Education Week - May 20, 2015 - (Page 20)

BLOGS 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 qualified" teacher. 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 them.) 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 teacher. 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 State's workforce. 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 diplomas. 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. -ANDREW UJIFUSA -CATHERINE GEWERTZ 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 school purpose." 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 student data. "We're planning next year to ... have WHAT'S INSIDE: 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. Industry Influence SIGN UP NOW. 20 | EDUCATION WEEK | May 20, 2015 | 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 law. " If the worst thing that happens ... is that companies compete on which does privacy best, I'm not going to complain." JONI LUPOVITZ Common Sense Media NOW MOBILE-FRIENDLY

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
Report Roundup
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