Education Week - April 3, 2013 - (Page 5)
REPORTto these reports, go to
High Court to Hear Arguments
In Affirmative-Action Case
The U.S. Supreme Court decided last week to take up another
case involving affirmative action in higher education. It agreed
to review a federal appeals court ruling that struck down a 2006
Michigan ballot initiative that barring the use of racial preferences at state colleges and universities.
The court is still weighing whether race-conscious admissions
policies at the University of Texas at Austin violate the equalprotection clause of the U.S. Constitution. It heard arguments
in that case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, last October,
and a decision could come at any time.
The new case is Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative
Action (Case No. 12-682). Last November, the full U.S. Court of
Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, voted 8-7 to invalidate Michigan’s Proposal 2 as it applies to state colleges and
Proposal 2 also bars school districts from discriminating or
granting preferential treatment on the basis of race (in addition
to sex, color, ethnicity, and national origin), but the challenge
decided by the 6th Circuit deals only with the measure’s operation in higher education in the state.
There was immediate speculation about the Supreme Court’s
reasons for granting review of the Michigan case while the
Texas affirmative-action case is pending. Normally, an appeal
raising similar issues to that of a case already under review is
held until the decision in the pending case is released.
It’s possible the justices think the issues raised in the Michigan case are sufficiently distinct from those in the Texas case.
The justices also could be torn over the disposition of the Michigan case and could order reargument.
Arguments in the Michigan case will take place in the court’s
States can afford higher-quality
assessments by reallocating the
money they currently spend on
tests, according to a new report.
It argues that states can
replace as many as half the
multiple-choice items on their
current tests with essays and
performance items without
spending more than they currently do on testing, and they’d
get assessments that offer good
learning experiences for students and valuable feedback for
In the new study, co-authors
Linda Darling-Hammond and
Frank Adamson of Stanford
University detail several kinds
of cost savings that could be
mined to support an assessment
system that leans more heavily on performance tasks. One
would be efficiencies realized
through state collaborations
like the two consortia that are
developing tests for the common
standards. Another would be
computer delivery and scoring.
The pen NewsBlast e-newsletter that covered local education
reform issues until its parent
organization closed its doors late
last year will continue publishing
with new foundation funding.
The Public Education Network,
which published the newsletter
for about eight years as a news
resource for members at local
education foundations, closed its
national office in December, citing economic challenges.
The Barr Foundation provided
funding for the renamed Public
Education NewsBlast, and the
Los Angeles Education Partnership, an original member of
the pen network, will continue
to produce the newsletter, the
group announced last week.
—KATHLEEN KENNEDY MANZO
Texas Senate to Decide
On ‘Parent Trigger’ Bill
A measure making it easier
for parents to urge their school
boards to close failing schools or
convert them into charters was
sent last week to the full Texas
Senate for consideration, but
with changes to ensure such efforts aren’t led by outside groups.
The proposal is meant to
shorten the time it takes before
“parent triggers” can be enacted.
Currently, schools rated “academically unacceptable” for two
straight years are subject to state
intervention. If performance
doesn’t improve for three additional years, a majority of parents can petition a school board
for closure, staff changes, or conversion to a charter.
The proposal would now allow
parents to seek school board action one year after state intervention.
The measure has been cheered
by conservatives as ensuring
parents can hold schools accountable. But teachers’ groups
worry it will allow more traditional public schools to fall under
the control of charter operators.
A story in the March 27, 2013,
issue of Education Week about
blending science learning and
English proficiency misspelled
the name of the schools superintendent in Sonoma, Calif. Her
name is Louann Carlomagno.
A story about engineering
education in the same issue
misspelled the name of Cary I.
Sneider, a member of the sciencestandards writing team.
APRIL 3, 2013
Teachers Near Top on Measures
Of Quality of Life, Survey Says
“Poll: Teachers Rank High on ‘Well-Being’ ”
“Developing Assessments of
Deeper Learning: The Costs and
Benefits of Using Tests That Help
department choose the strongest
preapplications. Those applicants
will then go on to submit full applications and compete in the
main contest later this spring.
“Partnership for a Drug Free New
Jersey Study on the Effect of
Suspicionless Random Drug
Testing in New Jersey Middle
Teachers top all other professionals except physicians in overall wellbeing, according to the 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
The results are based on interviews conducted with 170,000
adults, including 9,467 K-12 teachers, last year. Participants responded to 55 items concerning their physical, emotional, and financial health.
