Gov. Bobby Jindal’s attempt to slam the brakes on Common Core state standards, along with the court challenges to that move, haven’t changed what students are learning in Acadiana classrooms, six school superintendents said Monday.
Teachers are moving forward with lessons aligned to the new learning standards that were fully implemented in the last school year, the school leaders told an Acadiana Press Club forum.
“It hasn’t affected us from an instructional standpoint,” Iberia Parish Schools Superintendent Dale Henderson said. “The issue is the assessment that will be given in the spring.”
But because of the conflict, exactly which high-stakes test will be given to students in the spring remains unknown, a major concern for teachers, Henderson said.
Jindal’s opposition to Common Core extends to state testing, trying to block the state Department of Education from moving forward with plans to buy a standardized test linked to the standards. The governor has used his executive power to block the department, whose leadership remains in favor of Common Core, from spending more than $2,000 without administrative approval.
The matter is now a legal battle in Baton Rouge, featuring three separate lawsuits. On Friday, a district judge refused to grant a preliminary injunction requested by 17 legislators who sought to stop the continued implementation of the standards. Parents who filed a lawsuit in support of the standards were in court on Monday.
In this climate of economic uncertainty, America is once again turning to innovation as the way to ensure a prosperous future.
Yet innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the STEM subjects. Art + Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century.
We need to add Art + Design to the equation — to transform STEM into STEAM.
STEM + Art = STEAM
STEAM is a movement championed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and widely adopted by institutions, corporations and individuals.
The objectives of the STEAM movement are to:
Click headline to access the STEM to STEAM website--
Introducing computer programming to your kids can be a challenge, especially for those who aren’t familiar with the nuances of code.
Fortunately, in the last few years, a number of apps, software, and guides have been produced that make the often-complex subject of computer coding easy to grasp for young learners. So where to begin?
These are a few resources parents can share with their kids to help them start learning about programming.
The term “futurism” typically calls to mind a forward-looking aesthetic or theme that envisions the prospective future of humanity. If popular speculative/sci-fi media, art, literature, and film are any indication, the images that people typically draw to mind when envisioning the future involve post-apocalyptic aesthetics and landscapes, highly advanced technology, and interplanetary or outerspace travel.
Glaringly absent from these visions of the future, however, are diverse cultures and complicated, intersectional identities. Although creators of speculative fiction have been able to successfully conceive of novel technologies, map out the future of humanity, and envision new worlds in science fictional narratives, traditional sci-fi has, on the whole, failed to transcend the social hierarchy, supremacy, and privilege that plague our present-day realities.
In a traditional speculative world, these narratives replay over and over, where the marginalized are virtually non-existent or play exceptionally minor roles, seemingly due to inferior genetics and an inability to adapt to changing social and environmental conditions.
This is where afrofuturism as a genre, lens, community, and practice becomes important, not as a response or reaction to the lack of representation, but as testament to the fact that not only have Black folk (along with other marginalized groups) already made it into the future, we are, in fact responsible for shaping it.
On June 10 of this year, following release of the 2014 LEAP test scores, I filed a public records request to Superintendent John White as custodian of public records for the LDOE in an effort to find out how student passing scores were determined for the new Common Core aligned tests given this Spring.
This press release from the LDOE had claimed that even though the new Common Core partially aligned tests were more difficult, the percentage of students passing the test (students who scored at the basic or above level) had remained steady.
After more than 2 months of stalling by the LDOE, I received an email from Barry Landry of the LDOE on August 14 providing me with the minimum percentage scores needed for students to pass the ELA and math portions of the 2014 LEAP test for 4th and 8th grades compared to previous years.
The LDOE has still not provided me with the cut percentages for the mastery ratings I requested. Coincidentally, my lawsuit on this violation of the public records law was also filed Thursday, August 14. It is my hope that the court will order John White to also produce the minimum percentage results for the mastery level rating.
The press release referred to above announced that more students were achieving a level of mastery in ELA and math than the year before. I am anxious to examine the basis for that alleged improvement.
Recently, my two-year-old nephew Benjamin came across a copy of Vanity Fair abandoned on the floor. His eyes scanned the glossy cover, which shone less fiercely than the iPad he is used to but had a faint luster of its own. I watched his pudgy thumb and index finger pinch together and spread apart on Bradley Cooper’s smiling mug. At last, Benjamin looked over at me, flummoxed and frustrated, as though to say, “This thing’s broken.”
