Education Week - October 12, 2016 - 5
from members (teachers)."
Among the union members' objections to the contract, according to
the newspaper, were that it didn't
restrict the number of standardized tests administered to students
or roll back the district's test-scoreheavy teacher-evaluation system.
Gov. Seeks Consolidation
Of Superintendents in Maine
Gov. Paul LePage believes Maine
has a glut of school superintendents,
and he intends to pressure districts
into consolidating administrations
with the two-year budget he will
propose in early 2017.
In a recent interview, the Republican said that funding is being
spent more on the administration
of schools and not in classrooms.
Officials of the Maine School
Boards Association and Maine School
Superintendents Association cited a
Maine education department report
that shows administrative costs are
declining in the state.
LePage has offered no details on
his plan to force district officials into
combining administrative functions.
Counselor Gets Student
To Hand Over Weapon
A middle school counselor in Tennessee is being called a hero after
talking a teenager into handing over
a loaded handgun.
A 14-year-old boy went to Sycamore Middle School late last month
asking to speak with counselor
Authorities say he told Hudgens
he was having problems and was
going to kill teachers and a police
officer, but no students; he told her
she was the only one who could talk
him out of it.
Cheatham County Sheriff Mike
Breedlove said that after they talked
for 45 minutes in Hudgens' office, the
boy agreed to hand over the loaded
semi-automatic handgun he had hidden under his clothing. He was taken
into custody without injury.
Conflicts Aside, N.J. Crowned
Best State for Teachers
The financial-services website
Wallethub has ranked New Jersey as the best state for teachers,
based on "16 key indicators of
That may come as a surprise to
people who follow K-12 education
news. There is perhaps no state
where teachers are locked into a
more hostile relationship with their
governor. Republican Gov. Chris
Christie frequently admonishes
teachers who question his educational priorities. In 2015, he said
teachers' unions needed a "punch
in the face." And just this past
summer, Christie likened the state
union to the fictional Mafia family,
Wallethub measured the quality
of the education students are receiving and used that to assess teachers'
working conditions. The state also
"Evidence on the Effect of Textbook Funding
on School-Level Achievement"
"Review of PCBs in U.S. Schools"
While education leaders debate innovations
in school management and teaching strategy,
it's important not to forget one of the most
basic ways to improve students' achievement:
Give them books.
Kristian L. Holden, a researcher for the
Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in
Education Research at the American Institutes for Research, found spending a little
less than $100 per student for new textbooks
led to significant improvements in reading
and math performance in some of California's poorest and lowest-performing elementary schools.
As part of a 2004 class-action settlement
over the underfunding of schools, California
set a standard requiring each student to
have his or her own textbooks and instructional materials to use in class and at home,
and provided new money to buy the books.
Money for textbooks increased from $25 per
pupil to more than $54, and the state provided $138 million specifically for the lowestperforming 20 percent of schools.
Holden compared achievement on the state
reading and math tests from 2002 to 2011 in
schools that were just above and below the
cutoff for additional textbook funding. The
increase was on average 0.15 of a standard
deviation per school in both subjects-in the
same ballpark as the effect of reducing class
sizes by 10 students.
But no significant change was found for
the low-performing secondary schools that
received the additional textbook money.
-SARAH D. SPARKS
TEACHERS OF COLOR
"The Importance of Minority Teachers"
Students in urban school districts, regardless of their race or ethnicity, prefer teachers
of color to white teachers, a study has found.
The study, published last week in the
journal Educational Researcher by two
New York University professors, found
that students of all races, but particularly
students of color, have more favorable perceptions of minority teachers versus white
The researchers looked at over 50,000 adolescent student reports on 1,680 classroom
teachers in six districts and found that students rated Latino and black teachers more
positively than white teachers, even after
controlling for student demographic and
academic characteristics, teacher efficacy,
and other teacher characteristics.
Lead author Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng
said the overall findings suggest that minority teachers can translate their experiences and identities to form rapports with
students of different backgrounds.
Only 18 percent of teachers are teachers of
scored high for its low student-toteacher ratios and its high per-pupil
Wash. State Court Keeps
Aid Penalties in Place
Washington state's supreme court
ruled last week that $100,000-a-day
sanctions should continue against the
state while a task force works to determine how lawmakers will comply
An estimated 30 percent of K-12 students are
exposed to unhealthy levels of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, through
common building materials found in
schools, according to a Harvard University study.
