Education Week - May 16, 2018 - 1
VOL. 37, NO. 31 * MAY 16, 2018
AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2018 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 5
BRE AKING NEWS DAILY
Teachers to Flex Labor Muscle
As Midterm Elections Approach
Julie Denesha for Education Week
By Daarel Burnette II
ROAD AHEAD: Kindergartener Samantha Wright, 6, center, holds the hand of teacher Courtney Andres as students hit the trail during a Jefferson Elementary School
after-school activity in Iola, Kansas. Concerns over federal funding have sent a chill through after-school programs, which scramble for resources. PAGE 17
In Federal Data
Use of Physical Discipline
Tallied for 3- to 5-Year-Olds
By Christina A. Samuels
& Alex Harwin
A new trove of federal civil rights
data has, for the first time, captured a
snapshot of the controversial practice of
corporal punishment of preschoolers in
the nation's public schools.
Nineteen states permit corporal punishment, and the federal Civil Rights
Data Collection has for some time collected information on how often K-12
students are spanked, paddled, swatted, or subjected to other forms of physicial discipline in schools. Students
ages 3 to 5 who attend public preschool
programs were for the first time included in the latest data collection,
which is based on the 2015-16 school
The number of young children who
were physically disciplined is small-
nearly 1,500 children were reported,
out of a total preschool population of
almost 1.6 million, according to an Education Week Research Center analysis.
But "the fact that it's still legal is
a problem," said Deborah J. Vagins,
currently a member of the leadership
staff at the American Association of
University Women. Vagins, formerly
the senior legislative counsel on civil
How Long Do Big-City Supes Last?
By Denisa R. Superville
Since December, at least five big-city school districts have hired new superintendents.
Chicago. New York. Seattle. Los Angeles. Las
Houston, left without a schools CEO when Richard Carranza departed after less than two years
to run the New York City schools, will be on the
hunt soon, too.
The District of Columbia is also in the superintendent market after an enrollment scandal forced
out the still-new schools chief there.
It's been a churn of K-12 executives that seems
to reinforce a widely held belief: Urban schools
chiefs barely make it past three years on the job.
But a new report from the Los Angeles-based
Broad Center is debunking that misconception.
Big-city superintendents stick around for closer
to five and a half years, and those who run the
country's 100 largest school districts, by enrollment, stay on average for 6 years, according to
the Broad Center's analysis of superintendent
tenure in those districts between 2003 and September 2017.
And the current superintendents in the 100 largest districts have been in their role for close to four
years, the report said.
The Broad Center, which is funded by the Eli
and Edythe Broad Foundation, offers leadership
and management training for current and aspiring superintendents and senior school district
Its analysis of schools chiefs' longevity revealed striking differences in how long superinPAGE 12>
A District Gains Traction for Better Discipline
By Sarah D. Sparks
Philadelphia leaders hope that digging into the culture, training, and assistance for schools will help them
make headway on one of the thorniest problems facing
educators today: curbing schools' use of discipline practices that take students out of the classroom.
Philadelphia is one of many districts nationwide
that has been trying to limit out-of-school suspensions
and reduce racial gaps among students who receive
exclusionary discipline, but results so far have been
uneven both in Philadelphia and across the country.
Now, the district is launching a series of rapid-fire pilot
programs to find ways to speed up and smooth out the
transition to better school discipline.
"We found school administrators are coming around
to the idea that they need to do something different
with school discipline, but teachers don't really feel
they have options," said Abigail Gray, a senior researcher at the University of Pennsylvania's Consortium for Policy Research in Education, which is working with the 130,000-student district. "We need to be
actively developing those alternatives."
The district is working with schools to quickly identify common hurdles for schools and pilot interventions-generally those that can be turned around in
a school year or less-to fix the problems. That iterative process of gathering data to identify where the
problem spots are, developing solutions, and testing
Fresh off a wave of teacher strikes
and grassroots demonstrations, education activists are aiming to turn
that momentum into structured and
well-oiled campaigns in this fall's
midterm elections, especially in fiscally conservative states where politicians and school funding measures
are on the ballot.
With many legislative sessions now
wrapping up-and with teachers'
core demands on pay and funding
still unmet in some places-union
and activist-group leaders in states
such as Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky,
and West Virginia are telling teachers and their supporters they need to
keep the pressure on.
"This year's election is a foundational year," said Carrie Pugh, the
political director for the National
Education Association, the nation's
largest teachers' union. "The base is
really, really motivated. Their enthusiasm is there. ... The challenge is ...
how do we harness it and how do we
convert that energy into voting? It's a
great problem to have."
To keep that energy going toward
the midterm elections, activists are
using many of the same, sometimes
unconventional tactics they used in
the recent round of strikes and work
For one thing, the rise in activism
on Facebook gave teachers personalities to rally around and an opportunity to articulate to the public their
real-world frustrations. The subsequent public support and partial
victories provided activists a jolt of
In states such as Arizona and
Colorado, they used dozens of rallies to collect signatures on petitions
to place school funding questions
on ballots, to raise money, and to
gather names and contact information for phone-bank and door-to-door
campaign events this summer. They
handed out T-shirts, tested out new
Young, Rookie Organizers
Who Fueled Teacher Revolt
Meet five idealistic educators who were
at the forefront of this spring's grassroots
protest in several states against low
teacher pay, education funding cuts,
and pension changes.
See story, Page 8.