Search YouTube for “baby” and “iPad” and you’ll find clips featuring one-year-olds attempting to manipulate magazine pages and television screens as though they were touch-sensitive displays. These children are one step away from assuming that such technology is a natural, spontaneous part of the material world. They’ll grow up thinking about the internet with the same nonchalance that I hold toward my toaster and teakettle. I can resist all I like, but for Benjamin’s generation resistance is moot. The revolution is already complete.
As the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) heats up this summer, faculty, staff and students have the opportunity to get their voices heard.
As NEA sees it, the landmark legislation provides a key opportunity for Congress to make higher education more affordable and accessible to all Americans; to enhance teacher preparation programs so that new teachers are fully prepared to teach on day one; and to improve transparency and accountability in higher education, making sure that federal aid dollars go only to colleges and universities with high educational standards.
Your comments and personal stories about college affordability, teacher preparation, and transparency are especially useful and can help NEA advocate for a new HEA that supports students. Did you or do rely on Pell Grants to pay for college? Did a college-access program, like TRIO, make a difference in your life?
In heavily tested grades, more than a month of instructional time is lost thanks to high-stakes test preparation and administration. Over-testing has forced educators to narrow the curriculum and “teach to the test” in an effort to preserve funding for their schools. But what are the other consequences of this broken accountability system? Check out stories from educators and parents below on the impact they have felt in their own classrooms and communities.
The European Space Agency's (ESA) last Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV)-5, Georges Lemaître, has arrived at the International Space Station (ISS). In what the space agency describes as a "flawless demonstration of technology and skill," the unmanned cargo ship autonomously docked itself while supervised by mission control in Toulouse, France and by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov inside the space station.
The fifth and final mission of the European ATV program, ATV-5 approached the ISS in a series of steps over several hours as ESA, NASA, and the station crew carried out a series of safety checks before clearing the spacecraft to proceed. Operating under full automatic control, ATV-5 docked on the aft section of the Russian Zvezda module at 13:30 GMT (3:30 pm CEST) today.
"From 39 km (34 mi) to just 250 m (820 ft) from the Station, ATV navigated itself using relative satnav signals, in which both the Station and ATV compare their positions using GPS," says Jean-Michel Bois, leader of the ESA operations team at the ATV Control Centre in Toulouse, France. "For the final 250 m, ATV navigated using a ‘videometer’ and ‘telegoniometer’, which use laser pulses to calculate the distance and orientation to the Station."
Click headline to read more, view pix gallery and watch video clip--
Over the past two weeks, news about Campbell Brown's Partnership for Educational Justice and the secretive organization's lawsuit against New York State's teacher tenure laws reached a peak. Capitalizing on her reputation as a former journalist and CNN correspondent, Brown appeared on The Colbert Report and other shows as part of her press tour and garnered the support of media personalities.
Critical perspectives also flooded the media, including when one of us (Alyssa Hadley Dunn) wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post and appeared on CounterSpin radio. Teachers and scholars wrote many blogs, all amidst a Twitter storm of the hashtags #withouttenure and #questionsforcampbell. And most recently, Ms. Brown even wrote back to her critics in her own op-ed, though she addressed few of our points and instead supplied more rhetoric.
As things have started to quiet down, some may wonder why people, including us, are still talking about Campbell Brown and her assault on teachers' rights. There is no doubt that Brown's argument resonates easily with the American public.
Almost everyone can claim, sometimes bitterly, that they've had a "bad" teacher, however the definition of "bad" can vary from person to person, or however this can occur in tenure and non-tenure environments alike.
Remembering one's own schooling experiences may accentuate people's willingness to latch onto Ms. Brown's narrative, despite our society's pride in "due process," where individuals are deemed innocent until proven guilty (read: teachers deemed "competent" until proven incompetent"). Yet Ms. Brown's narrative relies on misinformation, hyperbole, and exception fallacy.
It is in these moments that we must ask ourselves, given that we rationally know that those self or externally deemed "bad apples" are in no way representative of the "bunch," if we should engage in a policy that robs professionals of the very workplace rights needed to advocate for the children they serve.
These are the very rights that ensure a decent standard of living that would attract high quality teachers in the first place; to challenge without retribution unequal working conditions, cronyism, or nepotism that may be happening in their schools; or to speak up against racist, outdated, inadequate, culturally-irrelevant curricula.
Thus, as a teacher educator and ethnic/policy studies professor respectively, we believe it is our responsibility to contextualize and fact-check the narrative that Ms. Brown carries to the masses, given that the stakes of her campaign are so high for public schools not just in New York and California, but also across the nation.
