Education Week - May 20, 2015 - (Page 20)
N.M. Nabs Waiver From Mandate
On 'Highly Qualified' Teachers
| POLITICS K-12 | The U.S. Department of Education will
allow New Mexico to use results from its teacher-evaluation
system to count toward the goal in the No Child Left
Behind Act of staffing all core-content classes with a "highly
The move marks the first time the department has granted
a state waiver from the teacher-qualification provisions. It
also opens the door to a multitude of questions about states'
teacher-distribution plans, which are due next month.
Under the waiver, New Mexico will be able to count a
teacher who received a rating of "effective," "highly effective,"
or "exemplary" on his or her evaluation as highly qualified
under the law.
The biggest change from the current law is that veteran
teachers deemed effective or better would not have to
demonstrate subject-matter competency via the state
procedures known as housse. (It historically has been
burdensome for teachers of multiple subjects-English and
history, for instance-to earn highly qualified status in all of
In the waiver-approval letter, Assistant Secretary Deborah
S. Delisle said the additional flexibility will enable the state
and its local districts to emphasize the impact of teachers on
student outcomes as a primary focus of staffing and teacher
development. Additionally, the loosening of the definition
will allow small districts to increase the number of courses
they can offer, she said.
"I believe this waiver will increase the quality of
instruction and improve the academic achievement
of students by focusing on a teacher's effectiveness in
impacting student outcomes," Delisle wrote.
The added flexibility does come with some strings.
Each school and school district must publicly report the
total number of teachers considered "highly qualified"
under the new, expanded definition, and districts must
report the number of teachers who maintained the
rating of effective or better after the first year of using
the new definition.
The state education department must also provide a list
of districts taking advantage of the new definition, as well
as a breakdown of the number of teachers using the new
flexibility in various categories, including special education
and the stem subjects.
In 2012-13, New Mexico reported that 98.6 percent of its
core-content classes were being taught by a highly qualified
N.H. Bill to Repeal Common Core
First Such Measure to Be Vetoed
| STATE EDWATCH | New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan,
a Democrat, vetoed a common-core-repeal bill this
month, citing support from the business community
for the standards and the need to improve the Granite
It's the first time a governor has vetoed a bill that
would require a state to ditch the Common Core State
Standards. Last month, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant,
a Republican, vetoed a bill that would have required a
review of the common core in that state. Bryant said he
thought the Mississippi bill was ultimately toothless
because it didn't contain a firm commitment to dropping
the common core.
Districts in New Hampshire already have the option
of using standards other than the common core, which
the state school board adopted in 2010. (Districts in
Wisconsin have that option as well.) Hassan noted the
local option for districts in her veto message regarding
Senate Bill 101.
"Legislation like Senate Bill 101 undermines the
importance of high standards in education and the
work that New Hampshire's department of education
and board of education do every day to ensure that our
students are college-ready and prepared to enter the
workforce. It undermines similar locally led efforts as
well," Hassan said in her message.
The Union Leader of Manchester, N.H., reports that it's
highly doubtful that supporters of the repeal bill in the
state legislature will be able to muster enough votes to
override the governor's May 8 veto.
-LAUREN CAMERA & STEPHEN SAWCHUK
Texas Governor Signs Legislation
Easing H.S. Diploma Requirements
| CURRICULUM MATTERS | It's final: Texas has a new law
that will allow students to graduate from high school by
passing three end-of-course exams, instead of five. This is
the second time in just a few years that Texas has rolled
back graduation requirements.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed the measure May 11, according to
the Dallas Morning News. The measure got strong support
in the Texas legislature.
The new law, Senate Bill 149, takes effect with this year's
graduating class, allowing an estimated 28,000 high school
seniors to graduate who otherwise might have been denied
In addition to passing three of the five end-of-course tests,
students will have to pass their core classes. Those who can't
pass the three tests can still get diplomas by demonstrating in
other ways that they've mastered the required skills. A schoolbased
"graduation committee" made up of teachers, parents,
and administrators will decide such cases.
State Lawmakers Must Balance Concerns on Student-Data Privacy
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19
ing the public's attention on this is
that companies compete on which
does privacy best, I'm not going to
complain," she said.
