Editorial: God bless taxes

"I have a bold suggestion of my own for how businesses can help improve education," writes Editor Dennis Pierce: "Pay their fair share of taxes."

Default Lines column, June 2011 edition of eSchool News—The Institute for a Competitive Workforce, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has issued a new report calling for urgent action to improve U.S. math and science instruction.

Called “The Case for Being Bold: A New Agenda for Business in Improving STEM Education,” the report makes a series of common-sense recommendations that reformers have heard before: rethink teacher hiring and training practices, redesign schools for the 21st century, use technology to personalize instruction, create opportunities for local professionals to help teach students part time … and so on.

Those are laudable goals. But I have a bold suggestion of my own for how businesses can help improve education: Pay their fair share of taxes.

In lobbying for tax reform, the Chamber of Commerce and other members of the business community have long argued that the corporate tax rate in America is the highest in the world. Although that’s true of the top statutory rate, which is 35 percent, very few large corporations pay that much—and many pay far less.

A report issued in February from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that the average corporate tax rate—that is, the share of profits that U.S. companies actually pay in taxes—is about 13 percent. What’s more, “when measured as a share of the economy, U.S. corporate tax receipts are actually low compared to other developed countries,” the report said.

General Electric made headlines earlier this year when it was revealed the company earned $14.2 billion in profits in 2010 but didn’t pay a dime in U.S. taxes, thanks to crafty accounting practices that took advantage of existing—and perfectly legal—tax loopholes.

But GE is far from alone. As the tax filing deadline for 2011 approached, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont published a list of 10 hugely profitable corporations that have managed to avoid paying U.S. taxes. ExxonMobil topped the list, having made $19 billion in profits in 2009. ExxonMobil not only paid no federal income tax that year; it actually got a $156 million tax rebate from Uncle Sam, according to SEC filings.

These figures should prompt outrage at a time when state legislatures are taking away the right of educators to collectively bargain and other benefits, and when governments and local school systems are slashing educational programs—in the name of balancing budgets.

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eSchool News May 2011

Download this issue as an Adobe PDF
Highlights

24 eSN Special Feature
Which eReader is right for you?
Our handy guide might help.

28 Education in Focus
Handheld and visual technologies can help at-risk kids learn math.

What’s News

1 Feds to update student privacy law

1 Survey finds gaps in ed-tech support

1 ACLU to schools: Stop using anti-gay web filters

1 Next up for education: Teacher avatars?

3 Six technologies soon to affect schools

8 Judge rejects plans for Google digital library

10 Teachers want more technology, collaboration

12 ED sticks by controversial online-learning rule

13 Online Teacher of the Year shares strategies for success

14 Educators disappointed with Cisco’s camera flip

15 Obama: Too much testing makes education boring

16 Rural schools face uphill climb for funding

16 Program brings solar panels, curriculum to schools

17 What the U.S. can learn about boosting teacher quality

17 Students excel in STEM gaming challenge

18 How to lead change successfully in uncertain times

18 New products make IP telephony easier, more secure

19 FY11 budget deal eliminates ed-tech funding

20 Deal to combine AT&T, T-Mobile raises questions

22 $1.5M grant jump-starts teacher development

Departments

3 Online Update

6 Default Lines

6 Your Turn

21 eSchool of the Month

31 Security Checkpoint

32 Netwatch

33 Learning Leadership

34 Grants & Funding

35 Stakeholder & Community Relations

36 Online Calendar

36 Tech Buyer’s Marketplace

37 Advertisers’ Showcase

38 eSchool Partners



30 Reading and technology
A new online service from Capstone Digital applies the Netflix model to literacy to get kids interested in reading.
— Jenna Zwang

eSNOnline

eSNonComputer
Resources for this issue

15 Obama: Too much testing… For more news and opinion on education reform, see our online School Reform Center: www.eschoolnews.com/reform

19 FY11 budget deal… For the latest in school funding news, go to
www.eschoolnews.com/funding

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Short-throw projectors going ‘extreme’ in education

Panasonic's PT-ST10 is an extreme short-throw projector that needs less than two feet to operate.

Not every classroom is a vast lecture hall. There are many small rooms in schools and colleges that serve as meeting spaces—confined areas where projectors must be placed just a few feet away from a surface.

Casting a large, clear picture on a screen or wall is rarely a challenge in the most spacious of lecture halls; instructors can place their projector as far back into the room as needed to get a crisp image that supplements a class lesson.

