Education Week - October 17, 2012 - (Page 5)

EDUCATION WEEK I OCTOBER 17, 2012 I 5 REPORTto these reports, go to For links ROUNDUP Suit Requests Data On Ala. Immigration A lawsuit has been filed accusing the Alabama department of education of refusing to release school data showing the impact the state’s law cracking down on illegal immigrants has had on Hispanic students. The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery filed the lawsuit, which contends education officials have declined to release data on student enrollment before and after the immigration law was enacted. The lawsuit says the center has requested a copy of information that education officials have sent to the U.S. Department of Justice. A section of the immigration law requires school systems to collect immigration data on students. That section has been enjoined by a federal court. The lawsuit seeks data on what effect it had before being stopped by the courts. –AP under Rachel’s Challenge, which works to equip students and adults to combat bullying and counter feelings of isolation and despair. The programs are based on the writings and life of 17-year-old Rachel Scott, who was killed in the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999. –AP AUTISM “Occurrence and Family Impact of Elopement in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders” colleges grew by 1.2 percent, to 13.5 million, it fell at two-year schools by 2.4 percent, to 7.7 million. Private nonprofit schools gained about 2 percent, rising to nearly 4 million students in fall 2011. For-profits lost nearly 3 percent, with 2.4 million attending those institutions. —CARALEE ADAMS state tests over the course of the —JACLYN ZUBRZYCKI study period. IMMIGRANT CHILDREN “Patterns and Predictors of School Readiness and Early Childhood Success Among Young Children of Black Immigrants” Donor Is Concern In Idaho Campaign A promoter of the education policies of Idaho school Superintendent Tom Luna isn’t revealing the source of campaign cash by giving it through a group that is exempt from disclosure. The Idaho Statesman reported last week a nonprofit, Education Voters of Idaho, created by Boisebased lobbyist John Foster, gave $200,350 to another group, Parents for Education Reform, for ads touting Mr. Luna’s changes. Though Parents for Education Reform disclosed its contribution, Education Voters of Idaho won’t file a similar report detailing its backers. That’s because it’s exempted by federal tax laws governing nonprofit, “social welfare organizations,” Mr. Foster said. The state’s 2011 education changes limit union bargaining power, promote teacher merit pay, and require online classes. They are the subject of a Nov. 6 repeal effort being pushed by the Idaho teachers’ union. Tim Hurst, Idaho’s deputy secretary of state, has contacted Mr. Foster about the contribution and is looking into how it aligns with Idaho campaign-disclosure laws. –AP Chief Gives Own Raise To Anti-Bullying Effort Ouachita Parish schools Superintendent Bob Webber’s contract includes a 4 percent annual raise, but for the past two years he’s refused to take it because of the 19,400-student Louisiana district’s finances. The News-Star reports he changed his mind when he saw the opportunity to connect the money with a private program that combats bullying in schools. Mr. Webber asked that the $5,800 instead be given to Richwood Junior High and Richwood High School to fund implementation of programs A new study finds that nearly half of children diagnosed with autism have tried to wander away from home, school, or other places, and that many wind up missing, even temporarily. The study, published online in the journal Pediatrics, captures what parents of children with autism have described for years: Their children wander off, or elope. It confirms preliminary findings by researchers from the Interactive Autism Network and the Kennedy Krieger Institute. For the study, researchers surveyed more than 1,200 families with children, ages 4 to 17, who have autism. Of them, nearly 600 reported their children had tried to elope at least once. About 30 percent also wandered away from a classroom or their schools. -NIRVI SHAH LEAD EXPOSURE “Lead Policy and Academic Performance: Insights From Massachusetts” LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT “To Sign or Not to Sign?” Programs that reduce the rate of lead exposure and poisoning in children were tied to improved academic achievement in a study of Massachusetts children. A report published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research compares state test scores for cohorts of 3rd and 4th graders attending school between 2000-09 and blood-lead levels for the same groups of students. Groups of children with higher levels of blood-lead exposure were likely to do worse on the tests, and as blood-lead levels dropped, student achievement improved—yielding a drop of 1 percentage point to 2 percentage points in the share of children with unsatisfactory scores on the The U.S.-born children of black immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America display strong signs of school readiness, compared with their native-born black peers and children born to Hispanic immigrants, a study concludes. The findings draw on a federal longitudinal study that tracked more than 10,000 children from birth to school entry. In a report published by the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro found that children of black immigrants are more likely than the other groups studied to come from families with high rates of marriage, parental education and employment, and English proficiency. Black immigrant parents also were more likely to enroll their children in center-based care during the preschool years. —LESLI A. MAXWELL OBITUARY Pioneer in School Integration Dies local superintendent who led the effort to integrate schools in the White Plains, N.Y., district after the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education died Oct. 1. He was 99. “Dr. Johnson was a pioneer and a visionary, and fearless in his devotion to building a just and equitable society using public education as an engine for social change,” Louis N. Wool, the president of the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents, said in a statement. Mr. Johnson was the founder of the organization, which now represents 76 New York school districts. “He is credited with leading the successful desegregation of the White Plains city school district, and in breaking down the barriers to the superintenCARROLL F. JOHNSON, a former dency for women and minorities,” the statement says. White Plains was the first school system in the country to voluntarily carry out a plan for desegregating schools, according to Teachers College, Columbia University, where Mr. Johnson was a faculty member later in his career. Mr. Johnson was born in Georgia and started his career as an educator in that state before joining the U.S. Navy at the start of World War II, according to Teachers College, which he attended with financial support from the GI Bill, and earning a degree in school leadership. –KATHLEEN KENNEDY MANZO A British study has found that mothers who communicate with their infants by sign language aren’t necessarily accelerating the child’s language development. Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire followed 40 infants from 8 months to 20 months of age, monitoring their interactions with their mothers, and tracking their development. For the study, half the mothers were trained to model a specific set of gestures to their children; half were not. The study team found that, although the babies learned the gestures and used them to communicate long before they started talking, they did not learn the associated words any more quickly than the nongesturing babies did. The study was published this month in the journal Child Development. —JULIE RASICOT Nation Gets Lackluster Grades On Child Well-Being Report “America’s Report Card 2012: Children in the U.S.” COLLEGE ENROLLMENT “First Look (Preliminary Data)” After years of expansion, overall college enrollment dropped slightly in fall 2011, according to new numbers posted by the federal government this month. According to the report, which is based on preliminary data for 7,400 higher education institutions, nearly 18.62 million undergraduates were enrolled in college in the fall of last year, compared with 18.65 million the previous year. While enrollment at four-year >> Despite a prioritization of children in the national agenda, the United States seriously lags in keeping its youngest citizens healthy and ensuring they are ready to learn, according to a new report. The nation earns an average C-minus overall in the report, with lackluster grades in five separate categories: economic security, early childhood, K-12 education, permanence and stability, and health and safety. The report, by the organizations Save the Children, based in Wilton, Conn., and the Washington-based First Focus, is the first in a planned annual series of evaluations. The U.S. Senate commissioned the report-card series in 2010 after a subcommittee chaired by then-U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, launched an investigation into the recession’s impact on youths and academic performance. While the report notes points of progress, in no major area of grading does it give the United States anything above a C-plus. In the area of economic security, for example, the report gives the United States a D, citing U.S. Census Bureau data showing that 43.9 percent of children younger than 18 were living in low-income families during 2011. The report praises some federal attempts to mitigate damage done by the recession, including the expansion of the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, using 2009 economicstimulus funds. But the report card also cites federal statistics that put the number of children living in households without adequate access to food at 8.5 million in 2011. The nation’s C-minus grade in K-12 education is attributed to weak National Assessment of Educational Progress scores in mathematics, reading, and science—especially among minority students—and inequities in school funding. The report notes that 40 percent of schools that receive aid under the federal Title I program for disadvantaged students are funded at less than their districts’ averages. –ROSS BRENNEMAN For links to these reports, go to

