Online Report Cards, MySpace Lawsuit, FLA HotSeat, Income Integration,

A look at the week's most thought-provoking education news from around the country:

More districts use income, not race, as basis for busing USA Today
Students in
Champaign, Ill.; Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Louisville have returned this
year to income-based assignments.

Thumbnail image for usa_map.jpg

More report cards go online USA Today
Districts in Louisiana, Colorado, South Carolina and Texas are among those that have gone paperless since 2008.

In Richmond Rape, One Teen Did The Right Thing Jezebel
"I'm like 'We should call the cops because that's the right thing to do.' I didn't think about it twice."

Florida Officials Fail to Provide Quality Education, Suit Claims NYT
The
American Civil Liberties Union, citing low graduation rates, says
officials are violating a requirement in the Florida Constitution.

Anguish Over Calif. Teen Suicides Spurs Action AP
A fourth Palo Alto teen had died after stepping in front of a commuter train in less than six months.

School sued for punishing teens over MySpace pix.

The ACLU argues that Churubusco High School violated the
girls' free speech rights when it banned them from extracurricular
activities for a joke that didn't involve the school.

Race to the Top education grant propels reforms USA Today
If
distributed to each of the USA's schools, which educate an estimated 50
million students, it would equal only $87 more per student.

Filed under: Media Watch

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  • Tell me Chicago, your tax payer dollars are paying big time for maintaining two antiquated student information system/gradebook systems. No need to collect so much data as to use it one time to understand what garbage it is. Why not swap it out for a 2009 version of PowerSchool by the same company. It is a disgrace and a workplace issue. Efficiency is not part of the features of this CPS drivel. Runcie was running the show when they implemented it and should be fired for giving folks headaches. It is as if these boneheads don't understand that the world has moved to Web 2.0. and beyond. This is what happens when you have folks who have NO CLUE!!!

  • In reply to viniciusdm:

    Perhaps when you learn how to use the software, you'll like it better. I think it's far more useful (and user-friendly) than the old SI system.

    There is training available for people like you who don't know how the software works. Perhaps you should avail yourself of that training.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    You must be the vendor! What logic! Compare one older very crappy system with a new crappy system. What insight! Kind of like CPS comparing the dysfunctional mayor controlled system with the former inept system.

    Better, compare what CPS does to support their schools with the benchmarks of real successful school districts.

    See what functional high performing school districts do compared to the dysfunctional mayor controlled administration actions!

    United States Is Substantially Behind Other Nations in Providing Teacher Professional Development That Improves Student Learning; Report Identifies Practices that Work

    http://www.srnleads.org/press/prs/nsdc_profdev.html

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Didn't they say they have to reprogram to run the SE applications post-consent decree? Now, that's scary.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    In Retrospect.

    Having to maintain and understand the various software the Board
    has for the recording of grades, and all that goes with it, used by the
    37 computers in our library lets me observe the faculty in operation.
    More than most people who only are responsible for individual classes
    I get a much wider view of how it works. The news is both good and bad.

    In the bad old days here is how a teacher spent what we called Records
    Day. First every student had what was called a Course Book. A small book
    That the division teacher was in charge of. For EVERY student EVERY
    Year you had to write in a precise order the name of each class the student
    Was enrolled in. English on the first line, History on the second, Math on the
    third ,Science next, then the rest concluding with PE. This was then done again
    on the facing page which was perforated .These books were then laid out
    by division on a table. As a classroom teacher you had to fill in the grade
    with attendance and the amount of credit on both pages for every student you taught. If the books were there and you were efficient this took about an hour. Then the real fun began.

    A division teacher had to lay out the books to start with. Then when all the rest
    Of the faculty finished entering, collect the books. Now you had to tally the credits
    on both pages, using decimals for classes like PE which was .25 not

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Thanks Bob for the trip down memory lane. I remember this-the sea of course books laid out, but before gradebook, there was a very good program where you went to the lab and just put in your grades--a few key strokes later, you were done. Now, it takes days to set-up, days to put in and then (elementary)days to make it right.--HS is easier to put in grades. And here is a give-up by the CTU--we used to have the WHOLE day for grades-'end of quarter'-to do all the paper work and attendance. Now, we have to sit through boring professional developmenet on these days instead of doing all the paperwork--Elementary Teachers only have 4 preps a week, and they usually are less than 35 minutes. In HS--you have more preps and yet,in the middle school schedule, WE have more students and more grades and more papaerwork than the HS.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    GradeBook is clearly a step up from all the handwritten materials of the past. But it is only barely adequate by the smallest of margins. I'm disappointed the Board wasted umpteen millions of dollars on something so poor. And the user interface really, really sucks.

