Education Week - May 15, 2013 - (Page 17)

EDUCATION WEEK GOVERNMENT n MAY 15, 2013 POLITICS Shawn Poynter for Education Week Head Start Centers Feel Sequestration Pain By Christina A. Samuels When the automatic federal budget cuts known as sequestration went into effect in March, Margaret Molloy and her staff at a Head Start agency in the Tucson, Ariz., area started looking for places to make cuts. Child-Parent Centers Inc., which oversees 40 centers serving nearly 2,800 children in the southeastern part of the state, made plans to scale back on classroom supplies, learning materials, and conference travel. Some center maintenance, such as painting, would be deferred the upcoming school year. But with personnel costs taking up the largest share of the agency’s budget, the Arizona agency is also going to eliminate 160 slots in Head Start and Early Head Start when the program resumes Sept. 1, saving the cost of 10 teachers, six assistant teachers, and some administrative support staff. “These are, by far, the most serious cuts I’ve experienced,” said Ms. Molloy, who has been involved for 40 years with Head Start, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The reduction in the number of children served through the program for low-income children will have a direct effect on schools, she believes. “The emphasis on increased academic readiness for kindergarten is huge,” Ms. Molloy said. “Every child who doesn’t have an opportunity to be kindergarten-ready is really hurting the economy in the long run.” Automatic Reduction The sequestration cuts, which affect a broad range of federal programs, were put in place in 2011 as part of a deal to raise the country’s debt ceiling. The cuts were intended to prod lawmakers to make a long-term deal to address the budget deficit, but that never happened. Without congressional action, the budget will be reduced $1.2 trillion over the next decade, including $55 billion over 10 years from the hhs. Head Start and Early Head Start serve nearly a million children and families. The programs were funded at nearly $8 billion in fiscal 2012, marking a period of extended growth due in part to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The sequestration cuts, which represent a 5.27 percent reduction for Head Start from fiscal 2013 spending, take Head Start funding back to approximately $7.6 billion, which is close to where it was in 2008. The administration has framed the reduction as the loss of 70,000 slots. And while lawmakers have been quick to end a furlough of PAGE 18 > Arizona ELL Battle Carries On, Despite Ruling By Lesli A. Maxwell Disputes over Arizona’s approach to educating English-language learners show few signs of abating as the plaintiffs in a 2-decade-old lawsuit continue to challenge the state’s requirement that such students spend more than half their school day learning English, with little access to other academic content. Plaintiffs in Flores v. Arizona late last month appealed a federal judge’s March ruling that the state’s required language program—which keeps ells separate from their nonell peers for four hours a day of English instruction—does not vio- late federal civil rights laws. The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, which represents the plaintiffs, strongly disputes that, arguing that Englishlearners are essentially segregated from their peers and are denied access to core academic content, making it impossible for many to catch up. The plaintiffs, as well as some academic researchers, say the four-hour instructional bloc harms English-learners, especially those at the high school level who have little time to take the credit-bearing courses they need to graduate. “There is a wide gap between what the court finds to be theoretically sound for English-learners and what researchers find,” said Oscar Jiménez-Castellanos, an assistant professor of education at Arizona State University, in Phoenix, who co-authored a recent report on the state of ell education in Arizona. “The empirical evidence is showing a decline in graduation rates for English-language learners, and we are seeing a steady misidentification of ells.” 17 POLICY BRIEF Assistant teacher Elizabeth Rollins watches children play at the ClaxtonWest Head Start Center, in Knoxville, Tenn. She has worked at the center for 10 years. Citing automatic budget cuts, the KnoxvilleKnox County Head Start agency chose to end its service year two weeks early. Federal aid cutbacks affect students, staff n progress for English-learners. “This lawsuit is exactly the wrong medicine right now,” said Mr. Huppenthal. “It sends out toxic signals to districts.” Mr. Huppenthal and supporters of the state’s four-hour instructional model say it allows ells to focus on learning English so they can then be successful in learning academic content. “It’s so clear to me that what we are doing is correct and that the ‘Wrong Medicine’? results, when this is implemented But John Huppenthal, Arizona’s with fidelity, are outstanding,” he superintendent of schools, said that added. the language program for ells is The superintendent said Arizona proving successful and that the cen- leads the nation in its rates of reter’s recent appeal will only impede PAGE 18 > NSF Peer Review On GOP’s Radar Congressional Republicans are broadening attempts to exert more control over the peer-review process for the National Science Foundation, in a move that could chill research into politically controversial education topics. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar S. Smith, R-Texas, last month began circulating a draft bill that would change the grant-review process at the National Science Foundation. The bill, called the “High Quality Research Act” in a draft obtained by the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s ScienceInsider, would require the nsf to certify, on an online website, that any grantfunded research is advancing national health, prosperity, or welfare; not duplicating other federal research; and “is the finest quality, is ground breaking, and answers questions or solves problems that are of utmost importance to society at large.” At the same time, in a letter to acting nsf Director Cora B. Marrett, Rep. Smith said he had “concerns” about the “intellectual merit” of five grants and asked for peerreview and program-officer notes on their approval. n The moves provoked backlash from science advocates and congressional Democrats. “By making this request, you are sending a chilling message to the entire scientific community that peer review may always be trumped by political review,” wrote Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, also of Texas, in a letter to the chairman. The squabble carries high stakes for education. In the fiscal 2013 budget, the National Science Foundation’s budget for science, technology, education, and mathematics education alone is more than $1.15 billion. By contrast, the federal Education Department’s research agency, the Institute of Education Sciences, had $597.3 million to spend on education research this fiscal year. The nsf declined to comment on the debate. For his part, Rep. Smith issued a statement saying the draft came from “bipartisan discussions” and the bill “maintains the current peerreview process and improves on it by adding a layer of accountability ... to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent on the highest-quality research possible.” —SARAH D. SPARKS

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 15, 2013

Education Week - May 15, 2013
Standards Supporters Firing Back
FOCUS ON: SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS: Wanted: Schools Chiefs for Big-Name Districts
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: E-Rate Programs Seen as Too Lean for a Digital Era
SCIENCE IN PRACTICE: Capacity Issues Confront Implementation Of Standards
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Bar for Teacher Exams Set Low In All States, Federal Data Show
Mobile Apps Aim to Deepen Lessons From Field Trips
Studies Link Early Spatial Skills To Math Achievement
Blogs of the Week
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: MOOCs Provider Targets Teacher Education
SCIENCE IN PRACTICE: Informal Sector Seen as Ally in Science Initiative
Head Start Centers Feel Sequestration Pain
Arizona ELL Battle Carries On, Despite Ruling
Policy Brief
Impact Mulled on Waivers, Grants
LISA MADIGAN & JOHN SUTHERS: Moving Beyond Punishment: Treatment Is Key to Keeping Schools Safe
SARA MARTINEZ TUCKER: We Must Create Opportunities for STEM Learning
JENNIFER JENNINGS: An Apology To Secretary Duncan
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
RONALD J. BONNSTETTER & BILL J. BONNSTETTER: We Need a New Approach to Principal Selection

Education Week - May 15, 2013