Education Week - September 19, 2012 - (Page 4)

4 EDUCATION WEEK n SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 n NEWS IN BRIEF Fla. Said to Mishandle Child Residential Care A U.S. Department of Justice review of state services for children with disabilities in Florida has found the state is violating those children’s civil rights by institutionalizing hundreds of them in nursing homes, even though they could live at home with the proper supports and services. In a letter this month from Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, the Justice Department said that many of the children who enter such facilities are separated from their families for years. At issue are children who are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act who should be given the opportunity to live in the most integrated setting possible. According to the Justice Department, Florida’s practices provide few opportunities for children in institutional settings to return to their families. Florida has cut spending on inhome services and communitybased services for people with developmental disabilities while expanding facility-based care, the department found. The state health agency involved in the issue said it would visit and review the cases of hundreds of the medically fragile children living in geriatric nursing homes, The Miami Herald reported. —NIRVI SHAH L.A. Principals to Be Evaluated on Range of Data, Other Factors District and principals’ group agree on balance of measures Evaluations of school principals in the Los Angeles Unified School District will be based in part on test scores for the first time. The district and the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, which represents the district’s school administrators, reached an agreement last week that means that, for the current school year, student achievement data by grade level, by department, and for the entire school will be used alongside other information in evaluating principals. Superintendent John E. Deasy described the agreement as a “huge step forward.” The district has been revamping evaluation systems in the wake of a California State Superior Court judge’s ruling on Doe v. Deasy that said that teacher and principal evaluations must account for student achievement. “It’s a system that allows us to really have a balanced and robust, strong accountability system for evaluation that accomplishes three things: It identifies good practice; helps develop strong leaders; and holds leaders accountable,” Mr. Deasy said of the new plan. Aala President Judith Perez emphasized both that professional development is a large part of the plan, and that the effectiveness of the new evaluation would be reviewed later this year. Ms. Perez also noted that the agreement stresses that student achievement is only one part of a multifaceted evaluation. “Where available, [state test ... ] results and other student test data are to be considered a limited part of the whole evaluation picture,” the agreement states. “There will be no specific predetermined weight to be given them nor are they to be treated by the district or evaluators as the sole or as the primary or controlling factor in determining the final overall evaluation of administrators’ performance.” That kind of approach is recommended in a new report from two national groups representing principals, which calls for growthoriented instead of punitive systems for determining the effectiveness of school leaders. (See Report Roundup, this page) The district and administrators plan to begin a new set of negotiations that will include principal evaluation later in September. Mr. Deasy said the principal agreement may be a model to the extent that, while it “doesn’t shy away from accountability even though people have been nervous, it’s a balanced basket of measures.” —JACLYN ZUBRZYCKI Hershey School Settles Case of Boy With HIV The family of an hiv-positive student denied admission to a Pennsylvania private school will receive a $700,000 settlement as part of an agreement reached in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice. The 14-year-old boy, who went by the name “Abraham Smith” in court documents, was turned away from the Milton Hershey School after officials there learned he had hiv. School officials argued that the virus was a communicable disease that posed a risk to the health of other students. The mother of the student sued the school, located in Hershey, Pa., in federal court last year. She argued that denying her son admission violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. She has since decided not to enroll him in the school. As part of the settlement, the mother agreed to drop all legal actions against the school. School officials also agreed to pay the federal government $15,000 in exchange for avoiding civil penalties. —SEAN CAVANAGH hour negotiating session. Earlier negotiations had stalled over a new teacher-evaluation system. Under the new system, the city will rely more heavily on student achievement in evaluations. Union President Richard Stutman said the district agreed to lower class size in underperforming grades and to hire more nurses, social workers, and assistants under some circumstances. The city’s approximately 125 schools also will have greater flexibility to hire teachers transferring from another school. The city has about 5,000 teachers. —ASSOCIATED PRESS last week that the specialist, Nancy Walsh, will follow up on such misconduct cases involving teachers. The goal is to identify teachers whose licenses haven’t been revoked for sexual misconduct. Department spokesman Charles Pyle said that since January 2010, the state board of education has revoked or canceled the licenses of 40 teachers involved in sexual misconduct with students or minors. —AP Lawsuit Faults Sex Ed. In California District Parents, members of the medical community, and other groups are suing a California school district because of its abstinence-only approach to sex education that makes no mention of condoms or other forms of contraception. The American Academy of Pediatrics of California and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, along with parents in the Clovis Unified district, said in a suit last Boston Teachers, City Reach Labor Deal The Boston Teachers Union and the city have reached a tentative contract agreement after more than two years of negotiations. The union president said the deal was reached Sept. 12 after an 11- Va. to Revoke Licenses Of Convicted Teachers The Virginia education department has hired a specialist to ensure teachers convicted of sexual misconduct don’t return to the classroom. Assistant state schools Superintendent Patty Pitts told The Virginian-Pilot newspaper month that the district is failing to uphold a 2003 law that requires sexual-health education in public schools to be comprehensive, medically accurate, science-based, and bias-free. The district’s textbook does not mention condoms, even in chapters about preventing sexually transmitted disease and unintended pregnancy. Its curriculum materials compare a woman who is not a virgin to a dirty shoe, the aclu said. A 2011 report by the University of California, San Francisco, showed that although California’s public schools have expanded sexuality education to comply with the state law, many districts still fail to provide students with every aspect of instruction the law requires. —N.S. Schools Get Reprieve On Sugar-Packed Fruit The U.S. Department of Agriculture has backed off on a requirement that schools serve frozen REPORT ROUNDUP Standards Materials Under Way in States “Closing the Expectations Gap” Nearly all states are developing curricular and supplemental materials to help districts and schools implement the Common Core State Standards, but far fewer are approving or certifying lists of materials, according to a new report from a Washington-based research and advocacy group. And just four states—Delaware, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Nebraska— said they are requiring that districts use materials aligned to the common standards in English/language arts and mathematics. The findings are part of the latest annual survey from Achieve, a nonprofit organization founded by governors and business leaders that played a key role in helping to develop the common-core standards. All but one state, Montana, responded to the survey this year. Thirty-nine states say they have developed a coordinated agency-wide plan and calendar for professional development aligned to the common core (or their own career- and college-ready standards), while 20 states say they have or will identify pro- viders for districts and schools to access. “One of the shortcomings of past state standards-based reform efforts was the lack of attention to implementation, including ensuring that curricular and instructional resources and meaningful professional development were available,” the report says. The report provides little detail about the types of curricular materials states are developing and providing, other than to say they include model units, lessons, curricular maps, or graphic organizers. The voluntary offerings supplied by states are typically housed on state education agency websites, the report says. It also probed whether states are matching their standards with high school graduation requirements, finding that while the number is growing, at 23 states, it’s still fewer than half. —ERIK W. ROBELEN EVALUATING PRINCIPALS “Rethinking Principal Evaluation: A New Paradigm Informed by Research and Practice” Principal evaluation should be multifaceted and growth-oriented rather than punitive and reliant on standardized-test scores, says a new report from two national principals’ associations. Current evaluation systems are inconsistent and often not rigorous, says the report from the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. It suggests that principals should instead be evaluated based on six domains: professional growth and learning; student growth and achievement; school planning and progress; school culture; professional qualities

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