Education Week - February 24, 2016 - (Page 5)

REPORT ROUNDUP SCIENCE EDUCATION Study Finds Motivating Power In Tales of Scientists' Struggles "Climate Confusion Among U.S. Teachers" the next two to three months, according to Andrew Joseph, the company's vice president of strategic relations. The company is looking for districts to partner with for the testing phase. Users of the site will be able to add ratings and reviews and receive recommendations based on their previous selections. Educators will be able to curate open resources, self-publish material they have developed, and put a school's entire digital library that is open and freely available online, Joseph said. Amazon Inspire will be made available to schools for free. -MICHELE MOLNAR District Goes to 4-Day Week To Help Struggling Students A tiny district in West Texas is reportedly going to become the first school system in the state to offer students a four-day-week option. Under the new schedule set to start next school year, the approximately 60 students in the Olfen Independent district will be required to attend class for 25 extra minutes Monday through Thursday. Attendance on Fridays will be optional for students but mandatory for teachers. District officials say the idea for a four-day-week option was conceived as a way to help struggling students, who can get tutoring on Fridays. For students who don't need extra help with academics, the district plans to offer activities such as karate, wood shop, and pottery. -MARVA HINTON Arizona Student Shooting Ruled a Murder-Suicide A shooting at a suburban Phoenix high school that killed two 15-year-old girls and caused panic among parents was a murder-suicide, police say. Police revealed that a suicide note was found at the shooting scene at Independence High School in Glendale. They said each girl was shot once, and a weapon was found near the bodies. Authorities say a male classmate provided the handgun used in the murder-suicide. Police say one of the girls told the 15-year-old boy she needed it for protection. Authorities are reviewing his involvement in the matter. -AP Student Data to Be Given To Calif. Advocacy Groups Districts across San Diego County are warning that students' personal data will soon be accessed by two nonprofit groups as part of a federal court case involving special education services, sparking an outcry from parents and lawmakers over privacy rights. The data-including Social Security numbers, mental-health records, and home addresses-has been sought by the California Concerned Parents Association and the Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association, which are suing the California education department, alleging the state is not providing a free and appropriate public education to children with disabilities. Parents can object to the data dump by April 1. But an education depart- ment spokesman said it's up to the court to decide whether to honor parents' wishes. -TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE Louisiana Official Drops Fight To Pursue Common-Core Suit Louisiana's attorney general has ended a political feud with the state's new governor over the Common Core State Standards, saying he agrees it is time to drop a lawsuit claiming that federal authorities were trying to force states to adopt the math and English standards. Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, had moved to dismiss the suit, filed last year by then-Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican. He had already lost at the district-court level. Edwards said the appeal was expensive and unnecessary, given passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which bars the federal government from mandating standards. Jeff Landry, a Republican, initially said Edwards was too quick to drop the lawsuit, leading to a war of words. -AP Utah Schools Chief Stepping Down Utah's state superintendent, who criticized the idea of spending more money on education, stepped down last week after about a year in office. Superintendent Brad Smith said in a letter that he no longer feels able to make a positive contribution. During last legislative session, Smith apologized for comparing teachers to crying children after they rallied for more school funding. He also said it's not a bad thing that Utah ranks lowest in the -AP country on per-student spending. Ill. Officials Seek Documents On Chicago District's Finances The Illinois state board of education last week asked Chicago school officials to send over a trove of financial information as part of an investigation into the district's finances, local media reported. The request for financial information came after Gov. Bruce Rauner ordered the state to review the district's finances. The district has been facing a series of financial challenges: It has a $1 billion long-term deficit and recently borrowed $725 million at high interest rates to keep running until the end of the school year. The state requested financial projections, payroll information, major contracts, and debt schedules, according to the Chicago Tribune. Gov. Rauner is seeking to put the district, the thirdlargest in the country, under state control. -DENISA R. SUPERVILLE CORRECTION An article and accompanying caption in the Feb. 10, 2016, issue of Education Week about the Citizens Who Seek Educational Equity organization in Coatesville, Pa., incorrectly described Superintendent Cathy Taschner as its co-founder. The independent group was founded by Rob Marshall, who later worked with Taschner in the group's involvement with the Coatesville school system on behalf of parents of students with disabilities. Most science teachers have an "insufficient grasp of the science" behind climate change that may hurt their teaching, finds a study in the February issue of the journal Science. The study authors write that more than 95 percent of climate scientists attribute global warming to human causes, yet teachers convey mixed messages on this to students. In a nationally representative sample of 1,500 middle and high school science teachers, three-quarters reported devoting at least an hour of classroom discussion to global warming. However, 30 percent of teachers said they emphasize that global warming "is likely