Education Week - August 7, 2013 - (Page 1)

EDUCATIONWEEK VOL. 32, NO. 37 • AUGUST 7, 2013 AMERICAN EDUCATION’S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD • © 2013 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 By Andrew Ujifusa Having failed to persuade lawmakers in any state to repeal the Common Core State Standards outright, opponents are training their fire on the assessments being developed to go with the standards and due to be rolled out for the 2014-15 school year. They’re using as ammunition concerns about costs and the technology required for those tests, in addition to general political opposition to the common core. A few states— including Georgia, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania—have already chosen to limit or end their participation in the assessments under development by two federally funded consortia, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Legislators in Kansas, where a commoncore repeal bill failed this year, may ultiPAGE 20 > POCKETBOOK ISSUE: States weigh their options now that they know the cost of the tests. PAGE 20 BUILDING SKILLS: Inside Central College Academy, Shabria Hathorn, left, and Josephine Holmes build a pergola, which will be installed in a nearby park. The 2013 graduates and other students from disadvantaged schools in Detroit are working with General Motors retirees, who teach them work and life skills in preparation for college and and workplace. PAGE 8 Quantifying Pain From ‘Sequester’ Proves a Puzzle By Alyson Klein As Congress shifts focus to next year’s spending bills, education advocates are getting ready to renew their push against the across-theboard funding cuts known as sequestration. But the fallout from the cuts, which trimmed roughly 5 percent from federal K-12 funding overall this year, is often hard to illustrate or quantify, even for seasoned number-crunchers. The sequestration cuts—which were put in place for virtually all federal agencies in 2011 to force a long-term budget agreement—are hitting most districts at the start of this coming school year. While some Head Start early-childhood programs already have had to make painful choices, sequestration’s impact on K-12 education in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 is very uneven around the country. “I thought by now we’d start to hear feedback from school districts and states,” said Michael Griffith, a school finance consultant for the Education Commission of the States in Denver. Mr. Griffith, who travels around the country talking to state and district officials about fiscal issues, hasn’t heard nearly PAGE 29 > Syracuse ‘Says Yes’ to Whole Child By Sarah D. Sparks Syracuse, N.Y. For Syracuse, N.Y., “educating the whole child” is not just a mantra for school improvement but a strategy to save a struggling urban community, too. Five years ago, Syracuse became the first city to adopt, citywide, a national education partnership model called Say Yes to Education, which provides academic, legal, social, and health supports to families and students from preschool all the way through college, culminating in free tuition for any of the district’s 21,000 students who graduate from high school and want to attend college. In the process, the Syracuse Say Yes initiative offers a rare look at what the popular push for holistic, community-centered education reform can look like in practice, both in the ongoing challenges of meeting students’ and families’ needs, and in the surprising effects on communities. According to 2012 data from the Census Bu- reau, “for the first time in 50 years, the Syracuse population has stabilized,” said Ann Rooney, a member of the Say Yes task force and the deputy executive for human services for Onondaga County, which includes Syracuse. “That’s one thing we as a community all focus on.” Syracuse’s struggles mirror those of postindustrial communities nationwide. The city of just more than 145,000 has steadily lost industry and residents over the years, and the remaining population—especially the public PAGE 24 > NAEP Data Misused To Promote Policies By Stephen Sawchuk The National Assessment of Educational Progress is widely viewed as the most accurate and reliable yardstick of U.S. students’ academic knowledge. But when it comes to many of the ways the exam’s data are used, researchers have gotten used to gritting their teeth. Results from the venerable exam are frequently pressed into service to bolster claims about the effect that policies, from test-based accountability to collective bargaining to specific reading and math interventions, have had on student achievement. While those assertions are compelling, provocative, and possibly even correct, they are also mostly speculative, researchers say. That’s because the exam’s technical properties PAGE 22 > BREAKING NEWS DAILY Common Tests In Cross Hairs Assessments Cast as Weak Link FLORIDA CHIEF RESIGNS POST Tony Bennett quit last week after accusations that he altered the state grading system to benefit a charter school in his previous job as Indiana state chief. The controversy raises questions involving leadership and accountability systems. PAGE 27 INDUSTRY & INNOVATION Investors Seeking Preschool Returns By Sean Meehan An unusual partnership involving Goldman Sachs, a school district in Utah, and several community charities to expand the school system’s early-education program is intended to save taxpayers money and provide a financial return for investors. This fall, Goldman Sachs and an- other investment company, the Pritzker Group, will pay for the expansion of an early-childhood program in the 67,000-student Granite district through a social-impact bond, also known as a pay-for-success loan. Social-impact bonds are loans that seek to achieve a positive social outcome, and reduce future costs, by investing in prevention and intervention programs in the public sector. If successful, the venture would be the first investment of this kind to finance a public school program, according to officials at Goldman Sachs, which has its headquarters in New York City but whose second-largest PAGE 18 > ▲ Steve Cannon/AP Brian Widdis for Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - August 7, 2013

Education Week - August 7, 2013
Common Tests in Cross Hairs
Quantifying Pain From ‘Sequester’ Proves a Puzzle
Syracuse ‘Says Yes’ to Whole Child
NAEP Data Misused to Promote Policies
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Investors Seeking Preschool Returns
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Scholars Craft New Approaches to Teaching Fractions
Obama Inspires Thoughts on Supporting Black Males
Internship Pairs Detroit Students With GM Retirees
New Dropout-Warning System Flags Pupils’ Risks in 1st Grade
Parents Provide Muscle as Bond, Tax Measures Scrap to Win Approval
Bridgeport Schools Chief’s Future in Doubt
FCC Releases Blueprint for Restructuring E-Rate Program
FOCUS ON: FACILITIES: Charter-Space Seekers Run Into Hurdles on Several Fronts
States, Districts Set Policies To Give Charters Financing for Facilities
Blogs of the Week
States Ponder Price Tag of Common Tests
Duncan Unlikely to Tweak Accountability Oversight
Stark Partisan Split Persists On ESEA Renewal
New Grading-System Scrutiny May Follow Fall of Fla. Chief
Policy Brief
Head Start Shake-Up Yields Little Turnover
CAROL THOMAS: The Call of the Common Core
MARIAM AZIN: Schools Can—and Must—Do More About Bullying, Violence, and Suicide
MARK BAUERLEIN: Boredom’s Paradox
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
WEB HUTCHINS: Civics in the Core

Education Week - August 7, 2013