Education Week - October 28, 2015 - (Page 5)
trict's social-media policy.
It says they were given a written
warning and told they could be fired
for posting similar messages.
After Controversy, District
Dumps Offending Books
The Minneapolis district last week
sent out a notice saying it is immediately ending the use of all Reading
Horizons instructional materials.
The district has been embroiled in
a controversy over its K-2 curriculum since teachers pointed out this
summer that the early-reader books
were filled with racial, gender, and
After a freelance blogger brought
the story to light, the district apologized and pulled the offending books
before students ever saw them. Officials vowed to work with the publisher to fix the curriculum, but
later voted to cancel the contract.
Union Notches a Victory
In Drive at Charter Chain
California's public labor-relations
board has agreed to seek court relief
to prevent interference in teacherunionization efforts at a popular Los
Angeles-based charter school chain.
The ruling concerns a divisive
bid to organize the 27 campuses
of the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools. A group of Alliance
teachers in March sought representation from United Teachers
Los Angeles. Alliance has opposed
unionization, including by setting
up a website claiming that perks
like performance bonuses could be
in jeopardy under unionization.
UTLA requested the injunction
to prevent what it alleges are antiunion practices. The charter-management organization claims that
its activities fall within the law.
| TRANSITIONS |
Randy Dorn, the schools
superintendent in Washington
week that he
will not seek a
third term in
Dorn criticized the state
legislature for failing to act
to finance public education,
and the court for not following
through with forceful
punishments against the
Before being elected
superintendent in 2008, he
was the executive director of
the Public School Employees
of Washington and was an
elementary and middle school
teacher, a principal, and a
Susan Hardy Brooks, a vice
president at Schnake Turnbo
of the National School Public
Relations Association for
2015-16. She assumed office
She has more than 35 years
of experience as a school PR
professional. Brooks also
serves as the president of Girl
Scouts of Western Oklahoma
and previously served on the
board of the Foundation for
Oklahoma City Schools.
Election Results Delayed
Over Lack of Diversity
A student-government election
at a mostly Hispanic San Francisco
middle school turned into a debate
about the democratic process when
the principal delayed the results
because the winners did not reflect
the school's diverse student body.
Everett Middle School Principal
Lena Van Haren announced the
winners Oct. 19, more than a week
after the results were known. She
said she had no intention of annulling the votes, but wanted to first
engage all the candidates in a discussion about how to ensure underrepresented groups were heard.
The school is 56 percent Latino
and 9 percent African-American.
Van Haren said African-Americans
and Latinos were underrepresented
among the students who became officers.
Of Breaking Into Home
Police in Massachusetts are seeking to criminally charge the superintendent of a Cape Cod school dis-
trict who's accused of barging into
a student's home uninvited to see if
she actually lived there.
Mashpee police say Superintendent
Brian Hyde faces charges of breaking
and entering with intent to commit a
misdemeanor and trespassing.
Marilyn King, the mother of the
student who attends Mashpee
Middle-High School, said Hyde entered her home last month without
permission, went upstairs, and angrily demanded to know where her
17-year-old daughter slept. King
said Hyde then rummaged through
her daughter's belongings.
Hyde has said he was invited into
the home to do a routine residency
An article in the Oct. 21, 2015,
issue of Education Week about financial literacy mischaracterized
the number of states given C's and
D's on a report card. It should have
said a majority of states received B's
and C's on the report card.
Few States Require Rigorous
Courses for Graduation
"How Variations in High School Graduation
Plans Impact Rural Students"
"How States Got Their Rates"
Students in the nation's rural high schools are
less likely to have access to and take rigorous
courses than their nonrural peers, which ultimately affects their postsecondary enrollment
and success, according to a report.
The Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho
found that, overall, rural students lag behind
their nonrural peers in enrollment in advanced
math, Algebra 2, and calculus. Rural students
also trailed their suburban and urban peers
in enrolling in upper-level math courses not
required for graduation, such as trigonometry,
and had slightly lower scores on the ACT exam.
Researchers concluded that by completing less
rigorous coursework, rural students are less prepared for college, and are less likely to attend
and persist in college.
High school graduation rates in the United States
have hit historic highs, with the most recent numbers
from the U.S. Department of Education showing that
more than 80 percent of students from the class of 2013
graduated on time.
But a new analysis finds that the level of coursework needed to earn a high school diploma differs
from state to state.
And just four states-Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky,
and Tennessee-and the District of Columbia require
students to complete college- and career-ready-level
courses in math and English/language arts to graduate, according to the report released earlier this
month by the nonprofit Achieve.
