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This report describes states’ early experiences in applying for flexibility from key requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as NCLB waivers, and their plans for implementing the new systems outlined in their applications. Findings from the 38 survey states indicate states believe that the waivers address several of the problems they see with the NCLB accountability requirements, however, many state officials are concerned about what will happen to the programs and policies in their waiver plans if ESEA is reauthorized. These and other key findings that emerged from the survey results are presented in this report.View Report
At the request of the Spencer Foundation, CEP analyzed data and background variables from the 2010 NAEP civic assessment to learn how the performance of charter school students compared to traditional public school students. The study also reviewed other research on charter school students and civic education. The full report and a summary are available.View Report
This report updates the May, 2012 report AYP Results for 2010-11 to include AYP data from the Consolidated State Performance Reports from the U.S. Department of Education. Several numbers have changed as a result of the new data. The estimated percentage of all public schools in the nation that did not make AYP for 2011 was 48%, an all-time high and an increase from 39% in 2010. The report also provides six years of trends in the percentage of schools in all 50 states, D.C., and the nation not making AYP.View Report
The leader of George Washington University’s Center on Education Policy explains why teacher accountability is so difficult to implement and tells us the advice she’d give to the president to improve schools. Please see Maria Ferguson interviewed on The Fold at the Washington Post.View Multimedia
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan just completed a cross-country bus tour promoting education as an investment in America's future. He joins Diane to talk about ongoing reforms and challenges still facing our nation's schools. Later in the hour, a panel of education experts give their views on what is and isn't working in the U.S. education system.
Maria Ferguson, the Executive Director of George Washington University’s Center on Education Policy, was present for the discussion. Please give some time to listen to this important conversation about the future of American education.
These two reports examine issues related to the accountability systems that approved waiver states have created with the Obama Administration's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) waiver requirements. The first report, What Impact Will NCLB Waivers Have on the Consistency, Complexity, and Transparency of State Accountability Systems?, compares the new accountability provisions in the waiver states with those in the NCLB statute. The report focuses on the complexity, transparency, and consistency of the new accountability systems in the waiver states, both on their own terms and in comparison with the NCLB statutory requirements. The second report, Accountability Issues to Watch under NCLB Waivers, highlights issues to lookout for over the next few years as states with waivers implement new accountability systems. For each of the issues discussed, the possible implications for public education systems, teachers, and students are considered.View Report
CEP’s 11th annual report on state high school exit exams finds that states are embracing higher standards on their exit exams, which means schools and students will feel the impact. The report, based on data collected from state education department personnel in 45 states, discusses the present status of state exit exam policies, the future of these policies as states implement the Common Core State Standards and common assessments, and lessons that can be learned from states’ past experiences with implementing new exit exam policies.View Annual Report
Hello and welcome to the Center on Education Policy (CEP).
My name is Maria Ferguson and I am the new Executive Director of CEP, which is now an independent center housed at the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD). For those of you who have come to our website before, you likely know that the founder and former president and chief operating officer Jack Jennings, recently retired after serving as an exemplar of thoughtful, intelligent leadership for 17 years. Jack is a legend to all of us in education policy and following in his footsteps is both humbling and thrilling.
CEP’s staff has managed the transition to their new home beautifully. I am thrilled to be part of such an amazing organization and will work hard to chart a new path with a clear sense of purpose and impact, with a bright eye towards the future. To that end, many people have asked me what CEP’s move to GWU means for the organization. Although this relationship is new for both CEP and GWU, I can tell you this much:
CEP will continue to be an independent source of information and resources to support and improve public education in the U.S. CEP does not represent any special interests and will remain a completely independent source of information about education policy and practice amid the conflicting opinions and perceptions about public education.
CEP will continue to act as a voice for public education by reporting on the impact of federal and state education policies. We will continue to convene people with differing points of view and foster a reasoned debate on public education. And we will look for opportunities to grow and develop new areas of work that are consistent with our mission and take advantage of the many resources at GWU. An important goal of CEP is to help citizens better understand the role of public education in a democracy. In order to do this, citizens must understand the laws and policies that structure education at the local, state and federal levels, and how these laws and policies affect teaching and learning. All of us will continue to work hard to honor CEP’s legacy of being an honest and trusted broker of information about education policy.
