Education Week - February 18, 2015 - (Page 5)

REPORT ROUNDUP with distributing "harmful material" to minors. 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 images. -McCLATCHY-TRIBUNE 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 Doug Ducey rescinded the firings of two staff members of the state board of education by state Superintendent Diane Douglas after complaints that Ms.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 Ducey, a Republican, rescinded the firings, citing legal precedent.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 the matter. -ANDREW UJIFUSA CORRECTIONS 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 maltreatment. 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 deputy commissioner. | 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 labor-policy chief. Mr. Daly and Ms. Rozman plan to start an organization helping parents negotiate the increasing complexity of the public school system. ACHIEVEMENT GAPS "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 Public Education. 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 COLLEGE-GOING "The Maine Question: How Is Four-Year College Enrollment Affected by Mandatory College Entrance Exams?" 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 exam. 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 and 2010. 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 group students. "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 STUDENT NUTRITION "School Breakfast Scorecard" SCHOOL CHOICE "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 qualify individually. -EVIE BLAD HIGH SCHOOL COMPLETION "Public High School Four-Year, Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate" Tim Daly 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. Ariela Rozman 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. -ALYSON KLEIN 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 proficiency. 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 standards. 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. -C.A. EDUCATION WEEK | February 18, 2015 | | 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 choose from. 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 Texas. -ARIANNA PROTHERO GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS "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
Report Roundup
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