What Good K-12 Tech Leadership Looks Like

To be an effective K-12 technology leader, knowing your way around a server closet is no longer enough.

“I feel like one of my chief roles is being a translator,” said Phil Hintz, the director of technology for Illinois’ Gurnee School District 56. “I speak geek, but I also speak education.”

That sentiment was a recurring theme at the annual conference of the Consortium for School Networking, a professional organization for school tech leaders, held earlier this year in Portland, Ore. Technical expertise should be a given, leader after leader said. What truly separates the most valuable chief information and technology officers is everything else—from understanding classroom dynamics, to smart budgeting, to knowing how to say “no” and deliver bad news without making enemies.

Full story at edweek.org

Want Teachers to Motivate Their Students? Teach Them How to Do It

Most teachers intrinsically understand the need to motivate their students, experts say, but teaching on intuition alone can lead to missteps in student engagement.

A study released in May by the Mindset Scholars Network, a collaborative of researchers who study student motivation, found most teacher education programs nationwide do not include explicit training for teachers on the science of how to motivate students.

That’s why some teacher education programs are exploring ways to help teachers learn how to engage their students in deeper ways.

“Everyone has a gut sense of the importance of a student’s relationship with a teacher. … It’s not a scholarly understanding but a human understanding,” said Mayme Hostetter, the president of the Relay Graduate School of Education, one of the few programs nationwide with formal courses for teachers on student motivation.

Full story at edweek.org

What Economists Think About Democrats’ New Education Proposals

Democratic presidential candidates have been watching a historic wave of teacher strikes and protests sweeping the nation — and they want to give teachers a raise.

Kamala Harris wants to spend $315 billion over 10 years to increase the annual salary of an average teacher by $13,500. Joe Biden wants to triple spending on a federal program for low-income schools and use much of those funds for “competitive salaries.” And Bernie Sanders wants to work with states to set a minimum $60,000 starting salary for the nation’s teachers.

But there’s something missing from these proposals, and it reveals a dramatic shift from a decade ago in how the Democratic Party wants to fix education.

Full story at npr.org

This Teen Planned A School Shooting. But Did He Break The Law?

It was sunny and cold on Feb. 13, 2018, when 18-year-old Jack Sawyer walked out of Dick’s Sporting Goods in Rutland, Vt., with a brand-new pump-action shotgun and four boxes of ammunition.

The next day, Valentine’s Day, Sawyer took his new gun out for target practice.

Around the same time, about 1,500 miles away in Parkland, Fla., a 19-year-old shot and killed 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Full story at npr.org

California Teachers Pay For Their Own Substitutes During Extended Sick Leave

A 40-year-old California law requiring public school teachers on extended sick leave to pay for their own substitute teachers is under scrutiny by some state lawmakers after NPR member station KQED reported on the practice.

KQED found that a San Francisco Unified elementary school teacher had to pay the cost of her own substitute — amounting to nearly half of her paycheck — while she underwent extended cancer treatment. Since the story published, more public school teachers have reached out to describe similar hardships.

Unlike many other employees, public school teachers in California don’t pay into the state disability insurance program and can’t draw benefits from it. Under the California Education Code, teachers get 10 sick days a year, after which they receive 100 days of extended sick leave. It’s during this latter period that the cost of a substitute teacher is deducted from their salary.

Full story at NPR

Secretary DeVos Builds on “Rethink Higher Education” Agenda, Expands Opportunities for Students Through Innovative Experimental Sites

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the launch of the first new higher education experimental site during her tenure and is inviting new participants to join another experiment already underway.

The new Federal Work-Study (FWS) Experiment will provide institutions with increased flexibilities that will enable students to earn work-study benefits while participating in apprenticeships, internships and work-based learning programs, as well as earn work-study wages while completing required clinical rotations, externships and student teaching.

“For decades, the Federal Work-Study program has allowed students to support themselves while earning a college degree, but for too long, the majority of the work options students have had access to have been irrelevant to their chosen field of study,” said Secretary DeVos. “That will change with this experimental site. We want all students to have access to relevant earn-and-learn experiences that will prepare them for future employment.”

Full story at ed.gov

Warren Pledges to Tap Public School Teacher as Education Secretary

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, the Massachusetts Democrat running for president, pledged that if elected, she would tap a public school teacher to be her secretary of education.

“In my administration, the Secretary of Education will be a former public school teacher who is committed to public education,” Warren, herself a former special education teacher, wrote in a campaign email blasted to supporters Monday.

“Let’s get a person with real teaching experience,” she wrote, taking direct aim at current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “A person who understands how low pay, tattered textbooks, and crumbling classrooms hurt students and educators. A person who understands the crushing burden of student debt on students and young professionals and who is committed to actually doing something about it.”

Full story at US News

Teachers in Florida Can Carry a Firearm in School

FLORIDA GOV. RON DeSantis, a Republican, signed into law Wednesday a measure that will allow teachers to carry a firearm in school.

The contentious move comes one day after a shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Douglas County, Colorado, where one student died and eight others were injured. According to Education Week’s school shooting tracker, it was the 12th school shooting this year that resulted in a death or injury.

As it stands, Florida law already requires schools to have at least one armed person on site, which is often a school law enforcement officer. The measure signed by DeSantis expands the eligibility of a so-called guardian program put in place a month after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 17 students and staff were killed.

Full story at US News

‘Do They Kick Out Pregnant People?’ Navigating College With Kids

When Akiya Parks first got to campus at the University of Florida, everything was new and exciting. Her mom and brother had driven her to campus and moved her into the dorms, she’d agreed to try a long-distance relationship with her high school boyfriend, she was ready to start a new chapter in Gainesville.

This was a dream come true: No one in Parks’ family had ever gone to college before, and her good grades, volunteer work and commitment to her community had earned her a full-ride scholarship — nearly everything was paid for. She got a new laptop, she bonded with her roommate and she crafted her schedule.

But a few weeks into classes, she started feeling sick. At first, she thought college food just wasn’t sitting well, but it wasn’t the food.

Full story at npr.org

The Solution to School Discipline: Undercover School Leaders

AS EDUCATION POLICY experts and politicians continue to clash over whether Obama-era discipline guidance meant to stem the school-to-prison pipeline creates better environments for students of color or makes classrooms more disruptive, one Republican congressman has an idea: school district leaders should go undercover into their schools to see for themselves.

Rep. Phil Roe, a Republican from Tennessee, pitched the idea Tuesday during a hearing at the House Education and Labor Committee, which was supposed to focus on school segregation 65 years after the landmark Supreme Court ruling Brown v Board of Education.

But the issue of the previous administration’s discipline guidance – and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ recent and contentious decision to rescind it – took center stage for most of the hearing. The guidance, which prodded schools to use methods of discipline other than suspensions to keep more kids in the classroom, has become a clarion call for civil rights advocates who see it as essential to address the disproportionate rate at which black students are disciplined. But others see the guidance as a federal overreach that pressures teachers and principals not to report disruptive students to the detriment of others.

Full story at US News