Education Week - October 2, 2013 - (Page 1)

▲ Nathan W. Armes for Education Week EDUCATIONWEEK VOL. 33, NO. 6 • OCTOBER 2, 2013 AMERICAN EDUCATION’S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD • © 2013 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 BREAKING NEWS DAILY High Court To Tackle Race Case Issue: Mich. Preference Ban By Mark Walsh Combatants in the long-running war over affirmative action in education are lined up again in the U.S. Supreme Court. But the coming battle is a little different from those that produced wellknown high court landmarks involving race and admissions. Early in the new court term that Students at the Challenge School in Denver work together to construct Lego robots. The school’s class and club were created in response to coordinated advocacy efforts by a diverse group of parents that demanded more gifted education services and programs for their children. Parents Press For Attention to Programs for Gifted Advocacy Efforts Gain Urgency Amid Worry of Being Overlooked By Nora Fleming From court cases and legislative lobbying to their own fundraising campaigns, parents are putting pressure on states and school districts to boost services for gifted children, whose needs and abilities, they say, often aren’t met inside a traditional classroom. While parents of the gifted have long faced challenges in proving the worth in providing “extras” for highly capable students, the fight has become even harder now in many districts where dollars are tight and other needs are deemed more pressing. And, according to some advocates, the stakes can be even higher for low-income and minority parents who view gifted and talented programs as a means of providing their children with greater opportunity in cash-strapped school systems. “In a low-resourced district, the concerns of parents of gifted students who can’t access gifted education services are often heightened,” said Natalie Jansorn, the director of those programs at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which provides scholarships and other funding to help gifted students. “They have no assurance their child will be challenged in the regular classroom that is focused on meeting minimum test requirements, and they don’t know where else to turn.” Currently, there is no federal requirement that schools offer gifted services for students and no dollars allocated to states to provide them. The Jacob K. Javits federal grant proPAGE 14> Data Demands Spark Outcry In California By Andrew Ujifusa Ed. Testing Industry Sees Rising Demand By Sean Cavanagh The market for testing products and services is booming and could continue to surge over the next few years, according to industry analysts and company officials, who say that growth is being fueled by the shift toward common-core tests across states and the use of new classroom assessments designed to provide timely and precise feedback for teachers and students. Demand for testing resources tends to be driven by major changes in state or federal policy affecting schools, and the current environment is reflective of that connection. Changes in testing policy with nationwide implications are invariably “good for any provider of testing materials,” said Scott Marion, the associate director of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, a Dover, N.H.-based nonprofit organization that consults with states on assessments. “You knew the common core was going to be a big change from what [we] had before.” Mr. Marion also echoed a concern expressed by others familiar with the testing world: that many companies are exaggerating their products’ alignment to the common core and their ability to improve achievement. Still, he predicted that demand for an array of assessment materials is likely to continue to grow “for the foreseeable future, as people figure out what [tests] they want.” This new growth in the testing industry bears some similarities to past periods of expansion. The passage of the No Child Left Behind Act more than a decade ago presaged a wave of spending on assessments and tools connected PAGE 16> Managing The Digital District This special report examines the complex and sometimes daunting challenges of running today’s technology-oriented school districts. It shows how schools are developing and maintaining more sophisticated 1-to-1 computing programs, what education leaders are doing to build a culture of innovation, and how superintendents and chief technology officers are collaborating to improve digital teaching and learning. See the pullout section opposite Page 16. To satisfy demands of California’s state K-12 database and a brand-new system for education finance, the state has asked many schools for data on each individual student, including a count of those who qualify as low-income based on their eligibility for federally subsidized meals. But this fundamental shift in how California handles student information has caused consternation and confusion among many districts serving large populations of needy students. It also highlights the disparities that can emerge between the high-profile components of new laws and the regulations governing those laws. A stronger focus on student data has arisen in a wide variety of state policies. Colorado, for example, passed a $950 million increase for schools this year (pending voter approval in November) that requires more frequent, accurate counts of school attendance, as well as more transparent information about PAGE 25> MEALS ELIGIBILITY: A new USDA option is increasing student participation. PAGE 24 opens next week, the justices will weigh a case about a 2006 Michigan ballot measure that prohibited racial preferences in education and other areas of state and local government. Last year, a federal appeals court struck down the measure as it applies to admissions policies at state colleges and universities. The measure violated the 14th Amendment equal-protection rights of racial minorities in the state by making it harder for them to achieve a political goal, namely, a race-conscious admissions policy, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, said in an 8-7 ruling. Many people were poised for a landPAGE 22>

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 2, 2013

Education Week - October 2, 2013
High Court to Tackle Race Case
Parents Press For Attention To Programs for Gifted
Data Demands Spark Outcry In California
Ed. Testing Industry Sees Rising Demand
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Challenges Predicted for Next- Generation Science Tests
‘Improvement Science’ Seen as Emerging Tool
Superintendents Wary of Boards, Poll Finds
Houston District Wins Broad Urban Education Prize—Again
Mostly Smooth Start Greets Pre-K Launch in City of San Antonio
Latest SAT Results Show No Change In Students’ Average Scores
Florida Curtails Role in Testing Coalition
Blogs of the Week
Debate Over Modernizing E-Rate Program Gathers Steam
Career-Technical Education Rises on Congressional Agenda
‘Sequester’ Potholes Felt In Funding For Spec. Ed.
Blogs of the Week
Looking Beyond Our Borders For School Improvement Ideas
What’s in Your Blend?: Schools Need To Step Up To Get More From Blended Learning
Remaking Schools as Positive Social, Emotional Places
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Schools Good, Schools Bad

Education Week - October 2, 2013