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Education and Workforce Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Vocational Education

Posted in Higher Education News, K-12 News, News from the Hill, Skills Gap

Dennis Cariello

On Friday, September 20th at 10:00 a.m. in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office building, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education will hold a hearing entitled, “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs: A Discussion on Career and Technical Education and Training Programs.” The hearing will explore ways the federal government can help support state and local initiatives to improve career and technical education.  The hearing will be webcast live.  The witnesses for the hearing are:

  • Alvin Bargas, President, Pelican Chapter Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc., Baton Rouge, LA
  • Dr. Sheila Harrity, Principal, Worcester Technical High School, Worcester, MA
  • John Fischer, Dep. Commissioner, Transformation & Innovation, VT Agency of Education, Montpelier, VT
  • Frank Britt, Chief Executive Officer, Penn Foster Inc., Scranton, PA


Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Issues Guidance on Rights of Pregnant and Parenting Students

Posted in Civil Rights & the Constitution, Department of Education, Higher Education News, Higher Education Policy, K-12 News, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

Dennis Cariello

On June 25, 2013, the Department of Education’s (Department) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issues a letter and pamphlet on the rights or pregnant and parenting students under Title IX.  Among other items, the letter specifies that institutions:
  • may implement special instructional programs or classes for pregnant students, but participation must be completely voluntary (any such programs must be comparable to those offered to other students with regard to the range of academic, extracurricular and enrichment opportunities);
  • must treat pregnant students in the same way that they treat other students who have temporary medical conditions
  • may not require a student who is pregnant or has given birth to submit medical certification for school participation unless such certification is also required for all other students with physical or emotional conditions requiring the attention of a physician;
  • must excuse a student’s absences because of pregnancy or childbirth for as long as the student’s doctor deems the absences medically necessary; and
  • must allow the student to return to school in the same academic and extracurricular status as before her medical leave began.

These rights will help ensure that young parents are more likely to work toward graduation instead of choosing to drop out of school.

Department of Education to Hold Budget Briefing Today

Posted in Appropriations and Budget Issues, Department of Education, Higher Education News, Higher Education Policy, K-12 News

Dennis Cariello

Earlier today, the White House released a budget overview and the budget tables for the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request. At 1:30 on April 10th, the U.S. Department of Education will hold a briefing to discuss the President’s education requests. The briefing will be held in the Department’s Auditorium in the LBJ Building, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, in Washington DC.  

The briefing will also be live streamed for those outside of the DC area.

UPDATE: Here is the Department of Education portion of the budget.

Two ideas of note for higher education a higher education Race to the Top and introducing a market interest rate for student loans.  Senators Alexander, Burr and Coburn introduced a bill yesterday that would accomplish the student loan reform proposed by the President in the budget, although there may be a difference on the exact terms of the interest rate – so perhaps there is a consensus on this proposal.  The Race to the Top proposal appears to be the proposal raised in last year’s budget:

A Higher Education Race to the Top (RTT) Competition.
Building on the success of this program in both early education and k-12 education, the Department of Education will shift the focus of RTT in 2014 to promoting comprehensive reforms in postsecondary education. The Budget provides $1 billion to support competitive grants to States that commit to driving comprehensive change in their higher education policies and practices, while doing more to contain their tuition and make it easier for students to afford a college education. This change establishes RTT as a fund that promotes  system-wide reform efforts and can shift its focus each year to support the most promising and comprehensive solutions to strengthen public education and improve outcomes from preschool through college.


Makes Student Loan Interest Rates More Market-Based.

Under current law, interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans are slated to rise this summer from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. At a time when the economy is still recovering and market interest rates remain low, the Budget proposes a cost-neutral reform to set interest rates so they more closely follow market rates, and to provide students with more affordable repayment options. The rate on new loans would be set each year based on a market interest rate, which would remain fixed for the life of the loan so that student borrowers would have certainty about the rates they would pay. The Budget also expands repayment options to ensure that student borrowers do not have to pay more than 10 percent of their discretionary income on loan payments.

