avoid under-investment by individual states. The same justification applies to the gathering and dissemination of national information about the country’s education system.5

Supporting state and local education programs – quality and validity

Anthony Bryk is President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Helen Ladd Nonresident Senior Fellow – Governance StudiesBrown Center on Education Policy, Jennifer O’Day is an Institute Fellow at the American Institutes for Research, Marshall (Mike) S. Smith is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and previously served as the Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. December 21, 2016, A shift in the federal role is needed to promote school improvement, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2016/12/21/memo-a-shift-in-the-federal-role-needed-to-promote-school-improvement/

The goal of new federal policies should be to nudge and support state and local systems in the direction of continuous improvement and expand the infrastructure of research-practice improvement networks. This goal leads to two major recommendations.

  1. Create an improvement infrastructure that supports schools, districts, and states.

A compliance orientation around implementing programs and policies pushed down from above has become normal in schools. A major change is needed. To solve the problems ahead, local educators must become active agents in improving their own work. The federal government needs to enable and support them to make their schools work better.

ESSA resources can be used to develop more effective and improvement-oriented state agencies along with their regional and county offices. Likewise, these resources can be used to deepen the improvement capabilities of current school district staff. The U.S. Department of Education should make clear in guidance to states and districts that in almost all instances it is appropriate to use ESSA funds for these purposes.

The new administration might also consider small incentive grants to colleges and universities to include specific preparation in improvement research in all teacher, principal, and superintendent training programs. This proposal could be accomplished in the Higher Education Act, which is due for reauthorization. It fits with the capacity-building function of the federal government and with other recommendations from the project (see this Friday’s memo from Doug Harris about the federal role in research).

Complementing a direct focus on strengthening state and local capacity, the federal government needs to catalyze stronger engagement of educational researchers in practical problem-solving. Federal efforts for more than a decade, principally through the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), have created incentives for researchers to undertake rigorous studies of programs and policy impact. A similar initiative should now be undertaken to bring relevant academic expertise into more active engagement with school improvement. This can take many different forms, including: a) expanding the scope of the Regional Labs; b) increasing the funding for IES and other agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, to support research-practice partnerships; and c) providing direct support for Networked Improvement Communities focused on solving high-leverage problems as illustrated above. There are a variety of other sources for funds that support a better understanding of how to implement improvement efforts including, for example, the evaluation provision of ESSA, Section 8042.

  1. Creating cultures of improvement and new forms of accountability at state and district levels.

For 22 years we have lived with an accountability system that relies primarily on one source of data—student test scores—collected once per year. Schools and districts were held accountable for substantially improving these outcomes, often without the necessary support and capabilities to have a realistic chance of actually achieving these goals.

In a culture of improvement, everyone is expected to continually audit themselves to ensure that their work and their organization is as effective and efficient as possible. Everyone has a stake in the quality of the organization and, therefore, everyone is obligated to participate in continuous improvement. With the end of NCLB, the states and districts are in a position to develop new forms of accountability specifically designed to promote school improvement.

Such accountabilities require broader and more diverse types of data to determine the quality and effectiveness of internal policies and practices of schools and districts, in addition to student achievement and attainment. Many states, such as California and New Hampshire, are already exploring new accountability systems that make their environments friendlier to a culture of improvement. The Department of Education should encourage such innovation.

Information produced by inspection systems could be a significant contributor in this regard. Other countries and some states use an inspection system to review the quality and effectiveness of schools and districts. The systems use formal rubrics or protocols to produce consistent measures of quality, which inspire improvement at the local site. In New Zealand and the Netherlands, teams of reviewers make periodic visits to each school and write public reports highlighting strengths and weaknesses. When they find evidence of shortcomings, they require the school to develop and initiate a plan to address the problems. The school is then reviewed again after some time to assess the progress toward improvement. Although some inspection systems have been clearly summative and judgmental, others are continually evolving. New Zealand’s system, for example, is specifically intended to be more formative, with the inspection process itself driving and supporting school improvement. New York state is currently carrying out a trial inspectorate system in a variety of districts.

Federal financial support to states and districts for efforts such as these is important because these improvement activities will require additional resources to get off the ground and may entail ongoing expenses beyond traditional test-based accountability reports.

CONCLUSION

We live in an era in which schools are under extraordinary pressure. The idea that each school or district is left to its own devices to improve yields a weak mechanism, one that guarantees continued great variability in performance. Such variability typically shortchanges those who are already most disadvantaged. The federal government can help overcome this disparity by supporting policies that build new infrastructures for improvement.

Poverty reduction/support aff?