You should continue to expect the same caliber of excellent information and resources from CEP that so many people have come to expect and appreciate. As a longtime end user of CEP’s research and information, I know the value this organization has for education leaders, policymakers and the public. Thankfully CEP’s staff remains intact: Deputy Director Diane Stark Rentner, Research Associate Shelby McIntosh; Senior Research Associate Jennifer McMurrer; Office Manager Susie Pamudji; and longtime CEP consultants Naomi Chudowsky, Nancy Kober, and Caitlin Scott remain key members of the CEP team. CEP’s Alexandra Usher will begin a Master’s program in public policy at the University of Chicago this fall.
CEP is incredibly fortunate to now be part of the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Led by Dean Michael Feuer, the staff and faculty at GSEHD have made CEP’s transition smooth and easy. We are all excited about the people and resources that GSEHD brings to CEP’s world. The faculty and students at the University represent an incredible pool of talent and knowledge that we are lucky enough to now have as colleagues. We look forward to mutually supporting one another’s efforts so we can all engage more fully in analysis of education policy issues.
I hope you will visit www.cep-dc.org again and often. I encourage you to take advantage of the many resources on this website. You can find out more information about CEP and its new home at GWU by following the links below. Do not hesitate to email me directly with any questions or concerns: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MariaView Blog Post
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, provided approximately $100 billion in extra federal funding for education fiscal year 2009. This money, intended to help stabilize and support public education during the economic recession, was used to compensate for state budget shortfalls and prevent the loss of educator jobs and to fund or supplement programs like Race to the Top, Title I and IDEA. This summary report synthesizes findings from six previous CEP reports examining the effects of the funding, based on survey responses of state and local officials charged with implementing the ARRA and Education Jobs programs. Taking a retrospective look over three years of survey data, this report distills themes and draws conclusions about the overall effects of ARRA on K-12 education.View Report
This series of three special reports examines implementation of the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. The first special report, Schools with Federal Improvement Grants Face Challenges in Replacing Principals and Teachers, looks at how states, districts, and schools are addressing challenges related to SIG staffing requirements. The second special report, Increased Learning Time Under Stimulus-Funded School Improvement Grants: High Hopes, Varied Implementation, highlights key findings about state, district, and school experiences related to the requirement to increase student learning time in SIG-funded schools. Findings in these first two special reports draw on survey data from 46 responding states and case study research in Idaho, Maryland, and Michigan, published in earlier CEP studies. The third special report, Changing the School Climate is the First Step to Reform in Many Schools with Federal Improvement Grants, examines the positive changes in school climate experienced by six case study schools that received the federal grants in Idaho, Maryland, and Michigan.View Report
This series of papers examines topics related to students’ academic motivation, a critical but often overlooked aspect of education. The summary paper, Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, pulls together research findings from the six background papers, each of which includes a brief overview of research findings, examples of current programs and policies, and implications for the future, offering a more in-depth look at specific themes surrounding student engagement, including: why motivation is important and how it might be defined and measured; whether rewarding students can result in higher motivation; whether students can be motivated by goal-setting; the role of parental involvement, family background, and culture; strategies schools might use to motivate students; and nontraditional approaches to motivating otherwise unenthusiastic students. The appendix outlines four major dimensions of motivation and how they are defined by major scholars in the field.View Report
This report updates the December, 2011 report “AYP Results for 2010-11” to include AYP data from school year 2010-11 for New York State. Several numbers throughout the report have changed as a result of the new data from New York. Most notably, the estimated percentage of all public schools in the nation that did not make AYP for 2011 has been revised from 48% to 49%, an all-time high and an increase from 39% in 2010. The report also provides six years of trends in the percentage of schools in all 50 states, D.C., and the nation not making AYP.View Report
