Education Week - January 9, 2013 - (Page 5)

EDUCATION WEEK n JANUARY 9, 2013 n 5 REPORTto these reports, go to For links ROUNDUP ny’s stock to education and health causes. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation, an organization that manages philanthropic donations, received 18 million shares of Facebook stock for a valuation of just under $500 million (though that valuation has varied since the company’s initial public offering in May). Mr. Zuckerberg made the announcement on his personal Facebook page last month without providing specifics on what the money would go toward beyond “education and health.” —JASON TOMASSINI DISCIPLINE AND ACHIEVEMENT “2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study” and “Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study” Study Unpacks Schools’ College-Going Rates “Do High School Graduates Enroll in Colleges That Maximize Their Chances of Success?” and “Do College Enrollment Rates Differ Across High Schools?” School Lunch Rules Revised Amid Criticism Caps on the amount of grain and protein in school meals—put in place just this school year— have been lifted for now. In a letter last month to Republican U.S. Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that because schools have found limits on servings of grains and proteins “the top operational challenge” of new school meal requirements, schools don’t have to follow them for the rest of the school year. The rules authorized under the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, limited schools’ ability to serve as much of what they wanted. For example, elementary schools that wanted to serve sandwiches every day could not because they would exceed caps on how many servings of grains students may have per week. The revised nutrition standards for school meals took effect at the start of the 2012-13 school year. The new rules boost the amount of fruits and vegetables students must be served, require bread products to contain whole grains, and for the first time set both minimum and maximum calorie requirements. —NIRVI SHAH Schools with discipline and safety problems are not conducive to high achievement, results from international math, reading, and science tests show. The results come from the “2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study,” or pirls in reading, administered to 4th graders, and the “Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study,” or timss, in math and science, administered to both 4th and 8th graders. In mathematics, science, and reading, test administrators found that students who attended schools with disorderly environments, and who reported more frequent bullying, had much lower achievement than their counterparts in safe, orderly schools. The good news: 61 percent of students attended schools with very few discipline or safety problems. —NIRVI SHAH Students who enter high school with the academic potential to attend a four-year college after graduation make very different choices about higher education based on the high school they attend, according to a new set of analyses by Harvard University’s Strategic Data Project. In their analysis, researchers from Harvard’s Center on Education Policy Research linked high school records to college enrollment data for students at public schools in Albuquerque, N.M.; Boston; Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; Fort Worth, Texas; Fulton and Gwinnett counties in Georgia, and Philadelphia. They found that, of students who showed academic potential—as judged by their cumulative high school gpas and math and verbal sat scores—18 percent enrolled in less-selective four-year colleges, two-year institutions or no higher education at all. Students who chose less-selective colleges were less likely to continue through to earn a diploma. “These are people who are clearly poised for success and are not clearly moving into it,” said Jon Fullerton, the center’s executive director. Highperforming students may be choosing apprenticeships or vocational programs that don’t require a four-year degree, he said, but they could also have trouble navigating the college-selection and financial aid processes in order to attend more selective four-year programs. In a separate analysis, researchers found widely disparate college-going rates for different high schools within each district, from a 28-percentage-point spread in Fort Worth to an 89-percentage-point spread in Philadelphia. While schools with higher standardized test scores, on average, sent more students to college four years later, a different picture emerged when researchers disaggregated students into quartiles based on their academic preparation in 8th grade. In general, students who entered high school in the top 25 percent of the district academically had a 65 percent change of enrolling in a four-year college after high school, researchers found—but in Albuquerque, Charlotte, and Gwinnett County, the college-going chances of top-quartile students increased to more than 80 percent. Within districts, lower-performing students in some schools had better chances to go on to a four-year college than top performers in other schools. In the 93,000-student Fulton County district, guidance counselors were surprised at the gap between college acceptance and enrollment rates. In response, six county high schools piloted a summer program to keep students on track to college by helping them find a college, financial aid, housing, and required freshman courses. Educators also surveyed graduates on why they delayed or decided against college. The district’s on-time college enrollment rate for disadvantaged students has since risen by 10 percentage points; enrollment in four-year colleges rose by 9 percentage points, the researchers found. —SARAH D. SPARKS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT “Effects of the Pacific CHILD Professional Development Program” scored on average 634.3 on a standardized test of reading comprehension, compared with the 629 average score of children in nonparticipating schools. —SARAH D. SPARKS Ex-Schools Chief To Sue W.Va. Board West Virginia’s former schools superintendent, Jorea Marple, plans to sue the state board of education for what her lawyers are calling her illegal dismissal, and they will ask for “serious” damages, the attorneys said last week. The lawyers representing the longtime educator said in a letter to the board that they would seek for Ms. Marple to be reinstated to her job with back pay, as well as damages for what they describe as harm to her reputation. The board dismissed her Nov. 15, citing lagging student performance and a desire to “head in a new direction with new leadership.” A petition filed with the state supreme court in November alleges that the board violated West Virginia’s open-meetings law A teacher-training program called the Pacific Communities with High Performance in Literacy Development, or Pacific child , improved reading and comprehension skills of 4th and 5th grade students, according to a new study. For the study, researchers from the U.S. Department of Education’s Regional Educational Laboratory for the Pacific region randomly assigned 45 schools in Hawaii, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, representing more than 3,000 students, to receive either intensive teacher training in 4th and 5th grades through the Pacific child program, or conduct business as usual. Teachers in participating schools significantly improved their teaching knowledge and practice, researchers found, and that growth translated into better student reading achievement. In 5th grade, researchers found the students of participating teachers in Hawaii and the Northern Mariana Islands >> each week for anyone they knew. At the trial’s end, the students who had performed kind acts garnered more new friends than those who had visited places—about 1.6 new friends on average, compared with 0.7 for the other group. —S.D.S. to become involved in violent crime, do drugs, or become parents as teenagers. Community engagement and educational attainment were on the upswing. —S.D.S. STUDENT BEHAVIOR “Kindness Counts: Prompting Prosocial Behavior in Preadolescents Boosts Peer Acceptance and Well-Being” ABSENTEEISM CHILDREN AND POVERTY “2012 National Child and Youth Well-Being Index” “Truancy in New Mexico: Attendance Matters.” Mean girls and bullies may sit at the top of the classroom pecking order in Hollywood, but a new study suggests in real life, kindness is linked to popularity among 9- to 11-year-old students. Researchers, led by Kristin Layous, of the University of California, Riverside, observed 415 students in that age group in 19 classrooms in Vancouver, British Columbia, over four weeks. At the start, students reported on their own life satisfaction, happiness, and positivity, and then picked from a roster of names the classmates they would “like to be in school activities [i.e., spend time] with.” For the next four weeks, students were asked to either visit three places of interest to them or to perform three acts of kindness America’s children and their families are showing greater resilience and support in the face of a rise in poverty that has now wiped out the historic financial gains of the 1990s, according to the Foundation for Child Development’s annual child well-being index. The New York City-based group announced last month that overall child well-being is up more than 5 percent both from 2001 and the index’s beginning a generation ago, in 1975. The index is a composite of 28 indicators of children’s environmental and economic environments and behaviors. Kenneth C. Land, the index’s lead researcher, found improvements were driven primarily by the children themselves: They were less likely than in past years Nearly one in seven public-school students in New Mexico was considered habitually truant last year—meaning he or she accumulated at least 10 days of unexcused absences—according to a new report. The report, prepared by researchers from the University of New Mexico Center for Education Policy Research, in Albuquerque, was presented to state lawmakers last month. It noted that 51,034 of the roughly 338,220 students in the study—about 15 percent— were habitually truant last year. Workers in New Mexico who haven’t earned a high school diploma make an average of $16,000 a year, which impacts the state’s economic well-being, according to the report, which also links truancy to poor reading and math skills. –ASSOCIATED PRESS For links to these reports, go to when it fired Ms. Marple. The board has since hired James Phares for the job, a former district superintendent. Two board members, Priscilla Haden and Jenny Phillips, voted against Ms. Marple’s firing and resigned late last month over her dismissal and how it was handled. —ASSOCIATED PRESS Standards-Test Group Lists Tech Guidelines One of the two consortia designing tests for the Common Core State Standards has released new guidance on the minimum technology standards states will need to meet to give those tests, beginning in 2014-15. The Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers said the guidance, unveiled Dec. 21, is meant to provide direction to states and districts on the extent to which current technology meets testing standards, or whether upgrades will be required. It includes details on test secu- rity, allowable devices, and operating-system requirements. Earlier this month, the other group leading states toward the development of tests to match the common core, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, released similar technology requirements and recommendations for 2014-15. –S.C.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 9, 2013

