Education Week - July 8, 2015 - (Page 5)

REPORT ROUNDUP COLLEGE-GOING Dallas Chief's Resignation Marks End of Rocky Tenure Mike Miles has resigned as the superintendent of the Dallas schools, ending a tenure marked by near-constant clashes with his school board and community members. Before coming to Dallas, Mr. Miles served as superintendent of the Harrison school system in Colorado for six years. In Dallas, he installed new evaluation systems for teachers and principals. Despite his efforts, student scores on state exams flatlined or plunged, The Dallas Morning News reported. During his three-year tenure in Dallas, protesters picketed his home, and he continually clashed with employees and several school board members, and survived several attempts by a few board members to fire him. Just last month, he fired three popular principals despite a school board vote to keep them.  -COREY MITCHELL Suit Claims Los Angeles Misused Funds for High-Need Students Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District last week alleging that millions of dollars intended to help low-income, foster-care, and Englishlearner students were diverted to special education services. The nonprofit law firm Public Advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California assert the district used the funds toward special education costs instead of spending the money on services for the students targeted under a new funding law that provides districts with higher numbers of high-need students with additional funds. The law is considered one of the nation's largest public undertakings to equalize educational opportunities. Public Advocates and the aclu estimate that high-need students were deprived of about $126 million in the 2014-15 school year and $288 million in the next. The district did not immediately return a request for comment.  -ASSOCIATED PRESS "Minorities Are Disproportionately Underrepresented in Special Education: Longitudinal Evidence Across Five Disability Categories" The 2008 economic downturn may have made paying for college more difficult, but the students who started high school in the teeth of the downturn are still pushing into higher education, according to new federal data. Of the students who entered 9th grade in fall 2009, the overwhelming majority graduated and moved on to higher education in four years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics' latest update of the 2009 High School Transcript Study, released last month. Nces researchers tracked 20,000 9th graders in 944 schools nationwide and updated the survey in 2013. They found that nearly nine out of 10 students had graduated by 2013 and more than a third had earned Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credit. Seventy-three percent were taking at least some postsecondary courses; an additional 8 percent had been accepted or registered for classes but had not yet started. -SARAH D. SPARKS Black students and Hispanic students are less likely than their white and non-Hispanic peers to be labeled with a disability, when factors such as household income, low birth weight, and parents' marital status are taken into account, according to a new study. The findings challenge the notion that overt or unconscious bias has funneled a disproportionate number of minority students into special education. The study was published online June 24 by the journal Educational Researcher. Researchers analyzed a national sample of students from five of the 13 federal disability categories-emotional disturbance, intellectual disability, "other health impairment," specific learning disability, and speech and language impairment. They looked at not only race but at other variables that correlate with educational outcomes: Englishlanguage status, birth weight, insurance status, household income, and mother's marital status. They also controlled for the child's achievement and behavior. After accounting for such factors, the probability of being identified for special education was lower in every category for minority students. Lead author Paul L. Morgan of Pennsylvania State University said just reporting the share of black children identified with a disability is not enough: Risk factors seem to make a difference. For example, black children may be more likely to be born at a low birth weight, or in low-income households.  -CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS NONCOGNITIVE SKILLS "Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework" A report from the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research seeks to distill reams of research and insights from practitioners to help identify the cognitive and noncognitive traits students need to succeed in life, and to give schools and community groups a developmentally sensitive road map for nurturing them in children. The report seeks to show how those ideas fit together into sort of an ecosystem with the aim of helping educators and policymakers design and implement smart practices. It was funded through a competitivegrant process by the Wallace Foundation, which also helps to support Education Week's coverage of leadership, expanded learning time, and arts education.  