Education News Roundup for October 25

Education News Roundup for October 25_"@ See Science Center" by StarrGazr/flickr

"@ See Science Center" by StarrGazr/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Any money available for Utah schools?
http://connect2utah.com/news-story?nxd_id=171017

Well, at least there’s money to be made in school reform.
http://bit.ly/vAxEGy (Hechinger)

It’s no longer just a technology gap; it’s an app gap.
http://nyti.ms/vskPtD (NYT)
and http://bit.ly/uy1N7H (DN)
or a copy of the report
http://bit.ly/w0GyQ8

Science anyone? Anyone at all?
http://www.mercurynews.com/education/ci_19187536?source=rss
or a copy of the study
http://bit.ly/twfcE7

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Utah Education: Is There Money For Improvements?

New USU playground dedicated to child development

Schools try to get kids eating fruits and veggies, eliminate meat on Mondays

Tooele terminating contract for Junior Jazz basketball

Prison inmates give back to schools with pumpkins

Roosevelt chief: Officers hadn’t seen the Haka dance before
Investigation: Roosevelt City attorney reviewing potential charges against officers, dancers, spectators.

Suspects sought in SSMS break-in

School district reverses course, will allow ‘Bible’ on permission slip

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Precision required

Education must be Legislature’s highest priority

Ed schools reject ratings

Language immersion

Add junior high sports

Grading the Teachers
Schools have a lot to learn from business about how to improve performance, say Bill and Melinda Gates.

Business leaders inject themselves in school reform

NAEP’s Odd Definition of Proficiency

When Governors Talk Education, It’s About the Economy, Stupid

Republicans Must Embrace Education, Not Tax Cuts

W. enters my wife’s schoolboard race
Our family gets a close-up look of how big money has taken over politics — even at the local level

U. Mich. Project Scales Up ‘High Leverage’ Teaching Practices

Principals, What Would You Do With More Time in a Day?

The Teachers’ Union Hypothesis

Boys learn to be men in a club at Detroit school

The Effect of Charter Schools on Student Achievement A Meta-analysis of the Literature

NATION

Companies, nonprofits making millions off teacher effectiveness push

Screen Time Higher Than Ever for Children

Singaporean youths spend more time gaming than American youths: Study

Study: Science pushed out of California elementary schools

Local Teachers’ Merit Pay Hinges on How Well They Engage with Parents

Study raises questions about virtual schools

Q&A with Leon Botstein: ‘Middle schools and high schools are an American catastrophe’

In Miami, School Aims For ‘Bi-Literate’ Education

English learners far behind under English-only methods

Govt to post pictures of students who skip school on website to shame them

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UTAH NEWS
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Utah Education: Is There Money For Improvements?

SALT LAKE CITY – Governor Herbert’s commission on education met this morning, trying to decide where Utah might improve schools.
Tests show that pre-school education helps kids, especially disadvantaged kids, do well in early grades, and all-day kindergarten helps, too.
And Utah would like to do more counseling for high school kids to help them pick the right career, and take the classes to prepare for it.
Utah’s Board of Education wants computer tests for kids once a year.
Utah has lots of ideas to improve education, but it’s not clear the state has money to do much of anything.
http://connect2utah.com/news-story?nxd_id=171017

New USU playground dedicated to child development

Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities recently dedicated a new playground designed to stimulate the senses of a child.
The playground, built in part with help from private donors who contributed more than $15,000 toward its construction, is located behind the Edith Bowen Laboratory School and the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education.
http://bit.ly/rUfXkR (LHJ)

Schools try to get kids eating fruits and veggies, eliminate meat on Mondays

WEST VALLEY CITY — Of the seven school lunch entrees students in the Granite School District could choose from on any given Monday this month, none of them included meat.
In an effort to promote and increase student consumption of vegetables and fruit, the district instituted “Meatless Mondays” for the month by eliminating all poultry, fish and meat from the district’s schools one day a week.
“It was just something to broaden the scope,” said Jeff Gratton, director of operations for the district’s food services. “Getting kids to eat fruits and vegetables … that’s our biggest hurdle.”
http://bit.ly/tjBIC3 (DN)

http://bit.ly/tFOmW8 (KSL)

http://bit.ly/tWsdvs (KCPW)

