Education Week - January 30, 2013 - (Page 1)

Education Week VOL. 32, NO. 19 • JANUARY 30, 2013 ▲ AM E R ICAN E DUCATION’S N EWS PAPE R OF R ECOR D • © 2013 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Grad Rate At Highest Since 1970 Calculation Not the Same As ‘Official’ NCLB Method Stephen B. Thornton for Education Week By Caralee Adams & Sarah D. Sparks Kathy Powers discusses the book Assassin with her 5th graders at Carl Stuart Middle School in Conway, Ark. She uses the historical novel along with the nonfiction book Chasing Lincoln’s Killer and a Walt Whitman poem in a unit about the president’s assassination. Teachers Differ Over Meeting Nonfiction Rule By Catherine Gewertz As the common core is brought to life in classrooms this year, some English/language arts teachers are finding themselves caught in a swirl of debate about whether the new standards require them to cut back on prized pieces of the literary canon to make room for nonfiction. A recent spate of news reports has ignited a new wave of anxiety about the Common Core State Standards’ emphasis on “informational text.” Prominent coverage has been given by mainstream news organizations to a handful of teachers’ complaints that they have had to drop cherished works of literature from their curricula. “Common Core Sparks War of Words,” proclaimed a front-page headline in The Washington Post. “Catcher in the Rye Dropped From US School Curriculum,” said one in London’s Telegraph. Frustrated with what they consider distortions, the common core’s staunchest advocates have tried to correct the record, arguing that great works of fiction are a bulwark of the standards. In some states and districts, little or no guidance is being offered on the issue for teachers, leaving them to grapple with achieving the right balance of fiction and nonfiction on their own. Even where guidance is offered, teachers are carrying away varying messages, resulting in some cases in bitter disagreements over who is misinterpreting the standards. The resulting landscape is pockmarked with debates about how much the standards require PAGE 14 > PAGE 13 > Skills Promoted To Aid Learning Amid Adversity Seattle Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP With common standards in science set to be finalized in March, states will soon face the dilemma of embracing them as their own or going their own way, raising the question of how common the Next Generation Science Standards will ultimately prove to be. The 26 “lead state partners” helping to develop the K-12 standards have agreed to “give serious consideration” to adopting them. Recent interviews with officials in a number of those states, such as California, Delaware, Kansas, and Maryland, reveal a generally positive reaction to the second and final public draft, issued this month for comment. Meanwhile, some other states that are not lead partners are closely tracking the process and even have assembled broad- based teams to provide feedback along the way. Officials in both Florida and Louisiana, for instance, say their states will seriously consider adoption. In the end, the science document may not reach the level of buy-in of the Common Core State Standards for English/language arts and mathematics, which have been adopted by all but a handful of states. But some observers predict the number of states on board for common science standards could reach the mid-30s or higher. Adoption could be complicated in certain places, however, because of how the standards address evolution and climate change, issues that are political flashpoints. California may well be an early adopter of the standards, which promote depth over breadth in science instruction and call on students to apply their learning through PAGE 18 > By Sarah D. Sparks States Soon to Weigh Science Standards By Erik W. Robelen America’s high school graduation rate has notably improved, according to figures released last week by the National Center for Education Statistics. The “averaged freshman graduation rate” rose to 78.2 percent of public school students receiving a diploma in 2010, up from 75.5 percent the year before. In 2006, the rate was 73.4 percent, and in 2001, it was 71.7 percent. The new report reflects the best performance in decades by high school students. It is the highest graduation rate since 1970, when the figure hit 78.7 percent. Also improved was the dropout rate, calculated as the proportion of students who drop out in any given year; it fell from 14.6 percent in 1972 to 11 percent in 1992 to 3.4 percent for the class of 2010. Thirty-eight states showed a graduation-rate increase of 1 percentage point or more in the most recent analysis. Overall, 3.1 million students received NOW TO BUSINESS: President Barack Obama is sworn in, Congress is back, and Washington ramps up. PAGES 19, 20, 21 Poverty, neglect, or family stress can make it especially difficult for young children to develop the selfdiscipline and habits of mind they will need to succeed in the classroom and beyond. Armed with research and a commitment to the whole child, Washington state has transformed the way its agencies work together and in partnership with researchers to address the effects of early adversity on learning and to help disadvantaged children build resiliency and other so-called executive-function skills they need to learn and grow. In the process, officials hope to create a national model for rapidly translating new research in fields like cognitive and neuroscience into usable practice. The Innovation by Design initiative, PAGE 16 >

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 30, 2013

Education Week - January 30, 2013
Grad Rate At Highest Since 1970
Teachers Differ Over Meeting Nonfiction Rule
States Soon to Weigh Science Standards
News in Brief
Report Roundup
New Scrutiny as Head Start Centers Recompete for Aid
Flu-Related Absenteeism Prompts School Closures
FOCUS ON: CAREER READINESS: Internships Help Students Prepare for The Workplace
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Competitions Connect Tech. Startups With Educators
School Choice Advocate to Lead Private Schools’ Group
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Digital Technologies Fuel Continued K-12 Acquisitions
Blogs of the Week
‘i3’ Raises Ante in Evidence, Research Push
GOP Players in Congress Step Forward On K-12
Policy Brief
Inauguration 2013
State of the States
LAURA C. MURRAY: Mental Health Is Part of the School Safety Equation
HELEN BRUNNER: Why Equal Internet Access Is an Education Essential
VICKY SCHIPPERS: Let’s Overhaul How We Teach History
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
CHARLES J. RUSSO: Armed Teachers And Guards Won’t Make Schools Safer

Education Week - January 30, 2013