Education Week - January 27, 2016 - (Page 1)

EDUCATION WEEK VOL. NO. 19 * JANUARY 2 AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2016 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 4 201 BRE AKING NEWS DAILY AP Student Pool Staying Strong, Studies Find But Debate Continues Over Why Race Gaps in Participation Persist While public school students' participation in the Advanced Placement program has shot up over the past two decades, the academic caliber of the course-takers does not appear to have been "watered down," according to new research from the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank in Washington. "If you look at the overall achievement of students over time, you'd expect it to be falling," said Nat Malkus, a senior research fellow for the AEI who wrote the two recent reports on the subject. But during the years for which he could compare data, overall performance levels for students who took an AP class "didn't show any reduction." The findings counter an oft-cited criticism of the College Board's program: That it has expanded too quickly to maintain its reputation for being rigorous and college-level. The studies also show that students of color are just as likely as white students to attend schools that offer AP. Malkus argues that means lack of access to AP isn't causing racial gaps in coursetaking-lack of academic preparation is. But some equity advocates take exception to the idea that having an AP course in a school is the same as having access to it. "You have to dig a little more deeply," said Denise Pope, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. "Many schools have many PAGE 14 > Ed. Dept.'s Chief Turns Up Volume B A K The newly minted Every Student Succeeds Act aims to clip the wings of future education secretaries when it comes to accountability, testing, and more-but it doesn't say anything about use of the bully pulpit. And acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. has made it clear over the first few weeks of his tenure that he will keep up the rhetorical drumbeat on the importance of educational equity for all students, no matter how the complicated process of regulating ESSA turns out. And he urged states to rethink educatorevaluation systems if they're not actually helping teachers improve their practice. King kicked off a five-city Opportunity Across America tour the day after President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address earlier this month. He's stopped in El Paso, Texas, to talk about border students, and in Houston to encourage districts to pair academics with health services. Other stops have included Orlando, Fla., and Philadelphia. And in a trio of speeches last week-in WashPAGE 2 > Melissa Golden for Education Week By Liana Heitin Misty Hatcher takes a break from computer class at Lanier Technical College in Oakwood, Ga. Hatcher recently enrolled in the college after a new state law allowed her to retroactively obtain the high school diploma that had been withheld from her for 10 years. States Issue Thousands of Retroactive Diplomas New Laws Give Students Who Never Passed Their Exit Exams Another Chance to Graduate B C G At least six states are quietly bestowing retroactive diplomas on tens of thousands of former students who never passed their state's required exit exam, sparking a heated debate about rigor, fairness, and the meaning of a high school diploma. In Georgia alone, more than 17,000 diplomas have been granted that way in just the past nine months, and that number is expected to soar further. Texas has issued at least 4,000 retroactive diplomas, with 12,000 students-and possibly three times that number-still eligible. South Carolina has already conferred more than 6,100 retroactive diplo- mas and could face similar requests from another 8,000 or more students. In California, at least 35,000 students now qualify for diplomas even though they failed the required-but now eliminated-exit exam in the past decade. Arizona and Alaska have passed similar legislation, allowing students to apply for diplomas despite failing the test required for graduation. The novel pathway to graduation has arisen from a national trend in which states are eliminating comprehensive tests in math and English/language arts in favor of end-of-course tests or other measures of high school achievement. States have been throwing over exit exams for years, arguing Laws That Lead to School Arrests Targeted for Change in Some States B E B When a video of a South Carolina school resource officer's classroom arrest of an African-American girl spread quickly online last year, most viewers were surprised by the violent nature of the interaction, in which the officer forcefully pulled the girl from her desk and threw her across the room. But civil rights and student groups said viewers should also be concerned that the classroom conflict that sparked the interaction at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C., led to an arrest at all. After the girl refused to put away her cellphone and subsequently refused to leave the classroom to be disciplined, a school administrator called in the officer. The school resource officer arrested the girl and another classmate, who protested the interaction, on charges of "disrupting a school." Under that law, South Carolina students are arrested for offenses that aren't always considered crimes when they PAGE 14 > that they're useless because they're often pegged to 8th- or 9th-grade-level skills. More recently, the states that dropped their graduation exams argued that they don't reflect the Common Core State Standards. Then states had to confront a fairness issue: How could they hold students responsible for passing a test that state officials themselves deemed obsolete and too easy? Some states responded with laws that let students off the hook for the exam. But that PAGE 1 > LOWER BAR: The passing score has been lowered for the GED high-school-equivalency test. PAGE 9 TEACHER RECRUITMENT New Challenges, New Strategies This special report explores the factors behind recent teacher shortages in many areas and highlights initiatives designed to improve district hiring processes and tap new pools of prospective educators. See the pullout section opposite Page 16.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 27, 2016

Education Week - January 27, 2016
Laws That Lead to School Arrests Targeted for Change in Some States
Ed. Dept.’s Chief Turns Up Volume
States Issue Thousands Of Retroactive Diplomas
AP Student Pool Staying Strong, Studies Find
News in Brief
Report Roundup
In Other Countries, Teacher PD Is a Way of Life
Leadership Hodgepodge Poses Management Challenges
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: New Tech Standard Aims to Ease Sharing Of Digital Roster Data
Passing Score Lowered on Latest Revision Of GED Exam
Blogs of the Week
Studies Explore Reasons Behind ‘Fade-Out’ Effect
‘Micro’ Schools Could Pressure Private K-12
Quality Counts 2016 Corrected Tables
Kansas Panel Pours Fuel on Debate Over K-12 Aid
States Exploring Ways to Meet Test-Participation Mandate
State of the States
Blogs of the Week
MCGUIRE, DUNN, SHAW, & SCHOTT: When ‘Opportunity’ Is Anything But
STERNBERG & HOLLEY: Walton Family Foundation: Rethink Virtual Charters
BROWN: Special Education Needs an Exit Plan
State of the States
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
ANDERSON: The Third Way: A Mixed-Market Approach To Schooling

Education Week - January 27, 2016