Tooele terminating contract for Junior Jazz basketball

TOOELE, Utah – The Tooele School District is canceling its agreement to run the Junior Jazz basketball programs in its gyms.
According to District Superintendent Terry Linares, Utah Sports Academy who runs the Junior Jazz program in Tooele did not pay the district money owed for renting out school basketball courts during the 2010-2011 Junior Jazz season. The total cost owed is $33,390.
Linares said because Utah Sports Academy is not paying its debts, the district is terminating its contract with the company. So far there are no plans for any other company to assume running the program.
http://bit.ly/ugLQAA (KTVX)

http://bit.ly/tU6ZRA (KSL)

Prison inmates give back to schools with pumpkins

DRAPER — Officers from the Utah State Prison delivered thousands of inmate-grown pumpkins Monday to local school districts as part of their annual Halloween charity event.
Working in the prison’s greenhouse program, a group of 28 inmates grow about 3,000 pumpkins each year to donate to area schools and organizations. The pumpkins range from only a few ounces to nearly 100 pounds. On Monday, officers delivered pumpkins to Kauri Sue Hamilton School in the Jordan School District, a school dedicated to students with severe, multiple disabilities.
http://bit.ly/s7LczA (KSL)

Roosevelt chief: Officers hadn’t seen the Haka dance before
Investigation: Roosevelt City attorney reviewing potential charges against officers, dancers, spectators.

The Roosevelt police chief says a report could be issued this week regarding his officers’ use of pepper spray and a baton on dancers at the conclusion of the high school football game.
Chief Rick Harrison on Tuesday said his office is conducting a review of the use of force. The matter also will be screened by the city attorney for possible criminal charges against the officers, dancers and spectators.
http://bit.ly/uwzksf (SLT)

http://connect2utah.com/news-story/?nxd_id=171227

Suspects sought in SSMS break-in

MONROE – Sevier County Sheriff’s deputies are searching for suspects who broke into the South Sevier Middle School in Monroe on Monday. Deputies said it appeared someone had crawled through a window in a storage building, after peeling a board from the window. The suspects then proceeded to vandalize several rooms in the building, including throwing paint on the floors and walls. Deputies said the suspects made a mess of a number of rooms. No suspects have been identified but fingerprints were found at the scene.
http://bit.ly/ruQawL (MUR)

School district reverses course, will allow ‘Bible’ on permission slip

A California school district has given the OK to a Christian church group to include the word “Bible” on permission slips distributed in schools.
The Pajaro Valley Unified School District originally told the Child Evangelism Fellowship of Santa Cruz County it couldn’t circulate the permission slips because the papers included the word “Bible” and described “Bible stories,” according to the Liberty Counsel, but the district relented after being contacted by the non-profit litigation organization that focuses on “advancing religious freedom.”
The permission slips are for students to attend the “Good News Club,” an after-school program hosted on campus by the religious group. The program emphasizes teaching lessons from the Bible.
http://bit.ly/ucWsuX (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Precision required
(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

Good English teachers remind their students to be clear and precise in their prose. That dictum applies to school boards as well.
Mark Clements of the Alpine School District Board started a small flap when he recently said that the roof of a portable classroom at Grovecrest Elementary in Pleasant Grove was “almost totally disintegrated.”
A news reporter recently went there to take a look. The roof is old and many of the shingles have curled. But that’s typical for asphalt. The roof hasn’t leaked yet. It is on a list of repair projects, and if it started leaking it would be bumped up in priority.
Politicians are often tempted to indulge in hyperbole. School officials have implied that this roof is indicative of the poor condition of Alpine District buildings in general. The next leap in logic is to assert that this requires voters to approve the $210 million bond on the November ballot.
http://bit.ly/uJEPph

Education must be Legislature’s highest priority Deseret News op-ed by Randy Shumway, chief executive officer of the Cicero Group

As we encounter a range of diverse challenges in our state and country, the value of education can’t be overstated. Economically and socially, education is the key to the future vitality of Utah and the nation.
The word “education” and “teachers” are rarely discussed independently from one another. This is for good reasons. Teachers are at the very heart of education. Most of us can quickly name those teachers who changed our lives for better. Our four-year-old daughter, Ellie, is named after a teacher who served as a catalyst in my wife’s life. A year doesn’t go by in which our family doesn’t benefit from the commitment and energy of good teachers.
Research demonstrates that high quality teaching is the most important factor in boosting achievement — quality teaching is more important than class size, dollars spent per student or the quality of textbooks and course materials.
http://bit.ly/tqmRAQ

