U.S. to Focus on Equity in Assigning of Teachers

The Obama administration is directing states to show how they will ensure that all students have equal access to high-quality teachers, with a sharp focus on schools with a high proportion of the poor and racial minorities.


In a letter to state superintendents released Monday, Deborah S. Delisle, an assistant secretary at the Department of Education, said states must develop plans by next June that make sure that public schools comply with existing federal law requiring that "poor and minority children are not taught at higher rates than other children by inexperienced, unqualified or out-of-field teachers."

States last submitted plans to address such inequities in 2006, but data shows that large disparities persist.


"It is important to remind our states that one step in front of the other is the way to begin to deliver for all our students," said Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights, in a conference call with reporters. "We are all dismayed by the lack of compliance and lack of satisfaction and delivery on this point."


The Education Department will send each state data collected by the department's Office for Civil Rights showing rates of teacher experience, certification, absenteeism and salary by school as well as student access to taxpayer-funded preschool and advanced courses in math and science.

The administration is also urging states to look at teacher evaluations to determine whether those who receive lower ratings are disproportionately assigned to schools with high proportions of racial minorities and students in poverty.  >> READ MORE  

Foothill Philharmonic Committee members and the Music Mobile hit the road again recently before ending the successful visits to elementary schools throughout Claremont.

The Music Mobile is a van packed with almost every instrument one would find in an orchestra except the double bass and the timpani drum. It travels to schools to introduce youngsters to instruments and classical music. The Foothill Philharmonic foots the bill because its member believe in the importance of music in everyone's lives.


The musical not-so-mystery ride visited Condit Elementary School third-graders at the Alexander Hughes Activity Center. Students walked there and participated in the program during the organization's regular meeting. The program began this spring at Condit, visiting other schools along the way, this year including private schools Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic School and Foothill Country Day School. The fun ended for 2014 at Oakmont Elementary School.  >> READ MORE 

Testing Overload in America's Schools

In August, when the Lee County School Board in Southwest Florida voted 3-2 to opt out of the state's mandated tests tied to the Common Core State Standards due to concerns about the overtesting of students, a packed room of opt-out supporters and parents erupted in cheers.


As unpopular as Florida's mandated tests are in many quarters, the state's tests are not the sole culprit. A local newspaper's analysis of the tests given by the Lee County schools found that 52 percent of the assessments that students take are district mandated, while less than half are state required. In other words, overtesting in Lee County might not be only a state and federal problem but a local problem as well.


The Lee County vote, which was later rescinded due to concerns that the decision could place the district in violation of state law and risk losing funding, highlights how the issues of overtesting and the way in which tests results will be used have become more and more controversial in recent months.   >> READ MORE 

Turner Broadcasting relaunches Boomerang kids network

Days after announcing a new Cartoon Network service for streaming content to mobile devices, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. said it is re-launching its Boomerang kids brand as a global all-animation network.


Boomerang will feature content from Warner Bros., Hanna-Barbera, Cartoon Network and MGM studios. The network will also rely on content produced by studios in other parts of the world.


"This represents a further step in our strategy to build on the success of our international kid's network," Gerhard Zeiler, president of Turner Broadcasting System International Inc., said in a statement.


Last week, Turner Broadcasting launched its Cartoon Network Anything network, which streams games, activities, trivia and video to mobile devices and portable media players.

Parents Are Sending Their Toddlers To Entrepreneurship Preschool - Here's What It's Like    

Las Vegas' 9th Bridge School is quite possibly the only American preschool to incorporate lessons from Burning Man into its art curriculum this year.


Of course, the 9th Bridge School isn't just any school. It's an "entrepreneurship preschool," where tots aged six weeks to six years are trained in the confidence-rich, risk-taking spirit required to start a business.


And yes, this includes having students build the mosaic pictured below with help from artists who attended the debaucherous Nevada desert festival beloved by Silicon Valley.

The school was founded in 2013 by Wharton School of Business graduate Connie Yeh, a little more than two years after Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, her cousin, asked what she would do if given the opportunity to do anything in the world.  >> READ MORE 

Latest Games Are Unlocking the Key to Making Learning More Fun     

A new generation of educational games is harnessing students' love of video games and turning them into voracious learners - without them even realizing it.


That's the promise, anyway. Unlike previous educational games that functioned like glorified worksheets or tech-enhanced tests, the latest game developers say they are closer to figuring out how to unlock kids' passion for gaming.


While some programs still use video games as the primary mode of instruction, other developers think kids' passion for gaming is so strong that they will want to build their own games.


Nikki Navta, who spent 20 years in textbook publishing, founded Zulama, a curriculum that lets students design and build games, after a conversation with her two teenage sons.

"They were obsessed first with Minecraft and then with World of Warcraft," Navta said of two popular online games. "I was initially mortified but as I listened to them I could see the possibilities for increasing engagement in the classroom."

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The skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.

Which witch wishes to switch a witch wristwatch for a Swiss wristwatch?

Five fine Florida florists fried fresh flat flounder fish fillet.

Imagine managing the manger at an imaginary menagerie.

For College Park children between 3 and 5 years old, there's the education college's Center for Young Children. For middle schoolers, there's College Park Academy. And soon, the city hopes to offer this innovative, project-based learning style for elementary school-level children as well.


The City Council unanimously voted to send a letter to Sen. Jim Rosapepe (D-Prince George's), College Park City-University Partnership chairman, expressing support for collaboration between the university and city to launch a new contract program in public elementary schools.

Whether they will be working in technology, health care, education, business or another field, West Virginia's post-secondary graduates will be more attractive to employers when they have tech industry certifications.

Students enrolled at four- and two-year schools, plus the faculty and staff who work there, will be able to get technology certifications that can take them beyond mere proficiency at a keyboard.  

Students from high-poverty public schools are less likely to attend college than those from wealthier ones, regardless of whether they're from urban, suburban or rural areas.


A report released Tuesday by the research branch of the nonprofit National Student Clearinghouse, which examined data from more than 3.5 million high school graduates, found that poverty remains a more important indicator of whether a student will go to college than high school demographics or location.  >> READ MORE 




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