Mayoral Education Advisors Discuss Federal Policy with Administration Officials

Article excerpt

Last week's convening of the Mayors' Education Policy Advisors Network (EPAN) brought nearly 40 mayoral education advisors to Washington, D.C., to discuss the local implications of federal education reform initiatives with Administration officials and other federal policymakers.

Sponsored by NLC's Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, EPAN is a national network that enables mayoral education advisors from the nation's 75 largest cities to share best practices for improving student achievement.

Washington, D.C., Deputy Mayor for Education Victor Reinoso welcomed EPAN members on June 28, initiating a two-day discussion of the federal education policy landscape from a municipal perspective. Reinoso presented lessons from some of the recent education initiatives in Washington, D.C., where Mayor Adrian Fenty gained control of the school system in 2007. Reinoso stressed that quality education "is not just about running the school system in the right way, it is also about ensuring that the compilation of services that the city has to offer is there."

Federal Policy Landscape

Throughout the meeting, a number of senior U.S. Department of Education officials participated in discussions with EPAN members on the department's priorities and emerging initiatives.

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Stacey Jordan, the department's director of intergovernmental affairs, provided an overview of the Obama Administration's priorities for education reform, emphasizing the importance of reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), formerly known as No Child Left Behind. A panel of national policy experts responded to her comments and engaged EPAN members in a conversation around national projects such as the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a state-led effort to develop common measures of student readiness for college and careers.

EPAN members also learned more about the department's Promise Neighborhoods initiative and School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. Nearly every city represented at the meeting had been involved to some degree in the Promise Neighborhoods planning grant application process. …