Education Week - January 13, 2016 - (Page 10)
Education Week Launches Premium Site for K-12 Companies
By Mark Walsh
Education Week has launched a new online
product aimed at providing more information to
education companies about the needs of schools.
EdWeek Market Brief is a membership service
that will deliver exclusive data and analysis on
the forces shaping school purchasing, especially
on educational technology.
"This is something we've been talking about
doing for quite a while-to develop a product
that helps the marketplace make better decisions about serving schools," said Kevin Bushweller, the executive editor of EdWeek Market
Brief. For years, he said, vendors, particularly
small- and medium-size ones, have lamented
the complex financial, logistical, and bureaucratic landscape that some argue stifles the flow
of new ed-tech products and innovative ideas
The market for digital products in pre-K-12
education is estimated to be some $8 billion
annually, with providers of curriculum, assessment, management systems, and other digital
tools promoting products to schools.
Bushweller said education leaders often
don't know how to judge the many products
marketed to them, while the business community often complains that school districts don't
communicate well about what they need, and
that procurement processes can be slow and
EdWeek Market Brief, he said, will be more
of a service than simply a Web publication, as
the site will offer data such as how the need
for products related to the Common Core State
Standards varies by region or district size, or
where the demand for content to serve Englishlanguage learners is greatest.
"This is original data analysis about subjects
that players in the market care about," Bushweller said.
The service-available at marketbrief.edweek.org-is a collaboration between Education Week's editorial team and its research
unit. Preliminary work on the service was supported, in part, by the Bill & Melinda Gates
Among the initial content on the site is a
report about how school districts are seeking
offerings, by Contributing Writer Michelle R.
Davis; an interview by Associate Editor Sean
Cavanagh with two leaders of the District of
Columbia school system about how companies
can best pilot-test their products in schools; and
a report by Staff Writer Michele Molnar on the
business opportunities created by the billions
of new dollars flowing into the federal E-rate
The new service represents a move by Education Week "to dip its toe into the waters of
premium products," Bushweller said. The charter membership fee is $795 a year per person,
though discounts are available for multiple
memberships in one organization.
The service is the latest foray for Education Week into new arenas. In August, its the
Bethesda, Md.-based nonprofit publisher, Editorial Projects in Education, acquired Learning Matters TV, the video-production company
founded by longtime PBS correspondent John
Merrow. The move has allowed Education Week
to expand its video storytelling and move into
broadcast-quality coverage of education, including producing segments for the "PBS NewsHour."
A new service from
includes an online
portal to a range of
news and analysis
about the school
Visit the EDUCATION AND THE MEDIA blog, which tracks news and
trends on this issue. www.edweek.org/blogs
Utah Adds New Twist
To Biliteracy Seal
Facebook CEO: Tell Young Women
To Be the Nerd, Not Date the Nerd
| LEARNING THE LANGUAGE | Utah is the 15th state to
adopt an official seal of biliteracy, an honor that promotes
bilingualism among K-12 students by offering special
recognition for graduates with fluency in two or more
But it may the first in one respect. Following the
recommendation of the nation's leading bilingual education
groups, Utah officials will establish a two-tier biliteracy seal to
separately honor advanced and intermediate speakers.
Using the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign
Languages' proficiency guidelines, the state will award
platinum seals to students who reach an "Advanced Mid"
level: speakers who "contribute to conversations on a variety
of familiar topics, dealt with concretely, with much accuracy,
clarity, and precision, and ... convey their intended message
without misrepresentation or confusion. They are readily
understood by native speakers unaccustomed to dealing with
Gold seals will go to students at the "Intermediate Mid"
level: those who are "able to express personal meaning
by creating with the language, in part by combining and
recombining known elements and conversational input to
produce responses typically consisting of sentences and
strings of sentences. Their speech may contain pauses,
reformulations, and self-corrections as they search for
adequate vocabulary and appropriate language. ... In spite
of the limitations in their vocabulary and/or pronunciation
and/or grammar and/or syntax, ... speakers are generally
understood by sympathetic interlocutors accustomed to
dealing with non-natives."
Utah will offer its biliteracy seals to students proficient in
English and one or more world languages or the indigenous
languages of Navajo or Ute. The honor is also available to
English-language learners, starting with the class of 2017,
said Gregg Roberts, a world-languages and dual-languageimmersion specialist with the state office of education.