Ed schools reject ratings
Deseret News commentary by columnist Mary McConnell

I thought I’d take some flak for once again promoting alternative certification of teachers, and I was right. I’m going to try to address some of the issues raised in the comments, because my readers have raised legitimate concerns. But first — I was reminded that I’d failed to post a very interesting article from Education Week.
Most professional schools hate the U.S. News and World Report and other rating systems . . . but they live with them, because they’re competing for students and students pay attention to these ratings.
http://bit.ly/u5jEwy

Language immersion
Deseret News letter from Samuel Baird

In the world today, there are hundreds of countries and even more languages. Sometimes we may wonder why we don’t work better together when we are so well connected with today’s technology. One simple answer is that we need to start speaking each others’ languages.
In many other countries, learning multiple languages has been going on for years. Most leading countries in Europe have been doing so for years. Today we have school programs for elementary-age students, giving them the chance to learn a new language through the new language immersion program. But since it’s just starting up, it is not open to everyone.
http://bit.ly/vfvuRh

Add junior high sports
Deseret News letter from Andrew Hills

I am a sixth grade student who will be in junior high next year. I think that there should be more sports teams in junior high — like football, soccer, baseball and lacrosse.
http://bit.ly/u7PkIW

Grading the Teachers
Schools have a lot to learn from business about how to improve performance, say Bill and Melinda Gates.
Wall Street Journal commentary by BILL AND MELINDA GATES

America’s schoolteachers are some of the most brilliant, driven and highly skilled people working today—exactly the kind of people we want shaping young minds. But they are stuck in a system that doesn’t treat them like professionals.
In most workplaces, there is an implicit bargain: Employees get the support they need to excel at their jobs, and employers build a system to evaluate their performance. The evaluations yield information that employees use to improve—and that employers use to hold employees accountable for results.
At Microsoft, we believed in giving our employees the best chance to succeed, and then we insisted on success. We measured excellence, rewarded those who achieved it and were candid with those who did not. Teachers don’t work in anything like this kind of environment, and they want a new bargain.
We know this because they told us so in a recent survey that our foundation undertook with Scholastic. It turns out that teachers don’t like their no-support/low-expectations working conditions any better than we do.
http://on.wsj.com/ufL4Sl

Business leaders inject themselves in school reform Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

It’s hard to think of a profession other than teaching about which everybody thinks they are an expert.
It’s often said that is so because just about everybody in the United States has gone to school at some point in their lives. It’s also true that just about everybody has gone to a doctor, yet medical professionals aren’t deluged with advice from businesspeople and hedge fund managers and insurance executives about how to diagnose and treat illnesses.
Whatever the reasons, here’s an example of business folks issuing a declaration of sorts detailing exactly how they want Congress to rewrite No Child Left Behind, even down to the way that teachers ought to be evaluated.
http://wapo.st/t8LsXT

NAEP’s Odd Definition of Proficiency
Education Week op-ed by James Harvey, executive director of the National Superintendents Roundtable

Released in August, the U.S. Department of Education study mapping state proficiency standards onto the National Assessment of Educational Progress scales produced a remarkable statement from Joanne Weiss, the chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. According to an article in the Aug. 24 issue of Education Week, Weiss said the practice of permitting each state to set its own proficiency standards amounts to “lying to parents, lying to children, lying to teachers and principals about the work they’re doing.” Her intemperate outburst crosses the line, not only by the standards of what passes for civil discourse in Washington these days, but also for what it says about the assessment itself.
Indeed, a plausible case can be made that when it comes to telling fibs about proficiency, NAEP has a nose that annually grows longer, for its definition of proficiency is seriously flawed.
As an assessment, let us be clear, NAEP is highly regarded. It is thought of as “the nation’s report card.” Yet a controversy has surrounded NAEP’s achievement levels of basic, proficient, and advanced since they were developed in the 1990s. Congress still insists that every NAEP report include this disclaimer: “[The] National Center for Education Statistics has determined that NAEP achievement levels should continue to be used on a trial basis and should be interpreted with caution.”
Far from interpreting the NAEP achievement levels “with caution,” Ms. Weiss threw caution to the winds in questioning those state educational leaders who followed the law and common sense in defining proficiency around performance at grade level.
http://bit.ly/twZv9x

