Education Week - April 13, 2016 - (Page 4)

NEWS IN BRIEF FBI Urged to Dump Extremism Website BIE Director Replaced Amid Federal Probe The director of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education has been stripped of his duties and demoted after federal investigators determined he used his influence to get jobs for a relative and a woman with whom he was romantically involved. Charles "Monty" Roessel improperly used his position to help a woman secure multiple jobs and to get the relative hired on the Navajo Nation, says a report from the Department of the Interior's inspector general released late last month. Roessel had led the bureau since December 2013 after serving as interim director for two years. Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes, a deputy assistant secretary in the Interior Department, will take over as the bureau's acting director. -COREY MITCHELL Marco Garcia/AP-File A coalition of groups, including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the American Civil Liberties Union, asked the FBI last week to dismantle its Don't Be a Puppet website, which the agency created to educate youths about violent extremism but has been criticized as targeting American Muslims and encouraging the policing of thoughts in schools. "Not only will Don't Be a Puppet hinder the free exchange of speech, ideas, and debate on controversial topics because students are afraid of being labeled suspect and being reported to the police, but it will also isolate students and possibly subject them to bullying," the coalition wrote to FBI Director James Comey. The FBI unveiled the interactive website in February for use in schools to teach teenagers about violent extremism groups, and to try to keep them from being radicalized and recruited. The website urges students to report suspicious behavior to teachers or others, including law enforcement. -TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE New Seal of Approval Born For Districts Protecting Data School systems can now apply for a Trusted Learning Environment Seal, intended to demonstrate that they are taking appropriate steps to protect the privacy and security of sensitive student information. T he sea l w ill be issued by the Consortium for School Networking, a group for school technology leaders. Also supporting the initiative are A A SA , the School Superintendents Association; the Association of School Business Officials International; and ASCD. Numerous statements of principle, guidance documents, industry pledges, and toolkits related to the hot-button issue of studentdata privacy have been released in recent years. But the new seal is different, CoSN leaders say, because it is meant both as a comprehensive guide for what school systems should be doing, and as a framework for how they can move beyond compliance with state and federal laws and begin implementing a set of "aspirational" practices. -BENJAMIN HEROLD Detroit Educators Charged In Kickback Scheme A dozen current and former Detroit public school principals, an assistant superintendent, and a well-connected school vendor are facing federal charges for their alleged roles in a bribery and kickback scheme. The owner of the school supply company Allstate Sales is charged with paying $ 908,500 Internet Trouble Pushes Back Assessments in Many States A disruption to Internet access at the site of a Kansas-based assessment provider delayed testing of students across the country and caused Alaska to cancel state assessments altogether this school year. A backhoe used in construction work at the University of Kansas on March 29 accidentally cut a fiberoptic cable providing the campus's digital connection. Servers at the university's Center for Educational Testing & Evaluation, which provides state assessments for students in Kansas and Alaska, went down. The stoppage meant students in those states taking CETE tests could not finish or begin testing. And students in 15 other states, in addition to Kansas and Alaska, which use the center's Dynamic Learning Maps to assess students with significant cognitive disabilities, also were unable to access the tests. The university worked quickly to patch the cable, and testing resumed with limited capacity the following day, said Marianne Perie, the director of CETE. On March 31, CETE told states they could 4 | EDUCATION WEEK | April 13, 2016 | return to normal testing, but the system was overloaded and went down again. Testing resumed last week and was back to normal with 21,000 students testing simultaneously with no difficulties, she said. Still, Alaska's interim education commissioner, Susan McCauley, announced on April 1 that the state would cancel CETE's testing for all students this academic year. McCauley said the unreliability of the system-being told it was back online only to have it crash again-and considerations unique to Alaska, such as the remoteness of many schools, prompted her decision. "The amount of chaos in Alaska schools ... cannot be overstated," she said in an interview last week, adding that teachers had to scramble to create lessons when they thought testing was to take place instead. "To ask teachers and students to 'try it again' with no guarantee that it was going to work was irresponsible." The center plans to put a contingency plan in place to prevent future issues, Perie said. -MICHELLE DAVIS in kickbacks to at least a dozen principals who used him as a vendor. The principals certified and submitted phony invoices for school supplies to the assistant superintendent, who steered close to $3 million in business to Allstate Sales, U.S. Attorney Bar- REPORT ROUNDUP bara McQuade said. The supplies and materials were rarely delivered, she said. The charges come at a critical time for the Detroit district, as state lawmakers mull bailing out the financially strapped district. -C.M. SCHOOL LEADERSHIP "Trends in Public and Private School Principal Demographics and Qualifications" Gender gaps among public school leaders have reversed since the late 1980s, finds a new federal analysis. The National Center for Education Statistics found that 1 in 4 public and private school principals in 1987-88 was a woman. That rate remains the same for private schools, but in public schools in 2011-12, 52 percent of principals were women. Slight upticks also occurred in the share of school leaders who are nonwhite, but white principals still make up nearly 90 percent of the total. The analysis, based on more than 750,000 administrators, also found that there were about 12,000 more principals in 2011-12 than in 198788, and that contemporary school leaders were more likely to have master's degrees.  -SARAH D. SPARKS their children's education, few get seats on the governing boards at Massachusetts campuses, according to a new report. Parents make up just 14 percent of governing-board members overseeing charter schools statewide this school year, says the study released last month by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. About 60 percent of Massachusetts' charter schools have no parent representatives on their governing boards. Researchers looked at the websites of charter schools to determine where parents sat on their governing boards, as well as the affiliations of other members. Most schools with strong parent representation had predominantly white student populations, the report says. Annenberg recommends that at least half the board be made up of parents from the school or students at high school campuses.  -SARAH TULLY SPORTS INJURY INVOLVING PARENTS "Whose Schools: An Examination of Charter School Governance in Massachusetts" While charter schools are intended to give parents a say in "Age Differences in Recovery From Sport-Related Injury" High school athletes do not take significantly longer to recover from concussions than their collegiate counterparts, negating the need for

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