Education Week - September 23, 2015 - (Page 5)

REPORT ROUNDUP SCHOOL CLIMATE schools that foster dynamic learning, critical thinking, intellectual flexibility, collaboration, and other skills needed for the modern world." -CATHERINE GEWERTZ Court Rebuffs L.A. District On Verdict in Abuse Case The Los Angeles school district was wrong when it argued that a 14-year-old girl shared responsibility for sexual abuse by a teacher because she consented to the sex, a California appeals court said last week, overturning a jury verdict in favor of the district. Lawyers and advocates for sexualabuse victims had said the legal tactic the district used was surprising. As a minor, the girl was a crime victim even if she agreed to the sex, and crime victims cannot be held responsible for the harm they suffer, the court ruled. -ASSOCIATED PRESS Cash-Strapped Chicago Spent Millions on Food The Chicago school system spent millions of dollars to bring in food and beverages from area restaurants and catering companies, including more than $500,000 since July. The district last week acknowledged it spent roughly $2.9 million on "food from outside vendors" during the budget year that ended June 30. Nearly half was spent by the central office; more than a third of the money couldn't be accounted for. The disclosure comes as the cashstrapped district's recently installed leadership team has sought to publicize its efforts to cut expenses. New guidelines now allow only food and beverage purchases for student activities or parent events if the events are longer than four hours or occur during normal mealtimes. -TNS Teacher Immune in Suit Over Facebook Search A teacher who demanded access to a student's Facebook account to investigate threatening and offensive remarks is immune from a lawsuit because it was not clearly established that such a search would violate the student's rights, a federal appeals court has ruled. The case stems from a 2007 feud between two Mississippi high school cheerleaders and raises the question of whether school officials may demand social-media account and password information from students. But the only issue decided by the three-judge panel was whether the teacher and other officials had what is called qualified immunity in the lawsuit filed by the student. The court said the school officials at that time "did not have fair warning" that they could not access a student's social-networking account. -MARK WALSH Arizona Board Turns Tables Against Schools Chief Frustrated with what they called months of political grandstanding by state schools Superintendent Diane Douglas, a unanimous Arizona board of education voted last week to sue if necessary to force her to provide its investigators with access to teacher records used in disciplinary matters. The board also voted to sue if Douglas won't redirect Web traffic to the board's new website. The schools chief has sparred with the board since February, when she tried to fire its executive director and her deputy. She has filed several lawsuits in that time and lost in every round. -AP Football Players Transferred After Tackling Referee Two Texas high school football players who appeared to intentionally tackle a referee during a game this month have been temporarily transferred to an alternative school, awaiting the outcome of a disciplinary hearing. Multiple players from John Jay High School in San Antonio have alleged that the referee used racist remarks prior to the incident, according to ESPN. An assistant coach has been placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation into his role. The University Interscholastic League, the state's governing body for interscholastic sports, is also looking into the matter. -BRYAN TOPOREK Breathalyzer Tests Given At Catholic High's Games "Who Believes in Me?: The Effect of StudentTeacher Demographics on Teacher Expectations" A new study suggests teachers' own backgrounds deeply affect what they expect from students. Researchers from American and Johns Hopkins universities used an ongoing federal longitudinal study starting in 2002 to analyze data on 8,000 students, each of whom had two teachers predicting how far the student would go in school. When the researchers held students' income and prior academic achievement constant, they found significantly higher expectations for college completion when the teacher and the student were the same race. Teachers who were not black were 12 percentage points more likely than black teachers to think their black student would go no further than high school. -SARAH D. SPARKS EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY "Students, Computer, and Learning" Countries where 15-year-olds use computers the most in classrooms scored the worst on digital reading and computer-based math tests, according to an analysis of 2012 results from the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's 31-country study concludes that "there is little solid evidence that greater computer use among students leads to better scores." U.S. students performed better in digital reading and math than expected given their past performance on print tests. -MICHELE MOLNAR DROPOUT PREVENTION "Don't Quit on Me" A Roman Catholic high school in northeast Ohio is requiring students to submit to blood-alcohol-level tests before attending the school's football games. Students at Akron's St. VincentSt. Mary High School will be randomly tested after entering football games through a designated gate. Despite stating that there's been no evidence of alcohol abuse at games, school officials say students who refuse the testing will receive mandatory suspensions. School officials say only four out of 705 families at St. Vincent-St. Mary have complained about the decision. -AP Wichita District to Use Bus Drivers as Custodians The Wichita, Kan., school district says it