The CEO Forum on Education and Technology, a partnership of 21 business and education leaders, has released an updated version of its School Technology and Readiness (STaR) Chart. Terry Crane, president of Jostens Learning Corp. and this year’s forum leader, said the revised chart stresses professional development standards for teachers.

“It is crucial that we adequately prepare teachers so that they may prepare our students for the ever-expanding technological world that awaits them outside their school walls,” Crane said. These efforts are particularly important now, she added, because public schools are expected to hire at least 200,000 new K-12 teachers in the next decade.

The STaR Chart, first released last fall, is a tool for educators to measure the integration of technology in their schools. This year’s emphasis on professional development in part reflects the fact that money allocated to training in most school district budgets falls far short of the 30 percent of overall technology funding recommended by the U.S. Department of Education.

At the presentation of the new STaR Chart Oct. 29, Crane urged school systems and schools of education to take the following steps to improve professional development:

1) Require mastery of the use of technology in the classroom for licensing and certification of new teachers;

2) Require technology skills for current teachers to keep their licenses;

3) Encourage and reward technology integration and innovation in performance reviews for teachers, administrators, and professors at schools of edu- cation; and

4) Create new incentives for schools, districts, and classroom teachers to integrate technology into the curriculum.

Privacy protection law could make student access more difficult

A new federal law that has yet to take effect is already shaping children’s online experience on such web sites as Time Warner’s Sports Illustrated for Kids and Disney Online, according to the New York Times.

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) quietly entered the books as part of the omnibus budget bill that was signed into law Oct. 21. (The privacy protection statute is not to be confused with the similar-sounding Child Online Protection Act — COPA — a law being challenged in federal court as the successor to the Communications Decency Act, which was struck down by the Supreme Court.

COPPA is designed to protect children’s safety by requiring commercial web sites to get permission from parents before collecting personal information from children under 13. But critics are worried that such requirements could stifle the very quality that makes the internet so compelling: its ability to transmit information instantly.

Others wonder if the law will have unintended consequences, pushing children into sites meant for more mature audiences, simply because of the bother involved in getting their parents’ permission to view sites intended for them.

Julie T. Richer, president of Able Minds Inc., the San-Francisco-based company that publishes the children’s site CyberKids, told the Times, “The government is making it harder for kids to get into web sites specially targeted for them. So where are they going to go? Adult sites.”