Education Week - August 19, 2015 - (Page 5)
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.
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
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
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
The Atlanta school board hired
Erin Hames, Gov. Nathan Deal's
deputy chief of staff for policy
and legislative affairs, to help the
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
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
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.
"Intergenerational Effects of Parents' Math
Anxiety on Children's Math Anxiety and
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
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
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
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.
"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
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
-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
* 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.
standards on average adequately addressed
only five of the 19 core genetics concepts, according to the study.
"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.
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
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.
EDUCATION WEEK | August 19, 2015 | www.edweek.org | 5
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - August 19, 2015
Education Week - August 19, 2015
News in Brief
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