Education Week - January 22, 2014 - (Page 10)

BLOGS BETTER TEACHING STARTS HERE! PD ONLINE COURSES make it easy and practical for you to continue professional learning anytime and anywhere. Choose from 90 engaging courses on the most relevant topics facing educators today including * Differentiated Instruction * Classroom Management * Assessment * Literacy Strategies * STEM Education ENROLL in courses online at For school or district purchases, contact the ASCD Program Management Team at, 1-800-933-ASCD (2723), or 1-703-578-9600, ext. 5773 EARN ACADEMIC CREDIT All courses conclude with a certificate of completion to exchange your time for CEUs or college hours (depending on your program, state, or district). Is the Ed. Department Nitpicking States Over NCLB Waivers? | POLITICS K-12 | There are some alarming revelations in the new No Child Left Behind Act waiver reports issued last week by the U.S. Department of Education. But then there are some not-so-alarming revelations. For example, New York failed to put out a press release announcing its reward schools-as it had promised to do in its waiver application. Instead, it published the list on its website. For that transgression, the state earned a "not meeting expectations" for its reward schools. Perhaps more significant, Idaho, which does have some big problems with how it's intervening in its lowest-performing schools, did not put NAEP and high-quality teacher data on its school report cards. It is also not meeting expectations in that area. Don't get me wrong, Politics K-12 is all for transparency. It's good to know that New York did not do a press release as it had promised. And it's good to be informed that Idaho isn't putting all of the necessary data on its report cards. But this kind of scrutiny raises an important question, one that the Education Trust's Daria Hall put this way to me: "There needs to be a serious question about, is the department focusing on the right high-leverage things, or checking boxes on compliance? It doesn't help anyone if the feds aren't thinking about high-impact areas." Under Race to the Top, Education Department officials began to stress how they wanted to take a different view of their oversight responsibilities-that they weren't all about checking boxes on a compliance list but giving states a lot of room to maneuver as they work toward their goals. This is why the department has been flexible in allowing some significant amendments to Race to the Top plans. Department officials have emphasized that they want to work with states, and not dictate to them. So, just how much wiggle room will federal officials allow? And if states keep getting dinged over things like posting something on a website versus issuing a press release, will their patience run thin? -MICHELE McNEIL If You Want Analytical Thinking, Extend Recess for Children | EARLY YEARS | Most parents of very young children intuitively know how important outdoor playtime is to their little ones, but early-childhood experts say we adults are often not giving them long enough stretches of play to develop their minds-especially during the school day. Preschools or day care centers often limit recess to 30-minute JUST $129 PER COURSE* Even Less for School or District Orders! blocks, but that's just when the deep thinking is starting, said Myae Han, the president of the Rochester, N.Y.-based Association for the Study of Play and an assistant professor of human development and family studies at the University of Delaware. "A higher quality of play begins to emerge at around 30 minutes," she said in an interview. "They might take 20 minutes to just explore the materials," which in the case of outdoor play might be a wooden fort, a sandbox, or even leaves at the base of a tree. Sometimes, imaginative, high-quality play begins long after that, she said. "Children need free play so they can make choices and learn responsibility for those choices," Ms. Han said. Truncating outdoor playtime to 30 minutes or less curtails this important type of deep, creative, and analytical thinking, she said. According to research done in the 1990s on outdoor play by Arizona State University's James F. Christie and Francis Wardle of Red Rocks Community College, children stop trying to access a deeper level of play in anticipation of being interrupted. "If you shorten playtime," Han explained, "you actually hurt their ideas." Getting Your Preschooler *Effective March 1, 2014. All courses are available to the user for one year following date of purchase. Prices subject to change. Ready for the Common Core | CURRICULUM MATTERS | We already knew the marketing machine was in high gear for common core, but it's always interesting to see just how far it's trying to reach. Exhibit A for today: a workbook-"Let's Get Ready for Preschool: Great Preparation for Common Core Standards"-that purports to get your 3-year-old up to speed for the new expectations. For the sale price of $8.99, you can have confidence that your "little learner" will have "the engaging activities and worksheets they need to succeed at school." Sound like all work and no play? Rest easy: The workbook includes music that's "also educational." A quick search on yields more than 100 preschool resources for the common core. 10 | EDUCATION WEEK | January 22, 2014 | PD_Online_EW3-5Ad_0114.indd 1 12/31/13 2:17 PM -JULIE BLAIR -CATHERINE GEWERTZ

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 22, 2014

Education Week - January 22, 2014
50 Years Later, Verdicts Are Mixed On the Nation’s War on Poverty
A K-12 Titan in Congress to Move On
Fla. Pushes Longer Day With More Reading In Struggling Schools
Personal Danger of Data Breaches Prompts Action
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Funds to End For Little Rock Desegregation
Union, District Clash in Pittsburgh Over Teacher Evaluation
Revised GED Ushers in New Era With More Testing Competition
In Five States, Districts Bail Out on Race to the Top Grants
K-12 Publishing, Ed-Tech Markets Experiencing Rising Revenues
Blogs of the Week
Still Segregated After 50 Years: A Visit To Cincinnati’s West End
Among States, Spending Gaps Have Widened
Spending Plan Aims to Relieve Some K-12 ‘Sequester’ Pain
Calif. Transgender Law Takes Effect In Schools, Amid Efforts to Repeal It
State of the States
Wash. Governor Pledges School Aid Boost
BRUCE FULLER: Is Small Beautiful? New York’s tiny high schools lift kids, harden segregation
RUFINA HERNÁNDEZ: A Common Cause for the Common Core
JEFFREY D. WILHELM & MICHAEL W. SMITH: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Pleasure Reading
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
XU ZHAO, HELEN HASTE, & ROBERT L. SELMAN: Questionable Lessons From China’s Recent History of Education Reform

Education Week - January 22, 2014