Education Week - August 22, 2012 - (Page 1)

Education WEEk VOL. 32, NO. 1 • AUGUST 22, 2012 PULLOUT SECTION: Education Week’s Calendar of Events & Professional Development Directory AM E R ICAN E DUCATION’S N EWS PAPE R OF R ECOR D • © 2012 Editorial Projects in Education • $4 BREAKING NEWS DAILY DRUMMING UP BUSINESS: Elementary Principal Joann Riemersma, left, talks with residents in Grand Rapids, Mich., as part of a door- to-door drive to persuade more families to enroll their children in the city’s regular public schools. Faced with declining enrollment and competition from charter schools, many urban districts are undertaking similar marketing campaigns. PAGE 7 Districts Abandon Consortia Provide Preview of Common Tests Grants Targeting Those consortia have recently begun work with By Catherine Gewertz private vendors to develop items—questions and Teacher Quality As teachers begin shaping lessons for the com- tasks—for the tests. But each group has proU.S. Education Department Revises TIF Requirements By Jaclyn Zubrzycki Three big-city districts—Chicago, Milwaukee, and New York—have terminated federal grants aimed at promoting performance-based compensation plans and professional development for teachers and principals. Overall, the 2010 Teacher Incentive Fund grants to the three districts would have provided an $88 million payout over five years—nearly 20 percent of the federal program’s fiveyear budget of $442 million. All three districts aimed to secure union support while meeting grant requirements during the yearlong planning period permitted by the grant, but none was ultimately able to accomplish that task. In a time of fiscal austerity and attacks on teachers’ unions, getting districts and unions to work together and agree on teacher compensation and evaluation is a challenging task. Recognizing that challenge, the U.S. Department of Education has adjusted its PAGE 20 > ▲ Split Erupts Over NAEP Exclusions At Issue Is How Many ELLs, Spec. Ed. Students to Test By Nirvi Shah Despite a pending policy change aimed at including more students with disabilities and English-language learners in the “nation’s report card,” the federal agency that administers the national testing program appears to be softening the penalty for states that fail to improve inclusion rates. The disagreement underscores the uneasy relationship between the National Center for Education Statistics, the federal agency that administers the national tests, and the National Assessment Governing Board, the independent body that sets policy for the exams. And it reflects an intensifying debate about how to ensure that the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a congressionally mandated set of tests designed to take the national pulse on student achievement, accurately allows for state-by-state comparisons of student achievement. “These issues, as all issues with students with disabilities and English-language learners, are hot potatoes,” said Cornelia Orr, the governing board’s executive director. Two years ago, nagb adopted a policy that takes effect in January, during the next administration of naEp, to limit how many students with disabilities and English-learners states can be cut from the testing pool. The policy says, essentially, that only students with severe cognitive disabilities and English-language learners who have been in the country for less PAGE 28 > mon standards, many are wondering how to prepare their students for tests that won’t be ready for at least two years. But sample items being drafted for those exams offer early ideas of what lies ahead. Two large groups of states are using federal Race to the Top money to create new suites of exams for the Common Core State Standards. duced a range of sample test items to help those vendors get an idea of what the states want, and experts say they offer valuable insight into the tests that are expected to emerge in 2014-15. “What we are starting to see here are tests that really get at a deeper understanding on the part of students, not just superficial knowlPAGE 18 > Debate Revs Up Around Closing Low-Achieving Charter Schools By Sean Cavanagh One of the most vexing questions about charter schools— when low-performing ones should be shut down—is receiving new attention, amid concerns that lax and inconsistent standards for closing them will undermine the public’s confidence in the sector. Over the past few years, a growing number of researchers, policymakers, and charter school backers have called for removing obstacles to closing academically struggling schools, though many barriers remain. Numerous states have approved laws in recent years that have raised or clarified standards for charter school performance, while also establishing policies to make it easier for charters to open and to secure facilities and public funding. Even so, state and local policies vary greatly in their expectations for charter schools, and in the standards they set for authorizers—the state, local, or independent entities typically charged with approving charters PAGE 22 > FISCAL FOCUS: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns with Rep. Paul Ryan in Waukesha, Wis. The choice of Mr. Ryan for the GOP ticket has elevated education spending as an issue. PAGE 24 Jeffrey Phelps/AP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - August 22, 2012

Education Week - August 22, 2012
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Study: Schools Suspend Black Students Three Times More Often Than Whites
As Competition Grows, Districts Make Pitches to Boost Enrollment
Task Force Formed to Sway Teacher-Prep Rules
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Out-of-School Settings Create a Climate for New Skills
Blogs of the Week
‘Save Our Schools’ Striving to Plant Political Roots
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Business Opportunities Seen in New Tests, Low Scores
Leaders’ Group Sharpens Focus On Latino Students
California Organization Sets High Bar for Charters
Romney’s VP Pick Puts K-12 Spending On Campaign Stage
Rules for Race to the Top District Competition Change Amid Complaints
Policy Brief
With NCLB Waiver, N.J. Lays Out Turnaround Plans
LAWRENCE BAINES: What If We Brought Education Reform to the Military?
JOHN FITZSIMONS: Don’t Hire Substitute Teachers in High School
JORDAN KOHANIM: Why I Left Teaching
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace

Education Week - August 22, 2012