Louisiana sets rules for landmark school voucher program

State money will continue to flow to scores of private and religious schools participating in Louisiana’s new voucher program even if their students fail basic reading and math tests, according to new guidelines released by the state on Monday, Reuters reports. The voucher program, the most sweeping in the nation, is the linchpin of Louisiana’s bold push to reshape public education. The state plans to shift tens of millions of dollars from public schools to pay not only private schools but also private businesses and private tutors to educate children across the state. Republican Governor Bobby Jindal and other voucher advocates see the plan as a way to spur competition among schools and to expand parental choice. Critics, including teachers’ unions, argue that vouchers unfairly divert vital tax dollars from public schools…

Click here for the full story

tags

Feds urge colleges to adopt new student aid form

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is urging colleges and universities to adopt an easy-to-understand financial aid form to help students make smarter decisions on where to study, how to pay and determine what they’ll owe, the Associated Press reports. The Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are unveiling a “shopping sheet” Tuesday that would provide each incoming student with information on the costs of tuition, housing and other fees. The one-page document also is designed to help students figure out how much they would receive in grants and scholarships and what options are available for loans. Additionally, it would also provide details on the percentage of students who graduate, how much the average student pays monthly on federal loans after graduation and the default rate…

Click here for the full story

tags

Court: Schools must identify students who complain about teachers

A Florida appellate court on Thursday ruled that the identities of students who submit complaints about teachers to public schools — including colleges and universities — are a matter of public record, and must be disclosed to citizens, the Associated Press reports. Former Santa Fe College math instructor Darnell Rhea believes the school didn’t his semester-to-semester contract for part-time teaching at two campuses because a student complaint email alleged that Rhea made humiliating remarks in class, and that his teaching methods were unorthodox. Rhea said he believed the email was sent by a student who had only attended one class. The 70-year-old retired public school teacher successfully argued in front of a three-judge panel that the student’s name is not covered by state and federal laws granting confidentiality to education records because such complaints don’t directly relate to students…

Click here for the full story

tags

Guns at school

“Guns have no place in schools,” Arizona State University President Michael Crow was quoted as saying by the Arizona Republic when Gov. Jan Brewer issued a surprise veto this year against legislation that would have allowed guns to be carried on college and university campuses. The story is different in Colorado, says Valerie Strauss, columnist for the Washington Post. It is legal for students and everybody else at the University of Colorado to carry concealed weapons since the state Supreme Court earlier this year declared the school’s weapons ban illegal. In fact, Colorado isn’t the only state where guns can be carried on campus. Utah not only allows the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses but does not permit public colleges or universities to ban them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The organization also reports that 22 states ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus. But in 25 other states, the decision to ban or allow concealed carry weapons on campuses is made by each institution…

Click here for the full story

tags

Final adjustments to best high schools rankings

As discussed in detail in my May 30 blog post, “Adjusting the Best High Schools Rankings for Government Data Errors,” the federal government found that data from the 2009-2010 school year for a small number of schools that appeared in the U.S. News 2012 Best High Schools rankings was incorrect, says Robert J. Morse for U.S. News. The information came from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which collects data from states for all public elementary and secondary schools annually and publishes that data on the Common Core of Data (CCD) website. As a result of these errors in the federal government data, the U.S. News rankings for a few schools with these data errors were not correct. The federal government has now finished rechecking all public high school data; it has issued a final tally of which schools had incorrect data in 2009-2010 and has removed that data from the CCD website…

Click here for the full story

tags

Karen Klein campaign tops off at $700,000

The donation campaign for Karen Klein, the 68-year-old bullied bus monitor from the Greece School District in Greece, N.Y., ended Friday, according to the Indiegogo campaign page. The campaign raised $703,873 — more than 45 times Klein’s annual salary of $15,506 and much more than the original goal of $5,000. A spokesperson for the campaign said around 30,000 people contributed money following the vicious verbal abuse she endured at the hands of the children she was monitoring. Max Sidorov, the Toronto man who set up the the Indiegogo account for Klein, told the Associated Press that while the total donation amount shocked him, the outpouring of support for the bus monitor “warms his heart.”

