Education Week - June 21, 2017 - 1
VOL. 36, NO. 36 * JUNE 21, 2017
AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2017 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 5
BRE AKING NEWS DAILY
Accreditor Latches Onto ESSA Bandwagon
Melissa Golden for Education Week
By Daarel Burnette II
Mark Elgart, CEO of the AdvancED accrediting
organization, is bullish on its contracting work.
AdvancED-the nation's largest
pre-K-12 accrediting organization-is working to vastly expand its school improvement
contractor operation to help states meet their
commitments under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Its suite of new online classroom-observation tools, consultant services, and teacher
and leadership training is independent of
the nonprofit's bread-and-butter work of
awarding or withholding its seal of approval
for 27,000 of the nation's elementary, middle,
and high schools.
But the potential for an accrediting organization to become both a judge and a service provider under ESSA's new era of school
accountability has alarmed some school accountability researchers. They worry such
an unregulated organization could use the
heavy stick of accreditation to nudge states,
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Seeks to Expand
The 'Old South'
Rises Again in
By Catherine Gewertz
Efforts to Remove Confederate
Statues Stoke Class Discussions
In a move that could reverberate through
U.S. high schools, President Donald Trump is
planning a major expansion of apprenticeship
programs to help build a pipeline of skilled workers, and calling for cutbacks to regulations that
could hobble the proposal.
The president signed an executive order
last week that envisions apprenticeships in
all high schools and the creation of a new
channel for getting them approved by federal
"Apprenticeships place students into great jobs
without the crippling debt of four-year college
degrees. Instead, apprentices earn while they
learn," Trump said as he signed the order at the
Apprenticeships are typically posts for
adults training or retraining for jobs, through
industry, labor unions, colleges, or partnerships among those sectors. They blend a
structured curriculum of study with paid
By Stephen Sawchuk
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Linnea Van Eman, the gifted education
coordinator for the Tulsa school district,
sees too many gifted students who simply
don't have the language skills to show what
they can do.
The 36,000-student Oklahoma district has
been pushing hard to bring more students
from traditionally underrepresented groups-
and English-language learners in particular-
into its gifted program. Using a combination
of more-diverse testing, greater parent outreach, and closer observation, Van Eman and
her teachers are working to fill equity gaps in
the district's advanced programs.
"Any child who can translate for their parents and is decoding in two languages all
the time, that's huge," Van Eman said. "We
need to push back against this perception
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Too Few ELL Students
Land in Gifted Classes
By Sarah D. Sparks
& Alex Harwin
districts, and schools into buying its growing
list of school improvement services.
At least four states-Kentucky, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Wyoming-have
already taken up AdvancED's offer of expanded services to some degree, signing contracts ranging from $250,000 to $1 million
The nonprofit organization's expansion
comes as states scramble to meet ESSA's
requirement that they assess the needs of
A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is removed in New Orleans. Some educators
around the country are finding an entry point for lessons about the post-Civil War
Reconstruction era and racism in current controversies over the removal of such statues.
When New Orleans officials removed the
last of four Confederate monuments in the
city in May, social studies teacher Hayley
Breden didn't avoid the potentially explosive
topic. Instead, she used it as a jumping-off
point for a discussion in her Holocaust and
Human Behavior class on how history is remembered, transmitted, and commemorated.
"One of the assignments was to pick a
shameful event, write a paper, and create an
educational piece or memorial to teach it to
others-what are appropriate and not appropriate, effective and not effective ways to
remember events in the past?" said Breden, a
teacher at Denver's South High School. "The
Confederate-monument issue paired really
well with that question."
The spate of efforts to remove the statues
stretches from Baltimore to St. Louis to Arizona and shows no sign of abating by fall.
Given how the movement is steeped in sensitive questions of identity, racism, and oppression, talking about it with students poses significant challenges for teachers, say history
and education experts.
Yet as Breden's unit suggests, done well,
such discussions can create rich learning opportunities. The topic provides an entry point
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Teacher Shortages Hinder Foreign-Language Instruction
By Corey Mitchell
Arguing that the inability to communicate
in any language but English constitutes a
threat to the nation's economic and military
security, two recent studies have painted a
grim picture of foreign-language education
in the nation's K-12 schools.
The reports from the American Academy of
Arts & Sciences and American Councils for
International Education found that public
schools and state departments of education
are struggling to find qualified world language
instructors and unequipped to track local and
national trends on language learning.
The American Councils for International
Education survey-which sought state-bystate data on enrollment in foreign language
courses-estimates that 10.6 million K-12
students in the United States are studying a
world language or American Sign Language.
That's only one out of every five students.
The survey team also found a striking "lack
of knowledge about foreign language teaching and learning."
In at least two states, fewer than 10 per-
cent of students are studying a language
other than English.
"We're such a long way in this country
from having it be normal to grow up learning other languages," said Marty Abbott, the
executive director of the American Council
on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. "Our
future depends on our ability to engage with
the rest of the world, and right now Americans have a very tough time doing that."
Researchers say the shortcomings are
most glaring in so-called critical-need lanPAGE 16 >