Sen. Murkowski's Education Newsletter for the week of June 21, 2010

The latest Education News you can use in one place.

What Works Clearinghouse Releases Intervention Report and Quick Review

WWC this week released an Intervention Report on "Project Creating Independence through Student-owned Strategies" (Project CRISS), a "professional development program for teachers aimed at improving reading, writing, and learning for 3rd-12th grade students".  Two of the 31 studies reviewed met WWC standards.  Based on these studies, WWC found that Project CRISS has potentially positive effects on comprehension.  The Intervention Report can be found at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/reports/adolescent_literacy/project_criss/index.asp

WWC also released a Quick Review of the report, "Summative Evaluation of the Ready to Learn Initiative".  The study reviewed whether preschoolers who were exposed to a media-rich literacy curriculum had better early reading skills than those exposed to a media-rich science curriculum.  The study found that "Students in the media-rich literacy classrooms outperformed students in the media-rich science classrooms by a statistically significant margin on all but the PALS Beginning Sound Awareness subtest."  You can learn more about this Quick Review at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/publications/quickreviews/QRReport.aspx?QRID=144

Senator Murkowski Questions USED on NCLB at Senate Indian Affairs Committee Hearing

As you know, Senator Murkowski has long advocated for changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (aka the "No Child Left Behind Act) to make the law work better in schools that serve Alaska Native and American Indian students.  On Thursday, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing to take testimony on the challenges to and promising solutions for Alaska Native and American Indian education.  You may be interested in watching the hearing at: Oversight Hearing on Indian Education: Did the No Child Left Behind Act Leave Indian Students Behind? where you can watch Senator Murkowski question U.S. Department of Education General Counsel Charles Rose about the Department's proposal for school turnaround models.  These proposed models would require the leaders of the lowest-performing schools to fire the principal, fire at least half of the teachers, close the school and re-open it under charter school or outside management, and/or close the school and send the children elsewhere. 

Senator Murkowski Asks for Superintendents' Input

As you know, the Senate HELP Committee members and their staff are working on ways to improve ESEA.  Many of you have, over the years, shared with Senator Murkowski the onerous nature of applying for and implementing some of ESEA's programs.  As part of her ongoing efforts to improve that situation, Senator Murkowski sent the following question to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development and to all Alaska school superintendents this week: Would you provide specific information about problems associated with applying for and implementing ESEA programs, including:

  1. the name of the program(s) that are most onerous;
  2. the application questions that are duplicative or difficult;
  3. the reporting requirements that are duplicative or difficult; and
  4. any other specific information that would be helpful in eliminating onerous requirements.