Education Week - June 12, 2013 - (Page 1)

EDUCATIONWEEK VOL. 32, NO. 35 • JUNE 12, 2013 AMERICAN EDUCATION’S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD • © 2013 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 DIGITAL DIRECTIONS Obama Plan Champions E-Rate Fixes By Sean Cavanagh President Barack Obama is calling for an ambitious overhaul of the federal E-rate program, a step that many education and technology advocates have been urging for years to improve what they see as schools’ badly out-of-date technological capabilities. The administration intends to ask the Federal Communications Commission to consider rechanneling and increasing funding through the program, which is derived from telecommunications fees, with the goal of giving 99 percent of the nation’s schools access to high-speed broadband and wireless Internet within five years. Mr. Obama’s plan, dubbed “Con- nectED,” also calls for the U.S. Department of Education to lead an effort, using existing federal funding, to boost teachers’ skills in using classroom technology, widely regarded as a shortcoming for many of today’s educators. Senior administration officials, in a briefing with reporters, did not offer a firm estimate of the price tag for the PAGE 20> States Seek Flexibility On Testing Transition to Standards Looms By Michele McNeil & Catherine Gewertz With the debut of common assessments less than two years away, states and districts are worried about the accountability systems that hinge on those tests. A growing chorus of policy groups is urging more flexibility in how states evaluate teachers, label schools, and enforce other high-stakes consequences during what’s likely to be a messy transition. Position papers from a range of organizations seek to stake out turf on the delicate question of how to postpone or temporarily ease some rules without abandoning accountability, at a time when the new, tougher assessments are projected to send test scores—at least at first—into a nose dive. Whether those moves are coming too late is an open question. “I see this discussion at 30,000 feet about whether the common core is good or not good. But what I don’t see is the kind of work that makes for good transitional policy,” said Sandy Kress, an Austin, Texas, lawyer and former education aide to President George W. Bush who helped write the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Mr. Kress, who has worked on accountPAGE 35> FOCUS ON: SCHOOL LEADERS Chicago Initiative Aims to Upgrade Principal Pipeline By Lesli A. Maxwell Even with nearly 50 schools shutting down at the end of this month, Chicago education officials have been barreling ahead with plans to groom a large crop of high-performing principals that they say represents the most ambitious effort the city has undertaken to upgrade its school leadership ranks. The goal, said Chicago schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, is to install some 300 leaders in the system’s 600-plus schools by the start of the 2014-15 academic year who meet more-rigorous eligibility criteria and demonstrate the skills that district leaders believe are essential to turning around chronically underperforming schools. The initiative also involves a new principal-evaluation system, bonus pay for principals who meet district performance goals, and the use of outside coaches to help promising current PAGE 24> COMMON CORE: A STEEP CLIMB THIRD OF FOUR PARTS Year-End Exams Add Urgency to Teaching By Catherine Gewertz Washington Returning from spring vacation, Dowan McNair-Lee’s students find their desks in neat rows, facing forward. For the previous seven months, the 8th graders had sat in clusters, facing one another, to facilitate discussion. But janitors used the break to ready the classroom for the year-end tests that are only two weeks away. The new arrangement is the backdrop for a changed tone in the classroom as well. All year long, Ms. McNair-Lee, an English/language arts teacher at Stuart-Hobson Middle School here, has been doing what millions of teachers across the country are doing: trying to help her students master the common standards, which all but four states have adopted. The District of Columbia school system has chosen an aggressive and comprehensive approach to implementing the standards, making major investments in resources and professional development. But like most districts, it faces many challenges as it tries to turn its vision into changed practice in the classroom. Now, with her calendar and her clock as constant reminders, Ms. McNair-Lee takes her students on a final, headlong dive into a review unit to bolster their skills. On this sunny April day, connotation and denotation are the focus of the lesson. Ms. McNair-Lee displays the words “home,” “house,” “residence,” and “dwelling” on the big board up front. From the class, she’s tryPAGE 26> UNDER PRESSURE: Keith Look, the principal of the Academy @ Shawnee, slaps hands with a student at the end of the school day. Intensive efforts to turn around the Louisville, Ky., high school have not yet yielded the needed results. PAGE 12 Questions Arise About Algebra 2 For All Students By Erik W. Robelen Should all students take Algebra 2? Florida seemed to say “no” this spring with the passage of a law striking it from graduation requirements. Texas lawmakers said much the same in a bill awaiting action by the governor that also backs away from Algebra 2 for all. Those steps come as the Common Core State Standards for math set the expectation that all students should meet learning objectives at what’s generally considered the Algebra 2 level. The new standards would represent a big shift. About one-quarter of high school students never take the course (or its equivalent), based on recent federal data. Also, some math educators say their Algebra 2 courses are about to get tougher as they align with the common core. Success in Algebra 2 is often touted as a critical gateway to college and career readiness, but some question that view. During Florida’s legislative debate, state Sen. Aaron Bean said some students, if PAGE 29> BREAKING NEWS DAILY ▲ Pat McDonogh for Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - June 12, 2013

Education Week - June 12, 2013
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Obama Plan Champions E-Rate Fixes
States Seek Flexibility on Testing
FOCUS ON: SCHOOL LEADERS: Chicago Initiative Aims to Upgrade Principal Pipeline
Questions Arise About Algebra 2 For All Students
Year-End Exams Add Urgency to Teaching
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Race on to Ready N.Y.C. Teacher Reviews
Districts Turning Summer School Into Learning Labs
Preschools Aim to Better Equip Low-Income Parents
After Early Progress, SIG School Struggles To Improve
Progress, Persistence Seen in Latest Data on Bullying
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: ‘MOOC’ Plan Could Spawn Dual-Enrollment Courses
Virginia Joins Ranks of States Creating State-Run Districts
Blogs of the Week
NCLB Bills Split Over Federal Role in K-12
Policy Brief
States Fold Teaching Into Preschool Rating Factors
Peer Review Quietly Put On Hold For State Assessment Systems
State Opposition Jeopardizes Common-Core Future
OP EDUCATION: Are New Teachers Ready to Teach?
EDWARD CROWE, MICHAEL ALLEN, & CHARLES COBLE: A Good Time for Progress in Teacher Prep
JULIE GORLEWSKI: Teaching Toward Utopia
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
OTIS KRIEGEL: ‘You’ll Get the Hang of It’

Education Week - June 12, 2013