Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 25

Former Schools Chiefs Counter Criticism
Of State-Run 'Opportunity' Districts
To the Editor:
The recent Education Week Commentary "When
'Opportunity' Is Anything But" (Jan. 27, 2016), which
argued against state opportunity school districts, is a
hyperbolic warning built on distorting the facts and
attacking straw men.
In our states, Louisiana and Tennessee, staterun opportunity districts that develop new options
for students in chronically low-performing schools
have raised student achievement. These states are
mentioned, and their progress is discounted, in the
In New Orleans, where the Recovery School
District has been working for more than a decade,
academic results are strong. Tulane University
recently reported that students in New Orleans
schools overseen by the RSD moved "up by 0.2 to
0.4 standard deviations and boosted rates of high
school graduation and college entry. We are not aware
of any other districts that have made such large
improvements in such a short time."
In Memphis, where the Achievement School
District has been working for three years, there have
been both bright spots and challenges. Bright spots
include students in ASD schools making double-digit
proficiency gains in math and science and growing
their achievement faster than the state average, in
an era when Tennessee is the fastest-growing state
in the nation in student achievement. While ASD
students demonstrated strong growth in math and
science, improving literacy rates remains a challenge
both in the ASD and across districts in Tennessee. But
Vanderbilt researchers who recently assessed the new
ASD schools concluded that negative judgments-such
as those drawn by the Commentary's authors-were
premature because of the short time frame that the
program had been in place.
We don't think opportunity school districts are
the answer to every problem. And we wouldn't
urge Georgia or Pennsylvania to ignore such
complementary actions as funding students
more equitably, encouraging serious district-led
improvements, and strengthening teacher training
and recruitment.
But when the lessons learned from Louisiana and
Tennessee are embraced, future opportunity school
districts can be more successful than these promising
ones have already proven to be.
Paul Pastorek
Public Education Consultant
New Orleans, La.

Chris Barbic
Executive Coach
Nashville, Tenn.

Paul Pastorek is a former chief state school officer in
Louisiana. Chris Barbic is a former superintendent of the
Achievement School District in Tennessee. Education Post
submitted this letter on behalf of the authors.

U.S. Military's Career-Aptitude Testing
Raises Student-Privacy Concerns
To the Editor:
I appreciated your recent article on the Armed
Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB
("Military Eyes Wider Access for Career-Aptitude
Test Under ESSA," Feb. 24, 2016). As the only school
testing program exempt from the Family Educational
Rights and Privacy Act, the armed-services test
battery deserves much greater scrutiny than it has
been getting thus far.
I would like to clarify, however, one point. Citing
Pentagon data, the article notes that taking the
ASVAB was mandatory for students in approximately
1,000 schools during the 2012-13 school year.
Shannon Salyer, the national program manager for

the ASVAB Career Exploration Program under the
U.S. Department of Defense, claims that the testing
program is "always voluntary," and that students may
be required to sit for this testing, but are not forced to
complete it. This is a distinction without a difference.
Three hours of a student's day are still consumed by
a military-recruiting exercise, and the student has no
choice in the matter.
It's also important to remember that military
recruiters are ordered to try to get as many schools
as possible to require ASVAB testing. For example,
the U.S. Navy's recruiting manual offers this bit of
advice: "Request the school make [ASVAB] testing
mandatory or at least publicize it sufficiently in
advance to maximize participation." Similar guidance
can be found in the U.S. Army trade magazine
Recruiter Journal.
Scores of high schools in the Lone Star State
continue to practice mandatory ASVAB testing.
But in Austin, the state capital, the school board
passed a policy last fall barring high schools from
automatically sending ASVAB scores to recruiters.
Hopefully, more communities will follow Texas' lead
and make sensible policy changes to better protect
student privacy.
Diane Wood
Texas Coalition to Protect Student Privacy
Fort Worth, Texas

Organization Takes a Stand Opposing
Proposed Report Cards for Parents
To the Editor:
The Mississippi legislature is considering a proposal,
House Bill 4, that is attempting to prescribe criteria
to measure and ensure parents' involvement in their
children's public education ("Mississippi Lawmaker:
Give Parents Grades Along With Their Children," K-12
Parents and the Public blog,, Feb. 19,
2016). The blog post notes that the author of the bill,
Rep. Gregory Holloway, a Democrat, has said he hasn't
met with any resistance to the plan.
Parents for Public Schools, the organization I
run, vehemently opposes this bill and its recent
Mississippi HB 4 proposes that parents be graded
on their children's in-school behavior as well as what
is defined in the bill as "parent involvement." Grades
would be based on criteria that include children's
tardiness, attendance, homework completion, and
preparation for tests and parents' attendance at inperson parent-teacher conferences and maintenance
of correspondence with their children's teachers.
The parents' grades would be included on their
children's report cards.
Unfortunately, this type of legislation is developed
when parents from diverse families are not
intentionally and actively involved in helping to write
legislation that would directly impact them.
Mississippi HB 4 ignores the real challenges of
parents who work multiple jobs and of families in
poverty who won't always have the resources, such
as money or transportation, to meet the criteria in
the bill.
There is a lack of evidence to support that the
criteria in the bill are an effective means to increase
parent involvement or improve a child's academic
Parents for Public Schools will not support any
parent-involvement legislation that lacks a sense of
equity and excludes the voice of parents. We oppose
Mississippi House Bill 4.
Catherine Cushinberry
Executive Director
Parents for Public Schools
Jackson, Miss.

