Author Archive


Trish Brennan-Gac
Learning Point Associates

During a three-month period from March through May 2010, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) conducted a series of eight hearings and roundtable discussions to explore specific topics related to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Almost every hearing featured a variety of education stakeholders including students, teachers, principals, district leaders, researchers, and leaders from business and nonprofit organizations.

Each speaker’s remarks focused on his or her organization’s work and the lessons learned through its efforts to improve our nation’s schools. Many speakers offered specific recommendations for the ESEA reauthorization. Although each hearing concentrated on a particular theme, it is no surprise that many individual testimonies covered multiple issues such as a focus on teachers and leaders and the use of data to improve instruction. This natural convergence of common themes stresses integration of programs and approaches and shows flexibility in the use of funds.

One area in which policymakers are clearly struggling is the topic of meeting the needs of students and schools in rural communities. In the Great Lakes West region, there are large rural communities where many initiatives and approaches are working successfully. We encourage you to share with us any successful strategies you and your education leaders are employing in your states.

A link to the HELP Committee’s Web page where you can watch a recording of the hearing or download a particular speaker’s testimony and a Key Remarks page is provided for each hearing, recordings of the hearings and summary documents are on the Great Lakes West website.


Trish Brennan-Gac
Learning Point Associates

The Race to the Top (RTTT) grant competition incentivized 41 states to put their best foot forward and demonstrate the significant progress they have made in improving their education systems and the academic achievement of their students. Every application shares a rich story of each state’s efforts over time and provides specific examples of their success. From these applications, state education agency (SEA) staff can learn about successful strategies and emerging trends in other states. These strategies and trends may offer insights or connections to aid SEAs in similar work in which they are engaged.

Learning Point Associates staff reviewed these initial applications and analyzed specific topics related to each of the assurance areas. The first product from this effort is a report that was jointly published by Learning Point Associates and the Council of Chief State School Officers: Preliminary Review: CCSSO Strategic Initiatives Identified in State Phase 1 Race to the Top Applications. The report reflects only a portion of the work we have done in analyzing these applications. We have gathered specific information on a variety of topics that are listed below.

As we continue our analysis, we are eager to learn how we can use this information to support the staff of the SEAs we serve. So, what should our next steps be? Are you interested in webinars or topic-specific analysis? Would you like to talk with representatives from other states? Would you like an analysis of your state’s application and scoring?

Following is a list of the topics we researched. Did we miss something? Is there a topic in which you are particularly interested? Please share your thoughts with us.

We look forward to hearing from you!

RTTT Topics Researched

  • Traditional teacher certification
  • Alternative certification
  • Teacher evaluation
  • Teacher compensation
  • Local education agency/union engagement
  • Alternative certification for principals
  • Principal certification
  • Principal evaluation
  • Principal compensation
  • Alternative certification for administrators
  • Administrator certification
  • Administrator evaluation
  • Administrator compensation
  • Technology
  • Individualized instruction
  • Data
  • School improvement
  • Student involvement
  • Assessment consortium