Education Week - May 22, 2013 - (Page 4)

4 EDUCATION WEEK n MAY 22, 2013 n NEWS IN BRIEF Chicago’s teachers’ union last week filed a pair of civil rights lawsuits in federal court on behalf of parents to stop, or at least stall, the district’s plans to shutter 53 elementary schools at the end of this school year. The lawsuits come one week before the board of education is scheduled for a final vote on closing the schools that are mostly located in neighborhoods on the city’s south and west sides, which the suits claim will have negative impacts on African-American students and those enrolled in special education programs. The union’s lawsuits come after a panel of retired federal and state judges urged the 405,000-student district to halt the closings of 13 schools. The district hired the judges to conduct public hearings on the closure plan and make recommendations. Chicago’s closure plan is considered the largest to be undertaken by a district in a single year. Meanwhile, in the District of Columbia, a federal judge last week rejected the claims of plaintiffs that the planned closures of 15 schools would violate the rights of black, Latino, and special education students.  –LESLI A. MAXWELL CDC Reports Data On Child Mental Health Millions of American children live with depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, Tourette syndrome or a host of other mental-health issues, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes in a new report. The agency says this is the first- SIGHTS ON A CHAMPIONSHIP ever report to describe federal efforts to monitor mental disorders in children. It provides estimates of the number of children ages 3 to 17 with mental-health disorders from 2005 to 2011. In all, the agency said, 13 percent to 20 percent of U.S. children experience a mental disorder in a given year. The cdc notes that for some children, a mental-health disorder can result in serious difficulties at home, with peers, and at school, and can be associated with substance abuse, criminal behavior, and other risky behaviors. In the United States, the cost of mental disorders for people younger than 24 is estimated to be $247 billion a year. –NIRVI SHAH Emory Rains High School’s Charlotte Brown, who is legally blind, competes in the girls’ Division 3A pole vault in the state track-and-field meet this month in Austin, Texas. At the Arizona state championships, Aria Ottmueller, who is also blind, competed in the pole vault for her school, Valley Christian High School in Chandler. The two athletes are unable to see the bar they are supposed to sail over, so they rely on counting steps and muscle memory to know when and where to jump. NAACP Challenges Law On Emergency Manager A law that allows the state’s governor to appoint emergency managers for cities and school systems in Michigan is being challenged by the Detroit branch of the naacp. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is suing Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, saying that the emergencymanager laws have had a disparate impact on voters of color, depriving them of the right to elect municipal and school leaders. More than half the state’s overall African-American population is governed by an emergency manager, according to the naacp. Only 1.3 percent of white residents live in areas that have been put under state control. Emergency managers are currently in charge of the school systems in Detroit, Highland Park, Muskegon Heights, and six cities. The emergency managers are appointed by the governor. The lawsuit, filed in district court in Michigan, says that cit- Eric Gay/AP Chicago Union Suits Challenge Closures ies with similar degrees of fiscal stress but higher proportions of white residents have not been put under emergency management.  –JACLYN ZUBRZYCKI Educator Gets 7 Years In Cheating Scheme A longtime Memphis, Tenn., educator who helped teachers cheat on certification exams over a 15- Special Ed. Office Aims to Revise Monitoring Focus Plan stresses student performance, streamlined reporting requirements Student performance, not just procedural compliance, is the goal of a revised reporting system proposed by the federal office of special education programs. The proposed revisions affect both Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which applies to about 6.5 million people ages 3 to 21, as well as Part C of the act, which affects about 454,000 children from birth to age 3. In both cases, the federal government has suggested removing some reporting requirements and instead asking states to create a State Systemic Improvement Plan, a “comprehensive, ambitious yet achievable plan for improving results for students with disabilities.” States will be asked to use that document to draft a multiyear plan that will improve the performance of students with disabilities on tests, high school graduation rates, and postschool outcomes. (For children covered under Part C, the systemic improvement plan would measure how well early-identification systems are implementing evidence-based practices that improve outcomes for babies and toddlers with disabilities.) The idea requires the federal government to evaluate states on special education performance. A long-running complaint has been that the process of producing annual performance reports and state performance plans is burdensome and has focused too much on procedural compliance and not the most important goal—improved education for students with disabilities. States have been asked to provide information on 20 performance indicators under idea Part B, and 14 indicators under Part C. The Part B indicators, for example, include data such as graduation rates, dropout rates, suspensions and expulsions, and disproportionate representation. The federal government then evaluates each state’s efforts and releases a determination letter noting if they “meet requirements,” “need assistance,” “need intervention,” or “need substantial intervention.”  —CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS year period was sentenced last week to seven years in federal prison. Clarence Mumford, 59, pleaded guilty in February to arranging for people to take Praxis tests on behalf of aspiring teachers in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Teachers paid Mr. Mumford up to $3,000 each to hire ringers to take reading, writing, math, physical education, and other exams on their behalf. That fee included fake driver’s licenses Mr. Mumford made for the test-takers, who showed them to proctors at examination centers. The teachers used the passing scores to get jobs in public schools. The former guidance counselor and assistant principal paid the test-takers hundreds of dollars for each test. Still, federal prosecutors said he made $120,000 in the scheme, which ran from 1995 to 2010. –ASSOCIATED PRESS Student Assignments Upheld in Nashville A federal appeals court has rejected claims from black parents that a student-assignment plan for the Metropolitan Nashville district in Tennessee led to unconstitutional resegregation. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, ruled unanimously this month that although the 2008 student-assignment plan modestly increased racial isola- tion in some schools, it did not classify students by race and was aimed primarily at improving the usage of school buildings in the 81,000-student district. The case concerns the studentassignment plan is devised to replace one that had been in effect for some 10 years after the district that once practiced de jure segregation of black and white students was declared unitary, or legally desegregated.  –MARK WALSH Pre-K Tests No Gauge Of Teachers, Study Says Twenty states now use student performance in the early grades to assess teachers, yet current evaluation systems don’t provide an accurate picture of what’s happening in the classroom, asserts a study by the New America Foundation. When linking outcomes from pre-K through 3rd grade directly to teaching, states must take into account the complexities of teaching young children, carefully pilot evaluation systems, and ensure that data accurately reflects teaching done in the early years, the report, “An Ocean of Unknowns: Risks and Opportunities in Using Student Achievement Data to Evaluate Pre-K-3rd Grade Teachers,” says. Researchers looked at assessment systems in Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Rhode Island, and Tennessee as well as those in the cities of Austin, Texas, and the

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 22, 2013

Education Week - May 22, 2013
District Bets Big on Standards
FOCUS ON: EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: States Stepping Up Mandates for School Safety Drills
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Schools Facing the Expiration of Windows XP
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Debates Roil Over Control of Schools in Baton Rouge
Study: Teenagers’ Brains Are Wired for Peer Approval
Analysis Calls for Dual-Language Pre-K for Young ELLs
PROFILE: Brian Pick
PROFILE: Dowan Mcnair-Lee
PROFILE: Mikel Robinson
States Tighten Disclosure of Teacher Evaluations
Blogs of the Week
NRC Framework Seen as Valued Resource for Educators
A Spec. Ed. Twist on Common-Core Testing
K-12 Colors Campaigns in Virginia, New Jersey
Policy Brief
CYNTHIA G. BROWN: The ‘How’ of Equitable School Funding
JIM CHILDRESS: Designing Learning Spaces for A New Age of Discovery
JEANNE ZAINO: Teaching the Metric System: A Cautionary Tale for the Common Core
Topschooljobs Recruitment Marketplace
LISA HANSEL: The Common Core Needs a Common Curriculum

Education Week - May 22, 2013