Education Week - February 10, 2016 - (Page 5)

suit in 2014, as he was readying his failed bid for the GOP presidential nomination, contending that the administration had manipulated grant money and policy waivers to illegally pressure states to adopt the standards. Jindal lost the first round of the litigation. The office of Edwards, a Democrat, announced last week that the new governor won't continue with an appeal. Edwards' office said the recently signed Every Student Succeeds Act, which includes language barring the government from mandating standards, combined with Louisiana's work to rewrite its standards, makes the lawsuit "educationally and financially unnecessary." -AP Athletes Held 'Fight Club' At Dallas-Area School Baseball players at a Dallas-area high school held a "fight club" in the batting cages, according to a school district investigation that also found the team's coaches subjected players to demeaning comments. Complaints from players' parents led to the uncovering of the fight club, as well as reports that Plano East High School head baseball coach Travis Collins and assistant coach Reagan Allen subjected players to demeaning, sometimes racist comments, according to documents obtained by The Dallas Morning News. A lawyer for the coaches said they deny the allegations regarding demeaning comments and had no knowledge of the fight club. But investigators said the attention generated by the fights was so widespread the coaches should have known of them, although they occurred while the coaches were away from campus. Both coaches are on paid administrative leave, and a district statement says neither coach is still associated with the baseball program. -AP Sandy Hook Memorial Covered With Plasterboard A student-painted mural inside Newtown High School that paid tribute to victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting rampage has been covered with plasterboard. The administration became worried that despite its intentions, the painting of a dreamcatcher was upsetting some students in the Newtown, Conn., community. The decision led to an online student petition rallying support for uncovering the painting, sparked debate on how to acknowledge the tragedy, and provided a glimpse of the challenges facing administrators in a school system that remains in recovery three years after the shooting that claimed the lives of 20 1st graders and six educators. -AP Georgia Bill Supports Athletes' Religious Attire A House committee in Georgia has approved a bill preventing state-funded high schools from mother was given the tape and a parenting pamphlet. By age 3, children who had participated in the VIP program had significantly higher attention skills and lower levels of aggression and separation anxiety than those in the other two groups. -SARAH D. SPARKS DISTRICT SPENDING "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2012-13" The economy might be recovering, but school districts are still feeling the pinch, according to new federal data. The latest school district spending data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that the median district got $11,745 per student in fiscal 2013 from all sources, after adjusting for inflation, 1.8 percent less than the prior year. Districts spent $10,047 per student during the same time, a .5 percent decrease from fiscal 2012, suggesting that administrators tried to buffer students from some of the budget cuts. Part of districts' squeeze came from a cut of more than 10 percent in federal support for K-12 schools, from $61.7 billion in fiscal 2012 to $55.1 billion in fiscal 2013. On average, 37 percent of district budgets came from local property taxes, but in five states, districts depended on such contributions for more than half of their budgets. -S.D.S. EARLY EDUCATION "State Pre-K Funding for 2015-16 Year" For the fourth-straight year, state spending on publicly funded preschool has increased, according to the latest report by the Education Commission of the States, a state education policy think tank. joining athletic associations that don't allow athletes to wear clothing expressing religious beliefs. The measure approved last week by the education committee is a swipe at the Georgia High School Association. Several lawmakers cited a high school runner disqualified from an association event last fall. He was wearing a headband with a Bible verse written on it. The organization has said the student was disqualified because all athletes must be in uniform, with no other adornments, under national athletic-association rules. -AP Student Removed for Helping Peer Having Asthma Attack The mother of a Texas teenager who was suspended from school for helping a friend who was having an asthma attack says her son won't return to the school. Mandy Cortes said that she will home-school her 15-year-old rather than have him return to Gateway Middle School in Killeen. Anthony Ruelas was suspended when he disobeyed his teacher by picking up his classmate and leaving the classroom to carry her to the nurse's office. The teacher had emailed the nurse when the girl began suffering the attack and was awaiting a response. Cortes says that after a few minutes had passed, her son uttered an expletive about not waiting and carried the girl out. -AP Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia increased spending on preschool, while only five states decreased funding. Of the states that made increases, 22 had Republican governors and 10 had Democratic governors. Overall, spending increased by 12 percent over 2014-15 to a total of $7 billion in 2015-16. The District of Columbia spends $12,407, far and away the most per preschool-age resident. The other states all spend less than $1,500, though some cities, like Boston, New York, and Tulsa, have separate budgets that