Education Week - March 6, 2013 - (Page 5)

EDUCATION WEEK –CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS Three More States Apply for NCLB Waiver Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming are the latest states to apply for waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act. The three made the Feb. 28 deadline for a fourthround application window, bringing the list of states that have sought flexibility from the federal accountability law to 47. So far, 34 states and the District of Columbia have won flexibility from the U.S. Department of Education for key pieces of the nclb law. In exchange, states had to agree to such requirements as implementing teacher- and principalevaluation systems tied to student growth. —MICHELE McNEIL CORRECTION: A story about state stem councils in the Feb. 27, 2013, issue of Education Week misidentified a school in the accompanying photo caption. The Knoxville, Tenn., school’s name is l&n stem Academy. J. Scott Applewhite/AP-File C. EVERETT KOOP, who as the U.S. surgeon general in the 1980s became an outspoken advocate for teaching children in “the lowest grade possible” about a growing health threat called aids, died Feb. 25 at his home in Hanover, N.H. He was 96. Dr. Koop, a retired pediatric surgeon tapped by President Ronald Reagan to be the nation’s doctor in 1981, found himself frustrated by the administration’s slowness in reacting to aids. Dr. Koop also called for a smoke-free society by 2000 and accused the tobacco industry of marketing directly to children. He argued that because education was the best aids-prevention While some state lawmakers and school districts have their sights set on arming school employees, a survey of nearly 11,000 educators finds that a big majority of them would be unlikely to carry a weapon in class. The survey results, released last week by the for-profit professional-development company School Improvement Network, show that about 72 percent of teachers and administrators said they would be unlikely to bring a firearm to school even if they were allowed to do so. And of those who already own firearms, fewer than 40 percent would bring them to class if given the choice. About 36 percent of those surveyed said they own a gun. The Midvale, Utah, company conducted the online survey in late January, about six weeks after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The survey included teachers and administrators from all 50 states and from districts of all types. “Report of the 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education” —ERIK W. ROBELEN EVALUATING TEACHERS “It’s More Than Money” A performance-bonus system that makes use of “student OBITUARY Surgeon General Pushed Schools To Address AIDS “Guns and Safety in Our Schools” STEM STUDIES Math and science combined get less instructional time in earlyelementary classrooms than literacy, a new national survey indicates. In grades K-3, teachers spend, on average, 19 minutes per day on science and 54 minutes on mathematics, compared with 89 minutes for reading/language arts, according to the nationally representative survey of teachers. The new report on math and science education, conducted last year with support from the National Science Foundation, provides data on teachers’ backgrounds, instruction, and curriculum across the K-12 spectrum. Math and science get a little more time in grades 4-6, when the combined average is about the same as for reading. The study also finds that science is not typically taught every day in the elementary grades. (The averages are based on weekly totals.) Just one in five classrooms teach science daily in grades K-3. At the upper-elementary level, one in three classes provides a daily dose of science. strategy, sex education should begin in 3rd grade. Hiv and aids have since become a staple of health and sex education classes. Dr. Koop disagreed with U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett’s position that abstaining from sex be the only preventive measure taught to students. Dr. Koop also advocated abstinence, but he wanted a more comprehensive approach, especially for young people at greatest risk of contracting hiv, the virus that causes aids. At a congressional hearing in 1987, Dr. Koop warned that the United States was facing an “explosion” in the number of teenagers with aids. He advocated an abstinence-only approach, but noted that such a message, and one of monogamy, would not have an effect on some adolescents. “I was talking to a group of teenagers recently about this problem of being monogamous, and I said, ‘I mean long-term monogamous,’ ” he told House lawmakers. “And this girl said, ‘How long? A semester?’ ” —NIRVI SHAH MARCH 6, 2013 n 5 Survey: Most Teachers Not Likely to Carry Guns REPORTto these reports, go to For links ROUNDUP tutions of higher education; cities and counties; Native American tribes; and labor organizations are all eligible to apply Programs will be expected to strengthen parent and family involvement in schools, improve school safety, accelerate student learning, and increase graduation and collegeenrollment rates. Applications are due April 2. n learning objectives”—academic growth goals set by teachers in consultation with their principals—helped improve student achievement in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., schools, concludes a study issued last week. The study, by the Community Training and Assistance Center, a Boston-based technical-assistance and policy-evaluation nonprofit, found that students taught mathematics by participating teachers improved on average at a rate 12 percent higher than those in comparison schools. That was nearly enough to catch them up to their peers in those comparison schools, who started slightly ahead of them. In reading, the growth rate was 13 percent greater than it was for the control group. Student Learning Objectives, or slos, are a growth measure in which teachers typically engage in a process of goal-setting. They might determine, for example, to increase the number of students who are proficient in dividing fractions. Then, with principals and