This report analyzes the NCLB waiver applications submitted in the second round by 26 states and Washington, D.C. to the U.S. Department of Education in February 2012. Among the findings in the report is that, like the first round of applications, these states are proposing new accountability systems that will lead to greater complexity both within states and between states, but at the same time will be more integrated with states’ own existing accountability systems. Also, nearly all the state applications propose annual achievement targets and performance levels that are more nuanced than what is currently in place under NCLB. At the same time, 19 of the 27 applications analyzed will use a combined subgroup for accountability decisions, rather than all of the student subgroups mandated under NCLB. None of the states analyzed will continue to require school choice and SES in schools identified for improvement, as is currently mandated.View Report
Press release announcing Maria Ferguson becoming CEP's Executive Director.View Press Release
This report examines the implementation of the federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program by drawing on research conducted in three states, seven school districts, and 11 schools -- including schools that were eligible for but did not receive a SIG award. The study looks at how the federal program requirements are working within the state and local context, the progress made during the first year of the three-year grant implementation, and the different approaches being used to improve student achievement in schools that received SIG funds compared to schools that were eligible for but did not receive grants.View Report
Based on a winter 2011-12 survey of state directors of the federal Title I program, this report examines the first year of state implementation of the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. It focuses on state processes for renewing the SIG awards made for school year 2010-11, state assistance to schools, and general perceptions of the ARRA SIG program requirements. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia participated in the survey.View Report
This report analyzes the NCLB waiver applications submitted by the first 11 states to the U.S. Department of Education in November 2011. Among the findings in the report are that these states are proposing new and complex accountability systems which they assert will respond to local needs and better identify schools that need assistance. Also, nearly all the state applications would base accountability decisions on the achievement of just two student groups: all students and a single “disadvantaged” group. This is a departure from the current NCLB policy, which holds schools accountable for the performance of numerous subgroups of students, ranging from major racial and ethnic groups to students with disabilities.View Report
This report, which is based on a fall 2011 survey of state education agency officials, finds that state spending cuts for K-12 education seemed to have bottomed out in many states, although some states are still strapped for funds. The report also examines states’ efforts to implement the four school reforms they promised to address in their applications for federal stimulus funds.View Report
This report, which is based on a fall 2011 survey of state education agency officials, finds that state funds for state education agency operations are being cut or level-funded in most states despite an improved outlook for overall education spending at the state level. To make up for the loss in this operational funding, most state education agencies are reducing their staffing costs. However, many states are maintaining, and sometimes increasing, state agency staff assigned to school reform efforts.View Report
This January 30, 2012 Huffington Post blog by CEP President Jack Jennings reviews past national movements to improve schools and proposes a new effort where a good education would become a civil right for all. The blog summarizes Jennings’ January 2012 paper Reflections on a Half-Century of School Reform: Why Have We Fallen Short and Where Do We Go From Here?View Blog Post
Upon his retirement from the leadership of CEP, Jack Jennings reviews in this paper the three major school reform efforts of the last 50 years, proposes an agenda focused on the classroom, and advocates for the creation of a federal civil right to a good education to advance that agenda.View Article
This paper by free lance writer Anne Lewis describes the beginning and the development of the Center on Education Policy from 1995 to 2012.View Article
This report, based on a fall 2011 survey of 35 Common Core State Standards-adopting states (including the District of Columbia), examines states’ progress in transitioning the new standards. The vast majority of the states in the survey believe that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are more rigorous than previous state academic standards in math and English language arts. The vast majority of survey states are taking steps to familiarize state and district officials with the new standards and to align curriculum and assessments. However, most of the states in the survey do not expect to fully implement the standards until 2014-15 or later. In addition, a majority of the responding states caution that having adequate resources is a major challenge to full implementation of the CCSS.View Report
The 2012 Public Education Primer highlights important and sometimes little-known facts concerning the U.S. education system, how things have changed over time, and how they may change in the future. Together these facts provide a comprehensive picture of the nation’s public schools, including data about students, teachers, funding, achievement, management, and non-academic services.View Report