Education Week - January 20, 2016 - (Page 5)

REPORT ROUNDUP EARLY CHILDHOOD for a year while state authorities investigated. The investigation concluded with a consent agreement in which Kowalski denied any wrongdoing, but she agreed to complete 20 to 30 hours of college-level specialeducation coursework.  -MARK WALSH Officer Put on Leave For 'Hurtful' Comments The Cleveland district placed a school resource officer on administrative leave for online comments he made about Tamir Rice and Rice's mother shortly after a prosecutor announced that a grand jury declined to indict two officers in the 12-year-old boy's death. Rice, who was a student in the district, was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer in November 2014 while holding a pellet gun in a public park. Matt Cicero, 43, was placed on paid leave for "hurtful" comments he made on his Facebook page, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, including that Tamir's mother, whom he had called a derogatory name, should have taught her son not to play with fake guns. -EVIE BLAD Calif. Teacher Under Fire For Donating Laptops A California high school teacher is under fire for donating laptops to her students. Chowchilla Union High School English teacher Kim Kutzner and her husband used their own money to buy 90 computers, but school officials initially removed them from the classroom. They expressed concern that the equipment wasn't purchased and approved by the district. The computers have been returned to Kutzner's classroom until district officials make a final decision. Kutzner insists the computers are safe and have no Internet connection. She says the technology has improved student morale and test scores. -ASSOCIATED PRESS Fla. Teachers Protest Testing, Funding Practices More than a thousand teachers, many waving signs critical of Florida's education system blasted the Republican-controlled legislature and Gov. Rick Scott during a rally last week at the state Capitol. The protesters complained about the state's reliance on high-stakes testing. And they took aim at the level of money going to schools, private school vouchers, and a contentious new bonus system that is partially tied to the scores that teachers earned on college admission tests. The rally was organized by the Florida Education Assocation, the union that represents teachers. The teacher protests follow a tumultuous time as Florida has transitioned to a new high-stakes test that is based primarily on common-core standards. The rollout of the test last spring was marred by glitches and even a cyberattack, but state officials have moved ahead with plans to use the results to grade schools. -AP "Moneyball for Head Start" The same data- and evidence-driven approach that was made famous by a former baseball general manager would dramatically improve the 50-year-old federal preschool program for young children, says a report written in partnership with Head Start advocates and good-governance think tanks. For example, Head Start needs to start investing more in research so that it can figure out the practices of the most effective Head Start centers and replicate them across the country, the report says. Currently, a quarter of 1 percent of Head Start's $8.6 billion budget is spent on research and evaluation, and that should be boosted to 1 percent, according to the report. The Office of Head Start should also be more transparent in reporting the performance of its approximately 1,600 grantees, the report contends. The title refers to an analytical approach popularized by former Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, who used statistical analysis to build winning baseball teams. The report was supported by the group, Results for America, the National Head Start Association, and the Volcker Alliance, begun in 2013 by former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker.  -CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS SCHOOL MANAGEMENT "Transforming Schools: How Distributed Leadership Can Create More High-Performance Schools" In recent years, school districts have added more leadership staff-assistant principals, teacher-leaders, instructional coaches-to support teachers. What they have not done as much is think strategically about how to deploy those new bodies to help teachers become better at their jobs. That's according to the management company, Bain & Co., which released a report last week on how districts can implement distributed-leadership models to improve teaching. "All too often, we've added the titles, but we haven't really effectively changed the dynamic," said Chris Bierly, the company's global head of K-12 education practice. Bain looked at 12 school systems nationwide and surveyed more than 4,200 teachers, assistant principals, and principals. The researchers found that the average principal was responsible for reviewing the performance and development of 37 teachers plus other instructional staff-far more than the five people that an average manager in accounting or human resources is tasked with overseeing, according to the report. It says the result is overworked principals and assistant principals who are not able to provide effective feedback or observations to their teachers. -DENISA R. SUPERVILLE Four-Year College-Graduation Rates High-income students Among poor students in the top quarter of their high school class, only those who went to the