Education Week - March 18, 2015 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk Awaiting Test Scores, States Work to Manage Expectations VOL. 34, NO. 24 * MARCH 18, 2015 AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2015 Editorial Projects in Education * $4 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Outreach aims to temper any backlash over tests aligned with the common core By Andrew Ujifusa Even as states begin administering new tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards, they are ramping up efforts to eliminate or minimize public backlash when the scores-widely expected to be markedly lower than results from previous assessments-are released later this year. From old-fashioned fliers designed to reach parents via students' backpacks to webinars intended for administrators and teachers, states including Illinois and New Jersey are using a diverse set of resources and partnering with various groups to prepare school communities and the general public for what's coming. Their goal: to spread their message that the new tests are a much more accurate and complete reflection of what students know and can do than past exams, and will in turn better inform classroom instruction. The new assessments will be far from the first time that states have reset the bar for proficiency on tests. Supporters of the new assessments also frequently point to Kentucky's relatively smooth rollout of its common-core-aligned tests in 2012 as the model for how states can ensure the long-term survival of their new standards and assessments. But state education departments in many cases might not be used to dealing with the volume and nature of questions and criticisms they'll face in local PAGE 26 > Rebranding NCLB Law A Tough Marketing Task By Ross Brenneman If put in front of a focus group today, the title of the nation's top K-12 education law would be met with the kind of enthusiasm reserved for day-old cafeteria pizza. Congress may still be arguing about what provisions of the current law should be extended and which should be axed. But educators and politicians appear to agree on at least one thing: The outdated No Child Left Behind Act needs a fresh brand. What, though, should replace "nclb," which has been around since 2001, as a catchy tag for the next version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act? And how much does it matter? "A name is one piece of a puzzle, and it's an important piece of a puzzle, because it's a hook," said Sasha Stack, a partner in the strategy group at Lippincott, a Boston-based branding firm that counts companies like Southwest Airlines and ibm among PAGE 25 > HELPING HAND: Parent volunteer Liliana Martinez works with 1st grader Isadora Canares on reading exercises at Lexington Elementary School in Pomona, Calif. Parents used a state law as leverage to negotiate major changes at the school. PAGE 20 Parent-Trigger Law Used in New Ways Strategies Aim to Broaden Influence of Contentious Statute Former State Sen. Gloria Romero, the By Karla Scoon Reid Los Angeles Five years after California parents gained the power to initiate major changes at failing schools, advocates of the state's controversial parent-trigger law are expanding their strategies to broaden its influence. law's author, founded a nonprofit last year to educate parents about the California Parent Empowerment Act. Even as Ms. Romero launched her initiative, another group of parent-trigger-campaign veterans had already started working to develop a more collaborative approach to turning around troubled schools. The two startups point to disparate Book Argues All Kids Should Be 'Our Kids' By Sarah D. Sparks It's hard to make schools the centers of their communities if the communities aren't there. In the newly released Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, Robert D. Putnam, a Harvard University public-policy professor and longtime chronicler of the breakdown of American civic values, gathers a flood of research Districts Expanding Efforts To Align Budgets, Academics By Denisa R. Superville When the Wiley school district in Texas crafts its annual buddirections California's maturing parenttrigger law may take. They could include more contentious parent-led efforts, like the one currently underway with Ms. Romero's guidance at Palm Lane Elementary School in Anaheim. The law may also continue to become part of a multi-layered strategy to empower poor, minority communities in their pursuit of educational justice. At the same time, California's experiPAGE 20 > get, finance officials closely consult with key academic leaders to ensure spending decisions match up with the district's strategic plans and goals. Michele Trongaard, the chief financial officer in the 14,000-student district, shadows principals to better understand their needs as she shapes the budget. Until two years ago, Wiley, in suburban Dallas, built its budget like many public school systems: without deep consideration for long-term improvement goals and with little communication between finance and academic officials. Now, though, Wiley uses a budgeting approach that not only has finance officials working in tandem with their peers in curriculum and instruction, but also embraces new levels of PAGE 18 > on the unraveling web of formal and informal supports that help students in poverty succeed academically and in life. "If it takes a village to raise a child, the prognosis for America's children isn't good: In recent years, villages all over America, rich and poor, have deteriorated as we've shirked collective responsibility for our kids," Mr. Putnam writes. "And most Americans don't have the resources ... to replace collective provision with private provision." The book comes as Congress debates the future of federal support for education to counter PAGE 16 > THE CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICER This special report, "The Chief Academic Officer's Evolving Role: Powering Big-Picture Learning Goals," examines the challenges CAOs are facing in school districts across the country and how they are working to improve academics in the age of common standards and digital teaching and learning. It features findings from an exclusive survey of district leaders. See the pullout section opposite Page 18. David Walter Banks for Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 18, 2015

Education Week - March 18, 2015
Awaiting Test Scores, States Work To Manage Expectations
Rebranding NCLB Law A Tough Marketing Task
Districts Expanding Efforts To Align Budgets, Academics
Parent-Trigger Law Used In New Ways
Book Argues All Kids Should Be ‘Our Kids’
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Backlash Brews Over Critical Review of Math Materials
Districts Work With Families To Curb Pre-K Absenteeism
Teacher Education Group Airs Criticism of New Accreditor
School Libraries in N.Y.C., Elsewhere Feeling the Squeeze
‘Education Innovation Clusters’ Aim to Improve Schools
New Principles Aim to Guide Use, Safety of Student Data
Blogs of the Week
Statute Provided Leverage For Once-Sidelined Parents
Congressional Efforts to Overhaul NCLB Law Inch Ahead
N.H. Gets Green Light to Pilot Local Tests in Handful of Districts
Supreme Court Mulls Duty Of Teachers in Abuse Reporting
Educators Await Decision On Health Law
State of the States
What’s Good for New Hampshire
Millennials Engaged in Civic Life
The Heart Payoff
Top School Jobs Recruitment Marketplace
Alice in Wonder-Who Land: Cyberbullying and Our Unprepared Legal System

Education Week - March 18, 2015