Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 4
NEWS IN BRIEF
U.S. Audit Warns of Cronyism
Between CMOs and Charters
A federal audit warns that cozy
relationships between charter
schools and the organizations that
run some of them could put federal
funding at risk.
The audit by the U.S. Department
of Education's inspector general's office found so little independence between the schools and their chartermanagement organizations that it
could lead, and has led, to trouble.
The audit examined 33 schools in
six states and cited several examples
of conflicts of interest, related-party
transactions, and insufficient separation of duties-all controls designed
to prevent fraud. The lack of proper
guardrails, the audit concludes, significantly increases the risk that federal programs are not being implemented correctly and are wasting
California is moving to ban farmers from spraying pesticides into the
air near schools and day-care centers
under a newly proposed rule that will
be among the nation's toughest.
Crop-dusters flying over fields,
air-blasters spraying orchards, and
fumigants that risk blowing onto
campuses will no longer be allowed
within a quarter-mile of those facilities, state pesticide regulators
said. Under the rule, farmers will be
limited to spraying near schools at
night and on weekends, when students are not on campus.
The rule will safeguard 3,500
schools and day cares, affect roughly
2,500 farms, and carry fines of up to
$5,000, officials said. At least 34 people were sickened in five instances
between 2005 and 2014 when
pesticides drifted onto campuses.
Education Dept. Orders Texas
To Remove Spec. Ed. Cap
The U.S. Department of Education
has told Texas to stop using 8.5 percent as a guideline for special education enrollment, in the wake of a report from the Houston Chronicle that
suggested identification rates across
the state were artificially kept low.
Calif. Plans to Ban Spraying
Of Pesticides Near Schools
The newspaper found that the
state set that target about 10 years
ago and strictly audited districts
that went above that percentage.
The state said the percentage was
meant to be seen as a guideline. Nationwide, special education identification rates are about 13 percent.
Within 30 days, Texas must submit
a letter to the Education Department
with steps it will take to address the
report, such as ensuring that districts
identify, locate, and evaluate all children suspected of having a disability.
-CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS
Pennsylvania Cyber Charters
Struggle on State Tests
Standardized tests continue to
pose challenges for students at
Pennsylvania's cyber charter schools.
Test results released show students at many of the 13 cyber
charters operating in 2015-16 were
performing far below grade level in
both language arts and math.
At 12 of the online charters, fewer
than half the students scored "advanced" or "proficient"-the benchmark for grade-level performance.
Although 57 percent of students
scored advanced or proficient in
language arts and 24 percent did in
math at one school, at another, only
9 percent scored on grade level in
language arts. None met that bench-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
mark in math.
High Court Declines to Hear
Banner, Textbook Appeals
The U.S. Supreme Court last week
turned down two K-12 education-related appeals, including one from a
former porn star who battled with a
Florida district over the removal of
banners promoting his math-tutoring business.
The Palm Beach County district
initially welcomed educator David
Mech's banner for the Happy/Fun
Math Tutor program as part of
its business-partnership program.
But when the district learned that
Mech is a former porn performer
who still ran a porn-production
business, it removed his banners
and told him the situation was inconsistent with the district's educational mission.
Also, the justices did not act in an
Clown Threats Pose Bewildering Choices for School Officials
Rumors of scary clowns waiting to harm children
are anything but funny business to many school
leaders who have responded to floods of communication from parents concerned about the issue.
Schools in more than a dozen states have responded to such rumors over the past two weeks,
with some even deciding to close in response.
School leaders say much of the hysteria is fueled
by hoax threats spread on social media, and few
have reported actual clown sightings.
In some cases, those reporting clown sightings to
police or school officials are sincere but mistaken
in what they've seen. And, in others, mischievous
youths have contributed to the hysteria.
Schools in areas including Puyallup, Wash., and
4 | EDUCATION WEEK | October 12, 2016 | www.edweek.org
Flomaton, Ala., were placed on lockdown as leaders investigated threats of violence that included
mentions of clowns. Those threats were later determined to be unsubstantiated.
Many schools responded to the rumors by issuing
statements in an effort to calm fears and squelch
the spread of clown threats online.