significantly supplement state funds. Three years ago, 11 states did not fund preschool at all. This year, there are only five holdouts: Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Wyoming. -LILLIAN MONGEAU PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT "The American Teacher Panel" Teachers do seem to be getting a lot of professional development aligned to the common core in both English/language arts and math, but it's not always focused on the topics that they say they need the most help on. That's according to surveys drawn from RAND's American Teacher Panel, which represents some 1,130 teachers. In both math and English/language arts, more than half of teachers reported that "the content of state standards" was a focus of their professional development, but far fewer teachers said that focus reflected their needs (28 percent in math and 31 percent in English/ language arts.) Funding for the survey analysis came from the National Education Association and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. (The foundation also supports coverage of college- and career-ready standards in Education Week.) -STEPHEN SAWCHUK Md. to Give Scholarships To Early Graduates Maryland students who finish high school in three years or less will receive $6,000 in college scholarships, beginning next fall. Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order last week creating the scholarships. He called the action a smart use of tax dollars because the state can reallocate money it would have spent on a student's last year in public high school to help with the first year of college instead. Last year, 1,065 students across Maryland graduated before the start of the senior year. On average, about 1,000 students have graduated early each year since 2010. -AP CORRECTIONS An article in the Jan. 20, 2016, issue of Education Week on Teach For America's political impact misstated the length of time that Zeke Cohen, the executive director of the Intersection, had worked as a teacher in Baltimore. It was two years. A paragraph in that same issue's overview of the Every Student Succeeds Act was incomplete as printed. It should read: "It's equally unclear just how much power the U.S. Department of Education will have when the law, the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is fully implemented." | TRANSITIONS | Tiffany Anderson, the superintendent of the Jennings, Mo., district, will take the reins of the Topeka, Kan., schools as of July 1. One of Education Week's 2015 Leaders to Learn From, Anderson has received national attention for her approach to educating children in poverty. During her tenure in Jennings, the district regained its accreditation, started a food pantry for many of the community's low-income families, put washers and dryers in schools, added a clothing boutique that provided jackets, socks, and the like to students, and opened a foster home to provide shelter for homeless students. Geography Plays Role in College Access "Education Deserts: The Continued Significance of 'Place' in the 21st Century" The college frenzy obsesses on key hurdles students must clear to snag a spot in a good college: taking tough courses and getting good grades, building an impressive list of extracurriculars, gathering the financial resources to pay the bills. But the simple fact of a student's street address can be as big a hurdle as any. A paper released last week explores the dynamics in "education deserts"-areas with fewer colleges and universities-and argues that where students live is a powerful force that can undermine their access to college. Living in an education desert-a place with no four-year colleges or universities nearby and perhaps only one community college-can mean that "geography is destiny" when it comes to college choice, the paper says. The paper was written by Nicholas Hillman, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Taylor Weichman, a doctoral student there. It's the first in a series about higher education issues from the American Council on Education's Center for Policy Research and Strategy. The authors cite research showing that 57 percent of freshmen in four-year colleges and universities enroll in institutions within 50 miles of their homes, and that the farther students live from a given institution, the less likely they are to enroll. The study finds the most education deserts in the Great Plains and the Midwest. The two biggest are Kentucky's LexingtonLafayette region and South Carolina's Columbia area. Education deserts aren't always defined solely by the physical lack of colleges nearby, the authors add. Those two regions each have a flagship university, but since they are relatively selective, students who aren't admitted have only one other public option nearby: community college. -CATHERINE GEWERTZ EDUCATION WEEK | February 10, 2016 | | 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - February 10, 2016

Education Week - February 10, 2016
Federal Trade Regulators Target Brain-Training Product Claims
In States Hungry for Teachers, Policy Menu Expands
PARCC Scores Lower On Computer Exams
Equipping Parents on Spec. Ed.
News in Brief
Report Roundup
In Chicago, Schools’ Financial Crisis Deepens Divisions
Advocates’ Report Hits States For Overtesting, Other Policies
Blogs of the Week
Digital Directions: Partnership Boosts Data Privacy
Kindergarten: Less Play, More Academics (infographic
‘Proficiency’ Bars on State Tests Are Seen Heading Upward
Views Clash On K-12 Law Rulemaking
Blogs of the Week
Ed. Dept. CIO Grilled By Oversight Panel
State of the States
America’s ‘Edu-Masochism’
I’m Tired of ‘Grit’
Why Small Steps Are Better for Small Schools
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
In Low-Income Schools, Teachers Need Guidance

Education Week - February 10, 2016