Education Week - December 14, 2016 - 1
VOL. 36, NO. 15 * DECEMBER 14, 2016
AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2016 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 5
BRE AKING NEWS DAILY
With Plans Still Being Drafted,
Rival Visions Vie for Attention
Edward Linsmier for Education Week
By Daarel Burnette II
SCIENCE MEET-UPS: Jack Kramer, a first-year intern at the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, puts microscopic marine plants on a slide for
viewing at a "teen science cafe" in Sarasota, Fla. The informal cafes allow students to interact with working scientists. PAGE 10>
School Choice Is
A Primary Focus
For Ed. Sec. Pick
Few Other Clues Emerge
To DeVos' Policy Leanings
By Alyson Klein
There's a saying in Washington: "Personnel is policy."
If that's true, President-elect Donald
Trump's decision to tap billionaire GOP
donor and philanthropist Betsy DeVos
as U.S. secretary of education means
the country could be hearing a lot about
school choice over the next few years.
DeVos, who until recently chaired the
American Federation for Children, an
advocacy organization, and her husband,
Richard "Dick" DeVos Jr., sit at the center
of an extensive policy and political ecosystem aimed at expanding choice through
charter schools, virtual schools, education
saving accounts, and vouchers.
That almost singular focus on school
choice offers few other clues to how Betsy
DeVos would shape and manage policy for
the U.S. Department of Education, a $70
billion federal agency that deals with everything from special education to student
loans. Her Nov. 23 pick by Trump awaits
confirmation by the U.S. Senate in the
new Congress that convenes in January.
DeVos' background as a philanthropist
sets her apart from past education secretaries. Nearly every person who has
Media Literacy vs. Bogus News
By Benjamin Herold
Media literacy is suddenly a front-burner
issue for schools, thanks to the recent presidential election, a spate of reports on fake
news, and new research demonstrating just
how ill-equipped young people are to critically evaluate information they encounter
online and via social media.
As a result, educators find themselves behind the eight ball, expected to help students
negotiate everything from internet hoaxes,
to partisan policy advocacy disguised as unbiased news, to a president-elect who has
used Twitter to spread baseless claims originating in unfounded conspiracy theories.
The stakes are high, contend the Stanford
University researchers behind a widely cited
recent study, "Evaluating Information: The
Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning."
"We worry that democracy is threatened
by the ease at which disinformation about
civic issues is allowed to spread and flourish," the group wrote.
Such concerns aren't entirely new. For
years, researchers have documented students' widespread inability to gauge the
reliability and trustworthiness of online
information. In 2006, for example, University of Connecticut researcher Donald Leu
conducted a study in which middle schoolers
unanimously fell for an internet hoax about
a made-up endangered species-an octopus
that lives in trees.
Last year, Leu's New Literacies Research
RTI: Next Generation
This special report examines response to
intervention's evolution from a tool for identifying
and teaching struggling readers and special
education students to a complex model for
schoolwide improvement. Read about the
challenges involved in scaling up the
approach for all students.
See the pullout section opposite Page 14.
Now that states are moving to take on new
authority over K-12 policy under the Every
Student Succeeds Act, skirmishes are breaking out in several states over who's in charge.
Legislators in Colorado and elsewhere
have bickered with state board members
over who should oversee parts of the plans
they must submit to the U.S. Department of
Education next year outlining how they will
put ESSA into effect, pointing to nebulous
clauses buried in their states' constitutions
on who calls the shots.
Even in places dominated by a single
party, such as Indiana and California, state
leaders are tussling with local leaders over
whether to kick back some of the flexibility in areas like accountability and assessments to school board members. Louisiana
Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, commissioned his own ESSA advisory committee after education groups complained that
the Republican-dominated board of education didn't include their input in a draft plan.
These sorts of conflicts will likely escalate
and multiply as legislatures start their sessions in January and as governors unspool
policy priorities in their annual State-of-thePAGE 18>
States Aim to Bolster
By Catherine Gewertz
Several states are making investments to
build their corps of school counselors in the
wake of mounting, quantifiable evidence
that counseling support can be a powerful
weapon in the battle to get more students
through high school and into college.
Minnesota recently announced a $12 million effort to send counselors, social workers, nurses, and school psychologists into 77
schools. College advisers joined the counseling staffs in 30 high schools in Tennessee
this fall, thanks to a $7.2 million, three-year
pot of money. Colorado is piling millions on
top of a $15 million investment because
it got such strong results. And the Lilly
Endowment in Indiana has pledged up to
$30 million to support the design of comprehensive counseling programs there.
The counseling initiatives are far from the
biggest-ticket items in states' budgets. But
they're a significant sign of a renewed commitment to school counseling, which took
particularly heavy hits in layoffs driven by
the Great Recession eight years ago.
"People are realizing that a school counPAGE 11>