Education Week - December 12, 2018 - 1

Education Week
VOL. 38, NO. 16 * DECEMBER 12, 2018

AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2018 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 6 


Rollout of ESSA Report Cards
Frustrates School Leaders
Arduous Process Yields New Accountability Systems
By Daarel Burnette II
The rollout of states' redesigned
school accountability systems in recent
weeks has reignited tensions between
policymakers, practitioners, and parents over how best to define and incentivize school success.
Virtually every state, after the passing of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, redesigned their
school accountability systems, an arduous, combative, and yearslong process
that led to the resignation of several
state education chiefs.
Those new systems are now being
presented to the public for the first
time on sleek new websites that allow
visitors to compare among schools
and dive into test scores and several
new data points, including chronic
absenteeism, teacher quality, and
student preparation for colleges and
But how state departments then

used those data points to rank schools
has riled many district superintendents in recent weeks who, in editorials and school board meetings, have
accused state officials of being overly
simplistic and still too reliant on test
scores to determine the winners and
"It doesn't really tell the whole story
of the effectiveness of any school or any
district," said Felecia Gomez-Walker,
the superintendent of St. Charles Parish school district in Louisiana, whose
letter grade dropped from an A to a B
under the state's new system. GomezWalker said she appreciates Louisiana's redesigned report card for its detailed breakdown of academic outputs
but is frustrated with the state's use of
letter grades.
States' accountability systems determine where tens of millions of federal
and state school improvement dollars
flow, and for a variety of reasons in
PAGE 17 >

Angie Scioli, a civics teacher at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, N.C. and founder of Red4EdNC, which
helped organize statewide teacher protests last spring, stands in her classroom.

Teachers Came Together to Strike.
What Will Happen Next?
By Madeline Will
After a historic year in which scores of teachers
walked out of their classrooms to protest low pay
and lack of education funding, and many ran for
political office, education organizers are asking:
Where do we go from here?
A half-dozen statewide teacher walkouts occurred last spring, with Facebook a driving force
behind them. Rather than the teachers' unions taking charge, those walkouts were primarily grassroots-driven, with tens of thousands of teachers
organizing on social media.
But experts say social media is a tenuous connector for long-term organizing, and now that the
strikes are over and the midterm elections have
passed, organizers will have to find new ways to
sustain the energy of fired-up teachers. For the
most part, experts say, this is uncharted territory.
"The question for leadership is finding a way to
build on the success" of the walkouts, said Mark
Warren, a professor of public policy and public af-

fairs at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Organizers also have to regroup after a grueling
election season in which nearly 180 current teachers ran for state office, and just 43 won, according
to an Education Week analysis. Education was a
key issue up and down the ballot in states that
experienced walkouts. While teachers there scored
some victories, they also fell short in several important races-including the gubernatorial races
in Arizona and Oklahoma, where the teacherbacked candidates lost.
Now, organizers are considering the next steps
for their Facebook groups, to which thousands of
teachers still belong.
In Oklahoma, the name of the main grassroots
group is still "Oklahoma Teacher Walkout-The
Time Is Now!" The Facebook group was started by
26-year-old middle school teacher Alberto Morejon last spring to organize teachers as they discussed walking out of their classrooms in protest
of a decade of stagnant wages and cuts to school
PAGE 9 >

By Stephen Sawchuk
A much-anticipated lawsuit argues
that, despite nowhere mentioning
the word education, the U.S. Constitution does guarantee the provision
of an education for the intuitive reason that it is impossible to vote, exercise free speech, or serve on a jury
without one.
Filed last month in federal court in
Rhode Island on behalf of more than a
half-dozen students, the lawsuit faces
very long odds on its way to lawbook
fame, particularly given the current
composition of the U.S. Supreme
But from another vantage point, the

timing is spot on, reflecting a resurgence of interest in civics education,
as well as general concern over the
strength and resilience of America's
civic institutions.
"On the one hand, for the legal
question, this moment in time may
not be the best for the plaintiffs, but
the social context might be a really
good time to raise this question in
the public court, given just how bad
people's knowledge of civic institutions are and just how much they
are under threat," said Mark Paige,
an associate professor in the publicpolicy department at the University
of Massachusetts Dartmouth with
PAGE 10 >

Honoring a
leaders pause
by the casket of
former President
George H. W.
Bush in the
U.S. Capitol last
week. Bush died
Nov. 30.

Morry Gash/AP

Justin Cook for Education Week

New Legal Strategy: Civics Education
Is a Constitutional Right

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - December 12, 2018