On the evening of July 25, 1964, Pop artist Andy Warhol and five associates armed with a single camera and a bag of 33-minute film cartridges entered an office on the 41st floor of the Time-Life Building in Manhattan. For the next six hours, Warhol and his crew pointed their camera at the top third of the Empire State Building, documenting it first in decaying daylight, then awash in its electric glow, and finally swallowed by the darkness of twilight. The camera never moves, and neither does the building.
The resulting eight-hour Empire (Warhol slowed the footage down from 24 frames per second to 16) is boring, beguiling, and divisive. But 50 years on there’s an air of inevitability about Warhol’s cinematic portrait of the skyscraper. After all, how could an artist so obsessed with cultural icons—Campbell Soup cans, Brillo boxes, Marilyn Monroe—resist the one towering over Manhattan?
“The culprit is the Empire State Building itself,” says Jonas Mekas, the writer, filmmaker, and patron saint of the underground cinema, about the making of the film. Empire began with Mekas and a young acolyte, John Palmer, running an errand. Sometime in mid-July 1964, they walked out of Mekas’s building at 414 Park Avenue South to mail copies of Film Culture magazine from the Empire State Building post office. (Mekas edited the publication and ran the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, which was Warhol’s film school, from his loft.) They headed north up Park, turned west, and wham! “There it was, the Empire State Building, in its glory, just in front of us as we were walking,” the 91-year-old Mekas remembers. “So we stopped and admired it and I think I said, ‘This is really a subject for Warhol.’ And John agreed.”
Mekas encouraged Palmer to share the idea with Warhol (Palmer also hung out at the Factory), and later that evening he did. The artist immediately went for it—so much so that they were filming only days later. “That’s really his kind of image,” Mekas adds.
A few years ago, I showed my sixth graders The Gulf Stream by Winslow Homer. It's an epic painting of a young black sailor in a small broken boat, surrounded by flailing sharks, huge swells, and a massive storm in the distance. I asked my students the simple question, "What's happening?" The responses ranged from "He's a slave trying to escape" to "He's a fisherman lost at sea." The common theme with the responses, though, was the tone -- most students were very concerned for his welfare. "That boat looks rickety. I think he’s going to get eaten by the sharks," was a common refrain. Then a very quiet, shy girl raised her hand. "It's OK, he'll be fine," she said. "The ship will save him."
The room got quiet as everyone stared intently at the painting. I looked closely at it. "What ship?" I responded. The young girl walked up to the image and pointed to the top left corner. Sure enough, faded in the smoky distance was a ship.
This revelation changed the tone and content of the conversation that followed. Some thought it was the ship that would save him. Others thought it was the ship that cast him off to his death. Would the storm, sharks, or ship get him? The best part of this intense debate was hearing the divergent, creative responses. Some students even argued. The written story produced as a result of analyzing this image was powerful.
Since this experience, I have developed strategies that harness the power of observation, analysis, and writing through my art lessons.
Children naturally connect thoughts, words, and images long before they master the skill of writing. This act of capturing meaning in multiple symbol systems and then vacillating from one medium to another is called transmediation. While using art in the classroom, students transfer this visual content, and then add new ideas and information from their personal experiences to create newly invented narratives. Using this three-step process of observe, interpret, and create helps kids generate ideas, organize thoughts, and communicate effectively.
When they arrive for their first day of school this fall, all 1,200 high school students will receive a free Google Chromebook computer, but there are some big caveats and strict limits.
The superintendent's office sent MassLive.com a copy of the seven-page "Acceptable Use Policy" for the laptops. It makes the Chromebooks an integral piece of the learning process, requiring that all students bring the devices to school every day, fully charged.
Some of the goals of the so-called 1:1 Program are for students to "transition from consumers of information to creative producers and owners of knowledge (and) prepare students for an ever-changing world that sees technological advancements happening at a rapid rate," regardless of factors like socioeconomic status.
Funding for the computers was included in the budget for the $107.1 million overhaul of the high school.
The newly approved policy bans illegal media downloading, cyberbullying, making threats and even acts of terrorism.
No one who uses one of these Chromebooks will have any right to privacy on the machine:
Two thousand years ago, on August 19, 14 AD, Caesar Augustus died. He was Rome's first emperor, having won a civil war more than 40 years earlier that transformed the dysfunctional Roman Republic into an empire.
Under Augustus and his successors, the empire experienced 200 years of relative peace and prosperity. Here are 40 maps that explain the Roman Empire — its rise and fall, its culture and economy, and how it laid the foundations of the modern world.
Click headline to view the 40 maps and read about them--
I have been warning LDOE for years that something fishy is going on with the grad rate across the state. John White, Chas Roemer and Reformers would just have you believe that “raising the bar” and having “higher expectations” for students is the only thing that Louisiana lacks. They ignore decades of history and Louisiana’s extreme poverty as contributing factors.