For faculty members who don’t have the luxury of nearly unlimited space, however, there is a new generation of short-throw projectors that have adopted a new name: “ultra short throw” or “extreme short throw.”

These extreme versions of the short-throw projector can create images up to 80 inches diagonally across, sitting only two feet or less from a screen or wall—making the machines ideal for educators working in a tight space.

Having the projector so close to the wall also lets instructors roam the classroom or stand in front a whiteboard without casting shadows on the projection, experts say.

“This past year it’s been all about who puts the ‘short’ in short-throw projectors,” said Elizabeth Dourley, a researcher and writer for Projector Central, a website that tracks projector technology for entertainment and educational use. “Short throws are extremely popular for applications where space is tight, but they also prevent light hitting a presenter in the face or shadows obstructing the image.”

More news about presentation technology:

3D content for education on the rise

Projectors becoming more interactive

New AV systems offer sharp images, ‘green’ projection

Many extreme short-throw projectors require only about one foot to produce an image—a significant difference when compared to a standard projector used in education. Traditional projectors need at least eight feet to cast a clear image on a wall or screen, and many need several more feet to operate

Ultra short-throw projectors have developed a following both in K-12 schools and on college campuses, Dourley said. And she expects the educational fascination with short-throw projectors to continue in 2011.

“Short-throw projectors have always been favored by schools, because of space constraints and other issues,” she said.

The most extreme of the ‘extreme’ short-throw projectors

Many projector companies have unveiled their latest lines of ultra short-throw options in recent months, but few—if any—compare to the limited distance needed by the Dell S500wi projector, which hit the market in February.

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White House Representative Commends NMSI All American Teacher of the Year Winners

May 27, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dr. Clifford Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, told a gathering of award-winning teachers Thursday that they “are the strength of our nation.”

Dr. Stanley was the featured speaker at the second annual National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) All American Teacher of the Year awards, which honored 23 outstanding Advanced Placement* teachers.

In his keynote address, Dr. Stanley commended the teachers for their dedication and said: “Everyone has a teacher they remember who touched their life — YOU are those teachers.”

As the senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense on recruitment, career development, pay and benefits for more than 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel and 680,000 DoD civilians, Dr. Stanley oversees the overall state of military readiness. Before assuming his current position, Dr. Stanley was President of Scholarship America, the nation’s largest private sector scholarship organization, and also served on the senior leadership team at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a retired U.S. Marine Corps, serving 33 years in uniform, retiring as a Major General. As an educator and a veteran, he has taken a special interest in programs that support military families, such as NMSI’s Initiative for Military Families.

Thursday’s awards recognized outstanding math, science, and English teachers in the AP Training and Incentive Program for remarkable contributions to their students and to the teaching profession. The honorees included teachers who have produced outstanding results by finding innovative ways to inspire students – from building a pneumatic, bolt-action T-shirt cannon for use at pep rallies; using exercise, chanting and creative movement as a way to learn statistics or taking students on an out-of-town field trip to hear an author speak about homelessness, which is a book the students read as a result of the school’s focus to learn about social issues.

“These outstanding teachers recognize the importance of championing excellence in math and science,” said Tom Luce, CEO of NMSI. “We are proud to bestow these awards to each one of them as they represent the caliber of teachers that are needed to help achieve these efforts and prepare our students for the future.”

The awards were given to one teacher each in Advanced Placement math, science and English from seven states that participate in APTIP, along with two new awards this year: a teacher from a school participating in the Initiative for Military Families, which provides APTIP for students in schools that support military families, and a teacher from NMSI’s virtual AP program, Learning Power, in South Dakota.

Following are the 2011 All American Teacher of the Year Award winners:

Alabama
English: Susan Caraway, Clay Chalkville High School, Pinson, AL
Math: Matthew Massey, Buckhorn High School, New Market, AL
Science: Shani Forbes, Huffman High School, Birmingham, AL

Arkansas
English: Marsha Hudson, Rogers High School, Rogers, AR
Math: Brian Leonard, Lake Hamilton High School, Pearcy, AR
Science: Jason Walker, Russellville High School, Russellville, AR

Connecticut
English: Samuel Scheer, Windsor High School, Windsor, CT
Math: Kathleen Pointek, Windsor High School, Windsor, CT
Science: Joseph Mancino, Windsor High School, Windsor, CT