Other states that offer biliteracy seals have toyed with the
idea of a two-tier system, but they face a quandary: Set the
bar for proficiency too low, and the honor loses some luster
because students aren't truly proficient in the language; or set
the bar too high and make the seal nearly unattainable.
"We want to make sure that students are truly achieving in
that second language," Roberts said.
| CURRICULUM MATTERS | Facebook commenters are
praising Mark Zuckerberg for his punchy comeback to a post
about a woman's advice to her granddaughters.
Darlene Hackemer Loretto responded to Zuckerberg's
New Year's status update saying she keeps telling her
granddaughters to "date the nerd in school, he may turn out
to be a Mark Zuckerberg!"
The co-founder and CEO of Facebook wrote back: "Even
better would be to encourage them to *be* the nerd in their
school so they can be the next successful inventor!"
BuzzFeed picked up on the string, and Loretto has since
responded that she encourages her granddaughters to
do well themselves, too. "I've done everything in my life
MYSELF, my children's dad died at a very young age, and
I did it all. Starting 2 businesses. I said it once to them in
jest and NEVER did I think anyone would even see this, let
alone get the attention it has gotten."
10 | EDUCATION WEEK | January 13, 2016 | www.edweek.org
New 'Star Wars' Character
Based on Beloved Teacher
| TEACHING NOW | Have you felt it? Not only has the Force
awoken, it's knocked back a few espressos and powerlifted an Imperial cruiser. The latest episode in the "Star
Wars" saga passed "Avatar" last week to become the
highest-grossing movie at the domestic box office ever.
One of the characters introduced in the movie is Maz
Kanata, a bar matron voiced by the Oscar-winning actress
Lupita Nyong'o. Kanata offers refuge and wisdom to the
movie's other heroes, but her basis is rooted in this galaxy:
the late California high school English teacher Rose Gilbert,
who taught both "The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams
and the movie's production designer, Rick Carter.
"Early in the movie's development, Abrams and Carter
discovered that they both had a mentor in the awardwinning and adored Palisades High School teacher,"
according to The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the
movie's concept-design book. "In tribute to Gilbert, characterconcept artists were tasked with creating Maz, whom our
heroes first encounter at an Exotic City bar that she runs."
You can see the influence of Gilbert in Maz's short frame
(Gilbert was 5 feet) and giant glasses. One would guess
there's also a good deal of Gilbert's personality in there,
too; she acts as a mix of sage and mentor.
An alumna of the University of California, Los Angeles,
Gilbert became a benefactor of the university, endowing
several awards and scholarships. She taught for more
than 50 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Abrams told California's Palisadian-Post that while
Gilbert "was always at the center of the inspiration for
Maz," they were unable to show their former teacher the
character design before she died in 2013.
'Child Genius' Is Back for Season 2
| EDUCATION AND THE MEDIA | A year ago, when the reality
competition show "Child Genius" had its first season on
the Lifetime channel, I called it a guilty pleasure that
was, in effect, the "revenge of the reality-show producers."
The producers shaped the stories around a group of oftenpushy parents and not-always-adorable 9- to 12-year-olds.
In the end, the likable Vanya Vivashankar of Olathe,
Kan., whose father was always beseeching her to stay
hydrated ("drink some water!") won the $100,000 firstplace scholarship prize.
Last week "Child Genius" returned to Lifetime for its
second season, which will run 10 weeks.
Once again, the students are drawn from public schools,
private schools, and home schooling. One boy is a musical
prodigy who has played piano at Carnegie Hall. And one
11-year-old girl has already written her first novel.
The format of the show remains the same as the first
season. The reality cameras follow the children and parents
around their homes and in backstage moments at the
competition site in Los Angeles. This footage is interspersed
with carefully selected segments of the competition, which
covers two subjects each week. Those include mathematics,
spelling, geography, current events, literature and the arts,
Earth science, and astronomy and space. The first episode
of second season, which tested math and memory, seemed
to have more of a high-pressure effect on some of the
contestants than any episode in the first season. At least
a couple appeared to suffer panic attacks, with one hiding
under a table rather than take the stage.
So, one does have pause about enjoying the show, on a
straightforward or guilty-pleasure level. But hey-school,
reality TV, and life are full of high-pressure tests, right? And
no one pushed these young people to participate in "Child
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
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