Education Week - October 16, 2013 - (Page 11)

BLOGS Syracuse Union Head Vows to Appeal Results of Teacher Evaluations Make Someday Now! | TEACHER BEAT_News | Earlier this year, Education Week brought you news that results from revamped teacher-evaluation systems generally look pretty similar to the results from the old systems. But it was probably only a matter of time before a jurisdiction upended the pattern, and now we have Exhibit A: the Syracuse, N.Y., district. Syracuse last week released first-year results from its new system. While a majority of teachers, 60 percent, were rated “highly effective” or “effective,” more than a third were “developing,” the second-lowest category, and 7 percent “ineffective”—and the city teachers’ union president isn’t happy about it, reports The PostStandard. Syracuse Teachers Association President Kevin Ahern said in a message to members that the union “will seek every legal remedy available to ensure that no member is harmed as a result of this botched implementation,” the newspaper reports. Among other things, he’s critical of the fact that the results were based in part on tests that reflect the Common Core State Standards, widely considered to be more difficult than their predecessors. One of the really challenging aspects of the push for new teacher evaluation is that there is no empirical figure in the research literature about just how many teachers, on average, should be dismissed for incompetence or put on improvement plans. Tellingly, the president of the New York State Union of Teachers said anecdotal reports from other districts show the proportion of developing and ineffective teachers at less than 10 percent. If 99 percent of teachers rated effective is too many, as most officials agree, and if 60 percent is too few, where does that leave us? Evidently, where it may leave Syracuse: up to its ears in adjudication. —STEPHEN SAWCHUK In New Campaign, Hillary Clinton Champions Pre-K Education | POLITICS K-12_News | Flash forward to 2016: An Education Week headline reads: “Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton Makes Early-Childhood Education Campaign Centerpiece.” OK, fine, we don’t really have a crystal ball here at Politics K-12. And it’s an open question whether the former first-lady-turned-senatorturned-secretary-of-state is even running for president. But it’s hard to deny that since leaving the Obama administration, Clinton has turned back to a long-held interest of hers: early-childhood education. The latest effort? Back in June, the Clinton Foundation announced it was collaborating with Next Generation, a nonpartisan strategicpolicy and communications organization, to launch “Too Small to Fail,” an initiative to improve the health and well-being of children from birth to age 5. Hillary Clinton recently wrote an op-ed for Too Small to Fail’s website. It goes over well-trodden territory, explaining that kids from disadvantaged families begin school already behind their more advantaged peers. The op-ed doesn’t lay out any earth-shattering policy initiatives—instead it focuses on more targeted, practical solutions. Too Small to Fail will start a public-outreach campaign to help parents become more aware of what Clinton calls “the word gap” and push businesses to allow parents to work —ALYSON KLEIN more flexible schedules. Sibling Rivalry Over Parenting No Federal Case, Court Rules THE SCHOOL LAW BLOG_News Well, Thanksgiving should be interesting this year for the extended Bovee-Broom family. An Illinois man, Terry Bovee, sued the guidance counselor at his children’s school because she criticized his parenting methods and called him a “bad father.” According to Bovee’s federal lawsuit, the counselor’s actions alienated his children’s affections and violated his fundamental constitutional liberty interest in familial relations, as court documents put it. The counselor, Claudia Broom, happens to be Bovee’s sister. A federal district court dismissed the suit. On appeal, a three-judge panel agreed that Bovee had no federal case. The appellate court said that by criticizing their father as a bad parent in front of Bovee’s children, Broom may have defamed him. But that alone would make for a state-law defamation claim. Bovee’s lawyer conceded that Broom had not taken any adverse action against the children in her role as guidance counselor, the court said. Defamation consisting of words but not accompanied by any other official action does not violate the 14th Amendment’s dueprocess clause, the court said. “Bovee ... appears to believe that, if defamation causes an intra-family injury, then an injured parent has a constitutional claim,” the court said. “He does not have any support for this proposition” in case law. “Siblings dissatisfied with each other’s methods of child rearing must find a means other than federal litigation to address their —MARK WALSH differences,” the court said. | | @ someday is now Join the world’s most powerful educators and educational leaders at the 69th ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show March 15–17, 2014 | Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles Convention Center • Apply best-practice strategies driving student achievement • Unlock ways to boost your own teacher and leadership effectiveness • Choose from more than 350 sessions • Attend a Pre-Conference Institute in your area of expertise Featuring Daniel Pink Sir Ken Robinson Russell Quaglia REGISTER NOW! Go to or Call Toll-Free: 1-800-933-2723 or 1-703-578-9600, then press 1 Take advantage of early-bird savings! EDUCATION WEEK | October 16, 2013 | | 11

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