When Governors Talk Education, It’s About the Economy, Stupid Education Week commentary by columnist Sean Cavanagh

Most governors are fond of talking about education—why it needs to be improved, how they’re going to improve it, the consequences of not improving it, and so on.
But when governors attempt to use the bully pulpit to sell their ideas about education to the public, what are their favored rhetorical themes? A new analysis examines that question, and finds that governors overwhelmingly choose to frame education as important for economic reasons, rather than for the development of individual abilities, or as a matter of civic responsibility. And that political strategy has implications for society and its schools, the researchers say.
http://bit.ly/uy8V2t

A copy of the study
http://journals.sfu.ca/ijepl/index.php/ijepl/article/view/277

Republicans Must Embrace Education, Not Tax Cuts BusinessWeek commentary by Edward Glaeser, professor of economics at Harvard

The Republican presidential debates have been replete with discussions about our economic future, but to listen to the candidates you’d think that the biggest problem is an onerous U.S. tax code.
I’m all for sensible tax reform, but prosperity depends far more on our skill base than on cutting tax rates that are already low by international standards. If the Republicans want to battle for a more prosperous, and stronger, country, they must start spending a lot more time fighting the failures of American education.
The attached figure shows the correlation between the logarithm per-capita income levels in 2010 and math PISA test scores in 2009. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Program for International Student Assessment, known as PISA, tests 15-year-olds in a range of generally prosperous countries, and takes on values from 200 to 800 (similar to the math SAT). Tests are also given for reading and science — the scores are quite closely correlated across subject area — but the math results are the best predictor of incomes across countries, and takes on values from 200 to 800 (similar to the math SAT).
http://bloom.bg/twY3Y6

W. enters my wife’s schoolboard race
Our family gets a close-up look of how big money has taken over politics — even at the local level Salon.com commentary by David Sirota, author of the new book “Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now”

Before it happens, it’s hard to know how you’ll feel when you see a slickly produced, oil-CEO-financed flier implicitly attacking your 11-month-old baby for not being old enough to attend school and explicitly criticizing your family for not being able to afford a home.
It sounds like a takeoff of “SNL’s” hilarious “bat problem” campaign ads — something so over-the-top it couldn’t possibly be real. But, in our case, it wasn’t a parody — such a mailer now fills up thousands of mailboxes throughout my town. And unfortunately, I now know how badly I feel in the face of such a barrage. I’m not overwhelmed by anger or vengefulness. Instead, I’m experiencing a far more numbing set of emotions: a mix of sadness and helplessness.
Six months ago, when my wife, Emily, decided to run for a school board seat here in Southeast Denver, I was (perhaps naively) expecting what we used to get from the most local of local races for such part-time, unpaid positions: lots of door knocking, a few yard signs, maybe a barbecue or two — all the wholesome activities that were once staples of local political Americana.
Emily knew it would be a tough race against her opponent, a deep-pocketed investment banker, but she felt confident she could run a solid campaign. She thought her experience as a social worker and community organizer in Denver gave her the tools to mount a good ground game, and she felt that her longtime policy work at the federal, state and local level was a good match for the school-board job. She also has deep roots in the community; her campaign has been endorsed by the district’s state representative and city councilors, by the city auditor, and by the key legislators who serve in the state’s senior education policymaking positions. And she was more than willing to do the grueling work that campaigns demand: walking precincts, answering questions at events, and calling every single person she knows and begging them for a few dollars.
Yet, as summer turned to fall, it’s become clear that this local race — like so many local races across the country — has turned into another arena for corporate muscle-flexing and elite political rainmaking.
http://bit.ly/sNblfV

U. Mich. Project Scales Up ‘High Leverage’ Teaching Practices Education Week commentary by columnist Stephen Sawchuk

The University of Michigan today unveiled a new organization that will help teacher-training programs—and the teacher-education field in general—develop a more systematic approach to preparing their candidates.
Led by Deborah Loewenberg Ball, a renowned professor and dean of the university’s school of education, TeachingWorks will disseminate a set of core skills for beginning teachers, along with a curriculum, materials, and performance assessments to help teachers master 19 specific skills. It also aspires to serve as a clearinghouse of information and evidence about high-quality teacher education.
http://bit.ly/tEi1Ab

