Education Week - February 18, 2015 - (Page 5)
REPORT ROUNDUP www.edweek.org/go/rr
with distributing "harmful material"
Proponents say that would give
needed protection to students, but
opponents say it could criminalize
the teaching of biology or controversial
works of literature.
The bill is a response to a highly
publicized incident at a Shawnee
Mission middle school. A poster
displayed in a sex education classroom
listed several sexual acts,
including oral sex, under the title
"How do people express their sexual
feelings?" It did not contain any
Arizona Chief, Governor
Clash Over Board Staffing
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey rescinded
the firings of two staff
members of the state board of education
by state Superintendent
Diane Douglas after complaints
that Ms. Douglas was acting outside
her legal authority.
Ms. Douglas fired board executive
director Christine Thompson and
deputy director Sabrina Vazquez on
Feb. 11. The next day, Gov. Ducey, a
Republican, rescinded the firings, citing
legal precedent. Ms. Douglas, in
turn, said that the governor had overstepped
his power under the state
constitution by reversing the firings.
The state board had scheduled a
special meeting last Friday to discuss
An article in the Feb. 4, 2015,
issue of Education Week misstated
the number of states where
Healthy Families America operates.
It operates in 40. The program also
works with families that are at-risk
for adverse childhood experiences,
including but not limited to child
An article in that same issue
about changes at the top of education
advocacy groups misspelled the
last name of the new president of
50can. Her name is Vallay Varro.
An article about state schools
chiefs' roles in the Jan. 28 issue
incorrectly described Missouri
Commissioner of Education Margaret
Vandeven's previous work at
the Missouri education department.
She served for one year as
| TRANSITIONS |
The two top leaders of the tntp, an alternative teachercertification
and advocacy group, have announced
plans to step down, paving the way for the first major
leadership transition since Michelle Rhee left in 2007.
President Tim Daly and ceo Ariela Rozman will leave
this summer. Taking their places, respectively, at what
was formerly known as the New Teacher Project will
be Karolyn Belcher, currently the vice president of newteacher
effectiveness at the organization, and Daniel
Weisberg, a former New York City education department
Mr. Daly and Ms. Rozman plan to start an organization
helping parents negotiate the increasing complexity of
the public school system.
"Black Lives Matter: The Schott 50-State Report
on Public Education and Black Males"
While the nation's graduation rate, including
that of black and Latino males, has continued
to grow, the gap between black males and their
white peers has widened, according to a report
released last week by the Schott Foundation for
Since the Cambridge, Mass.-based foundation's
last report on the state of public education
for black males, in 2012, the gap between the
four-year graduation rate for black males and
white males widened from 19 percentage points
in the 2009-10 school year to 21 points in the
2012-13 year. For Latinos, the gap shrank to 15
percentage points, from 20, during that period.
The national graduation rate was 59 percent
for black males, 65 percent for Latinos, and
80 percent for white males for the 2012-13 school
year, according to the report. Particularly striking
was Detroit, where only 20 percent of black males
graduated on time in 2011-12.
The report provides state-by-state graduation
rates for all three of those racial or ethnic
groups, and district-level statistics for
blacks and whites in 50 school systems where
the black male enrollment exceeds 10,000.
-DENISA R. SUPERVILLE
"The Maine Question: How Is Four-Year College
Enrollment Affected by Mandatory College
A new study suggests that statewide administration
of the sat can lead to higher collegegoing
rates, particularly among students who
would not otherwise have taken the collegeentrance
The study in the March issue of the journal
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis
examines high school students in Maine who
were set to graduate between 2004 and 2008.
Researchers found that, overall, mandating the
sat for all students increased rates of enrollment
in four-year colleges by 2 to 3 percentage
points overall, and by 10 percentage points for
students who would not otherwise have taken it.
Michael Hurwitz, the lead author of the paper
and an associate policy researcher with the College
Board, the sponsor of the sat, said the increase
was large, given that half of Maine public
high school seniors typically enroll in college.
Maine was the first state to require statewide
school-day administration of the sat, beginning in
the spring of 2007, and to make the test the state's
accountability assessment. This year, the sat will
be optional, although the state will still pay for it,
and students will be required to take the Smarter
Balanced assessment aligned with the Common
Core State Standards.
-CARALEE J. ADAMS
Study: Boarding Schools
Don't Benefit All Students
"Ready for Boarding? The Effects of a Boarding
School for Disadvantaged Students"
Can academic boarding schools remove the
environmental barriers to achievement for disadvantaged
students? Yes-and no-finds a
new study of French schools.
Economists from the University of Warwick
in Coventry, England, and the Paris
School of Economics followed 258 low-income
students who won lotteries to the "internats
d'excellence," or "boarding schools
of excellence," in Paris, which offer free tuition
to students in poverty. The researchers
matched those students by demographic
background and performance on a standardized
mathematics test with 137 8th to 10th
grade students who applied but did not win
a place in the lotteries in September 2009
After a year in the boarding school, the disadvantaged
students who won the lottery had
roughly similar educational outcomes to those
who had not and experienced lower reported
levels of well-being. However, by the end of
the second year, the scholarship winners were
performing 20 percent of a standard deviation
higher on a standardized math test than the
nonwinning lottery participants.
