Education Week - February 13, 2019 - 1

Education Week
VOL. 38, NO. 21 * FEBRUARY 13, 2019

AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2019 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 6 


Boom or Bust? Civic Activism and the Next Generation
Taking Stock of a Youth
Movement's Gains, Losses
By Stephen Sawchuk
For Philly native Rachel Steinig, a core
March for Our Lives activist, returning to
the University of Pennsylvania for her sophomore year highlighted a stark contrast between her life on the protest frontlines and
the orderly campus. There just weren't many
supports there for student organizing or activism, said Steinig.
So in January, nine months after student
walkouts rippled through American schools,
the 19-year-old and a handful of her classmates decided to fill the void themselves, and

launched the UPenn chapter of March for
Our Lives.
In a few weeks, the chapter had amassed
an email list of some 250 students, visited the
Philadelphia office of Sen. Pat Toomey to lobby
for a federal proposal to close gun backgroundcheck loopholes, and contacted long-established Philadelphia gun-violence groups, to ask
how it can help.
As the anniversary of the tragedy at Marjory
Stoneman Douglas High School arrives, the efforts of groups like this one represent one of
several possible answers to this question: What
is the future of the extraordinary youth activism #neveragain unleashed in 2018?
It may seem like a pointed question to ask of
a movement that has already helped reframe
the issue of gun violence in the United States

Poll Finds Journalism
Classes Going Strong
By Sasha Jones
Recent years have been bad news for journalists.
For the first time since 2007, journalists were killed
in the line of work on U.S. soil. National and local
news outlets continue to lay off staff. And President
Donald Trump famously declared the press to be
the "enemy of the people."
In many of the nation's schools, though, student interest in journalism is growing or holding
steady, according to a new survey by the Education Week Research Center.
In coordination with the Journalism Educa-

Citizen Z:

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Denver Teachers to
Strike Over Pay Plan
By Madeline Will

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Eman Mohammed for Education Week

But fiscal conservatives in many states
have urged the public to pump the brakes.
They instead want to stash even more surplus dollars into state "rainy day" funds in
preparation for another recession. The last
recession, between 2007 and 2009, state
leaders have reminded school officials, devastated school districts, and led to massive
layoffs, the effects of which schools are still
reeling from today.
Arizona has a $1 billion surplus this year,
much of which Gov. Doug Ducey wants to
put into savings, a move that's outraged
the state's public school community. "If ever

Denver teachers were set to strike Feb. 11 over
a dispute about the district's once-revolutionary
performance-pay model.
The tumult in Denver illustrates the national
swing in education policy priorities. For years, efforts to link pay to teacher effectiveness were a
focus for many legislators, education leaders, and
advocacy groups. Now, amid the wave of teacher
activism, the national conversation is centered on
paying all teachers more, regardless of where they
work, what they teach, or how their students perform on state tests.
"The fact that, 'Hey, let's pay good teachers
more,' is so rarely a prominent talking point
[these days]-much less a concrete part of the
agenda-is really striking," said Frederick M.
Hess, the director of education policy studies at
the American Enterprise Institute. (Hess also
writes an opinion blog at
While the majority of teachers in Denver supported the district's performance-pay model,
known as ProComp, when it was put in place 15
years ago, now most teachers in the city have
voted to walk out over it.
"The district's revolving door of teacher turnover must stop," said Henry Roman, the president
of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, in
a statement. The district "must improve teacher
pay to keep quality, experienced teachers in Denver classrooms."
The district, which had asked the state to intervene in the labor dispute to no avail, has pledged
to keep schools open during the strike. As of press
time, the two sides were continuing to bargain.
The ProComp system at the heart of the labor
strife was heralded by experts as a groundbreaking attempt at rewarding teachers not for their
number of years in the classroom but for their
work raising student achievement and for teaching where they are needed most.
"The early hopes and aspirations were that it
was going to revolutionize teacher pay," said Paul
Teske, the dean of the School of Public Affairs at
the University of Colorado, Denver, and one of the
authors of a book on the history of ProComp.
The experiment was at the forefront of con-

PODCAST PREP: Kindergartners practice reading the sentences they will record for a podcast at the Mount Washington School in Baltimore.

Teachers are using the technology with students of all ages to nurture reading, writing, and interviewing skills. PAGE 6

Stark Choice: Save Surplus, or Spend on K-12?
States Find Themselves Caught
Between Competing Priorities
By Daarel Burnette II
Public school advocates are scrambling to
seize on the windfall of cash that's landed in
state coffers this year, the result of a surging economy and recent federal tax cuts.
More than half of states have budget surpluses this year, according to an Education
Week analysis of local news reports and governors' state of the state speeches.

And district superintendents, teachers,
and parent groups have outlined a long
wish list of things they say are needed to
improve stagnant academic outcomes and
school conditions, among them teacher
raises, expanded pre-K, more nurses and
school psychologists, and replacement of
dilapidated school buildings.
Already, in at least 17 states-including in Arkansas and Mississippi, where
yearslong budget deficits have caused widespread teacher shortages-governors have
indicated that they will use a portion of that
money to give teachers a pay raise.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - February 13, 2019