Kentucky
English: Amiee Cantrell-Webb, Johnson Central High School, Paintsville, KY
Math: Brian Sullivan, Henderson County High School, Henderson, KY
Science: Carlos Verdecchia, Bryan Station High School, Lexington, KY

Massachusetts
English: Jennifer Clapp, Malden High School, Malden, MA
Math: Joseph Nystrom, South High Community, Worcester, MA
Science: Maureen Melanson, Methuen High School, Methuen, MA

Texas
English: Shirley Cooper, Lincoln High School, Dallas, TX
Math: Kathleen Murrell, J. Frank Dobie High School, Houston, TX
Science: Kyle Voge, W. Charles Akins High School, Austin, TX

Virginia
English: Ann Drew Gibbons, Franklin County High School, Rocky Mount, VA
Math: Benjamin Bazak, Patrick Henry High School, Roanoke, VA
Science: Jeffrey Steele, Liberty High School, Bedford, VA

South Dakota – Excellence in Online Teaching
Science: Jensi Kellogg-Andrus, Learning Power Online Program, South Dakota

Initiative for Military Families
English: Ashley Ashcraft, Harker Heights High School, Killeen, Texas (Fort Hood)

Teachers were able to nominate themselves or be nominated for the All American Teacher of the Year Awards by program content directors, board members from each state AP organization, school leaders, or colleagues. To be eligible, the candidates had to be a current AP math, science, or English classroom teacher in a public high school participating in the NMSI APTIP, the Initiative for Military Families, or in the virtual program; demonstrate positive results in APTIP; and demonstrate a commitment to teaching as a career and be an inspiring model of excellence to others. Nominations were reviewed by a NMSI judging committee of educators.

About NMSI:
NMSI was launched in 2007 by top leaders in business, education, and science to reverse the United States’ troubling decline in math and science education. NMSI is focused on improving the American public school system by replicating programs nationally that have documented success: the AP Training and Incentive Program (APTIP) to expand the number high school students mastering college-level Advanced Placement* courses, and UTeach, a program to recruit and prepare college students to become qualified math, science and computer science teachers. Founding sponsors for NMSI include Exxon Mobil Corporation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

The APTIP approach currently is being implemented in 10 states: Arkansas, Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia. The UTeach program is being implemented by 22 universities across the United States and enrollment has tripled in the last three years.

About the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program (APTIP):
APTIP increases dramatically the performance of high school students in rigorous college-level courses in math, science, and English. The comprehensive APTIP approach increases teacher effectiveness and student achievement through content training, teacher and student support, vertical alignment of teachers, open enrollment, and incentives. Schools participating in the program for the last two years in six states showed a 97.7 percent increase in AP exams passed in math, science, and English, which is seven times the national average.

Contact: Rena Pederson, Communications Director, 214 665-2523, or
rpederson@nationalmathandscience.org.

For more information, visit www.nationalmathandscience.org.

*AP and Advanced Placement Program are registered trademarks of the College Board.

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HITACHI KOKUSAI TO SHOWCASE RANGE OF TECHNOLOGIES AT UPCOMING INFOCOMM SHOW

WOODBURY, New York – Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd., a leading provider of affordable, high performance cameras, will exhibit several broadcast and professional camera products within Hitachi Digital Media Division’s booth (Booth 1921) at this year’s InfoComm, taking place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Exhibits at the show run from June 15h to 17th.

“InfoComm is a great opportunity for Hitachi to demo its state-of-the-art broadcast cameras to the professional AV market,” said Sean Moran, Hitachi Kokusai Electric America’s National Sales Manager. “We offer models covering both ends of the spectrum, from high-end production HDTV cameras to cost-effective models used in a variety of industries. This show affords Hitachi the chance to garner direct feedback from AV professionals so that we can continue to develop technologies that address market needs.”

The Hitachi booth will exhibit a range of products, including the SK-HD1000 optical fiber camera system. Using 2.3 million pixels, micro-lens array, and 1080i CCDs, the SK-HD1000 is Hitachi’s third generation HDTV camera. The SK-HD1000 achieves outstanding resolution, dynamic range response, sensitivity and ultra-low vertical smear characteristics.