Joanne Wasser Gish & Mary Walsh, Brown Education Center, Brookings, Improving student achievement by meeting students’ comprehensive needs, December 12, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2016/12/12/memo-improving-student-achievement-by-meeting-childrens-comprehensive-needs/

Select federal policies have long reflected an assumption that systemic, comprehensive approaches could drive student achievement. Programs like Promise Neighborhoods, Full-Service Community Schools Grants, and wraparound components included in 21st Century Community Learning Centers are guided by an understanding that interconnected challenges require interconnected solutions. The National Research Council has found that the availability of academic, social-emotional, health, and mental health supports is predictive of students’ success as adults, and since 1998 the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that schools foster healthy child development by implementing a comprehensive, coordinated approach to the needs of students. Building on these insights, ESSA appropriately takes a broad view of the learning supports, resources, and strategies that may be needed to help disadvantaged students surmount barriers to achievement. Among these strategies is an emphasis on comprehensive integrated student support throughout Titles I and IV. Federal policy can incentivize and improve the efficacy of investments designed to meet the comprehensive needs of students and their families. Under ESSA, your administration can leverage research on effective practices and support technology and related infrastructure building, thereby setting the stage for states, schools, and communities to use existing resources more efficiently, close achievement gaps, reduce dropout rates, and enhance educational opportunity for all students.

[Note: It is important to discuss whether or not this case is topical, as the funding increase would arguably be for programs outside of schools (??)]

Privacy laws for student data aff?

Douglas N. Harris is a professor of economics and the Schleider Foundation Chair in Public Education at Tulane University; Helen F. Ladd is the Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; Marshall (Mike) S. Smith is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Martin R. West is an associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, A Principled Federal Role in Pre-K-12 Education Policy, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/gs_20161206_principled_federal_role_browncenter1.pdf

Cross-cutting many of the recommendations is the issue of data privacy (Goldhaber and Guidera). We concur with the memo authors that protection of student data privacy is of paramount importance and that there are many ways to strengthen privacy while also making data available in ways that research suggests are in the best interests of students and continuous school improvement. Current laws create significant impediments even though research and development generally involves data that are completely anonymous. As almost all the memos emphasize, data are also necessary for protection of civil rights, for targeting effective programs to disadvantaged students, and for building on data systems to improve high school and college graduation rates and human resources. Educators cannot help their students if they lack the data that help describe their needs.

Dan Goldhaber, Director – Center for Education Data & Research, Aimee Rogstad Guidera is the Founder, President, and CEO of the Data Quality Campaign, a national non-profit advocacy organization working to change the role of information in education, Memo: Powering Education Improvement and innovation While Protecting Student Privacy, December 12, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2016/12/16/memo-powering-education-improvement-and-innovation-while-protecting-student-privacy/

The passage of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in 2001 ushered in a new era of accountability and transparency by requiring that every state report students’ academic proficiency, disaggregated by specific populations. This new reporting requirement, the significant development of longitudinal data systems, and the increase in the use of new technologies in classrooms has led to richer, more robust data on student and school performance. The recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) returns a good deal of accountability authority to the states, but it maintains NCLB’s legacy of using data to illuminate and improve our schools…. But the increased collection, use, and visibility of data about students have raised concerns about how and why they are used, who has access to them, and how student privacy is protected. For many parents and educators, the use of data in education is unfamiliar and its value is unclear leading to the question of “what’s in it for me?” In addition, legitimate privacy concerns in almost every area of public life—from the National Security Agency to Amazon’s purchase recommendations—have spurred new and proposed data privacy laws (discussed below). Many of these laws run the risk of significantly devaluing foundational education data investments, limiting our abilities to conduct research on the policies and practices that impact student learning, and, in some cases, operate schools in productive ways… A third option, the one we favor, is for the federal government to combine capacity building with a structured process that leads to revisions to FERPA. A deliberative and thoughtful federal role in encouraging and supporting education data use and research, and creating a floor of consistent data protections, is critical to building transparency and trust about how data are collected, shared, and protected across the country. Despite the risks associated with opening the Pandora’s box of revising FERPA, we believe the next administration should take this important step. In the section that follows, we propose specific recommendations for this strategic federal role.

Teacher Workforce aff

Pam Grossman, Dean and George and Diane Weiss Professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, Susanna Leob, Nonresident Senior Fellow – Economic StudiesCenter on Children and Families, Memo: Improving the Teacher Workforce, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2016/12/09/memo-improving-the-teacher-workforce/

Teachers are the most important school resource for improving educational opportunities for students. We recommend six steps for the federal government to improve the teacher workforce, particularly in the most difficult-to-staff schools:

  • Use a competitive funding program to incentivize effective talent management systems that use well-validated measures of educator effectiveness.
  • Create and sustain financial incentives for entering teaching in high-need subjects and schools.
  • Support retention bonuses or salary increases for highly effective teachers in high-needs schools by allowing the use of Title I dollars for salaries and by prioritizing the inclusion of retention bonuses in talent management systems incentivized by federal dollars.
  • Invest in the development of new measures of talent and in new knowledge about their effective use in talent management systems.
  • Invest in research that provides new evidence on excellent preparation for teaching.
  • Use the presidential platform to directly promote teaching careers.

Taking these steps would substantially improve the teacher workforce by addressing teacher recruitment, preparation, development, and retention, particularly in the schools that would benefit the most from these improvements.

Career/technical education aff?

