Three principals fired in cheating probe
Crazy story from Philly about the pressures of standardized testing. Three Philadelphia principals were fired this week in connection to a cheating scandal involving about 140 other teachers and administrators. This is the result of an investigation of standardized math and english tests taken between 2009 and 2011. Pennsylvania school officials identified more than 33 schools where educators violated “test protocols, either by providing students with answers, erasing wrong answers or supervising those who did without reporting improprieties,” the district said.
“Some educators have felt such pressure because of the high-stakes testing,” said Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. “That has unfortunately caused some people to make the very mistaken conclusion to not report accurately student test scores.”
Internet rumblings of charter school magnate tied to Turkish corruption probe
Keeping with the eye-widening stories of the internet is the one about Fethullah Gulen, a charter school magnate who has accused the prime minister of Turkey, his home country, of “abandoning the path to reform.” According the the Associated Press, Turkish commentators believe the corruption probe of the prime minister is fallout from an increasingly public feud and power struggle between Erdogan’s government and Gulen. Gulen is linked to more than 2000 education institutions all over the world, including 135 public charters in the US.
- Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/12/26/islamic-cleric-linked-to-u-s-charter-schools-involved-in-turkeys-political-drama/
- Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/17/fethullah-gulen-corruptio_n_4619428.html
- teacher’s experience: http://dianeravitch.net/2014/01/23/teacher-my-experience-in-a-turkish-gulen-charter-school/
SLA ditching MacBooks
Back to edtech, Science Learning Academy is ditching the MacBook for the Dell’s new Chromebook. For the past seven years, SLA has bought a new MacBook for each of the incoming freshmen. Supporting the one-to-one environment isn’t cheap: buying and maintaining the laptops costs over $180 each year. “It’s like really enjoying eating at a really nice restaurant, and you don’t have money to eat there any more…There is no question that a Chromebook is not a Mac, but our Macs became financially untenable,” says former SLA teacher and grant writer Diana Laufenberg. It’s a big switch from local software to web-based programs so it remains to be seen how students and teachers of the school will handle the overnight switch. Has anybody gone through this switch? How did it go?
When schools stay open on MLK day
In honor of Dr. King, I’m throwing this one out there. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed as a federal holiday in the US, meaning schools are closed on the third Monday of every February. However, districts in some states have opted to stay open to make up for lost time due to the recent winter storms, and weather anomalies like the polar vortex. It’s disappointing that schools are forgoing the day that reinforces the importance of the Civil Rights Movement. However, MLK day is similar to federal holidays like Columbus Day and Veterans Day, which many simply mark as a long weekend. Sure, the polar vortex has thrown a wrench in many plans, but what message does it send to our youth when we don’t honor Dr. King’s accomplishments on equality?
Student rap winners
In December, the New York Times called for submissions for raps about the news from students. “What they occasionally lacked in punctuation, the raps more than made up for in clever rhyme,” said the New York Times, “breadth of subject matter and, occasionally, sophisticated vocabulary: as you’ll see, riling, mitigated, qualms, flippant and guile all make appearances on our winners list.” The contest was judged by Flocabulary, which uses hip-hop for education. Love it!
One of the winners:
Last year Trayvon Martin was shot and killed.
Some bullets were fired and blood got spilled.
Then this year, George Zimmerman got set free.
Now the whole country wonders “How could this be?!”
During the Boston Marathon bombs were set off.
Two-hundred sixty four injuries, three lives lost.
During a culprit shootout, one was killed.
While trying to fight the law, he now lay still.
A childhood star, her name is Miley Cyrus
Her MTV MA video spread like a virus
Maybe we should just go and leave her be
Just let her do her thing, study and see
Natural disaster tore Moore, Oklahoma apart.
The country gave to show the kindness in her hearts.
16 innocent left in the cyclone’s wake.
2013 has been violent for heaven’s sake.
Have a great weekend, everyone!