Education Week - March 4, 2015 - (Page 5)

REPORT ROUNDUP social studies exam for grades 5 and 7, a move that will save those students an hour of testing time. -AP Newark, N.J., Schools Chief Gets Contract Extension The New Jersey education commissioner has extended the contract of embattled Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson despite calls in some quarters of the community for her to step down. Ms. Anderson and the state education department struck a threeyear "hybrid" agreement last year that required each party to agree annually to an extension. Under the terms, Ms. Anderson will receive a 1.6 percent increase to her $251,500 base salary. In a district-released statement, Ms. Anderson said that she accepted the offer from Education Commissioner David Hespe. Ms. Anderson, who is a state-appointed superintendent, has had a rocky tenure in the district, which has been under state control since 1995. -DENISA R. SUPERVILLE N.Y. Gov. Calls for Probe Of Teacher Evaluations New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state education department should investigate the results of teacher evaluations to see whether the process is skewed to favor teachers. The administration sent a letter to acting Commissioner of Education Elizabeth Berlin last week, following a Newsday report that said the portion of teacher evaluations that is controlled by districts is weighted in most Long Island districts toward ensuring that teachers score high enough to get favorable evaluations. The New York State United Teachers responded with a statement saying that each district's teacher-evaluation plan was approved by the education department. The union accused Mr. Cuomo of scapegoating teachers for a statedirected process. -AP Former Superintendent Sues District Over Remarks A former Albuquerque, N.M., schools superintendent is suing the district, claiming that his replacement breached an agreement that neither party would vilify one another. Television station KOAT reported that Winston Brooks is seeking $125,000 plus lawyer's fees for comments that interim schools chief Brad Winter made in an Albuquerque Journal article published Sept. 16, roughly a month after Mr. Brooks agreed to resign. At that time, he and the district signed a termination agreement with a $350,000 buyout. The Albuquerque Journal reported that Mr. Winter said he couldn't work with Mr. Brooks any longer, because he was fed up with what he described as the superintendent's unwillingness to work Marten Roorda, the chief executive officer of Cito, an international, not-for-profit test-publishing company based in the Netherlands, has been named the new chief executive officer of act Inc., beginning this fall. He will succeed Jon Whitmore, who has led the Iowa City, Iowa-based organization for five years. Mr. Roorda has been with Cito for 12 years, leading the 600-employee company in advancing learning analytics and adaptive testing, according to a press release. He is the founder of the Association of Test Publishers Europe and atp Asia. with the business community, the state education department, and neighborhood groups. Sexual-Harassment Claim Refiled Against L.A. Chief A school district manager last week filed a new sexual-harassment lawsuit against Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines and the Los Angeles Unified School District. The suit expands on previous claims made by Scot Graham. The allegations stem largely from incidents that occurred during Mr. Graham's visit to Mr. Cortines' ranch in 2010. An earlier lawsuit had been dismissed in 2013 because lawyers failed to file it in time. Mr. Graham's new legal team asserts the claims have new standing with the return of Mr. Cortines to the helm of the school system. The district called the new filing "frivolous." -MCT President Offers Students Free Access to Parks President Barack Obama has announced that, starting in September, all 4th grade students and their families will have free access to national parks and other public lands and waters for a year. The initiative coincides with the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, which takes place in 2016. In a speech, Mr. Obama said: "We want every 4th grader to have the experience of getting out and discovering America. We want them to see the outside of a classroom, too; see all the places that make America great." The initiative is also aimed at getting students outside-and off their electronic devices. The National Park Service provides instructional materials for teachers on its website. -LIANA HEITIN | TRANSITION | ADEQUATE YEARLY PROGRESS "Accountability Pressure and Non-Achievement Student Behaviors" -C.M. As pressure increases for schools who miss accountability benchmarks, students become less likely to be late or miss class-but more likely to get into fights and get reported or suspended for misbehavior. That's the conclusion of a study by Duke University researchers John B. Holbein and Helen F. Ladd, for the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, or calder. It suggests that just as there may be a tendency to focus academically on tested subjects, like math and reading, schools may also focus on improving student behaviors, such as attendance, that are measured for accountability purposes. The study draws on administrative data for 11,000 North Carolina schools from 2007 to 2012. The researchers compared student behavior in schools that barely missed making adequate yearly progress to schools that just made ayp. -SARAH D. SPARKS EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY "Personal Computing in K-12 Q4 2014 Market Track Report" By the next academic year, mobile devices will be available for 1-to-1 computing for half the K-12 student and teacher population in the United States, according to Futuresource Consulting Ltd., a research and forecasting company based in the United Kingdom. In fact, by calendar year 2016, 54 percent of students and teachers will have access to a school-issued personal computing device, the study projects. The company also predicts a 10 percent growth in mobile devices in schools in the United States alone, and a 12 percent growth globally. Chromebooks-which commanded a 39 percent market share in the United States in 2014-overtook Apple's iPads, at 26 percent, as the bestselling device on the market last year, the study found. More than 3 million