Education Week - May 22, 2013 - (Page 5)

EDUCATION WEEK rates at 3.4 percent and give lawmakers additional time to seek a long-term strategy to address student loans and college affordability, but the proposals did not advance. –CARALEE J. ADAMS Seattle High Schools Pa. Governor Nominates Can Skip Debated Test New Schools Chief Teachers protesting the MeaPennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, announced last week that he will nominate William Harner, the superintendent of the Cumberland Valley school district, to replace state Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis, the Associated Press reports. If confirmed by the state Senate, Mr. Harner would officially take over June 1. Mr. Tomalis, meanwhile, will move into an advisory role in Gov. Corbett’s administration. A former Army officer, Mr. Harner has broad experience in education. He previously worked as a school administrator in Georgia, South Carolina, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. Mr. Harner also attended the Superintendents Academy at the Broad Foundation in 2005 as a fellow, according to his biography. Mr. Corbett did not give a reason for the change.  –ANDREW UJIFUSA Congress Weighs Hike In Student-Loan Rates The Education and the Workforce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill last week that would change the financing of college loans and, according to the Congressional Research Service, make it more expensive for students to borrow. The Smarter Solutions for Students Act, supported by House Republicans, would tie studentloan interest rates to the 10-year Treasury note, plus 2.5 percent, for both subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans. The proposal is intended to address the automatic interest-rate hike from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on subsidized student loans that will kick in if Congress fails to act by July 1. The nonpartisan research service outlined various examples of the costs. It found, for instance, that students who borrow the maximum amount of $27,000 of unsubsidized and subsidized Stafford Loans over five years would pay $12,374 in interest compared with $10,867 in interest under current law if rates are allowed to double to 6.8 percent, or $7,033 if rates stay at 3.4 percent. The new proposal would also affect borrowing fees for loans parents take out. Committee Democrats offered amendments to keep interest sures of Academic Progress tests in Seattle won a big victory last week as Superintendent José Banda announced that high schools don’t have to give the tests after this spring. The decision will be up to each high school’s leadership team, Mr. Banda said in a letter. All other schools in the district must continue to give the reading and math exams at least twice a year, despite the call from hundreds of teachers and parents to scrap the test altogether. The decision reflects the recommendations of a district-appointed task force of teachers, principals, parents, district administrators, and representatives from community groups. The protesting teachers, who number in the hundreds at six different schools, say the tests have little value for them or their students, monopolize school libraries and computer labs for weeks, and aren’t closely tied to what they’re supposed to be teaching. The ruling covers the 2013-14 school year. –AP Newtown Panel Says To Rebuild Sandy Hook After considering whether to build a new school far from the site where 26 students and staff members were killed by a gunman Dec. 14, and the possibility of having students return to a renovated Sandy Hook Elementary School, a task force has voted to tear down and rebuild the Newtown, Conn., school. The 28-member panel’s decision, Reuters reported, has to be approved by the Newtown school board, and then the town will have to vote on spending an estimated $56 million on a new school. Meanwhile, Sandy Hook’s 450 kindergarten through 4th grade students will keep attending classes at a converted Chalk Hill Middle School in nearby Monroe, Conn. If voters approve a new school— they recently rejected increases to the town and school district budget that would have paid for police officers at district schools— it would take about two years to design and build. But the town may not have to pay the full cost of the project. Connecticut has agreed to pay some of the cost of building a new school. –NIRVI SHAH MAY 22, 2013 n 5 Study Reveals Gaps in Grad. Rates REPORT ROUNDUP District of Columbia. They also examined the work done in Hillsborough County, Fla. None of these systems gauges what the youngest students know well, the study states, nor can their results be applied to teacher performance. –JULIE BLAIR n “Diplomas at Risk” ACHIEVEMENT GAPS A state-by-state analysis of the most recent data on graduation rates for students with learning disabilities shows that while more of those students have been leaving high school with a standard diploma, many states fall short of the national average of 68 percent for students graduating in that disability category. Students with learning disabilities make up 41 percent of those covered under federal special education law. The report by the New York City-based National Center for Learning Disabilities argues that far too many of those students are dropping out of school or being shunted to an alternative-certification path that leads to something other than a standard diploma. The 68 percent of students from the class of 2011 leaving high school with a standard diploma marks an increase from 57 percent in the 2001-02 school year. But 17 states’ rates fell below that national average. Nevada, at 25 percent, was the lowest. Nationwide, the dropout rate for students with