Education Week - April 20, 2016 - (Page 5)

REPORT ROUNDUP SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT "Case Studies of Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants: Final Report" The federal School Improvement Grants led to significant turnover among leaders and teachers in persistently struggling schools, finds the final report in a series of 12 studies on the grants that were conducted by the American Institutes for Research for the Institute of Education Sciences. Of 25 schools studied in the project, 21 replaced their principals, and nine sought new leaders twice. Only half of the 20 new principals were considered an improvement by staff members. While teachers at a majority of the schools reported improvements and more job-embedded professional development after three years of the initiative, only two schools were considered to show "strong prospects" of sustaining those improvements after the grant ended. The schools with the most promising outlooks had built up their organizational capacity early in the grant. -SARAH D. SPARKS EDUCATION BUSINESS "An Overview of M&A in the Education Industry" The number and value of mergers and acquisitions in the education industry rose sharply over the most recent year, fueled by deals in professional training and by consolidation in some areas of K-12, an analysis has found. There were 418 mergers and acquisitions in the education industry in 2015, up from 329 in 2014, according to research by the investment bank Berkery Noyes. The value of the deals over that time period, meanwhile, jumped by 52 percent, to about $18 billion, the research found. The industry's biggest area of activity in 2015 was in corporate and professional education, where continuing education and workforce development continues to be a major need, the analysis concludes. But mergers and acquisitions were also pushed along by consolidation-including data and assessment, content management systems, and human capital and talent management, the report says.  -SEAN CAVANAGH Study: Math Gains Found From 'Ready To Learn' "The Ready To Learn Program: 2010-2015"; "Transmedia in the Service of Education" The multiplatform games, projects, and applications developed through the fiveyear, $133 million federal Ready To Learn grants helped boost young children's math learning and their parents' confidence in helping them learn, according to evaluations discussed at the American Educational Research Association's recent meeting in Washington and published in the journal Children and the Media. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Public Broadcasting Service, Window to the World Communications, Inc., and the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network used the grants to develop stories and curricula that spanned televi- COLLEGE GRADUATION "A Stronger Nation 2016" About 45 percent of the working-age adults in the United States have earned college degrees or postsecondary certificates, the Lumina Foundation reported this month, a figure that doesn't bode well for meeting the philanthropy's national goal of 60 percent by 2025. The foundation describes the 2014 national landscape of postsecondary attainment, and terms the year's progress "slow and steady." It finds modest increases among all racial and ethnic groups in the earning of associate degrees or higher, but black and Latino adults still lag behind whites and Asians. Overall, 45.3 percent of U.S. adults 25 to 64 years old have earned certificates or college degrees, according to the U.S. Census data cited by Lumina. Last year's report put college attainment at 40 percent. But that doesn't mean attainment has risen 5.3 percentage points in one year. This year, Lumina included postsecondary certificates in its total, and that increased the attainment figure. Excluding postsecondary certificates from this year's report, college attainment-in terms of associate and bachelor's degrees-has risen only .4 percent. -CATHERINE GEWERTZ PRESCHOOL "How Much Can High-Quality Universal Pre-K Reduce Achievement Gaps?" An analysis of reading and mathematics scores in two of the country's highest-performing public preschool programs-those in Tulsa and Boston-concludes that highquality universal preschool could help children of all backgrounds enter kindergarten on an even playing field. The study, commissioned by the Center sion, mobile, and computer devices, and school and home activities. In their evaluations, researchers found students who used the programs several times a week with their parents significantly improved their early math skills. The programs also boosted parents' engagement in their children's math learning and confidence in their ability to help their children with math. The effects of the school-based Ready To Learn interventions proved more mixed. Three projects focused on free-play activities, since children could use different parts of the programs on different devices, and tended not to follow the units in order. These projects only found benefits for some student groups in learning specific vocabulary and math concepts. "Curated" programs, in which teachers helped guide how students used the materials, yielded more consistent benefits for students in reading and math.  -S. D. S. for American Progress, a policy think tank, and conducted by the National Institutes for Early Education Research, determined that universal high-quality preschool could reduce the achievement gap at kindergarten entry in math by 78 percent for Hispanic students and 45 percent for African-American students. The gap in reading would be virtually eliminated for both groups, the analysis found. Students from low-income families would also close the gap with higher-income families by 27 percent in math and 41 percent in reading. -LILLIAN MONGEAU SPENDING PER STUDENT, BY SCHOOL DISTRICT Adjusted for regional differences National average: -33% -10% $11,841 +10% +33% of national average MAPPING SPENDING PER STUDENT SOURCE: Map by Alyson Hurt and Katie Park/NPR Alyson and Katie DataHurt by Education Week Park/NPR Research Center NOTE: Expenditure amounts that come from federal data sources have been adjusted for regional differences in cost of living, using the NCES Comparable Wage Index 2013 as updated by Lori Taylor of Texas A&M University. The map displays "regular" school districts and does not include supervisory unions, regional education service agencies, other nonstandard agency configurations, or districts missing student-enrollment information. An Education Week Research Center analysis of federal data shows spending levels per student in most U.S. school districts for fiscal year 2013. The school finance analysis comes from Education Week's Quality Counts 2016 (, which provides details on how states allocate funding to public schools and grades them, taking into account overall spending and the equity with which that funding is distributed among districts. This map, using Research Center data, was produced by NPR for a series on public school spending across the states. The series can be seen at For an interactive version of this map, go to

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 20, 2016

Education Week - April 20, 2016
Charters Help Alums Stick With College
Cruz’s K-12 Agenda: Pro-School Choice, Anti-Common Core
National Count of Special Education Students Shows Uptick
New Online Tool Expands Access To School Climate Measurements
Table of Contents
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Caution Urged on Measuring Social-Emotional Skills
Studies Affirm Role of Emotions In Students’ Transitions
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Needs for ‘Resourcefulness,’ Equity Probed in Maker Ed.
Digital Divide Evolves in Fla. Schools, Study Finds
Ind. Scholarship Law Aims to Entice Top Students Into Teaching
Blogs of the Week
Testing Issues Generate Heat in Legislatures
Sparks Fly as Congress Reviews ESSA Rulemaking Process
MATT GANDAL: Are We Serious About the Goal Of College and Career Readiness for All?
ADAM LAATS & HARVEY SIEGEL: Teaching Evolution Is Not About Changing Beliefs
Q&A With StoryCorps’ Dave Isay
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
CHARLOTTE DANIELSON: It’s Time to Rethink Teacher Evaluation

Education Week - April 20, 2016