But there's a catch: The improvement was
driven by students who had initially scored in
the upper third of math performance. These
initially higher-achieving students improved
half of a standard deviation more for each year
in the boarding school than did the control
"Overall, our results suggest that boarding
is a disruptive form of schooling for students,"
the authors said. While strong students make
academic progress, they write, "this type of
school does not seem well suited to weaker
students: Even after two years, we do not observe
any test-score gains among them."
-SARAH D. SPARKS
"School Breakfast Scorecard"
"2014 Education Choice and Competition Index"
An average of 11.2 million low-income children
ate school breakfasts daily during the
2013-14 school year, an increase of 320,000 children
from the previous year, a report released
last week says.
A higher percentage of low-income children
who participated in school lunch programs in
2013-14 also ate school breakfasts than in the
previous year, according to the report from the
Food Research and Action Center.
Frac calculated its figures "by comparing the
number of low-income children receiving school
breakfast to the number of such children receiving
school lunch," the report says. "By this
measure, nationally 53 low-income children
ate school breakfast for every 100 who also ate
school lunch, an increase from the previous
school year's ratio of 52 to 100, and far above
the 43 to 100 ratio of a decade earlier."
Advocates for children's nutrition attribute
increased school breakfast participation to
strategies like breakfast-in-the classroom programs
and the "community eligibility" option,
which allows some schools to serve free meals
to all students rather than requiring them to
HIGH SCHOOL COMPLETION
"Public High School Four-Year, Adjusted Cohort
The national, four-year high school graduation
rate has ticked up for the second
year in a row, growing from 80 percent in
the 2011-12 school year to 81 percent in
2012-13, according to data released in January
by the U.S. Department of Education.
Most individual states made gains. For
instance, the District of Columbia's high
school graduation rate grew from 59 percent
in the 2011-12 school year to 62 percent
in 2012-13. (It's still the lowest in the
country, however.) Not every state showed
improvement-Arizona dropped from 76
percent in the 2011-12 school year to 75
percent in 2012-13.
States were required to use this particular,
uniform method of calculating graduation
rates beginning in 2008, and full implementation
took a few years. For the 2010-11 school
year, the national graduation rate was 79 percent.
The next year, it inched up to 80 percent.
States are increasingly allowing high schools
to move away from traditional course-seat-time
requirements for graduation and allowing competency-based
assessments, grade point average,
class rank, and course rigor as indicators
that students are ready for college.
A report released last week by the Education
Commission of the States, reviews the trend toward
greater flexibility in how students demonstrate
As of this school year, 47 states have set
minimum high school graduation requirements,
according to the ecs. Of those, 18 or
more are completely or partially aligned
course requirements for high school graduation
with state- or systemwide college-admission
A growing number of states are offering competency-based
assessments for students to show
their content mastery, the report says. And some
districts now require students to provide a portfolio
of their work to reflect their learning.
The ecs notes that some higher education
institutions have expanded admission requirements
to recognize such alternative indicators.
EDUCATION WEEK | February 18, 2015 | www.edweek.org | 5
Half the nation's largest 100 school districts
allowed some kind of school choice in 2014, a
report from the Brookings Institution says.
But policymakers need to improve access
to quality schools, the report says. Specifically,
parents need better tools to make good
choices, it says, and they need good schools to
Using data from the 2013-14 school year, the
Brookings index ranks districts based on how
many school choice options and supports families
can access. New Orleans' state-run Recovery
School District got top marks, with New York
City coming in second. The Newark, N.J., district
was the upstart on the list, climbing 15 spots to
the No. 3 position. Its 21-point rise was due in
large part to its new districtwide single-enrollment
system for charter and district schools.
The three lowest-ranked school districts were
the Alpine district in Northern County, Utah;
the Loudoun County schools in Virginia; and
the Brownsville Independent School District in
"Multiple Measures for College Readiness"
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - February 18, 2015
Schools Weighing Access To Social Media Passwords
Education Week - February 18, 2015
Measles Outbreak Cues Action On Vaccine Rules
States Shedding Power To Adopt Class Materials
Those Opposing Restraint and Seclusion Gain New Traction With State Legislatures
New Venture to Evaluate Technology
News in Brief
Global Skills Study Finds U.S. Millennials Trailing
Broad Foundation Puts Urban Schools Prize On Hold Indefinitely
Blogs of the Week
FCC Plan for ‘Net Neutrality’ Addresses Schools’ Needs
Calif. Districts Seeking $1 Billion To Fund Testing Mandate
Obama, Congress Set to Clash On FY16 Budget
GOP in Driver’s Seat as Congress Tackles NCLB Rewrite
NCLB-Waiver Renewal Gears Up; Duncan Holds Weakened Hand
Blogs of the Week
State of the States
FRANK D. LoMONTE: Don’t Silence Young (Female) Journalists
KAREN HAWLEY MILES: Why Annual State Testing Makes Cents
JANE HIRSCHI: ‘Hands in the Dirt’ Learning
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
GILLIAN McGOLDRICK: When Morality and Law Trump School Tradition
Education Week - February 18, 2015