Education Week - April 15, 2015 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2015 Editorial Projects in Education * $4 VOL. 34, NO. 27 * APRIL 15, 2015 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Atlanta Verdicts Ignite Debate Empathy, Scorn for Educators Found Guilty in Cheating Case By Corey Mitchell The conviction of 11 former Atlanta educators on state racketeering charges that could land them behind bars has ignited debate about whether the punishment fits the crime and fueled already-heated discussions about the role of high-stakes standardized tests in K-12 public schools. Jurors in Fulton County, Ga., had to decide if the educators were conspirators in a widespread cheating scandal-or, as defense lawyers argued, were merely pawns in a scheme masterminded by their former supervisors in the Atlanta school district. The jury, following six months of testimony, found earlier this month that the former teachers and administrators plotted to artificially inflate test scores by changing answers or guiding students to fill in the correct responses on the 2009 Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, the state's annual PAGE 10 > Students swing during recess at Patterson International Elementary School in Lakewood, Colo., earlier this month. More schools are banning or limiting the use of withholding recess for punitive reasons as research shows the benefits of playtime for students. Withholding Recess as Discipline in Decline By Evie Blad It's not uncommon for elementary school teachers to take away recess time to discipline students. Withholding cherished playtime clearly communicates to children that their misbehavior is unacceptable, they argue. But more and more, schools are doing away with withholding recess for disciplinary reasons, pointing to research findings that unstructured play and exercise benefit students both inside and outside the classroom. "That physical activity and unstructured play, those things are not luxuries for kids," said Sara Zimmerman, the technical-assistance director of the Oakland, Calif.-based Safe Routes to School National Partnership, which advocates increased physical activity for students. "That's a key part of how kids learn and how they grow." Schools around the country have implemented policies that limit or eliminate teachers' ability to take away recess time, their efforts bolstered by district policies and state laws that place renewed emphasis on physical activity and by increased public involvement in the creation of district wellness policies. In Minnesota, for example, lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit schools from withholding recess time as a form of punishment. A separate bill in that state would require schools to set clear policies on how much recess time they provide to students and to publish those policies online. At least 11 states have similar prohibitions, according to the Reston, Va.-based National Association for Sport and Physical Education. In a 2013 analysis of wellness policies in more than 600 school districts around the country, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that 68 percent of elementary schools had no policy in place prohibiting the use of withholding of physical activity as a form of discipline during the 201011 school year. That's a decline from 79 percent in 2006-07. Supporters of those changes say it's PAGE 14 > As schools move to ban restrictions on playtime, some teachers resist losing discretion over discipline Schools Weigh Duty On Religious Rights By Mark Walsh Adriel Arocha was a kindergartner with long braids in 2008 when his American Indian religious beliefs and those of his father, Kenney, ran smack into the grooming policy of the Needville, Texas, school system-and led to a federal court ruling centered on that state's religious-freedom law. The law, the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is among the varied, but similarly named, statutes in 20 other states now under intense public scrutiny in the wake of controversies in Arkansas and Indiana over whether such laws would allow business owners to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation. The Arochas' case, advocates and scholars say, is an example of how these little-used PAGE 19 > DIGITAL DIRECTIONS Demand for Print Persists Amid K-12 Digital Surge By Sean Cavanagh The massive shift in school districts from print to digital content is widely viewed in education technology circles as inevitable-and highly desirable. In many school systems, however, the reality is that the transition is playing out incrementally, and that teachers will be relying on printed materials for years to come, for a host of financial and technological reasons. Recent surveys and data, interviews with educators and industry officials, and K-12 companies' development of new products underscore the enduring, widespread demand for textbooks and other paperbased materials in the nation's schools. While some districts have leapt aggressively into tech adoption-through 1-to-1 computing programs and other ambitious measures-many school systems clearly favor a hybrid approach, in which teachers and students use both print and digital resources, K-12 leaders and company officials say. A number of factors help explain print's continued, strong presence. Many districts can't afford or are wary of taking on big upfront costs to buy laptops, tablets, and other devices necessary to deliver technology-based content. Districts worry about the time it will take to train teachers to work with new technology and integrate it across schools. Some districts say they lack the Internet bandwidth necessary to PAGE 12 > Blended Learning: Breaking Down Barriers This special report explores some of the most persistent questions schools face in adopting blended learning strategies, such as how to overcome students' lack of home Internet access, whether districts or schools should make software buying decisions, and how teachers can help each other master technology in classrooms. See the pullout section opposite Page 14. Nathan W. Armes for Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 15, 2015

Atlanta Verdicts Ignite Debate
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Demand for Print Persists Amid K-12 Digital Surge
Schools Weigh Duty On Religious Rights
Withholding Recess as Discipline in Decline
News in Brief
Report Roundup
N.Y. Budget Accord Seeks to Tighten Rules On Teacher Quality
Anaheim and Nashville Partner to Promote Music Studies
After-School Programs Targeted by Lawmakers, Critics
Blogs of the Week
ESEA Bill a Bipartisan Work in Progress
States Pitch Changes as They Seek to Extend NCLB Waivers
Educators Eager, But Anxious, as They Await Testing Rollout
Dueling Assessments, Standards Pressuring Tennessee Teachers
Blogs of the Week
JACK SCHNEIDER: Problems With Teaching Lie in the Profession
JEAN-CLAUDE BRIZARD: A Better Way to Reach the Poorest Kids
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
HAROLD G. LEVINE & MICHAEL W. KIRST: Why Colleges Should Care About the Common Core
Education Week - April 15, 2015

Education Week - April 15, 2015