It’s no coincidence that those who tell poor people poverty is not a factor that impacts academic success come from the most affluent segments of our society. Both Chas Roemer and John White attended some of the most prestigious and expensive private schools in the country and have parents with long entries in Wikipedia. Just average folks, like you and me, ya know? These folks tell us all we need to do is raise our standards, our benchmarks, and “Believe”.
When you operate this way in good faith (let’s pretend that’s what they are doing) you might really think you are making a difference, that only belief and high expectations is all that are needed to overcome poverty, abuse, neglect, dilapidated buildings, disparate funding, corruption, waste, fraud and disabilities. You might ignore facts that deflate the bubble of belief you’ve surrounded yourself in. You might surround yourself with only facts and people that confirm your beliefs.
This is a great psychological device taught to people fighting periodic or clinical depression, but it’s a terrible idea to operate this way when you are in a position of supervising policy, especially policy you’ve defined and are called upon to defend. This is the only explanation I have for why LDOE released some figures that show just how abysmally they have been running RSD and our education system into the ground.
Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for this lapse that led to some real data being released that verifies what I have been saying for years, but it’s really the only explanation I can come up with for why they released it and didn’t notice the full implications of the data they claim drives so many of their decisions.
Slack, the superhot work chat tool, likes to brag that they've "saved the world from over 70,000,000 emails" (if you assume that every five Slack messages prevent one email from getting its wings).
And it's not just entrepreneurs with cloud software to sell. There are the young people, too, especially whatever we call the younger-than-Millennials.
Getting an email address was once a nerdy right of passage for Gen-Xers arriving on college campuses. Now, the kids are waging a war of indifference on poor old email, culling the weak and infirm old-people technology.
One American professor maintained that, to his students, "e-mail was as antiquated as the spellings 'chuse' and 'musick' in the works by Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards." The vice-chancellor of Exeter University claimed, "There is no point in emailing students any more." The youth appear to think there are better, faster, more exciting ways to communicate than stupid email.
Yet, despite all the prognosticators predicting it will—choose the violence level of your metaphor—go out of style, be put out to pasture, or taken out back and shot, email grinds on.
You can't kill email! It's the cockroach of the Internet, and I mean that as a compliment. This resilience is a good thing.
In the midst of the war and conflict that submerges the whole Middle East, a group of media academics, students and professionals from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine are meeting to counter the widespread messages of hate, division and destruction and produce digital narratives of hope and unity.
The second annual Media and Digital Literacy Academy of Beirut (MDLAB), which runs from August 10 to August 23, aims to advance digital and media literacy within the Arab region by training a generation of academics, students and activists to develop locally rooted media literacy curricula and digital platforms.
Speaking about the founding of the academy, Dr. Jad Melki, director of the Media Studies Program at the American University of Beirut, said: “We started the media and digital literacy academy of Beirut because we felt there is a gap in Arab education. Media literacy has become a staple of education across communication programs around the world, except in the Arab region.”
During the two-week academy, which features presentations by leading Arab and international experts, students and academics from the region will have the opportunity to study, engage in, and gain hands-on experience in a variety of subjects and workshops rooted in media and digital literacy.
With Pennsylvanians casting their ballots in November and his polling numbers on a downward spiral, Gov. Tom Corbett is trying to fool voters.
The governor is trying to cast himself as the “hero” in an education crisis that’s playing out in the state’s largest school district — the School District of Philadelphia. But here’s the part the governor wants voters to forget — he’s the one responsible for creating the crisis.
Since taking office in 2011, Gov. Corbett has cut education funding statewide by more than $1 billion while handing out tax breaks to corporations and those who can more than afford to pay their fair share.
These severe cuts have disproportionately affected the School District of Philadelphia. Philadelphia educates 10 percent of the state’s students but reportedly has endured more than 25 percent of Corbett’s budget cuts. As a result, the district was forced to let go of 3,800 employees last year, including:
Wasteful spending, conflicts of interest, corruption, insider dealing, cheating on exams, retaliation against teachers, FBI raids, poor academic performance, and lack of oversight and transparency with taxpayer dollars. These are just some of the troubling descriptions surfacing recently about some charter schools in Ohio, Michigan, Florida, New Mexico and Connecticut.
While operators of errant charter schools in those states are not alone in their questionable, if not legally suspect, conduct and practices, a common denominator throughout is the inaction of governors such as Michigan’s Rick Snyder, Florida’s Rick Scott and Ohio’s John Kasich to put in place standards and accountability that protect students and taxpayers.