colleagues, they select an appropriate way to measure progress toward the goal and a teaching plan to reach it. If they reach it, they get a bonus payout. —STEPHEN SAWCHUK SCHOOL LEADERS “Districts Matter: Cultivating the Principals Urban Schools Need” Districts can take steps to improve the quality of leadership in their schools by ensuring that principals are well-trained when they’re hired and fully supported once they’re in schools, says a new report from the Wallace Foundation. A “well-crafted district strategy to promote better school leadership” is important, the report says, because “effective principals offer perhaps the surest route to effective teaching.” >> For links to these reports, go to While about 92 percent of respondents generally feel safe at school, the survey also found some—about 14 percent of those who feel safe overall—worry about gun violence on campus. Teachers and administrators said their schools have already taken steps to improve security since the Sandy Hook shootings. About 33 percent said their schools have added new doorlocking systems, leave fewer doors open, or have taken other steps involving access. Another third said their schools have added security cameras or new lockdown procedures. About 20 percent said their schools have done more safety drills specifically on how they would deal with an armed intruder—something that had become more common even before Sandy Hook. And 10 percent said their schools have added or increased police presence on campus. Although educators aren’t very interested in carrying guns themselves, 88 percent of those surveyed said an armed police officer on campus would improve safety. —NIRVI SHAH Among the strategies the report highlights are: making hiring needs and standards clear to candidates and preparation programs; having formative, clear principal evaluations; supporting and training principals’ supervisors; and providing mentoring and access to useful data. Generally, it adds, districts should have clear and comprehensive school leadership plans. The report also includes examples of work from around the country, especially from six districts that are part of Wallace’s Principal Pipeline initiative: New York City; Gwinnett County, Ga.; Denver; CharlotteMecklenburg, N.C.; Hillsborough County, Fla.; and Prince George’s County, Md. The New York City-based foundation also supports coverage of leadership, arts education, and extended and expanded learning time in Education Week. —JACLYN ZUBRZYCKI final salary and years worked. The vesting period was much shorter for the defined-contribution plan (one year) than the defined-benefit plan (six years), and portable. But, after about six years, the value of the definedbenefit plan was projected to exceed its alternative. The study found that the defined-contribution plan was favored by: more black and Hispanic teachers than white teachers; more mathematics and science teachers than teachers of other subjects, and more charter than noncharter teachers, among others. Teachers choosing that option were also no more- or less-effective than others. The Fordham center, a critic of defined-benefit programs, said the findings show that teachers aren’t entirely opposed to defined-contribution plans, which might save districts money. —S.S. FINANCING COLLEGE PENSION PLANS “How America Saves for College” “When Teachers Choose Pension Plans” A new national survey finds families are saving less for college than they were two years ago. According to the survey, half of American families with children younger than 18 reported in 2012 that they were saving for college, compared with 60 percent in 2010. Researchers say the decline is likely a response to a protracted weak economy and other priorities. While adults recognize the value of college, many report being in denial about college savings and feeling overwhelmed, annoyed, frustrated, and scared, according to the online survey conducted in August. It included 1,600 parents and was sponsored by Sallie Mae, the financial-services company specializing in education, and Ipsos, an independent market-research company. —CARALEE ADAMS Certain kinds of teachers, including those teaching math and science, may be more likely than others to select a 401(k)-style teacher-pension plan over a traditional pension plan given the choice. That’s the key finding from an analysis of Florida data released last week by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative-leaning Washington think tank. The authors analyzed state data from 2002-03 and 2008-09 on 75,000 Florida teachers. During that time, new teachers had the option of enrolling in either a defined-contribution plan similar to a 401(k), in which wealth is based on how selected investments perform, or a defined-benefit pension plan, in which pension wealth is based on

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 6, 2013

Education Week - March 6, 2013
Los Angeles School Board Race Shatters Spending Records
Feds, States Dicker Over Evaluations
Governors Take Varied Routes in Boosting Aid
Principal Appraisals Get a Remake
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Study: Best and Worst Teachers Can Be Flagged Early
FOCUS ON: PRESCHOOL: Obama Preschool Proposal Stirs Debate Over Training
Principals Lack Training in Shaping School Climate
KIPP Outpacing Regular Public Schools, Study Finds
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Wisconsin Data-Contract Fight Goes Public With Ad Campaign
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Pew Survey Gauges Teachers’ Attitudes About Tech., Equity
Blogs of the Week
Voting Rights Act Case Has Stakes for Districts
Back Home, Top Lawmaker Gets Earful on K-12 Policy
Policy Brief
Sequestration and Education: Frequently Asked Questions
9 California Districts Seek Own NCLB Waiver
House Panel Weighs School Safety Concerns
MATTHEW LYNCH: Tracing Technology’s Unintended K-12 Consequences
ANITA KRISHNAMURTHI: Recognizing the Impact of After-School STEM
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JD CHESLOFF: Why STEM Education Must Start In Early Childhood

Education Week - March 6, 2013