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Success In The Middle: Advocating On Behalf of the Nations 15 Million Middle Grades Students

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Title: Success In The Middle: Advocating On Behalf of the Nations 15 Million Middle Grades Students


1
Success In The Middle Advocating On Behalf of
the Nations 15 Million Middle Grades Students
  • November 8, 2007

2
Susan Frost Senior Policy Advisor,
NMSA President, Education Priorities Washington,
DC Email Frost_at_EdPriorities.net
3
Success in the Middle The Challenge
4
On the behalf of 15 million middle grade
students…..
5
Education in a Flat World….How the US Ranks with
Other Industrialized Countries
  • American 15-year-olds rank
  • 15th of 29 OECD countries in reading literacy
  • 24th in math literacy
  • 19th in science literacy
  • 24th on problem solving
  • US ranks 18th of 23 OECD countries in high school
    graduation rates.

6
2003 PISA RESULTS
Reading Finland South Korea Canada Australia Liech
tenstein New Zealand Ireland Sweden Netherlands U.
S. ranks 19/40
Scientific Literacy Finland Japan Hong Kong South
Korea Liechtenstein Australia Macao Netherlands Cz
ech Republic U.S. ranks 20/40
Math Hong Kong Finland South Korea Netherlands Lie
chtenstein Japan Canada Belgium Macao
(China) U.S. ranks 28/40
7
The National Challenge
  • Less than half of our nations graduates reach
    the college level benchmarks for reading
    proficiency.
  • Across the country at least 6,000 students drop
    out of high school every school day  
  • The national graduation rate is only 70...our
    high schools are failing a third of our students
  • While only 78 of white 9th graders graduate four
    years later with a regular diploma, only 56 of
    African American students and 52 of Hispanic
    students make it to graduation
  • Of those who graduate, only half are ready for
    college or competitive jobs that require
    college-level skills
  • More than 70 of graduates enter two- or four
    year colleges, but fewer than half leave with a
    degree.  53 of students take at least one
    remedial English or math class
  • Source Jay Greene, Manhattan Policy Institute
    Daniel Losen, Harvard Civil Rights Project Chris
    Swanson, Urban Institute Robert Balfanz, Johns
    Hopkins University ACT, Inc. The American
    Diploma Project Achieve, Education Trust,
    Fordham Foundation 

8
Looking Deeper The Literacy Achievement Gap
  • An 8th graders reading level is the strongest
    predictor of whether he or she will graduate. New
    studies show that we can predict future dropouts
    as early as 6th grade
  • Students reading in the bottom quartile are 20
    times more likely to drop out of high school than
    students in the top quartile
  • Today, 70 of 4th, 8th and 12th graders are not
    proficient readers
  • A third of all students read at the below basic
    level and do not have the literacy skills needed
    to take rigorous courses
  • There are 8 million students in grades 4-12 who
    are struggling readers

9
ACT College Readiness Benchmarks
10

Preventing Student Disengagement and Keeping
Students on the Graduation Track in High-Poverty
Middle-Grades Schools Early Identification and
Effective Interventions Robert Balfanz, Center
for the Social Organization of Schools, Johns
Hopkins University Liza Herzog, Philadelphia
Education Fund
  • Asked the Questions
  • Do many students in high-poverty schools become
    disengaged at the start of the middle grades?
  • Does this disengagement reduce the likelihood
    that they will eventually graduate?
  • Longitudinal analyses which follow more than
    12,000 of Philadelphias sixth-grade students
    from 1996 until 2004 show that the answer to
    both questions is yes.
  • Four simple predictive indicators identify sixth
    graders that have high odds of falling off the
    graduation track.
  • Sixth-graders with one or more of these
    indicators had only a 29 chance of graduating.

