Education Week - July 8, 2015 - (Page 1)

1 Education Week VOL. 34, NO. 36 * JULY 8, 2015 AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2015 EDITORIAL PROJECTS IN EDUCATION * $ 4  BRE AKING NEWS DAILY Supreme Court To Decide Case On Union Fees DIGITAL DIRECTIONS NEA, AFT Financing Threatened Photos by Charles Mostoller for Education Week By Stephen Sawchuk ED-TECH EXTRAVAGANZA: Nearly 20,000 ed-tech enthusiasts descended on Philadelphia last week for the annual conference of the International Society for Technology in Education. The event featured hundreds of technology companies touting digital learning products, "maker movement" workshops for educators, and developments in 3-D learning software. PAGE 10 Crazy Quilt of State Responses to Cries of Overtesting By Andrew Ujifusa After years of outcry and intensifying public debate about whether students are overtested, many states are attempting to definitively address the issue this year. But there's no consistent strategy across the country, and just what the proposed solutions will mean for assessments could vary dramatically. The Council of Chief State School Officers says that 39 states are examining how to reduce overtesting or cut redundant tests in some fashion, as part of their efforts to Advocates Scrutinize Head Start Proposals By Christina A. Samuels Early-childhood advocates are praising a proposed top-to-bottom revision of the rules governing Head Start, the federally funded program that serves a million children from low-income families and pregnant women and children nationwide, even as they raise questions about whether the budget resources would be available to bring those plans to fruition. Head Start officials see the proposal, PAGE 19 > "reduce unnecessary burden" from testing. Yet many states, rather than placing hard caps on testing time or cutting specific exams through legislation, are choosing to hand responsibility for reducing testing to new state commissions or to work directly with local schools. "How it is in one district might be very different from what it is in another district in the same state," said Lynn Jennings, a legislative affairs associate with the Education Trust, a Washington-based advocacy group. Although new tests tied to the Common Core State Standards have triggered much of the discussion about overtesting, many state chiefs and elected officials support how those tests will inform their policy decisions, or else can't dramatically cut back their administration because of federal law. Uncertainty about the fate of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in Congress also creates challenges for state officials. That means the burden of cutting tests is also falling on many district administrators, who have to tread carefully. "There will be some teachers who will be As states continue to draw lines in the sand about whether or not they have adopted the Common Core State Standards, there's some evidence the new benchmarks have crept into classrooms in all states-mainly through instructional materials. Four states-Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia-have firmly refused to adopt the standards since they were unveiled five years ago, and yet there are examples in each place of schools and districts using common-core-aligned curricula. PAGE 20 > HIGH COURT ROUNDUP: Education issues fell within the broad sweep of important rulings in the U.S. Supreme Court's recently concluded 2014-15 term. PAGE 14 Nev. Moves to Split Clark Co. District By Denisa R. Superville In fact, some curriculum providers say as many as 1 in 12 users of their commoncore-aligned materials hail from states that either never adopted or have repealed adoption of the standards. Educators' reasons for using commoncore-aligned materials vary: Some say such materials are simply the most well-vetted and widely available at this point, and that they line up nicely with their own states' standards. "From the classroom perspective, you're not thinking about is this a common-core lesson or is this not, you're thinking about is Nevada's Clark County school system, the nation's fifth largest, with more than 318,000 students, could be broken up into smaller districts under a new state law that is raising major questions about how to reorganize a rapidly changing urban system. The law-signed last month by Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican-authorizes setting up two committees to spearhead the district's reorganization by the 2018-19 school year. Supporters say the reorganization would streamline services and improve communications between administrators and parents in a sprawling district of 357 schools that spans 8,000 square miles across 15 municipalities, including the city of Las Vegas, and unincorporated areas. But among the questions that remain for critics: How will the new district lines be drawn? How will real estate assets and debt held by the Clark County district be divided? Will students be able to attend any magnet school of their choice? Will the reorganization create a set of districts of haves and have-nots? And more immediately, how will the law affect the Clark County district's plan to issue $4 billion in bonds to build new schools and retrofit others to keep up with growing student enrollment? Pat Skorkowsky, Clark County's superintendent, said that a reorganization is worth considering if it results in "a better way of doing business," without PAGE 12 > PAGE 9 > PAGE 21 > Common Core Trickles Into All States By Liana Heitin The U.S. Supreme Court last week agreed to hear a challenge to its nearly 40-year-old precedent permitting public-sector unions to compel nonmembers to pay service fees, a move that threatens to further undercut the already weakened labor organizations, including in K-12 education. If the court overrules its 1977 decision, teachers' unions in 25 states and the District of Columbia could no longer collect the fees from teachers who do not wish to be members. They would face the elimination of a significant source of revenue, and would almost certainly experience member defections. "The court is threatening to put a dagger very close to the heart, financially speaking, of the way labor unions operate," said Lee Howard Adler, a lecturer at Cornell University's Institute of Labor Relations and an expert on public-sector bargaining. Brought by 10 California teachers and a Christian educators' group they belong to, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association alleges that requiring nonmembers to pay what are called "fair share" or "agency" fees violates the teachers' constitutional rights to free speech. Unions charge those service fees to cover the admin-

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - July 8, 2015

Education Week - July 8, 2015
Nev. Moves to Split Clark Co. District
Crazy Quilt of State Responses To Cries of Overtesting
Common Core Trickles Into All States
Advocates Scrutinize Head Start Proposals
Supreme Court To Decide Case On Union Fees
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Ed. School Critic Levine, MIT Partner to Launch Teacher-Prep ‘Lab’
Ariz.’s 20-Year-Old ELL Case May End, But Debate Rages On
Spelling—en Español—Catches On, With Bees in Multiple States
Blogs of the Week
ISTE Conference Examines How Tech Is Reshaping Education
Budgets, Testing Issues Took Legislative Stage
States Struggle With How to Ensure Good Teachers in All Schools
K-12 Issues Fall Within Suite of Recent High Court Rulings
In States, Plenty of Talk But Incremental Action on Early Ed.
Lengthy Floor Debate Looms for U.S. Senate Over ESEA Rewrite
Fresh Entrants in GOP’s Quest For White House
House, Senate Appropriations Bills Would Cut Back Ed. Dept. Funding
What We’ve Learned From a Longer School Day and Year
The Illusion of Closing The Achievement Gap
The ‘Power’ of Adversity
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Scholars: Challenging Racial Injustice Begins With Us

Education Week - July 8, 2015