Education Week - March 30, 2016 - (Page 4)

NEWS IN BRIEF 9-Month Budget Impasse Ends in Pennsylvania THE NO'S HAVE IT Kansas Reps. Pete DeGraaf, left, and John Whitmer, both Republicans, watch an electronic tally board in the House last week as legislators reject a bill that sought to block the state from using the Common Core State Standards in public schools. Both lawmakers supported the measure. Pennsylvania's epic budget stalemate ended last week as the Democratic governor backed off his latest veto threat, leaving slivers of his once-ambitious agenda intact after nine months of partisan gridlock that threatened to close schools. Gov. Tom Wolf's drive for a multibillion-dollar tax increase from a Republican-controlled legislature to pay for a record increase in public school aid ultimately failed and precipitated a budget fight unlike any seen in modern Pennsylvania history. Only Illinois now remains without a budget. Pennsylvania's GOP-penned $6.6 billion budget gives a $200 million boost to public school aid, half what Wolf had originally sought, and a hike of 5 percent for state-subsidized universities. -ASSOCIATED PRESS Michigan lawmakers voted last week to extend $48.7 million in emergency aid to keep Detroit's ailing district open for the rest of the academic year and avoid the prospect of payless paydays for staff members. Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, planned to sign the legislation. The $48.7 million is a stopgap measure while the governor presses legislators to enact a $720 million restructuring plan to split the district and pay off $515 million in operating debt over a decade. The 46,000-student district has been under state financial management for seven years. It is burdened with declining enrollment and with low morale that has led to teacher "sickouts" in recent months. -AP Many Illinois Districts See Deficit Spending Profile Scores, released last week, show that although fewer districts fell into the lowest financial category and more districts made it into the top financial category, almost 60 percent are deficit-spending. The state hasn't seen such a high percentage since at least the 2010 school year. State school board officials are concerned the districts can look good on paper and increase their financial profile by borrowing and dipping into reserves.  -AP Teacher-Prep Enrollment Continues to Decline Newly released data show that both the numbers of enrollments in, and completers of, teacher-preparation programs continued to decline through 2014, but not as sharply as they had a few years before. In all, enrollments are down by more than a third from 2009- Robert F. Bukaty/AP Most school districts across Illinois are spending more than they're taking in and dipping into reserves or borrowing to stay afloat, according to new state data. The 2016 School District Financial John Hanna/AP Michigan Legislature Bails Out Detroit Schools CONQUERING THE WAVES Young sailors practice their racecourse maneuvers last week in Maine's Portland Harbor. High school students from Falmouth, Yarmouth, and Portland rode the winds on 420-class boats while participating in Sail-Maine, a nonprofit community sailing program. 4 | EDUCATION WEEK | March 30, 2016 | 10-the height of enrollment over the past decade-while completers are down by a quarter. The period with the heaviest declines seems to have been between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Some states have been much more heavily hit than others. Nevada, whose Clark County district has struggled mightily to recruit teachers, saw teacher-prep enrollments plummet by 50 percent between 2009 and 2014, the federal data show. -STEPHEN SAWCHUK In Shakeup, TFA Cuts 15 Percent of Staff Teach For America is laying off some of its national and regional staff as part of its transition to a less-centralized business model. About 150 jobs will be lost in all, a reduction of 15 percent. Some 200 or so employees were laid off last year, but the most recent round appears to target some fairly senior executives. Among the targets is a chief-diversity-officer position, just as TFA has put a lot of energy into improving diversity and culturalcompetency training. TFA is shifting to a more regional organization in which the regions are now primarily responsible for raising funds. Another possible reason for the layoffs is that in both 2014 and 2015, TFA didn't hit its recruiting targets and apparently has not done so again during its most recent application cycle. -S.S. Chicago Teachers Union Approves 1-Day Walkout The Chicago Teachers Union has approved a one-day walkout on April 1, which the union has billed as a "day of action" to draw attention to such issues as public school funding, racial justice, and poverty. Union delegates voted 486-124 last week in favor of the action. The district has called the planned action illegal, and district CEO Forrest Claypool said those who do not show up for work will not get paid.  -DENISA R. SUPERVILLE Kentucky Mulls Picking Up Community College Tuition Kentucky's House of Representatives has approved a bill that would give free community college tuition to all the state's high school graduates. The proposal would eventually cost taxpayers about $20 million a year. Kentucky high school graduates would still have to apply for federal and state scholarships, but the state would cover whatever cost was left. All the state's high school graduates would be eligible, including homeschooled and private school students. Students would have to maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average to keep the money. The bill, which is modeled after a program in Tennessee, now heads to the Senate for consideration. -AP Federal Bill Would Give ESAs to Indian Students Legislation proposed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would provide education savings accounts to Native American students who attend Bureau of Indian Education schools. The Native American Education Opportunity Act would operate in Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, and Nevada, all states that currently have ESA programs, which enable students to pay for private school tuition, tutors, and educational materials. Up to 90 percent of the money that the BIE would spend on each student would be allocated to the savings account, and the federal agency would retain 10 percent of the per-pupil funds. BIE schools have received increased attention in the past few years after several reports highlighted dangerous conditions and poor academics in the schools, which score among the lowest in the nation on standardized tests.  -JACKIE MADER Poll: Parents Take Dim View Of Careers in STEM Teaching A poll from the nonprofit group ASQ (formerly the American Society for Quality) finds that while 90 percent of parents would encourage their children to pursue a career in a STEM field, 87 percent said they would be "concerned" if that career happened to be as a K-12 teacher. In all, the survey found only 9 percent of the 644 parents participating would encourage their children to pursue a career as a science, technology, engineering, or math teacher. In a separate poll, ASQ found only 29 percent of educators surveyed said they would encourage their own children to pursue that path as a STEM-related career option. That poll was conducted online among 185 ASQ members who self-identified as educators. Both groups polled cited low compensation as a prime reason for their views.  -ANTHONY REBORA Chicago District Sues Over Charter Reversal Chicago school district officials are suing a state commission for overturning their decision to close charter schools that were not meeting the district's performance benchmarks. The Illinois State Charter School Commission granted an appeal to three charter schools to stay open, saying the district had not given the schools enough time to adjust to

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 30, 2016

Education Week - March 30, 2016
State Boards Feel New Need To Flex Muscles
Distress Call Issued On K-12 Facilities
Can ‘Micro-Credentialing’ Salvage Teacher PD?
Sanders Gets Educators’ Attention Despite Limited Specifics on K-12
Table of Contents
DAVID GAMBERG: What Makes a School?
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Common Core: Is Its Achievement Impact Starting To Dissipate?
ACT’s New 10th Grade Test Provides Competition for PSAT
N.C. Law Restricts Transgender Student Restroom Access
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Group Probes Ed-Tech Pricing, Buying
Home Schooling Gains Popularity With Military Families
Blogs of the Week
‘Teach to Lead’ Projects Face Uphill Climb at State Level
Hearing Weighs Student-Data Privacy Concerns
High Court Weighing Birth-Control Mandate
ESSA Rule Negotiators Grapple With Issues of Flexibility, Equity
ROBERT EVANS: Principals, Get Your Irish On
PATRICK O’CONNOR: Why Good Teachers Don’t Have to ‘Like’ Teaching
JONATHAN ECKERT: Finding Joy in Teaching
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace

Education Week - March 30, 2016