Education Week - August 19, 2015 - (Page 5)

REPORT ROUNDUP ENGLISH-LANGUAGE LEARNERS take a $4 million curriculum overhaul after critics blasted a plan by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho that could have restricted access to foreign-language instruction, The Miami Herald reports. To address the district's struggle to find qualified instructors who have skills to teach multiple subjects in Spanish, administrators are pursuing a partnership with Florida International University that will help teachers build Spanish fluency and learn how to effectively teach a foreign language. It will also buy new textbooks that feature stories originally written in Spanish, instead of just English translations. -C.M. Wash. State Lowers Cutoff On SBAC Test Scores Washington state seniors do not have to reach the "college readiness" cutoff score on the Smarter Balanced test in order to earn their diplomas. The state board of education voted this month to set the cutoff scores in the top third of level 2 on the fourlevel common-core-aligned test, The Seattle Times reported. To be considered ready for credit-bearing college work, students should score at level 3 or 4. Washington is one of the few states that are making graduation contingent on passing the Smarter Balanced or PARCC exams, although many states' policies on exit exams are currently in flux. No state has yet decided to require students to score at the college-readiness level to graduate. -CATHERINE GEWERTZ Ind. District Eases Eligibility For Interscholastic Sports School officials in South Bend, Ind., have voted to lower the academic requirements needed for students to take part in athletics. Now, freshmen can play sports with a 1.5 GPA, sophomores with a 1.67, and juniors with a 1.85. The old policy required a 2.0 GPA. Seniors will still need a 2.0 to play. Under the new policy, district students who are struggling academically will continue playing if they meet Indiana High School Athletic Association guidelines for eligibility, take part in study tables, and show improving grades. -AP Atlanta Hires Architect Of State-Takeover Legislation The chief architect of Georgia's proposed school takeover law will advise the Atlanta schools on how to avoid becoming the legislation's primary target. The Atlanta school board hired Erin Hames, Gov. Nathan Deal's deputy chief of staff for policy and legislative affairs, to help the district. Proposed legislation would give the state the power to seize control of low-performing schools, convert them into charters, or shut them down. It would create a new statewide district to take control of Georgia's most distressed schools. -C.M. "Time to Reclassification: How Long Does It Take English-Learner Students in Washington Road Map Districts to Develop Proficiency?" A study of seven high-poverty districts in the Seattle metropolitan area found that it took nearly four years for elementary-school-age English-language learners to develop English proficiency. Researchers from the Regional Education Laboratories Northwest tracked nearly 18,000 language-learner students in some of the lowest-performing school districts in Washington state. The districts are all part of the Road Map Project, a cradle-to-career program that aims to close the opportunity gap for low-income and minority students. On average, it took the students 3.8 years to reach English proficiency. But nearly 20 percent of students did not score high enough on the state exam to be reclassified. -COREY MITCHELL MATH ANXIETY "Intergenerational Effects of Parents' Math Anxiety on Children's Math Anxiety and Achievement" If parents shudder at the thought of algebra or arithmetic, they can pass that dread of math on to their children, according to a new study. For their study, published this month in the journal Psychological Science, researchers tracked more than 400 1st and 2nd graders. Students whose parents reported high math anxiety made significantly less progress in math over the course of a year and were more likely to become anxious themselves-but only if their anxious parents sweated through helping them with homework. By contrast, students with math-anxious parents who helped with homework showed no similar problems in reading. -SARAH D. SPARKS Study: Who's Fired When Principals Get to Choose? "Teacher Layoffs, Teacher Quality, and Student Achievement" Following the Great Recession, the wave of teacher layoffs gave birth to a seething debate: Should teacher layoffs be based on a last-hired, first-fired policy, or based more heavily on other factors, like teacher performance? A new research paper is the first to examine the topic using actual layoff data, in this case from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district in North Carolina. In 2009 and 2010, when faced with a budget shortfall, the district gave principals a lot of discretion on how they reduced the teaching force. Even so, the study found that layoffs still tended to be concentrated among teachers with four or fewer years of seniority. But principals also targeted less-effective teachers across all levels of seniority. And when that happened, student achievement benefited, according to the study, to be published in the fall issue of Education Finance and Policy. Author Matthew A. Kraft of Brown University found that: arrived between three months and five years prior to the study. School-age participants reported difficulty trying to register at local schools, including instances when they were redirected to other schools, such as international schools in other boroughs, because there was not enough support available for ELL students, the authors write. -C.M. LEARNING SCIENCE IMMIGRANT STUDENTS "Struggle for Identity and Inclusion: Unaccompanied Immigrant Youth in New