Archive for the ‘Online learning’ Category

Craigslist ad: Wanted teachers to administer CRCT. Must be able to lift heavy boxes and post “Do not disturb” sign.

In the wake of the state demands for greater security and integrity this month in the administration of the CRCT, it was odd to see this listing on Craigslist Atlanta by the Georgia Cyber Academy, a taxpayer supported virtual charter school that works with children who are learning at home. (Thanks for the clarification, Josie.)

On Monday afternoon, I called DOE about the ad, but the state education agency was unaware of it. After looking into it, the spokesman told me Monday evening, “I checked around and this is news to us. We will take care of it quickly. Posting this kind of thing on Craigslist is certainly not something we condone.”

Here is the ad, which disappeared Tuesday so I assume DOE did take care of it quickly as promised:

We are currently looking for teachers throughout Georgia to assist with CRCT testing in the following counties: Bibb, Bryan, Clarke, Columbia, Floyd, Franklin, Laurens, Newton, Pike, Putnam, Richmond, and Wayne.

Role & Responsibilities:
• …

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PSC head: Little return from teachers’ advanced degrees

I was impressed with the candor at the Professional Association of Georgia Educators session at the Capitol today, most notably from Kelly Henson, the former Floyd County superintendent who now heads the Professional Standards Commission. Henson told 100 teachers in a legislative hearing room this morning that the state is not getting a reasonable return on the bonuses it pays them for advanced degrees.

Given that many members of his audience held master’s degrees, Henson was remarkably straightforward. (You would be surprised how rare that is in the Legislature.) But before I get to Henson’s comments on paying by degrees, I have to share his comment on vouchers.

“Any politician in these times who mentions vouchers should not be allowed in the Capitol,” he said. “It is absurd to talk about public funds going to private schools now. Private schools serve a wonderful purpose, but that wonderful purpose should not be funded with public dollars.”

Now back to degrees, Henson said …

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Cagle’s budget task force: Merit pay, online courses, increased lottery spending

Everybody is taking a swing at the budget crisis, and today Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle released the recommendations of his seven-member task force composed of private industry leaders.

Among the 50 recommendations that speak to education:

Coordinate the University System and the Technical College System to provide the most suitable education for all students.

Ensure proper lottery revenues are remitted to the state specifically for education purposes. The lottery gave 24 percent of its $3.5 billion in sales over to HOPE and pre-k education. Had it given 35 percent, education would have seen an additional $363 million.

Hold schools accountable for money management through financial strategic planning.

Allow voters to approve the flexible use of education special local option sales taxes (E-SPLOST) so funds can be used for operating expenses as well as capital projects.

Utilize the Georgia Virtual School and other online providers to increase course offerings. The task …

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The $164,000 question: Is DeKalb really cutting back on its spending?

Do DeKalb County schools really need to spend $163,908 for a deputy superintendent?

Parent and teachers in DeKalb schools are asking hard questions about system spending and priorities in the wake of the budget crisis.

Parent and teachers in DeKalb schools are asking hard questions about system spending and priorities in the wake of the budget crisis.

That’s one of the many questions being asked by parents in the county facing school closings and larger classes because of the budget shortfall.

Many Georgia parents get into the nitty-gritty of their school systems, but I would have to say that DeKalb parents and teachers are among the most vigilant. In responding to the budget crisis, I have received many thoughtful e-mails raising issues about DeKalb’s spending and where possible cuts could be made.

Here are some sharp comments and questions from DeKalb parents and teachers that we ought to consider:

-We are told that there is a “budget crisis,” but administrators are still willing to spend $7 million on new textbooks. As an English teacher , I have found that the best grammar books are the Warriner’s …

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New regional charter school: Not a black/white issue

In fighting approval of a regional charter school, southwest Georgia superintendents allege that the Pataula Charter Academy would signal a return to the era in Georgia when blacks and whites attended different schools.

The debate is re-opening old wounds of race and disparate education in districts still under court desegregation orders

One of seven charter schools — public schools that operate with greater autonomy in exchange for greater accountability — approved by a new state commission, Pataula plans to open in the fall as a regional public k-8 school. It will enroll 440 students from Randolph, Calhoun, Early, Clay and Baker counties. Some districts now want the state Board of Education to stop Pataula.
Along with drawing from the majority black schools in the region, Pataula is attracting students from two private academies, which are virtually all-white.

