Federal Policy Updates

General News:

  • The House Committee on Education and the Workforce unanimously approved bipartisan legislation (H.R. 5587) to update the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The archived webcast of the markup can be viewed here.
  • The bipartisan co-chairs of the House 21st Century Learning Caucus introduced the “4Cs for Careers Act” (HR. 5663) to ensure CTE programs include a focus on communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking skills.
  • The House Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee approved legislation providing $67 billion for the U.S. Department of Education for fiscal year 2017. This amount is $1.3 billion lower than the current fiscal year and $2.4 billion below the President’s budget request. The subcommittee has not yet released the more detailed explanatory report language that accompanies the statutory text, but below are a few of the program funding levels highlighted by the subcommittee:
    • ESSA Title I ($15.3 billion)
    • IDEA State Grants ($12.4 billion)
    • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants ($1 billion)
    • State Assessments ($300 million)
    • Preschool Development State Grants ($250 million)
    • Perkins CTE and Adult Ed/Family Literacy ($1.7 billion)
  • The Tennessee Department of Education selected Questar to create and administer state standardized tests as part of a two-year contract.

Department of Education News:  

  • The Education Department released draft ESSA regulations regarding the law’s innovative assessment pilot and assessments requirements. The Department expects to publish the proposed regulations in the Federal Register on July 11 and public comments must be filed no later thanSeptember 9.
  • The Education Department released a new brief regarding State and Local Expenditures on Corrections and Education.
  • The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reached settlements with education organizations in seven states and one territory to ensure web site accessibility for people with disabilities.


  • Thursday, July 14 (10am ET) – The Senate HELP committee will host a hearing titled: ESSA Implementation: Perspectives from Education Stakeholders on Proposed Regulations. Witnesses have not yet been announced. The hearing will be live streamed here.


Thanks for SETDA (www.SETDA.org) for providing this information to us.


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Every Student Succeeds Act Accountability and State Plans Open for Public Comment

logoThe United States Department of Education (USDOE) has recently proposed regulations on accountability, consolidated state plans, and data reporting under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The proposed regulations were published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, May 31, and are available here.  These proposed rules are subject to a 60-day public comment period, with comments due by August 1, 2016.  The U.S. Department of Education has provided a summary of these regulations hereContinue reading

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What Does it REALLY Mean to Do Standards-Based Grading?


How does a district implement high quality standards-based grading, and when is the right time? Chris Sturgis does her best to synthesize what she’s been learning from districts in two articles published on CompetencyWorks.   She encourages debate and the addition of some nuance to these thoughts.

sbg-300x216The articles are abridged here, but both articles are referenced at the end.
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The 7 questions every new teacher should be able to answer

shutterstock_241366579-300x200Teaching for the 21st century looks a lot different. Here’s what admins — and teachers — need to know for job interviews and beyond

Not long ago, the leadership team of a school district I was working with asked me: “If you were going to hire a new teacher, what would you ask in the interview?” They were concerned that hiring teachers with the right skills now can save a district a lot of money in staff development later. Moreover, they wanted to hire teachers who would be open minded about changes to come. The problem is to balance the reality of today’s pressure for test scores and required teacher evaluation with the changes that can be anticipated during the next two decades. Continue reading

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SETDA Announces Northfield Community Middle School as 2016 Student Voices Award Winner

SETDA logo 2013Students will present details about their project-based learning opportunities to over 250 state and national education leaders and policy makers at the SETDA Leadership Summit 2016

June 28, 2016 (Washington, D.C.) – SETDA, the principal membership association representing U.S. state and territorial digital learning leaders, announced Northfield Community Middle School (NCMS) from Northfield, New Jersey as the 2016 Student Voices Award Winner. Northfield was recognized for leveraging technology to dramatically improve educational experiences and achievement for their students. In addition to this honor, Northfield received the Elsie Brumback Scholarship, which supports sending a delegation of students & staff to present during the Education Forum at the annual SETDA Leadership Summit in October. Continue reading

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Research Suggests Students Learn More When Collaborating in Virtual Reality Games

With the help of a virtual reality game their professor created, students at Cornell University have gathered evidence that interacting with others in a game-playing atmosphere may help them learn more.

Using a language-learning game, “Crystalize,” created by Cornell Assistant Professor of Computer Science Erik Andersen, a group of students conducted a study with two different groups in which players, using an avatar, take a virtual tour of Japan.

In the game, which is intended to help students learn Japanese — although it is designed to teach other languages as well — players go on “quests” to learn new words by watching game characters talk to each other. For instance, as one character walks away, another that is left behind says, “Sayonara.” The hope is that the player understands “Sayonara” means “goodbye.” At that point, the player can drag the word from a speech balloon into an inventory of terms that can later be used to construct sentences. Continue reading

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5-Minute Film Festival: Inspiring Graduation Speeches

Graduation season is a time of both introspection and anxiety for many young adults. Questions abound: What am I doing with my life? Where do I go from here? Fortunately, graduation ceremonies have advice built in, as community leaders offer speeches full of wisdom meant to ease the transition from schooling to “real life.”

Graduation speeches may be directed primarily at graduates, but adults sometimes need guidance at important junctures in their lives, too. So, whether you’re hunting for the best advice to impart to your own soon-to-be-grads, or in search of a new direction of your own, these graduation speeches are sure to inspire and delight.

Video Playlist: Inspiring Graduation Speeches

You can view the entire Playlist on YouTube. Continue reading

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