Robert Schwartz, Brookings, ecember 13, 2016, Memo: Career and Technical Education, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2016/12/13/memo-career-and-technical-education/

The focus of the federal dollars would be to help high schools address this newly defined mission of helping all students acquire sufficient exposure to the world of work and careers to make an informed choice among the career education and training pathways open to them beyond high school.  The idea would be to look across Title I and the other provisions of ESSA and other categorical programs for funds currently reaching high schools, package them together with Perkins funds, and create a new, much more flexible $3-4 billion pot of money to help states and districts support this new “college and career readiness” mission. A significant proportion of the funds would need to be targeted on high schools serving high concentrations of low-income students in order to keep faith with the intent of the Title I program

English Language Learners support aff?

Kenji Hakuta, Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, emeritus, at Stanford University, Ray Pecheone, Professor of Practice and Executive Director of Understanding Language/Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity at Stanford University. December 20, 2016, Supporting English Learners and Treating Bilingualism as an asset, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2016/12/20/supporting-english-learners-and-treating-bilingualism-as-an-asset/

To provide context for the recommendations that follow, we suggest two principles to guide policy, each of which would promote high-quality education for ELs:

First, we should support holistic learning of academic content along with English language, as opposed to a targeted focus on English language development to the exclusion or reduction of other subjects. Students are deprived of a richness of learning by keeping content separated from language. Consistent with learning theory, policy should integrate “academic content” and “English language” in the classroom. This will require policies that build systemic supports that include standards, assessment tasks/tools, accountability systems, curriculum/materials, professional development, leadership capacity, and research. Second, we should move from a deficit to an asset model of bilingualism and help ELs to remain bilingual. This would recognize that bilingualism is a cultural, community, economic, and national security resource, with well-documented advantages both for the individual and society. The U.S. language policy has been a default model of immigrants rapidly shifting into monolingual English. The policy problem is that both the OCR/DOJ approach and ESEA/ESSA are oriented toward remedying deficits in English, not toward building on student cultural heritage and assets leading to more powerful learning, engaged citizenship, and national enrichment….. While federal law states that ELs must be provided full access to content, little has been done to uphold this right and considerable research shows that ELs are denied full access to both core academic content and elective content. Indeed, federal law has inadvertently created loopholes in this educational right by allowing for sequential provision of content (i.e., providing language instruction before content instruction) without delineating when, for whom, and for how long sequential provision of content is appropriate or acceptable. Law and regulation can require the monitoring of ELs’ access to content (something that is rarely done now) by, for example, requiring that EL participation in academic courses be included in Civil Rights data collection.

Special education aff?

Thomas Hehir is a Professor of Practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a former special education teacher and administrator, December 14, 2016, Memo: Special Education, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2016/12/14/memo-special-education/

After forty years of strong federal laws and substantial support at the state, local, and federal levels, educational attainment levels for students with disabilities have improved considerably. Consider the following: the practice of institutionalizing students with mental retardation and severe physical disabilities has been largely eliminated, record numbers of students with disabilities are enrolling in postsecondary institutions, employment rates of people with disabilities leaving high school approach those of their non-disabled peers, and more students with significant disabilities are being educated in increasingly inclusive settings. However, while progress has been made over time, most of the progress has been experienced by students from more affluent homes. Students from low-income backgrounds, and particularly students from racial minority groups, continue to experience markedly poorer and more stagnant outcomes.…

The Department of Education recently promulgated guidance concerning IEPs that emphasized the importance of integration. Though this is a step forward, policy guidance does not have the force of law. The new administration should move forward with rulemaking proposing the following regulations:

  • Require that IEPs address specialized interventions to maximize opportunities to be successful in school.
  • Specify the accommodations and supports children will need to be successful in mainstream classes.
  • Require goals for specialized interventions with the assumption that goals need not be written for areas covered by the general curriculum unless the curriculum is significantly modified.
  • Require that IEPs assume students are, by default, assigned to general education classes and this default assignment should be overturned only when compelling arguments exist against integration in mainstream classes, and schools or districts should not be able to overturn the default for many students without getting flagged.
  • Require that IEPs be unambiguously focused on the interventions and accommodations students need to be successful.
  • Emphasize that for some children whose interventions have been proven successful, transition out of IDEA eligibility should be considered with many of these students receiving accommodations under Section 504 as opposed to having IEPs.

There is evidence that changing the requirements in IEPs can have significant impact on practice. For instance, the 97 Amendments to IDEA required that teams address how a child will access the curriculum. Major changes in course-taking patterns occurred for high school students, with many more students taking foreign languages and advanced science and math. Though the IEP can be a powerful mechanism for change, current IEP requirements are dated and do not sufficiently promote best practices.

