Education Week - October 16, 2013 - (Page 1)

Education Week VOL. 33, NO. 8 • OCTOBER 16, 2013 AM E R ICAN E DUCATION’S N EWS PAPE R OF R ECOR D • © 2013 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Sequester May Linger, Some Fear Eric Grigorian for Education Week By Alyson Klein Members of the Desert Trails Parent Union gather in a park next to Desert Trails Preparatory Academy in Adelanto, Calif. The school is the first in the nation to open under a state parent-trigger law, allowing families at a low-performing school to initiate a sweeping overhaul. Parent-Sparked Charter Faces Challenge to Deliver School Created by ‘Trigger’ Law Opens to High Expectations By Karla Scoon Reid Adelanto, Calif. The parent-led battle to transform Desert Trails Elementary School into a charter school may be over, but the storybook ending that many charter supporters sought for the children in this Mojave Desert community may be even more challenging to achieve. More than two months after the first school in the nation to be overhauled following a so-called “parent trigger” campaign opened its doors in July, many parents at the newly named Desert Trails Preparatory Academy say they are pleased with what they’re seeing of the instruction, atmosphere, and administration of the new charter school. But as the school’s staff faces the daunting job of turning around a failing school, an unknown dimension of the task is what role these newly empowered parents will play in Desert Trails’ future—and how quickly the community’s wounds will heal after the divisive fight over the school’s creation. Concerned by poor test scores and the former school’s failure to meet California Department of Education achievement goals for several years, a determined group of parents— bolstered by outside support—won a lengthy and highly charged petition drive and legal dispute in 2012 to transform Desert Trails ElPAGE 18> Sequestration—the across-the-board budget cuts that represent the biggest slash in federal education spending in recent history—may continue for the foreseeable future, education advocates fear, a consequence of the budget showdown that shuttered the U.S. government and congressional brinkmanship over the debt ceiling. With those twin fiscal crises having consumed lawmakers’ attention for weeks, stopping the sequester cuts has been shoved to the side, leaving school districts likely to cope with yet another round of reductions to programs that serve the neediest children and students in special education. “Sequestration is still hiding under the bed, but [it’s] been crowded out of the debate,” said Erik Fatemi, who until recently served as a top aide to Democrats on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. As a practical matter, the debt ceiling and the shutdown will have to be dealt with, but there’s no requirement PAGE 25> GHOST SHIP: The U.S. Department of Education was getting by with a skeleton staff during the federal government shutdown. PAGE 22 DIGITAL DIRECTIONS Pa. Texting Furor Shows Difficulties Facing IT Leaders By Benjamin Herold INDUSTRY & INNOVATION Michele McKeone and Adam Geller were teachers with ideas they thought would improve the education process. Ms. McKeone wanted to boost the digital skills of students with autism; Mr. Geller wanted to use video to facilitate observations and feedback for teachers. But bringing a concept from the classroom or the office, as Ms. McKeone and Mr. Geller are doing, and building it into a business for the K-12 market, is hard. The process can be uncomfortable, intimidating, and messy. And it’s costly, both in time and money. More and more entrepreneurs are taking the plunge, though, particularly in the educational technology arena. Those with ideas for new businesses are coming from the classroom, like Ms. McKeone, a special educator in Philadelphia who has launched Autism Expressed, and Mr. Geller, a former St. Louis science teacher, who cre- The recent furor caused by the discovery of racist text messages involving a Pennsylvania superintendent has cast new light on the growing professional, ethical, and legal challenges faced by many district information technology departments now awash in digital devices. Abdallah Hawa, the information technology director for the 7,200-student Coatesville Area system, near Philadelphia, was erasing the memory of the district-owned cellphone of Coatesville Area High School’s athletic director in August when he uncovered a lengthy text-message exchange between the sports official and the superintendent in which racist slurs were directed at district students and staff members. Mr. Hawa reported his discovery, prompting the resignations of both Superintendent Richard Como and Athletic Director Jim Donato, the revelation of an PAGE 14> PAGE 12> Educators Launch Startups; See Steep Learning Curve Emile Wamsteker for Education Week By Michelle R. Davis ALL SMILES: First graders react to the question, “What face do you make when your mother compliments you?” during a class session called “Feeling Faces” at Public School 24 in New York City. PAGE 6

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 16, 2013

Sequester May Linger, Some Fear
Parent-Sparked Charter Faces Challenge to Deliver
Pa. Texting Furor Shows Difficulties Facing IT Leaders
Educators Launch Startups; See Steep Learning Curve
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Teachers Use Social-Emotional Programs to Manage Classes
Ind. Districts, AG File Suit Over Federal Health-Care Law
Hospital Partnership Provides Trainers for School Sports
Mass. Enterprise Targets Inadequate Preschool Facilities
Blogs of the Week
Tablet-Computing Initiatives Suffer Major Setbacks
Charter-Campaign Aftershocks Continue
Texas Race Flags Education Issues On 2014 Electoral Horizon
School-Related Cases Factor in Supreme Court’s First Week Back
Lights On, Nobody There As Ed. Dept. Weathers Shutdown
Blogs of the Week
KEVIN MEUWISSEN: Teachers as Political Actors
ANDRE BENITO MOUNTAIN: Easing Social Studies Through Turbulent Times
JUDY WALLIS: A Call to Teachers: Don’t Forget the Joy
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
DEBORAH STIPEK: Using Accountability to Promote Motivation, Not Undermine It

Education Week - October 16, 2013