Education Week - April 19, 2017 - 1
VOL. 36, NO. 28 * APRIL 19, 2017
AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2017 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 5
BRE AKING NEWS DAILY
HIDDEN INEQUITIES An Education Week Analysis
Donations Vary Widely in Three
Neighboring Wisconsin Districts
By Francisco Vara-Orta
When it comes to how much private money flows
in to help their students, the Kohler, Sheboygan
Area, and Sheboygan Falls school districts may
seem a world apart. In reality, they're neighbors.
Private donations can come through parentteacher organizations, school district foundations,
booster clubs, and private companies. Though
they account for a fraction of districts' budgets,
the extra dollars can reinforce existing inequities
between districts just one street over from one
another, suggests a nationwide Education Week
Research Center analysis of the latest federal
financial data available. (See story, Page 11.)
Sheboygan Falls, Kohler, and Sheboygan Area
sit side by side on the east side of Sheboygan
County-about an hour north of Milwaukee near
Lake Michigan. Within the county, the Kohler district garnered the most in private contributions
in 2014: $863 per pupil. Sheboygan Falls, meanwhile, brought in $27 per pupil, and Sheboygan
Area, $62 a student.
Since 2006, when the federal government began
asking districts to report private contributions in
an annual survey, Kohler's inflation-adjusted, perpupil dollar amount soared from $131 to $863.
The uptick isn't by accident, said Kohler Superintendent Quynh Trueblood.
"We like to say we are proudly a public school
system, but just with some private school touches,"
Trueblood said during a tour of her campus. "Our
PAGE 10 >
Steven St. John for Education Week
Sheboygan County, Wis.
As her son Christian, a 6th grader, ponders his next chess move, Mary Muñoz holds his brother Nathan at an after-school chess club in
Albuquerque, N.M. Muñoz is part of a program that helps low-income parents learn to network and support their children in school.
Untangling Parents' Roles in Shaping Academic Gaps
By Sarah D. Sparks
& Alex Harwin
Five years ago, Mary Muñoz thought
she knew what it meant to be involved in
her son's education.
She brought Christian, then in 1st
grade, to school every morning, made sure
he did homework every afternoon, and
read with him every night. Muñoz went
to parent-teacher conferences, but didn't
get involved in parent-teacher organizations or school committees.
"I had no time. I was just working, working, working all the time," she said. "When I
wasn't, I was home with my family. ... [T]hat
was my networking."
Muñoz is like a lot of parents, particularly those living in poverty. Contrary
to some common stereotypes, parents of
all income levels have high expectations
for their children, and low-income parents may even dedicate more time than
wealthier ones to helping children with
In Minn. and U.S., Teacher-Led Schools Take Root
At Impact Academy, one of a growing number of teacher-powered schools across the
country, teachers' fingerprints are all over the
purple walls, even though they can't really be
seen. That's because the school's layout, its
mission, the style of learning-everything is
decided by the teachers themselves.
For longtime teacher Julene Oxton, the
fingerprint analogy may even be literal: With
family members, she tore down a classroom
wall to make way for a different kind of learning environment. In 2011, Oxton had been
part of a small group of teachers with a vision
Ackerman + Gruber for Education Week
By Madeline Will
a tutor at Impact
Academy at Orchard
Lake, helps Ashton Ruiz
learn to identify letters.
The Lakeville, Minn.,
public school is among
an estimated 115
schools that are
homework, according to federal data.
Many school outreach efforts to low-income parents center on just that kind of
But analyses by the Education Week Research Center and others show that middle-class parents often engage in more social involvement at school-participating
in school committees, parent groups, and
volunteering in class, for example-experiences that can link them to more opportunities and resources for their children
PAGE 12 >
Tricky ESSA Data Lift:
What's Spent Per School
for the school, then known as Orchard Lake
Elementary. It called for more personalized
learning, fewer top-down mandates, more
teacher collaboration, and fewer silos.
Breaking away from the 11,000-student
Lakeville district, about 30 minutes outside
Minneapolis, and becoming a charter elementary school felt like their only option. But the
district superintendent asked the teachers
to stay, and in 2013, the school board voted
unanimously to let the teachers open a student-centered pilot program at Orchard Lake.
This school year, that program has been
expanded to all 428 students at the school,
which was renamed to reflect the change.
Now, Impact Academy at Orchard Lake
is officially considered a teacher-powered
school, meaning its 34 teachers have the
autonomy to make decisions about a variety of areas, including curriculum, assessments, and the physical learning environment-including whether to create open
States and school districts are girding for a
little-known but tricky piece of the Every Student Succeeds Act: the requirement that states
report per-pupil spending for all their schools, a
level of detail unknown even to many district superintendents.
Without specific federal guidance so far, state
finance officials must untangle the myriad-and
sometimes obscure-costs behind school operations
to come up with a single figure for each of the nation's 99,000 public schools.
Do transportation and school lunch count as
a district's administrative costs, for example, or
are they school costs? How do you split the expense of a bus that stops at several schools?
"It's a big shift in how we've traditionally seen
PAGE 15 >
PAGE 20 >
Cost Figures Can Prove Elusive
By Daarel Burnette II