Education Week - October 15, 2014 - 1

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Literacy Skills
For the Web
Showing Gap
New Research Highlights
Link to Family Income
By Benjamin Herold
Long a cause for alarm, the gap in
reading skills between poor students
and their more affluent peers is wellestablished
and worsening, researchers
Now, there is more bad news: The
real magnitude of that reading achievement
gap may be greater than previously
believed, because educators and
researchers have not adequately accounted
for the different skills that are
required to successfully read online, as
opposed to in print.
That is the gist of a new study, conducted
by Donald J. Leu of the University
of Connecticut, which found
"a large and significant achievement
gap, based on income inequality, in an
important new area for learning-the
ability to read on the Internet to learn
information," according to a news release
from the university.
Titled "The New Literacies of Online
Research and Comprehension:
Rethinking the Reading Achievement
Gap," the complete study examined
256 7th graders from two Connecticut
school districts. It is scheduled to be
PAGE 11 >
Tatiana Medina, center, jokes with classmate Nancy Avila during a 7th grade Spanish-for-native-speakers class at Collinswood Language Academy
in Charlotte, N.C. Students take some core academic classes in Spanish and some in English in the school's two-way immersion program.
Dual-Language Programs Take Root in N.C.
By Lesli A. Maxwell
Charlotte, N.C.
Poll: Standards
Lags in Districts
By Catherine Gewertz
With springtime testing for the common
core only months away, nearly a
third of district superintendents are still
scrambling to put in place the curriculum
and professional development necessary
to teach the standards, according
to survey results released last week.
The Center on Education Policy, which
has been tracking common-core implementation
since the standards were
released four years ago, concluded in its
report that "the future of the common
core remains uncertain at this important
juncture" because many districts
still are not fully prepared to impart the
new academic expectations in English/
language arts and mathematics.
"When you look at the data on implementation,
you've got significant numbers
[of districts] in the throes of doing it
this year, and many, also, doing it beyond
this school year," Diane Stark Rentner,
PAGE 12 >
Sunshine State Showdown on K-12
By Andrew Ujifusa
In the close Florida contest between incumbent
Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic
challenger and former Gov. Charlie
Crist, each is attempting to outdo the
other with pledges of greater financial
support for schools battered by the
recent recession.
But beyond that flood of common
campaign rhetoric are deeper, longterm
policy questions for the eventual
winner about the proper recipients of state
school aid, the growth of educational choice,
and school accountability.
If elected, Mr. Crist-who governed the
state as a Republican from 2007 to 2011
before switching parties-could find common
ground with the legislature, which is
expected to stay in GOP hands, on increasing
state financial aid. But his Democratic allies,
including his backers at the Florida Education
Association, could be more interested
in having him block Republican initiatives,
after years of bitter political battles over
teacher evaluations and school choice.
Meanwhile, a re-elected Gov. Scott
would likely face significant pressure
from his party's lawmakers to continue
expanding the scope of school
choice scholarships, virtual education,
and other major policy shifts that took root
under Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican who left
office in 2007. Mr. Bush remains an influential
voice on state education policy through
his leadership of the Foundation for Florida's
Future and other policy work.
Although both candidates have indulged
PAGE 21 >
Some Districts, Charters
Forge New Partnerships
By Arianna Prothero
Florida is wading into largely uncharted waters with
an initiative to fuel collaboration between two sectors
often cast as foes in the debate over how to improve
K-12 education: regular public schools and charters.
Nationwide, districts from Los Angeles to Denver to
Baltimore have sought to forge such ties, but Florida's
effort is unusual in being led by the state.
Florida leaders are aiming to entice high-performing
national charter school networks into the
state's largest urban districts, in what some experts
say would be one of the most far-reaching efforts to
nurture mutually beneficial relationships between
the two sectors. The state's department of education
is offering financial incentives, through a new grant
program, to help some of its highest-need districts
attract charter franchises with solid track records for
PAGE 12 >
At Collinswood Language Academy, a K-8
dual-language school in a working-class
neighborhood in this Southern city, students
produced some of the highest math achievement
scores in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg
school district.
And that's the case even though they learn
all their math in Spanish, and take North
Carolina's annual end-of-grade math exams in
"Taking the tests in English was tricky at
first," said Mayra Martinez, an 8th grader who
spoke only Spanish when she entered kindergarten
at the school. "I remember the word 'subtract'
stumping me."
The school's high marks in math-mirrored
in reading and science-are coming from every
category of student at Collinswood: low-income,
English-language learners, Hispanic, AfricanAmerican,
white, and those in special education.
They are inspiring a push to create more such
programs statewide.
From kindergarten through 8th grade, Collinswood's
750 students-who are a nearly
even mix of native Spanish-speakers and native
English-speakers-are taught math, social
studies, Spanish/language arts, and higher-level
language courses in Spanish. Science and English/language
arts are taught in English. Physical
education is taught in Spanish, and English
is the main language of instruction for art and
music. Collinswood is a magnet school that admits
students from across the southern half of
the 144,000-student district through an open
lottery system.
"I think it's the cognitive power they build because
they have learned to transfer from one language
to the next," said Jacqueline Saavedra, a
PAGE 14 >
John W. Adkisson for Education Week

Education Week - October 15, 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 15, 2014

Education Week - October 15, 2014 - 1
Education Week - October 15, 2014 - 2
Education Week - October 15, 2014 - Contents
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