Education Week - August 19, 2015 - (Page 4)

NEWS IN BRIEF Ed. Dept. to Subsidize Costs Of AP for Some Test-Takers penalty on the legislature until it makes firmer commitments to increasing teacher salaries and reducing class sizes. The order is effective immediately, although the court said that if Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, calls a special session and lawmakers pass legislation that commits the state more heavily to reducing class size in K-3 and expanding all-day kindergarten, that daily fine may ultimately be "abated." The order is the culmination of a political struggle that began in 2012, when the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the system for funding K-12 violated the state constitution. In a push to prepare more lowincome students for college or a career, the U.S. Department of Education last week awarded $28.4 million in grants to help defray the cost of taking Advanced Placement tests. The grants, which range from $22,000 for Vermont to $10.6 million for California, will be doled out to 38 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. They are expected to cover all but $12 of the cost of each AP test taken. By subsidizing test fees for lowincome students, department officials said, the program is intended to encourage those students to take AP tests and obtain college credit for high school courses. -LAUREN CAMERA -ANDREW UJIFUSA Atlanta Rolls Out Grade-Changing Rules The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has formed a commission to examine the state of language education and conduct the first national study on foreign-language learning in more than 30 years. The commission will work with scholarly and professional organizations to review research about the benefits of foreign-language instruction with the goal of starting a "nationwide conversation" about the need for investment in foreign languages and international education. The panel of experts in education, research, business, and government will explore what the nation's language education needs will be in the future and offer recommendations on how to meet those needs. -COREY MITCHELL Thousands of Texas Students May Be Held Back a Grade Nearly 105,000 Texas 5th and 8th graders-about 1 in 7 students-could be held back in the coming school year because they couldn't pass the STAAR reading exam in three tries, says a Texas Samuel Hoffman/The Journal-Gazette/AP Foreign-Language Study To Be Undertaken NEW ADVENTURE Devon Wright, 5, left, and his buddy Jaiden Rice, 4, head for the gym to meet their teacher on their first day of school at Bunche Montesorri Elementary in Fort Wayne, Ind., last week. Education Agency report from last week. Those students already got a break this year when state Commissioner of Education Michael Williams waived the requirement that students pass the math exam to be promoted, citing tough new math standards that were imposed in the 2014-15 school year. Despite their failure in reading, most are likely to be promoted be- New York's Student Opt-Out Rate for Testing Hits 20 Percent Twenty percent of students in New York state in grades 3-8 who were eligible to take statewide tests in reading and math for the 2014-15 school year did not do so, according to data released by the state education department last week. It's the third year that New York state students have taken tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards. And scores didn't change dramatically from last year to this year. Overall statewide percentages of students who attained proficiency in 2014-15 were 31.3 percent on the reading exam and 38.1 percent in math. The math-proficiency rate rose by just under 2 percentage points from the 2013-14 rate; in reading, the proficiency rate rose by less than a percentage point. The push by parents, the New York State United Teachers, and other groups for parents to opt their children out of the tests has been the subject of intense interest and media scrutiny for months. According to demographic information from the 4 | EDUCATION WEEK | August 19, 2015 | department, those who did not have a "recognized, valid reason" for not taking the exams were: more likely to be white; more likely not to have achieved proficiency on last year's exams; less likely to be economically disadvantaged; less likely to come from districts serving relatively large numbers of poor students; and less likely to be an Englishlanguage learner. "Without an annual testing program, the progress of our neediest students may be ignored or forgotten, leaving these students to fall further behind. This cannot happen," New York Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said in a statement regarding the opt-out numbers. Tisch has previously warned that high opt-out rates could threaten the validity of the state's common-core tests and "force" the state into using another test. But it's not immediately clear what policy impact the opt-out rate will have in New York. -ANDREW UJIFUSA cause state law allows a review panel to exempt students from having to pass the test. -McCLATCHY-TRIBUNE Court Levies Huge Fines On Wash. State Legislature Declaring that state lawmakers have failed to fix an unconstitutional system for financing public schools, Washington state's top court last week imposed a daily $100,000 | TRANSITIONS | Matt McClure, the chief learning and financial officer of the Cross County school district in Arkansas and the co-founder of Arkansas Tech University's LEAD 21 Walton Leader Scholars program, has been named president of ASCD. McClure has served as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent of schools during his 18-year career. The Atlanta school system, plagued by a widespread testcheating scandal that led to criminal charges and convictions, will strengthen its rules on changing students' grades. Meria Carstarphen, the district's superintendent, asked for a report this summer when an internal investigation found that a high school principal changed more than 100 student grades from failing to passing with "scant justification," according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Over the past year, the school system has completed eight reviews of suspicious grade-change activity. Under the new regulations, administrators have to complete several steps before a grade can be changed. For one, school registrars will need to make an official request for a grade change, which has to be approved by the principal and associate superintendent. -C.M. N.Y.C. Chancellor Forms Anti-Cheating Task Force New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña has announced the formation of a task force to monitor academic integrity in city schools. Principals and guidance counselors will have to attend additional training sessions to help them maintain high standards. The task force will provide oversight, as well as training, and will produce biannual reports on how well schools are implementing academic guidelines. The task force will include one member from outside the city's education department, and its work will be reviewed by the auditing firm Ernst & Young. The announcement comes after a principal was fired last month for allowing students to earn passing grades without attending class or turning in any work. -AP Miami-Dade to Remake Foreign-Language Instruction Miami-Dade County officials are taking steps to overhaul their Spanish-language curriculum in response to parent and teacher concerns. The Florida district plans to launch a new graduate-certificate program for teachers and under-

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - August 19, 2015

Education Week - August 19, 2015
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Rookie Principals’ Group Sheds Light on Early-Career Challenges
Education Week Acquires Television Production Company
Historians See AP U.S. History Revisions as ‘Evenhanded’
Handcuffing of Students Reignites Debate On Use of Restraint
Study Casts Doubt on Impact of Teacher Professional Development
Teachers Use Minecraft to Fuel Creative Ideas, Analytical Thinking
Blogs of the Week
Education Stakes Are High in Ky., La., and Miss. Governor Races
Accountability 3.0: What Will State Systems Look Like?
Budget Deadline Could Put Education Programs at Risk
Blogs of the Week
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
How Do We Help Students With Mental-Health Issues Return to School?
Lessons From Successful School Improvement Grants
2005: In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina
Do We Need Quality Assurance for Teacher Feedback?

Education Week - August 19, 2015