Education Week - August 29, 2012 - (Page 4)

4 EDUCATION WEEK n AUGUST 29, 2012 n NEWS IN BRIEF Coalition Seeks Halt To Suspension Policies Several national groups are asking school districts to stop the practice of keeping suspended students off campus and instead to replace that form of discipline with what they consider to be “more constructive” approaches. The New York City-based Dignity in Schools Campaign, joined by more than 50 other groups, launched its call for a moratorium on out-of-school suspension at a gathering in Los Angeles last week. The groups cited a growing body of research and data that show the disproportionate use of suspension, in which black and Latino students and those with disabilities are more likely to be suspended and more likely to be punished harshly compared with other students for the same infractions. The groups have created a website, www.stopsuspensions. org, which asks district leaders to sign a yearlong pledge against suspending students out of school. —NIRVI SHAH Court: K.C. Transfers Violate Missouri Law A Missouri circuit court judge has sided with three school districts that say they would suffer financial harm if students from the unaccredited Kansas City school system were allowed to transfer into their smaller, accredited districts. But Judge W. Brent Powell acknowledged in his ruling that his decision would “undoubtedly be appealed.” The 17,000-student Kansas City district lost its accreditation in January, causing surrounding districts to brace for a potential SPECIAL ENROLLMENTS Joyce Asner hugs her son Will, 9, who is autistic, outside their Los Angeles home. Public school districts are seeing higher proportions of children with special needs as other students increasingly opt for alternatives that aren’t always readily available to those requiring special education. influx of students. Missouri law allows students to transfer from an unaccredited district to a neighboring, accredited school system. However, the districts surrounding Kansas City are fighting those potential transfers based on another provision of state law, called the Hancock Amendment, which is intended to protect taxpayers from shouldering extra costs based on state mandates. Kansas City officials said they would pay surrounding jurisdictions about $3,700 per transfer student, but the other districts said their actual costs would be far more. —CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS ‘Parent Trigger’ Row Resurfaces in Calif. A California school board has approved a plan to restructure a school at the center of a closely watched “parent trigger” dispute, but it’s not the plan that a group of parents wanted—nor the plan they say a judge ordered. The Adelanto, Calif., board voted Aug. 17 to accept a petition circulated by parents seeking to become the first in the country to use a parent-trigger law to overhaul an academically struggling school. But the panel rejected the parents’ preferred option, which was to convert Desert Trails Elementary into a charter school, the board’s president, Carlos Mendoza, told Education Week in an email. The board instead decided to move forward with a form of “alternate governance,” which would result in a longer school day, improved technology, and other changes. The Adelanto board’s actions drew an immediate, angry reaction from the parents seeking to change the school. They said the panel has run afoul of a court decision issued last month, which in their view calls for the creation of a charter. REPORT ROUNDUP Study Puts Price Tag On School Disparity “Unequal Education: Federal Loophole Enables Lower Spending on Students of Color” Public schools spend, on average, $334 more on white students than on nonwhite students, a new analysis of federal education data reveals. That per-pupil spending disparity is even greater when comparing schools that are mostly white with those having mostly nonwhite enrollments, according to the report, published this month by the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank. In schools where 90 percent or more of students are white, per-pupil spending was $733 more than in those with 90 percent-plus nonwhite enrollment. One-third of the students in the study attend such racially isolated schools, the report says. The analysis draws on federal schoollevel spending data that include actual spending on teacher salaries, a new reporting requirement in the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Ary Spatig-Amerikaner conducted the analysis as part of her graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley. She links the spending imbalances to lower salaries earned by teachers in majority-minority schools, who tend to be less experienced than those in mostly white schools. The author argues that a flaw in federal education law intended to guard against spending inequities—the so-called “comparability” loophole in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—exacerbates such problems. It directs districts to exclude differences in teacher salaries tied to years of experience when determining if they are providing comparable services to their high- and low-poverty schools. –LESLI A. MAXWELL GLOBAL COMPETITION “The Competition That Really Matters: Comparing U.S., Chinese, and Indian Investments in the Next-Generation Workforce” rigorous achievement goals, investing in early-childhood education, and improving teacher quality. —JACLYN ZUBRZYCKI TIME FOR LEARNING “Expanding Time for Learning Both Inside and Outside of the Classroom” The United States’ economy is weakening as China’s and India’s have strengthened, and improving human capital through better education policies is a key to stemming the U. S.’ decline, says a new report. Produced by the Center for the Next Generation and the Center for American Progress, two think tanks based in San Francisco and Washington, respectively, the report highlights challenges facing the U.S. economy and educational system, from the prevalence of poverty and health conditions like obesity to the 89 percent of workers without paid family leave. The report then points to indicators of educational improvement and economic growth in India and China. The authors recommend that the American president make education a national priority and that policymakers learn from international best practices by setting Extended- and expanded-learning programs can have a positive impact on students, particularly those who are low-income or at-risk, but more research is needed to determine what and how significant those effects are, says a new report from the Wallace Foundation. Researchers examined 80 independent evaluations of extended school days, extended school years, and expanded-learning-opportunity programs. They found that while some evaluations showed promising outcomes, there was a limited base of solid research, particularly experimental studies, supporting such programs. The report found that it was especially hard to determine for some initiatives whether it was the additional use of time or Damian Dovarganes/AP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - August 29, 2012

Education Week - August 29, 2012
FOCUS ON: AGE: Districts Adjust To Growth in Older Population
Catholic Ed., K-12 Charters Squaring Off
Advocacy Tactics Found To Differ by Families’ Class
Table of Contents
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Educator Cadres Formed to Support Common Tests
Ala. Blocked From Asking About Students’ Citizenship Status
Most Students Still Not College-Ready, ACT Report Finds
Study: Vouchers Linked to College-Going For Black Students
NSF Awards Grants for Climate-Change Education
Blogs of the Week
Ed. Dept. Gears Up to Manage NCLB Waiver Oversight
Poll Hints Tight Presidential Race on K-12
Policy Brief
PETER GOW: Let the Dialogue Begin: It’s Time for Independent Schools to Start Sharing What They Know
PATRICK J. MURPHY & ELLIOT M. REGENSTEIN: Trimming the Cost Of Common-Core Implementation
MALCOLM GAULD: Sowing Parents’ Role In Character Development
Top School Jobs Recruitment Marketplace
MIKE SCHMOKER: The Next Education Fad: Complex Teacher Evaluations That Don’t Work

Education Week - August 29, 2012