Education Week - September 19, 2012 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk VOL. 32, NO. 4 • SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 AM E R ICAN E DUCATION’S N EWS PAPE R OF R ECOR D • © 2012 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Endgame Is Eyed In Chicago Strike By Stephen Sawchuk Chicago Striking teachers and supporters rally in downtown Chicago last week. The walkout, involving nearly 30,000 teachers and support-staff members, began Sept. 10 over issues of resources, job security, and evaluations. A strike last week by some 29,000 teachers here pushed long-simmering tensions over deeply divisive school improvement ideas—including changes in teacher evaluation and the takeover or closure of underperforming schools— into the national spotlight. A framework for a tentative agreement emerged last Friday, and the union’s house of delegates was scheduled to meet this past weekend to vet a draft and vote on whether to call off the strike. Details of the agreement were still trickling out, but it appeared likely that the Chicago district had offered to restore some elements of a hiring preference for laid-off teachers, to slow the implementation of a new teacher-evaluation system, and to allow limited appeals under that system. Students were expected to be back in school at the beginning of this week. About 350,000 students in the district, the nation’s third largest, were affected by the walkout. “This isn’t about pay, and strikes typically aren’t about pay; they’re about other, more complicated issues,” said Julia Koppich, a San Francisco-based independent consulPAGE 14> ▲ CONTINGENCY PLAN: Some schools stayed TURBULENT PAST: Three decades of Chicago STICKING POINT: Flare-up over evaluations E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/MCT STRIKE ZONES: A review of U.S. teacher open to keep children busy. PAGE 14 district milestones. PAGE 15 reflects broader tensions. PAGE 16 walkouts since 2000. PAGE 17 INDUSTRY & INNOVATION Startup Hopefuls Test Their Ideas With Educators By Jason Tomassini Palo Alto, Calif. Two Versions of ‘Common’ Test Eyed By Catherine Gewertz St. Louis Mandela Schumacher-Hodge, a former public school teacher and Ph.D. candidate in urban schooling, stood on the stage in a small auditorium in the America Online offices here one recent afternoon as three Silicon Valley investors told her how to best communicate with teachers. It was a dress rehearsal for the next day, when the auditorium would be filled with 100 teachers and school administrators. They would watch Ms. Schumacher-Hodge pitch the education company she recently founded—Tioki, a LinkedIn-style professional network for educators— along with 10 other entrepreneurs. The event, called “educator day,” is one of the most important and nerve-racking for the people taking part in Imagine K12, the biggest incubator program in the United States specifically for education technology startups. Many entrepreneurs in K-12 believe technology can solve education’s problems, but don’t work to PAGE 20> An unprecedented assessment project involving half the states is planning a significant shift: Instead of designing one test for all of them, it will offer a choice of a longer and a shorter version. The pivot came in response to some states’ resistance to spending more time and money on testing for the common standards. The plan under discussion here last week among state education chiefs of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium represents the collision of hope and reality, as states confront what is politically and fiscally palatable and figure out how that squares with the more in-depth—and potentially more valuable—approach to testing promised by the consortium. “There is the dream, and there’s real life,” said one state assessment director attending the meeting. “We’re trying to bridge the two the best we can.” The evolving two-pronged approach would give states the option of using a version of the Smarter Balanced test whose multiple sessions and classroom activities span nearly 6½ hours in grades 3-5, close to seven hours in grades 6-8, and eight hours in high school, or the group’s original version, which lasts about four hours longer in grades 3-8 and about five hours longer in high school. Because the assessments would be built on PAGE 19> For Democrats, Some Nuance On Vouchers By Sean Cavanagh This year’s presidential campaign offers at least one unequivocal contrast on education issues: The Republican candidate supports private school vouchers, and the Democratic incumbent does not. But at the state and local levels, CAMPAIGN Democrats’ views on vouchers are more diverse and nuanced than what is suggested by the party’s national platform, which makes no mention of private school choice, or by the policies of the Obama administration, which has consistently opposed providing public money for private school costs. Some Democrats see vouchers as offering an escape hatch for students who would otherwise be forced to stay in academically struggling public schools. Others say publicly funded private school scholarships provide opportunities for students to obtain a religious education they otherwise could not afford. Still others in the party accept vouchers when they are relatively narrowly defined, limiting eligibility to special education stu- 2012 Calif. Puts Spotlight on Long-Term ELLs By Lesli A. Maxwell California is poised to become the first state to unmask the extent to which English-language learners languish in public schools for years without ever reaching fluency. Under a measure that received broad, bipartisan support from the legislature, the state education department would be required to break out and report data annually on long-term Englishlearners—tens of thousands statewide—for every school district. The measure would also create a common, statewide definition for long-term ell students. Students at risk of becoming long-term ells would also be flagged. The legislation is awaiting action from Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, who has until Sept. 28 to decide whether to sign the bill. “At its heart, this is a bill that finally makes these kids visible,” said Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, the executive director of Californians Together, a research and advocacy group based in Long Beach. It brought the issue of long-term English-learners to light two years ago with a report that was the first to put a number on just how many such students were in the state’s public schools. That study found that 59 percent of secondPAGE 18> PAGE 26>

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - September 19, 2012

Education Week - September 19, 2012
Table of Contents
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Low Proficiency Seen on Computer-Based NAEP Writing Exam
Global Study Finds U.S. Trailing In Early-Childhood Education
Scholars and Educators Team Up For the Long Haul
Focus On: School Turnaround
Virtual Ed. Providers Work to Influence State Policy in Maine
Blogs of the Week
In Designated Schools, Children Play Waiting Games
Chicago Dispute Puts Spotlight On Teacher Evaluation
Race to Top Winners Plug Away At Promises
Chiefs’ Vacancies Offer Prospect Of Policy Shifts
Policy Brief
Learning From Success
Using National Service To Ignite School Turnaround Efforts
You Don’t Know Me
TopSchool Jobs Recruitment Marketplace
Schooling Beyond Measure

Education Week - September 19, 2012