Education Week - February 24, 2016 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk VOL. 35, NO. 22 * FEBRUARY 24, 2016 AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2016 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 4 BRE AKING NEWS DAILY This issue includes Education Week's annual report on exceptional district-level leaders across the country who put new ideas to work and have lessons to share. See the special magazine in the center of this issue. MATH FEVER: From left, Luna Rodriguez, Sabrina Vulpio, and Justin Burgher, 7th graders at PS 232, dance on the light-activated Math Square at the Museum of Mathematics in New York. MoMath and other museums are trying to make the subject enjoyable. PAGE 8 Disparities in Test Accommodations Eyed Justice Dept. Exploring Why Students With Disabilities Miss Out on Supports for Required ACTs, SATs By Catherine Gewertz As more states embrace the SAT or the ACT as their mandated high school test, a new gulf is opening between students with disabilities and those without, and it's caught the eye of the U.S. Department of Justice. The department's office for civil rights is gathering information about the practices of the College Board and ACT Inc. after persistent complaints that the testing organizations reject many requests for accommodations that are routinely provided by schools, such as extra time or frequent breaks. That practice puts students with disabilities in a tough spot, particularly in the 23 states that now require high school students to take one of the two college-entrance exams. Students who can't get the testing accommodations they're used to can take the exams without them and risk a compromised performance, or, in some states, they can insist on their usual accommodations and give up a key benefit their non-accommodated peers receive: a "college-reportable" score. That's because the College Board and ACT Inc. won't certify scores for use in college admissions if their tests aren't taken with accommodations they approved. The organizations defend their practices, and say relatively few students end up with non-reportable scores. Questions of equal test access are mounting as states push harder than ever to find ways to ensure that students are college-ready. Many states offer the SAT or the ACT for free to all ESSA Spotlights Strategy to Reach Diverse Learners By Christina A. Samuels dedicate time to stand-alone grammar lessons and tasks-diagramming sentences, for instance, or memorizing the differences between adjectives and adverbs? Or can students learn the language system through broad writing and reading? Questions around whether and how grammar should be taught in schools have long been the cause of a tug of war within the language arts community. In an article published in the January/Feb- Sprinkled throughout the newly reauthorized version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act are references to an instructional strategy that supporters think has enormous potential for reaching learners with diverse needs. The next thing to do, those proponents say, is getting more educators to understand just what it means. Called uniThe New Federal K-12 Law versal design for learning, or UDL for short, the strategy encompasses a wide set of teaching techniques, allowing multiple ways for teachers to present information and for students to engage in lessons and demonstrate what they know. A universally designed lesson, for example, might include audiovisual components, illustrations, traditional lectures, enlarged print, or glossaries so that students can have easy access to unfamiliar terms. Universal design for learning also encourages students to use a variety of techniques, such as group projects, multimedia pre- PAGE 16 > PAGE 24 > PAGE 14 > INSIDE ESSA Will the Common Core Step Up Schools' Focus on Grammar? By Liana Heitin Grammar instruction may have waned in some classrooms starting in the early 2000s, largely because the high-stakes tests required by the No Child Left Behind law didn't assess grammar specifically. But with most states now using the Common Core State Standards, there's some thought that grammar is making a comeback-along with perennial debates about how best to teach it. "We are asking kids to dive into complex texts and understand them, so we need to teach them how to read complex sentences," said Chris Hayes, a veteran elementary teacher in Washoe County, Nev. And that requires deep knowledge of grammar. If it's true that grammar instruction dropped off but is now enjoying a resurgence-and even that is tough to track with certainty- then determining the best approach for teaching syntax and semantics is now once again a critical conversation topic. Should teachers

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - February 24, 2016

Education Week - February 24, 2016
ESSA Spotlights Strategy to Reach Diverse Learners
Will the Common Core Step Up Schools’ Focus on Grammar?
Disparities in Test Accommodations Eyed
News in Brief
Report Roundup
S.D. May Restrict Restroom Use For Transgender Students
Conn. Seminars Tackle ‘Religious Illiteracy’ In Classrooms
Seven Studies Comparing Paper and Computer Test Scores
To Offset Poverty, Ed. Groups Urge ‘Whole-Child’ Approach
Research on Deafness Yields Broader Insights
Analysis: Ill. Pension Woes Destabilizing Teaching
Blogs of the Week
Military Eyes Wider Access for Career-Aptitude Test Under ESSA
Scalia’s Death Muddies Fate of Key Cases
Courts Push Lawmakers to the Wall Over K-12 Funding
Blogs of the Week
5 Key Takeaways on Education From White House Candidates
State of the States
Preschool Suspensions Do More Harm Than Good
Personalization Isn’t About Isolation
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Why Preschool Matters for Student Success

Education Week - February 24, 2016