Education Week - March 25, 2015 - (Page 5)

REPORT ROUNDUP CHARTER SCHOOLS "Urban Charter School Study: Report on 41 Regions" | TRANSITION | Brian Whiston, the schools superintendent of Michigan's Dearborn district, has been selected as the state's next chief school officer. He will replace Mike Flanagan, who will retire later this year after 10 years on the job. Mr. Whiston has led the 19,000-student Dearborn district since 2008. He previously worked as a lobbyist for the Oakland school district in Michigan. And he served on local school boards and taught courses at Wayne State University. receiver appointed by the federal courts or the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights. They have filed complaints with the state education department and the civil rights divisions of the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education. The parents allege that the district has repeatedly failed to follow state and federal laws involving the rights of parents to transfer their children out of failing schools. In addition, they accuse the district of failing to provide adequate services for English-language learners, failing to address the needs of special education students, and failing to address the disproportionate impact of suspensions on black male students. -MCT Robot Teaches Handwriting Via Student Role Reversal A robot from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne may be able to help students improve their cursive and boost their self-esteem-by letting them teach it how to write. Teaching robots aren't new, but the CoWriter system seems to be unique in that it acts more like a student than a teacher. The 2-foottall robot, which is programmed to have poor handwriting, writes words on a tablet using "deformed letters," then allows the student to correct its mistakes. Over time, CoWriter's handwriting slowly improves as the student teaches the robot how to write. While CoWriter is still only a prototype, the researchers have already tested the system with about 70 students with encouraging results. -J.M. CORRECTIONS An article on school finance in the March 18, 2015, issue of Education Week misspelled the name of the Wylie Independent School District. A Commentary in the same issue incorrectly identified the opening date of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. It is scheduled for March 31, 2015. Nationally, urban charter schools are significantly outperforming their district counterparts in both reading and mathematics, according to a new study from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, or credo. The report, released last week, also shows that, for the most part, urban charter and district schools are serving equal numbers of English-language learners as well as students in poverty and special education. But credo researchers say charter quality still remains a patchwork across the country, with pockets of poorly performing areas. In total, students in urban charter schools are achieving the equivalent of 40 additional days of learning in mathematics and 28 more days' learning in reading compared to their district peers, according to the study. It is part of an extensive review of charter school performance in 41 major urban areas, culminating in a national analysis along with 22 different state-specific reports. The work was funded by the Walton Family Foundation. (The foundation also supports some coverage of parent empowerment issues in Education Week.) -ARIANNA PROTHERO SPECIAL EDUCATION "Mandatory Provision of Coordinated Early Intervening Services" A little more than 2 percent of the nation's school districts-347 in all-were flagged by their states for overidentifying minorities for special education. That means those districts are required to spend 15 percent of their federal special education dollars to address the problem through programs aimed primarily at students from kindergarten to 3rd grade. The numbers were unearthed by the Advocacy Institute, and published earlier this month on the idea Money Watch website. The districts flagged span 25 states and one-third of them-104-were in just one state: Louisiana. The figures, drawn from federal data, are current as of the 2011-12 school year. -CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS ONLINE TESTING "IT Leadership Survey" Fewer than 30 percent of K-12 school technology leaders believe their district is ready for online assessments, according to an annual survey by the Consortium for School Networking. Also high on the list of concerns expressed by ed-tech officials: improving wireless access and creating better mobilelearning opportunities in the classroom. The findings come from the Washingtonbased cosn's third annual survey of K-12 officials who report being the highestranking ed-tech leader in their district. The results were released last week at the organization's annual conference in Atlanta. Among other survey findings: *Fifty-seven percent of respondents said data-privacy concerns are more important now than last year. *Eighty-four percent expect instructional materials in their districts to be at least 50 percent digital within the next three years; and, *Nearly 3 of 5 respondents reported no change in their district's technology budget. Thirty percent reported an increase, while 10 percent reported a decrease. -BENJAMIN HEROLD