A Detroit-area school district is attempting to curb sexting among its students by adopting a policy that subjects their cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices to search if there is “reasonable suspicion” of them emailing, texting or possessing sexually explicit pictures or messages, the Detroit News reports. Troy School District Board of Education officials say the policy wasn’t prompted by a specific incident, but rather “was just a matter of being proactive,” according to Rich Machesky, the district’s assistant superintendent for secondary instruction. The policy applies to any activity on school grounds or at a school event, and even if state or federal pornography laws are not broken. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has taken issue with Troy’s policy — namely, how broadly it defines materials of a sexual nature, and the school’s ability to hand over a student’s private phone to local authorities. According to the Detroit News, the ACLU claims under the district’s current definition, biology books would be considered explicit material……Read More
Podcast Series: Innovations in Education
Explore the full series of eSchool News podcasts hosted by Kevin Hogan—created to keep you on the cutting edge of innovations in education.
Michigan to fine Detroit Public Schools for high truancy
State officials are weighing how much to penalize Detroit Public Schools for persistent truancy, a problem that could cost the financially troubled district up to $25.9 million, according to documents obtained by the Detroit News. In the past school year, attendance at DPS fell below the state minimum of 75 percent on 46 days. The district says it is bracing for a loss of the full amount, though the Michigan Department of Education expects a much lower final figure. State officials say incomplete record-keeping by Michigan’s largest school district is making it difficult to determine how much to subtract from DPS’ per-pupil allotment. Jan Ellis, a department spokeswoman, said her office is working with DPS to review attendance records before making any deductions. For 2009-10, DPS lost $680,000 to low attendance……Read More
Technology has changed how news is reported–and read
In a media-saturated world, everyone with a smart phone can be a fan and a critic, a citizen blogger and an amateur reporter, reports the Detroit News—and looking at the coverage when Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo was considering leaving the school provides a stark example. In mid-May 2000, the news shocked Spartan fans still reveling in a national championship: Izzo was mulling a job with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks that would bring him millions more in annual salary than he could make in East Lansing. As fans fretted, the media cranked into action, but it was limited to the mainstream newspapers and a few fan blogs and message boards writing on what was a three-day story. What a difference a decade makes. Over the nine days that Izzo considered a move to the Cleveland Cavaliers this year, thousands of news stories, web stories, sidebars, updates, columns, and blogs landed on a vastly different media landscape. But that was just a fraction of the blizzard of reports that ultimately drew the ire of MSU administrators: Talk radio went wall-to-wall with Izzo speculation, and Twitter and Facebook were employed to propel even the tiniest detail—true or not—into must-have news. “We did have a lot of tweets that turned into facts and rumors that turned into stories,” said MSU President Lou Anna Simon last week, moments after a press conference at which Izzo announced his decision to be a “Spartan for life.” “I just kind of regret that it happened.” Big news is something that you no longer just read: You can also shape and share it. Simon is right, the media world has changed—and the Izzo saga shows it’s going to mean changes for everyone, from news sources, to reporters, even the consumer……Read More