    Whatever. I've learned to suppress any expectations that the Board will do anything that is a) fiscally responsible, b) technologically savvy, and/or c) in the best interest of teachers or students.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Gradebook is a 20C technology--it is so inaccurate and poorly designed, that teachers are forced to use paper gradebooks to keep their grades in. Same for Kronos--why do we swipe in and still sign in each day? In the CPS 20C we signed in and hand wrote in grades, now in the CPS 21C, we have to do both.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    $154K schools job for ex-Daley aide - ST story: CPS | Lumpkin gets outreach post despite tax hikes, job cuts

    BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter fspielman@suntimes.com

    Despite a burgeoning financial crisis that has forced a $43 million property tax increase and hundreds of job cuts, the Chicago Board of Education has found a $154,000-a-year job for an all-purpose mayoral troubleshooter.

    Barbara Lumpkin, 59, will serve as deputy CEO for external affairs for the Chicago Public Schools forging partnerships with the business community to support school programs. The job has been vacant for nine months -- ever since Lumpkin's predecessor retired.

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/1866575,CST-NWS-skul05web.article

    (BTW: "That wasn't the only controversy to cloud Lumpkin's City Hall tenure.")

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    from a comment about the hiring of Barbara Lumpkin: "How does someone whose highest level of academic achievement is an Associates Degree from a community college in Mississippi become Deputy CEO of one the largest public school systems in the country?"

    For reals?!?!

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    North Side High School Initiative. What the heck is that? Is there a SS HS Initiative too? West Side?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    About North Side High School Initiative:

    A comment from cps obsessed blog: "I did my part (contacting Huberman), I live in the 46th ward. My older son is in kindergarten at a high performing magnet and I am already thinking about high school. My other son is only 2 yrs old. What if they doesn

  • In reply to viniciusdm:

    My understanding was that the majority of the training team was laid off so that there are only two trainers available for the 600+ schools in the system. That's secondhand, so it may be incorrect.

    My mother, besides being a world-class troublemaker is also an outstanding research programmer. She always told me that weak programmers would blame everything on "user error".

    The idea that it's the user's fault that they don't know that the connection will time out wiping out hours of entry shows a complete lack of understanding of basic human factors. Yes, you should save frequently, but industry standard software now navigates user error or negligence.

    We are world-class teachers. We should not be expected to spend our time developing our skills at becoming world-class navigators of multi-million dollar trainwrecks of record keeping software.

    It is very hard to pass a day without discovering another massive oversight in the software design. For example, why aren't categories a single click to toggle on or off on all pages? Why isn't data easily exportable? Why isn't there an automatic or easily visible autosave function? If there's an automatic backup on data or an easy way to port student data from section to section where is it and why isn't it taught in the training sessions?

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    I understand that people are not perfect and that's fine with a basic computing class. But when we are talking about tens of millions of dollars and it hurting hundreds of thousands of kids, everyone involved should be held accountable from the company who swindled the district to the upper management that connected with them to the Board members who approved it.

  • In reply to xian:

    by Danny

    Sean is given to hyperbole above. Is there any evidence that hundreds of thousands of kids have been "hurt" by the district's educational management applications software? Or that the company who sold it "swindled" the district? (Supposedly, Runcie & others looked at the product before buying it.)

    I understand that CORE is anti-business and anti-capitalist, but making such reckless accusations advances neither your argument nor the truth.

    As for me, I'm just glad I don't have to spend hours (yes, I had THOSE kind of divisions) each month preparing a monthly attendance summary. Instead, I can use that time to prepare lessons or grade papers.

  • In reply to xian:

    My favorite "feature" of the program was the first year it came out without the ability to have two students in one class with the same last name. My class of 32, printed out exactly 21 records and merged the Ramirezes, Gonzalezes, and so on. Today, I had no problems. However, the woman across the hall from me had it crash 3 times. The woman next door was getting kicked out of the program constantly every 2-3 minutes. She'd have to sign back in and lose whatever she hadn't saved. Another woman on my team had a problem that was only fixed by deleting and reentering a grade because some glitch was recording the scores differently than it's supposed to.

    Nobody is denying that we needed to move into the 1990s and computerize. I've been using grading software since 1998, my first year as a teacher. However, Impact is not very good, buggy, and frankly not worth the money.

  • In reply to xian:

    Danny: Thank you for your thoughtful corrections. The evidence of the hundreds of thousands of students being hurt is the fact that each minute of time that is taken from actual teaching into needless bureaucracy hurts each and every student of that teacher.

    As for the "swindled", we can enter into the age-old debate about buyer beware and the like, but in the end, whether it was Runcie trading millions for some magic electronic beans or a swindle, it has the same ends.

    As for your other general grumpiness, I'm not "anti" anything. I'm pro-child, pro-teacher, and pro-effective education.

  • In reply to xian:

    cumulative cards--transcripts come up wrong--wrong attendance and wrong grades (lower grades) this will effect the 8th graders who are now applying for SE schools and they will not get in since the transcripts are wrong and inaccurate.

  • In reply to xian:

    Fact is that I am a techco and I know very well Web 2.0 technologies because I use and install them. My school uses true web 2.0 web services for internal communication. The first troll must be Runcie and well Danny is Danny and well... why does the Geico commercial appear in my mind...

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