Education Week - November 14, 2018 - 1
VOL. 38, NO. 13 * NOVEMBER 14, 2018
AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2018 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 6
Are Facing An
Put to Acid Test
At Ballot Box
Mich. Incident Reveals
Weak K-12 Cybersecurity
By Daarel Burnette II
By Benjamin Herold
John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP
Rochester Hills, Mich.
The hack started small, in 7th
grade, when they bypassed their
middle school's internet filters to
watch YouTube during lunch.
But by the time Jeremy Currier
and Seth Stephens were caught,
more than two years later, their exploits had given them extraordinary
reign over the computer network of
the Rochester Community Schools,
a well-to-do suburban district about
45 minutes outside Detroit.
The teens had access to the logins, passwords, phone numbers,
locker combinations, lunch balances, and grades of all 15,000 of
They could view teachers' tests,
answer keys, and email messages.
They could control the district's
security cameras and remotely
operate its desktop computers via
The boys were even using district
servers to mine for an encrypted
digital currency that operates independently of a central bank.
"It wasn't anything malicious,"
said Jeremy, now 15. "I mostly just
wanted to figure out what else I
That's not how Rochester school officials saw it. Though there's no evidence to date that Jeremy and Seth
directly threatened anyone, the dis-
BRE AKING NEWS DAILY
MIDTERM STUNNER: Wisconsin Democratic Governor-Elect Tony Evers, left, and Lieutenant Governor-
Elect Mandela Barnes celebrate after unseating Republican Gov. Scott Walker in last week's
midterm election. PAGE 18
Dozens of Teachers Elected,
But Many More Fall Short
15 How teachers approached
By Madeline Will
& Sarah Schwartz
the election in their classrooms.
Sand Springs, Okla.
In the first big election since teachers across the country walked
out of their classrooms this spring, dozens of current teachers
claimed state legislative seats-joining the policymaking bodies
that greatly influence pay and funding for schools.
It was the culmination of months, if not years, of activism and
advocacy for many of these educators, and yet the victory wasn't
clear-cut. While 42 teachers won, nearly 80 teachers-or two-thirds
of those on the ballot-lost their legislative bids in last week's midterm elections, according to an Education Week analysis. And gubernatorial candidates who pushed for pumping more money into
public schools were also defeated in Oklahoma and Arizona, leavPAGE 24 >
DEMOCRATS TAKE HELM
18 House control could put Ed. Sec.
Betsy DeVos on the hot seat.
19 Highlights of who won in state and
federal races of high K-12 interest.
CLASSROOM TO CONGRESS
20 National Teacher of the Year
Jahana Hayes wins House seat.
Funding was the prime education
theme in this year's state midterm elections, fueling debates over teacher pay
and more money for local schools, as
well as testing voters' appetite for tax
hikes to raise that money.
Now comes a reckoning for a new
crop of governors who face political and
structural hurdles in delivering on their
promises of more school aid, as well as
for teacher and other activists whose efforts to push through revenue increases
fell short in several states.
Brutal legislative battles are likely
in store for Democrats Tony Evers in
Wisconsin and Laura Kelly in Kansas,
two governors-elect who scored upsets
after campaigning hard on the prospect of millions more for schools.
Similarly, public school activists in
Arizona, Colorado, and Hawaii will
have to go back to the drawing board
after measures they backed to tax
wealthy residents in order to shore
up their financially strapped public
schools were either knocked off the
ballot by the courts or soundly defeated on Election Day.
Michael Leachman, the senior director of state fiscal research for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,
pointed out that governors in the 2010
and 2014 midterm elections ran-and
won-on platforms to eliminate income
taxes, which schools are heavily dependent on. The tenor in conversation has
definitely changed, said Leachman,
whose group focuses on how budget isPAGE 23 >
Principals Crack Down on Harmful Acts
By Arianna Prothero
& Sasha Jones
When Brad Seamer became principal of the joint
middle and high school in a small South Dakota town
in 2008, his predecessor warned him about the hazing. It was best to just look the other way, Seamer
remembers being told.
In Salem, a rural community on the east side of the
state, there had been a long-standing tradition that
many of the current students' parents had experienced: Around homecoming every year, seniors would
take freshmen out into surrounding cornfields for an
But as Seamer learned the details of the ritual-
senior football players paddling lowerclassmen and
dumping manure on their heads-he decided it had
He threatened to call police on students. He made
football players sit out during games-no small punishment in Salem. He warned freshman students and
their parents about the hazing they might encounter.
And despite strong pushback from some quarters-
including parents who challenged his authority to
punish students for their behavior outside of school-
Seamer refused to back down.
"The kids that were participating in this-they
never thought they were bad kids. ..." said Seamer.
"I just felt they had the wrong perspective, and it was
my job to change their perspective."
Seamer never doubted that ending the hazing was
his job. "It was affecting the freshmen's learning environment, and we went after it."
Seamer's experience strikes at a persistent issue
facing school leaders. How much leverage can
they-and should they-use to ward off damaging
and dangerous student behavior, be it hazing, underaged drinking, bullying, or sexual assault that
takes place outside school walls and school days?
And what can school leaders do when they encounter pushback from parents, the community, or even
PAGE 12 >
Ackerman + Gruber for Education Week
Leaders Confront Students' Hazing, Drinking, and Sexual Violence
Mary Pat Cumming, principal at the FAIR School in Minneapolis, is working with a
student and parent to create a course on consent for juniors and seniors.