Education Week - April 24, 2013 - (Page 5)
APRIL 24, 2013
REPORTto these reports, go to
Memphis Suburbs Moving
Closer to Avoiding Merger
EXPANDED LEARNING TIME
Tennessee’s state legislature has passed two bills that would
allow six of Memphis’ suburban cities to create their own districts.
Those cities, all in Shelby County, intend to have new systems up
and running by the start of the 2014-15 school year—and in doing
so, evade a merger with the Memphis district.
Earlier this year, a judge had ruled that the suburban cities’ efforts to create their own districts were unconstitutional,
though they had already passed referendums and begun creating local school boards. The new bills were written in response
to the judge’s ruling and override laws that prohibited the creation of new school districts in the state and limited the number
of districts per county. The changes mean that suburban cities
near other urban centers in Tennessee could also create their
Suburban leaders have said they fear the merger will affect the
stability of their own school systems. But the new law raises concerns about the financial stability of the merged district, which
could end up serving only students from the city of Memphis and
unincorporated areas of Shelby County.
The suburban cities have been collecting extra sales taxes in
order to fund the new school systems.
As of press time, Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, had not yet
signed the bills into law, but has stated his intention to. Legal
and civil rights challenges are still a possibility: Lawmakers who
oppose the measure expressed concerns that it will result in moresegregated and less equitably funded districts.
ations and pay raises to student
The action marks a key victory
for the state in its quest to keep
its Race to the Top funding, which
has been in jeopardy ever since
the U.S. Department of Education
put its $75 million grant on “high
risk” status in 2011.
The contract calls for new
teacher evaluations tied to test
scores starting in 2015. It also
calls for the state and teachers’
union to review the results of the
pilot and decide on changes.
LAUSD to Streamline
With 278 educators sitting in
“teacher jail,” the school board
for the Los Angeles Unified
School District voted last week to
streamline the investigations of
those accused of serious physical
abuse or sexual misconduct.
Passed without discussion, the
resolution directs administrators
to craft a plan for hiring professional investigators to look into
abuse claims, and tightens the
timeline for handling the cases.
Teachers will also have to be told
why they’re being pulled from their
classrooms—which doesn’t happen
now—unless doing so would compromise a police investigation.
Under the system that many educators call “teacher jail,” those accused of misconduct are housed in
district offices while administrators
investigate misconduct allegations
and decide their fate. The process
typically drags on for months, with
teachers collecting their full pay—
an average of $6,000 a month, plus
benefits—until they’re returned to
work or fired.
“More and Better Learning: Year
One Report on ExpandED
A longer school day may help
students’ math performance, concludes an evaluation of Baltimore,
New Orleans, and New York City
schools with expanded learning
time, after one year of operation.
The 11 elementary and middle
schools evaluated were part of
the Expanded pilot project of The
After-School Corp., or tasc, which
redesigned the school day with
three additional hours of time.
Community partners—such as
AmeriCorps members, coaches,
and artists—filled additional time
at some of the schools, as did using
targeted, extra time for academics
to improve student performance in
The evaluation found students’
math scores, attendance, and
general attitudes improved in
comparison with those of their
peers at local schools that did not
expand learning time.
Tasc, based in New York, received funding for the pilot from
the Wallace Foundation, the Open
Society Foundation, and the Ford
Foundation. (Wallace also underwrites coverage of expanded
learning in Education Week.)
K-12 Financial Literacy
Is Goal of Standards
The Council on Economic Education released financial-literacy
standards for K-12 last week.
Developed by economists, education specialists at Federal Reserve
banks, and financial-education
researchers, the benchmarks are
intended to provide a framework of
essential knowledge that 4th, 8th,
and 12th graders should master to
be savvy financial consumers.
The National Standards for Financial Literacy for K-12 covers
six topics: earning and income;
buying goods and services; using
credit; saving; financial investing;
and protecting and insuring.
Each standard is an overarching
statement of content, accompanied
by age-appropriate benchmarks
and material that is designed to
apply to all socioeconomic groups.
A story in the April 17, 2013,
issue of Education Week about
open-meetings and -records laws
misspelled the name of the executive director of the New Mexico
Foundation for Open Government.
Her name is Gwyneth Doland.
A Commentary about educational
technology advertising by Larry
Cuban in the same issue included
an incorrect title for his latest book.
It is Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice: Change Without Reform in American Education.
“Reversing the Rising Tide of
Inequality: Educational Equity for
Each and Every Child”
Forty years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in San Antonio Independent School District
v. Rodriguez that state funding
formulas for public schools based
on local property taxes are not
unconstitutional, a report says
it’s time to push for new efforts
to address decades-long disparities in how resources are parceled out to public schools.
The report, released last week
by the Leadership Conference on
Civil and Human Rights, outlines
a dozen or more “action steps”
for federal, state, and local governments to ensure educational
equity. Among those measures is
a call for the U.S. Department of
Education to design a Race to the
Top competition to reward states
that overhaul funding formulas
to distribute money based on the
actual needs of students and not
where their schools are located.
