Education Week - May 15, 2013 - (Page 4)

4 EDUCATION WEEK n MAY 15, 2013 n NEWS IN BRIEF READING THE FUTURE A federal appeals court reinstated a Michigan law last week that bars school districts from deducting teachers’ union dues for their employees. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, ruled 2-1 that a 2012 measure that was meant as “a check on union power” likely does not violate the free-speech or equal-protection rights of teachers’ unions. The court threw out a lower court’s injunction that had kept the law from taking effect. The National Education Association and its Michigan affiliate argued that by barring only school employers—as opposed to cities, counties, or other agencies—from withholding dues for union-affiliated employees, the state was practicing a form of viewpoint discrimination that infringed the free-speech rights of the teachers’ unions. —MARK WALSH Jacki Wimmer, an early-childhood coordinator, reads with pre-K pupils Austin Matney, left, and Adrian Foley at Iaeger Elementary School in McDowell County, W.Va. The district regained local control last week after a decade under state oversight. It is expanding its role to include social services in the high-poverty county as part of a project introduced with the American Federation of Teachers. School Finance Bill Passes in Colorado Colorado lawmakers have passed a major education measure this month that includes revenue equalization for high-needs districts based on their share of low-income students and English-language learners. The legislation, approved this month, also mandates funding for full-day kindergarten and halfday preschool and seeks dramatic improvement in school attendance. To pay for the plan, Colorado voters will have to approve a $1 bil- Randy Snyder/AP Mich. Court Permits Dues-Deduction Ban lion tax hike in November. Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, was expected to sign the bill. —ANDREW UJIFUSA ACT Admissions Test To Be Given Digitally Starting as early as spring 2015, the act college-admissions exam will go digital, reflecting students’ tech savvy and the demand for quicker results. The tests will still have the familiar multiple-choice options, but they will also expand to include interactive portions, such as a simulated science lab for students to conduct experiments or space for students to explain concepts in their own words. In 2012, almost 1.7 million students took the act, about the same as the rival sat, which is administered with pencil and paper. —ASSOCIATED PRESS Wis. Private Schools Warned About Access Wisconsin private schools that accept publicly funded vouchers must not discriminate against students with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Justice says in a guidance letter. The department investigated after a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union that claimed Milwaukee was creating a system of segregated schools. The complaint said that 1.6 percent of the students using vouchers in Milwaukee were classified as having disabilities, compared with 20 percent of public school students. The program enrolls some 24,000 students, who receive vouchers of about $6,400 a year. The Justice Department letter, released this month, says the state must create a process for people to register complaints; monitor schools to make sure students are not being expelled or denied admission because of their disabilities; and conduct outreach to parents about school choice options. —CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS Texas and Mass. Mull Lifting Charter Caps Efforts are afoot in Massachusetts and Texas to raise caps on the number of charter schools. In Texas, a Senate bill would SCHOOL SPORTS REPORT ROUNDUP Teacher Pay Hikes Found to Falter “The Recession’s Impact on Teacher Salaries” While teacher salaries continued to increase on average during the recent economic downturn, they did so at a much slower pace, according to a study from the National Council on Teacher Quality. The study by the Washington-based research and advocacy group is based on salary schedules for 41 of the 50 largest public school districts in the United States. Researchers tracked changes from 2007-08, when the Great Recession began, to 2011-12, after the recession officially ended in June 2009. Analysts looked at annual adjustments and step increases for accumulating a year of experience. (The analysis did not include increases for earning advanced degrees or accumulating credit hours for professional development.) From the 2007-08 to 2008-09 school years, teachers’ one-year pay increase was an average 3.6 percent, according to the study. However, over the next three years, raises totaled between one-half and one-third that amount. The average pay raise hit a low point of 1.1 percent between 2009-10 and 2010-11. Districts were most likely to cut or freeze annual adjustments as a means of reducing raises, the organization says in the report, with about three-quarters of districts doing so. Teachers in 80 percent of the districts experienced a cut or freeze in total pay at least once over the four-year period. Even so, only two of the 41 districts had a net decrease in teacher pay over that stretch: Albuquerque, N.M., and Dekalb County, Ga. —LIANA HEITIN STUDENTS’ MISCONCEPTIONS “I Can’t Miss the Big Game: High School Football Players’ Knowledge and Attitudes About Concussions” “The Influence of Teachers’ Knowledge on Middle School Students’ Physical Science Learning” Most high school football players believe it’s OK to play through concussion symptoms, despite knowing the risk of serious injury, suggests a study presented last week in Boston at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies. Physicians from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center surveyed 120 high school football players, 30 of whom had previously suffered a concussion; 84 reported going through previous concussion education. Ninety-one percent of the players knew that continuing to play despite concussion symptoms could result in serious injury or even death. And most could list concussion symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, and sensitivity to light or sound. Still, more than 91 percent of the student-athletes said they believed it was all right to stay in a game after suffering a concussion. Only about 40 percent would tell the coach immediately if they were experiencing concussion symptoms, according to the study. —BRYAN TOPOREK It seems obvious that teachers need to understand the content they’re trying to convey to students. But a study finds that what’s especially critical to improved science learning is that teachers also know the common misconceptions their students have. Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics enlisted 181 middle school teachers of physical science to give students a multiple-choice test of science concepts. Twelve of the 20 items were designed to have a “particularly wrong answer corresponding to a commonly held misconception,” said the lead author, Philip Sadler. Teachers also took the test and were asked to identify both the correct answer and the one students were most often likely to get wrong. As might be expected, teachers’ knowledge of the subject predicted higher student gains. “However, for more difficult concepts where many students had a misconception, only teachers who knew the science and the common misconceptions have large student gains,” writes Mr. Sadler.

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