"We believe it is very important for you to monitor
your child's social-media accounts to make sure that
they do not forward messages that have the effect of
causing disruption and undue concern," Moore, Okla.,
officials wrote in a message to parents.
And some districts, like New Haven, Conn., have responded to children's fears by banning students from
wearing clown costumes on Halloween.
appeal involving a New Mexico program that lends textbooks to private
schools, including religious schools.
The state's supreme court had held
that a provision of the New Mexico
constitution meant that religious
schools could not take part in the
Ohio May Seek Repayment
From More Online Charters
On top of the more than $60 million they may seek to recover from
the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, Ohio education department
officials also could demand about
$23 million more from other online
schools for inflated attendance.
On the same day late last month
that a court rejected the ECOT's
request to block the state from
using log-in durations as a way to
verify student counts, state officials
informed eight other online charter
schools that they, too, were unable
to properly justify their reported
In all, the eight schools reported
4,998 students, but the state verified
Racial Claims Dismissed
In Takeover of Ark. District
A U.S. district judge has dismissed claims made in a lawsuit
that state leaders were racially
motivated when they took control
of the Little Rock district and dissolved its school board.
The lawsuit was filed against Arkansas education Commissioner
Johnny Key, the Arkansas board
of education, and then-Little Rock
Superintendent Baker Kurrus. It
challenged the January 2015 state
takeover of the Little Rock district
because six of its 48 schools were
rated by the state as academically
distressed and because of the expansion of charter schools in the
district. The academically dis-
Clarence Poole, left,
and Terry Whitten,
bus drivers with the
Greenville, S.C., school
district, wait by their
buses in North
Charleston, S.C., for
word to start evacuating
people to Greenville in
advance of Hurricane
officials from Florida
to the Carolinas were
last week in anticipation
of the storm.
tressed status was the result of low
student achievement on state math
and literacy tests over a three-year
The court ruled that the plaintiffs, two school board members who
were removed and a group of black
students and their families, hadn't
offered enough facts showing a plausible racial motivation behind any of
Teacher Pact Rejected
In Cleveland District
In a close vote, members of the
Cleveland Teachers Union have rejected a new three-year contract.
That deal would have overhauled
the district's 3-year-old merit-pay
system, under which only teachers
who scored satisfactory marks on
evaluations got raises. The union's
move sends negotiators back to the
Following the teachers' vote,
the school board rejected the contract as well. District CEO Eric
Gordon requested the vote, The
Plain Dealer reported, as "a measure of respect for what we heard
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 12, 2016
Bilingual Education Poised for a Comeback in California Schools
Cultural Literacy Creator Carries On Campaign
New Teachers Turn to Web for Mentoring
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Modern E-Rate Puts Telephones On Hold in K-12
Sides Seek to Avert Chicago Teachers’ Strike
Labor Dispute Simmering In Buffalo, N.Y.
Shooting Reignites Safety Concerns
Kan. Governor: Tax Hike Needed If State Loses Funding Case
Court to Weigh Level of Benefits for Special Ed. Students
Literacy Program Reflects Clinton Policy Agenda
Snapshot: School Finance A Judge Gets Tough
News in Brief
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
PAUL REVILLE: A Call to Action For K-12 Leaders
LYN MIKEL BROWN: A Field Guide to Girl Empowerment
JOHN URSCHEL: The Winning Equation In Math Education
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Modern E-Rate Puts Telephones On Hold in K-12
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 2
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 3
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - News in Brief
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Report Roundup
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Labor Dispute Simmering In Buffalo, N.Y.
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Shooting Reignites Safety Concerns
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Kan. Governor: Tax Hike Needed If State Loses Funding Case
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 9
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 10
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 11
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 12
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 13
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 14
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 15
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Literacy Program Reflects Clinton Policy Agenda
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 17
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Snapshot: School Finance A Judge Gets Tough
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 19
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 20
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 21
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - LYN MIKEL BROWN: A Field Guide to Girl Empowerment
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - JOHN URSCHEL: The Winning Equation In Math Education
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - Letters
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 25
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 27
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 28
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 29
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 30
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 31
Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 32