Another on display will be the Z-HD5000 camera, Hitachi’s first HDTV model camera in the company’s popular, affordable Z Series product line. The Z-HD5000 was developed to offer customers superior price performance with uncompromised functionality and quality. The two-piece dockable camera offers the flexibility needed for multipurpose applications including studio, field and mobile video production. Offering high light sensitivity coupled with low vertical smear, the Z‐HD5000’s three 2/3‐ inch native 1080i CCD sensors produce 850 TVL of resolution, F10@2000 Lux, and HD Signal to Noise (SNR) level of 58db for a sharp, clean HD picture. The Z-HD5000 will be shown with the CR-P2 HD dockable recorder.

Hitachi will also exhibit the DK-Z50 high-performance, special application HDTV/SD camera. The multipurpose DK-Z50 with integrated Eagle pan/tilt capability is ideal for graphics stand, point of view and remote observation applications. With 14-bit A/D converters and the latest digital processing technology, this camera offers extremely sharp HD images. The DK-Z50 employs the same sensor as the existing Z-HD500 HDTV camera and a low vertical smear specification.

About Hitachi, Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd., (NYSE: HIT / TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company with approximately 360,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2009 (ended March 31, 2010) consolidated revenues totaled 8,968 billion yen ($96.4 billion). Hitachi will focus more than ever on the Social Innovation Business, which includes information and telecommunication systems, power systems, environmental, industrial and transportation systems, and social and urban systems, as well as the sophisticated materials and key devices that support them. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company’s website at http://www.hitachi.com.

Editor’s Note: Color product photographs are available upon request.

Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd., 150 Crossways Park Drive, Woodbury, NY 11797, U.S.A.
Tel: (516) 921-7200; Fax: (516) 496-3718; website: www.hitachikokusai.us

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Tech4Learning Releases Parent Guides for Pixie to Support Summer Learning

San Diego, California, May 2011 — Tech4Learning has released a series of parent guides for Pixie, its most popular classroom product. Available for kindergarten through fifth grade, the parent guides include specific and practical Pixie activities across the curriculum for parents to work on at home with their child.
“Not only is Pixie the perfect tool to support learning in the classroom, it transitions easily into the home,” explains David Wagner, CEO of Tech4Learning. “At home, rather than consuming computer games, Pixie encourages kids to create – create artwork, stories, diagrams, designs, and much more.”
If students use Pixie at school, parents are able to purchase Pixie, and other Tech4Learning software tools at significant savings, making it easy and affordable for children to continue their learning at home with the same tools they use at school.
With the release of these free Pixie parent guides online, parents of elementary age students have a handbook for activities to complete with their child to help maintain current academic skills and avoid the summer slide. Parent guides are available at no charge from the Tech4Learning web site at: www.tech4learning.com/parents.
For additional information, contact: Kristen Yazbek at 877-834-5453
About Pixie
Pixie is software young students can use to write, paint pictures, and tell stories to share their ideas and understanding of the topics they are studying in the classroom and continuing to explore at home.
About Tech4Learning
Tech4Learning develops award-winning educational software that supports effective use of educational technology and helps build 21st century skills. Founded in 1999, the company’s software is used by millions of students around the world. For more information, visit www.tech4learning.com.
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Florida Business Colleges

It is certainly recognized that Florida Career College’s commitment to Education is its main objective.

At Florida Career College, the main focus is on the education and preparation of the students in order for them to play an intergral part of society once they have graduated. If it really is your perception that a highschool education is therefore not adequate for getting a foothold within the existing workforce, it follows that The College is thus the perfect place to get a non-traditional post-secondary professional education.

Florida Career College not only offers smaller classes, but also a faculty of experienced staff and on-site practical laboritory experience. At Florida Career College you will experience an incredibly helpful and condusive atmosphere for learning. Furthermore this is the case in all departments, including healthcare, business, information technology and cosmetology. These programs are particularly successful in forming bonds with all the local business community, which as a result leads to a greater percentage of post-graduation job opportunities for those students.

The Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) recognises 8 of the campuses while the 9th is accredited by the United States Department of Education along with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

It is very important to understand that among the 1000’s of students attending Florida Career College every year, many come from largely uneducated backgrounds and are amongst the 1st members of their families to enter into post-secondary education in a bid to boost their skillset and achieve a more successful career. Florida Career College proudly boasts a 28-year track record for educating students with the help of their excellent curriculum and staff and helping these students achieve their dreams and goals.

Within the education sector, students attending Career Colleges are usually working adults who wish to get an education that is linked to their professional goals will aid their careers.