TeachingWorks
http://teachingworks.org/

Principals, What Would You Do With More Time in a Day?
Education Week commentary by columnist Sarah D. Sparks,

In many districts, the principal wears more hats than the Queen of England, from administrator to teacher coach to disciplinarian. A new study suggests principals who learn time scheduling and management delegation can gain the equivalent of an extra day each week for instructional leadership.
The Washington-based Policy Studies Associates, Inc. tracked 181 schools nationwide who are participating in the National School Administration Manager Innovation Project, which teaches principals time-management skills and partners them with a school administration manager who helps coordinate schedules and take on day-to-day tasks that don’t relate to instruction. (As a side note, the study was supported by the Wallace Foundation, which also provides Education Week with a grant for coverage of leadership, extended and expanded learning time and arts learning.)
The researchers found that principals did increase the amount of time they spent observing classes, coaching teachers, and coordinating curriculum, data analysis and instructional planning as they began to plan their schedules in advance and delegate noninstructional tasks.
http://bit.ly/rzLuBr

A copy of the study
http://timetrack.jefferson.kyschools.us/psa_sam_models_2011.pdf

The Teachers’ Union Hypothesis
Albert Shanker Institute commentary by Matthew Di Carlo, senior fellow

For the past couple of months, Steve Brill’s new book has served to step up the eternally-beneath-the-surface hypothesis that teachers’ unions are the primary obstacle to improving educational outcomes in the U.S. The general idea is that unions block “needed reforms,” such as merit pay and other forms of test-based accountability for teachers, and that they “protect bad teachers” from being fired.
Teachers’ unions are a convenient target. For one thing, a significant proportion of Americans aren’t crazy about unions of any type. Moreover, portraying unions as the villain in the education reform drama facilitates the (mostly false) distinction between teachers and the organizations that represent them – put simply, “love teachers, hate their unions.” Under the auspices of this dichotomy, people can advocate for changes , such as teacher-level personnel policies based partially on testing results, without having to address why most teachers oppose them (a badly needed conversation).
No, teachers’ unions aren’t perfect, because the teachers to whom they give voice aren’t perfect. There are literally thousands of unions, and, just like districts, legislatures and all other institutions, they make mistakes. But I believe strongly in separating opinion and anecdote from actual evidence, and the simple fact is that the pervasive argument that unions are a substantial cause of low student performance has a weak empirical basis, while the evidence that unions are a primary cause of low performance does not exist.
http://shankerblog.org/?p=3509

Boys learn to be men in a club at Detroit school Detroit Free Press commentary by columnist ROCHELLE RILEY

As principal of Brenda Scott Academy, Ronnie Sims supervises teachers, ensures resources and oversees students.
But he also teaches 80 boys how to be gentlemen.
Sims said he believes the young men need to excel at the other three R’s — the respect, responsibility and reasoning he teaches in an after-school program called the Gentlemen’s Club.
Twice a week, the boys gather in the gymnasium to learn how to properly shake hands, maintain eye contact and dress neatly. The older boys wear jackets; all the boys wear ties — and learn how to tie them.
The boys also learn the value of focus — in the classroom and in other situations.
http://bit.ly/vTGMwH

The Effect of Charter Schools on Student Achievement A Meta-analysis of the Literature Center on Reinventing Public Education analysis

Charter schools are largely viewed as a major innovation in the public school landscape, as they receive more independence from state laws and regulations than do traditional public schools, and are therefore more able to experiment with alternative curricula, pedagogical methods, and different ways of hiring and training teachers. Unlike traditional public schools, charters may be shut down by their authorizers for poor performance. But how is charter school performance measured? What are the effects of charter schools on student achievement?
Assessing literature that uses either experimental (lottery) or student-level growth-based methods, this analysis infers the causal impact of attending a charter school on student performance. Focusing on math and reading scores, the authors find compelling evidence that charters under-perform traditional public schools in some locations, grades, and subjects, and out-perform traditional public schools in other locations, grades, and subjects. However, important exceptions include elementary school reading and middle school math and reading, where evidence suggests no negative effects of charter schools and, in some cases, evidence of positive effects. Meta-analytic methods are used to obtain overall estimates on the effect of charter schools on reading and math achievement. The authors find an overall effect size for elementary school reading and math of 0.02 and 0.05, respectively, and for middle school math of 0.055. Effects are not statistically meaningful for middle school reading and for high school math and reading. Studies that focus on urban areas tend to find larger effects than do studies that examine wider areas. Studies of KIPP charter middle schools suggest positive effects of 0.096 and 0.223 for reading and math respectively. New York City and Boston charter schools also appeared to deliver achievement gains larger than charter schools in most other locations. A lack of rigorous studies in many parts of the nation limits the ability to extrapolate.
http://bit.ly/ulIvIZ