due to natural causes"-in direct contrast to the scientific consensus. Another 12 percent do not emphasize human impact, and half of those teachers offer no explanation at all. Nearly 1 in 3 teachers sent "explicitly contradictory messages," about human and natural climate change causes. This may be because many teachers don't know the scientific consensus, the study found. The researchers, who are from Pennsylvania State University, Wright State University in Ohio, and the National Center for Science Education, which advocates for accurate climate change education, found a majority of science teachers think more than 20 percent of climate scientists disagree that human activities are the primary cause of global warming. "Even Einstein Struggled: Effects of Learning About Great Scientists' Struggles on High School Students' Motivation to Learn Science" -LIANA HEITIN RURAL SCHOOLS "Generating Opportunity and Prosperity: The Promise of Rural Education Collaboratives" Rural school districts must attempt to collaborate to mitigate rural challenges, such as high costs and shrinking educational opportunities, according to a recent report. The Ohio-based nonprofit Battelle for Kids studied rural district collaborations across the country as well as academic studies to identify models for collaboration and the impact those partnerships have had. The report found that most districts with partnerships prioritize the following strategies: * Sharing resources: Some district groups share technology, teachers and other staff members, and programs to ensure that all students have access to sufficient academic opportunities. * Advocacy: Some rural districts that have partnered publish press releases and policy briefs about issues that impact rural schools. * Curriculum design: Some districts share assessments, curriculum, and professional development opportunities that help teachers roll out state standards and connect with other educators. * Preparing students for college and career: Several rural districts have paired with foundations or nonprofits and applied for grants to expand Advanced Placement courses, help students pay for dual enrollment courses, and offer college and career counseling to students. -JACKIE MADER ENGLISH-LANGUAGE LEARNERS "Schools to Learn From" High schools with higher-than-average academic outcomes for English-language learners found that the schools share common design elements, including intentionally hiring immigrants and former ELLs, according to a Stanford University Graduate School of Education study. Staff members at six case-study schools often speak students' home languages and have significant international traveling experience, which helps them "understand ELLs' perspectives, communicate with them, and serve as role models for students," the report found. The featured schools, which have higher-than-average graduation and Can learning about Albert Einstein's struggles help students do better in science class? New research from the American Psychological Association suggests that it can: High schoolers who read about scientists' personal and academic challenges improved their grades in science class. Researchers from Teachers College, Columbia University, asked 472 freshmen and sophomores at four high schools in an unnamed city to read one of three sets of short stories about Einstein, Marie Curie, and Michael Faraday. In one set of stories, the scientists struggled with intellectual challenges. In another, they confronted personal challenges. The third included stories of scientists' success, with no mention of personal or intellectual struggles. For instance, the story about Curie's intellectual struggles showed her revisiting failed experiments again. The life-struggle story tells how she had to leave her native Poland because women were not allowed to attend school. The story that focused on achievement omitted those struggles and instead described how Curie was fluent in five languages at a young age and won many awards. It turned out that students who read about either intellectual or personal struggle were likely to improve their science grades after reading the stories-especially those whose grades were low before the readings. Those who read about achievement did no better after reading the stories. And, both before and after the students read the stories, those who believed that effort, rather than innate talent, led to success in science tended to do better in science class. -JACLYN ZUBRZYCKI college-going rates for ELLs, are: Boston International High School; Newcomers Academy, also in Boston; and the High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies, It Takes a Village Academy, Manhattan Bridges High School, Marble Hill School for International Studies, and New World High School, which are all in New York City. The 245-page report found that the schools frequently assess students' language capacity from entry through graduation and adjust instruction and course offerings based on the data. Frequent communication between staff members and families in their home languages and the availability of wraparound services such as health, housing, food, and employment resources was also a hallmark of the schools. The Carnegie Corporation of New York funded the report. -COREY MITCHELL TEACHER PREPARATION "Supporting Teacher Professionalism: Insights from TALIS" While countries around the world provide support to boost their teachers' knowledge base, they vary significantly in how well they support educators' autonomy and professional growth, according to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Analyzing the Teaching and Learning International Survey 2013, which polled more than 100,000 teachers and principals in 34 countries and economies, the researchers found economically disadvantaged schools in many countries provide less support for teacher professionalism, including teacher autonomy and the ability to build teacher peer networks. The report recommends education leaders encourage teacher learning networks, classroom-based research projects, and expanded induction and mentoring programs to support educators. -SARAH D. SPARKS EDUCATION WEEK | February 24, 2016 | | 5

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