Education Week - June 3, 2015 - (Page 28)

LETTERS to the EDITOR do so by turning off televisions and radios and avoiding discussion of the events in children's presence. Most importantly, caregivers need to manage their own reactions, as even babies sense and respond to the emotions of their trusted adults. Maintaining normal routines helps assure ed Rioting and Unrest Affect The Youngest Children, Too To the Editor: A recent blog post about Baltimore NOT schools' role in helping students there cope after the city's recent traumatic events powerfully illustrates young people's need for a safe outlet to express their feelings and understanding parents and teachers to guide them ("Baltimore Students, Out of School After Riots, Try to Process Events," Rules for Engagement blog,, April 28, 2015). But when considering the effect that traumatic events have on children, it's important not to forget our youngest and, in many ways, most vulnerable kids: those under age 3, who often don't have a voice and a structure like school to support them. Although unable to ask questions as older children do, they're not immune to the impact of tragedies such as the Baltimore unrest. In fact, they are little listeners, aware of and affected by the events happening around them. As a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the health and development of infants and toddlers, we urge adults to prevent the exposure of children under the age of 3 to traumatic events, whenever possible. They can children all is well, they are safe, and their feelings and experiences matter-regardless of their age. Matthew Melmed Executive Director Zero to Three Washington, D.C. Kudos to Delaware Governor For School Choice Commentary To the Editor: The Commentary by Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware on school choice and privatization ("School Choice Works, Privatization Won't," April 22, 2015) was spot on and courageous. His summary of the reasons why vouchers are a bad idea reflects the best thinking of decades of educators and the wisdom of the millions of voters who handily rejected vouchers or their variants in 28 state referendums from coast to coast between 1966 and 2014. Mr. Markell stands as a shining example for other governors and politicians to emulate. Edd Doerr President Americans for Religious Liberty Silver Spring, Md. Special-Needs Students and Public-Private Partnerships To the Editor: Public education today finds itself burdened beyond belief. With so many roles to play beyond academics, public schools are finding it almost impossible to perform all of them equally well and without assistance. Coupled with the growing number of responsibilities, public schools face high dropout rates and an increased need for special education programs. The American Youth Policy Forum estimates that at least one student drops out of school every nine seconds, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism-spectrum disorder. This means that special and at-risk students are no longer the exception; they are becoming the rule. To make matters worse, schools also face mounting economic pressure from state and local funding sources, requiring that district leaders do more with less. The truth is, we're asking too much for our public schools to go it alone. To rise above the pressure, district leaders will need to seek creative and cost-effective solutions to provide for their students, especially for those who are at risk. An effective solution is for public schools to partner with private education companies to meet the needs of some of the nation's most challenged and challenging students. Schools can benefit from the expertise of groups that focus solely on alternative or special education. Private organizations work in cooperation, not competition, with their public school partners. Specialists who have expertise in educating at-risk students, and who can concentrate solely on them, help keep students in school and improve graduation rates. Whether the education specialist comes from a public entity or a private organization should not even be a consideration. The focus should remain on the student: What is the best educationdelivery model, including public-private partnership, to achieve meaningful results for at-risk students? Mark Claypool President and Chief Executive Officer Educational Services of America Nashville, Tenn. COMMENTARY POLICY Education Week takes no editorial positions, but publishes opinion essays and letters from outside contributors in its Commentary section. For information about submitting an essay or letter for review, visit Creating a College-Bound Culture In an Urban School District CONTINUED FROM PAGE 32 lows in the class of 2014 now attend colleges that are among the nation's most elite, on more than $10 million in scholarships, with more than $20 million offered. In the class of 2015, 98 emerge seniors already have been accepted into at least one top-tier college, including six each to Rice University and Brandeis, four to Pomona College, and others to schools including Amherst, Barnard, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, mit, Smith, Stanford, Swarthmore, the University of Virginia, and Yale. All are expected to receive full scholarships. Next year, we are expanding the program to more than 150 hisd seniors. Research shows that students like those in emerge have a much higher chance of staying in top-tier schools and earning degrees than those who stay closer to home and have to juggle family responsibilities, work, and other distractions. In guiding emerge students, we also take into account a college's level of persistence (how many students stay for a second year) and its graduation rate. The worst thing we could do is send a stream of our most prepared graduates to a school that isn't supportive of their success. Emerge alumni continue to be an integral part of the program, both through our follow-through work, and by acting as agents of change in their families, their alma maters, and their communities through example. They become heroes to many because they have defied the odds, given up summers and vacations to put in the extra work required to succeed, and gained the courage to leave close-knit families, traditions, and community to venture to distant, challenging places. (Emerge fellows contribute to a blog, www.emergingvoices. com, aimed at helping first-generation students reach and survive college.) The program's brief but compelling record of success has led the Houston Endowment to award two grants to the district-a $5.5 million, threeyear grant to place emerge in all 45 hisd high schools, and a $3 million matching grant that will allow us to spread the program's best practices by deploying a team across the district. Make no mistake. This isn't your mama's college counseling. We will more than double the number of college-access coordinators and college-success advisers and managers to coach, mentor, and handhold. They start by engaging 9th and 10th graders, and go into high gear with juniors and seniors. Just as important as advice about course plans, grades, tests, and other college prep, however, is imparting to students the belief that each and every one of them has the capacity for great things-academic success, career fulfillment, and a productive and rewarding life. We are saying to them: It doesn't matter whether you started life in a working-class family or as a refugee. It doesn't matter whether your family has two parents, or your parents are still in a foreign country and you live with a guardian. It doesn't matter if you have to hold down a job and help take care of younger brothers and sisters. It doesn't matter whether no one in your family has ever finished high school or gone to college. What matters is our students' desire and belief that they can and will emerge from their own particular circumstances and succeed in higher education. And with our guidance and support, they are doing just that in growing numbers. n Darius Frank for Education Week 28 | EDUCATION WEEK | June 3, 2015 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - June 3, 2015

Education Week - June 3, 2015
New S.C. Standards Ease Political Pushback
Summer-Job Demand Outstrips Opportunities
Districts Use Student Insights To Guide Policy, Practice
Charters Look Anew At Teacher Retention
With Common Core, Algebra Course Undergoes a Face-Lift
News in Brief
Report Roundup
PARCC Shortens Testing Time, Shifts to Later in the School Year
Ties Deepening Between Schools, After-School Providers
Parent Engagement on Rise As Priority for Schools, Districts
Charter Sector Challenged by Caliber of School Boards
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: The E-Rate Overhaul in 4 Easy Charts
Studies Probe How Students Can Apply Math More Widely
NAEP to Gather Data on Grit, Mindset
Blogs of the Week
Teacher-Retention Data For Charters Still Murky
Stakes High for Bureau of Indian Education’s Overhaul
California Seeks Waiver on Use of Federal Title I Tutoring Money
Blogs of the Week
FRANCESCA STERNFELD: Necessary Lessons, Schools’ Critical Role in Reducing Family Violence
BENJAMIN RILEY: Can Teacher-Educators Learn From Medical-School Reform?
RANDI WEINGARTEN: States Should Ditch ‘Cut Scores’ on New Tests
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
TERRY B. GRIER: Creating a College-Bound Culture in an Urban School District

Education Week - June 3, 2015