Education Week - January 20, 2016 - (Page 4)

NEWS IN BRIEF Pa. School Boards' Group Sues State Over Funding Lori Higgins/Detroit Free Press/AP The Pennsylvania School Boards Association has sued Gov. Tom Wolf and the state's legislature, treasurer, and education secretary for failing to provide timely funding of schools during a lengthy budget impasse. The lawsuit says that state officials violated both the Pennsylvania Constitution and the U.S. Constitution in their "refusal and failure to pay state and federal funds to public school districts as required by law." Pennsylvania has not had a state budget since June. By December, districts had borrowed $900 million to help stay afloat and were contemplating keeping their doors closed after the Christmas break because they were running out of money. Wolf signed an emergency measure in late December that included funding for districts. But the suit says it's still unclear whether some districts will be able to operate past February.  -DENISA R. SUPERVILLE CEO of Netflix Pledges Big Donation to Education Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is the latest mega-entrepreneur to commit to a big effort to pour money into education, with his announcement last week that he is creating a $100 million philanthropic fund. Hastings has a strong interest in education policy that dates back many years. Perhaps best known as a prominent backer of charter schools, he has also served as the president of the California state school board. The first two gifts from the philanthropy are to the United Negro College Fund and the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, worth a combined $1.5 million, to focus on college access. The Netflix chief did not immediately offer details on his other ambitions for the fund. -SEAN CAVANAGH Minneapolis Walks Away From Superintendent Pick CALL TO ACTION A Detroit parent addresses a crowd of mostly teachers that rallied outside the headquarters of the Detroit public school system. Teachers organized a sick-out that shut down more than 60 schools in the city last week to draw attention to what they've described as deplorable teaching conditions. Mayor Mike Duggan called for an inspection of all city schools after finding a dead mouse in a classroom while while he was touring schools. The Minneapolis school board voted last week not to move forward with contract negotiations with Sergio Paez, whom the board picked last month as the new superintendent. Two days after the Dec. 7 vote for Paez, allegations surfaced of abuse of special education students at a Holyoke, Mass., school while Paez served as the superintendent of that district. The Minneapolis board put negotiations on hold, and two board members visited Holyoke to get more information on Paez's leadership. Paez has defended his handling of the alleged complaints, and he met recently with members of the Minneapolis community and school administrators to answer questions about the allegations and his vision for their schools. -D.R.S. New 'Sting' Video Targets Common Core James O'Keefe, the conservative activist best known for doing undercover video recordings in ACORN offices, released a new "sting" video last week in which a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt sales executive is heard admitting that common-core textbooks are "all about the money." "You don't think the educational publishing companies are in it for education, do you?" says Dianne Barrow, an accounts manager for the publishing company in a heavily edited video. "No, they're in it for the money." Linda Zecher, the CEO of Houghton Mifflin, said in a statement that Barrow "is a former employee" who was with the company "for less than a year." The video also shows a clip of a foul-mouthed Brooklyn teacher complaining about how the standards were created "to sell more books." The real aim of the nearly eightminute video, it seems, is to take down the Common Core State Standards. -LIANA HEITIN Appeals Court Rejects Suit Over Special Ed. Restraints An Ohio special education teacher's alleged techniques of binding a student and gagging him with a bandana to stop him from spitting, strapping another student to a toilet to keep her from falling off, and forcing a third student to sit with her pants down on a training toilet in full view of her classmates were "inappropriate and abusive," but they did not violate the students' constitutional rights, a federal appeals court has ruled. All three students had autism, and they ranged in age from 6 to 11 during the 2003-04 school year when the alleged behavior took place. After the allegations were reported against Marsha Kowalski, a teacher at the North Point Educational Service Center in Sandusky, Ohio, she was suspended with pay L.A. Selects Homegrown Candidate as New Superintendent | OBITUARY | Michelle King, who has spent her entire career in the Los Angeles school district, was named the new superintendent of the nation's second-largest school system last week. King, 54, becomes the first woman in more than 80 years, and the first African-American woman, to lead the 650,000-student district. Her selection marks the end of a nationwide search that began last fall. "Ms. King has experience as a teacher, administrator, and top district leader, and is known for her collaboration with parents, teachers, and the community," school board President Steve Zimmer said in a statement. She succeeds Ramon Cortines, who retired this month, and had led the district since his departure, Phillip C. Schlechty, an education researcher, speaker, and school improvement advocate, died Jan. 7. He was 78. Schlechty was the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Schlechty Center for Leadership in School Reform, in Louisville, Ky., an early initiative to create networks of school districts to experiment with and share best practices in leadership and student engagement. Previously, he was the founding executive director of the Gheens Professional Development Academy, also in Louisville, one of the first district-based leadership-development programs. He developed the Working on the Work teaching framework, which explored ways teachers could craft more meaningful lessons for their students. And he was the author of nine books and more than 100 articles focused on understanding relationships in education and building the capacity for schools to change and innovate.  -SARAH D. SPARKS 4 | EDUCATION WEEK | January 20, 2016 | as well as serving as top deputy for him and his predecessor, John Deasy. King's deep knowledge of the district will come in handy as she works to stabilize the sprawling, financially challenged district. The school system's budget deficit is expected to rise above $300 million within two school years. She'll also work under an activist school board with often competing interests. A Los Angeles native and product of the school system, King decided on a teaching career while majoring in biology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She began her 31-year career in the district as a middle school math and science teacher. From there, she rose from assistant principal to principal, chief administrator of secondary instruction, local district superintendent, the superintendent's chief of staff, senior deputy superintendent, and chief deputy superintendent. -COREY MITCHELL

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 20, 2016

Education Week - January 20, 2016
ESSA Challenges Ahead for States
25 Years In, TFA Faces Tensions, Courts Change
Flint, Mich., Reels From Water Crisis
Opt-Out Activists Eye Fresh Battlefronts
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Open Ed. Resources Get Boost From ESSA
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Book Highlights Practical Guidance For Teaching Reading
College Testing Season Marred By Score Delays, Snafus
Blogs of the Week
Unions on Defensive as High Court Hears Dispute Involving Fees
In Home Stretch, Obama Vows to Push On Education Priorities
Ed. Dept. Gets Advocates’ Views On Preparing ESSA Regulations
DONALD M. FEUERSTEIN: The ‘Inconvenient Truth’ of Student Debt
JAMES LYTLE: The NCAA’s Chokehold On Secondary Schooling
FLORINA RODOV: Your College Essay Isn’t a Selfie
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
RICHARD WEISSBOURD: College Admission 2.0: Service Over Self

Education Week - January 20, 2016