House Subcommittee Hearing this Thursday: “Raising the Bar: How Are Schools Measuring Teacher Performance?”

Posted in K-12 News, News from the Hill

Dennis Cariello

It’s a busy week for the House Education and Workforce Committee members.  On Thursday, February 28, at 9:00 am room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, chaired by Todd Rokita, (R-IN), will hold a hearing entitled “Raising the Bar: How Are Schools Measuring Teacher Performance?“.  This is the second in a series of hearings.  On February 14, the Subcommittee held the first of its hearings in the “Raising the Bar” Series.  Witnesses for this hearing are:

Dr. Steve Cantrell, Chief Research Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent, Knox County Schools, Knoxville, TN

Dr. Rodney Watson, Chief of Human Resources, Houston Independent School District, Houston, TX

Mr. Emanuel Harper, French Teacher, Herron High School, Indianapolis, IN

Updated: Wednesday’s School Safety Moved to 12:30

Posted in K-12 News, News from the Hill

Dennis Cariello

The time for the House Education and Workforce Committee Hearing “Protecting Students and Teachers: A Discussion on School Safety,” which will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday, February 27, has been moved from 10:00 to 12:30.  The full committee hearing, will focus on how schools can prepare and recover from threats of violence. Members will discuss faculty and student training practices, local school security needs, crisis reaction protocol, and effective post-incident recovery services.


Education and Workforce Committee to Hold Hearing on School Safety of February 27, 2013

Posted in K-12 News

Dennis Cariello

On Wednesday, February 27, 2012,  at 10:00 a.m., the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing entitled “Protecting Students and Teachers: A Discussion on School Safety,” which will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  The hearing will focus on school safety issues related to elementary and secondary schools.

House Subcommittee Hearing: “Raising the Bar: How Education Innovation Can Improve Student Achievement”

Posted in Department of Education, K-12 News, News from the Hill

Dennis Cariello

On February 14, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, chaired by Todd Rokita, (R-IN), will hold a hearing entitled “Raising the Bar: How Education Innovation Can Improve Student Achievement.” The hearing will take place in room 2261 of the Rayburn House Office Building at 10:00 a.m. Witnesses will include:

Mr. Jim Shelton, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

Mr. John Bailey, Executive Director Digital Learning Now, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Preston Smith, CEO & President, Rocketship Education, Redwood City, CA

Ms. Holly Sagues, Chief Policy Officer, Florida Virtual School Orlando, FL

IRS Publishes Proposed Rules on Affordable Care Act’s “Play or Pay” Requirements; Requests Comment Related to Adjunct Professors

Posted in Health Care, Higher Education News, Higher Education Policy, K-12 News

Dennis Cariello

On January 2, 2013, the Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service published proposed rules (“Proposed Rules”) and questions and answers  concerning the Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) “shared responsibility provisions,” also known as the “Play or Pay” mandate, contained in section 4980H of the Internal Revenue Code.  Starting in 2014, large employers (generally, employers with 50 or more full-time, or full-time equivalent employees) must either provide health coverage for their full-time employees and their dependants or pay a penalty for failing to do so and one full-time employee obtains a premium tax credit to purchase health insurance through one of the “Affordable Insurance Exchanges.”

Institutions of higher education, as well as other educational organizations and other employers, have undertaken attempts to assess (and reduce) the number of full-time, or full-time equivalent employees that are the subject of the Play or Pay mandate.  This has not proved to be as easy a task as it sounds; while a full time employee under the ACA is clearly one that is employed, on average, for thirty hours per week, determining which employees meet that threshold has proven challenging.  Perhaps the most challenging case is that of adjunct professors.

IRS Notice 2011-36 (May 23, 2011) provided — as one proposal for which the IRS sought comment — that the hours worked for ”employees not paid on an hourly basis” could be determined through one of three methods: Continue Reading

Key Education Staff Changes in HELP Committee

Posted in Higher Education News, K-12 News, News from the Hill

Dennis Cariello

On February 1, 2013, Senator Lamar Alexander, the new Ranking Member for the Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) announced a number of staff changes.  Of most relevance to those in education, Senator Alexander’s current legislative director, David P. Cleary, will serve as Republican staff director and Peter Oppenheim will serve as education policy director.

