Education Week - November 11, 2015 - (Page 4)

NEWS IN BRIEF A California judge has granted a temporary restraining order to prevent a popular Los Angelesbased charter network, the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, from activities designed to prevent its teachers from trying to unionize. The state public labor-relations board requested the injunction while it processes four labor complaints on behalf of United Teachers Los Angeles. Among other things, the judge's order says that the Alliance "must not ask certificated employees about their positions or intention regarding unionization and/or collective bargaining," cannot "coerce or threaten to impose reprisals" against employees engaging in organizing, and cannot "deny or block" emails from the teachers' union. It also requests that administrators stay at least 100 feet away from UTLA organizers. The order's language was agreed to by Alliance attorneys, but the group has denied charges of intimidation, saying it was merely providing information about unionization. -STEPHEN SAWCHUK Students With Disabilities Still Show Gaps on NAEP The math and reading scores for students with disabilities on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress showed little movement from two years ago. Considering the NAEP score decreases seen for the overall student population, holding steady could be seen as a neutral or even positive result, especially because more students with disabilities took the test this year. But the lack of movement in scores means that students with disabilities gained no ground on closing the wide achievement gap between themselves and students who do not have disabilities. In reading, 33 percent of 4th graders with disabilities scored at or above a basic level, compared with 74 percent of students without dis- Osama Faisal/AP Charter Network Restricted In L.A. Unionization Fight THINKING GLOBALLY First lady Michelle Obama listens to a teacher during the 2015 World Innovation Summit for Education, held in Doha, Qatar, last week. She spoke at the summit on the need for increasing global support for girls' education. abilities. For the 8th grade reading test, 37 percent of students with disabilities scored at or above basic, compared with 81 percent of students without disabilities. In the math portion of the exam, 54 percent of 4th grade students with disabilities scored at or above basic; 85 percent of students without disabilities scored in that range. For 8th graders, 32 percent of students with disabilities scored at or above basic, while 76 percent of students without disabilities scored in that range. -CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS Walton Family Foundation Gives $50 Million to TFA The Walton Family Foundation says it will donate $50 million over three years to Teach For America to support 4,000 new teachers nationwide. The foundation, which was created by Wal-Mart's founders, says the grant will support outreach, recruitment, and the development of new teachers in more than a dozen locations. The Mississippi Delta region, one of the poorest areas of the country, will get 800 new teachers under the grant. The Walton Family Foundation has provided support to TFA for 22 years. (The foundation also provides support to Education Week.) -ASSOCIATED PRESS AP Computer Science Lacking in Diversity The pool of test-takers for the Advanced Placement computer science exam is still overwhelmingly white Monthlong East St. Louis Strike Comes to an End One of the longest teachers' strikes of 2015 has come to an end, with students in East St. Louis, Ill., finally returning to school last week. Teachers in the 6,000-student district went on strike Oct. 1, protesting a district plan that would have doubled how long it takes teachers to hit the top of the salary schedule. The district's original plan, rejected by the East St. Louis Federation of Teachers, had offered a $2,000 bonus and lengthened the salary schedule to 21 years, up from 11. Under the terms of the new agreement, as reported by the Associated Press, all but first-year teachers will receive a $3,000 bonus now, and all teachers (including new ones) will receive two more bonus payments totaling $3,000 toward the end of the school year. Those bonuses are in lieu of a raise this year. 4 | EDUCATION WEEK | November 11, 2015 | But the district also secured agreement around lengthening the salary schedule; it will now take teachers an additional eight years (19 total) to reach the top of the scale. The contract is scheduled to last four years. According to a statement by Superintendent Arthur R. Culver, teachers will see "an average salary increase of $12,834 over the life of the contract." The district plans to make up the lost instructional days. A district spokesperson told the Belleville News-Democrat that holiday breaks may be shortened, and classes will likely extend into summer. The East St. Louis district has been under a stateimposed improvement plan for the past several years, a result of poor academic performance and other factors. -ROSS BRENNEMAN and male, according to data from the College Board. The number of students taking the AP computer science exam increased by about 24 percent from last year, up to 46,000 U.S. students. But the AP computer science exam has traditionally suffered from a lack of racial and gender diversity, and this REPORT ROUNDUP year was no exception. The number of female test-takers in computer science went up slightly over last year-but the group is still severely underrepresented, at just 22 percent. Ten states had fewer than 10 girls take the exam. The percentage of test-takers who were members of underrepre- TECHNOLOGY AND MEDIA "The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens" Teenagers and "tweens" are clocking an average of six to nine hours of screen time a day on TVs, computers, and mobile devices, according to researchers with Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that rates and reviews media by age level for parents. The findings come from a "census" by the group of media usage by children ages 8 to 18 across the United States. Although the bulk of this report concerns young people's use of media for purposes other than school or homework, the survey included a series of questions about the use of various types of media for homework, as well as questions about multitasking with media while doing homework. The data indicate that use of computers for homework is fairly common, but use of cellphones and tablets is less so. Combined, teens spend an average of 46 minutes a day using these screen platforms for homework, while tweens spend 15 minutes. Most young people who use media while doing their homework think it doesn't make a difference in their work-except for listening to music, which most students say actually improves the quality. -LOVEY COOPER EARLY CHILDHOOD "Building Blocks: State Child-Care Assistance Policies 2015" While most states continue to broaden their child-care assistance policies to serve more families, others are moving backward, according to an Oct. 27 report by the National Women's Law Center, an advocacy group focused on public-policy issues. Noting that federal funding for child-assistance programs has decreased since 2001, the report focuses on what states are doing in the early-childhood realm. It finds, for instance, that a family with an income equal to at least 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($40,180 a year for a family of three) could not qualify for care in 39 states. That's insufficient, the report says, since research shows that families in most

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - November 11, 2015

Education Week - November 11, 2015
RTI Practice Falls Short of Promise, Research Finds
Districts Confront Transgender Policies
Top Teacher’s Resignation Spurs Certification Debate
Special Ed. Law Wrought Complex Changes
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Blogs of the Week
In Colorado School Board Recall, Politics and Money Drive Ouster
‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Is Tough Call for Districts
Districts Struggle to Equip Schools With Fast, Affordable Internet
States Prepare for Shifting Role On Accountability
In Off-Year Elections, Ky., Miss. Drew Spotlight on K-12
Arizona Governor Signs Deal to Settle K-12 Funding Suit
Blogs of the Week
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Must Be Everywhere at Once
Put Our Mission Front and Center
Control What I Can
Prioritize Community-Building
How Do We Keep Good Principals?

Education Week - November 11, 2015