Education Week takes no editorial positions, but
publishes opinion essays and letters from outside
contributors in its Commentary section.
For information about submitting an essay or letter for
review, visit

president & editOr-in-Chief Virginia B. Edwards
exeCutiVe editOr Gregory Chronister
managing editOr Kathleen Kennedy Manzo

CreatiVe direCtOr Laura Baker

assistant managing editOrs
Mark W. Bomster, Kevin C. Bushweller,
Lesli A. Maxwell, Anthony Rebora, Debra Viadero

art direCtOr Gina Tomko

COmmentarY editOr Elizabeth Rich
seniOr COntributing editOr
Karen Diegmueller
assOCiate editOrs Sean Cavanagh,
Catherine Gewertz, Stephen Sawchuk
assistant editOrs Liana Heitin, Alyson Klein,
Christina A. Samuels, Sarah D. Sparks,
Andrew Ujifusa
assistant COmmentarY editOr
Mary Hendrie
staff writers Evie Blad, Daarel Burnette II,
Benjamin Herold, Corey Mitchell,
Michele Molnar, Arianna Prothero,
Denisa R. Superville
COntributing writers Caralee Adams,
Kathryn Baron, Michelle R. Davis, Emmanuel
Felton, Marva Hinton, Jackie Mader, Lillian
Mongeau, Bryan Toporek, Sarah Tully, Mark
Walsh, Jaclyn Zubrzycki

assOCiate art direCtOr Vanessa Solis
designers Marty Barrick, Francis Sheehan
direCtOr Of phOtOgraphY Charles Borst
assOCiate direCtOr Of phOtOgraphY
Swikar Patel

Online news editOr Stacey Decker
web designer Sumita Bannerjee
multimedia prOduCer Deanna Del Ciello
seniOr Online news prOduCer Michael Bock
Online news prOduCers Chelsea Boone,
Gina Cairney, Hyon-Young Kim
Online intern Sam Milton
multimedia intern Margaret Lovey Cooper

managing editOr, education week teacher
Anthony Rebora
interns, education week teacher
Kristine Kim, Elisha McNeil

COmmentarY assOCiate Kate Stoltzfus
editOrial interns Leo Doran, Alex Lenkei,
Margaret Yap
direCtOr Of prOgramming,
liVe and Virtual eVents Matthew Cibellis
liVe and Virtual eVents interns
Crystal Chan, Valerie Snaman, Suzanna Steele

superVising VideO prOduCer,
new York bureau David Wald
seniOr VideO prOduCer and
COrrespOndent John Tulenko
VideO prOduCers Cat McGrath, Jessica Windt
VideO administratiOn and
COmmuniCatiOns Carmen Rojas

publisher & general manager Michele J. Givens

aCCOunting manager Desireé Ford

regiOnal adVertising managers
Guy Blumberg (917) 747-1351

hr manager Melissa McCurry

Julie Fagan (301) 502-4300

JuniOr aCCOuntant Lindsey Eggleston

Josh Ford (301) 280-3203

aCCOunting intern LaKesha Campbell

aCCOunt exeCutiVes Scott McGee, Valerie Saba

Chief finanCial OffiCer Jill J. Nelson

direCtOr Of marketing Angela Morales
Chief infOrmatiOn OffiCer Chris Hansford

eVents assOCiate Ryanne Waters

direCtOr Of digital OperatiOns
David Tashjiam

tOpsChOOlJObs seniOr marketing
assOCiate Kera Tyler

teChnOlOgY manager Aaron Aleiner

marketing assOCiate Jenny Pan

seniOr prOduCt manager and
teChniCal analYst Jonathan Rogers

tOpsChOOlJObs sales manager
David DePasquale (301) 280-3183

assistant manager Of teChnOlOgY
Hind Alaasemi

tOpsChOOlJObs Client serViCes
managers Shirlanda Y. Braxton (301) 280-3111
Tracy Redmond (301) 280-3216