EARLY CHILDHOOD "Longitudinal Contribution of Maternal and Paternal Depression to Toddler Behaviors" It's well established that a mother's postpartum depression can have lasting effects on her children's academic and social growth, and a new study suggests a decline in a father's mental health can cause similar problems for his children. The study, published online this month in the journal Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, followed about 200 couples with 3- to 4-year-olds who had participated in a previous study of postpartum depression. The researchers found that children of fathers who were depressed in the first year were more likely to show negative behaviors, including hitting, lying, anxiety, and sadness. Moreover, having a depressed parent (either mom or dad) was a stronger predictor of a toddler showing bad behaviors than parent fighting was. The study is part of a growing move to include fathers in evaluating the effects of parental support and involvement. -SARAH D. SPARKS AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS "The Skills to Pay the Bills" A new report suggests that nonprofit organizations can learn the money-management skills they need to keep after-school programs afloat. A four-year study commissioned by the Wallace Foundation tested two different fiscalmanagement training models at 25 Chicago nonprofits running after-school programs. Researchers divided the organizations into two groups-14 received more expensive and extensive customized training and 11 were given more modest, group-oriented professional development in financial management. The study found "long-lasting improvements" at all but one of the schools, including some using the less-expensive improvement model. (The Wallace Foundation also supports coverage of expanded- and extended-learning opportunities and other topical reporting in Education Week.) -KATHRYN BARON Graduation Gaps Are Narrowing-But Persistent "Common Core of Data: Dropout/Completer Data Tables" Graduation rates for historically disadvantaged groups of students-including low-income students, ethnic and racial minorities, and English-language learners-have increased by at least 3 percentage points each over the past two years, according to data released last week by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. In fact, the rates for those student groups are improving faster than the overall graduation rate, which stood at 81.4 percent in 201213, a 2.4 percent improvement over the 201011 school year. The 2012-13 school year is the most recent with available data. But don't pop the champagne corks yet: Although the gap between the percentages of black and Hispanic students and white students graduating from high school has narrowed, it's still persistent. The graduation rate for black students in the 2012-13 school year reached 70.7 percent, a 3.7 increase since 2010-11. And the rate for Hispanic students hit 75.2 percent, a 4.2 percent increase since 2010-11. But white students and Asian/Pacific Islander students are still outperforming both of those groups, with graduation rates of 86.6 and 88.7 percent, respectively. And while American Indian students had the biggest two-year jump of any minority group, going from a 65 percent graduation rate in 2010-11 to 69.7 percent in 2012-13, they still had the lowest graduation rate of any minority group. What's more, although graduation rates for English-language learners and students in special education have improved by 4.1 and 2.9 percentage points respectively, they're still lower than the graduation rates for white and Asian students, as well as for black, Hispanic, and American Indian students more generally. Just 61.1 percent of English-learners earned a diploma in 2012-13, compared with 61.9 percent of students with disabilities. -ALYSON KLEIN Growth in High School Completion Rates n 2010-11 n 2011-12 n 2012-13 Population American Indian Asian/ Pacific Islander Hispanic Black White Low Income Limited English Proficiency Students With Disabilities TOTAL Graduation rate 20% 40% 60% 80% 4.7% increase 1.7% 4.2% 3.7% 2.6% 3.3% 4.1% 2.9% 2.4% 100% SOURCE: National Center for Educational Statistics EDUCATION WEEK | March 25, 2015 | | 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 25, 2015

Education Week - March 25, 2015
Civics Tests for Diplomas Gain Traction
For Education Next, Views With An Edge
Employers Integral To Career Studies
Experience Seen as Boost For Teachers
Elite Private Schools Tackle Ed Tech
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Eligibility Rules Fuel Growth Of Indiana’s Voucher Program
States Should Play Role in Fostering Engagement, Report Says
Teacher-Leadership Movement Gets Boost From Ed. Dept.
Blogs of the Week
Nonprofits Link Businesses To Career-Tech Programs
At Beaver Country Day, Investing In Innovation
Special Education Task Force Urges Overhaul for California
Gov. Cuomo’s Budget Sparks Backlash in N.Y.
Fight Looms on Kansas Plan To Fund K-12 Via Block Grants
Blogs of the Week
Why School Policies Need to Be Fine-Tuned
Which ‘Common Core’ Are We Talking About?
What Will Be the Impact of the Assessments?
More Educator Voices on Common-Core Implementation
Overcoming ‘Initiative Fatigue’
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Breaking the Code of the Common Core

Education Week - March 25, 2015