Education Week - December 12, 2012 - (Page 4)

4 EDUCATION WEEK n DECEMBER 12, 2012 n NEWS IN BRIEF Five States Awarded Early-Learning Grants The U.S. Department of Education has announced that $133 million in early-childhood education grants will be split among Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin in its second round of the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge competition. The Dec. 6 announcement came as no surprise, as those five states had pretty much sewn up their share of the money after they made a strong showing in the initial round of competition that split $500 million among nine winning states. For the most part, the states had to submit the same proposals as they did in the first phase, but had to make adjustments or scale back because only half as much money was available to them in this bridesmaid round. Grants range from just under $35 million for Illinois to $20.5 million for Oregon. –LESLI A. MAXWELL U.N. Disability Pact Fails in U.S. Senate The U.S. Senate failed to ratify the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. On Dec. 4, the chamber fell five votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to approve the treaty. Proponents noted that 90 percent of children with disabilities in developing countries have no access to education. In the 61-38 vote, all 38 no votes came from Republicans. The treaty is modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act. Former Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, whose youngest daughter has severe disabilities, opposed the measure, saying it could infringe on the rights of American families to raise their children as they see fit. In a statement, the White House said that ratification would position the United States to support extending across the globe the rights that Americans already enjoy at home, thereby improving the lives of Americans with disabilities— including wounded service members—who wish to live, work, and travel abroad. —NIRVI SHAH Court Rules for Student In Harassment Case A federal appeals court has upheld a $1 million jury award against a small New York state school district found to be deliberately indifferent to persistent racial harassment of a high school student by his peers. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, in New York City, ruled unanimously Dec. 1 in favor of the family of Anthony Zeno, who is half-white and half-Latino and is described in court papers as “dark-skinned.” Mr. Zeno was 16 when his family moved in 2005 to Pine Plains. At Stissing Mountain High School, where racial minorities made up less than 5 percent of student enrollment, Mr. Zeno received threats, including references to lynching. School officials suspended offenders in some cases. Mr. Zeno sued the district, alleging race discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 1,100-student Pine Plains Central district said it responded reasonably to each reported incident and didn’t know its responses were inadequate or ineffective. —MARK WALSH Grants Aim to Foster District-Charter Links The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced this month that seven school districts will receive a total of $25 million in grant money aimed at supporting district-based efforts to foster collaboration and reduce tension between district schools and charter schools. The Philadelphia, Boston, Denver, New Orleans, New York, Hartford, Conn., and Spring Branch, Texas, school districts will receive between $2.2 million and $5 million from the Seattle-based foundation. (The Gates Foundation also provides funding to Education Week.) The grant recipients will focus on joint professional development for charter and district teachers, common-core implementation, personalized learning experiences, universal enrollment systems for all public schools, and common measures to facilitate clear evaluation of schools. The districts are also to share best practices and resources. Relations between districts and public charter schools are often strained, as the two are sometimes perceived to be in competition with one another for resources and students. —JACLYN ZUBRZYCKI RALLY FOR RESOURCES Education advocates descend the steps of the New York State Museum on their way to a rally at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., last week. Students, parents, and teachers from around the state marched and held a rally looking for more funding for schools. Most Teachers on Par In New Fla. Evaluations The Florida department of education released its first report on new, controversial evaluations for teachers last week. Top Officials Depart U.S. Education Department Leadership changes for civil rights, technology office, communications Russlynn Ali, the hard-charging head of the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights, is stepping down from the post. Her last day was Nov. 30. Her departure raises the question of whether the aggressive stance of her office will stay intact without her leadership. Ms. Ali, who headed Education Trust West in California, where she championed causes such as requiring a college-level curriculum for all high school students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, ramped up the ocr’s work on school discipline, harassment, and bullying, and opened up new areas of inquiry into students’ access to charter schools and graduation rates at community colleges. Instructional programs for English-language learners received a lot of scrutiny under Ms. Ali, who partnered frequently with civil rights officials at the U.S. Department of Justice to bring even more pressure for change in school districts. The ocr forced a number of changes for Englishlearners in Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, and Arizona. The ocr has also stepped up its reviews of districts where civil rights advocates have complained that ells and their non-English-speaking parents are not provided adequate communications. Seth Galanter, who has been a deputy assistant secretary in the ocr, has been promoted to replace Ms. Ali. Other senior officials have also announced their departures from the Education Department in recent weeks. Karen Cator, the director of the office of technology since 2009, announced last month that she will leave her post when a replacement is found. Ms. Cator, a former Apple executive, oversaw early implementation of the first national education technology plan, released in 2010. The plan calls for more infrastructure and hardware for schools, but also more personalized learning, better data, and content tools for teachers. Also last month, Peter Cunningham, the assistant secretary for communications and outreach, and Justin Hamilton, the press secretary, left their positions. —LESLI A. MAXWELL RUSSLYN ALI KAREN CATOR Mike Groll/AP

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