Education Week - August 28, 2013 - (Page 4)

4 EDUCATION WEEK AUGUST 28, 2013 n n NEWS IN BRIEF Obama College Plan Would Gauge Costs Targeting the soaring cost of higher education, President Barack Obama last week unveiled a broad new government rating system for colleges that would judge schools on their affordability and perhaps be used to allocate federal financial aid. But the proposed overhaul faced immediate skepticism from college leaders, who worry the rankings could cost their institutions millions of dollars, as well as from congressional Republicans wary of deepening the government’s role in higher education. The president, speaking to a student-heavy crowd of 7,000 at the University at Buffalo, said he expected pushback from those who have profited from the ballooning cost of college. But he argued that with the nation’s economy still shaky and students facing increasing global competition, making college affordable is “an economic imperative.” –ASSOCIATED PRESS Flaws Cited in Certifying Computer Teachers A detailed examination of state systems for certifying computer science teachers concludes that there are fundamental problems with the approaches nationwide and argues that the situation is a major barrier to ensuring highquality educators in the subject and preparing students for a promising field. The report from the Computer Science Teachers Association describes the certification landscape as “confused, disparate, and sometimes absurd.” The report finds that only two states, Arizona and Wisconsin, require teachers to specifically be certified or licensed in computer science to teach any course in the subject. In another seven states, such a credential is required for teaching Advanced Placement computer science. In many states, computer science teachers must TRANSITIONS Stephen Bowen, Maine’s commissioner of education, will step down Sept. 12 to become the strategic innovation director at the Council of Chief State School Officers. Rudy Crew, a former superintendent of the New York City and Miami-Dade County, Fla., school districts, stepped down last month as Oregon’s chief education officer after about a year on the job. He was named president of Medgar Evers College, part of the City University of New York. Martha Kanter, who oversaw the federal higher education portfolio as undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education since 2009, announced she will return to academia this fall. The former vice chancellor of the California Community Colleges System has not provided details of her new position. or can be certified or licensed in a department or area other than computer science, such as math, science, business, or career-technical education. The upshot, the report says, is that in many states, “teachers with little or no computer science knowledge can teach it.” –ERIK W. ROBELEN Licensing in Tennessee To Follow Performance Tennessee teachers won’t be able to renew their licenses in a few years unless they meet a minimum performance standard, according to rules approved by the state school board last week. The change means that students’ standardized-test scores will count toward recertification for a subset of teachers—putting yet more stakes on the exams, which are already used in part for school accountability; teacher evaluation, tenure-granting, and pay; and teacher-preparation report cards. The policy appears to be among the first instances of a state linking student scores to licensure. Most states require an advanced degree or completion of a set number of coursework credits or professionaldevelopment hours. Board members were divided about the move, and the final 6-3 vote delays implementation of the rules from 2014 to 2015. The draft rules had listed 2014 as the year of implementation. –STEPHEN SAWCHUK Armed Intruder Causes School to Evacuate A man with an assault rifle and other weapons exchanged gunfire with officers last week at an Atlanta-area elementary school before surrendering. Overhead television footage captured the students racing out of Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Center in Decatur, Ga., as teachers and police escorted them to safety. No one was injured. Though the school has a system in which visitors must be buzzed in by the staff, the apparent gunman, Michael Brandon Hill, may have slipped inside behind someone authorized to be there, a police official said. The suspect, who had no clear ties to the school, never got past the front office, where he held one or two employees captive for a time. A clerk in the office reportedly persuaded the suspect to put down his weapons. Investigators say Mr. Hill had 500 rounds of ammunition. –AP Site Launches to Track School Board Elections To encourage civic engagement in local school boards, Ballotpedia recently launched a new portal devoted to covering school board elections in the nation’s 1,000 largest districts. Much like Wikipedia, Ballotpe- dia is a nonprofit, nonpartisan collaborative encyclopedia aimed at keeping the public well informed Ga. Governor Requests Common-Core Review Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia has asked the state board of education to review the Common Core State Standards. The governor, a Republican, indicated he is particularly concerned about certain suggested readings with the English/language arts portion of the standards. In a letter, dated Aug. 15, he said he wants a “formal evalu- Ed. Dept. Addresses Bullying of Students With Disabilities Severe bullying of a student with disabilities could deny that student’s right to a free, appropriate public education and would need to be addressed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, according to a guidance letter for districts, states, and building administrators last week by the U.S. Department of Education. A student who is not receiving “meaningful educational benefit” because of bullying triggers that provision, but even bullying that is less severe can undermine a student’s ability to meet his or her full potential, says the letter. If a student with a disability is bullying others, school officials should review that student’s individualized education program (IEP) to see if additional support or changes to the student’s environment are necessary. The letter points to research on bully- ing and students with disabilities, including a 2012 paper in the Journal of School Psychology that found that students with observable disabilities and behavior disabilities reported being bullied more often than their typically developing peers. The guidance letter also says that schools cannot unilaterally decide to try to fix a bullying problem by moving a student with disabilities to a more-restrictive, “protective” environment, or by changing a student’s special education services. That decision must be made by an IEP team and give an opportunity for parents to weigh in, the letter says. –CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS and engaged in politics. The site provides information, but it also lets its readers contribute their own knowledge to it. Contributors may either edit an existing page or create a new one, and all entries are monitored and edited by staff members. Ballotpedia’s school board portal gives insight into the intricacies of each district, including budgets, teacher salaries, and how an election outcome could affect the district. –ALYSSA MORONES WELCOME BACK Second graders Tipatipa Mulu, left, and Lili Henry greet Principal Michelle Johansen on the first day of classes at Campbell Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska. GALLERY: Share your back-to-school photos with Education Week via Twitter or Instagram using #EWBacktoSchool. View the gallery of photos submitted by readers at back-to-school. Erik Hill/The Anchorage Daily News/AP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - August 28, 2013

Education Week - August 28, 2013
Waiver States Under Scrutiny
Common Core: A Puzzle to Public
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Fla. Virtual School Faces Hard Times
Stacked Deck Seen in Growth of PBIS
This Week
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Most Students Aren’t Ready for College, ACT Data Show
For Rural Teachers, Mentoring Support Is Just a Click Away
Philadelphia Gears to Open Schools After Aid Reprieve
Blogs of the Week
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: New Sites Designed to Help Choose Best Ed-Tech Tools
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Museums, Researchers Shifting To Online Science Ed. Outreach
Common Core Grinds Along Amid Michigan Debate
‘Course Choice’ Venture Gets Started in Louisiana
Policy Brief
PAULA STACEY: The Best Education Diet? Real Food, Prepared Well
LINDA DIAMOND: The Cure for Common-Core Syndrome
CAROL LACH: What Really Matters In Education: Compassion
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JAMES H. NEHRING: Think Education Is Like Medicine? Think Again

Education Week - August 28, 2013