The report also recommends
pushing for more federal civil
rights investigations and compliance reviews of states and
school districts where disparities
in per-pupil spending, as well
as in distribution of resources
such as access to college-preparatory courses and effective
teachers, have been persistent.
For links to these reports, go to
Middle school Teach For America teachers in Texas seem to
be holding their own in the
classroom, outperforming other
novice teachers in math, according to a study from the San
Antonio-based Edvance, an independent evaluation firm. Tfa
alumni also did better than
other veteran teachers in that
subject, the study found.
The study draws on a sample
of more than 1,500 tfa teachers
and alumni, nearly 500 schools,
and more than 11,000 students
in each subject area of reading
and math. For middle school
students, defined in the study
as grades 6-8, the researchers
found that those taught by tfa
novices did better than their
peers, with a positive effect size
of .19 for novice tfa teachers, or
about half a year of learning.
The effects seemed to compound over time: T fa alumni
had an effect size of .27, compared with non- tfa teachers
with experience, in math. That
amount, the study says, corresponds to nearly an additional
year of learning for students of
Reading gains for students
of tfa alumni were positive
but somewhat weaker, with
an effect size of .11. (There
was no effect for tfa novices.)
“Evaluation of Teach For America
in Texas Schools”
“What Role Does Grit Play in the
Academic Success of Black Male
Collegians at Predominantly
Talent and strong high school
achievement can propel young
black men to college, but a new
study finds their grit—the determination and ability to handle
setbacks—is nearly as critical to
their success at majority-white
Released this month in an online
preview for the Journal of African
American Studies, the study by
Terrell L. Strayhorn, an associate professor of education at Ohio
State University, found that grit
was nearly as predictive as act
college-entrance-exam scores of
the college success of young black
men who attended mostly white
Mr. Strayhorn tracked 140
mostly first-generation college students at a large public university.
He found that those who scored
higher on an eight-item measure
of grit earned higher course grades
after taking into account prior
achievement, age, transfer status,
and school engagement, among
—SARAH D. SPARKS
K-12 Educators, College Teachers
Far Apart on College Readiness
“ACT National Curriculum Survey”
High school teachers think their students are ready for college, but
college professors beg to differ.
A survey by act Inc. finds that 89 percent of high school teachers
report their students are “well” or “very well” prepared for collegelevel work in the subjects they teach, while just 26 percent of college instructors say incoming students are “well” or “very well”
prepared for entry-level courses.
Those percentages from the 2012 act National Curriculum Survey results, released last week by the Iowa City, Iowa-based assessment company, are basically unchanged from when the question
was asked in 2009.
Considering that the Common Core State Standards represent
a big change in expectations for what students need to know and
be able to do before high school graduation, it is notable that twothirds of educators surveyed who said they were aware of the standards anticipate they will need to change their curricula no more
than slightly in response to the standards, according to the report.
The research suggests that state and local efforts to bring high
schools up to new college- and career-readiness standards have a
long way to go, and that familiarity with the changes ahead varies
widely among educators.
To bridge the divide, act recommends greater collaboration between K-12 and postsecondary educators on curriculum and academic expectations.
The survey also points to the need for better computer technology
in classrooms to be able to use digital assessments aligned with
“Wherever possible, states and schools may need to consider
channeling limited resources toward ensuring students efficient
access to computer technology to prepare for the types of innovative assessments that are likely to accompany implementation of
college-and career-ready standards,” the report says.
The study results are based on a national sample of 9,937 participants, including elementary, middle, junior high, and high school
teachers, and college instructors in English, math, reading, science,
—LESLI A. MAXWELL
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 24, 2013
Education Week - April 24, 2013
Union Sues Over Basis of Appraisal
In San Antonio, Pre-K Initiative Sets Steep Goals
New Teachers Search for Place in New Orleans
FOCUS ON: CAREER READINESS: States Seek High School Pathways Weaving Academic, Career Options
News in Brief
PARCC Proposes Common-Core Test Accommodations
Some States Seek GED Alternative as Test Price Spikes
Blogs of the Week
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Online Socialization Is Hot Topic Among Researchers
Overhaul of the E-Rate Seen as a High Priority by FCC Commissioner
Comments Weighed on Vending Machine, ‘A La Carte’ Proposals
Corralling Local Support Still a Challenge
FOCUS ON: CAREER READINESS: Swiss Academic, Career Paths Designed to Cross
Obama’s Proposed Fix on Student Loans Ruffles Allies
Head Start Officials Tight-Lipped on Which Centers to Lose Aid
School Safety Legislation: A Tally by State
A NATION AT RISK: 30 YEARS LATER: Where Are We Now?
LAUREN BLAIR ARONSON: Advice to TFA From a Former Insider
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
CHRISTOPHER COLEMAN, KARL DEAN, JAMES MITCHELL JR., BETSY PRICE, & RONNIE STEINE: Embracing After-School Learning
Education Week - April 24, 2013