Education Week - January 29, 2014 - (Page 1)

EDUCATIONWEEK VOL. 33, NO. 19 * JANUARY 29, 2014 AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2014 Editorial Projects in Education * $4 INDUSTRY & INNOVATION BREAKING NEWS DAILY Graduation Disparities Loom Large Special-Needs Gap at Issue By Christina A. Samuels The wide graduation-rate gaps in many states between students with disabilities and those in regular education raise the stakes for next year's first-ever federal evaluation of how well states are serving their special education students. Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President David C. Adkisson, center, outside the Statehouse in Frankfort, worked with Stu Silberman, left, of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, and Kentucky education Commissioner Terry Holliday to support the common core. Business Groups Defend Common Standards By Michele Molnar Chambers of commerce in a growing number of states are casting themselves in the role of defenders of the common core against increasingly vocal opposition to the new standards from some of their traditional Republican allies. Take Georgia. At a January gathering of the Georgia chamber's board of directors in Atlanta, candidates for state superintendent stated their positions on the Common Core State Standards. Eight candidates weighed in-seven Republicans and one Democrat-and most expressed reserva- tions about, or outright resistance to, the standards for English/language arts and mathematics. Objections ranged from the quality of the standards to the belief that the common standards represent centralized control from an overreaching federal government. "It has become such a divisive issue, particularly in Republican circles here in Georgia," said Matt Shultz, one of the GOP candidates for state superintendent, in a phone interview after speaking at the chamber session. "If we removed the 'common core' branding, it would defuse some of the issues." But defusing those issues may not be as simple as rebranding the common core, some experts point out. "The battle lines are informally drawn nationally between the business establishment and a more conservative element, a more politically motivated element," explained David C. Adkisson, who chairs the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Education, Employment, and Training Committee and is also the president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. This battle for the "hearts and minds" over common core is occurring at an "elite" level, atPAGE 10> The most recent U.S. Department of Education data, for 2011-12, shows a four-year graduation-rate gap that ranges from a high of 43 percentage points in Mississippi to a low of 3 percentage points in Montana. By 2015, the Education Department aims to take a closer look at graduationrate disparities when it evaluates states on their special education performance. And that eventually could affect what states can do with their federal aid for special education. "We know there are students with disabilities who can be achieving much more," said Melody Musgrove, the director of the federal office of special education programs. Nationally, the largest proportion of students with disabilities, about 41 percent, is classified as having "specific learning disabilities," which would inPAGE 8> Cheating Case Implicates Phila. Educators By Dale Mezzacappa DIGITAL DIRECTIONS Ruling Raises Internet-Access Concerns The court ruled that the Federal Com- By Sean Cavanagh Teachers and students count on having relatively broad access to online academic content, but a recent federal court ruling has raised questions about whether the education community could lose some of its ability to tap into the vast library of Internet resources. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia this month has been interpreted as giving commercial Internet providers significantly more power to block content or set conditions on its delivery before it reaches customers, including schools. The ruling struck a blow against the concept of "net neutrality," the idea that all content flowing through the online realm should be treated the same way by providers, regardless of its source. munications Commission, the agency that regulates interstate communication, does not have the legal authority to prevent telecommunications providers-such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon-from blocking the delivery of lawful online content or discriminating against certain kinds of content providers. While predicting the consequences of the ruling requires weighing a number of hypotheticals, consumer-rights organizations worry that it will give telecommunications companies much greater ability to charge content providers more to guarantee the faster delivery of data to consumers, leaving others, such as schools, with slower delivery. Additionally, Internet service providers PAGE 12> Sizing Up Blended Learning Sizing Up EDUCATIONWEEK A Special Report on Educational Technology > Schools Expand Opportunities, Confront Shortcomings This special report is the latest installment in an ongoing series exploring online education. The stories in the report examine the potential benefits, and the persistent questions, that surround schools' and districts' implementation of blended learning, the widely used instructional approach that combines technology-based instruction with traditional, face-to-face lessons. See the pullout section opposite Page 14. Blended Learning A Supplement to the January 29, 2014 Issue Vol. 33 * No. 19 Philadelphia Public School Notebook Schools Expand Opportunities, Confront Shortcomings A lengthy investigation into cheating on state tests in Philadelphia came to a head this month, with more than 130 current and former educators in that city now implicated for their roles in the misconduct, according to information given to the School Reform Commission. That district and state education leaders will move ahead with disciplinary actions against such a large number of educators puts Philadelphia in the company of Atlanta, where widespread cheating on state exams led last year to the criminal indictments of 35 teachers, principals, and administrators, including a former superintendent of the year. In the Philadelphia case, sources confirmed to The Notebook that the state attorney general has begun a criminal PAGE 13> Philip Scott Andrews for Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 29, 2014

Education Week - January 29, 2014
Ruling Raises Internet-Access Concerns
Cheating Case Implicates Phila. Educators
Graduation Disparities Loom Large
Business Groups Defend Common Standards
Report Roundup
News in Brief
Common Science Standards Are Slow to Catch On in States
Surge in Charter Schools Stirs Concerns in North Carolina
Blogs of the Week
Turnaround Program Receives Makeover In Budget Deal
Some Waiver States Feeling Common-Core Test Pinch
Needy Students, Tech Disparities at Issue
Blogs of the Week
Advocates Welcome New Federal Aid Aimed at Youngest
Collective-Bargaining Case Takes Spotlight at High Court
ANNA E. BARGAGLIOTTI: Statistics: The New ‘It’ Common-Core Subject
BEN ZIMMER & DANIELLA ROHR: Funding Students, Not Bureaucracies, For Early-Childhood Education
CLARKE L. RUBEL: Talking About a Reformation
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
LYNETTE TANNIS: Twice Punished: Education’s ‘Invisible’ Incarcerated Youths

Education Week - January 29, 2014