Articles from December, 2010

Education headlines: High-tech strategies curb high-tech cheating

High-tech cheating is meeting its match: a relatively new company analyzes answer sheets by computer and flags those with so many of the same questions wrong or right that the chances of random agreement are astronomically small, the New York Times writes. The technology already has helped curb students’ cheating on secondary tests in several states… The Washington Post reports on how Fairfax County, Va., one of the wealthiest and most diverse school systems in the nation, is dealing with a recent influx of homeless students… The Post also reports on the efforts of the large and diverse T.C. Williams High School, scene of “Remember the Titans,” as it tries to recover from its recent label of “persistently low achieving” … And Florida’s Sun Sentinel reports that a charter-school student who was suspended for posting derogatory comments about her teacher on Facebook has accepted a settlement from the school, ending a two-year, high-profile lawsuit.

Joetta Sack-Min|December 29th, 2010|Categories: Announcements, School Board News|

Take the challenge

BoardBuzz recommends you check out Challenge.gov, a U.S. Government website that empowers the public to bring their best ideas to address our nation’s most pressing challenges. The site has a section devoted to education challenges and some of these challenges have prize money involved!

Alexis Rice|December 29th, 2010|Categories: Announcements, Educational Technology, Federal Programs, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Student Achievement, Teachers|

Google promotes education apps

BoardBuzz has witnessed the growth in educational software. In 2009, U.S. schools and colleges spent an estimated $4.6 billion on educational software.

Bloomberg is reporting that Google is working with educational software companies to create a marketplace for online learning programs.

Already educational games and instructional tools are being offered in the Google Apps Marketplace, Google’s online store that launched in March. Google is now hoping to expand this by creating a marketplace just for education and getting more educational software developers involved.

“If we can provide access to education apps to our 10 million users in thousands of schools, then that would be a win all around,” said Obadiah Greenberg, Google’s business development manager for education, in an interview with Bloomberg.

Alexis Rice|December 28th, 2010|Categories: Educational Technology, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Improving the teaching profession

This March, the U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan along with the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development and Education International will host the International Summit on the Teaching Profession in New York City.

The Department of Education says that, “the summit will convene education ministers, national union leaders, education organization leaders and accomplished teachers from countries with high performing and rapidly improving educational systems to identify best practices worldwide that effectively strengthen the teaching profession in ways designed to enhance student achievement.”

“When it comes to teaching, talent matters tremendously,” said Duncan announcing the summit. “But great teachers are not just born that way — it takes a high-quality system for recruiting, training, retaining, and supporting teachers over the course of their careers to develop an effective teaching force. This summit is a tremendous opportunity to learn from one another the best methods worldwide to address our common challenges: supporting and strengthening teachers and boosting the student skills necessary for success in today’s knowledge economy.”

BoardBuzz thinks this is a great opportunity to advance the teaching profession.

Alexis Rice|December 27th, 2010|Categories: Federal Programs, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Teachers|

Season’s Greetings

1-1260207893jxCtThe Leading Source extends its warmest wishes during the holidays. We will be taking a winter break, but don’t fret we will continue our witty banter and savvy assessments the first Monday in January. Until then, we hope you are enjoying time with family and loved ones. Here’s to a new and prosperous year!

Naomi Dillon|December 23rd, 2010|Categories: American School Board Journal, Student Achievement|

Education headlines: Congress approves stop-gap funding measure

(Note: School Board News will not publish again until after the Christmas holiday).

Congress has passed a continuing resolution that will keep the government running and funding for programs at current levels until March. The Washington Post has a quick read of the process, read more details about what it will mean for K-12 education in this Education Week blog… The Los Angeles Times examines the impact of low-performing teachers, finding that some struggling schools have made marked improvement after layoffs… And a recent government survey showed the teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. dropped a record 6 percent in 2009. The Christian Science Monitor writes that MTV’s hit series, “16 and Pregnant,” has helped teenagers better understand the consequences and tough times teenage parents face.

Joetta Sack-Min|December 22nd, 2010|Categories: Announcements, School Board News|

Student mobility rising in economic downturn

33-1215441147HPYYAdd rising student mobility as yet another upshot of a down economy, according to a new federal report.

This week the Government Accountability Office released its analysis of ED data compiled between 1998 and 2007, which already showed a steady increase in the number of transient students.

About 13 percent of school-aged children will transfer schools four or more times before reaching high school and about 12 percent of schools nationwide see 10 percent of more of their student body leave at the end of each year.

Not surprisingly, the students and the schools encompass disproportionately high numbers of low-income and minority populations.

To supplement the data analysis, the report also included recent interviews with schools in six districts across three states. Those conversations revealed the nation’s financial crisis has driven up student mobility often as a result of related job and home loss, forcing families to double up with relatives and/or move to find work.

Although the report did not offer specific recommendations to schools on how to handle the situation, it did acknowledge the challenges inherent in high student transiency, not the least of which is disjointed instruction, lack of resources to meet children’s emotion, social, and academic needs, and lost or delayed student records, which make it difficult to make placement decisions or identify special needs.

Naomi Dillon, Senior Editor

Naomi Dillon|December 22nd, 2010|Categories: American School Board Journal, Educational Research, Governance, Student Achievement|Tags: , , |

43 million Americans now on food stamps

It was reported this week that the use of food stamps has increased 16 percent over last year. This adds up to 43 millions of Americans (14 percent of our total population) are now utilizing food stamps.

We know child nutrition is very important. Schools do their part by combat child hunger by providing free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs to students from low income families. But this rise in food stamp is alarming as we know in these hard economic times many students come to school hungry, malnourished, or are being provided an inadequate diet when parent can afford otherwise.

Editor’s note: BoardBuzz will be on hiatus until December 27, 2010. Happy Holidays!

Alexis Rice|December 22nd, 2010|Categories: NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Wellness|

Surprising activity during traditionally down period

holidays_winterHappy Winter Solstice! A time to catch our breath, settle in with a nice cup of hot chocolate, and reflect on the wonders of nature on this, the shortest day of the year.

Yes, of course, I’m kidding. Oh, it really is solstice. It’s just that, well, if your family’s anything like mine, the only ones in your household who have time to reflect on fluffy couches with cups of hot chocolate are those maddeningly blissful models in all those outdoorsy clothing catalogues.  (And remember, they’re getting paid to look blissful.)

Me? I just keep telling myself, “Just make it to Dec. 24th  …” But the truth is, everyone and everything seems to be moving faster these days. Like Congress, of all things. During this so-called “lame duck session,” it has extended the Bush tax cuts, repealed “Don’t’ Ask, Don’t Tell,” and is poised to take up the new START treaty.

Education news is also happening at a rapid clip — and it’s only going to move faster in the months ahead. Last Friday, for example, I attended an Aspen Institute forum called Assessment 2.0: “Next Generation” Comprehensive Assessment Systems.”
(more…)

Naomi Dillon|December 21st, 2010|Categories: American School Board Journal, Assessment, Governance, Policy Formation|

2010 census data released

The 2010 U.S. Census results came out today.

Census data will determine how billions are allocated over the next ten years to states and local communities for government services including education.

The 2010 Census showed the U.S. resident population was 308,745,538, a 9.7 percent over the 2000 Census.

Alexis Rice|December 21st, 2010|Categories: Educational Finance, Federal Programs, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|
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