Education Week - January 29, 2014 - (Page 4)

NEWSINBRIEF NEA Begins Rolling Out $60 Million in Grants The National Education Associa- tion has announced the first recipients of a fund that supports state and local projects to improve teaching. Created through a $3 dues increase approved by delegates to the organization's Representative Assembly, the Great Public Schools Grant has disbursed some $2 million since September, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said last week. In all, the NEA plans to fund $6 million worth of projects each year over a decade. Early grantees include the Kenai Peninsula Education Association, in Alaska, which will develop a cadre of observers to provide instructional support keyed to a new evaluation system; the Illinois Education Association, which will train up to 20 members to implement and train others in the common-core standards; and the Massachusetts Teachers Association, which will bring more educators into decisionmaking on common-core implementation. -STEPHEN SAWCHUK States Increase Investments In Higher Ed., Report Shows After years of budgets cuts for public colleges and universities, state funding for higher education is up an average of 5.7 percent in fiscal 2014. Still, overall funding is not back to prerecession levels, and there is no guarantee that an increase in money will lead to cost-savings for students. But an annual report, released last week by Illinois State University, reflects an improving economic picture nationwide. Support for higher education varies widely by state, with Florida increasing funding by nearly 18 percent, New Hampshire by 27 percent, and North Dakota by 19 percent in the past year, the report says. Louisiana and West Virginia are among the states that have declining state funding. -CARALEE J. ADAMS Race-Based Mascots Banned in Houston Houston's school board has given final approval to a policy prohibiting the use of any race- or ethnicity-specific mascots for school sports teams or groups. The policy says mascots must "respect cultural differences and values." It takes effect at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. Four schools in the district, whose nicknames are the Redskins, the Rebels, the Indians, and the Warriors, will be forced to change their mascots. Chicago District to Provide Funds for Art, P.E. Teachers The Chicago school district will tap into $21.5 million in surplus tax-increment financing funds to hire extra teachers for arts and daily physical education classes. The money will be used to pay for 84 physical education and 84 art teachers. Many of those same positions were cut earlier this school year by principals facing budget cuts. The district will cover 75 percent of the cost next year and 50 percent the following year. After that, schools will be expected to pay for the positions themselves. The highest-needs schools will be prioritized for the funded positions. For decades, the district has sought and received state waivers on the -BRYAN TOPOREK daily physical education requirements for high school juniors and seniors. The state did not offer waivers for elementary schools. -McCLATCHY-TRIBUNE Metro Atlanta School System No Longer on Probation Georgia's third-largest district no longer faces an imminent threat of accreditation loss, after a tumultuous few years that included the rare step of the governor removing a majority of the school board. Officials with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools announced last week that the DeKalb County district is no longer on probation. The sprawling metro Atlanta district serves nearly 100,000 students, with about 14,000 employees. The accrediting association put the district on probation in December 2012, citing problems with board governance and fiscal mismanagement. -ASSOCIATED PRESS Half of N.M. Graduates Found To Be Ill-Prepared for College More than half of New Mexico's high school students who went on to the state's colleges and universities N.C. District, Police Agencies Sued Over Discipline Practices A complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice last week claims that an "overreliance on unregulated school policing" in the Wake County school district, the largest in North Carolina, violates the rights of black students and those with disabilities and leads to unnecessarily harsh punishments for minor infractions. Legal Aid of North Carolina Advocates for Children's Services filed the complaint on behalf of eight students and "all similarly situated students" against the 150,000-student district and the nine law-enforcement agencies that employ school resource officers and dispatch other police into the schools. It alleges that school officers have used Tasers and pepper spray in discipline incidents, tackled students in crowded hallways, and arrested students for non- needed remedial courses last year, a new study says. Fifty-one percent of recent high school graduates required remedial help in college. Those courses cost $22 million last year, according to the report released last week by the Legislative Finance Committee. Nationally, states and students spent $3 billion on remedial courses at the college level in 2010, the re- port says. New Mexico, though, has shown no improvement in seven years, it says. -MCT Ala. Board Approves Texts, Despite Complaints on Islam Alabama's school board has voted to recommend 11 social studies textbooks, effectively dismissing complaints from critics who said the texts favored REPORT ROUNDUP EQUITY "Is the United States Still a Land of Opportunity? Recent Trends in Intergenerational Mobility" Social mobility in America has remained stubbornly flat for more than 40 years, according to a new study posted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, but "the consequences of the birth lottery have never been greater." Researchers led by Harvard University economist Raj Chetty violent infractions, such as throwing water balloons. Black students and those with disabilities are disciplined and funneled into the criminal-justice system at disproportionate rates, the complaint says. Over the past five years, black students have rep- resented about a quarter of the district's enrollment, but they have been cited for up to 74 percent of the delinquency incidents, the complaint says. By contrast, white students, who make up about half of overall enrollment, were at the center of no more than 23 percent of the cases, it adds. District officials had no comment on the legal action. The complaint, co-signed by 16 state and national civil rights groups, follows the Jan. 8 release of new discipline guidance from the U.S. Education and Justice departments. -EVIE BLAD tracked the correlation between parents' incomes and the likelihood the child will earn a better living than his or her parents for each birth cohort from 1971 to 1993. (For generations not yet in the workforce, researchers looked at college attendance, which prior studies have shown to be associated with higher incomes later.) A child born into the poorest 20 percent of families has a little less than a 1-in-10 chance of making it to the top 20 percent of earners by age 26, and that rate of social mobility has remained practically unchanged since the 1970s. Moreover, since the 1980s, children born into families earning the lowest 20 percent of income have stayed about 69 percentage points to 75 percentage points less likely to go to college than peers born into the wealthiest 20 percent, the study found. -SARAH D. SPARKS STUDENT NUTRITION "School Breakfast Scorecard 2012-13" Fifty-two percent of children from low-income homes who participated in school lunch programs in the 2012-13 school year also ate school breakfasts, a new report finds. That's an increase from the 2011-12 school year, when 50.4 percent of low-income lunch eaters also ate breakfast, according to the report released this month by the Food Research and Action Center, a Washington-based anti-hunger organization that advocates federal nutrition programs. In 2012-13, 10.8 million low-income children participated in school breakfast on an average day, an increase of nearly 311,000 4 | EDUCATION WEEK | January 29, 2014 | PRESSING HOME THE POINT Joyce Helmick, the president of the Mississippi Association of Educators, speaks during a teachers' rally in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Jackson last week. Teachers and education advocates demonstrated for higher pay and increased state aid to public schools- not a new fight, but one that they hope will have more success this year than in the past. Rick Guy/The Clarion-Ledger/AP

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