Ed tech vs. larger class sizes: Worth the trade-off?

Online learning would be a larger part of students' day under a proposed Idaho schools overhaul.

Thrusting his state into the center of the national debate over education reform, Idaho public schools chief Tom Luna outlined an aggressive overhaul of the state’s education system on Jan. 12 as he called for more educational technology in the classroom and a pay-for-performance plan for educators. He also infuriated the Idaho teachers union by proposing increased class sizes to help pay for the plan.

Luna detailed his proposal for state lawmakers on the House and Senate education committees. The plan, which would eliminate tenure for new teachers and limit contracts to two years, might be difficult for “the adults” in public education to digest, but the reforms are designed to benefit students, Luna said.

The state’s current system, which has lost roughly $200 million in funding during the past two years amid the economic downturn, is no longer sustainable, Luna said.…Read More

Teachers share their views on how to improve education

Teachers also said administrative support, not more money, motivate them to succeed.
Teachers say administrative support, not more money, will motivate them to succeed.

In one of the largest national surveys of public school teachers, thousands of educators agreed that today’s students aren’t college-ready when they graduate from high school. Teachers’ suggestions for solving this problem include clear, common standards; multiple measures of student performance; and greater innovation, including differentiated instruction and more use of digital resources.

The survey, titled “Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on America’s Schools,” was commissioned by Scholastic Inc. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and conducted by Harris Interactive. More than 40,000 public school teachers in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade participated, and the results were released March 3.

The survey focused on the state of American education, the challenges facing students, and the tools and resources teachers need to face those challenges. Teachers gave honest opinions on issues such as student achievement, performance pay, technology use, and administrative support—and some of their answers might surprise school leaders.…Read More