Education Week - October 29, 2014 - (Page 1)

EDUCATION WEEK AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2014 Editorial Projects in Education * $4 By Lauren Camera The two national teachers' unions, hoping to affect education policy at the state and local levels, are pouring more money into those campaigns in the 2014 midterm elections than ever before. With the express mission of unseating Republican governors and flipping control of conservative state legislatures-legacies of the GOP tide in 2010-the unions are taking a page out of the playbook of some newer and smaller education advocacy groups: Focus on down-ballot candidates and work up to the top ticket. Spending on state races isn't new for the Marc Gosselin, center, the principal of Anna L. Lingelbach Elementary School in Philadelphia, started the year with a discretionary budget of $160. The district's board recently canceled its contract with the teachers' union to send more resources to schools. Repeal of Phila. Teachers' Contract Ignites Furor Cash-starved district's action seen as new threat to unions By Benjamin Herold Philadelphia Three weeks after the School Reform Commission that governs this labor-friendly city's public schools activated its "nuclear option," the shock waves are still being felt around the country. Beset by an epic budget crunch, the SRC unilaterally canceled its expired contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers earlier this month and declared that the union's 11,500 members will begin paying a portion of their health-insurance costs. Observers across the political spectrum view the action as the latest salvo in an ongoing national battle over the collective bargaining rights of public-sector workers. In recent years, teachers and other public employees from Louisiana to Wisconsin have found themselves on the defensive as management has sought to roll back benefits and job protections. "There's a drumbeat across the country that this is the way to deal with your public-sector unions," said Linda Kaboolian, a public-policy lecturer at Harvard University. "The people who are advocating this kind of aggressive stance sense that labor is on the run," she said, "and they sense that private taxpayers can be roused by highlighting the difference between their own insecurity and the benefits enteachers' unions, which are still putting millions of dollars into federal races, particularly the slew of U.S. Senate contests expected to decide control of that chamber. But the National Education Association, which plans to spend about $40 million during this election cycle, is aiming PAGE 18 > joyed by public-sector workers with a collective bargaining agreement paid with tax dollars." But even against that backdrop, the SRC's actions present a dramatic new threat to labor, experts on such issues say. Never before in recent memory has an appointed body, acting without clear legislative authority, sought to rip up a contract and impose new costs on public workers. "I think it can set an important precedent," said Daniel R. DiSalvo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a right-leaning think tank in New York City. "If a big, 'blue' city like Philadelphia can be pushed to do this, people are definitely going to pay attention," he said. City and district officials are adamant that the PAGE 12 > VOL. 34, NO. 10 * OCTOBER 29, 2014 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Union Cash Playing Big In Key Races AFT, NEA Pour Out Funds At Record Levels in Midterm EDUCATION ON THE CAMPAIGN LANDSCAPE Stay abreast of pivotal contests in the 2014 elections with analysis from Education Week Pages 16-17 State Efforts Fuel ACT, SAT Growth By Caralee J. Adams As Educators Respond to Ebola, Threat to Schools Remains Low By Evie Blad Even as worries about Ebola have prompted school closings and other K-12 precautions in recent weeks, medical experts are advising school officials to take a measured approach in response to the handful of U.S. cases of the virus. Districts in Solon, Ohio, and Belton, Texas, closed several schools after learning that students, parents, or staff members were either on the same flight or had flown on the same plane as one of two Dallas nurses who became sick with the virus this month after treating the United States' first Ebola patient. The nurse had not yet shown symptoms or been diagnosed with the virus. And the Akron, Ohio, district closed one elementary school after learning that a student's parent may have had contact with the nurse while she was in the area. But infectious-disease experts and public-health officials say those closings, and steps taken elsewhere by education officials to approve emerPAGE 13 > Nevada and Missouri next spring will join a rapidly growing number of states that are shelling out money for every 11th grader in public high school to take the ACT or SAT college-entrance exams. Nearly half of states-and individual school districts in most others-have contracted with the nation's two biggest college-testing programs for some form of wide-scale administration in high school so that no student will have an excuse for passing up the opportunity to take one of the tests. Custodians clean a school in Rowlett, Texas, this month. Parents of students at the Dallas-area school were on the same flight as a nurse later diagnosed with Ebola. Experts emphasize the virus can't be spread by casual contact. But the growth in statewide collegeadmissions testing also comes at a time when the testing landscape in high schools is uncertain and increasingly crowded. Separate K-12 assessments tied to the Common Core State StanPAGE 10 > Jessica Kourkounis for Education Week Nathan Hunsinger/The Dallas Morning News/AP 2014 ELECTION

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 29, 2014


Education Week - October 29, 2014