Kent D. Williamson, a former executive director of the National Council of Teachers of English, died June 7 after a long illness. He was 57. Mr. Williamson served as head of the 35,000-member organization from 2000 to 2015. As he wrote on the ncte website in February, he was an "unlikely choice" for the position. He had taught as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Kingdom of Tonga and as a graduate assistant, but was never a K-12 English teacher. Prior to his time at the ncte, Mr. Williamson had worked as an executive director for the American Dairy Science Association and as a development officer for the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Under Mr. Williamson's leadership, the ncte helped start such initiatives as the online teacher-resource hub ReadWriteThink and the widely celebrated National Day on Writing. He also directed the National Center for Literacy Education, a partnership started in 2011 between the ncte and more than two dozen groups aimed at supporting teachers of all disciplines with literacy instruction.  -L.H. Study: Minorities Less Likely to Be in Spec. Ed. "A First Look at Fall 2009 9th Graders in 2013" -EVIE BLAD SKILLS GAPS "Inequalities at the Starting Gate" Children enter kindergarten with academic and "soft skills" gaps that can be linked directly to their socioeconomic status, says an economic policy group that examined federal data on kindergarten students. The Washington-based Economic Policy Institute found that race-based gaps in skills such as reading and math, eagerness to learn, persistence, and focus shrink significantly when socioeconomic status is taken into account. About 46 percent of black children and 63 percent of Hispanic Englishlearners live in poverty, the study notes. Its title is a deliberate allusion to a 2002 report published by epi called "Inequality at the Starting Gate," which drew on the experiences of children who started school in 1998. The new study showed that the disparities extend to noncognitive skills in addition to language arts and math.  -CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS TECHNOLOGY "Does Not Compute: The High Cost of Low Technology Skills in the U.S.-And What We Can Do About It" The U.S. education system isn't adequately preparing students to use technology for problem-solving, according to a newly released analysis, which recommends what public schools and businesses can do to address that problem. Change the Equation, a Washingtonbased organization promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or stem, studies, looked at how American millennials-the first "digital natives" because they were born between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s after the advent of the Internet-fared in an international study of adult skills in 19 countries. Researchers analyzed data from the 2012 Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies, which tested the key cognitive and workplace skills needed to participate in society. While millennials may be adept at social media, the study found, 58 percent struggle to use digital tools and networks to solve relatively simple problems that involve skills like sorting, searching for, and emailing information from a spreadsheet, the study found.  -MICHELE MOLNAR DROPOUT STATISTICS "Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972-2012" A new National Center for Education Statistics report suggests that some improvements in the percentages of students dropping out of the nation's schools have slowed in recent years. Drawing on several surveys and databases, the nces report traces trends from 1972 to 2012 for an array of different dropout indicators: the event dropout rate, the status dropout rate, the status completion rate, and the adjusted cohort graduation rate. For example, the event dropout rate, which estimates the percentage of students who left high school between the beginning of one school year and the next, is 3.4 percent-unchanged since 2009. In 1972, the rate was 6.1 percent. With another indicator, the status dropout rate, the nces found in 2012 that there were 2.6 million Americans ages 16-24 who were not in a public or private school and had not earned a diploma. This group comprised about 6.6 percent of this age group that year, down from 14.6 percent in 1972, and 9.3 percent in 2003.  -CARALEE J. ADAMS RURAL STUDENTS "College Enrollment Patterns for Rural Indiana High School Graduates" Students who graduate from rural Indiana high schools are more likely to attend a two-year or nonselective postsecondary school than their nonrural peers, and to choose a college that is "undermatched" with their presumed eligibility level, according to a new report. The Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest at American Institutes for Research, in partnership with rel Midwest's Rural Research Alliance, examined trends among Indiana's 2010 high school graduates-about 32 percent of whom were rural students. While rural Indiana students were just as likely as their nonrural peers to attend college, they were more likely to choose a two-year-rather than a fouryear-college. About 28 percent of rural graduates enrolled in a college that was less selective than they were qualified for, compared to about 24 percent of nonrural students. To mitigate this pattern, the authors of the report suggested providing more information to students who are eligible for selective colleges. They also called for more research to better understand which academic programs are attractive to rural graduates. -JACKIE MADER EDUCATION WEEK | July 8, 2015 | | 5

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