Education Week - January 13, 2016 - (Page 27)

LETTERS to the EDITOR State Support for Special-Needs Students Would Supplement ESSA To the Editor: Now that the Every Student Succeeds Act has been signed into federal law as the newest edition of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the hard work at the state level begins ("President Signs ESEA Rewrite, Giving States, Districts Bigger Say on Policy," Politics K-12 blog,, Dec. 10, 2015). As a special educator and researcher of early literacy interventions for students with (or at risk for) disabilities, I believe the right structures must be put in place to ensure this vulnerable population is prepared for college and careers. Together, students with learning disabilities or emotional disturbances represent up to 40 percent of the school-age population who receive special education. Research tells us that one of the major barriers to academic success for this student population is its difficulty with reading. Many students with learning disabilities or emotional disturbances have reading deficits and perform one to two years behind grade level at a minimum. Policymakers and educators should consider the implications for such students and offer enhanced standards for reading, writing, and higher expectations. Research also shows a connection between students' reading difficulties, attitude, and behavior. On one hand, problem behavior can cause academic failure; on the other, poor academic performance can lead to an increase in problem behavior. Bottom line: If learning disabilities are not caught early and the right interventions employed, the challenges for students with such disabilities, or with emotional disturbances, only multiply and worsen. In addition to task-analyzing and breaking down standards into small chunks with accommodations and modifications, these students need intensive and evidencebased interventions that allow them to master skills like reading, writing, and math. The right supports and interventions should be used- and funded at the local level-to help all students succeed. Yes, every student can achieve. best students liberated and challenged by the option of writing creatively. Anyone-gifted or struggling-can tell a story, and anyone can write a poem. If we limit students to writing nonfiction in the classroom in response to the requirements of standardized writing tests, we will miss precious opportunities to develop critical thinking, character, and creativity. Mike Miller Teacher English Department Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Alexandria, Va. Much Like Students, ESSA Needs Freedom To Fail, and Then Improve To the Editor: In response to the article "ESSA's Flexibility on Assessment Elicits Qualms From Testing Experts" (www., Dec. 18, 2015), I would like to encourage administrators to think outside the box when it comes to applying the increased freedoms allowed by the Every Student Succeeds Act to shape learning standards and performance measures. When standardized high-stakes testing defines which teacher, district, or state is deemed a success, the process of learning is not valued in the classroom. We must remember that the final answer to a question on a standarized test is not always the last word on a subject. We know that a student's road to successful mastery of a topic is not linear-the process involves taking risks, discovering how to pivot and regroup, and accepting failure as a learning tool. This reboot of the law that guides education in America allows school districts to rethink how students learn and are evaluated. When students work through mistakes or disappointments, they gain the confidence and maturity that will allow them to become more mindful and successful in their lives to come. If we give students room to fail, we give them room to grow. The same is true for the evaluation of students' knowledge: The process of creating successful assessment tools should be valued as much as-and sometimes more than-the end results of single assessments. Stephanie Al Otaiba Antonio Viva Professor Simmons School of Education and Human Development Southern Methodist University Dallas, Texas Head of School Walnut Hill School for the Arts Natick, Mass. ESSA Overlooks the Importance Of Creative Writing in the Classroom To the Editor: The Every Student Succeeds Act, while an improvement over No Child Left Behind, will likely do little to fundamentally change the way students prepare for standardized writing tests. All children may succeed, perhaps, but only if they write nonfiction. Conventional wisdom has long dictated that students must write nonfiction prose in order to do well on, or even pass, standardized writing tests. Look through most test-prep books or websites and you'll find only one flavor of exemplary writing: nonfiction prose. This narrow definition of successful writing excludes too many student writers, especially those who do their best thinking and writing in alternative genres. Limiting classroom instruction to nonfiction essays can limit students to a prefabricated writing style that curtails their written exploration of topics. In following central narratives or protagonists, student writers of fiction tend to bring more depth and focus to their responses than do those who write five-paragraph essays. Creative writers introduce counterarguments through the voices of different characters. Such authors are better able to see issues from multiple perspectives because they write from viewpoints different from their own, and they often arrive at more sophisticated conclusions than those students who write nonfiction essays only from their personal experiences. Students who craft free-verse poetry are already a far distance from formulaic essay-style writing. Of course, creative writing does not guarantee high test scores. But teachers of remedial students may find they can re-engage reluctant writers with an invitation to write poetry or tell stories. Teachers of the gifted may find their PRESIDENT & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Virginia B. Edwards EXECUTIVE EDITOR Gregory Chronister MANAGING EDITOR Kathleen Kennedy Manzo DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Charles Borst ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITORS Mark W. Bomster, Kevin C. Bushweller, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Swikar Patel Lesli A. Maxwell, Anthony Rebora, Debra Viadero ASSISTANT VIDEO PRODUCER Doyle Maurer COMMENTARY EDITOR Elizabeth Rich SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Karen Diegmueller, M. Sandra Reeves ONLINE NEWS EDITOR Stacey Decker ASSOCIATE EDITORS Sean Cavanagh, Catherine Gewertz, Stephen Sawchuk MULTIMEDIA PRODUCER Deanna Del Ciello ASSISTANT EDITORS Liana Heitin, Alyson Klein, Christina A. Samuels, Sarah D. Sparks, Andrew Ujifusa ASSISTANT COMMENTARY EDITOR I offer an updated version as a comment on the new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act: When Congress passes Every Student Is Well-Fed, Every Student Has Proper Health Care, and No Student Is Left Homeless, Then we can talk seriously about "Every Student Succeeds." Stephen Krashen Professor Emeritus Rossier School of Education University of Southern California Los Angeles, Calif. 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 ONLINE INTERN Sam Milton MULTIMEDIA INTERN Margaret Lovey Cooper STAFF WRITERS Evie Blad, Daarel Burnette II, Benjamin Herold, Corey Mitchell, Michele Molnar, Arianna Prothero, Denisa R. Superville MANAGING EDITOR, Education Week Teacher CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Caralee Adams, Kathryn Baron, Ross Brenneman, ASSISTANT EDITOR, Education Week Teacher Ross Brenneman Michelle R. Davis, Jackie Mader, Lillian Mongeau, Bryan Toporek, Mark Walsh, Jaclyn Zubrzycki INTERNS, Education Week Teacher Kristine Kim, Elisha McNeil EDITORIAL INTERNS Leo Doran, Alex Lenkei, Margaret Yap DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMING, LIVE AND VIRTUAL EVENTS Matthew Cibellis LIVE AND VIRTUAL EVENTS INTERNS Crystal Chan, Valerie Snaman, Suzanna Steele CREATIVE DIRECTOR Laura Baker Anthony Rebora SUPERVISING VIDEO PRODUCER, New York Bureau David Wald SENIOR VIDEO PRODUCER AND CORRESPONDENT John Tulenko VIDEO PRODUCERS Cat McGrath, Jessica Windt VIDEO ADMINISTRATION AND COMMUNICATIONS Amanda Morales, Carmen Rojas ART DIRECTOR Gina Tomko ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR Vanessa Solis DESIGNERS Marty Barrick, Francis Sheehan PUBLISHER & GENERAL MANAGER Michele J. Givens ACCOUNTING MANAGER Desireé Ford ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Scott McGee, Valerie Saba HR MANAGER Melissa McCurry DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Angela Morales JUNIOR ACCOUNTANT Lindsey Eggleston EVENTS ASSOCIATE Ryanne Waters ACCOUNTING INTERN LaKesha Campbell TOPSCHOOLJOBS SENIOR MARKETING ASSOCIATE Kera Tyler CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Jill J. Nelson CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER Chris Hansford TECHNOLOGY MANAGER Aaron Aleiner ASSISTANT MANAGER OF TECHNOLOGY Hind Alaasemi DIRECTOR OF AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Stefanie Hemmingson PRINT & ONLINE AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT DIGITAL CONTENT SALES AND MARKETING To the Editor: A comment on Common Core State Standards critic Susan Ohanian's well-known 2006 quote about the old education law, the No Child Left Behind Act: When Congress passes No Child Left Unfed, No Child Without Health Care, and No Child Left Homeless, Then we can talk seriously about No Child Left Behind. SENIOR ONLINE NEWS PRODUCER Michael Bock ONLINE NEWS PRODUCERS Chelsea Boone, Gina Cairney, Hyon-Young Kim Mary Hendrie MANAGER Jeson Jackson As With NCLB, So Goes ESSA WEB DESIGNER Sumita Bannerjee MARKETING ASSOCIATE Jenny Pan TOPSCHOOLJOBS PRODUCT MANAGER Jonathan Rogers TOPSCHOOLJOBS SALES MANAGER David DePasquale (301) 280-3183 TOPSCHOOLJOBS CLIENT SERVICES MANAGERS Shirlanda Y. Braxton (301) 280-3111 Tracy Redmond (301) 280-3216 ADVERTISING SALES ASSISTANT Rob Voigt MANAGER Ryan Lanier DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION Jo Arnone DIGITAL CONTENT ACCOUNT MANAGERS Tricia Buckley, Don Lee, Sharon Makowka, Judi Squire MANAGER, DIGITAL PRODUCTION Kevin Kemp AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT INTERN Peter Dolak PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Emma Prillaman COORDINATOR, ADVERTISING PRODUCTION Dana Gittings PRODUCTION INTERN Joslyn Nedeau ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, SALES AND MARKETING Sean Herdman EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Shaiy E. 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Lloyd RESEARCH ANALYST Alexandra Harwin SURVEY ANALYST Andrew Riemer DIRECTOR, KNOWLEDGE SERVICES Rachael Delgado RESEARCH INTERNS Julie Dennis, Kylie Thomas WEB ANALYST Mike Castellano LIBRARIAN Holly Peele EDITORIAL & BUSINESS OFFICES: 6935 Arlington Road, Suite 100 Bethesda, MD 20814-5233 (301) 280-3100 Editorial FAX: (301) 280-3200 Business FAX: (301) 280-3250 Print or online subscription customer service: (800) 445-8250 Product or print purchase orders: Fax to (215) 788-6887 Article reprints: (877) 394-7350 PROGRAM ASSOCIATE, EDUCATION WEEK PRESS David Rosenzweig Back issues are available at $3.00 each, except the January 7, 2016 (Quality Counts) issue at $10.00 each, and the June 4, 2015 (Diplomas Counts) and June 11, 2015 (Technology Count) issues at $6.00 each. Price includes postage and handling via the US Postal Service. Order online: backissues, or call 1-800-445-8250, or fax 215-788-6887. You may also send orders to: Education Week Back Issues, P.O. Box 3005, Langhorne, PA 19047-9105. Copies of the newspaper on microfilm can be ordered from National Archive Publishing Company, 300 N. Zeeb Road, P.O. Box 998, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-0998. Phone: 1-800-4206272. Website: EDUCATION WEEK | January 13, 2016 | | 27

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