Archive for April, 2012

The business of education: Is the trend troubling you?

In tandem with my earlier blog on the Fordham panel on digital learning, I want to direct you to a blog from Will Richardson, a former public school educator and author of several books on learning and technology.

Richardson writes in response to this week’s Education Innovation Summit at Arizona State University and begins with a series of tweets from educator and blogger Chris Lehmann about the Gates Foundation sponsored event. Lehmann is principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia and co-chair of EduCon.

Among Lehmann’s tweets about the summit: Educators – if you don’t see that there is a billion dollar industry wanting to take over schools using tech as the Trojan Horse, wake up…Jeb Bush has said: a) he does not read edu research. b) he does not care about anything that is not a test score. ProblematicThis is what scares me – those who do not believe in schools will use edu-tech-speak to dismantle the things we hold most dear.

In his blog, Richardson …

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President Obama: “In America, higher education cannot be a luxury.”

President Obama said for the first time Americans owe more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards.

President Obama said for the first time Americans owe more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards.

I thought I would share President Obama’s weekly address as it deals with college education and student debt.

This week, I got the chance to sit down with some impressive students at Lorain County Community College in Ohio. One of them was a woman named Andrea Ashley. Two years ago, Andrea lost her job as an HR analyst. Today, she’s getting certified in the fast-growing field of electronic medical records. Before enrolling at Lorain, Andrea told me she was looking everywhere trying to find a new job. But without a degree, she said that nobody would hire her.

Andrea’s story isn’t unique. I’ve met so many Americans who are out there pounding the pavement looking for work only to discover that they need new skills. And I’ve met a lot of employers who are looking for workers, but can’t find ones with the skills they’re looking for.

So we …

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Handcuffed kindergartner story is not going away. Still a lot we don’t know.

The AJC’s Christian Boone spoke today with the parents of the handcuffed Milledgeville kindergartner Salecia Johnson.

As we all expected, this story is shifting to a national stage.

What remains unclear is whether this little girl has had a history of outbursts. The Milledgeville police chief said earlier this week that the principal said Salecia had run away from the school before so we can assume her past behavior played a role in the school’s decision to bring in police. A representative of the family denied that the child had run away from the school.

It remains unclear what strategies the school had in place to deal with Salecia, and whether those strategies were tried before police were called.

Here is an excerpt of the AJC interview:

Salecia was there too, and on her best behavior as she demonstrated for reporters how her hands were cuffed from the back. “It hurted,” she said.

The action was taken after police were called by Creekside Elementary School’s principal, …

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Should schools walk or run into the digital era?

computer (Medium)In every district, in every school, in every grade, there is that great teacher who all parents want for their children. So, parents cross their fingers that their child is among the lucky ones to end up on that teacher’s roster.

What if that terrific teacher could reach two, three or even five times as many students?

That is one of the promises of online learning, said Bryan Hassel, co-director of Public Impact and a speaker at today’s webcasted Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s panel on Education Reform for a Digital Era.

Hassel said that only about 25 percent of classes have one of these top-tier teachers at a given time. That means the other 75 percent don’t.

Education can enlarge the classroom of the teachers achieving the best results with their students and pay them more for doing so by multiplying their reach through technology, said Hassel.

Relieve those great teachers of non-instructional tasks and use video to reach more students and smart software to personalize …

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A video aimed at boosting teacher morale sinks a principal

I would never show this video in a work setting, but I am not sure Columbus High School principal Marvin Crumbs should have lost his school over it. AJC.com reports that Crumbs was reassigned to an office job after showing this “Can’t Fix Stupid” snippet by comic Ron White to an April 9 faculty meeting as a morale booster. Some teachers complained about the video.

Here it is:

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APS news: Some teachers told they must reapply for their jobs. And does the CRCT scheduling make sense for kids?

I have been getting a lot of notes lately from teachers in APS about assorted concerns.