York City" A study designed to assess the needs of unaccompanied minors living in the New York City metropolitan area found that students, many of whom are English-language learners, face an array of obstacles to enrolling in school and receiving an education free from discrimination. The report from the Vera Institute of Justice and the Fordham University Law School's Feerick Center for Social Justice explored the experiences of 23 youths who migrated to the United States without parents or guardians and had Live-In Domestic Workers Can Enroll Children Locally Children of live-in domestic workers will be able to enroll in schools in the districts in which their parents are employed at least three days a week, under a new law signed last week by California Gov. Jerry Brown. A related measure requires districts to adopt a policy for probing student residency before investigating any student. That law also prohibits videotaping and photographing students in the process. The bill grew out of a case last year in the Orinda district, in which a 2nd grader whose mother worked as a live-in nanny at a home in the district was expelled. The child lived in the home of her parent's em- "Assessing the Genetics Content in the Next Generation Science Standards" The Next Generation Science Standards do a better job overall of covering genetics than most previous state standards, but are missing some key content, finds a new study by science education specialists at the American Society of Human Genetics. Nearly 100 genetics experts rated how well the new science standards covered core genetics concepts, as identified by the society. The study, which was published this month in PLOS ONE, found that the NGSS adequately address 10 of the 19 core genetics concepts. Previous state ployer, with her own bedroom and bathroom, according to the Contra Costa Times. -DENISA R. SUPERVILLE Episodes of 'Sesame Street' Will Now Air First on HBO In a historic move binding TV's most iconic children's series with one of culture's most significant arbiters, "Sesame Street" is going to HBO this fall, as part of a five-year agreement that will keep first-run episodes of the series away from public television for nine months. HBO said the program will be able to produce almost twice as much new content, and for the first time, will make the show free to PBS and its member stations after nine months. * Eighty-four percent of laid-off teachers were probationary teachers. Principals, in interviews, said they didn't see the point of terminating tenured teachers since state law gives them "recall rights" for future open positions. * Teachers with more than 30 years of  experience, particularly those who were "double dipping" with pensions, were more likely to be let go. * On the whole, though, teachers who  were laid off were rated about one-third of a standard deviation less effective by their principals than teachers who were spared. The lowest-rated teachers were targeted for layoffs among all levels of seniority, and 58 percent of teachers who received a "below standard" rating on any evaluation category were let go. Kraft also found that teacher seniority did not seem to have much relationship to how students did the following year. However, laying off a teacher deemed to be more effective did decrease student test scores in math the next year, compared with laying off a less-effective teacher. -STEPHEN SAWCHUK standards on average adequately addressed only five of the 19 core genetics concepts, according to the study. -LIANA HEITIN EARLY LITERACY "Oral Narrative Skills: Explaining the Oral Language-Emergent Literacy Link by Race/ Ethnicity and SES" The ability of African-American preschoolers to tell vivid, complex stories predicts those children's literacy skills later on in kindergarten, says new research from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute in North Carolina. That link between "oral narrative" skills and early literacy was not seen in Latino, Asian, or white children, which was surprising, said Nicole Gardner-Neblett, an investigator with the institute and a study author. Oral-narrative skills may be important for children of other races as well, but the importance may show up in areas other than kindergarten literacy, she said. To measure the effects of oral narrative on kindergarten literacy, the researchers used a federal study that tracked children born in 2001. More than any other series, "Sesame Street" has symbolized public TV and the Public Broadcasting Service over its 40 years on the air. -MCT Background-Check System In Ohio Seen as Failing More than 100 school employees and others arrested or convicted of crimes may have remained on the job because of a long-undetected failure in Ohio's criminal-background-check system. The state's system had failed to detect offenses among roughly 80,000 employees since mid-2013 until it was fixed on July 13. The Ohio attorney general's office has taken the first steps to buy a new background-check system. -MCT -CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS News Corp. to Wind Down Amplify's Tablet Business Amplify, which has moved aggressively to market its mobile devices and curriculum to schools, told investors last week that it is abandoning the tablet business. The company says it will stop actively marketing tablets and will no longer accept new customers, though it will continue to support existing users. It is also in advanced stages of negotiations to sell off its remaining education business. The decision marks a dramatic turn for Amplify, the education division of News Corp., the global media and information-service company led by Rupert Murdoch. -SEAN CAVANAGH EDUCATION WEEK | August 19, 2015 | | 5

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