Let us recap, around half of the students attending Floriday Career College are amongst the first people in their families to attain a college education. Approximately three quarters of the student body are actively employed whilst studying. The higher graduation and post-graduation employment statistics are higher for Career Colleges than Community Colleges. Finally, graduates are known to earn higher salaries and play a more active roll in society than they would have if they had not entered into higher education.

Florida Nursing Schools is the perfect way to meet your educational goals. Florida Business Colleges and Miami College Maintain a qualified, caring faculty and staff dedicated to the personal and professional development of each student.

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RM’s Commitment to Delivering Resources that Matter Leads to Industry Recognition

Hyannis, MA – May 24, 2011 – RM Education, a worldwide provider of educational technology products for K12 schools, announced that RM Podium was honored by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) as a winner in the 26th Annual CODiE Award competition for “Best Educational Technology Solution for Productivity/Creativity.”

“We are honored to have RM Podium recognized by our peers and other industry leaders in this prestigious competition,” said Kevin Pawsey, CEO of RM Education US. “We understand how important it is to create tools that allow students to demonstrate learning and be engaged in project-based learning and is such a privilege to have RM Podium recognized as such by others in the education technology industry.”

RM’s award winning podcasting software, RM Podium, is podcasting software that is designed specifically for education. It includes specific tools that are designed to make the product more effective and efficient in educational environments. Most importantly, it is easy to learn and easy to use. Students can simply record a podcast, or use the innovative scripting tool that allows them to paste in existing text onto the interface or type in their own. If multiple actors or announcers are involved, the scripting is color-coded for each participant, who is prompted by an arrow when it is their turn to speak. Students can easily edit their work, and add sound effects or music anywhere in the body of the recording.

One hundred thirteen products from 80 companies were selected as finalists from more than 425 total nominations. Nominated products underwent an intensive review by subject matter experts, analysts, journalists and others with deep experience in the field. The final winners were announced at a special CODiE Awards Dinner on May 23rd in conjunction with the Ed Tech Industry Summit in San Francisco, CA.

“The large amount of growth seen in nominations across numerous education technology categories reflects companies’ commitment to providing innovative, robust solutions that help to increase student achievement and more broadly, the education industry as a whole,” noted SIIA President Ken Wasch. “On behalf of SIIA, I’m proud to congratulate the winners and look forward to watching the education technology industry continue to evolve,” Wasch continued.

Nominated products undergo an intensive review by subject matter experts, analysts, journalists, and others with deep experience in the field. Originally called the “Excellence in Software Awards,” the CODiEs were established in 1986 by the Software Publishers Association (SPA). The program was created so that pioneers of the then‐nascent software industry could evaluate and honor each other’s work. Since then, the CODiE Awards program has carried out the same purpose ‐ to showcase the software and information industry’s finest products and services and to honor excellence in corporate achievement and philanthropic efforts.

About RM: Founded in 1973 in Oxford, England, RM is a worldwide leader in development of outstanding educational tools, technologies and services that engage students and inspire learning. RM is one of Europe’s largest and most respected suppliers of technology-based curriculum products for education, supplying thousands of schools in six different countries including the United States. RM Education is the United States division of RM and is located in Hyannis, Massachusetts. RM Education can be contacted at 866-728-6758 or on the web at www.rmeducation.com.

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Struggle to learn mathematics, your child may have dyscalculia

Children who struggle to learn mathematics may have a neurocognitive disorder, called Dyscalculia, that inhibits the acquisition of basic numerical and arithmetic concepts, according to a new research study conducted by University of Minnesota and British researchers, reports the International Business Times. The disorder, which is also called developmental dyscalculia, affects the acquisition of arithmetic skills in an otherwise-normal child. The disorder affects roughly the same number of people as dyslexia but has received much less attention (and research funding)…

Click here for the full story

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Missouri tornado: Schools statewide get creative in helping Joplin

Schools throughout Missouri are going beyond traditional fundraisers to help victims of the E-F5 tornado in Joplin that took the lives of 125 at last count, reports the Huffington Post. Seventy miles east of Joplin, about half of the Springfield School District announced plans to offer aid, according to the News-Leader. Third-graders at the district’s Roundtree Elementary turned their photography exhibition, “Visual Media Promotes Social Change,” into an auction to raise money for tornado victims…

Click here for the full story

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