Education Week - August 7, 2013 - 1

Education Week
VOL. 32, NO. 32 • MAY 22, 2013


AM E R ICAN E DUCATION’S N EWS PAPE R OF R ECOR D • © 2013 Editorial Projects in Education • $4



District Bets Big
On Standards
Hopes, Frustrations Mark Experience
By Catherine Gewertz
The big clock in Dowan McNair-Lee’s 8th grade
classroom is silent, but she can hear the minutes
ticking away nonetheless. On this day, like any other,
the clock is a constant reminder of how little time she
has to prepare her students—for spring tests, and for
high school and all that lies beyond it.
As an English/language arts teacher in the common-core era, Ms. McNair-Lee is part of a massive
nationwide push to turn millions of students into
powerful readers and writers.
The District of Columbia, where she’s taught for 11
years, was quick to adopt the Common Core State Standards. But putting them into practice demands a heavy
lift: With their emphasis on mastery of complex text,
the standards require far stronger literacy skills than
most students here—and many in the 46 states that also
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Jared Soares for Education Week


Dowan McNair-Lee helps 8th grader Mikel Robinson with an English/language arts assignment at Stuart-Hobson Middle
School. The District of Columbia has marshaled its resources to bring the common-core standards into classrooms.



States Stepping Up Mandates for School Safety Drills

Schools Facing
The Expiration
Of Windows XP

By Nirvi Shah
Hundreds of U.S. schools will supplement fire
drills and tornado training next fall with simulations of school shootings.
In response to the December shootings by an
intruder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in
Newtown, Conn., several states have enacted
or are considering laws that require more and
new types of school safety drills, more reporting to state agencies about safety planning,
and new audits of school security.
An Education Week analysis of school

safety measures proposed since the Newtown shootings showed that, while proposals that involve arming teachers or adding
armed police at schools are getting national
attention, they are gaining ground in only a
few states. Meanwhile, proposed mandates
for emergency-preparedness drills and planning are getting traction quickly in many
statehouses this legislative season, and
dozens of similar bills have yet to be considered. (Only about half the legislatures have
finished their sessions.)
Some examples of new laws adopted so far:

   •  In April, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, signed a measure that requires additional “intruder” drills in schools and speeds
up the deadline for when schools must conduct
their first fire drills each school year.
   •   irginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, also a ReV
publican, approved a bill in March to add two
lockdown drills to the slate of safety exercises
schools already conduct.
   •  Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, approved 
legislation in April that requires four annual lockdown drills instead of one in Wash-

based arguments about whether it was their
friend or foe.
   •  An Ohio teacher’s biology students analyzed the dna of foods, including hot dogs
and chicken nuggets.
The new standards call for bringing
greater depth to K-12 students’ understanding of the subject and asking them to apply
knowledge through the practices of scientific inquiry and engineering design, among
other elements.
“The teachers say they are already changing instruction, changing how they look

Microsoft’s plans to end support
for Windows xp, believed to be the
dominant computer operating system in K-12 education, could pose
big technological and financial challenges for districts nationwide—
issues that many school systems
have yet to confront.
The giant software company has
made it clear for years that it plans
to stop supporting xp next year, and
it has been urging districts, as well
as businesses and other customers,
to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.
Technology experts who work with
districts say many of them have yet
to take that advice, or to buy other
up-to-date operating systems, either
because of tight budgets or a reluctance to disrupt a technology that is
familiar to many teachers, students,
and administrators.
But now the need to upgrade has
become more urgent. Districts that
do not upgrade from xp will no longer receive the regular updates
from the company that protect their
systems against online viruses and
other security risks, as well as other
updates to ensure reliability, or
timely support if problems arise. In
addition, software providers are un-

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This special
report is
the latest installment in an ongoing
series about how online education is
changing teaching and learning and the
development of curricula, prompting
schools to create more personalized
educational experiences for students.
See the pullout section opposite Page 16.

Teachers Shift Instructional Approaches
To Bring ‘Next Generation’ Into Class
By Erik W. Robelen
Well before the Next Generation Science 
Standards became final last month, teachers in pockets around the country were already exploring the vision for science education espoused by the document and bringing
elements of that approach to the classroom.
   •  A South Dakota teacher scrapped one of 
her traditional activities on earthquakes
and volcanoes and started anew, turning her
students into investigating scientists.
   •    Kentucky teacher revamped a lesson on 
friction, and had students make evidence-

By Sean Cavanagh

Education Week - August 7, 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - August 7, 2013

Education Week - June 12, 2013
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Obama Plan Champions E-Rate Fixes
States Seek Flexibility on Testing
FOCUS ON: SCHOOL LEADERS: Chicago Initiative Aims to Upgrade Principal Pipeline
Questions Arise About Algebra 2 For All Students
Year-End Exams Add Urgency to Teaching
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Race on to Ready N.Y.C. Teacher Reviews
Districts Turning Summer School Into Learning Labs
Preschools Aim to Better Equip Low-Income Parents
After Early Progress, SIG School Struggles To Improve
Progress, Persistence Seen in Latest Data on Bullying
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: ‘MOOC’ Plan Could Spawn Dual-Enrollment Courses
Virginia Joins Ranks of States Creating State-Run Districts
Blogs of the Week
NCLB Bills Split Over Federal Role in K-12
Policy Brief
States Fold Teaching Into Preschool Rating Factors
Peer Review Quietly Put On Hold For State Assessment Systems
State Opposition Jeopardizes Common-Core Future
OP EDUCATION: Are New Teachers Ready to Teach?
EDWARD CROWE, MICHAEL ALLEN, & CHARLES COBLE: A Good Time for Progress in Teacher Prep
JULIE GORLEWSKI: Teaching Toward Utopia
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
OTIS KRIEGEL: ‘You’ll Get the Hang of It’
Education Week - August 7, 2013 - Year-End Exams Add Urgency to Teaching