Every day, students file into a computer class at Surrattsville High School that is taught without computers, without enough textbooks, and with no permanent teacher, reports the Washington Post. The struggle to find a qualified computer teacher at the Prince George’s County, Md., school, just a dozen miles from an education department that is investing millions in science and technology education, shows the basic problems that schools face even as school-reform rhetoric increases. A teacher who was supposed to teach the computer technology class has been on extended medical leave, and the school system has had trouble finding a substitute with an adequate technology background, school officials said. Some of the 150 students in the course’s six sections say they’ve had to teach themselves out of the book, but the classroom doesn’t have enough books to go around. Students spent the first quarter with computers, but no assignments or textbooks. Then the computers were removed because the long-term substitute was unable to control the class and some students were damaging the equipment, students said. The experience has frustrated parents and students……Read More
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High-achieving high school rocked by hacking scandal
Students at a top public high school in Potomac, Md., hacked into the school’s computer system and changed class grades, and officials are investigating how widespread the damage might be, reports the Washington Post. The incident prompted an emergency staff meeting at Churchill High School and a recorded phone message to parents on Jan. 27. The extent of the apparent security breach was not immediately clear; teachers at the school were being asked to review their grades for discrepancies. The students involved used a computer program to capture passwords from at least one teacher, according to sources familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Teachers were told to check grades for anomalies and correct them before first semester report cards are released Feb. 3, according to the sources. But because teachers at the school no longer keep separate records for their grades, it might be difficult to go back and find a student’s original grade, the sources said. School officials urged Churchill teachers to change their passwords immediately and rotate them more often. The 2,100-student school has a 98-percent graduation rate, 11 points higher than Montgomery County as a whole. Its average SAT scores were 1820 out of a possible 2400 in the 2008-09 school year, the second highest in the county……Read More