Education Week - January 13, 2016 - (Page 1)

Education Week VOL. 35, NO. 17 * JANUARY 13, 2016 AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2016 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 4  REVERSING A RAW DEAL The struggle to bring affordable high-speed Internet to rural schools BRE AKING NEWS DAILY Feds to K-12: Ensure Safety For Muslims Rural schools are often charged outrageous rates for lousy Internet service. This special multimedia reporting project from Education Week investigates whether big changes coming from Washington, including billions of new federal dollars and a menu of market-based reforms recently approved by the FCC, are likely to fix the problem. The full interactive stories are online at, and the print package begins on Page 11. Some Students Feel Targeted As Terrorism Fears Tick Up By Evie Blad Swikar Patel/Education Week Carolyn Nelson is the lone teacher at New Mexico's Glenwood Elementary School, one of the many rural schools struggling to access affordable broadband. See Page 13. As public fears about terrorism hit their highest levels in a decade and anti-Islamic sentiment surges, schools should take extra steps to ensure that Muslim, immigrant, and refugee students feel safe and free from discrimination, the U.S. Department of Education said last week. Schools are always obligated under federal civil rights laws to respond to harassment and bullying of all students, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or national origin, the agency said in a "Dear Colleague" letter. But that obligation is especially important "at this time when fear and anger are heightened, and when public debate sometimes results in the dissemination of misinformation," said the letter, signed by the department's former secretary, Arne Duncan, and its acting secretary, John King. That urging from federal officials comes as a recent Gallup poll shows that American concern about terrorism reached its highest point in 10 years after the mass shootings in Paris and in San Bernardino, Calif., which were both linked to Muslim extremism. In the wake of those shootings, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed temporarily barring Muslims from traveling to the United States, and some lawmakers and political candidates supported a halt on the resettlement of refugees from Syria. Civil rights groups, meanwhile, have been School Revenue Squeezed in Oil, Coal States By Daarel Burnette II Reeling from drastic midyear cuts after they grossly miscalculated expected revenues amid falling oil prices and troubles in the coal industry, legislators in several mineral-dependent states, including Alaska and Oklahoma, are set to debate alternative revenue sources for state school aid. Those could include revisions to their school funding formulas or even constitutional changes to allow educators to pull more money from rainy-day funds in response to revenue TION ELEC 2016 shortfalls specifically tied to energy prices. During the energy boom of the last decade, when a barrel of oil cost close to $100, school administrators in energy-producing states built football fields and gleaming new schools. They also gave teachers big bonuses as incentives to move to rural areas with surging enrollments. But with oil now costing barely $35 a barrel, the situation has changed. The current decline has gone on much longer than economists predicted, and some projections say it could last until 2020. "It's not just tax revenue from oil and gas companies that's hurting these states," said Richard C. Auxier, a research associate at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute. "It's that oil and gas have become such a big part of their economy. The drop is affecting the state's income and property tax, too. People aren't making as much, and so they're not spending as much. So much in these states is tied to that industry." Governors in at least eight states are expected to propose a series of cuts in the coming weeks that would more than likely alter the PAGE 22 > Education Still Struggling for Traction as Campaign Issue By Andrew Ujifusa School policy-already an underdog topic in the 2016 presidential campaign-could be further marginalized as an issue by recent developments in Washington, not the least of which is the newly minted Every Student Succeeds Act, which is expected to scale back the direct federal role in K-12 education. None of the 15 current candidates in ei- ther major party can claim personal credit for helping the No Child Left Behind Act's successor over the finish line late last year. And the new law resolves, at least for the next several years, some big questions about federal power over such issues as testing and teacher evaluations. "If education was going to get any traction in presidential politics, it was going to be over reconsideration of what we had to do PAGE 16 > about NCLB," said William Howell, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago who has studied federal education policy. "But that horse has left the barn." Also, unlike eight years ago, there's no "ED in '08" in the works. That campaign was an 18-month, $25 million effort financed jointly by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and PAGE 22 > Tracking the Progress Of Digital Learning This special report-the latest installment in an ongoing series about educational technology-outlines the progress schools are making to put in place digitally driven personalized-learning programs that help K-12 students reach their academic and career goals. See the pullout section opposite Page 16.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 13, 2016

Education Week - January 13, 2016
Education Still Struggling for Traction as Campaign Issue
School Revenue Squeezed in Oil, Coal States
Feds to K-12: Ensure Safety For Muslims
Report Roundup
News in Brief
Political Winds Buffet Tenn.’s Achievement School District
Charter Sector to Get $1 Billion Boost From Walton
In the ‘Chess Capital’ of St. Louis, Game Takes Root in Poor Districts
Blogs of the Week
Education Week Launches Premium Site for K-12 Companies
The Slowest Internet in Mississippi
Rural Schools, Telecoms Battle Over Internet Pricing
‘Washington Gave Us Leverage’
Amid Its Own Changes, Research Office Gears Up for New ESSA Duties
Education Department Begins to Scope Out ESSA-Era Role
Blogs of the Week
Own the ‘Messy Dress’ of Scholarship
Stick to the Truth
Embrace the ‘Hurly Burly’
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Edu-Scholars and the Public Square: What Is Our Responsibility?

Education Week - January 13, 2016