Sex between students and teachers, obviously unacceptable. Yet, it’s not so obvious in every state, though one District of Columbia council member wants to make sure such relationships are grounds for firing in his school system. Meanwhile, a new report finds that girls are closing the achievement gap on boys in the area of math— but surpassing boys in reading. Finally, during a week when the Obama administration released guidelines on everything from technology to the federal role in education, Senior Editor Del Stover says schools shouldn’t feel helpless or constrained by mandates, and should instead harness the control they do have to make changes. Read these entries and more from this week’s Leading Source.
School Board News Today, an online publication of NSBA, provides timely and relevant stories and analysis from NSBA and other news outlets to school board members, administrators, and all others interested in K-12 education.
Articles in the Week in Blogs category
It was a busy week for education on the Hill, with the Obama administration releasing the National Education Technology Plan, the National Broadband Plan, and a blueprint for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which drew lots of news coverage, analysis, criticism, bemoaning, and scant praise which Mike Petrilli over at Flypaper summed up quite nicely.
We’ve long known the importance of the work we do in education, but it’s interesting to hear celebrities sound off on the triumphs and failures of public schools. Speaking of triumphs and failures, the Educated Nation gives a backwards compliment to blogger Penelope Trunk, who riffs on what success means and doesn’t. Definitely food for thought.
And while we’ve got you thinking, the New York Times wrote a fascinating (somewhat disturbing) piece on how privacy can sometimes be compromised in the age of information technology, prompting its editors at the Learning Network to pose this question: what can strangers learn about you online?
Based on my online activity, I’d think you could deduce it was a hectic week, though compared to Miss Brave, I’ve got nothing to complain about. Happy Friday everyone!
Education SecretaryArne Duncan promised to ramp up the efforts of the Office for Civil Rights, saying the division would investigate, instead of merely reporting on issues of educational equity. On the opposite end of the spectrum, on the other side of the Potomac River, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has been sending letters to public universities in the state, telling them they could no longer include sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination policies. Meanwhile, the Council of Chief State School Officers and National Governors Association officially released draft version of the common core standards for math and English, which you can view at our Facebook page. Read these entries and more from this week’s Leading Source.
The finalists in the second round of the Race to the Top program, the signature piece of the Obama administration’s education reform efforts, were announced Thursday, eliciting surprise and disappointment for the 16 who were picked and 24 who weren’t. Also this week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released one of the largest surveys of teacher attitudes, finding among other things, that effective principals and leadership were more important to teachers than salaries when choosing a place to work. For more of the latest in education news and insights, read this week’s Leading Source.
While 15 states and the District of Columbia received the good news that they were selected as finalists in the federal Race to the Top program, the other 25 states who applied in the first round of this competition for $4.35 billion in federal grants received the bad news, with some like Michigan wondering how they will be able to pay for expensive reforms without federal aid. Speaking of losing out, as California learned they were not on the shortlist for RTTT monies, thousands protested across the state yesterday against the severe cuts public schools have and will continue to sustain as lawmakers try to close another multi-million deficit. Read these stories and more in School Board News Today.
Sure, exercise and proper nutrition are essential to staying healthy and battling obesity, but adequate sleep is equally important, a number of studies have shown, including this recent one aimed at young adults. While we’re on the subject of adequate time for sleep, lets shift into adequate time for learning, which most educators agree is insufficient in today’s schools and yet restructuring the school day and calendar is still not an easy proposition, as one of the cover stories in the latest ASBJ issue illuminates. Lastly, teacher evaluations are getting lots of attention lately, with the release of a few new reports, including one that found that half of all Boston public school teachers hadn’t been evaluated in the last two years and that some had received tenure without ever being evaluated. Read these entries and more from this week’s Leading Source.
First Lady Michelle Obama’s launch of a national anti-childhood obesity initiative last week garnered lots of support and suggestions from organizations like NSBA and the Alliance for Children, which touts the importance of free play as a crucial part of fighting the epidemic. Speaking of fighting (Ok, maybe that’s a big strong … disagreements), a Maryland Senator’s idea to solve the state’s budget gap by asking school districts to aim their cuts at a bloated central office, which Senior Editor Del Stover, well, disagreed with. Lastly, Senior Editor Larry Hardy’s weekly look at the education blogosphere went international, hopping the pond to jolly Old England. For these entries and more, read this week’s Leading Source.
They called it Snowmageddon or Snowcapolyse or, for most of us, the worst winter in recent memory; shuttering whole school systems for the week, closing the federal government for much of the week, and crippling commutes and transit systems for, well, it’s still messed up. Even our staff felt Mother Nature’s wrath, stuck at home, some without power and Internet connections for much of that time. If you tuned into the Leading Source this week, however, you caught Managing Editor Kathleen Vail’s tips for staying occupied while you’re snowbound, and read about First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti childhood obesity initiative, “Let’s Move,” which she unveiled on Tuesday. And Friday, as always, featured our roundup of the education blogosphere. Happy reading, enjoy the long weekend (as if you needed more time off) and we’ll see you next week.
Sarah Palin dissing President Obama? No, more than a handful of commentators reacting to a new report by Gary Orfield’s UCLA Civil Rights Project (formerly Harvard Civil Rights Project), which finds that charter schools are increasing racial isolation.
You can read those commentators, and a response by Orfield himself (who notes that he didn’t even write the report for which he’s being excoriated — although he did pen the forward which calls the most racially isolating charters “apartheid schools”) in the National Journal’s usually quite civil education blog. (“Are Charter Schools Civil Rights Failures?”)
And, for another take on the issue of racial equality in schools, read the Newsmaker interview with former education secretary Rod Paige in the February issue of ASBJ.
Moving from one volatile topic (race) to another (religion), education blogger Alexander Russo links to a fascinating New York Times Magazine piece entitled “How Christian Were the Founders?” which explores the textbook adoption process in Texas and the impact of various political and religious groups.
All this too heavy for you? How about something lighter to round out what, for many of us in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic, has been a blizzard of a week: Mike Smith’s Principal’s Page treatise on why he absolutely hates snow days, titled: “Paranoia is Just Good Common Sense if Your Dog is Trying to Kill You.”
Lawrence Hardy, Senior Editor
The editorial staff of ASBJ was in D.C. last weekend, covering NSBA’s annual leadership and Federal Relations Network conference, when school leaders have an opportunity to directly speak with and learn effective strategies on lobbying their Congressmen. But there was no rest for us when we got back (deadlines, deadlines), and a new face to our publications team; spring intern Tricia Smith, who hit the ground running with her fresh insight on the federal Race to the Top program. Speaking of opinions, resident snark, er, Senior Editor Del Stover, tells us what he thinks of a recent poll of DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee’s performance. Oh, don’t hold back, Del. Read these entries and more from this week’s Leading Source, especially if you’ve been hit by snowmaggedon (snowcopalyse, SnOMG, Thunder Snow, take your pick) because we know you have time on your hands. Happy reading and we’ll see you next week.