Archive for June, 2012

Taunting of school bus monitor earns boys one year suspension

The four middle school students  whose crude taunting of an elderly school bus monitor went viral have been handed year-long suspensions from their Rochester New York, school.

(We discussed this nine days ago. You can view the vile video here.)

The monitor, Karen Klein, has received support from around the world, along with $650,000 in donations. (A day after I posted the video, I received a note from a Hilton Head resort offering her a week’s stay; I forwarded the invitation to the school spokeswoman who promised to get it to Mrs. Klein.)

According to the New York Times:

The four boys who taunted a 68-year-old school bus monitor from Rochester, N.Y., prompting outcry over bullying when a video of their insults went viral, have been suspended from their middle school for one year, school officials said on Friday.

The video of the boys’ heaping insults onto the bus monitor, Karen Klein, also generated more than $650,000 in online donations for her to take “a …

Continue reading Taunting of school bus monitor earns boys one year suspension »

New report on teachers: Culture more important than salary, student demographics

The Education Trust released a new report on keeping good teachers in the classroom. The findings — that culture and work conditions matter a lot — remind me of an interview I did years ago with University of Pennsylvania professor Richard Ingersoll, a national expert on teacher turnover and retention.

According to Ingersoll, 40 percent of new teachers nationwide bolt the profession within five years because of the terrible working conditions. To keep teachers, Georgia has to improve the teaching experience, he said.

Ingersoll said teacher turnover was worst at schools with high numbers of student discipline problems and where teachers have no input into how the school is run. “Teachers feel they are being held accountable for things they don’t control, ” he told me.

While higher pay would help, Ingersoll also said, “Look, I am a former high school teacher. I would still be doing it, even with the low pay. But it was all the other stuff — the discipline problems, the lack …

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Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur lead metro area on CRCT. But all have poverty levels of 25 percent or less.

Speaking of how the CRCT is graded, the Georgia Department of Education released system-wide data today on the 2012 scores.

The highest-scoring metro systems were Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur City, all of which are high-performing systems with relatively low poverty rates.

In terms of low-income students, as measured by students eligible for free/reduced lunches on the most recent state report cards:

19 percent of students are low-income in Forsyth

22 percent of students are low-income in Fayette

25 percent of students are low-income in Decatur

In comparison, consider that Clayton, one of the low performing systems, has 82 percent of  its  students qualifying for free/reduced lunch.  The state average is 57 percent. In Atlanta,  76 percent of students are low-income.

Here is a link to an AJC database of the district scores.

According to the AJC:

Students in Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur City school systems outperformed their metro-area peers on 2012 state exams, …

Continue reading Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur lead metro area on CRCT. But all have poverty levels of 25 percent or less. »

Questions on the CRCT. Answers from Georgia DOE.

crcted.0920 (Medium)A reader sent me a series of questions about the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, which I asked the state Department of Education to answer. I am running this today because the state just released district scores.

The AJC also now has  a searchable database of scores from all districts in Georgia.

I appreciate the time that DOE took to draft this detailed response as I requested that it be as jargon-free as possible for the non educators on the blog. As DOE spokesman Matt Cardoza said, “While there is a lot of technical information in this answer, they asked a very technical question.  It’s as jargon-free as we can get it.”

From the reader:

How does the DOE oversee the CRCT test validity and scoring year to year in order to do the charts and comparisons the DOE released this week? As a former principal and test coordinator before that, I was never told the cut scores on the first test or the retest. I felt that there was wiggle room at the state level in …

Continue reading Questions on the CRCT. Answers from Georgia DOE. »

One in six high school students on overnight stays at prospective colleges drinks alcohol during the visit

Many colleges urge prospective students to make overnight visits to their campuses, even arranging for them to spend the night in the dorms. But a new survey finds that one in six high school students on such overnight visits reports drinking during their stay.

(This may explain why so many high school students have told me over the years that that they somehow missed the official college tour while visiting campuses.)

A survey by the Center for Adolescent Research and Education at Susquehanna University (CARE) and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) found that about 16 percent of surveyed teens who had been on an overnight visit reported drinking alcohol during the visit.