Teachers also rank second, again below physicians, in emotional
health, life evaluations, and basic access (including to food, housing,
and health care)—three of the six components of well-being as measured by the survey. Within emotional health, teachers were more
likely than any other occupational group to say they had “smiled or
laughed a lot yesterday,” with 88 percent indicating they had done so.
However, teachers were also second only to physicians in stress
levels; 47 percent reported they experience stress daily.
In the areas of healthy behaviors and physical health, teachers
scored fairly high, ranking third and fifth, respectively, out of the
14 professions listed.
But in the area of “work environment,” teachers ranked eighth
out of 14 professions, below “farming, fishing, or forestry,” “construction or mining,” and nursing. Fifty-eight percent of teachers said
their supervisor treats them as a partner, placing them below five
other occupations on the measure. And teachers ranked last among
the 14 professions in indicating their “supervisor always creates an
environment that is trusting and open.”
Gallup released the findings in a series of articles on its website. In a
blog post, Gallup’s senior scientist Shane Lopez and content manager
Preety Sidhu point out that “it is unclear whether the relatively higher
scores of teachers on several measures of well-being are because working in that profession enhances one’s well-being, or if people who have
higher well-being in general seek out teaching professions.”
According to the recent MetLife Survey of the American Teacher,
82 percent of teachers said they are either somewhat or very satisfied with their work, though the percentage of very satisfied teachers has been on the decline in recent years.
ceived and actual use of alcohol—
but not drugs—year to year,” the
In 1998, New Jersey mandated
universal early-childhood education starting at age 3 for all children in 31 of the state’s urban
districts. A recent report found
the effects of this early education
to be lasting.
The children followed in the
study by the National Institute
for Early Education Research
at Rutgers University in New
Brunswick, N.J., were beneficiaries of the New Jersey Supreme
Court’s rulings in Abbott v.
Burke, which found the state’s
previous school funding law unconstitutional when applied to
students in the state’s poorer
For the students, now in 4th
and 5th grades, the study found
that the Abbott preschool programs increased achievement
in language arts and literacy,
math, and science. The effects
were greater for students who attended two years of preschool versus those who only attended one
year. For pupils enrolled for one
year, the test-score gains counted
for closing the achievement gap
between minority and white students over a year of learning by
approximately 10 percent to 20
percent. Those gains doubled to
20 percent to 40 percent for the
youngsters enrolled in two years
Students randomly tested for alcohol in middle school seem less
likely to drink and use drugs
during those middle grades,
and they are less likely to drink
when they get older, a six-year
study of New Jersey students
finds. Researchers, however,
caution that random drug testing isn’t a panacea for drug- and
The study tracked about 3,500
middle school students from
the 2006-07 school year into
this school year. Researchers at
Fairleigh Dickinson University,
in Teaneck, N.J., and from the
Partnership for a Drug-Free
New Jersey found that middle
school students who had been
tested at any point in grades
6-8 for drug and alcohol use
didn’t follow the typical pattern
of most high school students.
Those who had been tested
did not show a spike in alcohol
use during their junior year in
high school, when they have
access to jobs, cars, and money
and are exposed to older individuals who are more likely to
use alcohol and drugs.
The effect of the testing on drug
use wasn’t the same. “Students
who had been tested showed
much smaller increases in per-
Although only six states—
Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, Utah, and Virginia—
earned an A or B on the 2012
edition of the Digital Learning
Report Card, digital learning
continues to be a hot topic in
legislatures across the country,
says the ed-tech advocacy group
Digital Learning Now!, which
wrote the report.
States were graded based on
39 measures that correlate to
the organization’s 10 essential
elements for high-quality digital
learning. Those elements were
crafted during a meeting in 2010
of a digital learning council cochaired by former Florida Gov.
Jeb Bush and former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, which led to
the formation of Digital Learning Now!. In 2012, more than
700 bills related to digital learning were debated in state legislatures, according to the report. Of
those, 152 were signed into law,
allowing students to take classes
online, equipping students and
teachers with mobile devices,
and providing schools the flexibility to embrace blended learning models.
For links to these reports, go to
“2012 Digital Learning Report
“Abbott Preschool Program
Longitudinal Effects Study”
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
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
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
DAVID BERNSTEIN: It’s Time to Mainstream Progressive Education
Education Week - April 3, 2013