Education Week - April 17, 2013 - (Page 1)

Education Week VOL. 32, NO. 28 • APRIL 17, 2013 ▲ AM E R ICAN E DUCATION’S N EWS PAPE R OF R ECOR D • © 2013 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Obama Pushes Pre-K, Competitive Grants in Budget Standards By Alyson Klein President Barack Obama’s latest budget proposal envisions a sweeping, multibillion-dollar expansion of prekindergarten programs and doubles down on the administration’s strategy of using competitive grants to drive big change in states and districts—all as school districts try to cope with the largest cuts to federal education spending in recent history. The budget plan lands in a politically polarized climate on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have been consumed with belt-tightening, not new spending. Congress hasn’t been able to come to an agreement to reverse a series of across-the-board cuts to just about every federal program, including many in the U.S. Department of Education. The president’s fiscal 2014 budget, unveiled April 10, seeks to put an end to the cuts—known as sequestration—through a mix of tax changes and trims to entitlement programs, such as Social Security. But his initial proposals have drawn fire from both liberals and conservatives, dimming the chances for his preschool initiative and grant proposals in areas such as high school improvement and school turnarounds. Overall, the Education Department would In Science Unveiled see a significant funding boost, to $71.2 billion, in a $3.8 trillion federal budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. That’s a $3.1 billion, or 4.5 percent, increase over fiscal 2012, the most recent year before the “sequester” took effect in March. The budget would freeze funding for the two formula programs that districts depend on most—Title I grants for disadvantaged and special education—while quintupling funding for the nearly $60 million Promise Neighborhoods program, which is aimed at helping schools pair education with wraparound services. There would also be new Content, Skills Blended By Erik W. Robelen The final version of standards aimed at reshaping the focus and delivery of science instruction in U.S. schools was publicly unveiled last week, setting the stage for states—many of which helped craft the standards—to take the next step and consider adopting them as their own. More than three years in the making, the Next Generation Science Standards are designed to provide a greater emphasis on depth over breadth in studying the subject. They seek not only to provide students with a foundation of essential knowledge, but also to lead young people to apply their learning through scientific inquiry and the engineering-design process to deepen understanding. “Coupling practice with content gives the learning context, whereas practices alone are activities, and content alone is memorization,” an executive summary of the standards says. “The integration of rigorous content and application reflects how science and engineering is PAGE 22 > FOCUS ON: HIGH SCHOOL PAGE 12 > Charlie Mahoney/Prime for Education Week ‘PUBLISHERS’ CRITERIA’: The commoncore writers offer math guidance. PAGE 9 High School Redesign Gets Presidential Lift Spending Proposal Includes $300 Million for Innovation Contest By Caralee Adams A flurry of good news appeared on the high school front this winter. Graduation rates were at their highest mark in nearly 40 years, record numbers of students were taking and passing Advanced Placement exams, and more high schools than ever were offering college credit through dual-enrollment programs. On top of all that, President Barack Obama applauded high school redesign efforts in his State of the Union address and encouraged districts to look to successful models for inspiration. Last week, he followed up with a request in his fiscal 2014 budget proposal for a new, $300 million competitive-grant program. Recognition is widespread that high schools need to change to engage students and prepare them for the workforce of the future. That push goes back decades, but now momentum is accelerating, and talk is not of reform, but redesign. “What the president’s remarks show me is that progress is being made and there are new models for high school that are emerging and producing results. The federal government is saying let’s take advantage of that and step in and help,” said Bob Wise, the president of the Washington-based Alliance for Excellent Education, which advocates high school improvement. While all that attention is welcome, including at the federal level, some in the education community worry whether the expectations for change come with enough resources and flexibility to allow schools to tailor the redesigns to their communities. Others think the emphasis on the stem subjects is too narrow and bigger policy shifts toward competency-based learning need to occur before real PAGE 14 > From left, Annie Kostrubanic, Elise Terner, and Ben Rich enjoy their time together while editing a podcast for a Spanish honors class at Beverly High in Massachusetts. School officials asked students to play a big role in conceiving and carrying out new initiatives. DIGITAL DIRECTIONS In Digital Age, Sunshine Laws Turn Hazy By Nora Fleming School board members are struggling to interpret laws that govern where and how they do business now that as many conversations take place digitally as they do face to face. As online and digital interactions increase, so too does public concern that officials have more opportunities to violate state open-meetings and openrecords laws meant to prevent them from communicating secretly. At the same time, others argue that today’s capabilities for communicating and accessing information instantly are making government more transparent, and the public, in turn, more engaged. “School boards have to realize most of the ways the open-meetings and -records laws have been written mean there should be an automatic interprePAGE 18 >

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 17, 2013

Education Week - April 17, 2013
Obama Pushes Pre-K, Competitive Grants in Budget
Standards in Science Unveiled
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: In Digital Age, Sunshine Laws Turn Hazy
FOCUS ON: HIGH SCHOOL: High School Redesign Gets Presidential Lift
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Atlanta Cheating Scandal’s Tentacles Said to Reach Far
Common-Core Writers Offer ‘Publishers’ Criteria’ for Math
Blogs of the Week
K-12 in Mix as State Legislatures Wrap Up
Bills Advance on School Security, Mental Health
Policy Brief
LARRY CUBAN: Framing the School Technology Dream
MICHAEL J. FEUER: It’s Not the Test That Made Them Cheat
LORRAINE BELLON CELLA: How Do You Evaluate Teachers Who Change Lives?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
KATE SHAW & ADAM SCHOTT: Proceed With Caution

Education Week - April 17, 2013