Education Week - January 7, 2015 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2015 Editorial Projects in Education * $4 Despite Monitoring, Ed. School Closures Are Rare Analysis By Stephen Sawchuk finds states reluctant to suspend faltering teacher-prep programs When Michigan officials suspended six teacher education programs at Lake Superior State University in 2012, citing poor licensing-test scores and other problems, the action sparked a period of soul-searching for the university's top brass. And it made for painful conversations with the school's current and prospective teacher-candidates. But it was also a needed wake-up call, according to Donna Fiebelkorn, the assistant dean of the education school. "My sense is that if there had not been some external force, things would not have changed," said Ms. Fiebelkorn, who arrived at the school, in Sault Ste. Marie, just months before the programs were suspended. Amid the intense recent policy interest in educator quality, the list of proposed remedies for improving teacher preparation has grown long. It ranges from using performance assessments to measure candidates' classroom skill, to giving prospective teachers higher doses of hands-on "clinical" training in K-12 schools, to setting up charterschool-like preparation academies outside traditional teacher colleges. Yet what has been all but ignored in such discussions is the crucial role that states play in auditing existing providers -and the power they have to PAGE 13 > DIFFUSE CRITERIA: Teacher-prep approval systems are seen as lacking clarity. PAGE 12 VOL. 34, NO. 15 * JANUARY 7, 2015 BREAKING NEWS DAILY TEACHING THE TEACHERS An occasional series ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: BALANCING ACT: A New York college's reprieve reveals conflicts. PAGE 12 Fla. Wins Reprieve In Testing of ELLs By Corey Mitchell The U.S. Department of Education has granted Florida flexibility in how it assesses English-language learners, bringing an end to a months-long dispute between the federal agency and state officials that had included a threat from Gov. Rick Scott to file a lawsuit. Federal officials last month agreed to Florida's request to give its ell students two years in a U.S. school before factoring their scores on annual English/language arts and mathematics tests into school grades. Florida had sought the two-year testing timeline as part of its waiver from some requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The change contradicts federal rules that demand all children be counted equally in accountability measures. This also marks the first time that the Education Department is relenting on the PAGE 18 > In Class, Soft Noises Found to Distract Students from William Penn Senior High School in York, Pa., protest last month against plans to convert their district's schools to charters. District's Distress Prompts All-Charter Plan By Denisa R. Superville The financially strapped and academically challenged York city school system in Pennsylvania could become the state's first where all schools are run by a charter organization, after a county judge approved a state request to appoint a receiver to take charge of the nearly 7,500-student district. The receiver, David G. Meckley, who has been serving as the district's chief recovery officer since 2012, says he wants to transfer Politics, Fiscal Issues Set Up Pa. Aid Fight By Andrew Ujifusa In November's Republican-dominated elections, the Pennsylvania governor's race was a big outlier, and the implications for public school spending in the Keystone State are just the management of the schools to an outside agency because the local school board has not been following a recovery plan it approved in 2013. Observers are watching closely what happens in York, a city of some 44,000 people located about 100 miles west of Philadelphia. "This is very much an exceptional case as you look around the country, but I would add a big asterisk to that," said Nelson Smith, a senior adviser for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. "When you By Sarah D. Sparks It's easy to understand why learning may sufthink about the number of districts that are both in financial distress and also have persistently low achievement in at least some of their schools, you might see states taking [these] actions more frequently." The Dec. 26 order by President Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh of the York County Court of Common Pleas drew an immediate appeal by the school district and pledges from the local teachers' union to do the same. Mr. Meckley, meanwhile, has begun a three-year PAGE 11 > fer when the teacher's voice has to compete with a passing 747, but emerging research suggests that quieter noises can have varied effects on student learning and memory. "It doesn't take very much sound to really be detrimental to the listeners," said Gail M. Whitelaw, the director of the Ohio State University SpeechLanguage-Hearing Clinic in Columbus. "So much of school is auditory, oral learning, and one of the things we know is sound can create more issues with kids with anxiety and attention." Low or barely perceptible sound-be it from a lecture in the classroom next door, a heating system PAGE 16 > starting to play out. The Democratic victor, newly elected Gov. Tom Wolf, made support for increased school spending a centerpiece of a campaign that ousted incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett, the only Republican governor who won a seat in 2010, but then lost it in 2014. Now, Pennsylvania joins Nevada and Georgia as states with momentum building to overhaul school funding. In Pennsylvania, which has the nation's sixth-largest public school enrollment according to recent federal statistics, official efforts got under way prior to Mr. Wolf's election to change the K-12 funding system. The debate moves now to the gop-controlled state legislature, which was set to reconvene Jan. 6. In Nevada, a legislative task force last June recommended switching to a weighted funding formula that would direct more resources to English-language learners and low-income students. And in Georgia, gop Gov. Nathan Deal has expressed a desire to revamp education spending. But unlike in those two states, where there is one-party, gop rule, Pennsylvania faces obstacles to achieving that broadly shared objective that other states don't. Mr. Wolf may face a fight with Republicans, who increased their majorities in the state legislature two months ago and could be interested in attaching other policy changes to PAGE 25 > Jason Plotkin/Daily Record/Sunday News

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 7, 2015

Education Week - January 7, 2015
Despite Monitoring, Ed. School Closures Are Rare
District’s Distress Prompts All-Charter Plan
Fla. Wins Reprieve in Testing of ELLs
Politics, Fiscal Issues Set Up Pa. Aid Fight
In Class, Soft Noises Found to Distract
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Museum Promotes Study Of Onlookers’ Roles in Holocaust
For Integrating STEM, Experts Recommend Teaching Nanocscience
Schools Can Bill Medicaid for More Health Services, Agency Says
Schools Weigh Impact of New Challenge to Health Law
Blogs of the Week
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: E-Rate Is Undergoing Major Policy and Budget Upgrades
Teacher-Prep Review Processes Seen to Lack Clarity
N.Y. Officials Balked at Closing Ed. Schools Despite Problems
Added Waiver Leeway for Some States
Harkin’s Deep Imprint as Feisty Progressive Seen in Federal Policy
Leaving the Stage: U.S. Rep. George Miller Reflects
Ed. Dept. Probing Claim of Racial Disparity in N.Y. Funding
Advocates Cheer White House On Early-Years Spending
Blogs of the Week
HUNTER GEHLBACH: The Power of Small Interventions
FRED ZILIAN: Remember That the Humanities Keep Us Human
THOMAS BONNELL: The Importance of Grasping The Moral Threshold
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JAMES R. DELISLE: Differentiation Doesn’t Work

Education Week - January 7, 2015