Education Week - April 22, 2015 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2015 Editorial Projects in Education * $4 By Sean Cavanagh Two of the biggest names in testing are locked in a dispute over one of the most coveted jewels in the K-12 market: the right to oversee a suite of assessments in California, a state with about one-eighth of the country's students. The state's recent decision to award a tentative three-year, $240 million contract to the Educational Testing Service drew an angry response from a rival vendor, Pearson, which has accused reviewers of missteps that include sloppy scoring and improperly discarding records of their deliberations. The California dispute is just the 'FRANCHISING' A LEADER: Principal Kathleen L. Decker talks with art teacher Michael Cababe at Walter Bracken STEAM Academy, an elementary school in Las Vegas. Under a pilot program for successful school leaders, Ms. Decker is also serving as principal at Walter V. Long Elementary School. PAGE 8 Traction Limited In Rolling Back Common Core Standards Foes Push On, But State Bills Languish By Andrew Ujifusa For many foes of the Common Core State Standards, this was supposed to be the year their advocacy and passion would translate into victories. Emboldened by last year's experience, when three states-Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina-decided to at least nominally reject the common core, opponents of the standards aimed to keep the ball rolling in the 2015 state legislative season. But with the clock ticking on many of those sessions, the opponents have little to cheer about so far. To date, 19 states this year have considered bills to repeal the common core, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures-but none has adopted such legislation. In Arizona, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, repeal proposals have lost what amounted to do-or-die votes, while states including Mississippi and West Virginia have changed repeal proposals into legislation requiring a review of the standards instead. "I treated it as if I were teaching PAGE 19> Charters Pull Back From Memphis Takeovers By Arianna Prothero Three national charter school networks have scaled back plans to take over failing schools in Memphis through Tennessee's state-run district, underscoring the challenges and risks involved in the high-stakes, politically charged endeavor of school turnarounds. What has unfolded in Memphis in recent months is a complex tale of balancing old systems with the new in the pioneering work of state-led school turnaround efforts that have only been brought to scale in one city: New Orleans. As other states look into launching their latest example of the legal and procedural scrapes playing out as state testing goes through a period of enormous change, shaped by such factors as the shift from print-based to online testing and the adoption of new assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards. As numerous contracts to design own state-run districts, experts say the situation in Tennessee's Achievement School District could offer valuable lessons when it comes to tapping charter operators to turn around troubled schools in high-needs communities. Some of the challenges that have confronted chartermanagement organizations in Memphis echo concerns from charter network leaders five years ago, when many were reluctant to get involved in federally driven school turnaround efforts. At the time, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan exhorted them to play a key PAGE 14> and administer state tests have been snapped up, companies are fighting with increasing tenacity to lock in remaining deals and protect what they have, said Doug McRae, a retired testing executive who has worked for numerous assessment businesses, including what is now McGraw-Hill Education ctb, one of the unsuccessful bidders in California. Mr. McRae, who did not work for any of the companies on their California bids, was critical of the process the state followed in awarding the conPAGE 12> VOL. 34, NO. 28 * APRIL 22, 2015 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Titans Fight Over Calif. Testing Deal Pearson and ETS Battle As U.S. Market Evolves Research on Quality of Conversation Holds Deeper Clues Into Word Gap By Sarah D. Sparks Thirty million words. For 20 years, a chasm of words has yawned between the children of college-educated professionals and those of high school dropouts, quantifying the academic disadvantage faced by the latter group long before they even start school. That statistic has led to a generation of vocabulary-centered interventions to close achievement gaps, including the federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, the Clinton Foundation's "Too Small to Fail" initiative, and many others. The "30 million-word" gap is arguably the most famous but least significant part of a landmark study, Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young Children, by the late University of Kansas child psychologists Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley. As the work turns 20 this year, new research and more advanced measuring techniques have cast new light on longovershadowed, and more nuanced, findings about exactly how adult interactions with infants and young children shape their early language development. "We don't want to just distill it PAGE 11> Tough Sentences for Atlanta Educators Calling the Atlanta test-cheating conspiracy the "sickest thing that's ever happened in this town," Fulton County, Ga., Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter last week sentenced most of the convicted former educators to significant time in state prison. PAGE 6 Josh Hawkins for Education Week Kent D. Johnson/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 22, 2015

Charters Pull Back From Memphis Takeovers
Research on Quality of Conversation Holds Deeper Clues Into Word Gap
Education Week - April 22, 2015
Titans Fight Over Calif. Testing Deal
Traction Limited in Rolling Back Common Core
Education Week - April 22, 2015
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Stiff Sentences for Convicted Atlanta Educators
SBAC’s ‘College Ready’ Definition Gains Favor
Top Principals Tapped To Lead Extra Schools
Q&A: Journalist Steps Into Realm Of Digital Games
Head Start in N.Y.C. Gets Called on Carpet
Blogs of the Week
Trio in Race for White House May Complicate K-12 Debate
Committee Approval of ESEA Bill Tees Up Fresh Policy Battles
Parent, School Issues at Stake In Same-Sex Marriage Fight
Blogs of the Week
Graduating From High School Doesn’t Mean College Success
Social Media: Benefit or Hazard To Student Learning?
Why Are We Teaching Democracy Like a Game Show?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
School Choice Works, Privatization Won’t

Education Week - April 22, 2015