Education Week - April 3, 2013 - (Page 4)

4 EDUCATION WEEK n APRIL 3, 2013 n NEWS IN BRIEF Teachers in Hawaii OK Tentative Pact Four Districts Named Broad Prize Finalists Four finalists for the 2013 Broad Prize in Urban Education were named last week. They are the Corona-Norco and San Diego school districts in California, the Houston Independent School District, and the school system in Cumberland County, N.C. San Diego, the second largest district in California with 1 3 2 , 0 0 0 s t u d e n t s, a n d t h e 53,000-student Cumberland County district, are newcomers to the finalist round for the annual prize. Corona-Norco, a 53,000-student district in Southern California, was a finalist in 2012, as was Houston, which won the first prize in 2002. The four finalists were selected from a pool of 75 of the largest urban districts in the nation because of academic gains they have demonstrated for Hispanic, African-American, and poor students, according to a press release from the Los Angeles-based Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which sponsors the prize. The winner will be announced Sept. 25 in Washington and will win $550,000 in college scholarships for its students. The three finalists each will receive $150,000 in scholarship money. Over the next few months, researchers will gather qualitative data on each district and present them to a selection jury, Dan Cepeda/Casper Star-Tribune/AP After months of wrangling, Hawaii’s statewide school district and its teachers’ union have reached a tentative deal on a contract that establishes a new teacher-evaluation system and increases wages. The four-year contract must be ratified by the rank-and-file of the Hawaii State Teachers Association in a vote scheduled for April 17. The unions’ membership voted down a tentative contract in January 2012, leading to a protracted battle, a symbolic contract vote last May, and a “last, best, and final” offer from the state. Part of the current agreement is for the hsta to withdraw its complaint with the state’s labor-relations board. Hawaii was once in danger of losing part of its $75 million federal Race to the Top grant, because of its failure to reach a contract to put a new teacherevaluation system in place. But the state recently won plaudits from the U.S. Department of Education for making progress in many areas of its grant. More than 100 schools in Hawaii have participated in components of the new teacher-evaluation system. —STEPHEN SAWCHUK TWO-STEP which will choose the winner. The school system in MiamiDade County, Fla., won last year. —LESLI A. MAXWELL Schools Can Ban Confederate T-Shirts A federal appeals court has upheld a South Carolina district’s restrictions barring a student from wearing various Confederate flag T-shirts to school. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in Richmond, Va., held unanimously that past racial incidents in the district’s schools and the potential for differing student interpretations of such shirts justified school officials’ view that the shirts were likely to cause a substantial disruption. The case involves Candace Hardwick, who clashed repeatedly from 2002 to 2006 with administrators at her middle school and high school in the 1,600-student Latta district over her desire to wear T-shirts with Confederate themes. Ms. Hardwick and her parents sued the district under the First Amendment. A federal district court granted summary judgment to the defendants. In its decision last week in Hardwick v. Heyward, the court said most of the shirts at issue were properly viewed as “Confederate” shirts and could be regulated by the district. —MARK WALSH Miss. District Settles Federal Complaint A new agreement aims to stop what the federal government has labeled discriminatory discipline practices in the 6,100-student Japanese students Yuka Kumagai, center left, and Yukina Mikami laugh as they participate in a western dance lesson at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper, Wyo. They were among the 24 students and one teacher visiting last month from Morioka, Iwate, Japan, as part of the Kizuna Project. Kelly Walsh students were part of a goodwill tour to the earthquake-ravaged region in Japan last year. Indiana Supreme Court Upholds Voucher Law Ruling could allow expansion of plan that pays some private school tuition The Indiana Supreme Court last week unanimously upheld the state law that created Indiana’s school voucher program, the Associated Press reported. The Indiana state government enacted its Choice Scholarship program during the 2011 legislative session. It is the only voucher program in the country that is not limited to lowincome students or students who attend lowperforming schools. It also has no enrollment cap. More than 9,000 students participated in the program this year. Indiana students are eligible for vouchers that cover either 90 percent or 50 percent of private school tuition costs—depending on income and the number of household members—with the cap at $4,500 annually. The legal battle began soon after the program’s enactment. In its suit in the Marion Superior Court, the Indiana State Teachers Association said that the program drained money from public schools and Meridian, Miss., district, where black students were three times as likely as white students to be punished after they were referred to administrators and five times as likely to be suspended out of school. The U.S. Department of Justice said March 22 that the district has agreed to take a number of steps to address problems with disparities in discipline between white and black students. Those steps include not using suspension or expulsion for minor misbehavior, limiting these types of consequences altogether, not asking law enforcement to respond when administrators can address behavior problems, and providing training argued that vouchers redirect those funds to schools whose primary purpose is to promote religious teachings. Marion Superior Court Judge Michael Keele upheld the legislation in 2011 and rejected claims of constitutional violation. In its 5-0 opinion, the state supreme court affirmed that ruling. It said that the law does not violate the Indiana Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom, nor does it violate a ban on using state funds for religious institutions. Rather, the primary benefits of the program went to parents by giving them a choice in their children’s education, the court said. While the state is not permitted to directly spend money on religious institutions, those institutions are not prohibited from receiving indirect government services, according to the court. The ruling also clears the way for expanding the voucher program. Earlier this year, Indiana lawmakers introduced a bill that would waive the requirement that all students attend at least one year of public school before they are eligible for vouchers. Kindergartners and voucher students’ siblings would also be immediately eligible. about bias-free policing to school law enforcement. A separate Justice Department investigation into how the local court system, city, and other agencies are contributing to the funneling of students from schools into the juvenile-justice system is still open. —NIRVI SHAH Preapplications Open For Latest ‘i3’ Grants The U.S Department of Education is accepting “preapplications” for its $3 million development grants, which are part of a larger $150 million Investing in Innovation grant contest. The —ALYSSA MORONES deadline to apply is April 26. It is the fourth round for the i3 grants, which started in 2009 with funding from the economicstimulus package passed by Congress. Applications for the larger i3 “scale-up” and “validation” grants—which require more evidence of past success but can win applicants up to $25 million—will be available later this spring. This is the second time the federal department is using a prescreening process to whittle down the potential applicants for development grants, which is one of its most popular grant categories. Last year, 650 applicants submitted a proposal for screening. Outside peer reviewers will help the

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