Education Week - March 16, 2016 - (Page 5)

REPORT ROUNDUP | OBITUARY | Nancy Reagan, the wife of President Ronald Reagan and the first lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989, died March 6. She was 94. As first lady, Mrs. Reagan devoted herself to promoting drug-education and -prevention programs, primarily her "Just Say No" anti-drug campaign. By 1988, supporters had formed more than 12,000 "Just Say No" clubs, according to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. She criss crossed the country to host rallies, visit schools, and talk to children about the issue. She also addressed the United Nations General Assembly in October 1988, urging stronger international drug-trafficking laws. Upon leaving the White House, Mrs. Reagan established a foundation to continue her antidrug campaign.  -COREY MITCHELL dents' social-media posts to justify disciplinary action or expulsion raises serious First Amendment concerns. The Huntsville City school system this month updated safety guidelines to say the superintendent may review students' public social-media accounts if they have a history of violence or gang activity, or if their behavior endangers students and employees. The school's code of conduct also says students who violate the guidelines may be prohibited from bringing "nonschool system technology" into school buildings. The move comes after videos of student fights gained widespread attention. -ASSOCIATED PRESS ity to act, records show. The state education department considered Midwest Academy in Keokuk an unregulated home school that wasn't subject to oversight, according to complaints and emails provided under the open-records law. The records were released hours after the Iowa Senate passed a bill to give state agencies more authority to oversee such facilities. Investigators are also looking into whether academy leaders engaged in a pattern of child endangerment by putting students in small "isolation boxes" for days at a time. -AP NPR and Partner to Offer More Classroom Audio National Public Radio and an organization founded by a former publicradio journalist are teaming up to bring more NPR segments into the classroom. The main goal of the partnership between NPR and Listen Current, a Brookline, Mass.-based curriculum provider, is to help students become better listeners. The company already offers audio from NPR and other public-radio sources for use by teachers. -MARK WALSH Lead Levels Force Shutdown Of Newark Water Fountains School leaders in the Newark, N.J., district ordered water fountains at 30 schools to be turned off after tests found elevated levels of lead in some water samples, state environmental officials said last week. Of approximately 300 samples taken in the 30 buildings during annual testing, 59 showed levels above federal guidelines. While the ongoing crisis over lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint, Mich., has dominated the national consciousness, lead contamination is a problem in many communities. -D.R.S. State, District Data Differ On Seclusion and Restraint Publisher's Digital Sales Surpass Print Sales Students in the Jefferson County district in Kentucky were physically held down or confined to a room more than 4,400 times last school year-but the school system only correctly reported 174 of those instances to the state. Superintendent Donna Hargens says the problem arose when schools reported problems to an internal database, not the state. Restraint and seclusion may only be used in Kentucky if a student's behavior poses imminent danger or physical harm to themselves or others. Hargens said the district is looking at options to get the information corrected, including inputting data manually. -AP McGraw-Hill Education, one of the largest publishers of textbooks, said sales of its digital content and online programs surpassed print sales for the first time last year. The company said that new users of its Connect platform, for colleges, rose 16 percent in 2015 from the previous year. New users of its LearnSmart and SmartBook program, also for college students, rose 18 percent. New users of ALEKS, used by grade schools and colleges, had a 14 percent increase.-AP Education Agency Unable To Regulate Troubled School Iowa education officials have been aware since at least 2011 of allegations of mistreatment at a now-shuttered boarding school for troubled teenagers, but they believed they didn't have the author- S.C. District Nixes Slavery Assignment A South Carolina district has scrapped an assignment asking 3rd graders to pretend to be slaves after a parent complained it wasn't appropriate for 8-year-olds at Killian Elementary School in Columbia. The students were to discuss being kidnapped from West Africa, riding on a slave ship, and being sold at auction. School officials say three teachers found the lesson online.  -AP PARAPROFESSIONALS "School Personnel and Student Outcomes: The Role of Support Staff In North Carolina's Elementary and Middle Schools" Teaching assistants significantly contribute to student achievement, particularly in disadvantaged schools, according to a new study presented this month at the annual conference of the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research. Researchers from Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill analyzed school finance data and student test data for 1,153 elementary schools, and 439 middle schools from 2006 to 2013. They found an additional teaching assistant at a school was associated with increases in students' reading scores of .8 percent to 1.3 percent of a standard deviation in reading and .7 percent to 1.1 percent of a standard deviation in math, with larger effects in more disadvantaged schools. Students in schools with more teaching assistants had both higher overall test scores and fewer school absences than students in schools with fewer assistants. -SARAH D. SPARKS MATH EDUCATION "Who Repeats Algebra, and How Does Initial Performance Relate to Improvement When the Course Is Repeated?" Algebra 1 is considered a gatekeeper to advanced math in high school, but the students who repeat the course aren't always those who failed it, finds a study presented at the annual meeting this month of the Society for Research in Educational Effectiveness. WestEd researchers looked at East Side Union High School District, in Silicon Valley, Calif., as well as five elementary school districts that feed into the high school district. Out of 3,400 students who took Algebra 1 at grade 7 or above, between 2006-07 and 2011-12, 44.3 percent eventually repeated the course. More than 8 percent of students who received an A or B in the course during the first run-through, as well as more than 22 percent of students who performed proficiently in math on their first attempt of the Algebra 1 California Standards Test still repeated the class. Students improved on average by about half a letter grade and a little less than a third of the difference between one performance level and another on the state tests when they repeated Algebra 1.