David P. Cleary will be the Republican staff director at the HELP committee, and will continue to serve as Senator Alexander’s Legislative Director, an assignment he has held since 2011.  From 2006 to 2011, Cleary was Alexander’s staff director for the HELP Subcommittee on Children and Families. He previously served as a staff member on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce under then-Chairman John Boehner (R-Ohio), and as a legislative analyst for the U.S. Department of Education. Cleary earned a B.A. in Political Science and Master of Public Administration from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Peter Oppenheim will be the education policy director and counsel for the committee. He comes to this position after serving the past two years as Senator Alexander’s Legislative Counsel, advising the Senator on all education, labor, and pensions-related issues. Before joining Senator Alexander’s staff, Peter was a Managing Associate in the education practice at Carmen Group, a government relations firm in Washington, DC, from 2007 – 2011, representing institutions of higher education, school districts, and nonprofit organizations. Peter also served as a research assistant for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) from 2004 to 2006. Peter holds a J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law and a B.A. from Colby College, in Waterville, ME.

Other staff announcements include:

  • Lindsey Ward Seidman will serve as senior policy advisor.
  • Michael Merrell will serve as chief counsel.
  • Mary Sumpter Lapinski will be health policy director for the committee.
  • Jim Jeffries will continue to serve as communications director.
  • Liz Wolgemuth will serve as Republican press secretary for the HELP committee.
  • Brian Reisinger will serve as press secretary in Sen. Alexander’s office.
  • Allison Martin will serve as deputy legislative director Sen. Alexander’s office.

In addition, I would be remiss if I did not commend Senior Policy Director Dr. Beth Buehleman and Education Counsel Chris Eyler for their efforts on behalf of the committee during Senator Enzi’s tenure as Ranking Member.  I have seldom found people I enjoyed talking with more.  They both passionately care about education and I look forward to engaging with them in the future.

Secretary Duncan to Testify at Senate HELP Committee Hearing on February 7, 2013: “No Child Left Behind: Early Lessons from State Flexibility Waivers”

Posted in Department of Education, K-12 News, News from the Hill, No Child Left Behind/ESEA Reauthoritzation

Dennis Cariello

On February 7, 2013, in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building, the Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing entitled: “No Child Left Behind: Early Lessons from State Flexibility Waivers.”   For those that are unaware, in sum, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 imposed strict accountability measures for states to ensure that students are demonstrating proficiency in math and reading by 2014.  As we approached 2014, however, it was clear that many states would not make the grade.  In 2011, the Department of Education announced a process that would allow states to obtain a waiver from the accountability goals if, in exchange, the state would comply with other mandates.  While this waiver program has arguably been made necessary due to the inability of Congress to address the issues in an reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it has been a controversial move.

There will be two panels to discuss the issues.  The first will include Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education who has enacted the policy under discussion.   The Second Panel will feature:

  • Terry K. Holliday, Ph.D., Kentucky Commissioner of Education, Lexington, Kentucky
  • John B. King, Jr., Ed.D., New York Commissioner of Education, Slingerlands, New York
  • Andrew R. Smarick, M.P.M., Partner, Bellwether Education Partners, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
  • Kati Haycock, M.A., President, The Education Trust, Washington, District of Columbia

Chicago Charter School Falls Under NLRB Jurisdiction

Posted in Charter Schools, K-12 News, Labor & Employment

Kimberly Mitchell

The National Labor Relations Board’s recent decision asserting jurisdiction over a Chicago charter school revives an enduring legal test and alerts public charter schools to consider its organizing laws when seeking or rejecting jurisdiction of state or federal labor relations boards.  Note, it is unclear what the status of this ruling is in light of the recent decision in Noel Canning v. NLRB.

On June 23, 2010, the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff filed a petition with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board seeking to represent Chicago Mathematics & Science Academy’s (“CMSA”) teachers.  CMSA, a charter school, responded by filing a petition with the Board seeking to establish that the NLRB, not the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, has jurisdiction over its organizing activities.