“Initially, you will see more urgency on the side of private school parents who are tired of paying tuition,” said …

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DeKalb parents and the budget: Getting angry and organized

In responding to the school budget crisis, DeKalb parents seem the most active in the metro area, getting not only upset but organized to fight the superintendent’s proposed cuts. (Fulton parents are also gearing up.)

The Montessori program at Huntley Hills Elementary school is on the chopping block in DeKalb

The Montessori program at Huntley Hills Elementary school is on the chopping block in DeKalb

I received this note from a DeKalb parent.  I thought I would share it as it reflects the extent of this budget mess and what is at stake. (If any other parent groups are organizing, send me the public links and I will post here.)

My response to the parental objections is this: Where could DeKalb make cuts? Even eliminating many central office positions — some of which are vital to grant applications and to dealing with state and federal mandates — DeKalb would still have to slash its budget or raise taxes.

Parents cite what they consider wasteful construction spending, but construction is funded by SPLOST, which cannot be shifted to instruction or teacher salaries. When …

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Friendly debate: A single academic track or multiple tracks?

I had an interesting conversation today with John Konop, who is the CEO of a financial services company, a former candidate for Congress – he lost a GOP primary challenge to Tom Price in 2006 — and a frequent commenter on education issues.

Should a high school diploma mean different things for different students?

Should a high school diploma mean different things for different students?

A Cherokee resident, Konop was one of the early critics of the state’s new math curriculum. He sees the math reforms as a symptom of a larger problem: Forcing all students into an academic track that is not relevant to their dreams, may exceed their abilities and pushes them to drop out.

As a CEO who monitors job trends, he questions the mantra that high level math skills are essential to most future jobs. He advocates options outside college prep for students so they are not done in by early failure and give up on school.

He and I agree that the dropout rate in Georgia is a problem. However, we depart on the solution. He wants a non-college track, saying that a lot …

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Do female teachers pass on their fear of math to young girls?

A story in the AJC on why girls fear math was especially relevant to me as my youngest daughter tested very high in math skills on the COGAT but doesn’t like math and perceives that she’s not good at it. Not surprisingly, it has become her most challenging subject.

A study suggests that female teachers who fear math pass the fear onto girls in their classes.

A study suggests that female teachers who fear math pass the fear onto girls in their classes.

I keep wondering why she struggles and whether somehow we communicated that math is hard. My youngest daughter’s teacher has offered to work with her in the morning before class, and I hope to make that happen as I think that math fluency is critical today.

I am one of those English majors who could not wait to satisfy the math requirements in college and retire my protractor and calculator. Now, I wish I had taken more college-level math, especially statistics.

According to the AP story:

WASHINGTON — Little girls may learn to fear math from the women who are their earliest teachers.

Despite gains in recent years, women …

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Today’s children see the world through and on a screen

Covering a DeKalb commission meeting two years ago, I noticed a year-old or so baby quietly sitting in her stroller while her mother waited for her turn to speak at the podium.

Children today are growing up in a world of screens. (Photo/NYT)

Children today are growing up in a world of screens. (Photo/NYT)

As the mom left the meeting and passed where I was standing, I understood what had kept the baby preoccupied for an hour. She was watching a children’s movie on a portable toddler DVD player – one encased in colorful plastic so it could survive drops and drools.

So, I was not surprised to read this startling data in The New York Times:

The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last …

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Georgia ranks 13th in annual education status survey

The annual Education Week review of state reform efforts, policies and achievements is out.

Georgia’s overall grade on this new scorecard is a B minus, earning it 13th place in the national rankings. The top 10 states, in order, are Maryland,  New York, Massachusetts, Virginia,  Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, West Virginia and Arkansas.  (The link takes you to  a great interactive map.)

Here are the main categories used in the state grades in this report:

Chance for success: C. The chance for success indiex reflects 13 indicators that assessn the impact of education in three major phases of life: early childhood, the period encompassing formal K-12 education, and adulthood and career.

Standards, assessments accountability: A minus

K-12 achievement: D plus

Transitions and alignments in education pipeline: B

The teaching profession: B minus. The teaching profession framework draws on 44 indicators to assess key aspects of state teacher policy, including how to account …

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