11
Preventing Student Disengagement and Keeping
Students on the Graduation Track in High-Poverty
Middle-Grades Schools Early Identification and
Effective Interventions
  • Middle Grade Drop-out Indicators
  • Attending class less than 80 of the time,
    missing more than 36 days (only 17 graduated)
  • Receiving a poor final behavior grade or
    in-school or out-of-school suspensions (only 20
    graduated)
  • Failing a math course (only 19 graduated)
  • Failing an English or Language Arts course (only
    18 graduated)

12
Preventing Student Disengagement and Keeping
Students on the Graduation Track in High-Poverty
Middle-Grades Schools Early Identification and
Effective Interventions
  • The most significant finding, we believe, is
    that our results show that early manifestation of
    academic and behavioral problems at the start of
    the middle grades do not self-correct, at least
    within the context of middle grade schools that
    serve high-poverty populations….our evidence
    clearly indicates, that at least in high-poverty
    schools, students who are missing 20 or more
    school, receiving poor behavior marks or failing
    math or English do not recover. On the contrary,
    they drop out.
  • Our findings strongly support the use of
    comprehensive school reforms that attempt to
    improve student engagement through many mutually
    supporting mechanisms.

13
NCLB Attempts to Meet this Challenge
In the fall of 2001, Bush had a deal. In
exchange for an infusion of money, the more than
1,000-page bill would require schools to test
students in math and reading from grades 3 to 8
and once in high school, with the goal of every
child meeting basic proficiency by 2014. States
would set their own standards and tests. Schools
that did not measure up would face sanctions and
their students would be allowed to transfer.
Named for Bush's campaign slogan, it would be the
most important education law in 35
years. Washington Post, November 5, 2007
14
BUT… What NCLB Didnt Do
  • The 2001 NCLB Act did not fully fund the
    initiatives it authorized under the law.
  • With the exception of Reading First, no new
    federal policy was put into place to help
    students reach proficiency.
  • No new provisions were included to provide
    intense interventions, turn around low-performing
    schools and bring new reform models to scale in
    our middle and high schools.

15
The Missing Middle in Federal Policy Grades 7
through 12
16
Success in the Middle A Policymakers Guide to
Achieving Quality Middle Level Education May
2006
17
(No Transcript)
18
National Policy Symposium on Middle Level
Education Where Do We Go From Here?
  • This conference was held in Washington, DC in
    September of 2006 and was sponsored by
  • NMSA
  • Council of Chief State School Officers
  • Alliance for Excellent Education
  • The following topics were addressed
  • Changing Middle Grades Culture Higher
    Expectations
  • Keeping Students on Track Critical
    Instructional Supports to Accelerate Teaching and
    Learning
  • Middle Grades Education Policy and Middle Schools
    that Work

19
Middle Grades Coalition on NCLB
20
Middle Grades Coalition NCLB Recommendations
  • Legislative Proposals to Create a National Middle
    Grades Policy
  • Striving Readers
  • Math Now
  • Raising Middle Grades Teacher Quality
  • Turning Around Low-Performing Middle Grades
    Schools
  • Research and Dissemination of Best Practices of
    Middle Grades Education

21
Middle Grades Coalition NCLB Recommendations
  • K-12 Recommendations Necessary to Support a
    National Middle Level Education Policy
  • Growth Model for Student Assessment
  • Job-Embedded Professional Teacher Development
  • Extended Learning Time

22
Striving Readers HR 2289 and S 958
  • Introduced in the House by Representatives
    Yarmuth (D-KY) and Platts (R-PA)
  • Currently 40 cosponsors and included in the House
    Committees draft of NCLB
  • Introduced in the Senate by Senator Sessions
    (R-AL) and Murray (D-WA)
  • Currently 22 cosponsors and expected to be
    included in the Senate draft of NCLB
  • Bipartisan

23
Math Now
  • Enacted by Congress and signed by the President
    August 9, 2007 as part of the America COMPETES
    Act P.L.110-69
  • Grades K-9
  • Provides targeted help to low-income students who
    are struggling in math and whose achievement is
    significantly below grade level
  • Helps implementation comprehensive math
    initiatives that are research-based
  • Helps all students reach grade level and prepares
    students to enroll and pass Algebra courses

