Dr. Robert Balfanz, co-founder of Diplomas Now and a
senior research scientist at Johns Hopkins University School of
Education, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health
Education Labor & Pensions on Tuesday, February 3. In his
testimony at the hearing on Fixing No Child Left Behind:
Innovation to Better Meet the Needs of Students, Dr. Balfanz
discussed innovative programs, specifically Diplomas Now, that
are improving student outcomes in the most-challenged schools and
schools districts in the country. Read the full testimony here.
At the roundtable hearing, Dr. Balfanz talked about
seeing success when innovation programs were paired with federal
accountability, particularly from the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act (ESEA). "This is an exciting time to be
re-authorizing the ESEA. We know so much more now than we did 15
years ago and that can really help us create a much more
impactful ESEA that really spurs the innovative spirits of our
teachers and administrators but also focuses them to the biggest
challenges and highest needs," said Dr. Balfanz.
He also spoke about how the greatest opportunity in
reauthorization comes in steering more federal resources toward
evidence-based practices particularly for our most challenged
schools working in high poverty contexts. A percentage of Title I
expenditures must be earmarked for evidence-based practices,
while continuing to expand the range of validated approaches
through the Investing in Innovation (i3) program.
Also testifying were:
- Ken Bradford, assistant
superintendent, Louisiana Department of Education
- Josh Davis, vice president,
external affairs, Delta Health Alliance, Soneville, Miss.
- Katie Duffy, CEO, Democracy
Prep Public Schools, New York, NY
- Dr. Susan Kessler, executive
principal, Hunters Lane High School, Nashville, Tenn.
- Dr. James McCintyre, Jr.,
superintendent, Knox County Schools, Knoxville, Tenn.
- Henriette Taylor, community
school coordinator, The Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Elementary School, Baltimore, Md.
View the video of the hearing here.