Education Week - April 16, 2014 - (Page 1)
VOL. 33, NO. 28 * APRIL 16, 2014
AM E R ICAN E DUCATION'S N EWS PAPE R OF R ECOR D * © 2014 Editorial Projects in Education * $4
BREAKING NEWS DAILY
May Get Ax
Steve Hebert for Education Week
By Lesli A. Maxwell
TESTING THE TESTS: Special education teacher Greta Smith works with a student during class at Buhler Grade School in Buhler, Kan. Students at the school
are among those field-testing assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards and designed for those with cognitive disabilities. Page 6
Probed for Links
To Quality Gaps
By Stephen Sawchuk
Despite being widely known and
universally condemned, the stark
gap in teacher quality between
schools serving large concentrations of minority students and
those educating mainly white students has proved frustratingly difficult to address.
As researchers seek to identify the
causes of this common predicament,
they are increasingly turning their
attention to one of the often-cited
culprits: teacher contracts.
They are scouring collective
bargaining agreements, parsing
language governing seniority, and
attempting to determine whether
requiring transfers to be determined solely by seniority, for
instance-bear a relationship to
where experienced teachers work.
As a batch of recent studies on
the topic indicate, though, scholars
aren't likely to reach any simple
So far, the existing research provides some limited evidence that,
for high-minority elementary
schools in large districts, seniority
language may play a role in teacherquality gaps. But beyond that, the
situation is murky. What's more,
the researchers don't all agree on
Poll: Majority of Students 'Engaged'
A years-long endeavor to create national certification for principals is in
peril of being scrapped, a move that
could leave in the lurch more than 100
school leaders who invested 18 months
of time and effort to take part in the
program's rigorous pilot.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards-which
more than four years ago dove headlong into creating advanced certification for principals that would mirror
its 25-year-old program for teachers-was slated last week to decide
whether it should shut down its work
on a national-certification designation
for school leaders.
The board of directors for the nbpts
was due to take up the issue at its
April 11-12 meeting, spokeswoman
Aparna Kumar said.
In the meantime, dozens of principals
from around the country who agreed to
be guinea pigs for the fledgling program have been in a state of limbo for
months, waiting for reviews of their
work that have never come. More than
But Gallup Analysts Say That's Not the Case for More Than Half of Teachers
By Evie Blad
Students who strongly agree that they have at
least one teacher who makes them "feel excited
about the future" and that their school is "committed to building the strengths of each student" are
30 times more likely than students who strongly
disagree with those statements to show other signs
of engagement in the classroom-a key predictor of
academic success, according to a report released last
week by Gallup Education.
School leaders should not neglect the social and
emotional factors that help students thrive, and
they should empower teachers so that they are
more engaged and effective in the classroom, says
the "State of America's Schools" report, a synthesis
of polling data and research from the international
Many States Spurn
In NCLB Waivers
By Michele McNeil
Amid a nationwide backlash
against testing, states were expected to jump at the chance to
design accountability systems
that judge schools on measures
other than test scores alone-from
specific offerings such as Advanced
Placement courses to systemic fac-
"The right leadership and the engagement of
teachers and students are all one very important
ecosystem," said Brandon H. Busteed, the executive
director of Gallup Education, based in Washington.
"Any link broken in that chain, and you're undermining the importance of an entire school."
The report comes as America's schools are working to ratchet up educational expectations to better
compete internationally, an emphasis of many state
and federal education initiatives.
It also follows a ramping-up of student-engagement initiatives at the state and local levels
through programs like service learning and new
expectations for staff and students, said Jonathan
Cohen, the president of the New York City-based
National School Climate Center.
"Many, many, many teachers, principals and su-
tors such as school climate.
But while 42 states plus the
District of Columbia have these
waivers under the No Child Left
Behind Act, only 18 took advantage of the opportunity to use
multiple measures that went beyond the nclb-era factors of test
scores, participation in the assessments, and graduation rates
in high school.
The vast majority of states' new
accountability systems just slice
and dice test scores to rate their
schools, according to research and
analysis by a team of researchers, led by University of Southern
California assistant professor
Morgan Polikoff and provided to
Education Week. And of the 18
states that use other measures,
many simply rely on results from
different tests, such as the sat
and act college-admission exams,
to help judge schools.
"For all the griping about testing, the data show that a lot [of
states] still say math and reading scores are all that matter,"
said Mr. Polikoff, whose waiver
analysis provided the basis for
a critique of state accountability
systems published in the January
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION
By Benjamin Herold
Growing public concern about student-data privacy is prompting fresh
scrutiny of the ways technology vendors
handle children's educational information-and opening the gates for a flood
of new questions and worries from advocates and school officials.
Take prominent ed-tech players Edmodo, Khan Academy, and Pearson.
Each already has access to the information of tens of millions of U.S. schoolchildren.
But a review of each group's privacy policies by two leading experts,
conducted at the request of Education
Week, yielded concerns about the use of
tracking and surveillance technologies
that allow third parties to gather information on students; questions about
the collection, use, and sharing of massive amounts of student "metadata";
and criticism of the growing burden on
TAKING AIM: State lawmakers grapple with
how to protect student data. PAGE 19
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Education Week - April 16, 2014
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