Education Week - February 14, 2018 - 4
NEWS IN BRIEF
ESSA Pilot Launched to Allow
Federal Funds to Follow Student
Chicago Prepares to Close More Schools
Located in Impoverished Neighborhoods
The U.S. Department of Education is officially
opening up the Weighted Student Funding Pilot in
the Every Student Succeeds Act. Up to 50 districts
will be able to participate initially, with the possibility of adding more districts down the line.
Under the funding pilot, participating districts can
combine federal, state, and local dollars into a single
funding stream tied to individual students. Englishlanguage learners, poor children, and students in
special education-who cost more to educate-would
carry with them more money than other students.
In theory, adopting a weighted student funding
formula could make it easier for districts to operate
choice programs, since money would be tied to individual students and could therefore follow them to
charter or virtual public schools. No extra federal
resources are attached to the pilot.
Five years after the largest mass closure of public schools in an American city, Chicago is forging
ahead with a plan to shutter four more in one of the
city's highest-crime and impoverished areas.
School officials are pitching the new closures
around Englewood, a neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, to make way for a new $85 million school they insist will better serve students
and reverse low enrollment. But some parents,
students, and activists are skeptical, saying
they're still reeling from the 2013 closures and
the latest plan will make things worse, including the displacement of hundreds of mostly
black and poor teenagers.
The latest closure proposal has led to shouting
matches and emotional pleas during community
meetings. Residents have pleaded with the district
to invest more in neighborhood schools and safety.
Some have alleged that racial politics are at play.
And they worry by placing students in schools farther away, they are putting them in danger of gang
members who will view them as the enemy by virtue of their address.
Pelosi Holds Court on House Floor
For 8-Hour Defense of 'Dreamers'
Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star via AP
Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., delivered a marathon
speech last week in defense of "Dreamers," the young
undocumented immigrants brought to the United
States as children who Democrats and some Republicans are pushing to give permanent legal status.
In an unusual move by a member of the U.S. House of
Representatives, the House minority leader conducted
the equivalent of a Senate filibuster, speaking and reading-for eight straight hours-about Dreamers. Pelosi's
speech unfolded as Republicans in Congress hustled
to pass legislation to avert a government shutdown.
Pelosi and other Democrats had vowed to vote
against a budget deal unless Republicans agree to
protect DACA-Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals-recipients from deportation. Later in the week,
Congress reached an agreement on a budget without
Some 9,000 teachers in U.S. public schools are
protected by DACA, and millions of U.S.-born students are the children of undocumented immigrants,
many of whom are DACA recipients. -LESLI A. MAXWELL
READY, SET, GO
Fourth graders tackle
challenges during the
first Mitchell A. and
Victoria K. Smith STEM
Saturday at Powhatan
School in Boyce, Va. The
students watch as a
launched toward a
window using a catapult
they made. Fourth and
5th graders from nine
area schools took part.
New Era of Local Control Begins
For Schools in Newark, N.J.
After 22 years, Newark, N.J., residents have regained control of their schools.
Christopher Cerf, a former state education com-
missioner who has been the city's schools superintendent since 2015, stepped down as the district's
leader. One of his deputies, Robert Gregory, a
former principal, will serve as the interim superintendent.
The elected school board, which primarily served
in an advisory capacity, will now act as a fully functioning school board-though a monitor will be following the district's progress and compliance with
a transition plan over the next two years.
In recent years, Newark has seen its graduation
rate improve to 78 percent, and the district now
outperforms most school systems with similar demographics in reading and math, according to the
-DENISA R. SUPERVILLE
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES ARE MORE ENGAGED
Received tutoring at school
Received mental health services at school
Participated in a school club or sports team
Strongly feel they are part of the school
Have a paid job
Met with school staff to develop
transition plan at age 17-18
SOURCE: National Longitudinal Transition Study 2012
4 | EDUCATION WEEK | February 14, 2018 | www.edweek.org
"A Multicomponent, Preschool-to-3rd Grade
Preventive Intervention and Educational
Attainment at 35 Years of Age"
The FBI, the U.S. Department of Education, and
the District of Columbia's inspector general's office are investigating the city's public schools, The
Washington Post reports.
The newspaper says the probe is focused on graduation practices. A report released two weeks ago
by the D.C. state superintendent's office found that
roughly 1 in 3 students who graduated in 2017 were
awarded diplomas in error because they missed too
many classes or improperly took makeup classes.
The city commissioned the study in the wake of
an investigation by public-radio station WAMU
showing that one long-troubled school awarded
diplomas to many students last year despite the
fact that they were chronically absent. The study
also found that teachers felt pressure from school
administrators to find ways to graduate students,
even those who did not come close to meeting requirements.
In the past year, the district has also come
under fire for misrepresenting suspension rates
and faced questions about the former schools'
chancellor skirting the school lottery system to
In the decade from 2003-2012, students with an individualized education plan
for special needs have become more engaged in school and more likely to use
tutoring available there, according to new federal longitudinal data. Yet the study
also found they may be doing less than previous generations to prepare for life
after high school.
PERCENTAGE OF U.S. STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES, AGES 15-18
Federal and Local D.C. Authorities
Reportedly Investigating District
Preschool may be good at offering shortterm academic gains for kids, but a program that provided services from preschool
through 3rd grade showed benefits for children that boosted their college attendance
rates years later, finds a new study in JAMA
Researchers examined the life outcomes of
nearly 1,000 children who attended the Chicago Child-Parent Centers as preschoolers
in the early 1980s. Among CPC children who
only stayed long enough to complete preschool,
15.7 percent received an associate degree or
higher, compared to 10.7 percent of children in
a comparison group who didn't attend that particular program.
For children who stayed in the Child-Parent
Center until 2nd or 3rd grade, 18.5 percent received a master's degree or higher, compared to
12.5 percent in the comparison group.
"First-Generation Students: College Access,
Persistence, and Postbachelor's Outcomes"
Students whose parents didn't go to college
are less likely to enroll in challenging courses
than peers whose parents had earned bachelor's degrees, finds a brief by the National Center for Education Statistics.
The report draws on the experiences of
more than 45,000 students in three ongoing
longitudinal studies. Among those who graduated from high school in 2003-04, 44 percent
of the students with college-educated parents
earned college credit through Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses,
compared to 18 percent of the first-genera-