Education Week - September 10, 2014 - (Page 1)

EDUCATION WEEK AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2014 Editorial Projects in Education * $4 By Catherine Gewertz expected on alignment of standards and assessments, as well as results For four years, schools in nearly every state have been working to put the Common Core State Standards into practice in classrooms, but few have put them to the test-literally. This year, that changes. The 2014-15 academic year is when nearly every state must have assessments in place to reflect the common core, or other "college- and careerready" standards they have adopted. And unlike last year, when many states were allowed to cut back on their regular tests because they were field-testing new assessments, this year's achievement results will be a cornerstone of states' public accountability reporting. The specter of college- and careerready assessments has loomed large in education leaders' minds for several years, since it comes with a volatile mix of novelty and risk. Schools will be held responsible for how well they've imparted the new standards, even as skills such as reading complex text and demonstrating mathematical reasoning are new to many students, and as teachers are still figuring out how best to teach them. States face big drops in proficiency rates if the new tests are, as exVOL. 34, NO. 3 * SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Common-Core Tests Loom Large for States, School Districts Scrutiny pected, tougher than the previous ones. Even as educators steel themselves for those results, questions swirl about how well the tests will measure the standards they're based on, and the skills educators value most. Two dynamics further complicate the question of assessment. Some states have moved to choose new tests after backing out of shared PAGE 16 > Study: Teacher Data Remain Untapped By Denisa R. Superville Despite a trove of data on teacher effectiveness that has accumulated from the rollout of teacherevaluation systems in recent years, many principals are not using that information to guide decisions about hiring, assignments, and professional development, according to the findings in a report scheduled for release this week by Vanderbilt University researchers. When principals do avail themselves of that information, they are more likely to rely on classroomobservation data, rather than on value-added measures of students' test scores or parent, student, and teacher surveys. They viewed the surveys, particularly those of parents, as less "valid, specific, and PAGE 12 > DIGITAL DIRECTIONS Hard Lessons Learned In L.A. iPad Initiative Third grader Elyse Vinton hangs upside down during recess at Eastridge Elementary School in Lincoln, Neb., where schools are now required to report on their progress on student-health-related measures, including the time allotted for recess. School-Level Report Cards Add Health Metrics By Evie Blad When parents in Colorado check statemandated reports to see how their child's school is faring academically, they can also quickly learn if that school has a nurse, if it offers 30 minutes of daily physical activity for students, and if it has a school-based health center. Though school-level report cards typically feature information about standardized-test scores and student demographics, the Rocky Mountain State also requires schools to report a variety of other factors that affect students' health and wellness. In a trend that children's health advocates are seeking to promote, a growing number of states and school systems are taking similar actions, integrating health metrics into their school improvement goals and, consequently, into the information they share with the public to boost accountability. Language Program Focuses on Dialects By Sarah D. Sparks As far back as George Bernard Shaw's fictional professor Henry Higgins, language experts have argued that low-income students who learn to switch from speaking a dialect to using standard English have an easier time By Benjamin Herold The connections between student health and well-being and academic success are well-understood and supported by a growing body of research, said officials at the Healthy Schools Campaign, an organization that supports increased use of health data in education. But school programs too often focus largely on proficiency in a narrow set of academic skills, overlooking other efforts that could PAGE 14 > The Los Angeles school system's ambitious effort to provide all its students with digital computing devices is again in flux, this time after complaints about possible conflicts of interest and bid manipulation by senior district officials. Superintendent John Deasy late last month halted an agreement with Apple Inc. and the educational publisher Pearson, which in 2013 partnered to win a $30 million contract to provide iPads preloaded with a new digital curriculum to 30,000 students in 47 schools. That nationally watched deal was for the first phase of a planned systemwide, billion-dollar technology initiative through which Apple and Pearson PAGE 13 > moving up academically and socially. Now, researchers at the University of Michigan are scaling up a language program intended to help students embrace their home dialect, while also recognizing when and how to switch to standard American English in academic and professional settings. In the United States alone, there are more than two dozen dialects of English, from the Y'at in New Orleans to urban African-American in Detroit, to Boston Brahmin, according to the Washington-based Center for Applied Linguistics. They often cross race, class, and geographic regions, and every so often educators and policymakers voice concerns about the disintegration of "standard English" and issues associated with student dialects. In 1997, the Oakland, Calif., school board touched off a racially charged national debate when it ruled the dialect known as African-American Vernacular English (also called "ebonics") was linguistically distinct and urged teachers to help students who used the dialect understand how it differed from "mainstream English." "People still don't understand what teachers are trying to do in bringing the vernacular into schools in any sense. The knee-jerk negative reaction is really detrimental to any kind of progress," said John R. Rickford, a professor of linguistics and humanities at Stanford University, who participated in the Oakland ebonics debates. "There's a thinking that anyone using nonstandard English is operating at a lower PAGE 14 > Andrew Dickinson for Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - September 10, 2014


Education Week - September 10, 2014