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 17, 2012

Education Week - October 17, 2012
States Punch Reset Button Under NCLB
FOCUS ON: SCHOOL CLOSINGS: Debates Over School Shutdowns Heating Up
Student Mastery of Civics Ed. Goes Untested
Charters, K-12 Aid Roiling Wash. State
Table of Contents
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Cheating Scandal Lands Ex-Superintendent In Prison
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: New Tools Seek to Evaluate Ed-Tech Products, Services
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: N.Y.C. Teens Pay Valets to Store Cellphones During School Hours
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Center Raises Concerns About E-Learning For Special Education
Community Colleges Rethink Student- Placement Tests
IES to Start ‘Continuous Improvement’ Study Program
Blogs of the Week
Phaseout Plan Pains Chicago Neighborhood
High Court Tackles Affirmative Action Case
Maine Charters Roll Out Amid Promise, Questions
Policy Brief
Vice Presidential Candidate Debate Offers Brief Mention of Education
EUGENE BRATEK: Moving From Cheating To Academic Honesty
CHESTER E. FINN JR. & JESSICA A. HOCKETT: The Best Bargain in American Education
DAVID POLOCHANIN: Considering Cursive in a Digital World
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
CHERYL SCOTT WILLIAMS: School Reform, But From Whose Perspective?

Education Week - October 17, 2012