Initially, a NLRB regional director dismissed CMSA’s action, finding that CMSA was a political subdivision within the meaning of Section 2(2) of the National Labor Relations Act and, therefore, exempt from the Board’s jurisdiction.

On December 14, 2012, however, the NLRB overturned this initial decision finding that CMSA is not a political subdivision of Illinois and, therefore, is subject to the Board’s jurisdiction.  In reaching this decision, the Board applied its long-standing test, first established by the Supreme Court in NLRB v. Natural Gas Utility District of Hawkins County, 402 U.S. 600 (1971).  Under Hawkins, “an entity may be considered a political subdivision if it is either (1) created directly by the state so as to constitute a department or administrative arm of the government, or (2) administered by individuals who are responsible to public officials or to the general electorate.”  Chicago Math & Science Academy Charter School, Inc. v. Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff, 2012 WL 6625117, at *1 (N.L.R.B. Dec. 14, 2012).  Here, the Board found that CMSA is not a political subdivision under either prong because private individuals established CMSA as a non-profit corporation under the Illinois General Not-for-Profit Act and private individuals appointed and removed members of CMSA’s board of directors.

In this decision, Board Member Hayes dissented in part, agreeing that CMSA is not a political subdivision exempt from the Board’s jurisdiction but arguing that the Board should exercise its discretion and decline jurisdiction on the grounds that CMSA is a public school, highly integrated with the State of Illinois and Chicago Public Schools, and fundamentally local in nature.

The Board emphasized that its decision applies only to the operation of a public charter school under the particular provisions of Illinois law and is not a bright-line rule concerning jurisdiction over charter schools. But the decision has implications beyond the classification of CMSA.  First, this decision illustrates the relationship between public charter schools and the states in which they operate. Second, it highlights the importance of understanding the state laws that create and control this relationship, especially when confronted with a petition to organize charter school teachers under a state or federal labor relations board.

Department of Education OCR Issues Guidance on Providing Athletic Opportunities to Disabled Students

Posted in Athletics, Civil Rights & the Constitution, Department of Education, Government Accountability Office (GAO), Higher Education News, K-12 News, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

Dennis Cariello

On January 25, 2013, the Office for Civil Rights of the US Department of Education issued guidance on the obligations of institutions receiving Title IV aid (as well as elementary and secondary education) to provide athletic opportunities to disabled students pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The guidance was spurred on, in part, by a 2010 Govertnment Accountability Office (GAO) study on the topic.  In a blog statement, Secretary Arne Duncan said:

we know that students with disabilities are all too often denied the chance to participate and with it, the respect that comes with inclusion. This is simply wrong. While it’s the coach’s job to pick the best team, students with disabilities must be judged based on their individual abilities, and not excluded because of generalizations, assumptions, prejudices, or stereotypes.

While the letter is framed towards elementary and secondary schools, the obligations apply to higher education as well: “students with disabilities at the postsecondary level must also be provided an equal opportunity to participate in athletics, including intercollegiate, club, and intramural athletics.”

We will provide a more complete digest as we examine the letter.  Nonetheless, here are a few important passages:

Of course, simply because a student is a “qualified” student with a disability does not mean that the student must be allowed to participate in any selective or competitive program offered by a school district; school districts may require a level of skill or ability of a student in order for that student to participate in a selective or competitive program or activity, so long as the selection or competition criteria are not discriminatory.”

Among other things, the Department’s Section 504 regulations prohibit school districts from:

*denying a qualified student with a disability the opportunity to participate in or benefit from an aid, benefit, or service;

*affording a qualified student with a disability an opportunity to participate in or benefit from an aid, benefit, or service that is not equal to that afforded others;

*providing a qualified student with a disability with an aid, benefit, or service that is not as effective as that provided to others and does not afford that student with an equal opportunity to obtain the same result, gain the same benefit, or reach the same level of achievement in the most integrated setting appropriate to the student’s needs;

*providing different or separate aid, benefits, or services to students with disabilities or to any class of students with disabilities unless such action is necessary to provide a qualified student with a disability with aid, benefits, or services that are as effective as those provided to others; and

