How online tutoring helps us close learning gaps and support teachers

A report published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirms that the pandemic greatly impacted students’ academic progress across all grade levels and instructional models.

Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) has leveraged pandemic relief funds to invest in additional resources for our district community. In addition to enhancing our summer school program, we are helping teachers support their students—and close learning gaps—by providing access to online, high-impact tutoring services. 

While we originally implemented online tutoring for our virtual school only, we were so impressed by the results that we decided to scale the service across our district. Now, every student has unlimited access to high-quality tutors—regardless of their grade level or academic standing.…Read More

What are the next steps to defend K-12 schools from cyberattacks?

Education has been dealt a difficult hand over the past several years. The mass shift to virtual schooling during the pandemic upended systems in so many ways, and it shone a light on the aging infrastructure and technical deficits so many school districts struggle with. Not only did children and teachers have to be more flexible and resilient than ever, but districts also have been hammered by ransomware and other cyberattacks.

At the same time, schools aren’t always getting the right guidance for dealing with the increased cybersecurity threats. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released late last year found that the U.S. Department of Education’s current plan for addressing K-12 school threats needed updating and was primarily focused on mitigating physical threats. And that plan was issued in 2010–in terms of cybersecurity, that might as well be eons ago.

So, what should education IT leaders be doing? And what should they be on the lookout for?…Read More

Federal funding can help you install air purification systems in your school

Prior to the pandemic, many schools, colleges, and universities had indoor air quality challenges, but the past 18 months has brought a heightened awareness to a growing problem. Forty percent of the nation’s school systems need to replace at least half of their HVAC systems, according to a 2020 study by the Government Accountability Office.

Proper ventilation is a key prevention strategy for mitigating pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, as well as reducing dust, allergens, and VOCs to improve health and well-being.

Many school, district, and higher education leaders are working to improve indoor air quality for their facilities and the government has offered funding to supplement those costs.…Read More

How AI technologies support school safety

The COVID pandemic has changed much about how we live and how we work. Nowhere is this more evident than in our schools – in how we safely teach our students and how our students learn, safely. The challenge with schools is that, from a safety perspective, educational institutions were already under siege.

Consider the following: According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more than 3,200 fires each year in schools in the U.S. According to the United States Government Accountability Office, there are roughly 115 school bus incidents involving fatalities each year. Of course, most people don’t realize this because this information is overshadowed by the 180 school shootings in the U.S. from 2009-2018, according to CNN.

And now – in 2021 – we have inserted the impact of a global pandemic into this already-volatile situation, with almost no suggestions or assistance to these schools regarding how to safely re-open and keep our school campuses open.…Read More

GAO report: Too little competition in wireless market

According to a government report released Aug. 26, consolidation over the past decade has left just four big carriers in control of 90 percent of the wireless market, making it harder for small and regional companies to compete, reports the Associated Press. The study by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, could help fuel the FCC’s recent efforts to increase oversight of the wireless industry. The FCC is currently considering rules that would require wireless phone companies to alert consumers before they reach roaming or data usage limits on their wireless plans. It has also been looking into common industry practices such as charging consumers early termination fees to break a service contract before it expires. The GAO study found that despite the industry consolidation, consumers are benefiting from better wireless coverage and prices that are half what they were in 1999. It also says that nearly 40 percent of U.S. households rely on a cell phone as a primary phone. Although the GAO reached no firm conclusion on the causes of limited competition in the wireless sector, it does list a number of factors regularly cited by smaller carriers and consumer groups. Those include early termination fees and handset exclusivity deals such as AT&T Inc.’s contract with Apple Inc. to serve as the sole U.S. carrier for the iPhone…

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For-profit colleges face more scrutiny in new report

Enrollment at for-profit colleges has climbed to 1.8 million in recent years.
Enrollment at for-profit colleges has climbed to 1.8 million in recent years.

A government report released Aug. 4 details “fraudulent” practices among recruiters for some for-profit colleges, and public criticism of the popular institutions has mounted as recent statistics show that at least one for-profit university received $1 billion in federal Pell Grants during the 2009-10 academic year.

Investigators from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) posed as college students and found that four out of 15 institutions they examined “encouraged fraudulent practices” to secure federal student loans, and representatives from all 15 colleges “made deceptive or otherwise questionable statements” to the undercover students, according to a report published on the GAO’s web site.…Read More