Battle Over Balance
But Maryland's tug-of-war over
a recently enacted law covering
student-data privacy shows that
there can still be significant divides
between privacy advocates and the
K-12 technology industry.
House Bill 298, which was signed
by gop Gov. Larry Hogan last week,
places new restrictions on the sharing
of data by companies entering
into contracts with schools to provide
educational services. It also
prohibits targeted advertising to
students, as well as the creation of
profiles about individual students
"except in furtherance of a pre-K-12
One of the biggest issues with the
new Maryland law is that it only covers
education vendors that enter into
contracts with districts, leaving a big
loophole for other education technology
providers, Ms. Lupovitz said.
"Is it covering the wide swath of
entities, from all online services and
apps and websites that are used
for K-12 purposes? That's been an
issue," Ms. Lupovitz said.
One consequence of limiting provisions
of the law only to contractual
arrangements is that websites
and other services not covered by
contracts aren't required to delete
student-level data they acquire, said
Ellen Zavian, a privacy advocate in
Maryland who opposed the final version
of the bill.
Speaking before Gov. Hogan signed
the bill into law, Ms. Zavian added
that if the governor approved it,
"there is going to be a lawsuit, and it
is going to come up again."
But Del. Anne Kaiser, a Democrat
and sponsor of House Bill 298, said
that while her original bill was stronger
than what Gov. Hogan ultimately
signed, she stressed that the bill represents
notable progress from where
the state stood previously. She added
that she hasn't closed the book on her
efforts to strengthen protections for
"We're planning next year to ... have
n Breaking news
n Expert analysis
n Insights from leaders in the field
n Job listings
n Notifications about upcoming events
a commission look more deeply at some
of these issues, and sharpen some of
the provisions," Ms. Kaiser said.
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Although there isn't a single unified
opinion in the educational technology
industry about the best privacy policies,
and while some companies are
beginning to market themselves as
good stewards of data, the industry
in general has paid close attention to
such bills, Ms. Lupovitz said.
"We've seen markedly increased industry
lobbying on this issue in the
states," she said. "That has had some
effects on some of the legislation."
Asked about the Maryland law, Mr.
Schneiderman said that the state
Senate's changes to the bill simply
"addressed practical concerns that
senators had about the bill coming
out of the House."
In addition to the 15 states where
lawmakers have introduced bills
modeled on the California law, which
the K-12 technology industry has indicated
needs some clarification, lawmakers
have introduced bills in 10
other states that are based on model
legislation written by Microsoft that's
also similar in some respects to the
California statute, according to the
Data Quality Campaign.
Despite the uptick in the number of
bills lawmakers have considered, so
far in 2015 legislative sessions, only
half a dozen states have enacted new
laws addressing student-data privacy,
totaling 10 new statutes, according to
recent information from the dqc. Last
year, 21 states enacted more than two
dozen such laws. According to the
National Conference of State Legislatures,
31 states had adjourned or
were due to adjourn their sessions
this year by mid-May.
Mr. Schneiderman indicated that
the industry hasn't dramatically
changed its lobbying regarding the
issue from last year to this year. But
he did say his group has worked
with lawmakers to clarify portions
of the several bills modeled on California's
If the worst
happens ... is
I'm not going
Common Sense Media
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 20, 2015
Education Week - May 20, 2015
Gifted Programs Miss Disadvantaged Students
Army of Scorers Tackles Common-Core Tests
Groups Aim to Smooth Student-Police Relations
U.S. Senate Proposal Puts Spotlight On ‘Open Educational Resources’
Civil Rights Data Detail Increase In Complaints
News in Brief
Accountability Measures for Traits Like ‘Grit’ Questioned
Long-Term Gains Seen for Kids Who Move Out of Poverty
Blogs of the Week
Selective Public Schools Struggle to Diversify Enrollments
Illinois Policymakers Scramble After Pension Law Struck Down
Student-Data Use a Key Issue In Debates Over Privacy Bills
Blogs of the Week
Why Not Practice What We Preached?
Education Has to Be a ‘Human Business’
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Making the Right Commitment to Student-Data Privacy
Is the Public Ever Really Private?
Education Week - May 20, 2015