Education Week - March 26, 2014 - (Page 1)

EDUCATIONWEEK AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2014 Editorial Projects in Education * $4 WAR ON POVERTY: Progress & Persistent Inequity Common Testing Begins By Catherine Gewertz GROWING UP POOR: Dashawn Smith, 6, left, looks over at his friend Malachi Davis, 10, outside the Potomac Gardens public-housing complex in Washington. The fence was erected around the property to keep out drug dealers and other criminals. While the federal housing programs expanded through the War on Poverty provide stability for assisted families, their children still often live in concentrated poverty. SCHOOLS PLAY A PART: When housing efforts fail, some school districts are stepping in to promote economic integration in the classroom. PAGE 20> PERSPECTIVES: Richard Rothstein writes that the nation's history of segregated housing has been instrumental in the achievement gap. PAGE 40> ABOUT THIS OCCASIONAL SERIES This package of stories is the second in a series of articles in Education Week over the next 18 months to reflect on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty and its impact on the lives of children, especially those living in poverty. RELATED STORY: New federal civil rights data show educational disparities persist for disadvantaged students nationwide. PAGE 8> EDUCATION& ENVIRONMENT Housing Woes Still Hamper Schooling By Evie Blad Washington Kourtney Mills' name sat on a waiting list for five years before she moved her family into an apartment at Potomac Gardens, a sprawling, blond-brick public-housing complex less than two miles from the U.S. Capitol. "I was lucky," she said, adding that others have waited longer. Fifty years after President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a War on Poverty, the U.S. rental-assistance programs expanded through that initiative-public housing and rental vouchers-have provided a measure of stability for participating families and their children. But too many families who qualify for help won't get it, housing-policy experts say, and children in assisted families still often live in areas of concentrated poverty, which can have negative effects on their education. Students in such areas are more likely to attend schools packed with other poor children, where high rates of truancy and mobility can disrupt learning, and the resources needed to serve high-need populations are often lacking. A half-century of efforts to ameliorate the environmental impacts of living in poor housing conditions-by providing rent subsidies, moving entire families from poor neighborhoods to better-off PAGE 18 > This week marks a major milestone in an assessment project of unprecedented scope: the start of field-testing season for new, shared tests of a common set of academic standards. Between March 24 and June 6, more than 4 million students in 36 states and the District of Columbia will take nearfinal versions of the tests in mathematics and English/language arts. Those exams-tied to the Common Core State Standards that all but a handful of states have adopted-were created by a bevy of vendors hired at the request of two groups of states: the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. "I don't think a trial of this magnitude has been done anytime in the history of student testing in the U.S.," said Keith Rust, a vice president at the Rockville, Md.-based Westat, where he oversees the sampling of schools and students for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. The exercise won't produce detailed, scaled scores of student performance; that part is still a year away. Instead, this spring's field-testing is a crucial part of the assessments' design stage, PAGE 16 > VOL. 33, NO. 26 * MARCH 26, 2014 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Stakes High In Trial Run For Exams DIGITAL DIRECTIONS Google Under Fire For Data Analysis Of Student Emails By Benjamin Herold As part of a potentially explosive Principals Hard-Pressed for Time to Be Instructional Leaders By Lesli A. Maxwell This year, Principal Jennifer Hammond and her team of assistant principals will conduct three formal classroom observations of every teacher at Grand Blanc High School, a campus of 2,700 students in suburban Flint, Mich. With 135 teachers, that breaks down to roughly 100 classroom visits for each of the four administrators to evaluate faculty members who teach a wide array of courses, from Chinese language to woodworking. "We'll spend somewhere between 25 and 55 minutes in each class, for each visit," said Ms. Hammond. "The research tells us that we need to have somewhere between four and six observations that each last at least 15 to 20 minutes to have good data." Though teachers at Grand Blanc receive written feedback on their lessons and instruction following each classroom visit, it won't be until May, after the third and final observation, that many will sit down face-to-face to talk with Ms. Hammond or one of her assistants about what lawsuit making its way through federal court, the giant online-services provider Google has acknowledged scanning the contents of millions of email messages sent and received by student users of the company's Apps for Education tool suite for schools. In the suit, the Mountain View, they did well and how they can get better. "In a perfect world, we'd have a post-observation meeting with every single teacher, but it's not possible with the time we have," said Ms. Hammond. Such a reality-that principals' time is too often strained by other requirements of the job to make room for substantive instructional coaching-is running headlong into the increasing demand for school leaders to be inside classrooms, watching and studying teachers, and helping them improve PAGE 24 > Calif.-based company also faces accusations from plaintiffs that it went further, crossing a "creepy line" by using information gleaned from the scans to build "surreptitious" profiles of Apps for Education users that could be used for such purposes as targeted advertising. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is currently hearing the complaint, which alleges that the data-mining practices PAGE 22 > Swikar Patel/Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 26, 2014


Education Week - March 26, 2014