24
Building Support for Middle Grades Students
25
Grijalva Bill to Strengthen Nations Middle
Schools Introduced in the House H.R. 3406
August 3, 2007
In order to have any real chance of turning
around our nations lowest-performing high
schools and raising the graduation rate, we must
work to turn around our lowest-performing middle
schools, said Representative Grijalva. The
middle years are a critical time in a students
education and the schools and educational
programs they experience will have a significant
impact upon their future.  We must not let middle
schools fall behind.
26
HR 3409 House Cosponsors (19 as of 11/6/2007)
  • Arizona Griljava
  • California Filner, Davis, S., Napolitano, Solis,
    Sanchez
  • Illinois Gutierrez, Hare, Davis, D.
  • Texas Hinojosa, Green
  • Pennsylvania Holden
  • New York McCarthy, Clarke, Velazquez
  • New Jersey Holt
  • Virginia Scott
  • Mississippi Thompson
  • Kentucky Yarmuth

27
Highlights of H.R. 3406
  • Authorizing 1 billion a year for formula grants
    to states to middle grades education and to
    provide grants to local school districts to
    improve low performing schools that contain
    middle grades.
  • States receiving the grants would implement a
    plan to improve student achievement that
    describes what students are required to know and
    do to successfully to complete the middle grades
    and make the transition to succeed in an
    academically rigorous high school that prepares
    students for postsecondary education and the
    workplace. This would include the development of
    early warning data systems to identify those
    students most at-risk of dropping out and
    intervening to help them succeed.

28
H.R. 3406, cont.
  • States and districts would invest in proven
    strategies such as
  • providing professional development to school
    leaders, teachers and other school personnel in
    addressing the needs of diverse learners and in
    using challenging and relevant research-based
    best practices and curriculum
  • developing and implementing comprehensive,
    school-wide improvement efforts in eligible
    schools and
  • implementing student supports such as extended
    learning time, personal graduation plans and
    coaching, that enable all students to stay on the
    path to graduation.
  • Authorizing an additional 100 million to
    facilitate the generation, dissemination, and
    application of research needed to identify and
    implement effective practices that lead to
    continual student learning and high academic
    achievement at the middle level.

29
Obama Introduces Comprehensive Bill to
Strengthen Nations Middle Schools S.2227
Friday, October 26, 2007
  • For far too long, our education system has
    overlooked our nations middle schools, and
    failed to provide them the resources they need
    for our kids to succeed, said Senator Obama.
    The middle school experience is vital to success
    in high school and college, and the lack of
    attention to middle school on a federal level is
    reflected in the rising high school dropout rate.
    Like cities across the country, Chicago has seen
    only 54 of students graduate from high school by
    the age of 19. We need to do more to invest in
    these schools, and this legislation will invest
    in a new generation of leaders by strengthening
    our middle schools, teachers, and students. If
    our country wants to remain competitive in math
    and science on a global level, we must break down
    any barriers that are preventing our kids from
    getting the world-class education they deserve.

30
S. 2227 Cosponsors (as of 11/6/2007)
  • Illinois Obama
  • Rhode Island Reed and Whitehouse

31
S. 2227 has additional provisions
  • The Obama Bill is almost identical to the
    Grijalva Bill with a few additions
  • Additional research recommendations, including
    allowing National Academy of Sciences to conduct
    a study to gather and analyze current best
    practices in middle school education and to
    report and disseminate those findings
  • Requires peer review process for the review and
    approval of proposed state applications

32
Next Steps in the Legislative Process
  • Success in the Middle Bills included in House and
    Senate Committees NCLB Proposals
  • NCLB Reported Out of Committee
  • NCLB Passed on the Floor of the House and Senate
  • Success in the Middle Included in Final
    Conference Report Between House and Senate
  • Conference Report Passed by Both Houses and Sent
    to President
  • President Signs NCLB Reauthorization

33
The Process Continues…
  • President proposes funding for Success in the
    Middle in his next budget
  • House and Senate Labor, HHS, Education
    Appropriations Subcommittee Agree to Fund Success
    in the Middle
  • Appropriations Bills Passed by the House and
    Senate
  • Conference Report Includes Funding for Success in
    the Middle and is sent to the President
  • President Signs Appropriations Bill
  • U.S. Department of Education Develops Regulations
    to Implement Success in the Middle Program and
    States Receive Funds and Districts apply for
    Competitive Grants
  • Students get the help they need

34
Question
  • How do we represent our special interest 15
    million middle grades students and their right to
    an excellent education in this lengthy process?