*otherwise limiting a qualified individual with a disability in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity enjoyed by others receiving an aid, benefit, or service

Lies, Statistics and College Rankings: How to Address Allegations of Manipulation and Ensure Accuracy of Reported Information

Posted in Education Data & Statistics, Higher Education News, K-12 News

David P. Lewis

Over the past year or so, education consumers, not to mention government authorities and plaintiff’s attorneys, have raised a number of questions regarding the credibility of institutional and student data that schools publicly report for marketing and ranking purposes.  Specific instances of alleged data manipulation have led to lawsuits, sanctions, lost jobs and reputational damage.  My colleague, Laura Flippin, and I recently wrote an article for Today’s Campus magazine suggesting steps that today’s higher education institutions can take to develop processes to address allegations of inaccurate data and internal compliance controls and ensure that important data is gathered and reported accurately.

You can read the article – “Lies, Statistics and College Rankings: How to Address Allegations of Manipulation and Ensure Accuracy of Reported Information” – or access the full publication here:

 Click to view the full digital publication online

Getting Our Arms Around Advances in Ed Tech

Posted in Education Technology, K-12 News

David P. Lewis


This article on the tech website GigaOm addresses an interesting issue.  We have all read about, and in some cases experienced, the significant uptick in the number of companies focused on education technology and related investment activity.   How do administrators and educators, in a time of budget cuts and limited bandwidth, decide which of these technologies actually work and should be invested in?  The article highlights a proposal from the Hamilton Project, an economic policy think tank, to create a Consumer Reports-style evaluator of new learning technologies that would assess the available products and report the results to the public.

As the authors,  Profs. Aaron Chatterji of Duke University and Benjamin Jones of Northwestern University, note in the abstract of the report, even though technology is a strength of the U.S., it has to date had limited impact in improving K-12 educational outcomes because there is not yet a reliable system for tracking the effectiveness of educational technologies and this, in turn, inhibits schools from investing and innovators from creating.  The authors propose to establish a third party rating organization, modeled after Consumer Reports, that would evaluate available education technologies using students and educators in selected districts and then publish the results on online.   This would then allow schools to make better informed decisions based on the hands-on experience of peers.  It is an interesting proposal that merits consideration.


Subscribe to the Education Industry Reporter

Posted in Accreditor News, Education Technology, Higher Education News, International News, K-12 News

Dennis Cariello
David P. Lewis

We launched DLA Piper’s Education Industry Reporter about six months ago.  Our goal, which has largely been successful, has been to produce a legal blog “plus” – a site that includes regular, original content written by the attorneys in DLA Piper’s Education Group, as well as updated news feeds regarding current issues affecting the education industry, a calendar of industry events, and links to other education sector resources.  We have received many compliments on the site, as well as suggestions for improvements that we are considering and working on.

For a complete explanation of the features of the site, go here.  For now, just a quick reminder.  If you want to read new posts on the site but prefer not to have to navigate to the site each time to check for new content, simply enter your email address in the orange box on the right entitled “Subscribe to this Blog via RSS or by Email.”  By subscribing, you will receive a single, early-morning email containing just those new entries (if any) posted the day before (if no new entries have been posted, then no email).

Again, we hope you enjoy the site.


DLA Piper to Sponsor ASU’s Education Innovation Summit

Posted in Education Technology, Higher Education News, K-12 News

David P. Lewis

We are pleased to be the exclusive law firm sponsor for Arizona State University’s Education Innovation Summit taking place April 16-18 in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of the leading education technology conferences in the country, the Education Innovation Summit brings together nearly 100 education and education-focused technology companies and hundreds of other education industry thought leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and educators focused on driving a K-12 and higher education revolution through innovation. The keynote speakers include Michael Milken (Chairman of The Milken Institute), Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix), and Jeb Bush (former Governor of Florida and founder and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education). Other top sponsors of the event, along with DLA Piper, include GSV Advisors (ASU’s partner in the conference), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Academic Partnerships, Pearson, Scholastic, Apollo Group, and ABS Capital Partners, among others.  Please see the conference website for a complete list of the sponsorsparticipating companiesagenda, and panels.