Given the longstanding success, bipartisan support, and declining real funding, a doubling of appropriation for Part D of IDEA is overdue and would only cost $250 million. Special education is a huge component of the American education system and deserves a far more robust R&D effort that only the federal government will provide. Among the activities that could be funded out of this would be:

  • Evaluation studies using quasi-experimental methods to identify effective practices through the use of state-level data
  • Technical assistance centers to assist school districts in training teachers on methods, such as UDL, that enable students with disabilities to be successful in the mainstream
  • Research efforts to identify the most efficacious interventions that minimize the negative impact of disabilities
  • A robust research program to identify effective practices for educating the growing numbers of students on the autism spectrum

School to prison pipeline solvency

Jim Nance, law professor, 2016, University of Richmond Law Review, Over-disciplining students, racial bias, and the school to prison pipeline, http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1766&context=facultypub

Yet, while all of these measures will significantly reduce the overall number of students who drop out or are suspended, expelled, or referred to law enforcement, and may even help narrow the racial disparities relating to discipline to some degree,41 much more must be done to further narrow or eliminate these disparities. For example, school administrators, teachers, parents, students, and other stakeholders should reduce ambiguities in their school codes, which often lead to racial disparities.42 Further, schools should be required to report disciplinary data disaggregated by race.43 In addition, as part of a national strategy to reduce disparities in discipline, it is critical that national and state lawmakers, the DOE, and state departments of education implement the following three recommendations. First, school officials and teachers must receive training to understand the concept of implicit bias and learn neutralizing techniques.44 Empirical research demonstrates that such training helps ameliorate the negative effects of implicit bias.45 As a condition for receiving federal funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the U.S. Congress should require states to develop programs to provide implicit bias training to teachers and school administrators on an annual basis. Alternatively, state legislatures should pass legislation requiring such annual training. Second, although the concept of implicit bias is reasonably understood, less understood are its causes and effects and ways to neutralize its negative effects.46 Our national and state governments must invest more money to fund more research to better understand how to address the implicit biases of school officials and teachers.47 Notably, such investment not only will address implicit biases relating to discipline, but also will address biases that affect disparities relating to a multitude of other areas of education, including academic achievement and placement in gifted and special education programs.4Third, the DOE and state departments of education should play more assertive and active roles in reducing implicit bias.49 For example, the DOE and state departments of education can analyze, support, and disseminate research to school districts about effective programs to reduce implicit bias. Because implicit bias imbues so many daily (even hourly) decisions that hundreds of thousands of school officials and teachers make, it is imperative that the DOE and state departments of education harness their influence, resources, and skills to address this problem that negatively affects millions of students of color everywhere.50 The racial disparities we observe in the disciplinary data (and in other areas of public education) are appalling and cannot be tolerated. Because most teachers and school administrators seem to be acting in good faith and there is substantial evidence that minority students are not misbehaving at higher rates than similarly situated white students,51 logically we can attribute at least some of these disparities to the unconscious biases of educators.52 As part of a comprehensive national strategy to reduce racial disparities relating to discipline,53 government entities overseeing public education should require annual implicit bias training for all school administrators and teachers. In addition, these entities should support further research to better understand how to counteract implicit biases and regularly disseminate information to schools on effective strategies to do so. Following these recommendations will create more just, equitable, and inclusive schools for students of all races and will prevent more students of color from becoming involved in the juvenile justice system.

*Solvency Answers

Federal funds have not improved educational outcomes

Rippner, 2016, Jennifer A. Rippner, Ph.D., J.D., is Executive Director for Policy and Partnerships for the University System of Georgia and the Coordinator for the state of Georgia’s P– 20 Council, the Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH), Kindle edition, page number at end of card

Recently released research found that the vast amount of federal funds sent to states and local school districts to improve the lowest-performing schools are not very effective, as only one-third of schools receiving federal School Improvement Grants improved over time (Layton, 2015). Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 108). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

National standardization undermines teacher quality

Carol Mullen, 2016, professor of Education Leadership, Virginia Tech, 2016, page number and source at end of card

Money-Making Markets These growing education markets make money hand-over-fist. The incomes of Achieve’s executives are but one toxin in this polluted ocean. The resulting education crisis has enabled “state-led” intervention through “the provision of CCSS-based tests (PARCC and Smarter Balanced), prepackaged materials developed by educational publishers, and educational technologies and games” (Brass, 2014, p. 24). In this product-packaged school life, the teacher is being “manufactured” as a consumer of new technologies and is being remodeled to   accommodate the tests and services. In a world of market domination, the teacher who has been classically prepared for the educative role of curriculum maker, or who stays in education because of the independent thinking and professionalism it affords, has been robbed of it.

Federal accountability efforts have failed

Douglas N. Harris is a professor of economics and the Schleider Foundation Chair in Public Education at Tulane University; Helen F. Ladd is the Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; Marshall (Mike) S. Smith is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Martin R. West is an associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, A Principled Federal Role in Pre-K-12 Education Policy, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/gs_20161206_principled_federal_role_browncenter1.pdf

The above principles provide an affirmative case for action by the federal government. It is equally important to consider the limits these principles entail, as actions that are otherwise consistent with our affirmative case can inadvertently undermine local goals and have unintended consequences.6 Even if individual regulations are well intentioned, their cumulative and unintended effects can be difficult to predict and may induce educators to focus on compliance over student success. Federal policymakers should bear this in mind when applying the principles to specific issues, exercising caution even when undertaking actions that the principles would otherwise seem to justify. To illustrate these limits more concretely, we consider some of the most controversial policy issues of the past quarter-century: test-based accountability and school choice. It might seem self-evident that the federal government should require that states hold their schools accountable, especially for ensuring that all students obtain basic skills. Our own stated principles emphasize the importance of equal opportunity and that the federal government has fiduciary responsibility to ensure that public resources are used effectively. Moreover, accountability supporters argue that capacity and pressure are complementary—that neither works without the other. Even if we accept these arguments, differences in the needs and goals across communities are likely to undermine the success of any standardized federal accountability system. The track record of recent federal accountability efforts bears this out, as research indicates that their effects on student achievement outcomes have been limited.

