Education Week - January 6, 2016 - (Page 5)
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
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
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
Paez said that he took the complaints seriously, followed protocol,
and cooperated with state agencies
to conduct thorough investigations.
Corrective actions were taken, he
-DENISA R. SUPERVILLE
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
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
Tyner says the Mississippi education department initially advised
"The Impact of Teacher Demographic
Representation on Student Attendance and
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
-SARAH D. SPARKS
"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
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
'Nick News' Ends
"Nick News with Linda Ellerbee," a news show for children on
the Nickelodeon cable channel that
debuted 25 years ago, has aired its
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.
Signs of Dyslexia Emerge Before 1st Grade, Study Says
"Achievement Gap in Reading Is Present
Early as 1st Grade and Persists in
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.
"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
Association, of which he was a
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.
Richard Crandall, a former Arizona
legislator and Wyoming schools chief,
is soon to become Colorado's education
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
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 | www.edweek.org | 5
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 6, 2016
Education Week - January 6, 2016
News in Brief
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
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