Joining me (Phoenix office) and Dennis Cariello (New  York office) at the Summit will be a number of our colleagues who actively practice in the education, technology and venture sectors , including Itai Nevo (Boston office), Beni Surpin (San Diego office), Brad Gersich (East Palo Alto office), and Ian Westberg from DLA Piper’s Venture Pipeline unit. Several of us will also be serving as judges in the conference’s business competition. If you are attending, we will look forward to seeing you there.

HELP Committee Names New Education Counsel

Posted in Higher Education News, K-12 News, News from the Hill

Dennis Cariello

On Monday, the Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions named Mildred Otero as the Majority’s new Chief Education Counsel, to replace the departed Bethany Little.  As the release says:

Ms. Otero joins the HELP Committee after serving as a Senior Policy Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, helping to lead its federal advocacy efforts for the U.S. Programs. In this role, Otero focused on policy advocacy that advances the foundation’s College Ready and Postsecondary Success strategies. Prior to joining the Foundation, Otero served in the Obama Administration on Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s transition team at the U.S. Department of State and as Senior Advisor at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), collaborating in areas of education, youth, and social protection policy affecting Latin America and Caribbean region.

A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, Otero received her Master of Social Work at New York University. She came to Washington in 2003 as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Public Policy Fellow working for then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. She went on to work at the Children’s Defense Fund as Deputy Director for Early Childhood Development and then as Legislative Assistant for United States Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, before rejoining the office of then Senator Clinton in early 2006, where she served as her Senior Policy Advisor for education and children’s issues until 2009.

Congratulations on the appointment.

More on DIY U & EdTech

Posted in Education Technology, Higher Education News, K-12 News

Dennis Cariello

If you couldn’t tell by yesterday’s post, I really enjoy thinking about DIY U and, in general, creating customizable education models.  Like open source textbooks, but students can pick classes and professors rather than chapters.

So, I couldn’t help but note two articles today on the topic.  First, Johns Hopkins’ School of Education and the Education Industry Association announced that they are collaborating on the “Joint Center for Education Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”  As the announcement explains, “the partnership looks to facilitate relationships between EIA member companies and the School, integrate for-profit programs, products and concepts more deeply into the education sector, and create joint research and education programs.”  As JHU School of Education Dean David W. Andrews said:

Forming this strategic partnership with EIA will help the for-profit and not-for-profit education sectors learn from each other, and better enable us to work together for the betterment of all aspects of education.

The other comes from The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s excellent series on “12 Tech Innovators Who are Transforming Campuses“.  While there are a number of the “usual”, and well-deserved suspects on the list — Robert Mendenhall of Western Governor’s University, Burck Smith of StraighterLine to name two — I wanted to highlight the story about Salman Khan of the Khan Academy.  The Kahn Academy hosts a library of 2,200 YouTube videos on numerous educational topics ranging from calculus to astronomy to civics and art history.  The Academy – which is free – incorporates lectures and exercises that, encourage experimentation but require mastery of the concepts before allowing the student to move on.  Obviously this can greatly aid the DIY degree concept.  As The Chronicle notes, the other advance is the fundamental transformation of the lecture by putting it within an adaptive learning model.  And, as with other adaptive learning models, there are sophisticated analytic that teachers and professors (it works with K-12 and higher education) can look at to see how students are doing with each concept.  I encourage you to look at the TED video on the Kahn Academy.  And, as Mr. Kahn says in his video on Polynomial Approximation of Functions, “if this does not blow your mind, then you have no emotion.”

News this Morning: 2 Students Killed, 3 injured in Shooting at Chardon, Ohio High School

Posted in K-12 News

John Horton of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has the story so far.  Thankfully, although some have suffered injuries, it does not appear anyone has been killed.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the families in Chardon, Ohio.

Update: Four students have been wounded and one has been killed.  Our sincerest condolences to the family of the deceased and to the community.

Update:  A second student has died.  We’ve also updated the post title.