learning disabilities was 19 percent, but 22 states had higher rates. The highest was South Carolina, where 49 percent of students with disabilities dropped out. The report also calculated graduation rates using the new “adjusted cohort graduation rate,” required by the U.S. Department of Education. While students with disabilities are calculated separately for comparative purposes, they are not broken out by disability categories. Gaps between students with learning disabilities and state averages were wide in some states, including Mississippi, where 75 percent of all students earned a diploma under this measurement—and just 23 percent of those with disabilities. —CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS “Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Achievement for Low-Income Students and Students of Color” While fewer black, Hispanic, and low-income students are scoring “below basic” in national reading and mathematics assessments, those groups aren’t making similar progress at the top end of the achievement scale—especially in high school, according to a new report from the Education Trust. For its analysis, the Washingtonbased research and advocacy organization reviewed recent trends on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. It finds, for example, that in mathematics in 2011, about one in 10 white 4th graders reached the “advanced” level, compared with one in 50 Hispanic students and one in 100 black students. Wide gaps at the advanced level also occurred in 4th and 8th grade reading, but only between lowerand higher-income students, not between students of color and white students, the report says.  —CARALEE ADAMS CHILDHOOD VIOLENCE “National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence” New survey research shows about two out of five children are physically assaulted in a given year, and one in 10 are injured in an assault. The data also indicate that nearly 11 percent of girls between ages 14 and 17 are sexually assaulted or abused The survey, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Justice and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is based on a nationally representative sample of more than 4,500 families. The results were published online this month in JAMA Pediatrics. —NIRVI SHAH SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SKILLS “The Missing Piece” A large majority of teachers—93 percent—say it’s very important for schools to work on developing students’ social and emotional skills, results from a new nationally representative survey show. Released last week, the findings also suggest that a majority of teachers believe that improving students’ social and emotional skills will help them do well in school and prepare them for the workforce. But it also notes that less than half the 605 teachers surveyed—44 percent—said social and emotional skills are being taught on a schoolwide basis in their respective schools, and a fragmented approach to teaching >> For links to these reports, go to students about responsible decisionmaking and building relationships would be more effective. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, a research and advocacy group in Chicago, commissioned the report. –N.S. CHARTER SCHOOLS “Hopes, Fears, and Reality” A new collection of articles about charter schools explores charter growth in suburban districts, charter school incubation in urban centers, integrating blended learning into charters, and the potential cost savings of blended learning in both charter and regular public schools. The articles were released in the seventh edition of a report edited and published by the Center for Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington in Bothell. Support for the report was provided by the National Charter School Research Center, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.  –SEAN CAVANAGH RECESS “Does Better Recess Equal a Better School Day?” A new study suggests children may benefit from a little more organized activity at recess. The study released last week focuses on the work of Playworks, an Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit organization that provides recess coaches to low-income schools. Researchers from Mathematica Policy Institute and the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University found that children whose recess time is directed by Playworks coaches are a little more active than those with comparatively unstructured recess. To reach that conclusion, children were fitted with accelerometers, which measure physical activity. At Playworks schools, students spent, on average, 14 percent of their recess time being very active. Students at other schools were as active during recess 10 percent of the time.  —NIRVI SHAH EARLY CHILDHOOD “Effects of Head Start REDI on Children’s Outcomes One Year Later” When Head Start programs used a broad curriculum that emphasizes both academics and social awareness over academics alone, pupils outperformed their fellow Head Start alumni in kindergarten, a new study finds. The study looked at 356 Pennsylvania children whose preschool teachers had used the redi curriculum—otherwise known as the Research-based, Developmentally Informed Intervention Program—funded by the federal Interagency School Readiness Consortium. The researchers found that the children in the redi classrooms could better decode words, were more engaged in learning, more competent in solving social problems, and less aggressive than their peers whose teachers had used traditional curricula that aimed to impart specific knowledge. A report on the study was published this month in the journal Child Development. —JULIE BLAIR

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