Education Week - October 31, 2012 - (Page 4)

4 EDUCATION WEEK n OCTOBER 31, 2012 n NEWS IN BRIEF Miss. Cited in Lawsuit Over Juvenile Arrests The U.S. Department of Justice sued several government agencies in Mississippi last week, saying they systematically violate the due process rights of juveniles and are thus operating a “school to prison” pipeline in the area. The Justice Department said children in Meridian, Miss., are routinely jailed for minor offenses, including school discipline incidents, and are punished disproportionately without due process. Black students and students with disabilities are especially affected. The suit charges that the city of Meridian, Lauderdale County, judges in Lauderdale County Youth Court, and the state of Mississippi are all involved. The Justice Department says that children are arrested in school and incarcerated for days without a probable cause hearing, regardless of the severity of their alleged offense; regularly wait more than 48 hours for a probable cause hearing in violation of federal constitutional rights; and make admissions to formal charges without being advised of their right to remain silent. The county is also charged with inconsistently providing meaningful representation by a lawyer during the juvenile-justice process. —NIRVI SHAH A FIELD TRIP AT SCHOOL Kindergartner Kai Cata picks out a pumpkin to decorate in a Halloween-themed activity at Foxboro Elementary School last week. Teachers brought the field trip to the school in Vacaville, Calif., with money raised through bake sales. Field trips are on the decline in some districts because of budget cutbacks. Joel Rosenbaum/The Reporter/AP Voters to Decide Tax For Arts Education Portland, Ore., residents will be asked to vote on whether to pay higher taxes for arts education in the trendy city. The city ballot measure would allow a $35 annual tax to go toward the hiring of art and music teachers in public elementary schools. It is one of four measures Portland residents will consider, including a $482 million capital bond for the Portland school district. The arts measure is estimated to raise $12 million each year. —ERIK W. ROBELEN School Officers—will introduce the document and discuss the development of instructional and assessment materials. They will also detail the process for receiving public comment. Early signs suggest it will not prescribe the specific issues, trends, or events that students should study, but rather describe the structure, tools, and habits of mind they need in order to undertake an exploration of the discipline. —CATHERINE GEWERTZ Audit Faults Federal Charter-Fund Tracking An audit of charter school spending at the U.S. Department of Education concludes that federal officials have not properly monitored how states have spent that money, with particular oversight problems noted at the state department level in Arizona, California, and Florida. The report, conducted by the Education Department’s office of the inspector general, found that the federal agency’s office of innovation and improvement, which oversees grants to states for charter schools, as well as direct grants to charters, did not check if states followed federal regulations for using the money and did not keep track of how individual charters used the grants. WestEd, a San Francisco-based education research company, was contracted to provide technical assistance and to perform state monitoring visits for the audit. From fiscal 2007 to 2011, the department provided $940 million to charter schools through various grants. In an executive summary, the report states that the U.S. department “did not have an adequate corrective-action plan process in place to ensure grantees corrected deficiencies noted in annual monitoring reports, did not have a risk-based approach for selecting [local] grantees for monitoring, and did not adequately review grantees’ fiscal activities.” The inspector-general report found state-level problems in Arizona, California, and Florida concerning how they monitored their own activities related to the grants. Combined, the three states received $275 million in charter school funds from fiscal 2008 to 2011. There were a variety of criticisms for how these states monitored the spending of money for charter schools. Arizona, for example, “could not provide written procedures outlining the process for a charter school closure,” while California did not adequately document how it tracked assets from closed charter schools. All three states were criticized for not adequately monitoring charter schools receiving grants from their state education departments. —ANDREW UJIFUSA Boston Schools Chief Wins Urban Ed. Award Carol R. Johnson, the superintendent of Boston’s schools since 2009, was awarded the Richard R. Green award at the Council of the Great City Schools conference in Indianapolis this month. She will receive a $10,000 scholarship to award to a Boston student or a student from her alma mater. The award alternates between a superintendent and a school board member each year. Last year’s winner was Candy Olson, a member of the board in Hillsborough County, Fla. The last superintendent to win was Arlene Ackerman, then in Philadelphia. Ms. Johnson said the award came as a particular honor, as Richard R. Green was the superintendent in Minneapolis during part of her 30-year tenure there. She left the superintendent’s post in that district in 2003. —JACLYN ZUBRZYCKI Date Set for Release Of Social Studies Draft A draft framework for common social studies standards is set to be released Nov. 17. Social studies specialists have been working with state education officials and others to create standards in that subject. The document they’ve produced, which they’re referring to alternately as a “draft framework” and “draft standards”— is scheduled to be released for public review at the National Council for the Social Studies’ annual meeting in Seattle. According to an ncss press release, writers contributing to the effort— including the social studies collaborative of the Council of Chief State Smaller iPad Tablet Touted for Schools Apple unveiled a new iPad Mini, a tablet that weighs less than a pound and has a 7.8-inch screen, significantly smaller than the original iPad. It is touted as offering the same functions and display as the iPad but with more portability. The iPad Mini starts at $329 for a Wi-Fi-enabled tablet; a device with Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, useful for students without Internet at home, starts at $459. Regular iPads for K-12 schools run between $379 and $829. Other tablet-makers have entered the schools market with cheaper devices. Amazon offers a 7-inch Kindle Fire 2 for $149 and recently announced a free tool for teachers and administrators to manage schoolwide Kindle devices. Barnes & Noble, spurred by a recent $300 million investment from Microsoft, offers a 16-gigabyte Nook Tablet for $249. —JASON TOMASSINI El Paso Cheating Case Gets Fresh Scrutiny A former Texas education official will oversee a state-ordered investigation of the El Paso school district amid a cheating scandal. El Paso school trustees last week approved a nearly $580,000 contract with Weaver, the Texas company where Adam Jones is director of state government services. Mr. Jones is a former deputy commissioner with the state education department. The vote to hire an investigator came after protesters called for removal of the school board over the test-score scam. Former Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia in June pleaded guilty to fraud for inflating state and fed- eral accountability scores. Last month, he was sentenced to more than three years in prison. Mr. Garcia was also fined $56,600, the amount of the personal bonus he received when the district appeared to be performing better because of the manipulations, and ordered him to pay $180,000 for the contract fraud. —ASSOCIATED PRESS Higher Ed. Costs, Borrowing Stabilize After years of skyrocketing college costs, enrollment, federal aid, and student borrowing, new figures out last week from the College Board reflect a more stable picture for higher education.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 31, 2012

Education Week - October 31, 2012
‘i3’ Grantees Face Hurdles on Aid Match
Teacher-Leader Degree Designed as a Vehicle For Career Fulfillment
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Caution Urged on ‘Value Added’ Reviews
College Board Head to Make Underserved a Priority
Miami-Dade Wins $550,00 Broad Prize For Urban Education
E-School Conference Highlights Blended Ed.
Pa. Moves to Ease Penalties for Minors Who Engage in ‘Sexting’
Education Issues Suffuse Ballots
New Orleans Board Race a Magnet For Outsiders’ Cash
Blogs of the Week
Graduation Rates Latest Waiver Flash Point
Practical Hurdles at Play in Pennsylvania Charter-Law Revamp
Policy Brief
Rethinking Principal Evaluation
Teacher Observation: Tech or No Tech?
About the Necktie
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Redefining the Federal Role In Education: Advice for the Winner of Next Week’s Election

Education Week - October 31, 2012