Education Week - January 28, 2015 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2015 Editorial Projects in Education * $4 Poor Children Now Make Up a Majority By Evie Blad Students from low-income households have made up a rising share of the public school population for years, but their recent shift into the majority serves as an urgent signal to policymakers and schools to address the needs of poor children, and the challenges of educating them, researchers and educators say. Kathleen Jasper, left, a former educator and school administrator, and Cindy Hamilton, a parent and the co-founder of Orlando Opt Out, lead a session at United Opt Out's national conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Activists Learn Art of 'Test Refusal' At Conference, Anti-Testing Groups Strategize on Ways to Grow Their Ranks By Liana Heitin Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Anti-testing advocates meeting here to advance their cause tossed around a list of protest strategies: Twitter campaigns, parent test-taking parties, quiet conversations in the teachers' lounge, organized walkouts. The 75 or so parents, educators, union leaders, and selftitled "agitators" at the United Opt Out National: Standing Up for Action conference, which took place over a weekend earlier this month, strategized on getting more people involved in the growing practice of "test refusal"-in the hope of ultimately ending what they consider punitive and overly burdensome testing practices in K-12 schools. "You have to know this is an act of civil disobedience," Cindy Hamilton, a parent and the co-founder of Orlando Opt Out, told a group of attendees. "This is not for the faint of heart." The convening offered a small window on an anti-testing movement that is heating up at both the grassroots and national levels. As Congress works to update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act-better known in its current version as No Child Left Behind-many lawmakers have expressed interest in cutting back the number of tests required by the law. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the new chairman of the Senate education committee, introduced a draft bill this month with two proposed paths for testing, one of which would give states leeway to test students just once in particular grade spans rather than yearly. Now, most students take state standardized tests each year in grades 3-8 and once in high school. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, while remaining steadfast in his commitment to keeping the annual testing in place, has said he'd like to help schools and districts weed out unnecessary tests. And in October, state schools chiefs and a national group representing big-city districts announced a plan to review district testPAGE 10 > Ed. School Deans Join Forces To Bolster Teacher Preparation By Stephen Sawchuk More than a dozen education school deans are banding together, aiming to design a coherent set of teacher-preparation experiences, validate them, and shore up support for them within their own colleges and the field at large. Deans for Impact, based in Austin, Texas, launches this month with a $1 million grant from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The new group's embrace of data-informed changes to teacher-preparation curricula- even, potentially, based on "value added" information-is likely to generate waves in the insular world of teacher preparation. It's also a testament to teacher-educators' search for an alternative to traditional associations and accreditation bodies. And, the deans say, it's a chance to move away from talking about which information on teacher preparation to collect to beginning the use of such data. "This information is necesPAGE 14 > An analysis released last week by the Southern Education Foundation showed that public schools crossed a new, significant threshold in 2013, when a majority of the nation's nearly 50 million students qualified for free or reduced-price lunches. Research shows that poor VOL. 34, NO. 19 * JANUARY 28, 2015 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Poverty Data Signal Urgency for Schools children often enter school behind other students academically, they often struggle to catch up, and they tend to lag behind their higherincome peers in areas like attendance. "If you have a majority of your schoolchildren who are low-income, ... the nation as a whole is not going to fare well in the future as those kids struggle through school, as some drop out of school, and as those kids become the kind of adults who are not as welleducated as society needs," said Steve Suitts, a senior fellow at the Southern Education Foundation, an Atlanta-based organization that advocates PAGE 16 > DIGITAL DIRECTIONS N.C. District Rebounds From Ed-Tech Meltdown By Benjamin Herold Thirteen months after pulling the plug on a $33 million student-computing effort gone awry, North Carolina's Guilford County school district has managed to get its signature technology initiative up and running. But the costs of starting over for the 73,000-student district -including wasted time, damaged credibility, and considerable staff frustration-have been high. And those burdens pale in comparison to the price paid by Amplify, the vendor that last school year supplied the district with thousands of digital tablets plagued with hardware problems. In order to keep its contract in Guilford County, the New York Citybased company absorbed millions of dollars in losses, according to documents provided by the district. "Believe me, none of us would ever ask for something like this to happen," said Nora K. Carr, the chief of staff for the Guilford County district. Challenges are to be expected when deploying thousands of digital devices inside schools, say experts on 1-to-1 student computing. And given the unusual problems that arose in Guilford County, the district was probably correct to press the reset button rather than forge ahead, said Leslie Wilson, the chief executive officer of the Oneto-One Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Mason, Mich., that helps districts implement student-computing initiatives. Taking that dramatic action, though, was PAGE 12 > NCLB REVISITED: Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., left, listens to a staffer during a Jan. 21 Senate education committee hearing on the testing provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. Congress is gearing up to rewrite the law. PAGE 18 Swikar Patel/Education Week T.J. Kirkpatrick for Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 28, 2015

Education Week - January 28, 2015
Activists Learn Art of ‘Test Refusal’
Ed. School Deans Join Forces To Bolster Teacher Preparation
N.C. District Rebounds From Ed-Tech Meltdown
Poverty Data Signal Urgency for Schools
Report Roundup
News in Brief
Chicago’s Closures Drove Most to Higher-Rated Schools
More Districts Expected to Follow Boston on Longer Days
International Study Ranks Schools on Social Stress, Equity
Blogs of the Week
No Firm Direction on Testing Set At Senate Panel’s ESEA Hearing
As Job Description Grows, So Does Churn for State Chiefs
K-12 Issues Given Short Shrift in State of the Union Address
State of the States
Blogs of the Week
SUSAN H. FUHRMAN: Measurement Alone Cannot Propel Improvement
SAMINA HADI-TABASSUM: Too Much Discipline Hurts Majority-Minority Schools
GARRISON WALTERS: Dump Management ‘Science,’ And Change Learning Attitudes
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment

Education Week - January 28, 2015