direCtOr Of audienCe deVelOpment
Stefanie Hemmingson

tOpsChOOlJObs intern Janell Heggins

print & Online audienCe deVelOpment
manager Jeson Jackson

new prOduCt deVelOpment analYst
Setra Yappi

digital COntent sales and marketing
manager Ryan Lanier

direCtOr Of prOduCtiOn Jo Arnone

digital COntent aCCOunt managers
Tricia Buckley, Don Lee, Sharon Makowka,
Judi Squire

adVertising sales assistant Rob Voigt

manager, digital prOduCtiOn Kevin Kemp
COOrdinatOr, adVertising prOduCtiOn
Dana Gittings

audienCe deVelOpment intern
Peter Dolak

prOduCtiOn COOrdinatOr Emma Prillaman

assOCiate publisher, sales and
marketing Sean Herdman

exeCutiVe assistant Shaiy E. Knowles

managing direCtOr, adVertising
Ben Delaney-Winn (781) 538-6076

prOduCtiOn intern Joslyn Nedeau

frOnt OffiCe administratOr Naomi Cohen
administratiVe assistant Maria Shaffer

ViCe president fOr researCh & deVelOpment Christopher B. Swanson
direCtOr, eduCatiOn week
researCh Center Holly Yettick
seniOr researCh assOCiate Sterling C. Lloyd

librarian Holly Peele
librarY interns Rachel Edelstein,
Maya Riser-Kositsky, Connor Smith

researCh analYst Alexandra Harwin
surVeY analYst Andrew Riemer
researCh interns Julie Dennis, Kylie Thomas

direCtOr, knOwledge serViCes
Rachael Delgado
web analYst Mike Castellano

direCtOr, COmmuniCatiOns
Amanda Morales

prOgram assOCiate,
eduCatiOn week press David Rosenzweig

editOrial & business OffiCes:

Back issues are available at $4.00 each, except the January 7,
2016 (Quality Counts) issue at $12.00 each, and the June 4,
2015 (Diplomas Count) and June 11, 2015 (Technology Counts)
issues at $8.00 each. Price includes postage and handling via
the US Postal Service. Order online:
backissues, or call 1-800-445-8250, or fax 215-788-6887. You
may also send orders to: Education Week Back Issues, P.O. Box
3005, Langhorne, PA 19047-9105.

6935 Arlington Road, Suite 100
Bethesda, MD 20814-5233
(301) 280-3100
Editorial FAX: (301) 280-3200
Business FAX: (301) 280-3250
print or online subscription customer service:
(800) 445-8250
product or print purchase orders:
Fax to (215) 788-6887
Article reprints: (877) 394-7350

Copies of the newspaper on microfilm can be ordered from
National Archive Publishing Company, 300 N. Zeeb Road,
P.O. Box 998, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-0998. Phone: 1-800-4206272. Website:

EDUCATION WEEK | April 13, 2016 | | 25

Education Week - April 13, 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 13, 2016

Education Week - April 13, 2016
N.Y. Flip-Flop Affects Policy In Key Areas
Students Help Shape Measures Of ‘Soft Skills’
Kasich’s K-12 Record
Can Latin Build Young Vocabularies?
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: FCC ‘Lifeline’ Effort Expanded to Bridge the Digital Divide
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Study: Tracking Not an Issue For Career-Tech-Education
San Diego Strives to Close Gap In Access to Advanced Courses
High School Coursework Seen Falling Short
Blogs of the Week
Fee-Payer Issue Still Alive, Despite Close Call for Unions
As First Education Secretary, Shirley M. Hufstedler a Pacesetter
ESSA Negotiators Dig Into Regulatory Details
Shield From Deportation Threat To Get Day at High Court
State of the States
Blogs of the Week
JONATHAN LASH: Buildings, Blocks, and Experience
ZOE WEIL: You Are What You Teach
HAROLD O. LEVY: How Should Schools Purchase Technology for the Classroom?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
PAUL KIHN: The District Is Dead. Long Live the District.
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: FCC ‘Lifeline’ Effort Expanded to Bridge the Digital Divide
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 2
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 3
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - Report Roundup
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 5
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - Study: Tracking Not an Issue For Career-Tech-Education
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - San Diego Strives to Close Gap In Access to Advanced Courses
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - Blogs of the Week
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 9
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 10
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 11
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 12
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 13
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 14
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - As First Education Secretary, Shirley M. Hufstedler a Pacesetter
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - ESSA Negotiators Dig Into Regulatory Details
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - State of the States
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 18
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - Blogs of the Week
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 20
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 21
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - ZOE WEIL: You Are What You Teach
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - HAROLD O. LEVY: How Should Schools Purchase Technology for the Classroom?
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 24
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - Letters
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - 27
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - PAUL KIHN: The District Is Dead. Long Live the District.
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - CT1
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - CT2
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - CT3
Education Week - April 13, 2016 - CT4