Education Week - October 7, 2015 - (Page 1)

EDUCATION WEEK VOL. 35, NO. 7 * OCTOBER 7, 2015 AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2015 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 4 BRE AKING NEWS DAILY Duncan Sets Departure As Secretary Hefty Policy Footprint Over Tumultuous Term Shane Bevel for Education Week By Alyson Klein Paraprofessional Stefanie Trotter uses flashcards of words and objects with 7th grader Jack Robinson, 13, while certified teacher Sam Gutierrez works with other students, right, in a special education classroom at Siloam Springs Middle School in Siloam Springs, Ark. Training Gains Toehold for Aides in Special Education U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who steps down in December as one of President Barack Obama's longest-serving Cabinet members, has pushed through an unprecedented level of change in K-12 education in his nearly seven years in office-and drawn the ire of critics from across the ideological spectrum in the process. Duncan's surprise resignation announcement last week also came with the news that John B. King Jr., who is currently filling the duties of the deputy secretary of education, will head up the department as acting secretary until the end of the Obama administration. The turnover comes as the administration heads toward its final PAGE 17> By the hundreds of thousands, the instructional aides known as paraeducators, paraprofessionals, or simply "paras" help enable students with disabilities to take part in the general education classroom through instructional, behavioral, and personal support. But these workers-crucial in assuring that school inclusion happens for students receiving special education-often are left out of the loop when it comes to professional development. Charter-Expansion Plan Stokes Debate in L.A. By Arianna Prothero In the weeks since plans by an influential donor to massively expand charter schools in Los Angeles were leaked, major questions about the viability of the proposal have emerged. Even with an arsenal of money, the Los Angelesbased Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and other charter school advocates will have to get support from the local school board, and perhaps the state, to authorize and open new charters. And then there are practical questions around facilities, staffing, and school quality that would come with growing Los Angeles' charter school population to include nearly half the city's 645,000 public school students in less than a decade. Despite those obstacles, school district advocates maintain the stakes are high, and the outcome could produce ripple effects across the country. "It's not even a plan that uses competition as this lever for profound change; it really is a takeover strategy," said Los Angeles school board President Steve Zimmer. "This is the last and largest major centralized urban public school system governed by a democratically elected school board [in the PAGE 11> And some institutions, such as Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, have created programs that enroll both wouldbe teachers and paraeducators-in-training in introductory classes. "Imagine actors in a play practicing their roles individually, but never rehearsing together prior to opening night. Or, imagine the quarterback, backs, receivers, and linemen on a football team never practicing together before the first game," wrote Doug Van Oort, PAGE 10> Momentum Building for Biliteracy By Corey Mitchell A growing number of states and school districts are promoting bilingualism by offering special recognition for high school graduates who demonstrate fluency in languages other than English. Thirteen states now offer a "seal of biliteracy," and at least 10 more are working toward implementing a similar award. Students in nine of the nation's 10 largest school systems can earn statewide or district-level recognition with the seal affixed to their diplomas or transcripts as official proof that they can speak, read, and write in more than one language. Shifting demographics and political dynamics have transformed views on multilingual education in many parts of the country, paving the way for a focused examination of educating the nation's 5 million K-12 English-learners and the importance of foreign-language instruction. "It's a small thing really, a seal, a medallion. But it's a much larger issue than the seal of recognition," said Shelly SpiegelColeman, the executive director of Californians Together, a nonprofit group that advocates for English-language learners PAGE 12> Schools Play Role In Academic Gap By Sarah D. Sparks For children from racial minorities or impoverished backgrounds, schools may actually compound the disadvantages they may face in learning fundamental math skills. Two separate new studies-one on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 8th grade math, the other on 15-year-olds' math performance on the Program for International Student Assessment-both find that achievement gaps within schools account for more of the overall achievement disparities among students of different races or economic backgrounds than do gaps between schools. On NAEP, within-school differences in achievement accounted for 16 score points of the 31-point gap in math scores between nearly 100,000 white and black 8th graders in 2011. By contrast, the study attributed PAGE 13> Emile Wamsteker for Education Week By Christina A. Samuels Change is beginning to happen in some areas. For example, support organizations, such as the Paraprofessional Resource and Research Center, at the University of Colorado in Denver, are training teachers and paraeducators in districts around the country. Technology also is starting to play a role: The ed-tech firm Rethink has created Web-based training modules for paraeducators, recognizing that they often aren't given the same time for professional development as teachers. Second grader Bodhi Weatherford, 7, reviews vocabulary during a French class at the Franklin International Language Academy in Glendale, Calif. Since 2002, the Glendale district has given special recognition to students who demonstrate biliteracy. Teacher-Evaluation Lawsuit Roundup New evaluation systems have resulted in more than a dozen lawsuits nationwide. See a breakdown of key cases. PAGE 15>

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 7, 2015

Education Week - October 7, 2015
Training Gains Toehold for Aides In Special Education
Schools Play Role In Academic Gap
Charter-Expansion Plan Stokes Debate in L.A.
Momentum Building for Biliteracy
Duncan Sets Departure As Secretary
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Calif. Set to Adopt Literacy Materials Tied to Common Core
Efforts to Groom Principal Talent Get New Infusion of Cash
Study Casts Fresh Doubts On Durability of Pre-K Gains
Blogs of the Week
Hands-on Tech Movement Begins 1-to-1 Access Push
News Corp. Sells Amplify To Joel Klein, Other Executives
Plan Would Shift $15 Billion In Prison Spending to Teacher Pay
State Tests Due Fresh Scrutiny As Peer Review Relaunches
Teacher Evaluation Heads to the Courts
Blogs of the Week
RICHARD CARRANZA, SUSANNA LOEB, & BENJAMIN YORK: Information Parents and Teachers Can Use
JOSHUA STARR & ELAINE WEISS: Common-Core Test Results: What Policymakers Need to Ask
BARBARA WHEATLEY: Reading by Choice: Let Students Choose the Books to Tackle
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
MICHAEL MCDEVITT: Learning Civility: How ‘Political Parenting’ Might Help

Education Week - October 7, 2015