Education Week - December 11, 2013 - (Page 1)
VOL. 33, NO. 14 * DECEMBER 11, 2013
AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2013 Editorial Projects in Education * $4
A Year Later,
But Few New Laws Seen
By Evie Blad
Around the country, "Newtown" has
become shorthand in policy discussions
for the horrific act everyone is
trying to prevent.
But in Newtown, Conn., the site of
the Dec. 14, 2012, school massacre,
leaders refer to the events of that day
simply as "12/14."
A year after the shooting, the flurry
of passionate calls for "national conversations"
and changes to state and
federal laws related to guns, school
security, and mental health that were
spurred by the tragedy has yet to
produce a sea change in policy. While
an undetermined number of districts
across the country responded to the
violence at Sandy Hook Elementary
School by beefing up safety measures
or adding armed security staff, only a
fraction of the state and federal legislative
changes proposed in the immediate
aftermath of the killings have
"People asked 'How can we really protect
our students? How can we ensure
that something like this won't happen?'"
said Pamela L. Goins, the director of
education policy for the Lexington, Ky.based
Council of State Governments.
"The message that we've heard is that
we need to be as prepared as possible."
A year after the deadliest K-12
school shooting in American history,
Newtown is still trying to regain a
sense of routine. District leaders, fearing
a rush of media attention leading
up to the anniversary, rejected all requests
for interviews about the attack,
in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot
his way into Sandy Hook and killed 26
people, including 20 children.
Meanwhile, deaths from school violence
remain statistically rare. Between
the 1992-93 and 2010-11 school years,
violent deaths that occurred while the
victim was at school, on the way to
school, or at a school-related activity
peaked at 63 in the 2006-2007 school
year, and nine of those were classified
PAGE 18 >
By Liana Heitin
The news that U.S. achievement was
stagnant on a global exam as other nations
plowed ahead triggered agendadriven
pronouncements from all sides
last week, but some experts caution
against making policy prescriptions
based on 15-year-olds' results on the assessment.
Schools such as Naalehu Elementary aim to use federal grant aid to counter rural isolation and poverty.
Hawaii's Early Stumbles on Race to Top
Give Way to Pace-Setting Outcomes
By Michele McNeil
Sixty-five miles from the nearest town of Hilo,
over the volcano and past groves of coffee and
macadamia-nut trees, is Naalehu Elementary
School. Here, students travel as far as eight miles
along privately owned roads to reach the closest
school bus stop on the main highway, contributing
to chronically high absenteeism.
Children from the Marshall Islands, a U.S. territory
where the American military tested nuclear
weapons during the Cold War, come to escape pov-
erty and contamination, and often arrive at school
with health problems and little English.
Naalehu Elementary is a training ground for
new teachers, who typically do two years of duty,
get tenure, and then leave for schools in larger
towns on the Big Island of Hawaii, or on Oahu.
The 459-pupil school and the others in what's
known as the Kau-Keaau-Pahoa complex area are
among the primary beneficiaries of a $75 million
Race to the Top grant, part of an intensive state
and federal effort to transform Hawaii's school system
from one of the nation's worst, by some metPAGE
In all subjects tested-reading,
mathematics, and science-more
countries scored above the United
States than did so in 2009 on the
Program for International Student
Assessment, or PISA. In the most striking
example, 10 additional nations,
including Germany and Poland, surpassed
the U.S. average in reading
compared with three years ago.
"We're running in place as other highperforming
countries start to lap us," U.S.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
said at a daylong live-webcast event here
Dec. 3. There's "so much to learn from
countries that have outperformed us."
Mr. Duncan emphasized the need for
improved early-childhood education and
"elevating and strengthening the teaching
profession" in the United States.
But Mark Schneider, a vice president
at the American Institutes for Research,
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edweek.org: BREAKING NEWS DAILY
Results Spur Policy Debate
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION
In Chinese Market
By Sean Cavanagh
Does 'Blue Light' Impair Students' Sleep?
While lights and electronic devices that mimic
By Sarah D. Sparks
Schools may soon face an unintended consequence
of more flexible technology and more energy-efficient
buildings: sleepier students.
That's because evidence is mounting that use
of artificial light from energy-efficient lamps and
computer and mobile-electronics screens later and
later in the day can lead to significant sleep problems
for adults and, particularly, children.
daylight can improve students' attention and
alertness if used during normal daytime hours,
Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine
at Harvard Medical School, has found exposure
in the late afternoon and evening can disrupt
sleep cycles as much as six to eight hours-the
same amount of "jet lag" caused by a flight from
New York City to Honolulu.
"Technology has disconnected us from the natural
24-hour day," Dr. Czeisler said in a keynote
lecture at the Society for Neuroscience meeting
held here last month.
That could lead to headaches for school districts
across the country that are rolling out take-home
electronic devices in an effort to boost student
Two connected systems determine how people
of all ages sleep. The first is pretty straightforward:
The longer it's been since you've slept, the
sleepier you get. The second system, called the circadian
cycle, is more complex and can easily come
into conflict with a person's basic sleep drive.
Human brains regulate circadian sleep
PAGE 20 >
Education companies from the
United States and other countries are
moving aggressively to secure a piece
of the market in China, where a surging
private-sector economy and growing
middle class are fueling a demand for
services, particularly for Western-style
products and school strategies.
Many of the best-known opportunities
for education businesses working
in China have come in English-language
acquisition and college preparation
and recruitment. But companies
are also establishing a foothold in such
diverse areas as early-childhood education,
curriculum, and management of
schools' Web content and online professional
The players include not only smaller
PAGE 16 >
Marco Garcia/ AP for Education Week
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - December 11, 2013
Education Week - December 11, 2013
Hawaii’s Early Stumbles on Race to Top Give Way to Pace-Setting Outcomes
Global Test Shows U.S. Stagnating
A Year Later, ‘Newtown’ Still Echoes
Does ‘Blue Light’ Impair Students’ Sleep?
Ed. Companies Finding Success In Chinese Market
News in Brief
States Grapple With Setting Common Test-Score Cutoffs
Report Shares Strategies For Growing Principals
Tech. Compatibility Certification Set Up for Common-Core Testing
Blogs of the Week
Group’s Model Bill Aims to Protect Privacy of Student Data
Privacy Issues Prompt State Measures
Sandy Hook: Words and Actions
Biology Explains Only Part Of Teenagers’ Sleep Losses
Chiefs for Change Confronts Political, Policy Tests
Kansas Funding Feud Raises Prospect of Court, Legislative Clash
Blogs of the Week
The Best Antidote to Bullying? Community Building
An Open Letter to the NCTQ
How a Learning Gap Grows
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Steering Clear of the Textbook
Education Week - December 11, 2013