Education Week - January 6, 2016 - (Page 5)

REPORT ROUNDUP CLASSROOM BIAS state board of regents. The East Ramapo school board is made up mostly of Orthodox Jewish men whose children attend private religious schools. The board has been accused of directing resources to the private schools at the expense of the public schools. The other recommendations include use of an independent election monitor for school board elections. The state legislature would have to approve the recommendation for a state monitor with veto power. -ASSOCIATED PRESS Minneapolis Suspends Talks With Superintendent Pick The Minneapolis school board has suspended contract negotiations with Sergio Paez, the former Holyoke, Mass., superintendent the board picked as its new schools chief, after a Massachusetts district attorney said he was launching an investigation into allegations that special education students at a school in Holyoke had been subjected to abuse during the time that Paez served as superintendent. The complaints, published by the Boston-based Disability Law Center, alleged that there were instances in which students had been slapped, slammed against the wall, threatened, and restrained for long periods. Paez said that he took the complaints seriously, followed protocol, and cooperated with state agencies to conduct thorough investigations. Corrective actions were taken, he said. -DENISA R. SUPERVILLE Teacher-Bonus Program Comes Under Fire in Fla. A state teachers' union has filed a federal complaint over a Florida teacher-bonus program that the union alleges discriminates against teachers based on age and race. In the state budget, $44 million was earmarked for the best teachers, based on their effectiveness ratings as well as their SAT and ACT scores, even if they took those exams decades ago. In the complaint filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations, the Florida Education Association alleges that the bonus program discriminated against older teachers who had trouble accessing their test scores and against teachers of color who historically do worse on standardized tests.  -ROSS BRENNEMAN District Approves Drone Use For Educational Purposes The Clarksdale, Miss., school board has approved the use of drones for educational purposes. Board President Rob Tyner says Clarksdale High has a drone club that operates a drone to film athletic events and other school activities. Tyner says the Mississippi education department initially advised "The Impact of Teacher Demographic Representation on Student Attendance and Suspensions" If you're a boy of color in elementary school, your likelihood of being suspended or missing class rises significantly if you are assigned to a teacher of another race. American University researchers Seth Gershenson and Stephen Holt dug into how racial differences between teachers and students may play out in student behavior in a discussion paper for the German Institute for the Study of Labor. The researchers used state longitudinal administrative data from South Carolina to track nearly 990,000 elementary school students from 2006 to 2012. While on average having a teacher of a different race slightly increased the average numbers of days a student was absent or the times he or she was suspended, the added risk was especially high for minority boys. A black boy was 30 percent more likely to be suspended when taught by a white woman than when taught by a black woman. Having a teacher of a different race accounted for onethird of the racial gap in suspensions, and onesixth of the racial gap in chronic absenteeism. The researchers said their findings suggest the need for interventions "that mitigate unconscious bias and generally improve the relationships between teachers and students and students' families." -SARAH D. SPARKS DIGITAL LEARNING "Touch-Screen Technology Usage in Toddlers" Toddlers are becoming adept at using touchscreen technology associated with smartphones and tablets in ways that could help educators assess early skills, according to a new study in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood. Deirdre Murray, the principal investigator of clinical investigations at the pediatrics department of Cork University Hospital in Ireland, surveyed families of 82 children ages 1 to 3 on technology use. More than 80 percent of parents reported they had touch-screen devices, and 9 out of 10 banning drones from school property but changed its position after he explained how and why the school system wants to use them. Drones can be used only with the superintendent's consent. -AP 'Nick News' Ends 25-Year Run "Nick News with Linda Ellerbee," a news show for children on the Nickelodeon cable channel that debuted 25 years ago, has aired its final episode. The program had its roots as a special to help children understand the Persian Gulf War in the early 1990s. In the finale last month, Ellerbee told viewers, "We believed you were smart. We would not talk down to you." And so the show tackled tough stories such as the Oklahoma City bombing, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the crisis in Syria. The show won Emmy Awards for such topics as children of alcoholics, children living with cancer, "The Untouchable Kids of India," and children with HIV and AIDS.  -MARK WALSH Signs of Dyslexia Emerge Before 1st Grade, Study Says "Achievement Gap in Reading Is Present Early as 1st Grade and Persists in Adolescence" The academic gaps related to dyslexia can show up in verbal deficiencies years before children traditionally are expected to read, and can continue well into the teenage years, according to a study. Dyslexia, a persistent difficulty in reading, is the most common learning disability, affecting about 1 in 5 school-age students. For their research, which was published late last year in the Journal of Pediatrics, Sally and Bennett Shaywitz, the co-directors of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, tracked a subsample of 414 participants from the Connecticut Longitudinal Study, a 33-year, ongoing study of the emergence and effects of reading disabilities. The Shaywitzes found that students with dyslexia in 1st grade performed 1.5 standard deviations below typically developing readers, and those skills gaps remained allowed their toddlers to use them. About twothirds of parents had downloaded apps specifically for their children. Moreover, Murray found the majority of toddlers-who used the phones and tablets on average 15 minutes a day-could swipe, unlock the screen, and actively search for features like a specific app by age 2. Moreover, a third of the children could perform those skills and also identify and use specific touch-screen features like an app or a camera by 29 months old. - S.D.S. ARTS EDUCATION "The Arts in Early Childhood: Social and Emotional Benefits of Arts Participation" A new review of research on the arts and early childhood from the National Endowment for the Arts suggests that arts pro- at a full standard deviation in 12th grade. To put that in perspective: Students with dyslexia were still below a typical 1st grade reader's skills in word identification and comprehension when they were in 2nd grade and were not decoding as well as a typical 1st grade reader in 3rd grade. The researchers also identified signs of dyslexia even before children start school, including mispronouncing words, having difficulty learning the names of letters in the alphabet, or being unable to find an object that starts with a particular sound-for example, pointing to a ball when told "buh." "You can look for signs when the child has trouble learning common nursery rhymes," Sally Shaywitz said in an interview. "In order to appreciate common rhymes, you have to be able to pull apart spoken words to their component sounds, and the child can't do that." She said the study findings suggest that schools should consider screening students for potential reading difficulties even before they begin formal reading.  -SARAH D. SPARKS grams can help children develop social and emotional skills in early childhood-but that there's still a need for more research on different artistic disciplines and on how arts can affect different groups of students. The review's authors found 18 articles published between 2000 and 2015 that focused on art and involved children between birth and age 8. Many of those articles had compelling findings about how exposure to the arts seems to benefit students socially and emotionally. For example, parents who sang to their children three times per week also reported that the children had stronger social skills. But there were few studies on how various arts affect some specific groups of children, including those who have disabilities, or those who are anxious or withdrawn, or on how different races, ages, or genders respond to the arts.  -JACLYN ZUBRZYCKI | OBITUARY | | TRANSITIONS | Robert L. Linn, a prominent scholar of educational assessment, died Dec. 8 of natural causes. He was 77. His death was announced by the education school at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where Linn was a distinguished professor emeritus, and the American Educational Research Association, of which he was a past president. Linn was also a founding co-director of the National Center on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, and advised numerous national boards and committees. He studied technical and policy issues relating to educational testing, including test bias and the effects of high-stakes testing on teaching and learning.  -DEBRA VIADERO Richard Crandall, a former Arizona legislator and Wyoming schools chief, is soon to become Colorado's education commissioner. Crandall has chaired the education committees in both the Arizona Senate and House. He was appointed in 2013 to head the Wyoming education department, a position that was ruled unconstitutional by the Wyoming Supreme Court. He is the founder and president of CN Resource, which provides oversight and audit services of federal child-nutrition programs for state education agencies. Mike Morath, a Dallas schools trustee and an investment manager, will lead the Texas Education Agency. A former computer science teacher, Morath was elected to the Dallas school board in 2011. He is the chairman of Morath Investments and recently served as the president of Minute Menu Systems, providing information systems to help manage a federal child-nutrition program. EDUCATION WEEK | January 6, 2016 | | 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 6, 2016

Education Week - January 6, 2016
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Wash. Ruling Could Inspire Charter Opponents Elsewhere
As New SAT Looms, Anxious Students Ramp Up Testing
Digital Directions: U.S. Ed-Tech Plan Calls Attention to ‘Digital-Use Divide’
Standards for Principals’ Bosses Sharpen Focus on Role
Blogs of the Week
Inside ESSA
High Stakes in Union-Fee Case Before Supreme Court
New K-12 Law Adds to Buzz as State Legislatures Set to Convene
Ed. Dept. Budget Sees Slight Boost In FY 2016 Deal
Blogs of the Week
Amanda VanDerHeyden, Matthew Burns, Rachel Brown, Mark R. Shinn, Stevan Kukic, Kim Gibbons, Ggeorge Batsche, & W. David Tilly: RTI Works (When It Is Implemented Correctly)
Ron Wolk: To Change Education, Change the Message
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Paul Herdman: As Feds Step Back, The First State Steps Up

Education Week - January 6, 2016