Education Week - May 13, 2015 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk VOL. 34, NO. 30 * MAY 13, 2015 AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2015 EDITORIAL PROJECTS IN EDUCATION * $4 Wash. State Lawmakers In Aid Fight Special Session Bares Rifts On K-12 Funding Strategy By Andrew Ujifusa Washington state lawmakers are struggling in a special session to agree on a strategy to pay for basic education. But as they try to build a system that bridges deep partisan divides over tax policy, they must also resolve to what extent greater state aid for K-12 will lead to reduced financial and political clout for local districts and union leaders. Looming over the process that began April 28 is the state supreme court, which held the state in contempt last year over its failure to satisfy a 2012 decision that ordered legislators to reform and increase K-12 spending by 2018. Lawmakers must make significant strides toward meeting that mandate this year, or face court sanctions. As states like Washington look at how to overhaul their funding formulas to smooth out inequities, there's a corresponding tension between state officials and local K-12 leaders about the strings that come along with greater support for some districts. "What the districts really want is the increased commitment without increased control. But that's not going to happen," said Michael Griffith, the senior school finance analyst for the Denver-based Education Commission of the States. "Now I hear it constantly [from state lawmakers]: We're willing to spend more money, but we want to know what we're going to get for our money." Broader debates about the proper relationship between the sources of school funding and authority over K-12 have PAGE 20 > BREAKING NEWS DAILY Debbie Cruger-Hansen, a 4th grade teacher at Mira Vista School in Richmond, Calif., integrates the teaching of technical skills such as keyboarding and online searching into regular lessons. One recent lesson had students use their tablet computers to find a document on disappearing honeybees. Online Testing Drives 'Tech Prep' Priorities Schools Move to Fill Technical-Skills Gap in Response to Common Core By Catherine Gewertz As most states shift their required tests onto computers, teachers are discovering that their students are stumbling over an unexpected weakness: the keyboarding skills necessary to show what they know. To close that skills gap, schools are increasingly making time in their days for old-fashioned typing instruction-translated to a computer keyboard-and other skills such as scrolling, mouse-clicking, and dragging-and-dropping. But spending time on those computer skills has ignited a debate: Is it just another form of "test prep" that siphons away precious classroom time, or is it a wise investment in the digital fluency students need to thrive in all aspects of their lives? In interviews with teachers and administrators across the country, Education Week learned that some feel "tech prep" is a waste of time, but far more view it as a crucial set of skills that does double duty. It helps students show their knowledge on computer-based assessments, and ensures they can be functional, tech-savvy adults. "I don't really look at it as test prep. I look at it as life skills they're learning," said Sommer Iamele, a 4th grade teacher at Stone Ranch Elementary School in San Diego. "We'd be doing them a disservice if we didn't teach them those skills." Many schools have stepped up their work on computer skills because their states' paper-andPAGE 12 > On Twitter, 'EduColor' Group Puts Race in Policy Discussions By Stephen Sawchuk The Ferguson protests. Eric Garner. Trayvon Martin. Freddie Gray. The 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Ala. The past two years have provided numerous reminders of the painful collision of racial tensions and law enforcement. But today's policymakers and educators have largely been skittish about exploring the problems of racial inequity and division in another public institution: K-12 education. Now, a grassroots effort is seeking to change that dynamic by elevating the perspectives of parents and comBuilding Literacy Skills Rules for Home Schooling Rekindle Controversies munities of color on education policy through an unexpectedly powerful and timely method: a Twitter hashtag. That's the idea behind EduColor, a collective of teachers, advocates, and scholars best known by the hashtag #educolor. Not content with social-media influence, the group this month also launched a website,, that offers such features as teaching resources, links, and a newsletter. Education inequity tied to race and class is the source of some familiar yet still disturbing statistics about public schools. Students of color are taught PAGE 14 > This special report-"Building Literacy Skills: The State of Reading Instruction in Grades K-3"-takes a wide-ranging look at new efforts to address the challenges of earlygrades reading instruction. It dives into vocabulary instruction, fluency, and the 3rd grade reading gate. See the pullout section opposite Page 14. By Arianna Prothero A Michigan lawmaker's push to regulate home schooling in the wake of a horrific case of child abuse is stoking anew a broader debate over the rights of parents to educate their children at home with little oversight from school and government officials. The bodies of 9-year-old Stephen Gage Berry and 13-year-old Stoni Ann Blair were found in late March in a Detroit freezer in what authorities believe was the result of abuse that had gone unnoticed for years, in part because their mother, Mitchelle Blair, had pulled them out of school and claimed to be teaching them in their home. Like Michigan, few states obligate homeschooled students to meet regularly with manPAGE 15 > Eric Risberg/AP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 13, 2015

Education Week - May 13, 2015
On Twitter, ‘EduColor’ Group Puts Race in Policy Discussions
Rules for Home Schooling Rekindle Controversies
Online Testing Drives ‘Tech Prep’ Priorities
Wash. State Lawmakers in Aid Fight
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Minn. Lawsuit Tackles Portability Of Teacher Certifications
School Restart Seen Crucial To Nepal Earthquake Recovery
Blogs of the Week
New Leader Standards Kick Up Controversy
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: School Librarians Push To Create ‘Maker Spaces'
Unions Back Bill to Scrap Tax On High-Cost Health-Care Plans
Cabinet Officials Offer Assurances After Baltimore Unrest
New Candidates Join Field of GOP White House Hopefuls
Blogs of the Week
Why Not a National Digital-Library Endowment?
Language-Learning Orphans
Giftedness Is More Than a Function of Education
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
The ESEA: A Civil Rights Milestone

Education Week - May 13, 2015