Education Week - December 3, 2014 - (Page 1)
Consortium Sets High Bars for Its Common-Core Tests
VOL. 34, NO. 13 * DECEMBER 3, 2014
AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2014 Editorial Projects in Education * $4
edweek.org: BREAKING NEWS DAILY
More than half
By Catherine Gewertz
States that adopted the common core have anticipated
tougher tests, but new student-performance
projections convert that abstract concern into a more
concrete picture. They show that more than half of
students will fall short of proficiency in English/language
arts and mathematics on tests designed by the
Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
If the achievement projections released last month
hold true for the consortium's first operational test
next spring, many states will see lower proficiency
rates than those on their current tests. State leaders
will be faced with a daunting public relations task:
convincing policymakers and parents that the results
are a painful but temporary result of asking students
to dig deeper intellectually so they will be better prepared
for college and good jobs.
The establishment of cut scores, known in the measurement
field as "standard-setting," marks one of
the biggest milestones in the four-year-long project to
design tests for the Common Core State Standards.
It is also the most flammable, since a central tenet
of the initiative has been to ratchet up academic expectations
to ensure that students are ready for their
The Smarter Balanced test has four achievement
categories. Students must score at Level 3 or higher
to be considered proficient in the skills and knowledge
PAGE 11 >
Rules Aim to Heighten
Ed. School Monitoring
By Stephen Sawchuk
Teacher colleges would need to provide proof of their
graduates' classroom skills in helping advance student
learning, under proposed rules issued last week by the
U.S. Department of Education.
Programs that failed to do so could eventually be
blocked from offering financial aid to would-be K-12 teachers
in the form of federal Teacher Education Assistance
for College and Higher Education, or teach, grants, according
to the long-delayed proposal.
The rules are the Obama administration's attempt to
toughen what have long been considered ineffectual requirements
for teacher-preparation programs in Title II
of the Higher Education Act. Even so, under its proposal,
few consequences would kick in before 2020-years after
President Barack Obama will have left office.
The blueprint is conceptually in line with the administraPAGE
Saveya Howleft and her uncle, Nick Scott, learn about common-core math at Old Orchard Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio.
Parents Get Schooled on New Math Standards
By Liana Heitin
Schools around the country are holding
math nights, sending letters home, and
posting videos on their websites to teach
parents about the Common Core State
Standards for mathematics, which require
students to use calculation methods
that many parents never learned.
The result is that initially frustrated
parents, once they fully grasp the new
Districts Press Publishers
On Digital-Content Access
By Benjamin Herold
A handful of large school districts are aggressively
pushing big publishers and other providers of
digital content to overhaul the way they deliver instructional
materials, a movement that experts say
could upend long-established purchasing patterns
and help educators more easily access materials from
The movement is being led by the 215,000-student
district here and the 187,000-student Orange County,
Fla., schools, which have declared they will no longer
do business with content vendors that do not adopt "interoperability
standards" put forth by the ims Global
Learning Consortium, a Lake Mary, Fla.-based nonprofit
membership organization. Other prominent districts-including
Denver; Gwinnett County, Ga.; and
PAGE 14 >
A special Commentary
section on arts education
In this special opinion package,
educators and arts advocates discuss
the impact of using different avenues
to include the arts in K-12 learning.
Five illustrators provide original art
for the section.
See Pages 22-25 and back page.
strategies, often end up convinced they're
a good way to learn, educators and parents
here and in other districts say.
But getting to that point can be a tough
road, experts say, considering the many
highly publicized negative portrayals of
the common standards.
The TV and radio commentator Glenn
Beck held simulcasts in 700 movie theaters
over the summer to call on citizens
to lobby against the common core, and the
comedians Stephen Colbert and Louis C.K.
have taken shots at the math standards.
(The latter went on a Twitter tirade in
April about how his children used to love
math, but "now it makes them cry.")
Some policymakers, meanwhile, such
as Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of
Louisiana, have claimed the standards-
whose adoption the Obama administration
encouraged with financial incentives
to states-are a case of federal overreach.
The impending common-core-aligned
PAGE 12 >
Principals' Central Role Gets
New Attention at Ed. Dept.
By Denisa R. Superville
In the second term of the Obama administration, the
U.S. Department of Education, under Secretary Arne Duncan,
has trained its efforts on principals by rolling out a
series of initiatives that build on the growing body of research
underscoring the role they play in schools' success.
That heavy focus on principals is a departure from
that of previous administrations and marks a shift even
from Secretary Duncan's first four years. It coincides not
only with the research, but also with sweeping changes
in other federal and state K-12 policies-ranging from
federal waivers of some provisions of the No Child Behind
Act to the implementation of college- and career-readiness
PAGE 10 >
Brian Widdis for Education Week
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - December 3, 2014
Education Week - December 3, 2014
Rules Aim to Heighten Ed. School Monitoring
Parents Get Schooled On New Math Standards
Principals’ Central Role Gets New Attention at Ed. Dept.
Districts Press Publishers On Digital-Content Access
Consortium Sets High Bars For Its Common-Core Tests
Table of Contents
News in Brief
New Teacher-Licensing Exams In N.Y. Lead to Subpar Results
Obama Grants Deportation Relief To Immigrant Parents
Kindergartners Found to Benefit From ‘Tools of the Mind’
Blogs of the Week
Word Problems Should Be Given At the Start of Lesson, Studies Say
Tech. Vendors Cloudy On K-12 Buying Needs
New Guidance Offers States Roadmap to NCLB Waiver Renewal
Achievement, Dissension Marked Tennessee Chief’s Tenure
States Get Federal Running Room On Teacher-Equity Plans
Blogs of the Week
JOHN CESCHINI: STEM + Art: A Fruitful Combination
KIP ZEGERS: A Teacher, Students, and Poetry in Motion
JAY P. GREENE, BRIAN KISIDA, CARI A. BOGULSKI, ANNE KRAYBILL, COLLIN HITT, & DANIEL H. BOWEN: Art Matters: We Know, We Measured It
JEAN HENDRICKSON: Why Not Art for Children’s Sake?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JEFF DEKAL: A Brief Portrait of a Young Artist
Education Week - December 3, 2014
If you would like to try to load the digital publication without using Flash Player detection, please click here.