Education Week - December 12, 2012 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk VOL. 32, NO. 14 • DECEMBER 12, 2012 AM E R ICAN E DUCATION’S N EWS PAPE R OF R ECOR D • © 2012 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 BREAKING NEWS DAILY Federal Attention on ELL Needs Seen to Wane A diminished clearinghouse, a leaderless office, and a department reshuffling have advocates worried By Lesli A. Maxwell As the number of English learners continues to grow faster than that of any other group in the nation’s public schools, concerns are mounting that the distinctive needs of those students and the educators who work with them are receiving diminishing attention from the U.S. Department of Education. Even as the federal government spends roughly $750 million a year to help educate a population that’s grown to be one out of every 10 students, the department’s office of English-language acquisition, or oela, has seen its clout steadily shrink. In mid-October, the office lost its director, Rosalinda B. Barrera, who was appointed in August 2010 and became the first permanent political appointee in that post since 2008. The department did not publicize her departure, and no one has been named to replace her. Before Ms. Barrera stepped down, oela decided not to renew a $2 million annual contract long held by George Washington University to manage the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquistion, or ncela. The office did not explain why it did not renew the contract, and early in the summer, it launched a new competition for the clearinghouse. In late September, oela awarded the contract to leed Management Consulting Inc., a year-old company in Silver Spring, Md. But after complaints about the process, including the final selection, the Education DePAGE 21 > ▲ Common Core Taught Through the Arts By Erik W. Robelen At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the painting “El Jaleo”—a canvas spanning 11 feet that features a flamenco dancer—is a popular starting point for getting students to spend time with a work of art. But viewing and discussing the 1882 piece by the American artist John Singer Sargent isn’t just a cultural experience. It also presents a powerful opportunity to tap into some of the same skills asked of students under the Common Core State Standards, said Michelle A. Grohe, the director of school and teacher programs at the museum, which has a close partnership with four Boston public schools. “When one of our schools is focusing on ‘close’ readings, to read an excerpt of text and describe the main idea and provide supporting evidence or details, that is very similar to what we do with the visual arts,” she said. As educators nationwide seek to help students meet the demands of the common core in English/language arts and mathematics, many arts education advocates are making the case that the arts can be a valuable partner. And in some cases, they’re identifying ways to make the links explicit. “There are a lot of natural connections,” said Susan M. Riley, a curriculum specialist with the 77,000-student Anne Arundel County district in Maryland, where part of her job is to work with teams across all academic departments on implementing the new standards. “I see the common core as a great platform for the arts to really rise and share their importance in the educational fabric of a school.” Race to Top Draws Out New Suitors Districts Now Finalists By Michele McNeil The list of 61 finalists for the latest Race to the Top competition shows that the U.S. Department of Education was successful in enticing high-scoring applications from districts in rural America and in states that had not shared in the Race to the Top bounty before. But whether the ultimate winners, which will be announced this month, will be successful in increasing personalized teaching and learning in classrooms—a key priority for this competition—is unclear. The Education Department has not released copies of the finalists’ proposals, and most districts had not posted their plans online either as of late last week, making it anyone’s guess what those districts would do, collectively, with $400 million in winnings. But interviews with several of the finalists show that the competition didn’t elicit entirely new initiatives from districts, and instead rewarded those already well on their way to tailoring instruction to students’ individual needs. “This will be the gas in the tank to get us there quicker,” said Ken Zeff, the chief PAGE 24 > Seeing Connections Ms. Riley, who has a background in arts integration, said her district is developing resources to help teachers make classroom connections between the common core and other disciplines, including the arts. One lesson she created on her own asks PAGE 18 > Ninth graders from the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers tour the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The museum, housed in a Venetian-style palace with three stories of galleries, helps students tap into the common standards. Test Designers Tap Students for Feedback By Catherine Gewertz Waterbury, Conn. Dominick Reuter for Education Week Pondering a math problem while she swings her sneakered feet from a chair, 12-year-old Andrea Guevara is helping researchers design an assessment that will shape the learning of 19 million students. The 8th grader, who came to the United States from Ecuador three years ago, is trying out two ways of providing Englishlanguage support on a computer-based test. First, she does a few problems that display PAGE 20 > Emile Wamsteker for Education Week Spanish translations of the English instructions. Then she tries a few written only in English, but with pop-up windows that open on the screen and show translations of unfamiliar words. Three researchers watch Andrea closely. They note which words she clicks on to activate the “pop-up glossary.” They watch how she responds to the bilingual instructions. Since Andrea has been encouraged to think aloud while she’s solving the problems, researchers hear as well as see how the features of the dif- Elena Saavedra, right, of the American Institutes for Research administers a test to Andrea Guevara, 12, during a session to help researchers hone tests under development for the common core.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - December 12, 2012

Education Week - December 12, 2012
Test Designers Tap Students for Feedback
Race to Top Draws Out New Suitors
Common Core Taught Through the Arts
Federal Attention on ELL Needs Seen to Wane
News in Brief
Report Roundup
NAEP Seeks to Test New Measure Of Student Poverty
In Rural Areas, After-School Efforts Must Stretch to Provide Services
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: McGraw-Hill Education Sale Highlights Publishing Trends
K-12, Higher Ed. Unite to Align Learning In Minnesota
States Pledge to Expand School Hours, Days
Absenteeism Linked to Low Achievement In NAEP Time Study
Union Pushes Higher Standards For New Teachers
Brand-New NAEP Report on Vocabulary Shows Same Old Gaps
Psychiatrists Revising Manual On Mental Disorders
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: N.C. Law Protects Educators From Online Harassment
Blogs of the Week
Education May Not Benefit From Brighter Financial Outlook
K-12 Education Advocates Lobby To Avert Fiscal Cliff
Policy Brief
Louisiana’s Ambitious Voucher Effort Unclear Following Judge’s Ruling
BARNETT BERRY & FREDERICK M. HESS: Expanded Learning Time: An Avenue to Greater Change
DAVE POWELL: Confusing Achievement With Aptitude
ANITA N. VOELKER: Smokeless Santa? Sanitizing a Child’s World
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JAMES S. LIEBMAN: Ending the Great School Wars

Education Week - December 12, 2012