Education Week - October 10, 2012 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk VOL. 32, NO. 7 • OCTOBER 10, 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 ▲ Private Schools Opt For Common Core States’ Adoption of Standards Creates Pressure By Erik W. Robelen The common standards aren’t just for public schools, it seems. With all but four states having adopted them since 2010, districts have little choice but to implement the Common Core State Standards. But many private schools are also making the transition. More than 100 Roman Catholic dioceses spanning the nation from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, have decided to adopt the standards, according to a recent survey from the National Catholic Educational Association. Even the El Paso Diocese in Texas, a state that wanted no part of the common standards, signaled last spring that it was signing on. Experts say practical considerations are likely an important motivator, as many private schools feel the pressure from the tidal wave of states beginning to implement the new standards, which cover K-12 mathematics and English/language arts. That’s having profound effects on textbook and test publishers, for instance, which are revising their wares to better reflect the standards. Observers also suggest the common core will even reshape college-entrance exams. It’s not just Catholic schools making the move. Some Lutheran and other denominations of Christian schools are shifting to the common core, including Grand Rapids Christian in Michigan and the Christian Academy School System in Louisville, Ky. The Aspen Country Day School in Aspen, Colo., meanwhile, isn’t adopting the common core wholesale, but has PAGE 12 > Cicely Day, a 3rd grade teacher at PLACE at Prescott School in Oakland, consoles one of her students, Earl Johnson. Ms. Day became a teacher in Oakland through a program aimed at making the teaching corps more representative of the student body and the community. PAGE 14 Wanted: More Diverse Teaching Force An Oakland, Calif., Program Emphasizes Keeping Mix of Educators on the Job By Stephen Sawchuk Oakland, Calif. FOCUS ON: STUDENT MOTIVATION Researchers Argue Boredom May Be ‘A Flavor of Stress’ By Sarah D. Sparks One glance, and any teacher knows the score: That student, halfway down the row, staring blankly at his tapping pen, fidgeting, sneaking glances at the wall clock roughly every 30 seconds, is practically screaming, “I’m bored!” While boredom is a perennial student complaint, emerging research shows it is more than students’ not feeling entertained, but rather a “flavor of stress” that can interfere with their ability to learn and even their health. An international group of researchers argues this month in Perspectives on Psychological Science that the experience of boredom directly connects to a student’s inability to focus attention. “I think teachers should always try to be relevant and interesting, but beyond that, there are other places to look,” said John D. Eastwood, an associate professor of psychology at York University in Toronto, PAGE 16 > As the country’s K-12 student population grows more ethnically diverse, students of color face the troubling possibility of never having a teacher who looks like them. According to federal data, more than 40 percent of students are nonwhite, compared to just 17 percent of teachers, and that mismatch appears to be on the rise. But a new project here is taking a deeper aim at the factors contributing to what’s sometimes called the “teacher-diversity gap.” The organizers hope to encourage more adults from a variety of ethnicities and backgrounds to enter the profession—and stay in it. Teach Tomorrow in Oakland, begun in 2008, guides adults from the city as they fulfill credential requirements, pass their licensing tests, navigate the hiring process, and—crucially— negotiate the tumultuous first few years in the classroom. Its manager, Rachelle Rogers-Ard, calls tto a teacher-development program—a distinction underscoring that the initiative is not focused only, or even primarily, on recruiting teachers. In fact, the program requires recruits to commit to teaching in the district for at least five years. Since its inception, tto has succeeded in helping a diverse mix of 70 adults become teachers in the 37,000-student Oakland district. It currently has a retention rate of 89 percent. The program’s recruits speak of it not in terms of its mentoring, professional development, or support. They speak of it as a family, one that continues to grow as more tto teachers come in and increasingly take on leadership roles in their schools. In the words of 6th grade tto teacher Sabrina N. Moore, “It’s a movement now.” Anatomy of a Problem Researchers cite several reasons why the teacher-diversity gap warrants careful attention. For one, a limited but mounting body of research suggests that students of color benefit academically from being taught by a teacher of the same race or ethnic background. Equally compelling, if less empirically verified, is the idea that such teachers can serve as role models for students of color—and help dispel stereotypes for white students and colleagues. For Ms. Rogers-Ard, the issue of teacher diversity is fundamentally also about the nature of America’s PAGE 14 > DEBATING EDUCATION POLICY President Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney squared off on domestic issues, including education, in their debate last week. Mr. Romney pledged, with few details, not to cut education funding. PAGE 17 Two Suitors Emerge in ‘Parent Trigger’ Bid By Sean Cavanagh At the end of a process that drew just four applicants, two relatively small California organizations are each making a case that they be allowed to help lead one of the most publicized school turnaround efforts in the nation’s history: the proposed transformation of Desert Trails Elementary School. Parents in the community of Adelanto, northeast of Los Angeles, invited charter operators to submit proposals to help them transform the academically struggling school through the state’s “parent trigger” law, even as the school’s future remains the subject of a protracted legal battle. Despite the overwhelming attention focused on the proposed school overhaul, the parents received limited interest from charter organizations before narrowing the list to two finalists. The parents and others supporting the school transformation say the finalists, both based in Southern California, bring attributes they want—particularly strong academic records and an understanding of the needs of the students and families in the PAGE 21 > Saul Loeb/AFP/GettyImages Ramin Rahimian for Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 10, 2012

Education Week - October 10, 2012
Wanted: More Diverse Teaching Force
FOCUS ON: MOTIVATION: Researchers Argue Boredom May Be ‘A Flavor of Stress’
Two Suitors Emerge in ‘Parent Trigger’ Bid
Table of Contents
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Oakland, OCR Agree on Plan To Address Student Suspensions
Guide Advises on Tying English Proficiency to Common Core
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: On Interactive Platform, Students Use Mind and Body
Blogs of the Week
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Change at Top May Signal Shift for Pearson, Industry
Chiefs’ Races Blend Issues, State Politics
Romney’s No-Cuts Pledge a Debate- Night Startler
Policy Brief
No Matter Its Makeup, New Congress Faces Policy, Fiscal Logjam
Public Schools: Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Two Lives Diverged
TopSchool Jobs Recruitment Marketplace
Getting Serious About Early Learning

Education Week - October 10, 2012