plans to use bus drivers as part-time custodians as part of a pilot program to keep schools clean and costs down. School board members were planning last week to consider a contract with First Student to provide workers to clean cafeterias at 16 elementary schools this semester. First Student is the bus-transportation provider for the district. The district's director of operations, Darren Muci, said several schools moved custodians to later shifts to clean classrooms, hallways, and common areas at the end of the school day. That left the schools in need of extra help at lunchtime, but Muci said there was not enough money to hire additional custodians. -AP A new study argues that having an "anchor" and a "web" of support-rather than one person to act as a "hero"-can boost adolescents' chances of staying in school. The report from the America's Promise Alliance draws on data from an online survey of 2,800 teenagers, about 40 percent of whom had disconnected from school at some point. It also analyzes interviews with 120 young people in eight cities. Among the most powerful predictors of staying in school were the emotional support of parents and of adults in their schools, "instrumental" support from adults in and out of school-tangible help, such as providing babysitting so a student can come to school or introducing the student to a potential employer-and "informational" support from friends, such as how to apply to college. -CATHERINE GEWERTZ Numbers of Black Teachers Drop In Nine City School Districts "The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education" Nine major urban school districts have lost many black teachers since the early 2000s, some of them by a disproportionate number, according to a new report released last week. The research by the Albert Shanker Institute, a think tank supported by the American Federation of Teachers, raises questions about whether districts are doing enough to hold onto minority teachers, who tend to work in higher-poverty schools. The districts studied are in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, the District of Columbia, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. The New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago districts are the three largest in the nation. They serve about 1 million, 670,000, and 350,000 students, respectively. Many of those cities have seen significant contraction in their student populations over the past decade, so some decline in the teaching population was expected. But black teachers were often more heavily hit than other groups. In Cleveland, for example, the overall teaching force shrank by 17 percent between 2001 and 2011, but the percentage of black teachers declined by 34 percent. Philadelphia's teaching force increased by 13 percent from 2001 to 2011, but the percentage of black teachers dropped by 19 percent over that time. Philadelphia also has the greatest gap between the racial and ethnic makeups of its teachers and students. The report notes that it provides only descriptive figures rather than a causal explanation for the findings, and it concludes by offering recommendations on how the federal government, states, districts, and schools can increase teacher diversity. -STEPHEN SAWCHUK SNAPSHOT: PHILADELPHIA'S DEMOGRAPHIC MISMATCH In the Philadelphia school system, a 19 percent drop in the percentage of black teachers exacerbated the gap between the racial and ethnic makeups of its student and teacher populations. 2.6 0.2 0.3 3.1 l White l Black l Hispanic l Asian l American Indian l Multiracial l Other TEACHERS 24.8 69.0% SPECIAL POPULATIONS "Analysis Finds Students With Disabilities Served Under Section 504 Overwhelmingly White, Disproportionately Male" States vary widely in the number of students with disabilities who are covered under Section 504, according to an analysis by the Advocacy Institute. In New Hampshire, for instance, almost 5 percent of students have disabilities that are covered solely by that provision of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which offers protection to students who have a "physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities." In New Mexico and Wisconsin, that figure is less than half a percent. The institute relied on federal data on 16,500 school districts. It found that students covered under Section 504 plans are far more likely to be white and male than the general student population. -CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS 0.2 2.8 STUDENTS 0.3 6.3 14.1 17.8 58.5% Footnote: The "multiracial" response was available to charter but not district school teachers in 2012, but it is retained in the figure above. SOURCE: Albert Shanker Institute EDUCATION WEEK | September 23, 2015 | | 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - September 23, 2015

Education Week - September 23, 2015
Research Agency Faces Deep Cuts In Budget Bills
Schools Seek Split From Confederacy
English-Learner Tests Moving to Digital Realm
Despite Research on Teens’ Sleep, Change to School Start Times Difficult
News in Brief
Report Roundup
To Combat Inequity, Ferguson Panel Urges K-12 Changes
Study: KIPP Confers an Edge in Academics But Not in Attitudes
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Online Credit Recovery in Need of Overhaul, Study Says
Blogs of the Week
From Pre-K to Higher Ed., Duncan Tour Touts Priorities
GOP Presidential Debaters Give Glancing Mention to Education
In Wide-Ranging Discussion, Duncan Mulls Issues, Agenda
ANN MYERS & JILL BERKOWICZ: STEM Doesn’t Narrow the Curriculum
MARY ANN ZEHR: Can a Former Journalist Teach English-Language Learners to Write?
GREG MILO: Why Do Students Hate History? Some Thoughts on the ‘Boring’ Social Studies
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
CAROL DWECK: Growth Mindset, Revisited

Education Week - September 23, 2015