Education Week - October 8, 2014 - 1

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Calif. Tackles
Data Privacy
In New Law
Measure Targets Restrictions
At Third-Party K-12 Vendors
By Benjamin Herold
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into
law last week a sweeping bill aimed at restricting
the use of students' educational
data by third-party vendors. The measure
is one of the most aggressive legislative
attempts to date to balance the promise
of digital learning technologies with concerns
about the privacy and security of
children's sensitive information.
The new law in California caps a wave
of efforts this year by state lawmakers nationwide
to better protect students' sensitive
educational information.
The new privacy measures, enacted in
HISTORY DISPUTE: Students line a busy intersection and overpass protesting against a plan by the Jefferson County, Colo., school board to
emphasize patriotism and downplay civil unrest in the teaching of U.S. history. Teachers have also joined in protests. PAGE 7
Kindergarten-Readiness Tests Gain Ground
Aim Is to Support Instruction, But Concerns Persist
By Catherine Gewertz
Mount Airy, Md.
For 20 kindergartners at Parr's Ridge Elementary
School, the morning is packed with singing
and dancing, playing an alphabet game with
sticks, and cutting big oval shapes out of paper.
And while these are typical classroom activities,
many also double as something else: parts of an
These bouncy, sneakered children are part of
a leading-edge project in the testing world to
figure out how to assess the youngest students
in ways that welcome their playful energy and
their varied paths of development, and then
use the results to shape instruction. All 3,500
kindergarten teachers in Maryland are using a
new readiness assessment this year that rests
on teachers' observations of children's work and
play to build a detailed picture of what they need
as they begin the school year.
What's happening here reflects a national
surge of interest in better sizing up and serving
children as they enter the K-12 school system.
Parr's Ridge teacher Amy Knight is one of tens
of thousands of teachers who are learning new
ways of merging assessment with observation
and instruction.
On a mid-September morning, she leads her
class in singing alphabet and rhyming songs.
Then the children split up into small groups;
some curl up on big blue cushions with books,
21 states during recent legislative sessions,
in some cases build on previous
efforts. The new laws generally fall into
one of three categories: prohibiting the
collection of certain types of student data;
attempting to improve state and district
data-governance policies; or, in California's
case, establishing comprehensive
guidelines for how third-party vendors
should handle student information.
Amid the flurry of activity, the impact
on educational technology vendors rePAGE
10 >
while others sit at tables, working on a cut-andpaste
word-rhyming activity. Ms. Knight gathers
five children around her at a table.
She gives each one a paper that shows two big
horizontal ovals. In one oval, she asks them to
write their names. In the other, Ms. Knight asks
the children to write the word "toy," which is displayed
on the board nearby. Then they have to
cut out both ovals. The teacher watches carefully
as the students grasp pencils and draw letters,
some sure and others halting. She notices the
jagged cutouts on some papers, the smooth ones
on others. On a clipboard, she has a detailed rubric,
and she marks her observations of the children's
fine-motor and early-writing skills: "not
yet evident," "in progress," or "proficient."
Then it's time for the next activity: a game
PAGE 12 >
Power of Parents
Tested by Changes
In Chicago Schools
By Denisa R. Superville
To Stop Bullying, Researchers Pursue a Universal Definition of Problem
By Evie Blad
One of the biggest challenges for those who
seek to end bullying among students has been
defining exactly what "bullying" is.
Even as efforts to address the behavior have
moved to the front burner of child well-being
initiatives in recent years, researchers and educators
say that major studies have relied on inconsistent
definitions and methods of measuring
its prevalence.
Some focus on the essential interpersonal dynamics
of bullying-including an imbalance of
power between the perpetrator and the victim-
while others seek to be more objective by focusing
on a list of common bullying behaviors.
And if researchers can't agree on exactly what
the problem is, they can't help identify effective
solutions for K-12 educators, who are increasingly
facing new accountability measures that
incorporate issues related to school climate and
student behavior.
Further complicating the situation, many school
leaders take an "I know it when I see it" approach
to defining the problem, or they use broader definitions
for bullying than researchers do, said David
A quarter-century ago this month, more
than 300,000 Chicagoans took part in historic
elections to choose who would sit on
the city's first local school councils-part
of a revolutionary experiment aimed at
improving student outcomes by handing
significant control of schools over to parents
and the community.
Chicago's experiment in local deFinkelhor,
a sociologist and the director of the
Crimes Against Children Research Center at the
University of New Hampshire, in Durham.
Those types of definitions, listed in student
handbooks and school policies, often encompass
other forms of peer aggression, which may have
different social and emotional dynamics.
"There's a tremendous disconnect between how
the term is used colloquially by students, teachers,
and parents, and how researchers and advocacy
types define it," Mr. Finkelhor said.
And that gap can often mean evidencePAGE
16 >
mocracy was not completely unique:
Kentucky's 1990 education reform law
also vested autonomy in local schools,
though those councils were dominated
by educators, and New York City had
also had for some time community
school boards. But the Windy City's
school governance model was unusually
strong because it gave local parent-majority
boards the power to hire and fire
their school principals.
The parent- and community-powered
reform movement emerged in Chicago
PAGE 14 >
Brennan Linsley/AP

Education Week - October 8, 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 8, 2014

Education Week - October 8, 2014 - 1
Education Week - October 8, 2014 - 2
Education Week - October 8, 2014 - Contents
Education Week - October 8, 2014 - 4
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Education Week - October 8, 2014 - C1
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