-S.D.S. SCIENCE EDUCATION "Demographic Characteristics of High School Math and Science Teachers and Girls' Success in STEM" White female students are more likely to pursue science fields in college if they attended a high school with a high proportion of female math and science teachers, finds a study in the journal Social Problems. University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Duke University researchers looked at 16,300 students who attended high school in North Carolina and matriculated to the University of North Carolina system. There was no link between teachers' gender and the probability of picking a STEM major for young men. White girls were more likely to declare or graduate with a STEM major if they attended a high school with a higher proportion of female math and science teachers. For black girls, there was no significant association between the proportion of female teachers and STEM outcomes. It's also possible "that the presence of female math and science teachers-even co-ethnic female math and science teachers-may not be sufficient to offset the chilly climate that young women of color might face in science and math classrooms," the authors write.  -LIANA HEITIN 'Deeper Learning' Approach Linked to Higher Grad Rates "Graduation Advantage Persists for Students in Deeper Learning Network High Schools: Updated Findings From the Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes" Students who attend schools in networks that focus on "deeper learning" graduate in four years at rates that are about 8 percentage points higher than those of their peers, according to a study released last week by the American Institutes for Research. The report is the latest in a series of studies that examine outcomes in schools that use a deeper-learning approach. It confirms the findings of another study in the series, released in 2014, which found that students who attend schools that shape instruction that way graduate in four years at rates that are about 9 percentage points higher than those of peers in schools that are not in deeper-learning networks. The studies, based on samples of more than 20,000 students in 27 schools in New York state and California, are funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which has been exploring the deeper-learning idea in recent years. (The Hewlett Foundation also supports Education Week's coverage of the topic.) Researchers focused on students who entered the 9th grade between the 2007-08 and 2010-11 school years in schools that are networked around key principles of deeper learning, such as mastery of core content and problem-solving, and in similar schools that are not in such networks. The 2014 report that found a graduation-rate advantage for students in deeper-learning network schools followed them through fall 2013. The report released March 9 followed an additional cohort of students through spring 2014. The new study found that the graduation-rate effect wasn't quite as pronounced for students from low-income families, but showed that those students still graduated at higher rates than similar students in non-network schools. -CATHERINE GEWERTZ SCHOOL NUTRITION "Adolescent Attitudes and Beliefs Regarding Caffeine and the Consumption of Caffeinated Beverages" High school-age students see drinking sodas, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks as a way to study better and as a "sign of being grown up," finds a new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Based on in-depth interviews with 166 students, mostly in grades 9 and 10, researchers from Brescia University College in Ontario, Canada, found more than 44.6 percent drank caffeinated beverages one to six times a week, and more than 11 percent had caffeine daily. The students' most common reason for doing so was to be more alert to study better, but many also reported considering it a more adult behavior. Caffeine is the only psychoactive drug that is both legal and generally socially acceptable for children to use casually, according to senior author and Brescia University researcher Danielle Battram. -S.D.S. GIFTED EDUCATION "Public Pre-K and Test-Taking for the NYC Gifted and Talented Programs: Forging a Path to Equity" Racial and economic disparities in the students tested for New York City gifted programs are smaller for children who attended a public prekindergarten, finds a study in the journal Educational Researcher. Researchers found large racial gaps in students tested for New York City's gifted programs: Of nearly 70,000 students starting kindergarten in 2009, 14 percent of black, 8 percent of Latino, 29 percent of white, and 26 percent of Asian students took the gifted test. For black and Latino students who attended public preschools, the racial gaps in their likelihood of being tested for gifted programs shrunk significantly- by 15 percentage points for Latino students and by 31 percentage points for black students.-S.D.S. EDUCATION WEEK | March 16, 2016 | | 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 16, 2016

Education Week - March 16, 2016
States Hit Accelerator On Accountability
Immigrant Influxes Test U.S. Schools
Researchers Flag Downside Of Moving to Better Schools
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Potential Use of ‘Blockchain’ Tech for K-12 Debated by Experts
Blogs of the Week
Early-Education Measures Percolating at State, Local Levels
Acting Ed. Secretary Urges Congress to Renew Career-Tech Law
ESSA Rulemaking: A Guide to Negotiations
Blogs of the Week
ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN: Keeping Schoolhouse Doors Open for Immigrant Children
GARRETT NEIMAN: For Disadvantaged Students, New SAT Is First Step
Q&A With Author David Denby: A Quest for ‘Serious’ Reading In the Digital Age
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
ARNOLD PACKER: Should Citizenship Be a Goal of Education?

Education Week - March 16, 2016