Education Week - October 3, 2012 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk VOL. 32, NO. 6 • OCTOBER 3, 2012 AM E R ICAN E DUCATION’S N EWS PAPE R OF R ECOR D • © 2012 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Affirmative Action Case Queued Up for Airing at High Court K-12 programs may be affected by outcome of race-based collegeadmissions dispute By Mark Walsh The future of affirmative action in education—not just for colleges but potentially for K-12 schools as well— may be on the line when the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a race-conscious admissions plan from the University of Texas next week. That seems apparent to the scores of education groups that have lined up behind the university with friend-ofthe-court briefs calling on the justices to uphold the plan and continue to recognize the need for racial diversity in the nation’s schools and classrooms. “Long identified as essential to the missions of many postsecondary institutions and school districts in the United States, diversity has emerged as central to our nation’s overarching goals associated with educational excellence,” says a joint brief by the College Board, the National School Boards Association, and several other K-12 groups and others that deal with college admissions. In an interview, Francisco M. Negrón Jr., the general counsel of the nsba and a co-author of the brief, emphasized the stakes in the scope of the issues posed in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Case No. 11-345), which is set for arguments Oct. 10. “This is predominantly a higher ed. case, but our interests in K-12 diversity are not dissimilar to the interests of higher education,” he said. The Fisher case is one of the biggest PAGE 20 > Exit Exams Face Pinch In Common-Core Push By Andrew Ujifusa With many states crafting assessments based on the common-core standards— and an increasing emphasis on college and career readiness—some are rethinking the kind of tests high school students must pass to graduate, or whether to use such exit exams at all. Twenty-five states, enrolling a total of 34.1 million students, make exit exams a graduation requirement, according to a study released last month by the Center on Education Policy, a Washington-based think tank. That represents 69 percent of the nation’s K-12 enrollment. And that’s grown over the past decade: In 2003, 19 states representing 52 percent of U.S. enrollment had such exit exams. But now states including Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island plan to use new common-corealigned tests as exit exams in some form once those tests are fully implemented in 2014-15. Other states are less certain about their plans for the assessments being developed as part of the commonstandards push. Exit exams have grown more prevalent over the past decade, due in part to advocacy from the business community for assessments that can better measure whether students will be ready for the labor force and therefore ensure the value of a high school diploma. Many of today’s exit exams, PAGE 19 > ▲ TURNOVER AT THE TOP: Anthony J. Tata, the superintendent of Wake County, N.C., schools, enters the school board room for a press conference last week. Earlier in the day, the board voted 5-4 to fire him. PAGE 8 ‘Gateway’ Districts Struggle to Serve Immigrant Parents By Lesli A. Maxwell As thousands of communities—especially in the South—became booming gateways for immigrant families during the 1990s and the early years of the new century, public schools struggled with the unfamiliar task of serving the large numbers of English-learners arriving in their classrooms. Instructional programs were built from scratch. Districts had to train their own teachers to teach English to non-native speakers or recruit teachers from elsewhere. School staff members had to figure out how to communicate with parents who spoke no English. But even as immigration has slowed or stopped in many places, and instructional programs for English-learners have matured, serving immigrant families and their children remains a work in progress in PAGE 13 > Reading K-12 Tea Leaves If a Romney Victory Scaled-Back Federal Ed. Dept. One Scenario; Cloudy Prospects for Key Obama Initiatives By Michele McNeil If Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wins the November election, his ascension could endanger—or dismantle—key Obama adCAMPAIGN ministration education initiatives and lead to a slimmed-down and less activist U.S. Department of Education. Gone could be any federal support for the Common Core State Standards, which Mr. Romney has cast as a state issue. The outlook would be cloudy for another “Early Learning Challenge,” a $500 million Obama competition, since Mr. Romney has not made early education a key part of his platform. And in a nod to fiscal conservatism, he wants to combine duplicative teacher-quality programs into a block grant. But some of President Barack Obama’s priorities might live on in a Romney administration. The former Massachusetts governor has praised the Race to the Top competition, Mr. Obama’s signature education redesign initiative. He also has voiced support for the Harlem Children’s Zone, a community-building project that inspired the current administration’s Promise Neighborhoods grants. Mr. Romney, however, has been silent on perhaps the biggest question: Would he rescind, or demand changes to, the waivers that have been granted so far under the No Child Left Behind Act to 33 states and the District of Columbia? Overall, education experts would not expect a very active Education Department under Mr. Romney. “I think this era of initiatives of education reform coming from 400 Maryland Avenue will come to a close,” said Michael J. Petrilli, the executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham PAGE 18 > 2012 Takaaki Iwabu/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT Charles Dharapak/AP Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles last month.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 3, 2012

Education Week - October 3, 2012
Affirmative Action Case Queued Up For Airing at High Court
Exit Exams Face Pinch in Common-Core Push
‘Gateway’ Districts Struggle to Serve Immigrant Parents
Reading K-12 Tea Leaves If a Romney Victory
Table of Contents
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Hopes Pinned on Standards to Boost College Readiness
Wake County, N.C., Board Fires Schools Superintendent
Blogs of the Week
Q&A: Quest for ‘Digital Wisdom’ Hinges on Brains And Machines
Landmark Speech Lawsuits Come Alive at Symposium
Mich. Initiative Scraps Grade Levels and Letter Grades
Calif. Laws Seek to Curb School Suspensions
Policy Brief
Writers Reflect on Chicago Strike
Engineering Good Math Tests
Top School/Jobs / Recruitment / Marketplace
The Rise of the Tech-Powered Teacher

Education Week - October 3, 2012