Steve Cook, a former classroom paraprofessional and president of the Michigan Education Association, faults Gov. Snyder and the state’s Republican-controlled legislature for lifting the cap on the number of charter schools without addressing troubling academic and financial irregularities.
“Charter school management companies are notoriously secretive with regard to their financial dealings. Although publicly funded, corporate executives of Michigan charter schools fight the disclosure of even basic financial information,” wrote Cook.
“In a number of charter schools across the state, board members of charters were forced off the board when they demanded financial information from their management company. If a traditional public school district withheld financial information, the state would immediately halt their funding — but not so for charter schools.”
Students in West Fork, Springdale and Bentonville, Akansas are the latest to join an expansion in classroom technology as the school year begins Monday.
West Fork High School students were being issued new Chromebooks in the days leading up to the start of school.
Bentonville School District recently added 24 classrooms to an expanding list of classrooms equipped with laptops for each child.
Springdale will start the school year with 5,000 Chromebooks spread throughout schools with the goal to buy 20,000 laptops during the next two years to provide a laptop for each student in the district. The district plans to spend a large portion of a $25 million federal grant to buy computers for students and for training teachers and updating the infrastructure, said Clay Hendrix, associate superintendent for curriculum, instruction, innovation and technology.
More Northwest Arkansas schools are moving toward "one-to-one computing," meaning a laptop computer for every student.
Lincoln School District four years ago bought Apple Macintosh equipment for each student in kindergarten through 12th grade. Elkins issued Lenova laptop computers to its high school students last year.
Lester Long, curriculum coordinator for the West Fork School District, said the computers open the world to students, which is why the program is called one-to-world, rather than one-to-one. The district bought 425 Chromebooks for students and teachers. The computers, coupled with infrastructure improvements, cost about $180,000, he said.
"We have to think about how learning occurs in a 21st century classroom," Long said.
Google is allegedly working on a free, open access platform for the research, collaboration and publishing of peer-reviewed scientific journals.
At least, that is apparently what one individual wants us to believe.
Wired.co.uk is in possession of a document, sent anonymously, detailing how "Google Science" would bring together existing services such as Google Docs, Google Plus, YouTube and more to create a platform that challenges the paid-for model of scientific publishing and provides academics with an opportunity to connect with each other more efficiently. The document was allegedly given to a handful of academics in Berlin this week by Google executives -- so says the email sent to this establishment and a number of other sources.
A name appears in one of the screenshots purporting to exhibit Google Science in action -- Dieter Krachtus -- and Wired.co.uk contacted him to find out if the document is in fact false and mocked up. (There's also a smiley winky face somewhere in the presentation, and a typo, so we were not totally sold…) Krachtus has since responded to deny sending Wired.co.uk the document, but reveals that the presentation did in fact belong to a 2011 "Google Science project" he prepared for "a couple of friends and acquaintances at Google". The document, is exactly the same -- bar a date change.
A Google spokesperson is currently looking into the validity of a burgeoning "Google Science" project, but so far has been unable to find anything and has no comment. Krachtus believes the whole thing is a prank being played on him. But the email and document appear to have been sent to a great number of journalists and industry players. And still, the origins of its sender, remain a mystery.
Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century explores how exceptional instructors are increasingly using digital media and interactive practices to ignite their students’ curiosity and ingenuity, help them become civically engaged, allow them to collaborate with peers worldwide, and empower them to direct their own learning.
This documentary explores how exceptional instructors are increasingly using digital media and interactive practices to ignite their students’ curiosity and ingenuity, help them become civically engaged, allow them to collaborate with peers worldwide, and empower them to direct their own learning.
Click headline to watch the seven video clip of this hour long video--
We are living in an era of information overload. So much content is shared online that curation is needed as a way to get value out of the information flood.
Content curation is the process of shifting through the vast abundance of content on the Internet to select the best, most relevant resource, on a specific topic or theme, so that we can organize, manage and collate the content for ourselves and share with others.
Content curation is about working smarter and not harder. Content curation is also a reflective process; as you curate resources you reflect on their value. Reflection makes new information stick in your brain.
Curation is a life skill and an important part of being digitally literate. Educators need to know how to curate information so they can teach students how they can curate content for research, their interests and passion. As part of this process educators need to encourage students to curate information using techniques that address their own personal learning needs.
While at the Edutech National Congress & Expo I curated the best resources shared from the Edutech conference into a Flipboard magazine. An important lesson I learnt from curating the Flipboard magazine is curation is a very personal process. As individual we have our own different learning styles and techniques; and this can be reflected strongly in how we curate and share content.