Education Week - June 10, 2015 - (Page 4)

NEWS IN BRIEF Chicago Schools Chief Resigns Amid Investigation Patrick Farrell/The Miami Herald /AP Chicago public schools ceo Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigned last week amid a federal probe of a $20.5 million no-bid contract the school district granted to a company that previously employed her, the Chicago Tribune reported. In a letter to the school board president, Ms. Byrd-Bennett wrote that she will "always be thankful for the opportunity to serve the children of Chicago." The letter did not list reasons for her departure as head of the nation's third-largest school district, the Tribune reported. Her current contract, which pays her $250,000 per year, doesn't expire until June 2016. Interim ceo Jesse Ruiz will continue to lead the district. She was appointed to the city's top schools job by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2012. -COREY MITCHELL Report Takes Aim at States' K-12 Spending Strategies A report from the Leadership Conference Education Fund and the Education Law Center says that states' inadequate and inequitable funding for public schools is hurting students' chances for success. "Cheating Our Future: How Decades of Disinvestment by States Jeopardizes Equal Educational Opportunity" says that at a time when a majority of students in public schools come from low-income families, states are failing to provide the level of resources that will enable them to meet higher expectations in K-12. In a separate report, "Is School Funding Fair?," the Education Law Center says that a majority of states, 35, do not direct additional resources to students in schools with concentrated poverty in their funding formulas.  -ANDREW UJIFUSA Free Test-Prep Program Unveiled for SAT GRADUATION SURPRISE Army Staff Sgt. Jose Garcia hugs his daughter Samantha after she received her diploma from Miami Killian Senior High School last week in Miami. Sgt. Garcia hadn't seen Samantha in four years. While stationed overseas, he missed the graduation of his elder daughter and could only watch his son's graduation via live streaming. The nonprofit organization behind the sat college-entrance exam has teamed up with a Silicon Valley pioneer in online education to offer free test-preparation materials. The move is aimed at making the college-admissions race fairer for students from poor families. The College Board gave access to the revamped sat it plans to introduce next spring to the Khan Academy, which has developed diagnostic quizzes and interactive practice tests that will be accessible to anyone with Internet access. Students who visit www.khan will find quizzes based on the math and reading sections of the new sat, as well as fulllength practice tests.  -ASSOCIATED PRESS Fla.; Hawaii's statewide system; New York City; and the District of Columbia. All the districts also have local partners. The initiative now reaches more than 22,000 students in 49 schools across 14 states and the District of Columbia. It targets "turnaround schools"-those selected by the U.S. Department of Education for extra resources from federal agencies and private foundations because they are in the bottom 5 percent of their states' schools in student achievement. -JESSICA BROWN Arts Program Targeting Failing Schools Expands Tool for Aligning Standards For Science Out for Review A program that uses arts education to help turn around failing schools is expanding for the second time. The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities announced last week that its Turnaround Arts initiative has added five districts: Bridgeport, Conn.; Broward County, A draft tool that educators, school districts, and publishers will eventually be able to use to see if their instructional materials are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards is now available for review by the public. The ngss Primary Evaluation of Essential Criteria for Alignment is intended to help curriculum reviewers decide whether a program has "the essential features of an ngssbased program." Once the guide is final, it can be used to conduct alignment studies of full science programs, kit-based materials, and textbooks. The draft document is open for public comment on the ngss website until July 1.  -LIANA HEITIN States Set Varying Passing Bars on New Teacher Assessment As they implement policies around a new performance-based licensing test for teachers, states are setting the bar at different places-a phenomenon that raises questions about cross-state comparisons. The edtpa, short for teacher-performance assessment, is a licensing exam that, among other things, requires candidates to submit a video of their teaching and analyze it. Some 12 states are in various stages of requiring the exam for teachers. When states set cutoff scores for the test, they take into account factors like projected supply and demand, in addition to quality issues. The top score for most middle and secondary teachers is 75 points, and the test's creators have suggested putting the passing score no higher than 42. (The score setting is different for elementary and worldlanguage teachers.) 4 | EDUCATION WEEK | June 10, 2015 | California set its score at 41, but programs can choose to use three other exams instead. Iowa's score is also 41, but candidates can take alternative exams. For now, Illinois' score is 35, but it is ramping up to 41 by 2019. New York requires a 41, though implementation has been twice delayed. In Tennessee, each program sets a passing score of at least a 37. And in Washington state, the score is 35. Having different passing scores means that it won't be as easy to compare candidates' performance across institutions or states, which potentially raises wrinkles for licensure reciprocity and other policies. Alabama, Delaware, Hawaii, Georgia, and Oregon haven't yet set cutoff scores. Minnesota is using the exam as one component of assessing teacher-preparation programs, so its grading system is a bit different. -STEPHEN SAWCHUK Wisconsin Moving to Allow Teachers Without Degrees Wisconsin may become the only state to allow people who don't have bachelor's degrees to be certified to teach some academic subjects, under a provision put in the state budget. The move has drawn widespread criticism, and Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, has refused to say whether he supports it. Under the change, people with relevant experience could be licensed to teach noncore academic subjects in grades 6-12. They would not need degrees, and they could even be high school dropouts. Anyone with a bachelor's degree could be licensed to teach in a core subject: English, math, social studies, or science. No other state allows teachers who don't have a bachelor's degree to be licensed, according to the Wisconsin education department, although Georgia allows certification of career and technical education teachers without a bachelor's. -AP Behavior Specialists Planned For All of District's Schools The Madison, Wis., school board last week authorized an additional $1.9 million to address student behavior next school year, more than doubling the resources dedicated to a controversial discipline policy. Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham recommended the extra funding after a survey of teachers revealed that most don't think a new, less punitive student-discipline policy is having a positive impact on student behavior. Money would go toward putting at least a part-time staff member at every elementary school to handle student-behavior problems, and at least one full-time staff member at each middle and high school. Funds are also to be used to expand mentalhealth and special education services for students with "intensive needs" and to expand training for staff.  -McCLATCHY-TRIBUNE Tribal School Is Awarded One-of-a-Kind NCLB Waiver First it was states, then a collection of districts. Now, the U.S. Department of Education is taking the unusual step of giving a

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - June 10, 2015

Education Week - June 10, 2015
Cleveland Embraces Social- Emotional Learning
Challenge of Co-Teaching A Special Education Issue
As Federal Grants Taper Off, Two N.C. Districts Tally Impact
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: N.Y. ‘Open’ Content Going Nationwide
School Choice Supercharged In Nev. Statute
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Debate Persists Around Kindergarten Reading Standards
New York Expanding Dual Language to Help Its English- Learners
Schools, Students Hit Hard by California’s Historic Drought
Blogs of the Week
Massachusetts School Transforms Renovation Into Teachable Moment
Magnet Schools Found to Boost Diversity—But Only a Bit
Survey: Students Need More Than Academic Prowess
Education Policy Issues In Arizona Crossfire
Congress Appears Poised to Tackle Higher Education Issues
SIG Money Gives Principal Tools For Turnaround
Federal Aid Fuels Multi-Tiered Instruction
Additional Entrants Join Presidential Race
High Court Rules in Online Threat, Religious Rights Cases
A Movement Gains Momentum
What Teachers Are Saying
Parents Have a Civil Right To Question Testing’s Goal
Parents See Testing’s ‘Distorting Impact’
What Are the Policy Implications of the Opt-Out Movement?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
An Early Opt-Out

Education Week - June 10, 2015