Education Week - October 24, 2012 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk VOL. 32, NO. 9 • OCTOBER 24, 2012 AM E R ICAN E DUCATION’S N EWS PAPE R OF R ECOR D • © 2012 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 BREAKING NEWS DAILY ▲ ‘Smart Pills’ Promising, Problematic Brain-Enhancing Drugs Stir Safety, Ethics Debates By Sarah D. Sparks New Orleans Second of a four-part series RETHINKING DISCIPLINE An explosion in the variety and availability of cognitive-enhancing drugs, from prescriptions like Ritalin to commercial drinks like NeuroFuel, raises concerns for scientists and educators alike—not just over the potential for abuse, but also over what educators and researchers consider, and how they approach, normal achievement. Evidence is still limited—but growing—that some chemicals can boost attention, memory, concentration, and other abilities related to academic performance. Researchers at the Society of Neuroscience conference here questioned whether it is safe and fair to allow healthy people to boost their brain function chemically, or use drugs to correct environmental factors like poverty or bad instruction. Those can lead to brain deficits similar to factors that characterize medical conditions like attention deficit disorders. There’s no one “smart drug,” but a slew of different chemicals known as “nootropics” have been found to improve performance in different ways. Stimulants such as Adderall and RitPAGE 16 > Jalen Hammond, a 7th grader at Haut Gap Middle School in Charleston, S.C., works on a science test in a hallway papered with reminders of the school’s behavior expectations, which are commonly referred to by their acronym, PRIDE. At S.C. School, Behavior Is One of the Basics By Nirvi Shah Charleston, S.C. Obama Finding Teacher Support Secure, If Tepid By Alyson Klein Ask Antonio White what he thinks of Race to the Top—President Barack Obama’s signature K-12 initiative— and the Florida teacher will tell you the competitiveCAMPAIGN grant program is a “difficult pill to swallow.” Merit pay for teachers based partly on student test scores is “a joke,” he says. He’s also not a fan of expanding charter schools, or of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Still, Mr. White, like thousands of educators around the country, has spent months making calls and knocking on doors, trying to persuade voters to support a president with whom he has sharp disagreements on a host of issues central to his profession. The 20-year classroom veteran says he’s grateful to Mr. Obama for pour- Along with reading, science, and mathematics classes, every student here at Haut Gap Middle School takes a course in how to be a Haut Gap student. For most students, the class is 40 minutes a day for nine weeks. But it can last 18 weeks for students who need extra time to nail concepts such as how to own up to mistakes, accept feedback, and apologize appropriately. Those lessons are part of a schoolwide approach to addressing student behavior that Haut Gap has used for about five years: Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, or pbis. “The whole goal of pbis is so instruction doesn’t have to stop” later for teachers stuck dealing with problem behaviors, said Julianne Moffatt, the school’s pbis coach. She teaches the behavior courses and some writing classes along with overseeing the school’s behavior approach. While the classes and the many other facets of pbis take time, educators here say there’s a payoff: Haut Gap recorded about 170 out-of-school suspensions when pbis was adopted in 2007—and student enrollment was just 250. Last school year, it had nearly 500 students, and the school suspended fewer than 100 of them. “You don’t have time not to teach this,” said Katherine Lewis, a school climate specialist for the 45,000-student PAGE 12 > A Charleston middle school joins the growing number nationwide that use PBIS strategies to teach students how to behave FOCUS ON: CURRICULUM 2012 Calif. Laws Shift Gears on Algebra, Textbooks By Erik W. Robelen New laws in California have set the state on a course for some potentially significant changes to the curriculum, including a measure that revisits the matter of teaching Algebra 1 in 8th grade and another that revamps the state’s textbook-adoption process and hands districts greater leeway in choosing instructional materials. The algebra-related legislation, in particular, has been the subject of considerable debate. State officials say it aims to help clear up confusion among school districts about state expectations in the 8th grade with the Common Core State Standards, but critics contend that it will effectively end the state’s long-standing embrace of Algebra 1 at that grade level. At issue are additions the state made before adopting the common core, essentially approving two sets of 8th grade math standards. Shortly after Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed the legislation last month, Michael W. Kirst, the president of the state school board, issued a statement addressing the question head on. “This bill will not, as some critics claim, elimiPAGE 11 > Evaluating What Works In Blended Learning This special report, the second in a threepart 2012-13 series on virtual education, examines how a variety of approaches that mix face-to-face learning and online instruction are emerging and generating lessons learned for K-12 schools. The report features profiles of state, district, and school models using blended learning. See the pullout section opposite Page 16. PAGE 22 > Amelia Phillips Hale for Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 24, 2012

Education Week - October 24, 2012
‘Smart Pills’ Promising, Problematic
At S.C. School, Behavior Is One of the Basics
Obama Finding Teacher Support Secure, if Tepid
Focus On: Curriculum: Calif. Laws Shift Gears on Algebra, Textbooks
Table of Contents
News in Brief
Report Roundup
‘Value Added’ Use at Secondary Level Questioned
National Board Seeks to Revive Impact on Profession
Industry & Innovation
Blogs of the Week
Debates Push Fate of NCLB Waivers to Fore
Policy Menu Varies in State School Board Elections
Policy Brief
The Election: Debating Education
Genevieve LaFleur & Scott Poland: Schools Can Be the Difference in Preventing Suicide
Kenneth Wesson: From STEM to ST2REAM: Reassembling Our Disaggregated Curriculum
Top School Jobs Recruitment Marketplace
Erica Frankenberg & Gary Orfield: Diversity or Resegregation? Why Suburban Schools Need a Plan

Education Week - October 24, 2012