Education Week - April 23, 2014 - (Page 1)

EDUCATIONWEEK VOL. 33, NO. 29 * APRIL 23, 2014 AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2014 Editorial Projects in Education * $4 By Alyson Klein Benjamin C. Owens teaches an honors physics class at Tri-County Early College High School in Murphy, N.C. He says he'll refuse to give up his tenure voluntarily, even if it means missing out on a salary increase that the legislature put in place to ease the loss of the job protection. N.C. Districts Sour on State's Anti-Tenure Law By Stephen Sawchuk It was supposed to be the spoonful of sugar to make a bitter medicine-the loss of teacher tenure-go down easier. Instead, a pay mandate in North Carolina has ignited debate about a recent law's ramifications for the quality and stability of the state's workforce. As the Tar Heel State lurches toward the employment overhaul, required under a 2013 measure, districts must offer four-year contracts worth $5,000 in additional pay to a quarter of their teachers by July 1. Lawmakers hope the promise of a raise will persuade eligible teachers to relinquish tenure voluntarily before it disappears for all in 2018-19. From the looks of things, it won't be that simple. Administrators' and teachers' associations alike are protesting the 25 percent quota as unnecessarily divisive in a state where salaries have been all but frozen since 2008. Some districts are requesting extensions in meeting the mandate; others are vowing not to carry it out; two are suing to overturn it. "At our countywide meeting, the district's chief counsel got up and said, 'There is no fair way to implement this requirement,'" recounted Benjamin C. Owens, a seven-year physics and mathematics teacher in the Cherokee County district in rural Murphy, N.C. "That to me spoke volumes about some of the issues we as teachers have brought to the table with this bad legislation." The changes in North Carolina are the products of a 2013 budget measure that does away with the state's tenure rules. Under the new policy, all teachers will be instead placed on one-, two-, or four-year contracts beginning in PAGE 16> President Barack Obama has reshaped the education policy landscape over the past five years by dangling money-much of it in the form of competitive grants-in front of cashstrapped states and districts. But, as his administration enters its twilight years, the future is in doubt for programs that have become brand names in the world of K-12 policy, including Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, and Promise Neighborhoods. Lawmakers have grown increasingly uninterested in funneling scarce federal dollars to programs closely associated with a president whose popularity and influence are on the wane. It's unclear if those programs will be around after a new administration takes over in 2017. And they could disappear even faster if Republicans gain control of the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections, as some political forecasters expect. "In general, if Republicans win the Senate, it's open season on the competitive programs," said Erik Fatemi, who until recently served as a top aide to PAGE 21> INTERVIEW: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan vows to forge ahead on policy. PAGE 18 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Administration Facing Hurdles In Sustaining Key Programs DIGITAL DIRECTIONS Schools Explore Benefits of Peer Counseling By Evie Blad Baltimore When Daymar Frank was in the 9th grade, his principal knew him as a feisty troublemaker who teased her about not making enough money to afford a nice car. "Daymar's the reason I drive a Cadillac now," joked Quinhon Goodlowe, the principal of the Academy for College and Career Exploration in Baltimore. So Ms. Goodlowe was a bit resistant when, at the end of his 10th grade year, Mr. Frank's teachers recommended that the school train him as a peer mentor. But, two years later, the same tenacity that made the lanky teen talk back to adults his freshman year has made him a strong leader to his fellow students, she says. Along with another senior, Mr. Frank leads a group of a dozen 9th graders in a program called Peer Group Connection, which is designed to aid in the transition to high school. Because he's assertive and aware of his past mistakes, Mr. Frank isn't afraid to ask group members about their grades or why they weren't in class that day, he said. Every 9th grader in the school participates in Peer Group Connection. Some groups are led by students who are perhaps more predictable leaders, like student council members; others are led by students who are often overlooked for leadership roles. Schools in Baltimore, New York City, New Jersey, and North Carolina have used the program-created by the Princeton, N.J.based Center for Supportive Schools-to boost attendance, academic persistence, and graduation rates. At a time when schools are increasingly recognizing the important role social and emotional factors can play in academic success, leaders are wasting a valuable rePAGE 15> NAEP Outlines Plans to Deploy Tablets for Tests Common Core > VISION MEETS REALITY Meets S1 EDUCATION WEEK EDUCATION WEEK A Special Report on the Common Core >> ■ APRIL 23, 2014 The Common Core in Action The Common Core State Standards have been leaving their mark on the touchstones of American education for four years now. But the initial The COMMON CORE in ACTION A Supplement to the April 23, 2014, Issue Vol. 33 * No. 29 VISION By Sean Cavanagh vision for the standards-and for assessments designed to reflect them-is now getting a bracing splash of reality as states, school districts, and local communities put them into action. From a backlash in state legislatures to resistance in colleges of education, this special report explores some of the challenges facing the standards initiative. See the pullout section opposite Page 14. The architects of one of the most highly regarded gauges of student achievement-the National Assessment of Educational Progress-are preparing for a dramatic expansion of technologybased assessment, while relying on a strikingly different approach from the one that will be used to give online common-core exams in the states. Federal officials say the plan for administering NAEP, often called the "nation's report card," is for the government to rent tablet computers from a private contractor for the test, distribute them to the sample of participating schools, and retrieve those devices after the exam. That strategy has been used in NAEP'S earlier, less-ambitious forays into computer-based tests, with the goal of ensuring that the tests are delivered PAGE 12> Erin Brethauer for Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 23, 2014


Education Week - April 23, 2014