Education Week - January 8, 2014 - (Page 22)

LETTERS to the EDITOR Sustained Support Needed To Improve Indian Schools To the Editor: 1/2 col-H I read with great interest your recent look at American Indian education ("Education in Indian Country: Obstacles and Opportunity," Dec. 4, 2013). The organization where I work, the Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education, or CORE, knows firsthand the issues involved in Indian education because we provide ongoing technical assistance to the schools on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. The expectations are high for these schools, and the many leaders involved want desperately to transform the quality of education in them. However, the bureaucratic funding structures often hamper rather than support improvement. Many schools have limited direct access to their funds, and the time it takes to get funds released results in long delays of support. For the Pine Ridge schools, weather is a decided factor. Even recently, our consultants could not get to the sites to provide assistance because school was closed for snow. This problem results in a loss of learning time for students and educators. Teachers and leaders need extensive assistance and coaching, yet they do not receive it. When new materials come to them, the preparation given to teachers is limited at best; we know this directly from our work at these schools. This would not be the case at many of the nation's more affluent sites, where teachers receive many days of coaching support and training when they implement new programs. What makes this situation even sadder is that the teachers and administrators want this assistance, but funding and/or specific grant expectations beyond instruction may limit a school's ability to get what it needs. We work with the division of performance and accountability within the federal Bureau of Indian Education, the BIE's associate directors, and tribal and building leadership guiding these schools. They are amazing and dedicated individuals who deserve more. Action, not just intent, is what is needed. Unless these schools- teachers and administrators alike-get intensive and sustained support, the likelihood that academic achievement will improve is illusory. NEW TO EDUCATION WEEK PRESS Linda Diamond Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education Berkeley, Calif. Indiana Dean Questions NCTQ Research Standards To the Editor: I was pleased to see "An Open Letter to the NCTQ" (Dec. 11, 2013) by Michigan State University education school Dean Donald Heller and his colleagues Avner Segall and Corey Drake. The Commentary laid out why Michigan State decided not to participate in the second round of the National Council on Teacher Quality's teacher-preparation study. The reasons given explain 1/5 col-H why: The NCTQ study is based on what many have described as a "fatally flawed" methodology. For that reason alone, we at Indiana University decided not to voluntarily participate in NCTQ studies. A flawed methodology always produces invalid results. But there's another reason why Indiana will not participate: We NEW TO EDUCATION WEEK PRESS From bestselling author of The Book Whisperer DONALYN MILLER Develop five key reading habits that cultivate a lifelong love of reading. AVAILABLE NOW 22 | EDUCATION WEEK | January 8, 2014 | Develop five key reading habits that cultivate a lifelong love of reading. From bestselling author of The Book Whisperer DONALYN MILLER AVAILABLE NOW feel that the NCTQ is engaged in unethical research practices. They have threatened institutions that decline to participate with low ratings, use of previous low ratings, and acquisition of documents through paid student informants and other deceptive means. With the support of our faculty and as dean of the Indiana University School of Education, I have taken the position that unless the NCTQ submits its methodology for credible institutional-reviewboard approval and seeks informed consent from potential institutional participants, IU will not participate. Coercion or the threat of sanctions for nonparticipation in a study, whether overt or implied, have no place in research, no matter the goal. From our perspective, voluntary participation in a study known to engage in unethical practices undermines the very essence of the values we seek to impart to graduate students and others we prepare as researchers. I believe institutions of higher education have a fundamental responsibility to speak freely and forcefully on controversial ideas and practices that undermine our core values, even when our positions are not especially popular. As Kate Walsh's response to the Michigan State Commentary shows, the NCTQ will try to build public support for its flawed studies by lauding their goals and characterizing critiques of their methodology as a red herring ("NCTQ Responds to Critics of Its Teacher-Prep Ratings,", Dec. 12, 2013). But in this case, as in so many other facets of life, the ends do not justify the means. The end result of the NCTQ methodology is unethical and invalid research. Gerardo M. Gonzalez Professor and Dean School of Education Indiana University Bloomington, Ind. Great School Leaders Attract Top Teachers To the Editor: Your article "Transferring Top Teachers Has Benefits," (Nov. 13, 2013) represents a conundrum for a promising strategy for school reform. The article, reporting the results of a study, notes that "the transfer of top elementary teachers to lowachieving schools can help boost students' performance, but