Education Week - October 15, 2014 - (Page 1)

EDUCATION WEEK AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2014 Editorial Projects in Education * $4 DIGITAL DIRECTIONS Literacy Skills For the Web Showing Gap New Research Highlights Link to Family Income By Benjamin Herold Long a cause for alarm, the gap in reading skills between poor students and their more affluent peers is wellestablished and worsening, researchers say. Now, there is more bad news: The real magnitude of that reading achievement gap may be greater than previously believed, because educators and researchers have not adequately accounted for the different skills that are required to successfully read online, as opposed to in print. That is the gist of a new study, conducted by Donald J. Leu of the University of Connecticut, which found "a large and significant achievement gap, based on income inequality, in an important new area for learning-the ability to read on the Internet to learn information," according to a news release from the university. Titled "The New Literacies of Online Research and Comprehension: Rethinking the Reading Achievement Gap," the complete study examined 256 7th graders from two Connecticut school districts. It is scheduled to be PAGE 11 > VOL. 34, NO. 8 * OCTOBER 15, 2014 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Tatiana Medina, center, jokes with classmate Nancy Avila during a 7th grade Spanish-for-native-speakers class at Collinswood Language Academy in Charlotte, N.C. Students take some core academic classes in Spanish and some in English in the school's two-way immersion program. Dual-Language Programs Take Root in N.C. By Lesli A. Maxwell Charlotte, N.C. Poll: Standards Implementation Lags in Districts By Catherine Gewertz With springtime testing for the common core only months away, nearly a third of district superintendents are still scrambling to put in place the curriculum and professional development necessary to teach the standards, according to survey results released last week. The Center on Education Policy, which has been tracking common-core implementation since the standards were released four years ago, concluded in its report that "the future of the common core remains uncertain at this important juncture" because many districts still are not fully prepared to impart the new academic expectations in English/ language arts and mathematics. "When you look at the data on implementation, you've got significant numbers [of districts] in the throes of doing it this year, and many, also, doing it beyond this school year," Diane Stark Rentner, PAGE 12 > Sunshine State Showdown on K-12 By Andrew Ujifusa Miami In the close Florida contest between incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic challenger and former Gov. Charlie Crist, each is attempting to outdo the other with pledges of greater financial support for schools battered by the recent recession. But beyond that flood of common campaign rhetoric are deeper, longterm policy questions for the eventual winner about the proper recipients of state school aid, the growth of educational choice, and school accountability. If elected, Mr. Crist-who governed the state as a Republican from 2007 to 2011 before switching parties-could find common ground with the legislature, which is expected to stay in GOP hands, on increasing state financial aid. But his Democratic allies, including his backers at the Florida Education Association, could be more interested in having him block Republican initiatives, after years of bitter political battles over teacher evaluations and school choice. Meanwhile, a re-elected Gov. Scott would likely face significant pressure from his party's lawmakers to continue expanding the scope of school choice scholarships, virtual education, and other major policy shifts that took root under Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican who left office in 2007. Mr. Bush remains an influential voice on state education policy through his leadership of the Foundation for Florida's Future and other policy work. Although both candidates have indulged PAGE 21 > Some Districts, Charters Forge New Partnerships By Arianna Prothero Florida is wading into largely uncharted waters with an initiative to fuel collaboration between two sectors often cast as foes in the debate over how to improve K-12 education: regular public schools and charters. Nationwide, districts from Los Angeles to Denver to Baltimore have sought to forge such ties, but Florida's effort is unusual in being led by the state. Florida leaders are aiming to entice high-performing national charter school networks into the state's largest urban districts, in what some experts say would be one of the most far-reaching efforts to nurture mutually beneficial relationships between the two sectors. The state's department of education is offering financial incentives, through a new grant program, to help some of its highest-need districts attract charter franchises with solid track records for PAGE 12 > At Collinswood Language Academy, a K-8 dual-language school in a working-class neighborhood in this Southern city, students produced some of the highest math achievement scores in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district. And that's the case even though they learn all their math in Spanish, and take North Carolina's annual end-of-grade math exams in English. "Taking the tests in English was tricky at first," said Mayra Martinez, an 8th grader who spoke only Spanish when she entered kindergarten at the school. "I remember the word 'subtract' stumping me." The school's high marks in math-mirrored in reading and science-are coming from every category of student at Collinswood: low-income, English-language learners, Hispanic, AfricanAmerican, white, and those in special education. They are inspiring a push to create more such programs statewide. From kindergarten through 8th grade, Collinswood's 750 students-who are a nearly even mix of native Spanish-speakers and native English-speakers-are taught math, social studies, Spanish/language arts, and higher-level language courses in Spanish. Science and English/language arts are taught in English. Physical education is taught in Spanish, and English is the main language of instruction for art and music. Collinswood is a magnet school that admits students from across the southern half of the 144,000-student district through an open lottery system. "I think it's the cognitive power they build because they have learned to transfer from one language to the next," said Jacqueline Saavedra, a PAGE 14 > John W. Adkisson for Education Week ELECTION 2014

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Education Week - October 15, 2014