Subcommittee puts Title II funds under microscope

From: Education Daily
Members of the House Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Competitiveness Subcommittee on Thursday debated strategies for leveraging limited federal dollars to maximize improvements in teacher preparation, induction, and professional development. While preliminary, the discussion could ultimately underpin the full committee’s priorities for Title II teacher quality programs in both NCLB and the Higher Education Act. With the HEA reauthorization delayed last year, Congress has a unique opportunity to reauthorize the Title II programs in tandem. At the hearing, George Scott, Government Accountability Office’s Director of Education, Workforce and Income Security Issues, testified that the programs’ aims are similar, leading to the possibility of “overlap and duplication” of efforts among grantees. Subcommittee leadership concurred, revealing a bipartisan desire to overhaul and better coordinate teacher quality funding. “It is not clear how complementary these two programs are,” said Chairman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Texas. Ranking member Ric Keller, R-Fla., added Congress “needs to look into how efficiently the K-12 Title II funds are spent.” Witnesses Sharon Robinson, president of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; Janice Wiley, Deputy Director of the Region One Education Service Center; Daniel Fallon, Carnegie Corporation program director; and Emily Feistritzer, president of the National Center for Alternative Certification, had no lack of suggestions. They proposed dedicated funding for: Better state data systems, which would be designed to track teachers from their preparation programs into schools. Stronger clinical fieldwork experiences, especially in high-need urban school districts. Professional development programs tied to specific state standards and curricula. Sustained induction programs for new teachers. Performance-based assessments for teachers that include components requiring teachers to reflect upon and change their practices.

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