NYC ordered to release teacher performance data

A New York state appellate court has ruled New York City must release reports that measure public school teachers’ effect on their student test scores—complete with the teachers’ names, reports the Wall Street Journal. In a blow to the city’s teachers union, the court ruled Thursday that teachers’ names did not fall within six exemptions that protect personal privacy under the law. Media organizations, including the Wall Street Journal, had requested the data; the union sued to prevent its release…

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Amazon to battle Apple iPad with tablet

Amazon.com Inc. has battled Apple Inc. over digital books, digital music and mobile applications. Now the two companies are taking their clash to another front: the tablet market. Amazon plans to release a tablet computer by October, people familiar with the matter said, intensifying its rivalry with Apple’s iPad, reports the Wall Street Journal. While Amazon has long offered digital content on its website, it has lacked much of the hardware to go with it. Now the Seattle company hopes customers will use its tablet to buy and rent that content, said people familiar with its thinking…

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U.S. Education Dept softens final rule on vocational programs

The U.S. Department of Education on Thursday will release the final version of its much-awaited “gainful employment” rule that punishes career-training programs for graduating students with heavy debt loads, reports the Wall Street Journal. The rule, one of the most controversial to come out of that office in years, is an effort to ensure the programs are preparing students for legitimate jobs. This final version is less severe than a draft released last summer, giving programs more opportunities to right themselves if they run afoul of the measure…

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Texans duel over millions in school funding

As Texas schools scrounge for cash to buy supplies and threaten to lay off teachers, $830 million in education funding earmarked for the state is sitting at the federal Department of Education, reports the Wall Street Journal. The money, part of the stimulus package passed last year by Congress to help U.S. schools, is trapped by an increasingly hostile battle between the state’s Republican and Democratic politicians over how to use it–to the dismay of school districts facing an almost $10 billion shortfall in state aid…

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New teacher education program headed to 8 states

Eight states are beginning a national pilot program to transform teacher education and preparation to emphasize far more infield, intensive training as is common practice in medical schools, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Teaching, like medicine, is a profession of practice,” said State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, who is co-chairwomam of the expert panel that released a report on the recommended changes Tuesday in Washington. “Making clinical preparation the centerpiece of teacher education will transform the way we prepare teachers.”

The pilot program developed by school and higher education officials with teachers unions to improve instruction is being done in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon and Tennessee as well as New York. The states agreed to implement the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning created by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Instead of exposing student teachers to varied classroom experiences at the end of their academic pursuit, the new system would put student teachers into classrooms earlier and more often. It could include rounds, similar to the system used in teaching hospitals in which mentors provide constant critiques to students in real-life situations……Read More

Career Education re-evaluating long-term milestones

For-profit educator Career Education Corp. (CECO) said it may have to lower its growth targets for coming years because of the toll that proposed new regulations could take on enrollment growth, reports the Wall Street Journal. However, the Hoffman Estates, Ill., company said it isn’t yet ready to provide details of its new targets. The company’s re-evaluation, announced Wednesday on a conference call with analysts, comes as other college companies have trimmed or withdrawn their own guidance in recent weeks, with most citing regulatory uncertainty and slowing enrollment growth…

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Your online profile might hurt job prospects, warns Google boss

The chief executive of Google, Eric Schmidt, said the enormous quantity of detail left online by users could come back to haunt them when they apply for jobs in future, NDTV reports. “I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,” he told the Wall Street Journal in an interview. Schmidt’s comments could propel concerns about the sheer volume of personal information made available online, most of which is virtually un-erasable. Such information invariably includes the immature boasts of young people who would normally regret their mistakes as they grow older. An estimated 600 million people have personal online profiles, many of which are accessible to total strangers. Prospective employers are able to access photographs, videos and blogs that users might have long forgotten with a few simple clicks of a mouse…

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Demand for educated workers could outstrip supply by 2018

New research suggests that demand for more educated employees might outstrip supply over the next decade, reports the Wall Street Journal. By 2018, the United States will see 46.8 million job openings, 63 percent—29.5 million—of which will require some college education. One-third, or 16 million positions, will require a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Companies will seek 22 million new postsecondary degree-holders, but just 19 million or so will have earned an associate’s degree or higher by then, according to the report. The difference averages to a 300,000 annual deficit of college graduates between 2008 and 2018. The shift toward a “college economy” stems from a greater reliance on technology, which has recently replaced many blue-collar jobs: a change from 25 million jobs for degree-holders in 1973—28 percent of the work force—to 91 million in 2007, or 42 percent of the work force. Report authors Anthony P. Carnevale, Nicole Smith, and Jeff Strohl estimate that 45 percent of the expected 166 million work force in 2018 is expected to hold an associate’s degree or higher. “The implications of this shift represent a sea change in American society,” the report states. “Essentially, postsecondary education or training has become the threshold requirement for access to middle-class status and earnings in good times and in bad. It is no longer the preferred pathway to middle-class jobs—it is, increasingly, the only pathway.”

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Digital self-publishing upends traditional book world

A technological disruption is loosening traditional publishers’ grip on the book market, reports the Wall Street Journal—and giving new power to technology companies like Amazon to shape which books and authors succeed. Much as blogs have bitten into the news business and YouTube has challenged television, digital self-publishing is creating a powerful new niche in books that’s threatening the traditional industry. Once derided as “vanity” titles by the publishing establishment, self-published books suddenly are able to thrive by circumventing the establishment. “If you are an author and you want to reach a lot of readers, up until recently you were smart to sell your book to a traditional publisher, because they controlled the printing press and distribution. That is starting to change now,” says Mark Coker, founder of Silicon Valley start-up Smashwords Inc., which offers an eBook publishing and distribution service. Fueling the shift is the growing popularity of electronic books, which could reach as high as 20 percent to 25 percent of the total book market by 2012, according to Mike Shatzkin, a publishing consultant, up from an estimated 5 percent to 10 percent today. It’s unclear how much of a danger digital self-publishing poses to the big publishers, who still own the industry’s big hits. But some publishers say that online self-publishing, and the entry of newcomers such as Amazon into the market, could mark a sea change in publishing…

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McGraw-Hill moves beyond electronic textbooks, but obstacles remain

McGraw-Hill Cos.’ McGraw Hill Education unit is venturing further into digital learning with the release of a new internet-based elementary-school reading program, reports the Wall Street Journal. At least, it will try to do this. The unit, whose textbooks and other learning materials provide about 40 percent of the parent company’s revenue, is launching its LEAD21 literacy curriculum in partnership with Intel Corp., offering the materials on the chip maker’s “Classmate” personal computer, built specifically for elementary-school students. The Wi-Fi enabled devices are waterproof and vaguely resemble toys. But with schools strapped for cash and teachers still hesitant about digital devices after some e-readers came up short for educational purposes, the companies could face an uphill battle. “You want all the bells and whistles, but the schools tend to be not all that sophisticated,” said Peter Appert, a Piper Jaffray analyst who covers McGraw-Hill. While digital textbooks are generally cheaper than their hard-copy counterparts, the up-front costs of supplying devices for an entire school or district can be prohibitive…

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