Education Week - February 24, 2016 - (Page 17)

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS Scalia's Death Muddies Fate Of Key Cases Union-fees ruling in limbo The unexpected death of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia eventually could lead to a shift in how the court handles cases on race in education, church and state separation, and the authority of school administrators. But in the short term, the 79-year-old justice's passing throws several of the current term's cases of interest to educators into uncertainty. Chief among them is Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (Case No. 14-915), a case about the constitutionality of the agency fees that public-employee unions charge those who refuse to join for their share of collective bargaining costs. Other pending cases in which the outcome could be affected by the justice's death involve affirmative action in higher education, the scope of the principle of "one person, one vote" in state and local elections, and President Barack Obama's deferredaction immigration policy, which is being watched by educators. 'All the Marbles' Justice Scalia was discovered dead on Feb. 13 in his room at a ranch resort in West Texas, and authorities have said he died of natural causes. On the major education cases of his era, Scalia consistently voted against the use of race in higher education and K-12 schools. He backed a low wall of separation between church and state in cases involving prayer in public schools and government J. Scott Applewhite/AP By Mark Walsh aid to religious schools. And he generally sided with school administrators over students and their rights. Obama says he will nominate a successor and that he expects the U.S. Senate to fulfill its constitutional duty to advise and consent. With the Senate under Republican control, however, GOP leaders as well as the candidates seeking the party's presidential nomination have called for allowing the next president to make the choice for a vacancy that could tip the balance of the court. "With Justice Scalia's vacancy, the court could shift decidedly to the left," Carrie Severino, the chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network, a Washington group that supports the appointment of conservatives, said in a call with reporters last week. "This vacancy is incredibly important," said Severino, a former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas. "This is for all the marbles." U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's courtroom chair is draped in black to mark his death. The vacancy has set off a political battle, An Eight-Member Court and left the outcome of With the question of a successor to Justice Sca- several cases in the lia dangling in the political winds, there is much balance. speculation about what will happen to some of this term's key cases. SCALIA IN HIS OWN WORDS: Last week, the group representing non-union For a sampling of Justice California teachers in the Friedrichs case, who are Scalia's views and votes in challenging a nearly 40-year-old high court prec- education cases, SEE PAGE 23 edent authorizing public-union agency fees, called PAGE 22 > Military Eyes Wider Access for Career-Aptitude Test Under ESSA More state flexibility could free up time By Caralee J. Adams As the state testing landscape changes in the wake of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the U.S. military hopes there may be an opening to expand its optional aptitude exam and career-exploration program in high schools. INSIDE ESSA The New Federal K-12 Law The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, known in military and counselor circles as ASVAB, was administered in 48 percent of high schools nationwide last year, with about 650,000 students taking the exam, according to Shannon Salyer, the national program manager for the ASVAB Career Exploration Program, which is under the U.S. Department of Defense. Participation fluctuates with unemployment, with more students typically taking the ASVAB when the jobless rate is high. But the military test was crowded out in some schools after the No Child Left Behind Act ushered in more standardized testing, although the number of high schools offering it increased in the past five years, Salyer said. "One of the biggest problems we have when we go into schools is they say, 'We love this program' or 'We want to do this program ... but because we have this state-mandated testing, all our testing days are taken,' " she said. "With the rollback of some of that pressure on the schools, I think we'll have some return schools and maybe some new schools that really understand the benefits of the program." Educators are combing the accountability requirements with the new version of the main federal K-12 law, which gives states considerable new flexibility over on-the-ground education decisions, including the details of how they go about meeting its testing requirements. Recruiters hope if that flexibility leads to less time spent on required tests, that could free up space for ASVAB. Some decisions to participate in these Defense Department tests are made at the state level, but it is generally left up to individual schools. The tests are a recruiting tool masked as career exploration, some critics contend, and the military should be more transparent about their purpose. The conversation about the program comes at a time when military leaders-and some GOP presidential candidates-have suggested women should be required to register for the draft alongside men. Updates on the Way The military, which has given a version of the vocational assessment since 1968, with the career exploration added in 1992, is in the process of rolling out a new computeradapted version that will reduce the test from three hours to 1½. The change, along with a modernized website and the potential for less time on standardized testing, creates a "perfect storm" that Salyer said she hopes will open doors in schools. The issue isn't on the radar of many educators yet, said David Hawkins, the director of policy for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, in Arlington, Va. However, U.S. Army officials are reaching out to the association, he noted, looking for more ways to connect with school counselors and potential recruits. The military has long had legal access to high school directories. Both the NCLB law and Section 8025 of the new law, known as ESSA, say schools shall provide military recruiters access to the name, address, and telephone listing of each high school student, male or female, unless the parent submits a written request to the school that the child's information not be released. Military training also has had a presence in many high schools since 1916 with the establishment of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, or JROTC, programs, which now have 3,750 units and 552,000 cadets. While college is a good option for many students, it's not for everyone, said Salyer. The ASVAB career-exploration program is free and more than an aptitude test, she said, including an inventory of the student's interest, detailed training requirements, and a workshop to help students interpret their test results. "We want high school students to see every pathway they can take to their career-whether college or vo-tech school or the military," said Salyer. In Missouri, the assessment is used as one of many measures of college and career readiness in the state's accountability system. Last year, 416 of Missouri's 520 school districts participated in ASVAB- most administering the test during the day to a junior class-for a total of about 31,000 assessments. State education officials say they don't yet know what impact the new education law will have on that picture. Multiple Uses In some states, such as New Jersey, the test is one of the assessments students can use to meet the state's high school graduation requirements if they attain a certain score on the test. Offering the military exam during the school day in New Jersey is a local decision, and the state does not track the volume year to year, according to Michael Yaple, a spokesman for the state education department. Hawkins of the college-admission counselors' group expressed concern PAGE 23 > EDUCATION WEEK | February 24, 2016 | | 17

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