Education Week - April 16, 2014 - (Page 1)

Education Week 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 Principals' Credential 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 Union Contracts 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 stronger protections-provisions 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 answers. 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 PAGE 18> 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 PAGE 15> 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 Gallup organization. Many States Spurn Testing Leeway 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 PAGE 14> 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 PAGE 31> INDUSTRY & INNOVATION Ed-Tech Vendors' Privacy Policies Under Scrutiny 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 PAGE 16> TAKING AIM: State lawmakers grapple with how to protect student data. PAGE 19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 16, 2014

Table of Contents

Education Week - April 16, 2014