Education Week - September 19, 2012 - (Page 5)

EDUCATION WEEK n SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 n 5 fruit without added sugar by next school year. In a memo this week, the agency said schools can serve frozen fruits made with added sugars through the end of the 2013-14 school year, overruling its own decision earlier this year that these items may only be packed in water or fruit juice. Since 2009, the usda has been cutting the amount of added sugar in frozen fruit offered to states, but most of the frozen strawberries, peaches, and apricots still offered by the agency contain added sugar. The switch, the usda said, is to give states and school districts enough time to use up existing products and to give the frozen food industry enough time to reformulate frozen fruit products. The regulation took effect this school year, so schools already had a one-year reprieve and now they have two. —N.S. indicators are available. Districts will be able to select packages of 50 or 100 indicators if they do not want to buy the entire package. —CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS THE ALPHABET SONG Kindergartners Brianna Cushingberry, top, and Jasmine Williams sing their ABCs while they aim pointers at the letters in the “alphabet center” in their classroom at the Imagine School in St. Petersburg, Fla. The school was recommended for termination of its charter after the 2011-12 school year because of insufficient academic progress: It earned three F’s in four years based on low state test scores and had the lowest scores of any public school in Pinellas County. But after pleas from parents and teachers, the county school board voted narrowly to give the school one more year to improve before deciding its fate. Cherie Diez/Tampa Bay Times/AUMA Louisiana Vouchers Go to More Students State education officials in Louisiana said last week that more than 4,900 students from poorly performing public schools have taken advantage of the state’s newly expanded voucher program, which uses public money to pay for private school tuition. The state said 14 percent of students using vouchers came from public schools that earned a C in the state’s school accountability program; most—69 percent—were from schools that made a D; and 17 percent were from schools considered failing. The program is open to students from families with incomes under 250 percent of the federal poverty level—estimated at $57,000 a year for a family of four. To qualify, those students must come from a public school with a state accountability grade of C, D, or F. —AP Urban Ed. Group Offers Management Tool The Council of the Great City Schools, which represents 67 of the nation’s urban school districts, is launching its first commercial venture by selling a management tool that allows district financial and information officers to track key performance indicators in their school systems. Previously, only members of the Washington-based organization could use the tool, called ActPoint kpi Performance Management System. Members will still have access to the tool for free, but other school districts will be able to purchase the system based on their own needs. The performance indicators are clustered into four main noninstructional areas of district management: business services, which includes programs such as food service, transportation, and procurement; finance and budgeting; information technology; and human resources and personnel. Three hundred key performance ‘Best Colleges’ List Has Familiar Lineup U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 edition of its “best colleges” report was released last week with rankings of the top national universities, liberal arts colleges, and regional institutions. For students especially concerned about finances and completion, there are also lists of schools with the best value and highest graduation rates. The top 10 schools in the closely watched ranking of best national universities were the same as last year, although the order changed. Harvard and Princeton universities were tied for first, followed by Yale University, Columbia University, the University of Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, the California Institute of Technology, and Dartmouth College. —CARALEE ADAMS Newseum Resource Explores 2012 Election The Newseum in Washington has just launched Decision 2012: Exploring Elections and the Media, an online resource for teaching about the presidential campaign and election. The module is part of the news-media museum’s Digital Classroom, which offers online media content and news-literacy materials customized for elementary, high school, and college classes. Interactive content includes a glossary of media terms related to the election, a video timeline that dates back to President Barack Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, a game, a photo gallery, and ready-to-go lesson plans. According to the website, the materials, which can be accessed by signing up for a free account, touch on such topics as “the relationship between candidates and the news media, the First Amendment, the evolution of the free press, campaign ads, political cartoons, candidate platforms, voting rights, and more.” It is available at www.newseum. org. —FRANCESCA DUFFY and instructional leadership; and stakeholder support and engagement. The report’s guidelines encourage a move away from evaluation systems based on test scores and toward more professional development and support for school leaders. —JACLYN ZUBRZYCKI DISCIPLINING STUDENTS “Understanding School Discipline in California: Perceptions and Practice” on black and Latino students. And while 70 percent of districts reported that they rely on police officers for student monitoring and discipline, they would rather have more counselors, better training of school staff members, and rehabilitative services for students who are expelled or suspended. The survey, released this month by the nonprofit research and policy organization EdSource, included responses from 315 districts that enroll 4.1 million students, or about two-thirds of all students in California —NIRVI SHAH schools. A survey of school discipline policies in California finds that districts have a patchwork of approaches to dealing with students who misbehave, and that administrators are concerned about how to manage students’ behavior and worry about the disproportionate impact of some discipline policies STEM INSTRUCTION “Vital Signs” A collection of state-by-state reports on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning finds that in nearly every state, elementary students are getting less instructional time for science than they did in the mid-1990s, and that many students lack access to rigorous stem courses. The statistics show, for example, that in grades 1-4 in California, the average number of hours a week spent learning science dropped from three in 1994 to 1.8 in 2008; in Maine, that figure went from 2.9 to 2.2 over the same period. The reports were released this month by Change the Equation, a Washington-based coalition of corporate chief executives that promotes stem education. The state reports also include scores from national assessments, the share of college graduates who earn stem degrees, and how much advanced stem coursework the state’s science teachers took in college. —ERIK W. ROBELEN FEELING SAFE “Students’ Perceptions of Unsafe Schools” Students who discuss their studies, school activities, and other concerns with their parents feel safer in school, according to a study of children ages 10 to 14. But parents’ presence at the school—volunteering, for instance, or attending meetings—had little impact in those students’ perceptions of school safety, researchers at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign found. The study, published in June in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, draws on a nationally representative sample of more than 1,200 students. —MICHELE MOLNAR >> For links to these reports, go to

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