Department of Education Asst. Secretary Carmel Martin to Answer Budget Questions via Twitter on Friday at 1 pm

Posted in Department of Education, Higher Education News, Higher Education Policy, K-12 News

Dennis Cariello

Today, the Department of Education’s Blog announced that Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Carmel Martin will answer questions on the Obama Administration 2013 budget request.  The session will take place on Friday, February 17 at 1 p.m. ET.  Users may ask questions at any time before or during the Twitter Q&A using the hashtag #AskED. Asst. Secretary Martin will answer the questions live through the @usedgov Twitter account. Following the event, you can find a summary of the Q&A session at

ED and Workforce Committee to Hold Hearing on the “Student Success Act” and the “Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act”

Posted in K-12 News, News from the Hill, No Child Left Behind/ESEA Reauthoritzation

Dennis Cariello

On Thursday, February 16 at 10:00 a.m., the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing on the Student Success Act (H.R. 3989) and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (H.R. 3990).  These bills have been recently introduced by the Committee Chairman, John Kline. The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  The hearing will allow members an opportunity to examine and obtain feedback on the legislation.   The witness list is included after the jump.
Continue Reading

Two Views on Education Technology in 2012

Posted in Education Technology, Higher Education News, K-12 News

David P. Lewis

In our practice, we have noticed many investors focusing more and more on education technology companies, in  part due to greater receptivity by regulators, administrators and educators at both the K-12 and higher ed levels to the uses of technology and the Internet to advance and transform education in an era of declining public investment and changing student needs.   This article from Digital Trends lauds edtech as a “hot” area for 2012 investment activities and highlights a few companies of note.  Taking a different perspective, this article from Whiteboard Advisors identifies a number of trends related to education technology that it expects to gather momentum in 2012.  It also points out the upcoming challenges that the edtech industry is likely to face, and the need for informed responses, as skeptics/opponents begin to broaden their targets beyond for-profit institutions and start to question the claims around the effectiveness, quality, and appropriateness of online and blended learning models at all levels.  As Whiteboard Advisors notes:

Charter schools went through a similar phase right after their initial wave of support and had to step up by providing examples of model charter school laws that focused on quality as much as growth.  The online and blended learning community will need to do the same in 2012.

Like Whiteboard Advisors, if this challenge materializes, we hope that the industry is ready with solid answers that can demonstrate the quality of their products and services and their successful outcomes and that it can forge  a relationship with policymakers and regulators that allows for the continued use of technology in advancing education and educational opportunities.

New FERPA Rules

Posted in Department of Education, FERPA, Higher Education News, Higher Education Policy, K-12 News

Dennis Cariello
On December 2, 2011, the Department of Education released final regulations concerning the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The new rules permit auditors and academic researches to obtain student data — even with students’ personally identifying information — as long as they use it only for auditing and research purposes, refrain from disclosing it to others, and destroy anything individually identifying when they are through using it.  This is in line with the Department’s goal of  improving access to data to “facilitate States’ ability to evaluate education programs, to ensure limited resources are invested effectively, to build upon what works and discard what does not, and to contribute to a culture of innovation of continuous improvement in education,” all while protecting the privacy of education records.

Interestingly, the new rules also give institutions wide latitude to preclude the disclosure of so-called directory information (name, address, etc.):

In its public notice to parents and eligible students in attendance at the agency or institution . . . an educational agency or institution may specify that disclosure of directory information will be limited to specific parties, for specific purposes, or both. When an educational agency or institution specifies that disclosure of directory information will be limited to specific parties, for specific purposes, or both, the educational agency or institution must limit its directory information disclosures to those specified in its public notice.

New 34 C.F.R. 99.37 (d).  In addition:

  • The new regulations clarify who may receive student information to conduct audits and evaluations of education programs, and under what circumstances these types of disclosures may occur and
  • Provide that State or local educational authorities to use “reasonable methods” to ensure “to the greatest extend practicable” that organizations who receive student data use the data for authorized purposes and protect the data from further disclosure, including destroying the data after it is no longer needed.