The study, by Robert Herrick, a senior lecturer on industrial hygiene at
Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public
Health, was published earlier this
year and publicized last week in new
reports from the office of Sen. Edward
J. Markey, D-Mass., and the Environmental Working Group, a research
Once a material in the production of
caulking, sealants, fluorescent lights,
and paper, the chemicals could be in
30 percent to 50 percent of schools built between 1950 and the late 1970s, the research
finds. As the building materials and lights
age, PCBs spread into the air and dust,
paint and other building fixtures, and outside soil-and students breathe them in.
The Harvard study estimates that 13,000
to 26,000 schools could contain PCBs.
But schools are not required by law to test
for PCBs or report them-or to notify teachers
and parents of the potential health hazards,
according to the research.
"Do Early Educators' Implicit Biases Regarding
Sex and Race Relate to Behavior Expectations
and Recommendations of Preschool Expulsions
Black children make up only 19 percent of the
children enrolled in public preschool but account for 47 percent of those suspended from
preschool. Researchers at Yale University suggest in a study released last month that implicit bias-the negative or positive feelings
people are unaware they hold-may be behind
Researchers shared vignettes with 135
preschool teachers that described a child
acting out on the playground, ignoring the
teacher, pushing classmates, and otherwise misbehaving. The vignettes differed
only by names of students: Jake and Emily
were chosen as names connoting white
children, and DeShawn or Latoya were
given as black names.
The study found that black teachers
tended to hold "black" preschoolers to a
higher standard than white teachers did.
In general, black teachers recommended
harsher exclusionary discipline, such as
suspension or expulsion, for all children.
Told that the misbehaving children had a
difficult home life, teachers showed more empathy-but only when the teacher and the
child were of the same race. When the races
differed, teachers rated the behavior as harder
with a 2012 court order to fully fund
the state's basic education system.
In a hearing before the court last
month, a lawyer for the plaintiffs-
districts, parents, teachers, and education groups-had argued that
the court should increase pressure
on the lawmakers.
Those sanctions, which are supposed to be set aside into a separate education account, are nearing
Schooling Yields Financial
Rewards for Mobsters,
"Returns to Education in Criminal
Organizations: Did Going to College
Help Michael Corleone?"
More years of schooling pay off-even
for mobsters, a study published in the Economics of Education has found.
Researchers compared more than 700
known members of the Italian-American
mafia in the 1940s with several different groups of male contemporaries in the
1940 U.S. Census, including neighbors
who weren't in the mob, other first- and
second-generation Italian-American immigrants, and U.S.-born men from other
The authors found that the mob-affiliated
men on average had a year less of formal
education than their unaffiliated neighbors.
However, mobsters saw twice the income
return on investment for furthering their
education than the men from other Italian
and immigrant groups. More education increased mobsters' incomes by 7.5 percent to
8.5 percent a year on average, though that's
still 2 percentage points to 5 percentage
points less than the gains for U.S.-born men.
One reason why, the authors suggest, is
that criminal syndicates require more complex math and logistics skills than typical
street crimes. The most successful mobsters, like the infamous Chicago kingpin Al
Capone, also ran above-board businesses.
But extra years in school probably also
came in handy for nefarious purposes. The
mobsters with the highest financial return
on their education were involved in more
complex and math-centric enterprises, like
embezzling and racketeering. Those whitecollar criminals had a three-times-higher
return on educational investment than
mobsters involved in violent crimes like
robberies and murders.
The study also likely underestimates the
effect of education in the criminal world.
After all, it only looked at the mobsters
who got caught.
-SARAH D. SPARKS
An article in the Oct. 5, 2016,
issue of Education Week on research mining testing data for
clues to students' problem-solving
strategies misidentified the lead
researcher of an Educational
Testing Service study on boys'
and girls' approaches to essay
questions. She is Mo Zhang of the
Cognitively Based Assessment of,
for, and as Learning project at the
A story listing resources for
finding evidence-based school
improvement programs in the
Sept. 28, 2016, special report,
"Moving the Needle on Achievement," misidentified the organization that created the "State Guide
to Evidence Use." It is the Florida
Center for Reading Research at
Florida State University.
EDUCATION WEEK | October 12, 2016 | www.edweek.org | 5
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