Education Week - October 28, 2015 - (Page 5)

REPORT ROUNDUP RURAL SCHOOLS trict's social-media policy. It says they were given a written warning and told they could be fired for posting similar messages. -AP 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 cultural stereotypes. 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. -LIANA HEITIN 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. -S.S. | TRANSITIONS | Randy Dorn, the schools superintendent in Washington state, announced last week that he will not seek a third term in office. In his announcement, 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 legislature. 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 state lawmaker. Susan Hardy Brooks, a vice president at Schnake Turnbo Frank, a regional public relations and managementconsulting firm in Oklahoma, has become the president of the National School Public Relations Association for 2015-16. She assumed office Oct. 1. 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. -AP Superintendent Accused 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 check. -AP CORRECTION: 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. -JACKIE MADER 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 state-adopted benchmarks.) 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" English. 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. -LIANA HEITIN DIGITAL BADGES "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 YOUNG ADOLESCENTS "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 MIGRANT STUDENTS "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 legal issues. -COREY MITCHELL STUDENT MOBILITY "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 -DEBRA VIADERO Social Science Research. EDUCATION WEEK | October 28, 2015 | | 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
Report Roundup
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