Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Cover1
VOL. 37, NO. 13 * NOVEMBER 15, 2017
AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2017 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 5
BRE AKING NEWS DAILY
New Survey Details
Effect of Inclusion
On Teaching Time
Preston Gannaway for Education Week
By Christina A. Samuels
GIVING PARENTS VOICE: Parents (from left) Silvia Servin (with daughter Victoria Torres, 4), Abigail Perez, and Andrea Cortez listen during a
parent-training session in Modesto, Calif. The session was organized by PIQE, the Parent Institute for Quality Education, which teaches
parents how to advocate for their children and navigate an education system that may be unfamiliar to them. PAGE 6
Software, not bathroom
access, is most pressing issue
By Benjamin Herold
Indiana Connections Academy faced
Around 2013, a growing number of
transgender students at the K-12 school
began telling staff they wanted to be
recognized by a different name and
gender than was listed on their birth
But Indiana Connections Academy is
a full-time online charter. That means
most student interactions with teachers and classmates occur online, using
technology platforms that display each
child's name and other information.
The school couldn't change what was
displayed publicly without first wrestling with serious questions about student privacy, as well as changing what
was stored in its back-end database,
which at the time required students'
legal name and gender for state reporting purposes.
Finding a technical fix was just part
of the ongoing challenge, according to
Melissa Brown, Indiana Connections
Academy's longtime executive director.
The school has also had to consider its
legal obligations around serving transgender students, which have shifted
over the past two presidential adminPAGE 11 >
Are States Changing Course on Teacher Evaluation?
Test-Score Growth Plays
Lesser Role in Six States
By Liana Loewus
Bolstered by new research and federal
incentives, experts decided about a decade
ago that better teacher evaluation was the
path to better student achievement. A flood
of states started toughening their teacherevaluation systems, and many of them did
it by incorporating student-test scores into
And while those policies are still in place
in a majority of states, there are signs the
tide is turning: Over the past two years,
a handful of states have begun reversing
mandates on using student-growth mea-
sures-and standardized-test scores, in
particular-to gauge teacher quality.
Six states-Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas,
Kentucky, North Carolina, and Oklahoma-
have now dropped requirements that evaluations include student-growth measures
and begun letting districts decide what
elements to include in assessing teachers,
according to analyses from the Education
Commission of the States and the National
Center on Teacher Quality.
Connecticut, Nevada, and Utah passed
policies that require some evidence of student learning but prohibit using state
standardized-test scores for that purpose.
Florida kept student-growth measures but
OLIVE BRANCH: New Mexico is giving teachers a
seat at the policy table-now.
N.M. at a Crossroads on Reviews
By Alyson Klein
Santa Fe, N.M.
If you're a teacher, it's almost a sure bet that you will
get a satisfactory performance rating, even if your state
tries to make the process more objective by incorporating
student-test scores into evaluations.
That is, unless you happen to live in New Mexico.
The Land of Enchantment has either the toughest
evaluation system in the country or the most accurate,
depending on who you talk to. Experts at Brown and
Temple universities looked at evaluation systems in 24
states, including New Mexico, that incorporate student
growth on tests and found that 95 percent of teachers
get proficient or better ratings. By contrast, more than
a quarter of New Mexico's teachers are labeled as "mini-
In Florida, Laissez-Faire Approach to
Monitoring Private School Vouchers
By Arianna Prothero
Josh Ritchie for Education Week
A new analysis that looks at how much time educators
spend teaching in classrooms with students with disabilities adds a new twist to the debate over inclusion.
Data from a survey of educators in more than three
dozen countries and regions, including the United States,
shows that time spent teaching goes down as the number
of students with disabilities in a classroom goes up.
But inclusion of special education students by itself
doesn't appear to be the main driver. Instead, the survey offers a complex picture of how countries all over
the world handle classes with high numbers of students
Among the other contributing factors putting a damper
on teaching time, the analysis says classrooms with high
numbers of students with disabilities also tend to have
teachers who have less training and less experience.
Such classrooms also tend to have high percentages of
students with other needs, such as language minorities,
low academic achievement, and low socioeconomic status.
And while having a high percentage of students with
behavior problems also cuts into teaching time, it's not
Erica Florea and daughter, Jessica, 14, at home in Jupiter, Fla.
The family had a difficult experience with private school choice.
Erica Florea was fed up. The Jupiter,
Fla., mother had feuded for months
with her daughter's middle school over
her special education needs. Florea believed Jessica, who has dwarfism and
epilepsy, also had autism.
But the school system, Florea said,
had missed the diagnosis and was not
providing the supports she insisted her
daughter needed. So, before school resumed in the fall of 2015, she took a
friend's advice and applied for one of
Florida's publicly funded voucher programs to help pay tuition expenses for
Jessica to attend a private school.
With a taxpayer-funded McKay
Scholarship worth nearly $6,000, Florea pulled Jessica out of a public school
system that faces some of the most
stringent accountability in the country
and entered into a largely unregulated
private school sector with wide latitude
over who it admits, who it kicks out,
and few requirements for informing
the public on how it serves students
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