The group, which played a key role in launching
the Common Core State Standards initiative, looked
at 93 diploma options from across the states and the
District of Columbia for the class of 2014. All states
have adopted college- and career-ready standards,
the report notes. (Forty-four states and D.C. are using
the common-core standards, while the rest are using
But 20 of those states do not offer a diploma that
requires students to complete college- and careerready-level-courses, the report says. The analysis considers graduation requirements "college- and careerready-level" if students have to take a course of study
aligned to the college- and career-ready standards,
including at least three years of math, generally
through Algebra 2, and four of "rigorous, grade-level"
In 26 states, students can choose from multiple
diploma options, including a college- and careerready path, according to the analysis. And just nine
of those states publicly report the percentage of students who graduated with the college- and careerready coursework.
"Making Professional Learning Count"
Digital badges are being widely adopted for
students, but could the same principle be applied to professional development for teachers?
A study commissioned by the nonprofit Digital Promise analyzed the reasons teachers
might adopt micro-credentials in lieu of, or in
conjunction with, more formal professional development. To earn micro-credentials, teachers
must follow online coursework, lead classroom
activities, and prepare artifacts from those activities to demonstrate mastery in a given skill,
such as effective use of wait time.
Because the concept is so new, only 15 percent of the 800 public and private K-12 teachers
surveyed for the study reported being at least
"somewhat aware" of such opportunities. Once
they became more familiar with the concept of
micro-credentials, however, nearly two-thirds
reported being at least "somewhat likely" to try
to earn one, according to the survey. -LEO DORAN
"Extracurricular Participation and Course
Performance in the Middle Grades"
Community groups and sports not connected to
school can help students stay more connected academically during a critical transition period, a study of lowincome students in New York City suggests.
The move from elementary to middle school can be
rough for students, but some outside activities can
buffer that transition, said New York University doctoral researcher Kate Schwartz, who analyzed the
transition in a forthcoming study in the American
Journal of Community Psychology.
Of the 1,400 low-income urban adolescents who were
followed in the ongoing study, more than a third of 5th
graders and two-fifths of middle school students said
they took part in no activities in or out of school, or that
they participated once a month or less.
Students who took part in one or two sports or community activities outside of school a few times a month
had higher grade point averages, particularly if they
became more involved in those activities during 6th
grade. But Schwartz found no academic benefit for
students who were involved in school-based activities,
such as pep squad, drama, or student government.
-SARAH D. SPARKS
"Unaccompanied Child Migrants in U.S. Communities,
Immigration Court, and Schools"
The tens of thousands of unaccompanied schoolage children and youths who crossed the U.S.-Mexican border in the spring and summer of 2014 had
vastly different educational experiences depending
on where they settled, a report from the Migration
Policy Institute concludes.
The students, almost all of them from Central
America and many with yearlong gaps in their formal education, represented a new challenge for the
schools. And the needs of the students, ranging from
English-language-learner services to mental-health
counseling, are met in some places and rebuffed in
others, the report says.
"Anecdotal reports suggest school districts are reacting in significantly different ways, some creating service
programs that address the children's particular needs,
while others have exercised policies that make school
enrollment more difficult," writes author Sarah Pierce.
The paper cites three districts-Montgomery
County, Md.; Sussex County, Del.; and Dalton, Ga.-
for their positive efforts to address the needs of the
unaccompanied minors, including trauma, interrupted formal education, family reunification, and
"Residential Mobility During Adolescence"
For a teenager, moving-even if it's to a higherincome neighborhood-is linked to a decrease in
the likelihood of graduating from high school, an
analysis has found.
Researchers from Washington University in St.
Louis drew on data from a national study that followed 7th to 12th graders from the mid-1990s into
young adulthood. They found that moving at least
once during a 12-month period was associated with
a 50 percent drop in the likelihood of getting a high
school diploma by age 25-regardless of whether
the students were moving to neighborhoods that
were poorer or less poor than where they started.
The study was published last month in the journal
Social Science Research.
EDUCATION WEEK | October 28, 2015 | www.edweek.org | 5
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 28, 2015
Education Week - October 28, 2015
Study Paints Chaotic View of Testing
In L.A., Tensions Rise Over Teacher Investigations
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: ‘Ephemeral’ Apps Put School Leaders in Tricky Spots
Unequal Access to Advanced Classes Targeted
Fighting Subtle Bias
News in Brief
Oak Foundation Aiding Those With ‘Learning Differences’
Long-Term Study to Track Adolescent Brain Development
Blogs of the Week
In Minneapolis, a Targeted Effort To Bolster Black Boys
School-Parent Linkages Chip Away at Cultural Barriers
Fate of Programs Complicates Path To ESEA Compromise
Some School Choice Backers Tepid On Title I Portability Proposal
State Chiefs Look to Montana For Ways to Meet the Needs Of Native American Students
Signs Point to Increase in High School Graduation Rates
Blogs of the Week
SETH KERSHNER & SCOTT HARDING: Do Military Recruiters Belong in Schools?
JEREMY A. STERN: On the AP U.S. History Framework
Unearthing the Humanity Beneath Stereotypes
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JOHN HATTIE: The Effective Use of Testing: What the Research Says
Education Week - October 28, 2015