Education Week - May 16, 2018 - 5
Online Charter Used For-Profit Companies
To Hide Attack-Ad Money, Auditor Finds
Using private companies owned by Electronic
Classroom of Tomorrow school founder Bill Lager,
plus a media-production company run by his daughter, the now-defunct online charter school tried to
hide the source of payment for nearly $250,000
worth of TV attack ads aimed at the Ohio education
department, according to state auditor Dave Yost.
As a result, Yost is ordering a pair of Lager's ECOTaffiliated for-profit companies, along with the company
owned by his daughter, to repay nearly $250,000 for
what Yost says is illegally spent public money.
ECOT and the education department engaged in
warfare in the courts and a public-relations campaign last year after the department found that the
school was unable to verify about 60 percent of its reported enrollment. The state ordered ECOT to repay
the state $60 million, a sum that has since risen.
As part of its strategy, ECOT launched a string of
television ads attacking the education department.
Although charter schools can legally run ads in an
effort to recruit students, no public school is allowed
to spend taxpayer money on political-type ads.
-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
Citing Gun Culture, New York Bill
Targets Shooting-Sports Programs
A proposal in the New York legislature would outlaw all high school shooting-sports programs in the
state-including air-rifle teams and archery clubs-
on the premise that they feed into a gun and shooting culture that could lead to violence.
The bill's sponsor, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat, said she introduced her bill after
reports that the suspect in the Valentine's Day shooting in Parkland, Fla., Nikolas Cruz, honed his gun
skills through a program in the same school where
he's accused of killing 17 people.
Rosenthal's proposal has yet to reach a vote and
its prospects in the waning days of the legislative
session are uncertain.
Nationally, there are an estimated 5,000 gun clubs
at high schools and universities, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
BRIAN WHISTON, who led
Michigan's department of
education since 2015, died May 7.
He was 56.
"He has been a visionary leader
in education at the state and
member of the
Moffat Miller, the executive director
of the Council of Chief State School
Officers. "During his time as the
state superintendent in Michigan,
he forged a new strategic vision
for the state and worked to create
a better path for all students
throughout Michigan schools."
Whiston announced in January
that he had cancer. He previously
served as the superintendent of
the Dearborn public schools and
as a lobbyist for the Oakland
County Intermediate school
As state superintendent, Whiston
helped devise a set of strategies
designed to make Michigan a top
10 education state in 10 years.
He also revised the state's testing
system and led an effort last year
to keep the state from closing 38
-DAAREL BURNETTE II
& TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
lose cost-of-living raises for two years.
Teachers had protested at the state capitol weeks
earlier against proposed changes to their retirement
benefits. Some of the changes that teachers most disliked didn't make it to the final version of the bill.
First lady Melania Trump speaks about her
initiative to promote the well-being of
children during an event at the White House.
On the Bully Pulpit
To Stop Bullying
JESUS JARA, the deputy schools
superintendent in Florida's Orange
County school district, is heading
to Las Vegas
to run the
Previously, he served as the
superintendent of the Monroe County
district in Florida.
Jara will replace PAT
SKORKOWSKY, who is retiring
when his contract expires next
month after nearly 30 years with
night to go over every assignment, even if the
child had not asked for help-had children who
were less persistent over time. -SARAH D. SPARKS
in which high school students would be able to
work their way up to college-level courses with
states "provide educators with little guidance
on which subjects sex education curricula
COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS
"Rethinking Dual Enrollment to Reach More
"Sex Education Standards Across the States"
"The Impact of Democracy Prep Public Schools
on Civic Participation"
In a new exploration of dual enrollment, the
Education Commission of the States calls on
states to rethink their restrictive policies.
Dual enrollment can challenge students
academically and increase the chances they'll
enroll in college-but many states close those
opportunities to middle- and lower-performing
students, the ECS argues.
In 17 states, students need a teacher recommendation to participate in dual-credit classes,
while six states require a minimum grade-point
average. Twenty-four states require students to
meet some other kind of eligibility criteria. The
report calls for "differentiated dual enrollment"
States vary widely on sex education, and
few address issues of consent or sexual assault, according to a new policy report by the
Center for American Progress think tank.
Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia require schools to teach sex education,
and in a review of state policies on the subject, center analysts found only 10 states, plus
the District of Columbia, include instruction
on healthy relationships, consent, or sexual
assault. Rhode Island, West Virginia, and the
nation's capital provide detailed standards
and learning progressions for different topics
for different age groups.
By contrast, the report said the majority of
Yes, schools can influence students' later civic
engagement, finds a new study.
An evaluation by Mathematica Policy Research
found students who enrolled in Democracy Prep
charter schools, which emphasize citizenship and
voting, had much higher rates of registering to
vote and voting than a control group of students.
Researchers compared civic-engagement patterns for students who were offered a spot in the
school via New York City's school lottery, with
those who applied but were not, and from that
data derived the effect on those students who
actually enrolled in a Democracy Prep school.
First lady Melania Trump unveiled her
new "Be Best" initiative last week aimed at
promoting emotional well-being, combating
cyberbullying, and fighting the opioid crisis.
"As a mother and as first lady, it concerns
me that in today's fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared
to express or manage their emotions and
oftentimes turn to forms of destructive or
addictive behavior such as bullying, drug
addiction, or even suicide," she said during
a White House Rose Garden press conference. "I feel strongly that as adults, we
can and should 'be best' at educating our
children about the importance of a healthy
and balanced life."
The first lady has already laid the
groundwork for part of the initiative,
meeting in March with tech executives
from Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter,
and Snap for a roundtable discussion on
cyberbullying. She and U.S. Secretary of
Education Betsy DeVos also recently sat
down with teenagers to talk about their
lives and problems at school.
During the campaign, when Mrs. Trump
first indicated that she was interested in
making bullying prevention a central tenet
of her tenure as first lady, some critics
quickly suggested she start by talking to
her own husband about his Twitter feed,
which he often uses to mock his opponents.
Others said that she should learn more
about the relationship between cyberbullying and in-person bullying and look into
state efforts to combat bullying, which have
often lacked enforcement action.
President Donald Trump's fiscal 2019
budget proposed scrapping the Student
Support and Enhanced Academic grant
program at the U.S. Department of Education, which can help schools bolster socialemotional learning, combat bullying, and
deal with the opioid crisis. But Congress,
which just gave a $700 million boost to
the program, seems poised to ignore the
administration's request to zero it out.
The Obama administration made a big
play to crack down on bullying, in part by
funding research to explore possible solutions, and by aggressively investigating
civil rights complaints in schools. Schools
that don't address bullying on the basis
of religion, race, or gender can be found in
violation of civil rights laws.
Other recent first ladies also have focused
on children's issues: Laura Bush promoted
children's literacy, and Michelle Obama
championed healthy eating and exercise,
especially for young people.
EDUCATION WEEK | May 16, 2018 | www.edweek.org | 5