Education Week - May 8, 2013 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk VOL. 32, NO. 30 • MAY 8, 2013 ▲ AM E R ICAN E DUCATION’S N EWS PAPE R OF R ECOR D • © 2013 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Rifts Deepen Over Direction of Education Policy in U.S. By Michele McNeil In statehouses and cities across the country, battles are raging over the direction of education policy—from the standards that will shape what students learn to how test results will be used to judge a teacher’s performance. Students and teachers, in passive resistance, are refusing to take and give standardized tests. Protesters have marched to the White House over what they see as the privatization of the nation’s schools. Professional and citizen lobbyists are packing hearings in state capitols to argue that the federal government is trying to dictate curricula through the use of common standards. New advocacy groups, meanwhile, are taking their fight city to city by pouring record sums of money into school board races. Not since the battles over school desegre- gation has the debate about public education been so intense and polarized, observers say, for rarely before has an institution that historically is slow to change been forced to deal with so much change at once. Forty-six states and the District of Columbia are implementing the Common Core State Standards, and nearly as many are developing common tests that are expected to debut in 2014-15. More than three dozen states are work- ing on incorporating student test scores into evaluations of teachers and principals. And a majority of states are creating new accountability systems as part of the flexibility federal officials are offering through No Child Left Behind Act waivers. All this change—and more—in education is happening against a backdrop of rapidly shifting demographics, technology that is changing lives at blazing speeds, and an PAGE 14 > DIGITAL DIRECTIONS Online Testing Suffers Setbacks In Multiple States Heather Ainsworth for Education Week By Michelle R. Davis Widespread technical failures and interruptions of recent online testing in a number of states have shaken the confidence of educators and policymakers in high-tech assessment methods and raised serious concerns about schools’ technological readiness for the coming common-core online tests. The glitches arose as many districts in the 46 states that have signed on to the Common Core State Standards are trying to ramp up their technological infrastructure to prepare for the requirement that students take online assessments starting in 2014-15. Disruptions of testing were reported across Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Oklahoma and were linked to the states’ assessment providers: ctb/McGraw-Hill, in Indiana and Oklahoma; PAGE 18 > ‘CITIZEN SCIENCE’: Angeneris Cifuentes, 16, a student at the Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, gets ready to release a goldfinch as part of a workshop at Cornell’s ornithology lab. Across the country, students are gathering data for scientists. PAGE 8 Common Criteria Set For Federal Research By Sarah D. Sparks San Francisco As part of an effort to improve the quality of educational research and make it less balkanized, the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Education Sciences have introduced a common set of evidence standards for federally funded work. The criteria, rolled out last week at the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting here, will guide all new research at the iEs, the U.S. Department of Education’s main research agency, and all nsf research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. “We’re now in a time of amazing change; we’re PAGE 19 > Diversity at Issue in Teacher Selection munity,” said Segun Eubanks, the director of teacher quality for the 3 million-member Slowly but surely, a growing number of National Education Association, which genstates are eyeing policies to select academi- erally supports improved teacher training. cally stronger individuals for their teaching The state action comes against the backprograms as one avenue to improve the qual- drop of a profession whose membership is ity of new teachers. already far less diverse than the students it Underneath the attention such plans are serves. attracting, though, run deep-seated fears For state officials, the quandary poses a difficult and politically sensitive set about their potential consequences—particularly of choices. whether they will result in “It is a huge issue,” said ChrisTHE a K-12 workforce with fewer topher A. Koch, the state schools An occasional series black and Latino teachers. superintendent in Illinois, which On nearly all the measures states are con- held fast to harder licensure tests in 2011 sidering, from gpas to licensure-test scores, despite pressure from teacher colleges conminority candidates tend to have weaker cerned about minority enrollments. “We’ve scores than their white counterparts. doubled our efforts to communicate with “It’s the dirty little secret that’s not getting higher education, and we’re opening up as PAGE 20 > nearly enough discussion in the policy com- By Stephen Sawchuk TEACHING TEACHERS INDUSTRY & INNOVATION Private Firms Run Two Mich. Districts By Katie Ash Muskegon Heights, Mich. Educators and policy observers are keeping a close eye on two controversial experiments in private management of public schools now unfolding in this western Michigan city and in the Detroit-area community of Highland Park. Citing chronic budget woes in the communities’ low-performing school districts, Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan last year declared a state of financial emergency and appointed an emergency manager for each district. The managers, in turn, hired two separate companies—Mosaica Education and the Leona Group—to run the schools. Gov. Snyder, a Republican, has also appointed emergency managers for PAGE 12 >

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 8, 2013

Education Week - May 8, 2013
Rifts Deepen Over Direction of Education Policy in U.S.
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Online Testing Suffers Setbacks in Multiple States
Common Criteria Set For Federal Research
Diversity at Issue in Teacher Selection
Table of Contents
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Students’ Well-Being A Focus of Race to Top
Ed-Tech’s Proper Role Poses Puzzles for Pre-K
FOCUS ON: OUT-OF-SCHOOL LEARNING: Students Conduct Fieldwork for Scientists’ Research
Studies Find Funders Giving More To Fewer Groups
Blogs of the Week
States Faulted on Preschool Spending Levels
La. Ends Data-Storage Arrangement With Nonprofit
Policy Brief
NCLB Waivers: Rewarding Improvement
Group Proposes Alternative to IEP Due Process System
ROSS WIENER & KASIA LUNDY: Want to Build a Better Teacher Evaluation? Ask a Teacher
WILLIAM T. GORMLEY JR.: Charting Pre-K’s Value for All
JOHN H. JACKSON: Pivoting From Standards-To Supports-Based Reform
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
ARTHUR LEVINE: The Plight Of Teachers’ Unions

Education Week - May 8, 2013