Chromebooks were shipped last year, according to Futuresource statistics. -MICHELE MOLNAR COLLEGE GRADUATION "Completing College: A State-Level View of Student Attainment Rates" New statistics on college-completion rates by state give a more comprehensive-and encouraging-graduation picture than traditional federal data by including transfer and part-time students. For its new state-level report, the Herndon, Va.based National Student Clearinghouse tracked 2.7 million students who began college in 2008 for six years to document their pathways. It included fulltime and part-time students who attended two-year public colleges, four-year public universities, and fouryear private nonprofit institutions. While about 50 percent of U.S. students who started at a four-year public institution graduated from that school within six years, another 13 percent finished elsewhere, boosting the total completion rate for fouryear schools to 63 percent, according to the findings. The transfer activity varied widely by state, with 25 percent of students who started at one four-year school in Minnesota finishing at another, while just 7 percent did so in Nevada. Across all categories of schools, the six-year graduation rate was 55 percent for students followed through 2014. -CARALEE J. ADAMS TEACHER COMPENSATION "Paying the Best Teachers More to Teach More Students" Giving the most-effective teachers in a district just a few more students to instruct could potentially improve student outcomes while controlling personnel costs, says an analysis released last week. The paper is based on data from one growing Texas -CARALEE ADAMS school district, Cypress-Fairbanks near Houston. Analysts Marguerite Roza and Amanda Works, both of the Eduonomics Lab at Georgetown University in Social and Emotional Lessons Pay Off, According to Study "The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning" For every dollar schools spend on six commonly used social-emotional-learning programs, those interventions return an average $11 worth of benefits to society. That's the finding of a study released last week by the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. To arrive at their conclusions, researchers analyzed existing evaluations of six prominent social-emotional-learning programs designed for use in K-12 schools. They are: 4R's, Life Skills Training, Positive Action, Responsive Classroom, Second Step, and Social and Emotional Skills Training. "We estimate each intervention's costs based on the ingredients employed during the implementation previously evaluated," the report says. Costs included personnel, materials and equipment, facilities, and other inputs. Information on program effects was drawn from previous research on the interventions. Researchers estimated benefits by measuring the financial impacts of the interventions' outcomes. For example, a successful bullying intervention may reduce missed school days that can cause students to struggle and need extra academic supports, and it may reduce the amount of costly personnel time that staff members spend addressing student complaints. And programs that lead to improved academic results may lead to higher income for students later in life. "In the past, [cost-benefit] studies have been limited largely to increases in educational attainment and to improvements in cognitive test scores," the report says. "But it is now becoming widely recognized that social and emotional learning in schools can be as important as or even more important than cognitive gains in explaining important developmental and life outcomes," the authors conclude. The study was requested by the Chicago-based Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, or casel, and the NoVo Foundation, based in New York City. The latter helps support coverage of school climate issues in Education Week. -EVIE BLAD Washington, estimate that if each teacher in the district's top performance quartile were willing to take on three additional students-raising their class size from about 22 to 25 at the elementary level-the district could save over $11 million in salary and benefits. The district could return the savings to teachers in the form of a bonus of about $8,000 apiece. In all, the paper concludes, such a scenario would help improve access to effective teachers without increasing costs. -STEPHEN SAWCHUK PRESCHOOL "State Pre-K Funding: 2014-15 Fiscal Year" State funding for preschool has increased by 12 percent, or $672 million, since the 2013-14 school year, according to a report by the Denver-based Education Commission of the States. This year's increase builds on a 6.9 percent funding increase from 2012-13 to 2013-14, according to the commission's annual report, released in January. Twenty-eight of the 44 states and the District of Columbia that provide public preschool funding increased their spending. Funding remained flat in 11 states, and five states-Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Florida, and Maine-reduced funding. California led the states that increased funding with an additional $397.5 million, a 78.6 percent increase over the previous year. The state's budget agreement calls for the creation of 11,500 new full-day, full-year preschool slots in the coming year. -LILLIAN MONGEAU EDUCATION WEEK | March 4, 2015 | | 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 4, 2015

Study: Twitter Fanned Debate On Standards
Police Body Cameras Surfacing in Schools
Tracing Hillary Clinton’s K-12 Record
Boys-Only Programs Raise Legal Concerns
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Simulation Game on Slave Experience Provokes Questions
Education Week - March 4, 2015
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Rewrite of Framework for AP U.S. History Raises More Hackles
Blogs of the Week
Chicago’s Emanuel Forced Into Runoff
N.Y. Study Finds More Top Students Hired as Teachers
Deeper Look at Suspension Data Pinpoints Big Disparities
House Wrestles With Bill to Rewrite No Child Left Behind Act
Partisan Winds Loom For Some GOP Governors
Blogs of the Week
State of the States
PAUL T. HILL & ASHLEY JOCHIM: Beyond Chartering
MATTHEW MUENCH: Making ‘Innovation’ Live Up to Its Hype
JOHN MANNES: The Fault in Our School Boards
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
DAVID FINLEY: Teacher Tenure: An Innocent Victim of Vergara v. California

Education Week - March 4, 2015