New programs fail

Anthony Bryk is President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Helen Ladd Nonresident Senior Fellow – Governance StudiesBrown Center on Education Policy, Jennifer O’Day is an Institute Fellow at the American Institutes for Research, Marshall (Mike) S. Smith is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and previously served as the Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. December 21, 2016, A shift in the federal role is needed to promote school improvement, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2016/12/21/memo-a-shift-in-the-federal-role-needed-to-promote-school-improvement/

The variability among states, districts, and schools poses another daunting national problem: how to assure reliable, quality educational outcomes, day in and day out, for different subgroups of students across the diverse backdrops of schooling in America? Additional resources may be necessary, but we also know from past experiences that simply adding more money, more materials, more technology, or even more people doesn’t guarantee improvement. Neither does adding new interventions that may have been shown to work in one situation but haven’t been tested to determine if they’re likely to succeed or be adaptable in other contexts. Put simply, what works in some places often doesn’t work in many others.

*Disadvantage Links

Spending Link — Education spending trades-off with military spending

Carol Mullen, 2016, professor of Education Leadership, Virginia Tech, 2016, page number and source at end of card

As public school activists believe, corporations invade schools, destroying their integrity and the capacity of school people to do their jobs. The military take on this equation is very real, although from another perspective. As James Heintz (2011) of the Political Economy Research Institute explained, heavy investment from the federal government in the military has deprived the nation’s schools, robbing them of much-needed improvements in poor infrastructure (e.g., English, 2014; Ravitch, 2013), including horrendous sanitary problems in Michigan schools. Christopher H. Tienken and Carol A. Mullen. Education Policy Perils: Tackling Tough Issues (p. 30). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

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Federalism Link — Education is the province of the states

Rippner, 2016, Jennifer A. Rippner, Ph.D., J.D., is Executive Director for Policy and Partnerships for the University System of Georgia and the Coordinator for the state of Georgia’s P– 20 Council, the Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH), Kindle edition, page number at end of card

As noted previously, the U.S. Constitution does not contain provisions for any level of education. Therefore, it remains the province of states. Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 20). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

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Hollow Hope Link —  Court decisions produce a political backlash, undermining social change

Gerald Rosenberg, 2008, professor of political science and lecturer in law, University of Chicago, . The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change, Kindle edition, page number at end of card.

Before I sum up the findings of this chapter, 1 think it is important to note that while there is little evidence that Brown helped produce positive change, there is some evidence that it hardened resistance to civil rights among both elites and the white public. I have documented how, throughout the South, white groups intent on using coercion and violence to prevent change grew. Resistance to change increased in all areas, not merely in education but also in voting, transportation, public places, and so on. Brown “unleashed a wave of racism that reached hysterical proportions” (Fairclough 1987, 21). On the elite level, Brown was used as a club by Southerners to fight any civil rights legislation as a ploy to force school desegregation on the South. Just a few days before Brown was decided, for example, a U.S. House committee opened hearings on a bill introduced by Massachusetts Republican John W. Heselton to ban segregation in interstate travel. The bill died and Brown, Barnes concludes, “probably contributed to the demise” (Barnes 1983, 94). In hearings and floor debates on the 1957 Civil Rights Act, Southerners repeatedly peatedly charged that the bill, aimed at voting rights, was a subterfuge to force school desegregation on the South (U.S. Cong., House 1957, 806, 1187; Cong. Rec. 1957, 9627, 10771). When Attorney General Brownell testified before a Senate committee on the 1957 bill, he was queried repeatedly and to his astonishment on whether the bill gave the president the power to use the armed forces to enforce desegregation (U.S. Cong., Senate, Hearings ings 1957, 214-16). By stiffening resistance and raising fears before the activist tivist phase of the civil rights movement was in place, Brown may actually have delayed the achievement of civil rights. Relying on the Dynamic Court view of change, and litigating to produce significant social reform, may have surprising and unfortunate costs. Gerald N. Rosenberg. The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? Second Edition (American Politics and Political Economy Series) (Kindle Locations 2233-2239). Kindle Edition.

More Hollow Hope evidence

Politics Links  — School choice example

Stephen Gregory, February 16, 2017, Epoch Times, Education Secretary Devoss Faces Uphill Battle go Give Parents More Choice, http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2223970-education-secretary-devos-faces-uphill-battle-to-give-parents-more-choice/

In the course of debating ESSA, issues regarding charter schools and vouchers were discussed, and there is probably little appetite among senators to take up this debate again so soon after passing this law, says Whitehurst. Moreover, he does not believe the politics of the Senate have changed substantially since 2015 (only seven new Senators were elected: five Democrats and two Republicans), which makes achieving a different outcome unlikely. In particular, ESSA makes no provision for school vouchers. If Trump has sufficient political capital and pushes for vouchers, Whitehurst believes amending the law might be possible. But passing a national voucher program would be difficult, in part because of strong opposition from teachers unions. Whitehurst suggests that giving states the alternative of using their federal funds for vouchers might overcome resistance from states not interested in offering vouchers.

