Education Week - May 22, 2013 - (Page 5)
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
–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
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
Meanwhile, Sandy Hook’s 450
kindergarten through 4th grade
students will keep attending
classes at a converted Chalk Hill
Middle School in nearby Monroe,
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
MAY 22, 2013
Study Reveals Gaps in Grad. Rates
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
“Diplomas at Risk”
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.
“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
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
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.
“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.
“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
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.
“Effects of Head Start REDI on
Children’s Outcomes One Year
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
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
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
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
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