THE U.S. SUPREME COURT agreed to hear oral arguments this fall concerning a decision by Montana’s Supreme Court to halt the operation of a tax credit scholarship program that allowed students to enroll in private schools, including private religious schools.
The announcement Friday breathed new life into the private school choice movement, which has made little to no headway at the federal level despite a tax credit scholarship being the No. 1 agenda item of Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, herself a private school choice supporter.
Private school choice advocates cheered the decision by the high court to review Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, saying they’re hopeful the court will provide a definitive answer on the constitutionality of directing public money or aid to private religious schools.
Emotional outbursts. Lost sleep. These are signs that your kids are spending too much time with digital devices. Here’s what you can do about it.
1. Pay attention to your children’s emotional relationship with screens, not just how much time they are spending with them.
The Problematic Media Use Measure is a questionnaire you can use to help determine if your school-age child has a problem with screens. It asks about issues such as preoccupation (“Screens are all my child seems to think about”) and deception (“My child sneaks using screens”).
2. Don’t just make technology rules based on time.
Parental controls and posted schedules can be useful, but they don’t work without getting buy-in from your kids. That takes talking — and listening.
TEACHERS IN THE U.S. work longer hours and spend more time during the school day teaching than teachers in other parts of the world. And while the majority are satisfied with their jobs, only a fraction believes American society values their profession.
The topline findings of the Teaching and Learning International Survey, an international study published Wednesday by the National Center for Education Statistics, showcase the grievances at the heart of the wave of educator unrest that’s prompted strikes, protests and walkouts in nearly a dozen states and school districts across the U.S.
“They are working a lot of hours, relatively speaking,” Peggy Carr, associate commissioner for assessment at NCES, the Department of Education’s data arm, said. “They do spend a lot of hours teaching. I think we need to think about that and what that means. Teachers love their jobs all across the globe, but our teachers, not unlike teachers elsewhere, feel as though we don’t value their profession. There’s a message there I think we need to think about.”
Are black and Hispanic students identified for special education too often, or not often enough?
For several years, that question has been the focus of a simmering policy debate. Federal regulations require districts to guard against greatly overidentifying minority students with disabilities—also known as “significant disproportionality” in the regulations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Nationally, 14 percent of white students ages 3-21 are in special education; for black students it is 16 percent and for Hispanic students, 13 percent.
In recent years, however, other research has shown that black and Hispanic students are actually less likely to be placed in special education than white peers who have similar academic and behavioral backgrounds. That could potentially leave them at risk of not getting the help they may need to succeed.
MASSACHUSETTS EDUCATION Commissioner Jeffrey Riley announced earlier this year that he had brokered an agreement with the mayor of New Bedford, home to one of the state’s worst performing school districts, and a charter school there to allow the school to open a new campus in the city as long as it enrolls students like a traditional neighborhood public school.
The deal garnered a lot of interest for potentially paving the way for other states and school districts looking to grow their charter sector in a politically fraught environment. But earlier this month, Massachusetts state legislators used rare procedural maneuvers to block the legislation needed to give the project a green light, preventing it from ever being introduced in committee and thus ever allowing lawmakers to vote on it.
In the Bay State, where voters said, “No, thank you,” just two years ago to expanding charter schools, critics of the New Bedford deal argue that they don’t want a two-tiered public school system, and anything that smacks of emboldening charter advocates – like a back-door deal to open a charter school – sets a dangerous precedent, even if it’s blessed by the mayor and state education commissioner.
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.
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.
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.
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.