17 April 2014 - Education challenges (US)
All schools should have good teachers
Staff (The Los Angeles Times)
It's nice to know that tens of millions of extra dollars will go to 37 low-income schools after the Los Angeles Unified School District settled a class-action suit on behalf of students. But the lawsuit, undertaken by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups, was never about money; it was about policies that require teachers with the least seniority to be laid off first when there are staff reductions. So although the added funding will help attract and retain teachers for a few years, the lawsuit fell short of its original aim of doing away with the "last-in-first-out" policy.
The issue of who gets laid off at low-income schools goes to the heart of whether the students with the greatest needs, because of poverty and language barriers, will be taught by excellent teachers.
The schools involved in the lawsuit were staffed by a disproportionate number of new teachers; when the state's fiscal crisis hit, that meant those schools lost more teachers. Seniority rules allow more experienced teachers to transfer to other schools more easily when there are openings, and allow less-experienced teachers to be replaced when there are layoffs.
A realistic approach?
Guy Hadas (The The Los Angeles Times)
We are experiencing a technology revolution, a new world in which coding is no longer for the anti-social, nerdy white males but for the cool kids. Figures like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have created a culture that embraces technical innovation and that has popularized the leaders behind the code.
The birth of this culture has inspired a movement to teach younger generations to code. While many parents, kids and entrepreneurs have already bought into the movement, the most critical piece of the puzzle has been left untouched: schools.
Without the support of schools, students are simply not receiving enough assistance to learn how to code. Tech companies are desperately looking to hire students with the ability to code, yet schools have not been able to produce enough of these students. According to Code.org, by the year 2020 there are expected to be 1 million more computing jobs than students, which could leave an untapped market of $500 billion.
End of the SAT?
Valerie Strauss (The Washington Post)
Today the College Board released details about its planned redesign of the SAT. Unfortunately, the changes amount to “cosmetic surgery” that fails to address the test’s fundamental weaknesses.
An admissions exam is supposed to predict college performance accurately and fairly while resisting high-priced coaching manipulation. The SAT has long fallen far short of these goals. Yet, none of the planned revisions fix any of the test’s basic flaws.
As a result, the 2016 model SAT will remain a weak predictor of undergraduate success. High school grades will continue to forecast students’ graduation chances more accurately. The exam will still under-predict the performance of females, students whose home language is not English, and older applicants. Well-to-do families will not stop buying their children “test prep steroids from $1,200 intensive workshops and $500 per hour tutors. SAT scores will remain a better measure of family income than of college readiness.
Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah (The Chicago Tribune)
In the midst of national efforts to promote disciplinary policies that keep children in the classroom, legislation that would limit the length of suspensions for all but the most serious infractions and put an end to disciplinary fines is under consideration in the state General Assembly.
The bills, which would limit out-of-school suspensions to no more than three days for infractions that do not threaten the safety or disrupt the education of other students, have the support of a group of student activists in Chicago who gathered for a rally downtown on Wednesday.
“We’re not asking for no discipline; we’re asking for common sense discipline,” Mariama Bangura, 16, a junior at Roosevelt High School in Albany Park, said at a news conference at Chicago Public Schools headquarters.
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"17 April 2014 - Education challenges (US)", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), avril 2014. Consulté le 21/02/2024. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2014/17-april-2014-education-challenges-us-