Do TV programs have educational value for young children?

The American Academy of Pediatrics has discouraged media use in young children since 1999, says the Learning Curve. The initial recommendation was based on limited data, but we believed that there were more potential negatives of media than positives in this age group. Since then, the policy has taken flak from parents, industry and even some pediatricians. Many ask what the harm is in a baby being entertained by a video so a parent can make dinner or take a shower. But the concerns raised are even more relevant today. Screens are everywhere and 90 percent of kids two-years and younger spend an average of an hour a day watching TV or videos. So we decided to take a fresh look at the scientific evidence and see if our concerns were still valid…

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Making school free through 14th grade

The Wilson Quarterly, published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in the District, sounds like something you have to read for homework and find excuses not to, says Jay Mathews for the Washington Post. Yet, one autumn issue article is a must-read, shedding new light on our national debate about college. The author of “College for All?” is Kevin Carey , policy director of the Education Sector think tank and the most interesting writer on higher education today. He realigns our education system, at least theoretically, and suggests how to resolve our clash over who should go to college and who shouldn’t…

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Hispanic kids being bullied in Alabama immigration law’s wake

It was just another schoolyard basketball game until a group of Hispanic seventh-graders defeated a group of boys from Alabama, the Associated Press reports. The reaction was immediate, according to the Mexican mother of one of the winners, and rooted in the state’s new law on illegal immigration.

“They told them, `You shouldn’t be winning. You should go back to Mexico,'” said the woman, who spoke through a translator last week and didn’t want her name used. She and her son are in the country illegally…

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Guess what Michelle Rhee charged a school to speak

How much money do you think Michelle Rhee, former Washington D.C. schools superintendent who now runs an organization called StudentsFirst, charged a regional 11,000-student campus in the Kent State University public system to speak about school reform? Asks the Washington Post. Did you guess a few thousand dollars? Wrong. Ten thousand? Wrong. Twenty? In these tough economic times, when education budgets are being slashed, Rhee signed a contract (see below) with Kent State University at Stark to be paid $35,000 to speak to about 600 people, plus expenses of not more than $5,000 that the school was to provide, including: first-class airfare, a VIP hotel suite, meals and “all reasonable incidentals,” town car and driver for ride from Rhee’s home to the airport, airport to the hotel, hotel to the engagement “or any combination thereof.”

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Watch: 50 Cent discusses new book ‘Playground’ and school bullying on Today Show

Rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson has taken on several entrepreneurial ventures and his latest, a book titled Playground, takes a look at school bullying–but not from the victim’s perspective, the Huffington Post reports. While on the Today show Wednesday, Jackson spoke of his role as a school bully when he was younger. He says that through his book, he hopes to connect with a population of teen bullies that are hard to crack.

“When I present something it’s different because of the energy and material I created in my music,” Jackson says. “A lot of the times the kids that would actually be a part of the problem are listening. When I offer it, they’ll take the time to stop and read it.”

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Study: elementary school science education neglected

Researchers found that only 10 percent of California’s public elementary schools receive high-quality science-based education, according to a study released Tuesday, the Daily Californian reports. The study found that the state’s public elementary schools neglect the sciences in their attempts to improve scores on statewide testing, which focuses on mathematics and English. Conducted by the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley and SRI International, the report was a combination of case studies of multiple elementary schools across the state and surveys conducted with principals, teachers and district administrators…

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Religious youth group sues school district over alleged censorship

A religious student group has filed suit in federal court against Oklahoma’s Owasso Public Schools, claiming that the district has violated the group’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, the Huffington Post reports. Owasso Kids for Christ, a youth bible club, meets weekly at Northeast Elementary before the school day starts. The group, with representative help from the Alliance Defense Fund, is arguing that OPS is denying them of their rights to free speech and exercise and rights to due process and equal protection by no longer permitting the students to promote their events at school through materials like flyers…

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Teachers, first responders to protest against Scott Brown

In hopes of securing his re-election bid, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) has cast himself as the bipartisan candidate, the Huffington Post reports. Touting his ability to handle political tension, Brown’s website lists job creation as “his top legislative priority.”

“I’m one of the most bipartisan, if not the most bipartisan, senator there and I’m going to continue to do what I’ve been doing to be that independent voter and thinker,” Brown told reporters after a recent Boston jobs fair. Brown’s independence appeared to be absent last Thursday. Teachers and first responders’ feelings of hope were smashed when Senate Republicans, including Brown, filibustered the Back To Work Act. The measure was intended to provide relief to state and local governments, saving hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process…

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Social media savvy: The new digital divide?

Readers' advice to students: Think about the digital footprint you want to leave.

The inclusion of social media data in the algorithms that search engines now use to help people find relevant information online could create a “new digital divide,” educator and consultant Angela Maiers believes—“those with a powerful network and those without.”

She also proposed a “new rule” that sums up the importance of managing one’s online profile carefully: “You are what you share.”

In a wide-ranging Twitter chat with eSchool News readers Oct. 19, Maiers discussed the implications of the decision by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and other internet gatekeepers to build social media data into their web-search formulas.

The discussion touched on what this new trend toward “social search” means for society, why it’s important for educators to teach social media skills to their students, and how to make parents more comfortable with their children using social media in the classroom and at home, among other topics. Maiers was joined on the chat by Daniel Newman, an entrepreneur and business professor, as well as dozens of eSchool News readers.

When web surfers use Google, Yahoo!, or Bing to look for information about a topic, the search results they now see at the top of the page might differ from those of their neighbor. That’s because all the major search engines have revised their formulas to include social media data—such as how frequently we’ve visited a particular website before, or how many of our online friends and acquaintances have endorsed it—as key indicators of a website’s importance.

“Until now, [a website’s] data rank was untouched by social elements,” Maiers wrote. “Today, there is no separation—social engagement impacts [the] rank [and] value of data.”

This subtle but powerful shift, which Maiers defines as “social search,” has come about as the web has evolved “to meet our need for personal, relevant, and customized info,” she explained. “We want our search engines to be find engines. In order for that to happen, the web needs to know us.”

Major search engines “recognize that data from those we engage with socially will be more likely to be seen as ‘trusted,’” she added.

But this shift also has enormous implications for students and society.

For one thing, it gives more weight or credibility to information that is widely shared through online social media. So, those with larger social networks now have an advantage when it comes to exerting an influence on the web.

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Free website displays student art

With Artsonia, teachers can build a gallery of their students’ art projects. The website lets family and friends log on to see the children’s art. Friends and relatives can comment on students’ work, which is posted with their first name and an ID number. They can also sign up to get alerts when their students’ new masterpieces are uploaded. Anyone can purchase coffee mugs, key chains, and other items featuring the artwork. Items are often given as a holiday, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day gift. Schools earn 15 percent when parents purchase custom keepsakes with their child’s artwork.  http://www.artsonia.com/

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