Here are two such notes, one about some teachers having to reapply for their jobs and the other about the CRCT scheduling this year. I contacted APS and have included the official response to why some teachers must reapply.

Here is the first teacher note:

Teachers at some APS schools were told today that they have to reapply for their jobs. They have to attend a job fair this Saturday, resubmit applications and resumes and respond to a writing prompt. Only teachers from schools that are being closed or from schools that are are being reclassified as primary or secondary have to do this. Grove Park and Woodson are included in this restructuring.

Teachers at these schools already face daunting challenges. They are the professionals who work with the neediest children. Please investigate why only teachers from schools affected by restructuring have to go through this ordeal. Also, …

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Handcuffing of Georgia kindergartner escalating into a cause

The handcuffing of an unruly kindergartner in Milledgeville is escalating from an unfortunate incident into a national cause.

There is great debate over whether police overreacted last week when they handcuffed the child at Creekside Elementary after being called by the school to intervene. (Although not on this blog, where an overwhelming number of posters defend police actions and complain about the lack of discipline.)

CNN’s Piers Morgan tackled the issue Tuesday night on his “Only in America” segment on CNN, repeating again and again that the girl was only 6 years old. He  said the girl was “being naughty”  when she threw what he considered a typical childhood tantrum last week. Morgan said the school’s response was over the top, calling it a “ridiculous overreaction…they put a 6-year old in steel handcuffs.”

A derisive Morgan criticized the school and police for standing by their actions this week.

He said: “When I first heard about the story, I assumed it was either an …

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Ohio student who cared for sick mom wins graduation reprieve

Austin Fisher gets to walk.

Like many of you, I’ve been following the story of the 17-year-old Ohio high school senior barred from his graduation because he missed too many school days. Austin missed 16 days of classes at Carrollton High School this year to take his mother for chemo treatments or to stay home and nurse her.

The decision of the Carrollton Exempted Village School District to bar him from the graduation ceremony was based on Ohio law, which mandates that students not miss more then 10 percent of the scheduled days of school for the year.

But thousands came to his defense, arguing that Fish, as he is known, missed school only to help his mother and should be held up as a hero for his dedication to her.  The campaign worked; the high school notified him and his mother Monday that he could attend graduation.

According to the CantonRep.com:

Although Austin had enough credits, and his grades were good enough to qualify for his diploma, he had 16 unexcused absences …

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Unless their summer job is selling a kidney, most students can’t earn enough to pay for college

Many parents worry about how they’re going to pay for their children’s education even when their kids plan to attend public colleges.

It doesn’t look like the struggle is going to get any easier. Reporting from today’s Georgia Board of Regents meeting, the AJC says Georgia college students would pay between $31 and $218 more per semester in tuition next fall under a proposal just approved. In addition, special fees that were due to sunset will continue.

The Regents issued a preemptive press release already today that the tuition hike represents “the smallest tuition increase in a decade – 2.5 percent.”

According to the statement from the Regents:

The action taken by the Board of Regents on tuition today is possible in part due to Gov. Nathan Deal recommending and the General Assembly agreeing to full funding of the formula for the University System of Georgia. By doing so, the regents were provided with a strong financial base upon which to set current tuition policy …

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Handcuffing an out-of-control Georgia kindergartner. Was there a better response?

UPDATE Tuesday at 1:22 p.m.: Since writing about this yesterday when there was just the one news story, this incident has drawn widespread attention around the country.

The AJC now has a more detailed story online.

That story states:

Police said a small shelf thrown by the child struck the principal in the leg during the fracas. The child also jumped on a paper shredder and tried to break a glass frame, the police report states. The school called police. When an officer tried to calm the child in the principal’s office, she resisted, police say. She “was restrained by placing her hands behind her back and handcuffed,” a police report states.

A juvenile complaint was filed, accusing the girl of simple battery and damage to property. The police department’s policy is to handcuff people when they are taken to the police station, regardless of their age, interim Police Chief Dray Swicord said. “The reason we handcuff detainees is for the safety of themselves as well as …

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