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Companies, nonprofits making millions off teacher effectiveness push Hechinger Report

New education reforms often translate into big money for private groups. Following the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, states paid millions of dollars annually to companies to develop and administer the standardized tests required under the law. Companies also cashed in on a provision mandating tutoring for students at struggling schools.
Now, a movement to overhaul the teaching profession is creating a new source of revenue for those in the business of education. More than half of states have changed, or are in the process of changing, their laws to factor student test scores into teacher evaluations. Most are also adding new requirements for the classroom observations used to rate teachers, which in many districts are often cursory and infrequent.
The main intent of the new laws is to help identify which teachers are doing a good, bad or mediocre job so that those struggling in the classroom can be given extra support or, if their performance doesn’t improve, fired. But one early outcome of recent legislation is a booming new market services and products to help states and school districts scrambling to meet the new legal requirements.
http://bit.ly/vAxEGy

Screen Time Higher Than Ever for Children New York Times

Jaden Lender, 3, sings along softly with the “Five Little Monkeys” app on the family iPad, and waggles his index finger along with the monkey doctor at the warning, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!” He likes crushing the ants in “Ant Smasher,” and improving his swing in the golf app. But he is no app addict: when the one featuring Grover from Sesame Street does not work right, Jaden says, “Come on, iPad!’” — then wanders happily off to play with his train set.
“I’ll lie to myself that these are skill builders,’” said his father, Keith Lender, who has downloaded dozens of tablet and smart phone apps for Jaden and his 1-year-old brother, Dylan. “No, I’m not lying,” he said, correcting himself. “Jaden’s really learning hand-eye coordination from the golf game, and it beats the hell out of sitting and watching television.”
Despite the American Academy of Pediatricians’ longstanding recommendations to the contrary, children under 8 are spending more time than ever in front of screens, according to a study scheduled for release Tuesday.
The report also documents for the first time an emerging “app gap” in which affluent children are likely to use mobile educational games while those in low-income families are the most likely to have televisions in their bedrooms.
http://nyti.ms/vskPtD

http://bit.ly/uy1N7H (DN)

A copy of the report
http://bit.ly/w0GyQ8

Singaporean youths spend more time gaming than American youths: Study
(Singapore) Today

SINGAPORE – An inaugural study of 3,000 youths here has found that Singaporean adolescents spend more time than American youths on video gaming.
On average, gamers here spend about 20 hours per week on gaming, as compared to about 13 hours for American youths.
Of this group, about one in 10 were found to display symptoms of obsessive, or pathological, video gaming, which caused significant disruption to their regular lives.
Such pathological gamers also spend twice as much time gaming, averaging more than 37 hours a week. They are more likely to have poorer grades, are less social and more hostile, and have more health problems like wrist pain.
Other countries with high rates of obsessive gamers include China (14 per cent), South Korea (10.2 per cent) and Spain (9.9 per cent), said the study.
http://bit.ly/uTraqt

Study: Science pushed out of California elementary schools San Jose (CA) Mercury News

California’s elementary schools spend too little time teaching science as volcano models and germination kits vanish to focus more on English and math, a new statewide study says.
And when science is taught, classroom teachers feel unprepared, the study found. More than four-fifths of teachers think the emphasis on English and math has hampered science teaching, according to the survey that sampled hundreds of administrators and teachers.
“Science has been pushed out of many schools’ curriculums,” said one of the study’s authors, Rena Dorph, a researcher with the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley.
That’s especially true for struggling schools that have been ordered to bolster math and English lessons.
http://www.mercurynews.com/education/ci_19187536?source=rss

A copy of the study
http://bit.ly/twfcE7

Local Teachers’ Merit Pay Hinges on How Well They Engage with Parents Twin Falls (ID) Times-News