*Kritiks

Cap K — National standards/regulations support the nation-wide marketization of education

Carol Mullen, 2016, professor of Education Leadership, Virginia Tech, 2016, page number and source at end of card

Yet Jones and King (2012) insisted that the CCSS is not a “national curriculum” that violates state and local control of education or places constitutional limits on the federal government’s influence over curriculum and pedagogy. Their logic is misleading and dangerous, and so is this demarcation. Those who make this argument invoking constitutional limitations are obscuring how the CCSS works to discipline classroom practice and, moreover, to force radical shifts in the governance of public education in the United States (English, 2014; Papa et al., 2012). The CCSS did not pop up out of nowhere as a heavily financed   policy initiative. The underlying ideologies and practices of corporate accountability and standardization have been inextricably meshed with federal legislation in education that has existed for more than 20 years (Bracken, 2013). As Wexler (2014) explained, policy reform has led to the involvement of the Gates and Broad Foundations, which set in motion the corporate reforms of the CCSS— reforms such as standardized testing; adequate yearly progress (AYP); and CCSS predecessors such as the Elementary and Secondary School Act of 1965 (ESEA, 2003), the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB, 2003), and the Race to the Top (RTTT) Fund. Ravitch (2013) further documented that “national standards and national assessments created a national   marketplace for products” (p. 181). “Equity investors” acted on ideas to make “resources, hardware, and online curricula for the new national [CCSS]. National standards and national assessments created a national marketplace for products” (Ravitch, 2013, p. 181). One consultant (not identified, Ravitch, 2013) predicted that public school officials would be put in the position of wanting to receive assistance from businesses, worrying that if the CCSS tests turned out to be as rigorous as promoted, the students and schools would look bad (Ravitch, 2013). Was this school dynamic an example of backdoor policy manipulation by shadow governments? Christopher H. Tienken and Carol A. Mullen. Education Policy Perils: Tackling Tough Issues (p. 37). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Cap K — Public funding ends up benefitting market solutions

Carol Mullen, 2016, professor of Education Leadership, Virginia Tech, 2016, page number and source at end of card

Brass’s (2014) fiscal breakdown of profitable wins for the private sector animates an undeniable picture of greed: The $ 350 million of federal funding for CCSS-aligned tests represent a small portion of the $ 4.35 billion in economic stimulus money that the federal department of education has distributed to states, professional organizations, and private businesses to develop and promote the standards and CCSS-aligned tests, services, and products. (p. 24) Just think about how the federal dollars have been used. Brass (2014) explained that most of it has gone “to subsidize entrepreneurs, testing companies, and the educational technology sector to displace the curricular   and pedagogical leadership of elected public representatives— for example, state legislatures, state regents, and local school boards— at the public’s expense” (p. 24). However, even while such corporate identifications can be made in addition to establishing interconnections among the market forces, the market conversion of education is neither a smooth nor a transparent operation. Rather, to use a previous metaphor (Mullen, 2013), this mechanistic force consists of many moving parts across corporate structures and within educational systems; it works in and against schools and citizens. As a single market that is also a reform movement of catalytic proportions, the CCSS has made it possible for for-profit and not-for-profit contractors to make more money doing business with public   schools; contractors also benefit from related political opportunities (Brass, 2014; Tienken & Orlich, 2013). Savage, O’Connor, and Brass (2014) have opined that the CCSS movement raises questions about the extent to which today’s reforms can be considered public or democratic. The binary between Democratic and Republican ideologies disappears in the neoliberal deconstruction of ideological bleeding brought on by the thirst for money and power (English, 2014; Tienken & Orlich, 2013). Christopher H. Tienken and Carol A. Mullen. Education Policy Perils: Tackling Tough Issues (p. 43). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

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Deschooling K –

Ivan Illach, 1970, Deschooling Society, http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/DESCHOOLING.pdf. Ivan Illich (/ɪˈvɑːn ˈɪlɪtʃ/; 4 September 1926 – 2 December 2002) was an Croatian-Austrian philosopherRoman Catholic priest, and polemical critic[1] of the institutions of Western culture, who addressed contemporary practices in education, medicine, work, energy use, transportation, and economic development.

Universal education through schooling is not feasible. It would be no more feasible if it were attempted by means of alternative institutions built on the style of present schools. Neither new attitudes of teachers toward their pupils nor the proliferation of educational hardware or software (in classroom or bedroom), nor finally the attempt to expand the pedagogue’s responsibility until it engulfs his pupils’ lifetimes will deliver universal education. The current search for new educational funnels must be reversed into the search for their institutional inverse: educational webs which heighten the opportunity for each one to transform each moment of his living into one of learning, sharing, and caring. We hope to contribute concepts needed by those who conduct such counterfoil research on education–and also to those who seek alternatives to other established service industries…

CONTINUES

Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is, the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby “schooled” to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is “schooled” to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavor are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question.