35
Advocacy Tools Websites for Middle Level
Advocates
  • www.nmsa.org
  • www.congress.org
  • www.thomas.org
  • www.edin08.org
  • www.all4ed.org

36
www.nmsa.org
  • This We Believe Successful Schools for Young
    Adolescents
  • Success in the Middle A Policymakers Guide to
    Achieving Quality Middle Level Education
  • Middle Grades Coalition Policy Recommendations
    and Response to Draft NCLB Proposal (House
    Committee)
  • Letters of Support and Background Materials for
    the Grijalva and Obama Success in the Middle
    Bills (H.R. 3406 and S. 2227)

37
www.congress.org
  • Directory of Congressional Delegations by State
  • Directory of Issues and Actions Taken by
    Interested Organizations
  • Real-Life Sample Letters to Lawmakers
  • State Elected Officials Directory

38
www.thomas.gov
  • Database of All Legislation Pending in Congress,
    including
  • Legislative Language on All Bills Introduced
    including H.R. 3406 and S. 2227
  • List of Current Co-sponsors
  • History and Current Status of Actions Taken

39
www.edin08.org
  • Educational Statistics Broken Down by State
  • High School Graduation Rates
  • College Readiness Rates
  • College Enrollment Rates
  • College Graduation Rates
  • NAEP 4th and 8th Grade Reading and Math
    Proficiency
  • Percentage of Dropouts by Subgroups

40
www.all4ed.org
  • Listing of High School Dropout Factories by
    State, District and Zip Code
  • One Page Summaries on Grijalva (H.R. 3406) and
    Obama (S.2227) Bills
  • Legislative Updates on Key Secondary Legislation

41
Keeping Up with the News Examples from Nov 4th
and 5th
  • Aiming for the Middle Washington Post A new
    International Baccalaureate program is raising
    the bar for middle school. A visit to Langston
    Hughes Middle School reveals that people favoring
    smarter students have beaten those fearing
    foreign influence to an apparently invisible
    pulp.
  • Boston schools prep eighth-graders for college
    Boston Globe Is it too early for eighth-graders
    to start planning for college? Or too late?
    Educators lean toward the latter. Most
    eight-graders say they want to go to college,
    "but they have no clue how to get there," said
    Ann Coles, a college planning specialist.
  • Longer school day weighed Boston Globe School
    administrators in Middleborough, Norwood, and
    Wareham are exploring the possibility of
    extending the school day by roughly 90 minutes at
    some schools in an effort to boost student
    achievement.

42
Keeping Up With the News Additional Articles and
Websites
  • Additional Articles
  • An Unlikely Partnership Left Behind Washington
    Post A look into the history of NCLB and an
    analysis of the challenges facing its
    reauthorization this year.
  • Education Websites
  • www.educationnews.org

43
Get to Know Your Congressional Members and their
Staff
44
Get to know your member of Congress by
  • Visiting them in DC
  • Helping them visit middle grades schools at home
    and pointing out how Success in the Middle,
    Striving Readers and Math Now will strengthen
    what the school is currently doing
  • Always write a letter thanking members for
    his/her support
  • Becoming a resource for information on middle
    grades policy using email as a tool to keep in
    touch with staff

45
Develop State and Local Middle Grades Networks
  • Identify at least one excellent middle grades
    school and/or a school that is turning itself
    around in each Congressional District and profile
    it for the Member
  • Ask your Member of Congress and Staff to visit
    the school
  • Contact other members in your state delegation
    and urge them to support legislation that would
    help our nations middle grades students

46
State and Local Networks, cont.
  • Using existing coalitions or by creating your own
    middle schools coalition
  • Be aware of your states middle grade policy and
    how it could be helped
  • Write your governor and state elected leadership
    urging them to support legislation at the federal
    level
  • Sponsor a middle grades policy seminar framing
    the challenge, solution and recommendations to
    help every middle grade student graduate from
    high school ready for college and work in the
    global economy

47
On the behalf of 15 million middle grade
students…..
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