TWIN FALLS – It’s fall parent-teacher conference time and for some Magic Valley schools, there’s an added incentive to get parents involved.
At Wendell High School, teachers will receive merit bonuses based on the percentage of parents who show up for the conferences.
Under a package of education reform bills passed earlier this year by the Legislature, school districts were required to develop their own pay-for-performance plans.
Teacher bonuses, which will be distributed for the first time in 2012, can be based on a variety of factors, such as test scores and average daily attendance rates. Both district and state goals must be met.
http://bit.ly/tR859F

Study raises questions about virtual schools Washington Post

As an increasing number of cash-strapped states turn to virtual schools — where computers replace classmates and students learn via the Internet — a new study is raising questions about their quality and oversight.
In research to be released Tuesday, scholars Kevin G. Welner and Gene V. Glass at the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado assert that full-time virtual schools are largely unregulated.
Once used by home-schoolers, child actors and others in need of a flexible way to learn outside a classroom, virtual schools have grown in popularity in the past several years. Cyber-schools generally operate as charters, outside the traditional system but funded with taxpayer dollars.
Nationwide, more than 200,000 students are enrolled in full-time virtual school programs, in which students have no face-to-face contact with teachers. And virtual schools are the fastest growing alternative to traditional public schools, the study found.
Supporters say they allow students to learn at their own pace and provide access to teachers and subjects that may not be available at traditional schools. Critics say they siphon resources and deprive students of socialization.
http://wapo.st/rDG5LU

A copy of the study
http://bit.ly/uUsdyp

Q&A with Leon Botstein: ‘Middle schools and high schools are an American catastrophe’
Hechinger Report

Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College in New York since 1975, has long believed that American universities should be playing a major role in improving the country’s secondary education. Botstein, who is also music director and conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, says he’s less concerned about a decline in the awarding of undergraduate degrees than he is with the U.S. fixing high schools. Bard has been deeply involved with trying to improve college-going and graduation rates through the establishment of early college high schools. Botstein spoke with Liz Willen of The Hechinger Report about international comparisons and his views on what must change in education.
http://bit.ly/tcvkub

In Miami, School Aims For ‘Bi-Literate’ Education NPR Morning Edition

In the fall of 1963, in the throes of the Cold War, Coral Way Elementary took in the children of political refugees fleeing Fidel Castro’s Cuba. The goal was not just to teach them English but make sure they remained fluent in Spanish and held on to their culture. Cuban-Americans thrived in Miami and so did Coral Way’s bilingual immersion model.
Every morning, shortly after eight o’clock, students at the Coral Way Elementary School pledge allegiance to the flag and stand for the national anthem. Then Spanish becomes the language of instruction. In one fourth grade class, reading assignments, science, math and social studies lessons are entirely in Spanish. After lunch, classes switch to English. On the playground, you hear a mix.
http://n.pr/t0Rtdf

English learners far behind under English-only methods Hechinger Report

BALDWIN PARK, Calif.–The end of the school day in Patty Sanchez’s kindergarten class at Geddes Elementary School is not so different from other kindergarten classes around the state. Children gather on a rug as Sanchez holds up a storybook about a coyote and a turtle and reads out loud.
What’s different is that Sanchez is reading in Spanish.
Nearly all of the children in the room are Hispanic, and many are English-language learners. The few who are new to Spanish are expected to follow along with the story, too, and respond in Spanish to Sanchez’s questions.
Halfway through the story, she asks one little boy, a native English speaker, “¿Por qué está llorando la tortuga?” and quiets the children sitting nearby who try to whisper hints.
When he struggles with an answer, she gives him a prompt: Is the turtle triste – sad – or feliz – happy?
Finally, he gets it. “Triste!” he says.
The scene highlights a continuing California debate: More than a decade after voters approved an initiative to limit bilingual education in public schools, the state is using a hodgepodge of programs. Meanwhile, critics contend, young students pay the price.
http://bit.ly/rCNoUH

Govt to post pictures of students who skip school on website to shame them (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) The Star

MALACCA: In a bid to curb rising truancy here, the state government will create a website for the public to post pictures of errant students to shame them.
State Education, Youth and Sports Committee chairman Datuk Gan Tian Loo said the state authorities were collaborating with IT experts to create the dedicated website.
“Pictures of students loitering in shopping complexes will be posted on the website,” he told The Star yesterday.
Gan said the state needed “tangible evidence” to counter the menace which has been on the rise.
http://bit.ly/vTo74W

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