Education Week - September 25, 2013 - (Page 1)

EDUCATIONWEEK VOL. 33, NO. 5 • SEPTEMBER 25, 2013 AMERICAN EDUCATION’S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD • © 2013 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 THE INNOVATION GAMBLE l A city district rests its hopes on a tech-themed model First of three parts By Catherine Gewertz The U.S. Department of Education’s announcement that it will give states the chance to suspend some or all of their current tests in mathematics and English/language arts for the 2013-14 school year could spark big changes in student testing nationally. The offer comes with strict conditions, however, and doesn’t mean that states can skip tests altogether. To obtain the “double-testing flexibility” unveiled last week, states must give their own tests, or field tests of new common-core assessments being designed by two state consortia, to 95 percent of their students in grades 3-8 and one grade in high school, as federal rules require. Each student must take a full-length test—either the state’s current test or the new field tests—in both math and English/language arts. Phila. Seeks Salvation in Lessons From Model School By Benjamin Herold Philadelphia In little more than two years, the Philadelphia school district has stripped $400 million out of its annual budget, closed 30 schools, eliminated nearly 7,000 jobs, and lost more than 20,000 students. The teetering city system, said Superintendent William R. Hite Jr., desperately needs “to show a win.” So Mr. Hite is placing a controversial bet: Although scores of schools opened here this month without regular guidance counselors, nurses, or basic supplies, the superintendent is pouring millions of dollars into expanding what he considers to be three of the city’s most innovative schools. They include Science Leadership Academy, an acclaimed magnet high school at the forefront of the national effort to marry educational technology with socalled “deeper learning.” “We have to have an investment conversation about the PAGE 16 > Students head in for the first day of school at Beeber Middle School, where Science Leadership Academy’s new campus is located. States already are considering a range of responses to the offer of flexibility, including a mix of field testing and their own tests. But the announcement sparked mixed reactions among advocates, some of whom are worried that the offer PAGE 25 > BREAKING NEWS DAILY States Mull Next Steps On Testing Ed. Dept. Outlines Leeway On Assessment Regimes INDUSTRY & INNOVATION Districts Invest In New Measures To Boost Security By Michele Molnar Mo. Transfer Law Threatens Districts By Jaclyn Zubrzycki A Missouri law that permits students to transfer out of an unaccredited district—at the home district’s expense— has caused thousands of students to switch schools this fall, raising the specter of bankruptcy for at least two school systems. Enacted in 1993, the transfer law al- lows students to move to a new district when their home district loses its accreditation and requires the unaccredited district to shoulder the tuition payments for the transferees. The law had largely been in legal limbo until a state PAGE 12 > For Intellectually Disabled, a ‘Landmark’ By Christina A. Samuels For the first time in years, students with intellectual disabilities in the 23,000-student Providence, R.I., school district started school in August attending some classes alongside their typically developing peers—the result of an agreement between the district and the federal government that the U.S. Department of Justice calls a “landmark.” The 84 students, who represent most of the students with intellectual disabilities in the system, are taking art and physical education classes with other students at Mount Pleasant High School, which has an enrollment of about 1,100. Educators are helping them explore opportunities that may be available to them when they leave school. And teachers are expected to educate them to a higher academic standard than they had experienced before. Those changes, prompted by a Justice De- partment probe launched in January, are a huge shift from earlier practice. These students, who mostly have Down syndrome and autism, previously were housed in a separate wing of Mount Pleasant High School, in a program called the Harold A. Birch Vocational School. The environment at Birch was safe and nurturing, parents and Providence officials said. But it was also devoid of expectations for students beyond eventual employment in a sheltered workshop, where they might spend decades sorting jewelry or packaging medical supplies for a dollar or two per hour. “Sometimes, educators can be well-inPAGE 14 > Schools across the United States have invested millions of dollars in heightened security measures for this school year, prompted in part by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings that took the lives of 20 children and six adults last December. A flurry of back-to-school media reports indicate that districts are making significant security system purchases—from adding high-tech “visitor management” systems that use Web-based screening to check identification cards for registered sex offenders and custody issues, to the latest video surveillance and communication systems. They are fortifying entrances with bullet-resistant film on glass, and adding panic buttons, door PAGE 18 > ▲ Jessica Kourkounis for Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - September 25, 2013

Education Week - September 25, 2013
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Phila. Seeks Salvation in Lessons From Model School
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Schools Investing in New Measures To Boost Security
For Intellectually Disabled, a ‘Landmark’
States Mull Next Steps on Testing
News in Brief
Report Roundup
New Research Consortium Targets D.C. Schools
Social Studies Framework to Guide Standards
Charters Turn to More-Unified Application Systems
Blogs of the Week
Texas Lesson-Plan Brawl Resonates Beyond State Border
Business Organizations Rally on Common Core
Fiscal Face-Off
How to Improve the Common Core
Silence Is Not Neutrality
What Are We Doing to Support Great Teachers?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
A Pathway for the Future of Education

Education Week - September 25, 2013