Education Week - September 30, 2015 - (Page 1)

Education Week VOL. 35, NO. 6 * SEPTEMBER 30, 2015 AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2015 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 4  BRE AKING NEWS DAILY Choice Advocates Seek Expansion Of Private Schools Charters Are Model for Growth Mark Abramson for Education Week By Arianna Prothero Preschoolers Liezel, 4, left, and Ryan, 4, walk the hall at a prekindergarten center in the Windsor Terrace neighborhood in Brooklyn. To accommodate expanded enrollment, New York City places children in new pre-K centers, traditional schools, and community-based organizations. N.Y.C. Pushes to Meet Promise of Universal Pre-K 65,000 Enroll in Second Year Despite Some Growing Pains By Christina A. Samuels New York This fall, about 65,000 4-year-olds-enough children to make a sizable school district of their own-started full-day prekindergarten in New York City. The enrollment more than triples the number of full-day pre-K seats that were available just two years ago. Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigned on a promise of universal preschool and convinced the state legislature to provide $300 million to help launch it. Ramping up so quickly turned into something akin to a political campaign, as the city blanketed communities with advertisements for the program, made person-to-person CUSTOMIZING SUPPORT: Teacher PD in the Common-Core Era This new special report explores the ways schools and districts are reimagining professional development in order to personalize training and help teachers adapt to instructional change. See the pullout section opposite Page 12. phone calls, went directly to local colleges to recruit the 2,000 new teachers needed for the effort, and sought classroom space in any location that could be made safe and appropriate for early learning. Managing Growth But the city's effort has had ripple effects that are still being managed. For example, teachers working in district-run prekindergarten programs currently earn more than teachers based in community programs, though they have the same qualifications. There's also competition for the city's 100,000 4-year-olds, with some private and community organizations feeling like they're losing out to district-run programs. Some of the sharpest criticism has come from a University of California, Berkeley, education professor, who says that only pro- grams targeted at poor children will close the academic gap, unlike the city's program, which is available to all. City officials and other early-education experts vigorously dispute that assertion. That criticism speaks to a deeper philosophical debate about city's efforts, said Josh Wallack, the deputy chancellor of strategy and policy at the city's education department. He said creating a pre-K program for children from poor families would have been akin to targeting any other regular school grade for a specific population, which no one would suggest. "We see pre-K as a central part of the public education system in New York," Wallack said, and prekindergarten is for all children. So how does a city move from 20,000 fullday prekindergarten seats in 2013-14 to more than 65,000? One important first step is finding a Parent Meetings Get a Makeover By Sarah D. Sparks Two years ago, back-to-school night at Ruth Hill Elementary School looked like most open houses. "You would come to your teacher's class, meet the teacher, look at what's on the walls, see what's in the SOAR [behavior rules] report, and that's about it," said Lucia Woods, Ruth Hill's counselor. "That was our traditional communication method for years and years." That was before the Newnan, Ga., school was tapped in 2014-15 as one As large-scale private-school-choice programs mature in more than two dozen states, a persistent question dogging the private school sector is whether it will have the resources and political backing to expand in the same way that charter schools have. Private school vouchers and charter schools were among the game-changing school choice laws that hit U.S. public education systems in the early 1990s. But charters have not only grown at a dramatically faster pace than vouchers, they have helped contribute to the closing of many urban Roman Catholic schools-the backbone of private-school-choice initiatives. But now, as new private-school-choice programs continue to emerge-most prominently in Nevada, where all public school students are eligible to participate-some advocates are pushing the private-school-choice movement to look to its charter brethren for strategies on how to recruit talent, fund new schools, and ultimately, survive. "How do we create the types of private schools that can support poor children?" said Howard Fuller, a longtime school choice advocate who was the superintendent of the Milwaukee school district from 1991-95 when the nation's first PAGE 11 > K-12 Funding Fights Roil State Landscape At School Year's Start By Andrew Ujifusa of 10 schools in the state to pilot academic parent-teacher teams, a model developed by WestEd researcher Maria C. Paredes five years ago to build more goal-focused, academically oriented relationships among teachers and parents, and among the parents themselves. Academic parent-teacher teams are one way educators are starting to reimagine that autumn classic, the parent-teacher conference. In spite of emerging online and textmessaging communication methods, the general meeting is still the most common-and for some parents, the only-contact with teachers during the year, and more school and district A variety of legislative disputes, court rulings, and a budget fight that has been stalled in noman's land for months loom large for education finance around the country as the new school year gets underway. Perhaps the most turmoil for schools is taking place in Pennsylvania, where schools were operating in the 2014-15 academic year without any state funding due to an ongoing budget stalemate. But in other states, long-running legal battles over K-12 spending have either reached their conclusion or are getting close to the finish line. And in a relatively quiet year for state elections, dueling ballot initiatives in Mississippi could provide some of the biggest headlines in a state that typically ranks near the bottom in per-pupil expenditures. In Washington state, the ongoing dispute over school spending has more than a theoretical cost. Although the state increased K-12 spending by $1.3 billion for the 2015-17 biennial budget, last month the state's supreme court announced it was fining the state $100,000 until it satisfied the court's 2012 ruling in the McCleary v. Washington case and further in- PAGE 13 > PAGE 17 > PAGE 10 >

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - September 30, 2015

Education Week - September 30, 2015
N.Y.C. Pushes to Meet Promise Of Universal Pre-K
K-12 Funding Fights Roil State Landscape At School Year’s Start
Parent Meetings Get a Makeover
Choice Advocates Seek Expansion of Private Schools
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Grit, Character Research Draws New Walton Investments
Experts Differ on the Usability Of New College Scorecard Data
How Tech Can Improve Youngsters’ Reading Skills
Blogs of the Week
Union Fees, Affirmative Action on High Court’s 2015-16 Docket
Federal Fiscal Showdown Puts Districts, Agencies on Edge
REBECCA WHEAT: ZIP Codes Needn’t Predict Students’ Futures
HOWARD E. HORTON: A Degree at Any Cost? Not So Fast
JIM SHELTON: Closing the Achievement Gap: Why Are We Ignoring What Works?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
ALFIE KOHN: Do This and You’ll Get That: A Bad Way to Defend Good Programs

Education Week - September 30, 2015