most-selective colleges graduated at the same rate as top high-income students. Low-income students 91% 90% 85% 70% 56% Highly Selective Very Selective Selective Less Selective SOURCE: "True Merit" Why Few Poor Students Make It to Top Colleges "True Merit" Poor students at the top of their class have far less of a chance of getting into an Ivy League college than wealthy students with the same academic achievement. Only 3 percent of students at the 91 most competitive colleges in the country come from families with the lowest 25 percent of income, while 72 percent of students at those schools come from the wealthiest 25 percent of families, according to a study released last week by the Jack Kent Cooke and Century foundations. (The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation also supports coverage of low-income, highachieving students in Education Week.) The study examined federal data on college selection and persistence of students at different income levels, and was supplemented by an analysis of 891 students who participated in the Cooke Scholars program. The findings dispute several myths about college-going. Among them: address the academic and fiscal issues, and possible mismanagement, that large districts often face. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter are among those who want to abandon the state takeover and return the city's schools to local control. Wolf wants an elected school board, while Nutter favors one that is mayorally appointed.  -COREY MITCHELL SCHOOL LUNCHES "Governing Urban Schools in the Future" "Effect of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act on the Nutritional Quality of Meals Selected by Students and School Lunch Participation Rates" State takeovers of large urban districts have become more common in recent years, but there's no clear-cut evidence that the intervention leads to better student performance or fiscal management, a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts concludes. Using Pennsylvania's 2001 takeover of the Philadelphia schools as a starting point, the analysis compares elements of the city's school governance structure with those of 15 similar urban districts, including Baltimore, Detroit, and Newark, N.J. It found, in fact, that no form of school governance, be it elected local school boards, mayoral control, or state takeover, provides a surefire way to Students at an urban school district in Washington state ate healthier lunches after their schools began complying with new federal nutrition standards, and participation in the lunch program remained steady, a new study finds. Authors of the study, published this month in JAMA Pediatrics, examined 1.7 million lunches at three middle schools and three high schools in the unnamed district between 2011 and 2014. The authors, from the Center for Public Nutrition at the University of Washington, found school lunches prepared after the standards were implemented had higher levels of six nu- DISTRICT LEADERSHIP 83% 82% 75% * Contrary to what some may think, top students don't necessarily get pushed toward top colleges. In fact, a third of academic high-fliers who are poor never apply to one of the most selective colleges in the country. And overburdened school counselors receive little training in how to advise low-income students for college. * The most-selective colleges are not always too expensive for poor students. At an average cost of $6,754 per year, a student in the lowest 20 percent of income actually had significantly lower out-of-pocket costs at a top college. The cost to attend a less-competitive school was $26,335 per year-nearly four times higher. * Athletics don't always offer a path to selective schools for poor students. The study found that the most-selective colleges did offer athletic scholarships-but mostly for "crew, squash, riding, sailing, and water polo," Harold Levy, the Cooke Foundation's executive director, said. Boosting the numbers of low-income students in top colleges is key, the report says, because such students have higher graduation rates at those institutions.-SARAH D. SPARKS trients-calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, fiber, and protein-and fewer calories per gram of food. They did not study whether students actually consumed the foods. -EVIE BLAD PRESCHOOL FADE-OUT "Early-Grade Teacher Effectiveness and Pre-K Effect Persistence" Advocates for early-childhood education have had to contend with the fact that many studies have shown that the cognitive benefits of preschool appear to fade by the time the children reach 3rd grade. They argue that you can't just stop at preschool: The type of education that a child receives in grade school matters, too. Research out of Tennessee backs up that contention, at least when it comes to 1st graders. For a paper published late last year in the online journal AERA Open, researchers mined data on Tennessee's state-supported preschool programs. They found that students who had attended a state-funded preschool and subsequently had a highly rated 1st grade teacher performed better than children who had a highly rated teacher but did not attend a state-supported preschool. That correlation was especially strong for students from a non-English-speaking family or those with early cognitive deficits.-C.A.S. EDUCATION WEEK | January 20, 2016 | | 5

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