“I think that people just love rallying around a great cause, especially helping someone in need or who has been abused or can’t stand up for themselves,” Sidorov told the AP. “It just shows there are so many great people in the world…”

Click here for the full story

tags

All Windows 8 apps will offer a try-it-before-you-buy-it feature

There’s nothing worse than shelling out a couple bucks on an app, only to find out that it’s absolutely terrible, right? Well, Microsoft has a plan to eliminate “app regret” — when you’re considering an app from the upcoming Windows 8 Store, you’ll be able to try it for free for seven days before you have to shell out cash for it, Tecca reports. The free trial program may be a necessary tool for Microsoft to overcome the challenges posed by their house minimum: All Windows 8 apps will have a price tag of $1.49 or higher (up to $999.99). That’s significantly higher than the Apple App Store’s 99-cent minimum. Microsoft no doubt hopes higher sales prices will mean more revenue — after all, the company just posted their first ever net loss last quarter. While you’re able to return Android apps for a refund within 15 minutes of purchase, Microsoft is truly offering a real try-it-before-you-buy-it option…

Click here for the full story

tags

Fifty of the best ed-tech products for schools

Here are our readers’ top picks for educational technology products and services in 2012-13.

Here are the results of our 2012-13 Readers’ Choice Awards, which recognize the educational technology products and services that have had the greatest impact in our readers’ schools.

This past spring, we asked readers to give us their top picks for school hardware, software, websites, and services. Nearly 1,300 readers responded via one of our three websites: eSchoolNews.com, eCampusNews.com, and eClassroomNews.com.

In nominating their favorite ed-tech products, we asked readers to tell us how they’re using these products to improve teaching, learning, or school administration—and to what effect. We then chose the 50 best responses, which appear alphabetically by product name and grouped into two categories: K-12 and higher education.

The result is a list of educational technology products and services that have proven to be effective, as noted by our readers—your colleagues—in schools and colleges nationwide.

We hope you’ll find this information useful as you consider how technology can help transform education in your own schools. And watch for our call for nominations for the 2013-14 Readers’ Choice Awards in print and online early next year.

Click here to access a PDF of the full report from Page 2.

K-12 winners

Aerohive Wireless Access Points (Aerohive Networks)

Aerohive’s distributed, scalable wireless architecture delivers enterprise-grade service in a cost-effective way. It allows for simple, centralized management and delivers unique classroom monitoring capabilities for better control at the classroom level.

“AeroHive provided the hardware to create a school-wide wireless network that has proven to be a rock-solid performer,” said Raymond Schlosser, Technology Coordinator for Notre Dame Academy in Kentucky. “[Aerohive’s] intelligent access points and controller-free hosted configurations have required very little time to manage, and [its] interface is easy to use. [Its] teacher view software allows teachers to control when students in their classes have access to the internet and LAN, giving them better classroom management and helping to keep students on task.”

BoardDocs

BoardDocs’ paperless services allow school districts to improve how they create and manage board packets and conduct meetings—saving time and money while enhancing transparency. All BoardDocs solutions are fully supported on most mobile devices, including the Apple iPad, and include 24-7 technical support with every subscription.

“Our school district has been using BoardDocs … since 2005. It saves our district a huge amount of money, because everything is done on the computer, and we were able to quit using reams and reams of paper,” said Kristy Rodri, a school board member for Durango School District 9-R in Colorado. “It archives our past board meetings, minutes, and newsletters, as well as our polices—so we can access information at any time. … The information [that] is only for the board members’ eyes can be put into a confidential section, which is password-protected and cannot be accessed by the public. … The product is amazing, and [BoardDocs] should be recognized for how responsive they are in the customer service area: They listen to their customers and come up with exciting additions all the time.”

tags

Education Department revamps broken disability review program

The Education Department proposed new rules on Tuesday to revamp its troubled program for forgiving the federal student loans of borrowers who become disabled, ProPublica reports. The new regulations came after an investigation last year by ProPublica found that the department’s dysfunctional system for evaluating disability was keeping many genuinely disabled borrowers buried in student debt. Under federal law, borrowers who develop severe and lasting disabilities are entitled to get their loans forgiven. The department’s proposed reforms would streamline the application process and improve its communication with borrowers, eliminating many of the bureaucratic hurdles that frustrated applicants in the past. But the department rejected a key reform that would have allowed many disabled borrowers to bypass its review altogether 2014 tying the Education Department’s standard for disability to that of the Social Security Administration, so that Social Security disability findings could be used to discharge loans…

Click here for the full story

tags