Education Week - October 9, 2013 - (Page 1)

EDUCATIONWEEK Duncan’s Clout May Be Sorely Tested as Incentives Dwindle VOL. 33, NO. 7 • OCTOBER 9, 2013 AMERICAN EDUCATION’S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD • © 2013 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Persuasion and sanctions, not cash promises, loom larger on policy horizon By Michele McNeil U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan faces an increasingly rocky education policy landscape and wavering support for his aggressive K-12 agenda—at a time when his stack of bargaining chips is dwindling. Compared to his assets in President Barack Obama’s first term, Mr. Duncan has few sweeteners left to use as leverage. That’s likely to leave him even more dependent on sanctions and persuasion in the administration’s final three years. On the incentive side, he’s spent nearly $100 billion in economic-stimulus money approved by Congress in 2009 and used his own authority to hand out No Child Left Behind Act waivers to nearly every state. But Congress seems more dysfunctional than ever, and less and less likely to give the Obama administration what it wants. After the 2014 midterm elections, when the administration will enter its twilight, Mr. Duncan’s clout will diminish even more. Yet this is a crucial time for education policy. Most states are on the verge of fully implementing the Common Core State Standards and are bracing for the tests aligned with them. New teacher evaluations tied to student academic growth are being rolled out across the country. And the No Child Left Behind waivers granted to states so far let them set up school rating systems approved by the U.S. Department of Education with student-achievement goals and interPAGE 22> Online Teacher Prep Proliferates, But For-Profits Dominate Market By Stephen Sawchuk Los Angeles One by one, the faces pop up on the computer screen. Some of the aspiring teachers hold coffee cups; others have their hair in ponytails or pushed into caps. It’s 6 a.m., California time. Several of the virtual attendees are on a less punishing East Coast schedule. One is tuning in from Taiwan, where it’s already nightfall. But nobody’s in PJs, because this is a classroom and there are rules about comportment. The teacher-candidates are taking part in the online Master of Arts in Teaching program offered by the University of Southern Cali- TEACHING THE TEACHERS An occasional series fornia’s Rossier School of Education. Over a span of months, they will learn how to teach in urban schools without meeting one another—or their professors—in person until graduation. Online teacher education is probably the fastest-growing sector of teacher preparation. Forprofit online institutions are now being joined by brick-and-mortar universities like USC here, and startups, both public and private. “The big concern is how you build PAGE 16> Shelby County schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson II reads a children’s book to preschoolers at the Lowrance Elementary School in Memphis, Tenn. Mr. Hopson says all of the district’s schools can benefit from more autonomy. Spotlight Turns on Memphis’ Remake Array of Strategies Aims to Transform Tennessee’s Largest District By Jaclyn Zubrzycki Memphis,Tenn. With a growing charter school sector, a new staterun district with plans to expand, and a reconfigured central office, Memphis is poised to become the next national center for New Orleans-style school governance. Even as a commission spent the past two years planning for the largest school district merger in the nation’s history—the former Memphis city district and an adjacent suburban system became the unified 140,000-student, 222-school Shelby County district on July 1—the landscape of governance within the legacy city school system was changing rapidly to favor parental choice and more autonomous schools. The changes underway here include: • A rapidly expanding array of charter schools. Home to just three charter schools 10 years ago, Memphis now has 41 charters, and more are on the way, including schools that will be part of some of the nation’s best-known charter networks. • A growing Achievement School District. The na- tion’s second state-run school district, Tennessee’s Achievement School District oversees 12 schools in the city and plans to run more than 50, most of them within Memphis, over the next five years. • An “Innovation Zone.” Created by the district as the analogue to the state-run district, the Innovation Zone, or I-Zone, encompasses 13 schools that have budget and hiring autonomy. As a model for the Memphis efforts, district, charter, and state leaders are looking down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, where the state-run Recovery School District has converted most of the public schools in the city to charter status. The goal is to create a “system of schools rather than a school system,” said Bradley Leon, the new chief innovation officer for the Shelby County district. “Our belief is that Memphis is poised to be either the first or among the first major urban centers to fully and deeply transform public education for all kids—in our case, without having had to sufPAGE 18> N.Y.C. Tech Glitches Prompt Big Payout DIGITAL DIRECTIONS By Benjamin Herold A $41 million-and-counting set- tlement being paid to educators in New York City public schools could have big implications for school districts across the country struggling to provide adequate technology and Internet bandwidth for their employees. In April, the New York City department of education began paying back wages to more than 30,000 teachers, school psychologists, so- cial workers, and others after an arbitrator agreed with the United Federation of Teachers that many of its members had been improperly forced to work beyond their contractually mandated workday when implementation of a new studentinformation system was plagued by slow Internet connections, glitchy software, a lack of computers, and poor training and technical assistance. Initially, the legal decision went largely unnoticed outside of PAGE 15> Fiscal Storm Schools and districts weathered the first days of the federal government’s shutdown without major disruption, although some educators are anxious about the long-term implications of Washington’s budget stalemate. PAGE 20 ▲ Timothy Ivy for Education Week Olivier Douliery/Abaca/MCT

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 9, 2013

Education Week - October 9, 2013
Duncan’s Clout May Be Sorely Tested as Incentives Dwindle
Online Teacher Prep Proliferates, but for-Profits Dominate Market
Spotlight Turns on Memphis’ Remake
N.Y.C Tech Glitches Prompt Big Payout
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Students Learn by Arguing in New-Style Science Labs
Advocates Seek More Focus on Learning Foreign Languages
Global Study Identifies Promising Practices in Top-Scoring Nations
Common-Core Rollout Opens Up R&D Opportunities
San Francisco Touts Benefits of City-Run Pre-K Programs
Ky. Sees Mixed Results on Tests Aligned to Common Core
Calls for New E-Rate Transparency Divide Companies, Ed. Advocates
Blogs of the Week
Ed. Researcher Moves Into Certification Business
Bank Street Aims to Retain ‘Essence’ in Virtual Program
USC Brings Its Brand to Online Offering for Teacher Prep.
Schools Feel Limited Impact From Shutdown—For Now
Texas Wins NCLB Waiver After Concessions
Title I Rules on Charters Clarified
Blogs of the Week
Marc Tucker, Linda Darling-Hammond, & John Jackson: Note to Congress: Fewer, Better Tests Can Boost Student Achievement
Josh Middleton: What K-12 Schools Could Learn From Adult Education
Boris Korsunsky: In Education, It Still Seems Like Old Times
Topschooljobs Recruitment Marketplace
Leslie T. Fenwick: Perception vs. Reality About Black Students and Educators

Education Week - October 9, 2013