Education Week - October 8, 2014 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2014 Editorial Projects in Education * $4 DIGITAL DIRECTIONS Calif. Tackles Data Privacy In New Law Measure Targets Restrictions At Third-Party K-12 Vendors By Benjamin Herold California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law last week a sweeping bill aimed at restricting the use of students' educational data by third-party vendors. The measure is one of the most aggressive legislative attempts to date to balance the promise of digital learning technologies with concerns about the privacy and security of children's sensitive information. The new law in California caps a wave of efforts this year by state lawmakers nationwide to better protect students' sensitive educational information. The new privacy measures, enacted in HISTORY DISPUTE: Students line a busy intersection and overpass protesting against a plan by the Jefferson County, Colo., school board to emphasize patriotism and downplay civil unrest in the teaching of U.S. history. Teachers have also joined in protests. PAGE 7 Kindergarten-Readiness Tests Gain Ground Aim Is to Support Instruction, But Concerns Persist By Catherine Gewertz Mount Airy, Md. For 20 kindergartners at Parr's Ridge Elementary School, the morning is packed with singing and dancing, playing an alphabet game with sticks, and cutting big oval shapes out of paper. And while these are typical classroom activities, many also double as something else: parts of an assessment. These bouncy, sneakered children are part of a leading-edge project in the testing world to figure out how to assess the youngest students in ways that welcome their playful energy and their varied paths of development, and then use the results to shape instruction. All 3,500 kindergarten teachers in Maryland are using a new readiness assessment this year that rests on teachers' observations of children's work and play to build a detailed picture of what they need as they begin the school year. What's happening here reflects a national surge of interest in better sizing up and serving children as they enter the K-12 school system. Parr's Ridge teacher Amy Knight is one of tens of thousands of teachers who are learning new ways of merging assessment with observation and instruction. On a mid-September morning, she leads her class in singing alphabet and rhyming songs. Then the children split up into small groups; some curl up on big blue cushions with books, 21 states during recent legislative sessions, in some cases build on previous efforts. The new laws generally fall into one of three categories: prohibiting the collection of certain types of student data; attempting to improve state and district data-governance policies; or, in California's case, establishing comprehensive guidelines for how third-party vendors should handle student information. Amid the flurry of activity, the impact on educational technology vendors rePAGE 10 > while others sit at tables, working on a cut-andpaste word-rhyming activity. Ms. Knight gathers five children around her at a table. She gives each one a paper that shows two big horizontal ovals. In one oval, she asks them to write their names. In the other, Ms. Knight asks the children to write the word "toy," which is displayed on the board nearby. Then they have to cut out both ovals. The teacher watches carefully as the students grasp pencils and draw letters, some sure and others halting. She notices the jagged cutouts on some papers, the smooth ones on others. On a clipboard, she has a detailed rubric, and she marks her observations of the children's fine-motor and early-writing skills: "not yet evident," "in progress," or "proficient." Then it's time for the next activity: a game PAGE 12 > VOL. 34, NO. 7 * OCTOBER 8, 2014 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Power of Parents Tested by Changes In Chicago Schools By Denisa R. Superville Chicago To Stop Bullying, Researchers Pursue a Universal Definition of Problem By Evie Blad One of the biggest challenges for those who seek to end bullying among students has been defining exactly what "bullying" is. Even as efforts to address the behavior have moved to the front burner of child well-being initiatives in recent years, researchers and educators say that major studies have relied on inconsistent definitions and methods of measuring its prevalence. Some focus on the essential interpersonal dynamics of bullying-including an imbalance of power between the perpetrator and the victim- while others seek to be more objective by focusing on a list of common bullying behaviors. And if researchers can't agree on exactly what the problem is, they can't help identify effective solutions for K-12 educators, who are increasingly facing new accountability measures that incorporate issues related to school climate and student behavior. Further complicating the situation, many school leaders take an "I know it when I see it" approach to defining the problem, or they use broader definitions for bullying than researchers do, said David A quarter-century ago this month, more than 300,000 Chicagoans took part in historic elections to choose who would sit on the city's first local school councils-part of a revolutionary experiment aimed at improving student outcomes by handing significant control of schools over to parents and the community. Chicago's experiment in local deFinkelhor, a sociologist and the director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham. Those types of definitions, listed in student handbooks and school policies, often encompass other forms of peer aggression, which may have different social and emotional dynamics. "There's a tremendous disconnect between how the term is used colloquially by students, teachers, and parents, and how researchers and advocacy types define it," Mr. Finkelhor said. And that gap can often mean evidencePAGE 16 > mocracy was not completely unique: Kentucky's 1990 education reform law also vested autonomy in local schools, though those councils were dominated by educators, and New York City had also had for some time community school boards. But the Windy City's school governance model was unusually strong because it gave local parent-majority boards the power to hire and fire their school principals. The parent- and community-powered reform movement emerged in Chicago PAGE 14 > Brennan Linsley/AP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 8, 2014


Education Week - October 8, 2014