Education Week - April 3, 2013 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk VOL. 32, NO. 27 • APRIL 3, 2013 AM E R ICAN E DUCATION’S N EWS PAPE R OF R ECOR D • © 2013 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Safety Plan For Schools: No Guns Coalition Emphasizes Climate, Crisis Tactics By Nirvi Shah Norm Shafer for Education Week In a pre-emptive move against a school safety proposal from the National Rifle Association that is expected to include a call for more people trained and approved to carry guns at schools, a coalition of civil rights and education groups unveiled its own safety plan last week. It seeks the creation of positive school climates, thoughtful and comprehensive crisis plans, and improved safety features that don’t turn schools into fortresses. Both plans—from groups not necessarily considered school safety experts— come as schools have been reworking safety and security measures after the deadliest shootings on a K-12 campus in PAGE 14> 3-D PRINTING: Stephanie Thrift, 14, attaches a wire coil onto the base of a stereo speaker that she and fellow students made using 3-D printing technologies at Buford Middle School in Charlottesville, Va. An initiative there teaches advanced manufacturing skills. PAGE 8 FOCUS ON: ASSOCIATIONS Leadership Shifts In Changing Field Access to Common Exams Probed By Jaclyn Zubrzycki As groups representing local and state education players struggle to remain relevant in a policy conversation often dominated by foundations, think tanks, new advocacy groups, and political and business figures, a shift in leadership has been under way at major associations. Most of the changes have come as part of the natural churn; former directors retire or move on. But at the National School Boards Association and the National Association of State Boards of Education, the shifts have come hand in hand with changes in organizational goals. The nsba is focusing on increasing the impact of its advocacy work, while nasbE hopes to find a leader who is Charles Borst/Education Week PAGE 12> Thomas J. Gentzel took over the helm of the National School Boards Association in December. By Lesli A. Maxwell A patchwork of testing accommodations is used in the nation’s public schools to help students with disabilities and those still learning English show their command of academic content, just as their general education peers do. The list of accommodations—providing extra time, allowing the use of dictionaries, and reading test directions aloud, to name a few—has ballooned in the No Child Left Behind Act era. Consortia Struggle With ELL Provisions By Lesli A. Maxwell When a low-level English-learner answers a long-division problem incorrectly on a state exam, is it because the student can’t do the math? Or is it because the student lacks the English proficiency to understand the directions? With the tests used now, discerning the reason is difficult, if not impossible. But as test designers work to craft the new, common assessments set to debut in most of the nation’s public schools in the 2014-15 school year, their goal is to provide all English-language learners, regardless of their language-proficiency levels, the Schools have been under pressure to demonstrate how well they are educating all students, including those with special needs. Some researchers estimate as many as 100 different accommodations are used for students with disabilities and English-language learners in states and local districts. But that may be changing as two groups of states labor to design new assessments for the Common Core State Standards to replace Test Rules Differ Between Groups For Special Ed. By Christina A. Samuels same opportunities to demonstrate their content knowledge and skills as their peers who are native English-speakers or former English-learners. Doing so, however, will take an unprecedented effort not only to better understand the types of testing accommodations that can give English-learners full access to the math and English/language arts exams without compromising the material being tested, but also to get states to agree on them. And it will require the reversal of a decades-long practice in many schools: using a wide range of testing accommodations for Ells that were originally designed for students with disabilities. The two groups of states working together to develop the new assessments that will measure how well students are mastering the Common Core State Standards—the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for As- Champions of students with disabilites have long complained that those students are often an afterthought in state testing plans. Only after a test design is completed are educators asked to go back and adapt the questions for a student who is blind, who needs help accessing text or calculating numbers, or who must use a specialized device to register responses. The assessments for the Common Core State Standards have the potential to change that, experts on the issue say, by putting the need for accessibility and accommodations front and center. Martha Thurlow, the director of the National Center on Education Outcomes, described the participants in developing the new tests as “intensely engaged.” “They see the great opportunity, and they fear the possibility of not reaching the potential these tests have,” Ms. PAGE 16 > PAGE 16 > PAGE 16 >

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 3, 2013

Education Week - April 3, 2013
Test Rules Differ Between Groups for Special Ed.
Consortia Struggle With ELL Provisions
FOCUS ON: ASSOCIATIONS: Leadership Shifts in Changing Field
Safety Plan for Schools: No Guns
Access to Common Exams Probed
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Gaps Found in Access to Qualified Math Teachers
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: 3-D Printing Classes In a Virginia School Attract Global Visitors
Arizona Weighing ‘Performance Funding’ For Schools
L.A. ‘Incubator School’ to Teach Startup Tactics
Blogs of the Week
Cantor Raises Profile on Schooling Issues
Calif. Districts’ Waiver Bid Heads to Review Phase
Policy Brief
Congress Tweaks Special Education Funding Mandates
Marriage Arguments Hit Children’s Issues
ROBIN LAKE & ALEX MEDLER: Do Charter Schools Serve Special-Needs Students? The Answer Is Complicated
ARTHUR H. CAMINS: Assessing the Impact Of New Science Standards
LAURIE BARNOSKI: School Leaders: Make Sure Your Teachers Don’t Lose Heart
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment
DAVID BERNSTEIN: It’s Time to Mainstream Progressive Education

Education Week - April 3, 2013