In these essays, I will show that the institutionalization of values leads inevitably to physical pollution, social polarization, and psychological impotence: three dimensions in a process of global degradation and modernized misery. I will explain how this process of degradation is accelerated when nonmaterial needs are transformed into demands for commodities; when health, education, personal mobility, welfare, or psychological healing are defined as the result of services or “treatments.” I do this because I believe that most of the research now going on about the future tends to advocate further increases in the institutionalization of values and that we must define conditions which would permit precisely the contrary to happen. We need research on the possible use of technology to create institutions which serve personal, creative, and autonomous interaction and the emergence of values which cannot be substantially controlled by technocrats. We need counterfoil research to current futurology.

Race K — Improving the teaching of white, Eurocentric curriculum with white, Eurocentric pedagogies doesn’t solve racial inequality and reinforces dominant patterns of inequality

Christopher Emdin, education professor, Columbia Teacher’s College, 2016, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education

In many ways, this book draws from the traditions set forth by Shange. While it is neither a collection of poems and stories nor a theater piece, its intentions are similar. The title works toward invoking necessary truths and offering new ways forward. It is clearly intended for “white folks who teach in the hood.” But it is also for those who work with them, hire them, whose family members are taught by them, and who themselves are being, or have been, taught by them. In short, this book is for people of all colors who take a particular approach to education. They may be white. They may be black. In all cases, they are so deeply committed to an approach to pedagogy that is Eurocentric in its form and function that the color of their skin doesn’t matter. When I say that their skin color doesn’t matter, I am not dismissing the particular responsibilities of privileged groups in societies that disadvantage marginalized groups. I am also not discounting the need to discuss race and injustice under the fallacy of equity. What I am suggesting is that it is possible for people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to take on approaches to teaching that hurt youth of color. Malcolm X described this phenomenon in a powerful speech about the house Negro and the field Negro in the slave South. He described the black slave who toiled in the fields and the house Negro who worked in the white master’s house. He noted that at some point, the house Negro became so invested in the well-being of the master that the master’s needs and concerns took preeminence over his own needs and that of the field Negro. This is the equivalent of the black educator so invested in the structure and pedagogies of the traditional school system that the needs of black and brown students become secondary to maintaining the status quo. For the “white” educator, this investment in traditional schooling is often generational, following the beliefs of parents and grandparents with college degrees and ideas about what school should look like. The point here is that there are both black and white people who can be classified as “white folks”— in that they maintain a system that doesn’t serve the needs of youth in the hood.

The “hood” is often identifies as a place where dysfunction ins prevalent and people need to be saved from themselves and their circumstances. The hood may be urban, rural, densely or sparsely populated, but it has a number of shared characteristics that make it easy to recognize. The community is often socioeconomically disadvantaged, achievement gaps are prevalent, and a very particular brand of pedagogy is normalized. In these communities, and particularly in urban schools, African American and Latino youth are most hard hit by poverty and its aftereffects. For example, in Atlanta, 80 percent of African American children have been reported to live in conditions of high poverty, compared with 29 percent of their Asian peers and 6 percent of their white peers. In fact, the largest twenty school districts in the nation enroll 80 percent minority students, compared with 42 percent in all school districts. In cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami, urban schools enroll less than 10 percent Anglo students, even though the teachers are overwhelmingly white. In New York public schools, over 70 percent of high school youth are students of color, while over 80 percent of public high school teachers in the state are white. While some may use these statistics to push for more minority teachers, I argue that there must also be a concerted effort to improve the teaching of white teachers who are already teaching in these schools, as well as those who aspire to teach there, to challenge the “white folks’ pedagogy” that is being practiced by teachers of all ethnic and racial backgrounds.

Emdin, Christopher. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education . Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.

Race K — No matter the plan, discipline ends up being imposed on black students

Christopher Emdin, education professor, Columbia Teacher’s College, 2016, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education

In my role as a teacher-educator, I often give an assignment to aspiring teachers that includes writing an autobiography and teaching statement to explore what brought them to the field of education. For those who go on to work in urban schools, I am always fascinated by the ways that

these teachers’ descriptions of themselves and their craft highlight their concern for urban youth, empathy for their living conditions, and a desire to help them have more opportunities. As I watch them transition from aspiring teachers to practitioners, I see how this “care for the other” couples with expectations of managing and disciplining students, and the ways that they unintentionally become modern incarnations of the instructors at the Carlisle School through a tough-love approach to pedagogy. As I follow these teachers into classrooms and study the ways they interact with their students, I find that the students’ descriptions of their schools and teachers are similar to the ways that Indigenous Americans at Carlisle described their schooling experiences. Many urban youth of color describe oppressive places that have a primary goal of imposing rules and maintaining control. Urban youth in contemporary America use language similar to Carlisle students like Standing Bear and student turned teacher Zitkala-Sa, who highlighted the ways that the school disrespected the students and their home cultures. These students’ words stand in sharp contrast to those of their teachers as expressed in autobiographies and teaching philosophies.

