ID cards will let parents track students’ behavior

Metro Nashville freshman Zachary Jenkins has a hard time keeping track of his $500 district-issued city bus pass, school library card, student ID and the lunch number that he punches into a machine at school to eat, the Tennessean reports.

“It would make it easier to have one card instead of a bunch of different cards that students might lose,” said Jenkins, a student at Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High. Metro Nashville schools are doing just that: moving to student ID cards with bar codes for the lunch line and library and a magnetized strip on the back to swipe for city bus fare…

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Viewpoint: A rational approach to student-teacher ratios

The "Overall Level of Effort" approach might provide a model for traditional schools to follow—and it suggests that one size need not fit all when it comes to student-teacher ratios.

What number of students should each teacher teach? How many is “too many”?

As a lifelong passionate fan of the teaching profession, I used to believe these questions had a pretty simple answer: The fewer the better. Throughout the class-size debates of the past 15 years, which have led to limits in the range of 20 students per teacher in California, Florida, and elsewhere, I was firmly in the “small is beautiful” camp. And while I still believe in the power of personalized instruction at the hands of a teacher with the time to focus on one student at a time, I have come to regard arbitrary student-teacher ratios as a holdover from the Industrial Age of education. Here in the Information Age, we have more precise instruments at our disposal. It turns out that the right answer is: It depends.

This change in my thinking has come about through my involvement since 2001 in online learning for grades K-12. The company I helped launch and still work for, Connections Education, is known for its high-quality, highly successful Connections Academy virtual schools and now also its Connections Learning line of curriculum and instructional services for school districts, state education departments, and other institutions. As the K-12 online and blended learning field has evolved over this past decade, I’ve found that the first misconception my comrades-in-arms and I have to dispel is that “online” means “teacherless.” Nothing could be further from the truth. National standards of quality for online learning from organizations like the International Association for K-12 Online Learning and the Southern Regional Education Board all stress the central importance of expert teachers in ensuring a successful online experience.…Read More