Education Week - July 9, 2014 - (Page 1)

Education Week VOL. 33, NO. 36 * JULY 9, 2014 AM E R ICAN E DUCATION'S N EWS PAPE R OF R ECOR D * © 2014 Editorial Projects in Education * $4  BREAKING NEWS DAILY Lawmakers Assert Role In Standards Common Core Sparks Bills Brandon Dill for Education Week By Catherine Gewertz Teachers at Ridgeway High School in Memphis, Tenn., begin a three-day Common Core State Standards training session. The state has spent $44 million of its $500 million Race to the Top grant to train more than 70,000 teachers in the new academic standards. Tennessee on Dogged Path to Race to Top Finish By Lauren Camera Tucked into the northwestern corner of Memphis, Tenn., past the derelict tractor-parts plant, across the railroad tracks overgrown with thorny bushes, and through an abandoned neighborhood, is Westside Achievement Middle School. The 400-student school and others in the neighborhood known as Frayser have been some of the state's poorestperforming schools for decades. Like other urban communities devastated by the decline of manufacturing and later by the recession, Frayser doesn't have much to offer. Most of the single-family homes that surround Westside are vacant, and references to neighborhood gangs scrawled in black graffiti cover a cluster of houses just one block from the middle school. When the University of Memphis recently identified five parts of the city with exceedingly high crime rates, three were in Frayser. This shrinking outcrop of Memphis is home to some 45,000 people. Most are African-American, and all live at or below the poverty line. Fewer than half the adults have a high school diploma. But it is here that one of the most radical education experiments in the country is taking place, thanks to a $500 million federal Race to the Top grant. Westside, along with 21 other Memphis schools, is part of the state-run Achievement School District, or asd, Resentful that a massive wave of common-standards adoptions four years ago bypassed their chambers and subjected them to intense political heat, state lawmakers are taking steps to claim some of the authority that state boards of education have traditionally held over academic standards. In just the past year and a half, 10 states have enacted laws that place new restrictions or specifications on how state boards may adopt academic expectations. Altogether, 50 bills have been introduced in 22 states during that time period that seek to change the procedures by which standards are developed, reviewed, or adopted, according to a special analysis conducted for Education Week by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state legislative activity. Many such measures died in committee, but others signaled strong political support by advancing through one or both chambers. When bills succeeded PAGE 32> LOUISIANA SHOWDOWN: The governor faces off against the state chief and school board on common-core tests. PAGE 27 MORE INSIDE: BOTTOM-UP APPROACH Teachers took a key role in crafting changes affecting them under Tennessee's Race to the Top plan. PAGE 28 Teacher Case Raises Stakes In Equity Fight CONSULTANT SCRAMBLE With big federal grants on the line, states sought plenty of outside help. PAGE 30 PAGE 28> By Stephen Sawchuk Ed-Tech Community Faces Sexism Concerns By Benjamin Herold Atlanta From sexual harassment to the glass ceiling, the challenges women face in the workplace are suddenly front and center in the education technology world. On the heels of claims of rape and harassment at the 2013 conference of the International Society for Technology in Education, perhaps the country's largest ed-tech gathering, the organizers of the event have overhauled their guidelines for attendee conduct. The new rules were in place here last week, where iste's 2014 conference featured the launch of a new network of female ed-tech leaders who aim to promote career-advancement opportunities and improved experiences for women working in PAGE 20> Schools Brace for Influx of Immigrants By Lesli A. Maxwell As the federal government scrambles to respond to an unprecedented surge of unaccompanied minors streaming across the U.S.Mexico border, the wave of young immigrants arriving alone from Central America has already begun to surface in communities and public schools far from the Southwest. In Miami, a nonprofit agency that provides legal services to unaccompanied minors has served 1,600 such children since the beginning of the calendar year, the same number it served in all of 2013. Last month, the Miami-Dade County school board approved Superintendent Alberto Carvalho's request to seek additional federal funding to help the district cover the costs of educating what he called "a spike in the number of foreign-born students from Central America, specifically Honduras." In San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., as well as in suburbs of Washington, educators report that the number of unaccompanied minors has been rising steadily for several months in their high schools. And in New York City, educators are beginPAGE 19> Ross D. Franklin/AP DIGITAL DIRECTIONS Two girls watch a World Cup soccer match from their holding area at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Nogales, Ariz. In the annals of education-equity cases, the decision in Vergara v. California was nothing less than a bombshell. The ruling last month by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge said that aspects of California teachers' tenure and due-process protections violated the constitutional rights of the state's neediest children. Within minutes, advocates proclaimed it a win for students who have historically received lower-quality education; others, such as the California Teachers Association, saw it as an unbridled attack on teachers and unions. To a degree, the cacophony of responses greeting the decision has obfuscated the fact that many of the implications of the lawsuit remain unclear, both in the Golden State and nationwide. Among the lingering questions: Will the ruling, at a slim 16 pages, hold up on appeal? Will California's notoriously polarized legislature, fearful of additional litigation and bad press, consider changPAGE 22>

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - July 9, 2014


Education Week - July 9, 2014