Education Week - October 3, 2018 - 1

Education Week
VOL. 38, NO. 7 * OCT. 3, 2018

AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2018 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 6 


Sympathy for
Teachers Is
On the Rise
Public opinion shifted quickly

PAGE 12 >

Tax Hikes on Table
As Candidates Eye
School Funding
By Daarel Burnette II
Politicians on the state campaign trail
this year are making some eye-popping
promises for parents and educators: billions more dollars for schools, double-digit
pay raises for teachers, and hundreds of
millions more to replace dilapidated schoolhouses.
And in some states, Democrats are going
so far as to broach a topic often seen as offlimits in election season: tax increases.
Drawing confidence from poll data, an
uptick in successful local referendum
measures, and the swell of support for
thousands of teachers who went on strike
this spring for increased pay, Democrats
in states such as Arizona, Florida, and
Oklahoma are gambling that voters are so
alarmed at the financial disrepair of their
local school systems that they're willing to
tax states' corporations and wealthiest citizens to bail them out.
"You're seeing this confluence of larger
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The EDGE computer simulation was created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Army to allow educators and first responders to
practice their responses to emergencies, like school shootings. The program will be available to schools for free starting Nov. 1.

Simulator Helps Schools Prep for Shootings
By Evie Blad
West Orange, N.J.

Teachers, administrators, and police officers sat in rows at laptop computers, enacting a scenario they hope to never experience
in real life.
On their screens were three-dimensional
models of classrooms, a science lab, angular
intersections of school hallways. The users,
each representing a character in the simulated school, wore headsets that filled their
ears with sounds of gunfire and echoes of
students screaming.
Through attached microphones, they spoke
to each other as they pressed key commands
to evacuate classrooms out of windows, bar-

ricade doors with furniture, or ask frightened students to hide behind desks.
The group was testing a computer simulation to help schools train for crisis events,
including school shootings.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which developed the software with the
U.S. Army, has beta tested it with groups of
educators around the country to make final
adjustments before it's offered free to schools
on Nov. 1.
On this day, educators and school police
from six New Jersey districts spent hours
running through different scenarios.
At times they laughed as those without
video game-playing experience struggled to
animate their on-screen avatars, clumsily

hitting keys to make them walk or interact
with students.
At other times, the room fell quiet as each
user became engrossed in the very serious
scenario on screen.
It wasn't real, but it felt so in certain moments.
"Show me your hands!" a school resource
officer yelled into his microphone, his reallife training kicking in as his avatar ran
through the simulated hallways, a handgun
extended before him, searching for a student
who'd shot a teacher.
"You go back to your learned experiences
when you're in a crisis event," said Milt Nenneman, manager of first responder coordination for the Homeland Security DepartPAGE 9 >

Class Work Lacks Rigor, Review Says
By Stephen Sawchuk

Eman Mohammed for Education Week

For years, teachers continually heard the
message that they were the root of problems
in schools. But in a matter of months, the
public narrative has shifted: The nation is
increasingly concerned about teachers' low
salaries and challenging working conditions.
Teachers, it seems, are no longer bad actors
ruining schools-they're victims of an unfair
system, and the only hope for saving kids.
Before, "there seemed to be a lot of
teacher blaming going on," said David
Labaree, an education historian at Stanford University. "You now see a surprising
degree of growing sympathy for teachers."
Of course, the recent wave of teacher walkouts and protests, which were mainly driven
at the grassroots level by individual teachers
rather than unions, helped catalyze new feelings about the profession. But other factors
played roles as well: Social media offered more
visibility into teachers' lives, from the second
jobs some work to make ends meet to their
out-of-pocket spending for classroom supplies.
Evidence emerged that teacher-quality initiatives centered on student testing-which had
become unpopular-haven't worked. Even the
election of President Donald Trump, which
spurred a growing wave of activism across the
country, has had an impact.
And while many teachers are pleased

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

By Madeline Will

ESSA HEARING: Members of the Everytown for Gun Safety

organization listen while Matthew Blomstedt, the
commissioner of the Nebraska Department of Education,
testifies at the hearing in Washington. PAGE 13

The United States' system of mandatory public schooling operates under an
unspoken social contract with students:
Work hard, get good grades, and you can
succeed in college, work, and life.
Students are by and large holding up
their end of the bargain, but too many
schools break the contract by giving them
classwork below grade level-leaving
them underprepared for what's next, a
new study concludes.
What's more, the report finds that when
given the opportunity, students of color
and disadvantaged students do almost as
well as their peers on challenging, grade-

level assignments, so the notion that such
students can't or won't do rigorous work
"is a pernicious assumption, and it is
wrong," said Daniel Weisberg, the CEO of
the research, teacher-training, and advocacy organization TNTP, which conducted
the study.
"This is about systemic inequity, systemic bias, and racism," he said.
The findings, released Sept. 25, are
based on a huge amount of data collected
during the 2016-17 school year from four
unnamed school districts and one charter
network working with TNTP. Though not
a nationally representative sample, the
districts are geographically diverse, difPAGE 8 >

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 3, 2018