Education Week - January 28, 2015 - (Page 4)

NeWs IN BRIeF Google Commits to Pledge On Student-Data Privacy After initially declining to sign, the technology giant Google has joined a growing number of companies committing to a "student-privacy pledge" launched by advocacy groups and endorsed by the White House. Google has come under heavy scrutiny for privacy practices that critics have feared would open the door to students' personal information being used for advertising purposes. At the time of President Barack Obama's announcement, the pledge had been signed by 75 companies- though Google, among others, was noticeably absent from the list. As of last week, the number of signatories had risen to 91. -SEAN CAVANAGH Scores, Test-Takers Down For New GED Exam The ged Testing Service, which offers the General Educational Development test in 40 states, reports about a 60 percent passing rate for students taking all four sections of its new computer-based test, down from about 65 percent in a typical year. At the same time, far fewer students took the test. The new ged, launched in January 2014, was designed to be more challenging, with questions that focus on critical thinking and better reflect new standards for career and college readiness. About 248,000 students took the new ged last year, according to preliminary data. In the past few years, test-taking volume has hovered around 700,000 to 750,000. -CARALEE J. ADAMS Judge Rules Philadelphia Can't Cancel Union Contract A Pennsylvania judge ruled last week that the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, which runs the city's public schools, does not have the authority to unilaterally cancel the teachers' union contract and impose new terms. Judge Patricia A. McCullough issued a permanent injunction against the school district, barring HELPING HANDS Hailey Winkle and other volunteers sort through books as part of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service cleanup project at Edward White High School in Jacksonville, Fla. it from implementing a policy that would have required members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers to pay for their health benefits. In the ruling, the judge said that nothing-whether implied or specific-in the state's legislative history on collective bargaining or the statutes that the commission cited in its arguments granted it the authority to take the actions that it did on Oct. 6 when it voted to change the union contract. -DENISA R. SUPERVILLE Fla. District Fires Candidate In Line for National Honor The Hillsborough County school board in Tampa, Fla., last week fired Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, its leader since 2005. In December, the Florida Association of School District Administrators named her its superintendent of the year. This month, she became one of four finalists for the national award given by the aasa, the School Superintendents Association. The Tampa Bay Times reported that Ms. Elia was "widely considered" an effective school leader, but never had the confidence of the full school board. -COREY MITCHELL 50 Percent Attendance Rate Found in Ohio Charters An audit released last week based on a "surprise" head count at 30 charter schools in Ohio found that some REPORT ROUNDUP EDUCATION INDUSTRY "State of the K-12 Market" An improving economy appears to be freeing up school districts' ability to spend on technology and other tools and resources, including instructional materials, according to a survey of administrators. A quarter of school district officials who responded to a survey said that they expected their instructional budgets to increase during the current school year, up from 16 percent the previous academic year, according to mdR, a market research company that tracks education trends. In addition, roughly 90 percent of districts said they expected their 2014-15 tech budgets for hardware, software, teacher training, and technical support to stay the same or rise, according to the research. That's a slight increase from the previous year in most of those categories. In trying to gauge districts' buying habits, the analysis offers a snapshot of something of a moving target. The survey information was collected in the spring of 2014, and it was based on phone and email responses from district directors of curriculum and technology, who were asked to comment on the coming academic year. More than 500 surveys were completed, divided between technology administrators and curriculum directors, according to mdR. -SEAN CAVANAGH SCHOOL LEADERSHIP "Districts Taking Charge of the Principal Pipeline" TIME OUT FOR REFLECTION A student having a challenging day spends some time alone in an "individualized classroom" at the Don Sherrill Education Center in Lincoln, Neb. The Success Schools program is for students whose behavior problems have disrupted classrooms and made it difficult for other students to learn. 4 | EDUCATION WEEK | January 28, 2015 | Six urban school districts receiving a combined $75 million in philanthropic funding are seizing opportunities to improve school leadership by better training principals, and supporting and evaluating them on the job, a new report finds. That conclusion comes from the third-year evaluation of the Principal Pipeline Initiative, the multimillion dollar investment by the New York City-based Wallace Foundation in large districts Eric Gregory/The Journal-Star/AP Bob Mack/The Florida Times-Union/AP

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