Education Week - November 5, 2014 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2014 Editorial Projects in Education * $4 WAR ON POVERTY: Progress and Persistent Inequity VOL. 34, NO. 11 * NOVEMBER 5, 2014 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Districts' Push Seeks to Aid Boys of Color Blacks, Latinos Main Focus By Denisa R. Superville Leaders in some of the nation's bigcity school districts say they have new momentum-created by attention from President Barack Obama- to tackle one of the most vexing problems in urban schools: improving academic outcomes for AfricanAmerican and Latino boys. But despite the president's high'Lucky Few' Served By War on Poverty College Programs By Sarah D. Sparks Johnson City, Tenn. What counts as success after high school graduation? Today, in the 450-student Hampton High School, nestled in the picturesque but poor Cherokee National Forest on the northeastern tip of Tennessee, guidance counselor JoAnna Orr has a pragmatic view of success: She'll take what she can get. In a study of her attendance zone, Ms. Orr found that, 50 years after the War on Poverty spawned a succession of programs aimed at expanding the pipeline of low-income students entering higher education, college-going remains an elusive goal for many. Fewer than 5 percent of adults held a bachelor's degree, the study showed. Of the 80 seniors who graduated from Hampton last spring, fewer than 10 had parents who had even been to college. "We have increased our college-going attendance from single digits to something like 25 percent who will at least attempt it now," Ms. Orr said, but it can still be PAGE 12> COLLEGE SPUR: Eastman Chemical, center, is one of the primary employers in the rural northeastern tip of Tennessee, but most jobs there require degrees. profile call for action to improve the lives of boys of color in his "My Brother's Keeper" initiative, doing so remains a monumental task for educators. There are no new federal funds to bring to bear, nor is there certainty that the current national focus on the well-being of minority boys will outlast the Obama administration. Still, 62 big-city school systems-61 of them members of the Washington-based Council of the Great City Schools-joined the White House initiative this past summer, with a pledge to ramp up their efforts to steer boys of color to higher achievement, better graduation rates, and more successful lives. In the months since, district leaders from Long Beach, Calif., to Anchorage have been reassessing existing programs, partnering with local busiPAGE 15> Charter Sector Is Confronting School Closures "I KNOW THAT FOR ME to do something big, I have to go through college." STARLA C. BRIGHT, junior, Dobyns-Bennett High School, Kingsport, Tenn., with her mother, Janet Bright. By Arianna Prothero Federal K-12 Policy Evolves With Staff Turnover As the Obama administration enters its final years, some officials behind key education initiatives have moved on-and those now in place bring their own approaches and perspectives. PAGE 18 Group Offers Peek at Text-Review Process By Liana Heitin New York Praise, for many teachers, comes more naturally than criticism. That dynamic was on full display throughout the weekend training held here by, a nonprofit organization that will begin publishing Consumer Reports-style reviews of curricula and textbooks early next year. The Oct. 25 session offered an early, behind-the-scenes glimpse of the teacher-driven review process, which could eventually have far-reaching consequences for classrooms, district purchasers, and publishers. Nearly 40 teachers and instructional leaders from across the country gathered for guidance on how to evaluate classroom mathematics materials that claim to be aligned to the Common Core State Standards. One group of reviewers, which has been scrutinizing instructional materials for in small teams since August, participated in "cross-team calibration," presenting its initial ratings and ofPAGE 10> When the results of a yearlong investigation by the state of Indiana confirmed widespread cheating at an Indianapolis charter school, the mayor's office, which oversees a majority of charters in the city, took the drastic step of closing the school just weeks into the academic year. But the office went several steps further- holding enrollment fairs and buying new school uniforms-to help students transition to new schools. The charter sector has long stood by the premise that if the independently run public schools fail to perform, they are shut down -an idea often referred to as the "charter bargain." But as the movement matures, it increasingly faces the messy reality of closing schools-a situation that could become more common. Although there are many examples PAGE 16> Photos by Shawn Poynter for Education Week

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - November 5, 2014


Education Week - November 5, 2014