The ideology of the Carlisle School is alive and well in contemporary urban school policies. These include zero tolerance and lockdown procedures. A student in a school I recently visited described the innocuous term school safety as a “nice-sounding code word for treating you like you’re in jail or something.” In urban school districts across the country, school safety personnel are uniformed officers who are part of the police force and often engage in discriminatory practices that reflect those in the larger community. Like teachers who were drawn to the Carlisle School, white teachers are recruited to work in poor communities of color through programs like Teach for America, which tout their exclusivity and draw teachers from privileged cultural and educational backgrounds to teach in the hood. These programs attract teachers to urban and rural schools by emphasizing the poor resources and low socioeconomic status of these schools rather than the assets of the community. Adages like “No child should be left back from a quality education” and “Be something bigger than yourself” draw well-intentioned teachers desiring to save poor kids from their despairing circumstances.

This is not a critique of Teach for America per se— as it serves a need in urban and rural communities. However, it and programs like it tend to exoticize the schools they serve and downplay the assets and strengths of the communities they are seeking to improve. I argue that if aspiring teachers from these programs were challenged to teach with an acknowledgment of, and respect for, the local knowledge of urban communities, and were made aware of how the models for teaching and recruitment they are a part of reinforce a tradition that does not do right by students, they could be strong assets for urban communities. However, because of their unwillingness to challenge the traditions and structures from which they were borne, efforts that recruit teachers for urban schools ensure that Carlisle-type practices continue to exist.

Emdin, Christopher. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education (p. 7). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.

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States CP — Most school funding comes from the state level. It’s more “normal means” and likely than federal action

Rippner, 2016, Jennifer A. Rippner, Ph.D., J.D., is Executive Director for Policy and Partnerships for the University System of Georgia and the Coordinator for the state of Georgia’s P– 20 Council, the Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH), Kindle edition, page number at end of card

Although there are debates about what constitutes the “right” amount of funding, there is a good amount of data to shed light on current levels of funding. The most recent information available from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that the total amount of revenue for public K– 12 schools was $ 600 billion for school year 2011– 12. The majority of funding came from state sources (45.2%), while local sources were a close second (44.6%) followed by federal sources (10.2%) Center for Education Statistics, 2015). This is drastically different from almost 100 years ago, when the federal government provided less than 1% of K– 12 funding, the state provided 16% and local governments provided over 83% (Cross, 2014). Increases in state and federal funding over the years seem to track these entities’ increased roles in education governance. Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 92). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

States can adopt education regulations

Rippner, 2016, Jennifer A. Rippner, Ph.D., J.D., is Executive Director for Policy and Partnerships for the University System of Georgia and the Coordinator for the state of Georgia’s P– 20 Council, the Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH), Kindle edition, page number at end of card

Beyond the elected officials described above, there are several appointed bodies that affect education policy. At the state level, boards of education, regents, and commissions adopt regulations to implement legislation and other programs. Rippner, Jennifer A.. The American Education Policy Landscape (p. 26). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Education a key state policy area

Douglas N. Harris is a professor of economics and the Schleider Foundation Chair in Public Education at Tulane University; Helen F. Ladd is the Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; Marshall (Mike) S. Smith is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Martin R. West is an associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, A Principled Federal Role in Pre-K-12 Education Policy, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/gs_20161206_principled_federal_role_browncenter1.pdf

The full wording of the Court’s decision is worth considering: “Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”

School choice decisions should be made at the state level

Douglas N. Harris is a professor of economics and the Schleider Foundation Chair in Public Education at Tulane University; Helen F. Ladd is the Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; Marshall (Mike) S. Smith is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Martin R. West is an associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, A Principled Federal Role in Pre-K-12 Education Policy, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/gs_20161206_principled_federal_role_browncenter1.pdf

School choice has been an equally contentious topic. Choice has gradually expanded across the country through growth in the number of charter schools, magnet schools, policies offering choice among traditional public schools, and various programs that provide funding for students to attend private schools.7 Almost all of these efforts have taken place at the state and local level, which, as with accountability, we believe is the right place for these decisions. The results have differed widely across states and districts because of variation in goals, other related policies, and context, including the types of students they are designed to serve. In some states, choice is intended to attract middle class families in large cities while in others it is intended to create opportunity for under-served populations and competition among schools. Moreover, the effects of choice policies depend on decisions about other policies (e.g., transportation, and school finance) that are clearly within the domain of states. This variation in goals and circumstances reinforces the need to take into account local circumstances and avoid a nationally standardized approach. School choice is also an area of policy where it is especially important to make sure that well-intentioned federal regulations do not unintentionally interfere with local decisions. Given that choice policies often go hand–in-hand with efforts to expand the autonomy of schools, policymakers should ensure that federal laws and regulations that historically have applied to school districts do not interfere with state and local efforts to implement alternative school assignment or governance arrangements. At the same time, the federal government should continue to ensure that those arrangements do not compromise students’ civil rights or create entanglement with religion. 

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