The results don’t surprise me as going to college parties is often a highlight of a campus overnight, especially during informal visits where two high school juniors bunk in the dorm room of an older sibling or cousin. I would love to see this survey extended to find out whether the teens drank …

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Federal report: Charter schools enroll fewer students with disabilities than traditional public schools

The Government Accountability Office issued a 46-page report on charter schools and students with disabilities, finding that charters enrolled a lower percentage of students with disabilities than traditional public schools in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010.

Nationwide in 2009-2010, students with disabilities represented 8.2 percent of all students enrolled in charter schools. In traditional public schools, students with disabilities accounted for 11.2 percent of students.

In the prior year, charter schools enrolled 7.7 percent of students with disabilities, compared with 11.3 percent in traditional public schools.

In Georgia, charter schools had 2 percent fewer disabled students than traditional schools, according to the GAO report, which was based on federal Department of Education data.

GAO draws no conclusions in its straightforward report about why this disparity exists, noting:

Against the backdrop of a growing and changing charter school landscape, we found that enrollment of …

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Today’s teens: Plugged in and pleased about it

Folks, I am on vacation starting today but will be posting a bit and monitoring. I found this study on teens and social media interesting:

Nine out of 10 teenagers in America have used social media, and the majority of them perceive it to be a more positive than negative influence in their lives. But in spite of their widespread use of today’s technology, teens prefer talking in person over texting, tweeting, or connecting on Facebook, and many describe themselves as “addicted” to their digital devices.

“Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives,” a new report from Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media, provides the latest insights on teens’ use of media and technology and how they think it affects their relationships and feelings about themselves. This large-scale, nationally representative quantitative survey of more than 1,000 13- to 17-year-olds reveals that most teens think that social media has had a more positive …

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Gifted education: How are children selected and is it uniform across Georgia school districts?

Let’s start off this week with a subject that has a lot of interest: Gifted education.

I received a note from a local educator about the question of how students are selected and whether the process is biased. She asked  that we discuss it here on the blog. (Here is a longer blog posting that I wrote on gifted education. )

One of  the reader’s observations is that students can qualify for gifted in one county and not in another. I had a new gifted teacher tell me once that there were many students in my local system who would have been in the gifted program in her former county of Fulton. This teacher was surprised that my system did not admit more kids to the gifted program.

I had assumed that the criteria was uniform across counties, but that apparently is not the case as this poster notes:

The sub-level representation of ”gifted” minority students in my county  is an issue that has bothered me for years.  A coworker and good friend of mine completed her Gifted …

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A game changer for women, Title IX turns 40 this weekend

While people associate Title IX with sports opportunities for women, the original law did not mention athletics by name. (AP Images.)

While people associate Title IX with sports opportunities for women, the law did not mention athletics or sports. (AP Images.)

Saturday marked the 4oth anniversary of Title IX, a federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs and activities operated by recipients of federal funds.

Signed 40 years ago by Richard Nixon, the law states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Title IX’s protection applies at all elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities—public or private—that receive federal financial assistance, and at certain other educational institutions. The protection extends to all aspects of these institutions’ education programs and activities. Title IX prohibits all forms of sex discrimination, including …

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A teacher explains why she gave up a career she loved

Teacher Jordan Kohanim left her school and her room with a white board that was a focal point for her students.

Teacher Jordan Kohanim left her school and her room with a white board that was a focal point for her students.

Jordan Kohanim is a former Fulton County high school teacher and one of my favorite posters on the blog because of her eloquence, her candor and her willingness to put her name behind her comments.

She quit teaching. Here, she tells us why:

By Jordan Kohanim

I have decided to quit teaching. Maybe not forever, but definitely for a year or two. This is not a decision I came to lightly, and I did not feel triumphant in it at all. To be frank, I had never felt more defeated in my life.

It’s true that I am statistic. More than 50 percent of teachers leave teaching in the first seven years. Most of those are in the first five years. This was year seven for me.

I told a colleague that I planned on leaving the profession and he told me something that really hurt at first. He said, “Your leaving won’t change anything.” Emphasis on the anything. It felt like an arrow …

Continue reading A teacher explains why she gave up a career she loved »