Education Week - April 13, 2016 - (Page 1)

1 Education Week VOL. 35, NO. 27 * APRIL 13, 2016 AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2016 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 4  BRE AKING NEWS DAILY N.Y. Flip-Flop Affects Policy In Key Areas Pressure Following Opt-Outs Felt on Standards, Testing Carl Costas for Education Week By Daarel Burnette II Fourth grade students Emily De Dios Alvarez, left, and Tara Patterson, laugh with each other during a "brain break" at Lemmon Valley Elementary School in Reno, Nev. The Washoe County school district's comprehensive social-emotional learning efforts span all grades. Students Help Shape Measures of 'Soft Skills' By Evie Blad Reno, Nev. Schools in this city, known for its aging casinos, are using a comprehensive socialemotional learning strategy to tackle student engagement and academic success. The 64,000-student Washoe County district wants to raise its graduation rate, which reached a record 75 percent in 2015, to 90 percent by 2020, an ambitious goal in a state where young adults can make a middleclass salary valet-parking cars without a diploma, Superintendent Traci Davis said. A growing body of research connects skills like responsible decisionmaking and recognizing and responding to emotions with greater engagement in the classroom and improved academic outcomes such as higher graduation rates. But, until recently, the district had very few ways of measuring the effectiveness of its social-emotional learning efforts, which it launched as a result of a 2010 strategic plan. It asked questions many educators and researchers are facing: What's the most accurate way to determine if students are learning so-called "soft skills," like how to empathize with their peers? And what's the best way to respond to the resulting data? Kasich's K-12 Record Heavy on State Policy Better data would also help answer a core question for the district: Is social-emotional learning contributing to that rising graduation rate? Educators who've embraced the strategy believe it's necessary, but they've lacked data in the past that proves how much they are moving the needle for students. "If we could come up with good measures, then maybe we could measure the mediating effect of social-emotional learning competencies on this risk [of not completing high school]," said Ben Hayes, the district's chief accountability officer. "That became the kind of learning goal, and from there we Can Latin Build Young Vocabularies? By Liana Heitin Fairfax, Va. By Andrew Ujifusa With the field of Republican presidential candidates narrowed from a high of 17 last year to three this month, only one remains who has both an extensive K-12 track record ION and a record that reflects many state T C E EL policy prescriptions popular among GOP leaders in recent years: Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Over the course of his two terms as governor, Kasich has instituted a school accountability system based on A-F grades, signed into law a bill requiring students to demonstrate they are literate by the end of the 3rd grade (with some exceptions), and approved the creation of new tuition-voucher 2016 PAGE 21> PAGE 10> With students gone for the day, 6th grade teachers Joy Ford and Ryan Rusk sat in a classroom discussing the Latin root temp. After determining that "contemporary" and "temporary" share the root, which refers to time, the two Woodlawn Elementary teachers then turned to the word "temptation." "I'm tempted to eat this chocolate," said Ford. "That doesn't have to do with time." "But if I'm tempted, I want it now," responded Rusk. "So could it?" Along with a half-dozen other K-6 teachers, the two were participating in a study group in which they meet weekly to learn how to incorporate Greek and Latin roots into their daily instruction. The group was doing a "word sort" activity from the book Greek and Latin Roots: Keys to Vocabulary Building. The theory behind teaching Latin and Greek prefixes, suffixes, and bases, which some teachers are doing with children as young as 1st grade, is that it helps build vocabulary more quickly than learning definitions of individual words. "A single root can generate over 100 words," said Joanna Newton, the reading specialist at Woodlawn, who runs the professional-development group. "If you teach a kid even 10 roots over the course of a year, that's like 1,000 words they can potentially unlock on their own." Teaching root words also gives students PAGE 14> Education agendas can flip in what seems like a New York minute-at least in political time. As recently as January 2015, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo had called for New York legislators to "bust up the monopoly of public schools," and referred to the state's 5-year-old teacher-evaluation system as "baloney." Decrying the state's lackluster academic results, he proposed to base up to half of teachers' evaluations on the state's standardized tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards. But then, last spring, hundreds of thousands of students opted out of the state's exam, delivering a wave of political setbacks to what's widely described as the state's education "reform movement," which, among other policies, advocates using the results of common-core-based tests to evaluate and even fire teachers. By December, Cuomo had seemingly altered course on some of his policies, calling for "a total reboot" of the state's common-core standards. The state's board of regents, which oversees K-12 schools, instituted a four-year moratorium on test scores' being used in teacher evaluations, and the state had fired its testing company, Pearson, over issues involving the writing PAGE 20> DIGITAL DIRECTIONS FCC 'Lifeline' Effort Expanded to Bridge The Digital Divide By Benjamin Herold The Federal Communications Commission has approved an expansion of the federal Lifeline program to include subsidies for broadband service for low-income households, a move that could help bridge the digital divide that exists between disadvantaged students and their wealthier peers. Education and civil rights groups hailed the plan as a critical step toward closing the so-called "homework gap," experienced by children who struggle to complete online assignments because they have inadequate or nonexistent Internet access at home. Eligible families will now have the option to use the program's $9.25 monthly subsidy to cover stand-alone mobile- or fixed-broadband Internet service, as well as bundled voice-and-data-service packages. Lifeline, PAGE 12>

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 13, 2016

Education Week - April 13, 2016
N.Y. Flip-Flop Affects Policy In Key Areas
Students Help Shape Measures Of ‘Soft Skills’
Kasich’s K-12 Record
Can Latin Build Young Vocabularies?
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: FCC ‘Lifeline’ Effort Expanded to Bridge the Digital Divide
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Study: Tracking Not an Issue For Career-Tech-Education
San Diego Strives to Close Gap In Access to Advanced Courses
High School Coursework Seen Falling Short
Blogs of the Week
Fee-Payer Issue Still Alive, Despite Close Call for Unions
As First Education Secretary, Shirley M. Hufstedler a Pacesetter
ESSA Negotiators Dig Into Regulatory Details
Shield From Deportation Threat To Get Day at High Court
State of the States
Blogs of the Week
JONATHAN LASH: Buildings, Blocks, and Experience
ZOE WEIL: You Are What You Teach
HAROLD O. LEVY: How Should Schools Purchase Technology for the Classroom?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
PAUL KIHN: The District Is Dead. Long Live the District.

Education Week - April 13, 2016