there's a catch: getting them to agree to move." Although these teachers were found to have a higher impact on student achievement, it was difficult to attract a pool of these highly effective teachers despite the substantial bonuses offered in the study. So if the incentives of higher pay and increased impact do not attract the teachers we sorely need, what can districts do to attract more highly effective teachers to the students who need them most? We must ensure that there is a highly effective principal at the helm of these schools, capable of strong instructional leadership. Recent research has shown that leadership actions of highly effective principals can address the challenges raised in the article: Effective principals not only recruit and retain effective teachers, they also improve the effectiveness of the teachers they have through consistently providing constructive feedback to continuously improve instruction for all teachers. A 2012 study by TNTP (The New Teacher Project) on "irreplaceable" teachers in Washington found that keeping top teachers requires strong school leadership and school cultures that support effective teaching. Principals have to be able to shape a unified vision of high expectations for all students and chart a clear path that involves the collective wisdom and effort of all teachers to achieve this outcome. Sarah Almy, the director of teacher quality for the Education Trust, is quoted in the article: "We hear that even if teachers have what it takes and they're motivated [to transfer], they don't want to be there all by themselves banging their head against the wall." The key to eliminating this futile, frustrating experience of finding and keeping good teachers is having in each school a leader capable of creating a whole-school culture where high expectations for teaching and learning are a priority. John Jenkins Vice President of Programs School Leaders Network New York, N.Y. COMMENTARY POLICY Education Week takes no editorial positions, but publishes opinion essays and letters from outside contributors in its Commentary section. For information about submitting an essay or letter for review, visit Privacy Concerns Often Ignored by Reformers To the Editor: A sentence in your recent article on data collection and student privacy ("Group's Model Bill Aims to Protect Privacy of Student Data," Dec. 11, 2013) seems extraordinarily accurate. The excerpt in question: "Other advocacy groups and industry representatives ... praised the efforts as good first steps, but expressed concern over a lack of substantive details, particularly when it comes to placing limits on the noneducational uses of student data by third-party vendors." My organization, Restore Oklahoma Public Education, or ROPE, has studied student privacy in conjunction with education "reform" measures for several years now. As a consequence of our research, we have become increasingly alarmed at the amount of data being collected under the auspices of education "reform" and the lack of student privacy accompanying this push. In early 2012, we approached state Rep. David Brumbaugh, a Republican, to author legislation requiring parental consent for data collected through K-12 public schools. His bill, HB 1989, delivered just that. The parentalconsent provision was later stripped, however. Though we believe it is important for the state to be transparent with parents regarding data-collection practices, we believe our children will neither be protected from the onslaught of cloud-based data mining currently occurring within district schools, nor from the amount of student-level datasharing presently occurring at the state and federal levels, until parental consent becomes the primary issue. We find it unfortunate this particular bill has become the touchstone for a model American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, bill. In our estimation, this bill epitomizes the frustration felt by ordinary citizens-such as those in ROPE-who try to effect governmental change in order to provide protections to their children that the government itself has not upheld. While we appreciate the efforts of our legislators, until the citizens they serve become the primary voices in legislation such as this, these kinds of bills will protect no one but the entities in power-those from whom we seek protection. Jenni White President Restore Oklahoma Public Education Arcadia, Okla. Edito 2 Lin Editor one fu 120 ch 4 lines XXslu EW ST EW LE DESIGN DO NO

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 8, 2014

Education Week - January 8, 2014
State Legislators Fire Up Engines
Inspections Piloted for Teacher Prep
Student Views Shifting on Risks Of Marijuana
L.A. School Bridges Home-School Gap
InBloom Sputters as Data Privacy Hits the Spotlight
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Fariña to Lead N.Y.C. Public Schools
Judge Censures District’s Use of ‘Hess Report’
Los Angeles, D.C. Outshine Urban Peers in NAEP Gains
Blogs of the Week
Cloud Computing Expands, Raising Data-Privacy Concerns
Congressional Appropriators Turn To K-12 Spending Details
Rural Districts Win Big in Race To Top Awards
States Split Latest Pot of Early-Learning Aid
Blogs of the Week
ERIC A. HANUSHEK: Why the U.S. Results on PISA Matter
ROBERT WEINTRAUB & DAVID WEINTRAUB: Why Arne Duncan’s PISA Comments Miss the Mark
JACK DALE: Learning From a Test
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
PETER W. COOKSON JR.: Looking for Equity on the Yellow School Bus

Education Week - January 8, 2014