Education Week - October 11, 2017 - 4
NEWS IN BRIEF
Appeals Court Strikes Down Rules
For Speakers at Board Meetings
A federal appeals court last week struck down a
Georgia district's policy limiting public input at its
board meetings, ruling that the policy gave "unbridled discretion" to the superintendent in a way that
could lead to censorship of potential critics.
The decision involves an issue that has vexed school
boards across the nation-how to regulate speakers to
keep matters civil but also respect free-speech rights.
The policy in question required prospective speakers at board meetings or planning sessions to get
together with the superintendent to "discuss their
concerns." The superintendent was then supposed
to report back within 10 days. Speakers then had
to file a written request to speak at least one week
before a particular meeting.
The court ruling still gives the district leeway to
cut off public comment.
First Online Charter School in Indiana
To Close After Years of Failing Grades
Nikki Fox/Daily News-Record/AP
Indiana's first full-time online charter school will
shut down at the end of the school year-a rare occurrence for an online charter even with continually
The charter school's own board voted late last
month not to re-up Hoosier Academies Virtual's contract, because it didn't believe the school could make
a successful case for renewal.
The fate of the school, which currently enrolls
around 1,750 students, had been in limbo for a couple of years as state officials continued to defer taking action on closing the school, despite assigning it
a failing grade for six consecutive years. That track
record led the state board of education to ban the
school from enrolling more students last May.
At Pendleton Community
Bank in Harrisonburg, Va.,
last week, 2nd grader
Emory Blevins, right, and
her classmates at
Mountain View Elementary
School, count the money
they raised to help
students affected by the
hurricanes that struck
Texas, Florida, and Puerto
Rico. They raised a total of
Seizures of Weapons in N.Y.C. Schools
Increase by Nearly Half, Police Say
The number of weapons seized in New York City
schools has risen nearly 50 percent so far this year,
the city's police department said last week.
Between July 1 and Oct. 1, police seized 328 weapons, a 48 percent increase compared with the same
period last year, Assistant Chief Brian Conroy said
at a news conference.
An 18-year-old student brought a switchblade
knife to his Bronx high school late last month and
stabbed two classmates, one fatally-the first homicide in one of the city's public schools since 1993.
New U.S. Census Bureau data show more Americans starting education earlier
and staying in it longer. The chart below shows the distribution of school
enrollment for ages 3 and older.
SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau
4 | EDUCATION WEEK | October 11, 2017 | www.edweek.org
Lion's Share of Ohio Districts Rank
No Teachers as 'Ineffective'
About 94 percent of Ohio school districts did not
rate a single teacher as "ineffective," the lowest
rating on the state's four-rung teacher-evaluation
scale, according to the 2016-17 state report card.
And some 44 percent did not rate any teachers
as "developing" either, meaning they placed every
single teacher in the top half of the rating system,
calling them "accomplished" or "skilled."
Teacher evaluations are completed primarily
by school principals, with 50 percent of the grade
based on observation of teacher planning, instruction, and professionalism. The other half is based on
"Will Public Pre-K Really Close Achievement
Gaps? Gaps in Prekindergarten Quality Between
Students and Across States"
Illinois lawmakers and officials have in recent
years eliminated some key requirements would-be
teachers needed to get licensed, allowing applicants
to bypass some coursework and exams before heading straight to the classroom, a Chicago Tribune
analysis has found.
The Illinois board of education says the changes
will streamline the licensing process and do not
sacrifice the state's high standards. And some administrators say it will be easier to fill jobs in areas
short on teachers.
Among the licensing changes, the Tribune found
that: candidates can now fail the test showing how
well they can lead a classroom and get a "provisional" license; requirements were eased for outof-state teachers; a decreased number of hours of
coursework for license renewal for some educators;
and the basic-skills test for substitute teachers
seeking to renew their licenses was scrapped. -TNS
Lawmakers Relax Requirements
For Teaching in Illinois Schools
Authorities say they don't know whether the increase in seizures means more students are bringing
weapons to school or whether the department has gotten better at finding them. But crime among schoolage children has dropped.
-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
Preschools attended by low-income and minority children provide on average less freechoice and high-quality curricula than those
attended by higher-income and white peers,
concludes a study out late last month in the
American Educational Research Journal.
Analyzing data from more than 12,000 students in 11 states, educational consultant Rachel Valentino found minorities and students
from low-income families are more likely than
their counterparts to have teachers with authoritarian beliefs about child rearing. They
are also less likely to have free-choice activities
and more likely to use worksheets than white
or higher-income preschoolers.
Valentino also found Hispanic students are
enrolled in larger classes and have less experienced teachers.
"U.S. Teachers' Support of Their State
Standards and Assessments"
Nine out of 10 math and English/language
arts teachers say having state standards is
good for classroom instruction, according to a
survey released last week by the RAND Corp.
But less than 1 in 3 teachers surveyed support
using current state tests to measure whether
students have mastered those standards.
RAND administered the survey in February 2016 to a nationally representative sample
of teachers. Support for state standards was
high-above 85 percent-across teacher subgroups, including teachers in states using the
Common Core State Standards and those who
reported being in non-common-core states.