Education Week - January 9, 2013
State Lawmakers Gear for Action On Broad K-12 Issues Menu
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Teachers Seek Specialized Peer Networks
Shootings Revive Debates on Security
Student-Press Ruling Resonates From 1988
News in Brief
Report Roundup
FOCUS ON: INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE: IB Supporters Tout Program’s Links With Common Core
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Federal Effort Aims to Bridge Ed. Tech., Learning Sciences
U.S. Students Exceed International Average, But Lag Some Asian Nations in Math, Science
New Global Results Spark Questions On Finland’s Standing
Head Start Gains Found to Fade By 3rd Grade in Latest Study
Testing Group Selects Exam to Gauge ‘College Readiness’
State Chiefs Pledge Teacher Prep, Licensing Upgrades
Blogs of the Week
Post-Tragedy, Difficult Choices Loom
At Sandy Hook, Grim Day Unfolds
Legal, Logistical Concerns Seen In Call to Arm Adults
Tragedy Sets Off Fresh Debate Over Federal Gun-Policy Role
Advocates Worry Shootings Will Deepen Autism’s Stigma
K-12 Aid Outlook Murky, Despite ‘Cliff’ Deal
District Race to Top Winners Split $400 Million Pot
Policy Brief
Top State Ed. Positions Turn Over as Year Ends
CAROLYN LUNSFORD MEARS: After the Tragedy, What Next?
DAVID YOUNG & J.B. BUXTON: Language Education We Can Use
W. JAMES POPHAM: Formative Assessment’s ‘Advocatable Moment’
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JEFFREY R. HENIG: Reading the Future of Education Policy

Education Week - January 9, 2013