Your EWA Newsletter for Monday, September 14, 2009
<<On the Blackboard>>
Join EWA’s audio conference series exploring different strategies for tracking how stimulus dollars are being spent A higher ed audio conference on stimulus spending is scheduled Wed., Sept. 16 Jennifer Cohen and Jason Delisle from the New America Foundation will lead the discussion. Justin Pope, national higher education reporter for the Associated Press will serve as moderator. Contact Raven Hill for more information.
The Public Editor Says...
These Girls Are Undocumented but Unstoppable
By Linda Perlstein, EWA public editor
Do you suspect there are undocumented immigrants among the students you cover? Have you ever talked to them about their situations, or in any way addressed the issue directly? I’m guessing, if you are like most reporters, the answers are yes and no. Which is too bad. We now have an entire education system based around raising the achievement of all students, yet we fail to properly explain the complications that a significant portion of them face every day. So I was thrilled when I heard about “Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America.” In the book, which comes out later this month from Scribner, journalist Helen Thorpe spends five years with a group of accomplished Denver students who are joined in shared experience—family, ambition, gorditas, reggaeton—yet cleaved by circumstances over which they had no control.This is the first in a series of looks at fall education books.
Reports: GED, Online Courses and Not Enough Play Time for Pre-schoolers AP Online Style Guide Recognizes GED
What is the correct reference for the GED?
Is it the General Equivalency Diploma or General Educational Development Test? Ed reporters already know the answer is the latter, but The Associated Press finally has added the GED as an entry to its online style http://www.apstylebook.com/
Mathematica Policy Research released a study analyzing teacher induction programs and whether more structured programs lead to better results. A year long trial compared teachers who received more structured help and new teachers in less intensive programs. The study finds that teacher retention was not affected by intensive support, nor was student achievement. This is the second year of the study.
College faculty find preparing for online lessons more time-consuming but necessary for the students, according to a survey of public university faculty. http://www.aplu.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=1347
No Playtime for Preschoolers
Kindergartners are spending more time being tested on literary and math skills than learning how to play and to use their imaginations. That’s why a report released by the Alliance for Childhood is calling for changes in the classroom, warning the current kindergarten curriculum could jeopardize children’s health and their long-term success in school.
Survey and Report Roundup
Phi Delta Kappan released “PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools”
ACT released its 2009 ACT College Readiness Report,
The American Association of School Administrators released “Schools and the Stimulus: How America’s Public School Districts Are Using ARRA Funds”
The Slap That Raises a Tough Question
Parents and grandparents alike were outraged after a Georgia man slapped a stranger’s two-year-old child in a Wal-Mart recently. Published reports say the man grew angry when the toddler wouldn’t stop crying inside the store. The Atlanta Journal Constitution described the incident as the slap heard around the newsroom and the world. The strong emotions of the story caused the paper’s Get Schooled blog to raise another issue: whether corporal punishment belongs in schools today.Do people have the right to discipline other individuals’ children? Let us know what you think.
For those of you who haven’t started an education blog, here are a few tips from our website offered by EWA board member and Dayton Daily News blogger (and editorial writer) Scott Elliott. Some EWA members questioned if blogging is still relevant with the popularity of MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. Some reporters say keeping a blog is important to drive traffic to the social networking sites and main websites
President Obama’s back to school speech left school districts in an awkward position of deciding whether to air his comments live to students. The controversy also left education reporters with plenty of questions over how much coverage should be given to the president’s remarks and the uproar that followed. Ed reporters on EWA’s listserv debated the “news worthiness” of the story and how to address talk radio and Internet rumors over what the president was going to say to students before the White House released the text of the speech. Critics say they didn’t oppose the president speaking to students, but criticized accompanying lesson plans. Whatever remove comma the case, place comma the dust-up left ed reporters with plenty to write about before the Labor Day holiday.
EWA members said they judged the “real news value” on the amount of interest the issue generated based on the number of telephone calls and emails they personally received and the strain left on school districts. Most ed reporters on our listserv described school districts and state education offices as “being caught off guard” by angry parents demanding information. Some parents even threatened to keep students out of school if President Obama’s speech was shown and in some parts of the country critics protested outside school district offices.
Local officials were left scrambling to get information from officials in the federal government who were also caught off guard by criticisms The geographical region in which reporters lived played an important part of how much coverage the controversy received in their newsrooms EWA members said.
Here are some web links on stories written by EWA members covering President Obama’s back to school speech.
Some object to Obama speech to students, Erika Mellon and Gary Scharrer, The Houston Chronicle http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6599457.html
Officials Move to Quell Furor Over Obama Speech, Dakarai I. Aarons, Education Week
Minn. schools move to address protests over Obama's speech, Tom Weber , Minnesota Public Radio,
Planned Obama speech to students sparks protest, By Judy Keen and Greg Toppo, USATODAY,
Some parents don’t want students to hear Obama speech, Linda Borg, The Providence Journal
Upcoming Jobs and Conferences
The Latino Policy Forum seeks a part-time communications coordinator who will deliver the agency’s message to the media about its work on early childhood education issues. This is a new part-time position; there is no administrative support. Candidate will be experienced, effective, and comfortable working directly with all forms of media.Send email resume, salary requirements: email@example.com
Want to join a group working to improve conditions for youth? The National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth is seeking an onsite writer/editor to work on educational and marketing materials, web copy and e-newsletters, and reports focusing on youth and family issues. The position requires strong print and Web writing/editing skills, 3+ years experience, and BA degree or higher. Experience with podcasting, e-learning, and other Web 2.0 applications strongly desired. Send resume and writing sample to JOBS@JBS1.COM. Visit the website for more information http://www.jbsinternational.com/site/Pages/job-detail.aspx?id=%27503%27
Don’t miss the U.S. Education Department’s webinar on Title I and IDEA Joint Overview Use of funds Guidance Monday, Sept. 14 from 2 to 3:30p.m. The webinar is being hosted to help groups manage their grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/recovery/web-conferences.html
Sign up for IRE’s Watchdog Journalism Training conference that will be held in Raleigh-Durham N.C. Nov. 7-8.http://www.ire.org/training/watchdog/#more
From the Beat
The Boston Globe
Christine Gerzon is the epitome of a kindergarten teacher: warm and wise, quick to get down on her knees to wipe a tear or bandage a boo-boo. Yet two years ago, after 38 years as an educator, she threw up her hands and retired. She couldn’t stand the pressure. Increasingly in schools across Massachusetts and the United States, little children are being asked to perform academic tasks, including test taking, that early childhood researchers agree are developmentally inappropriate, even potentially damaging.
Can Arne Duncan (And $5 Billion) Fix America's Schools?
The economic-stimulus bill passed by Congress in February included $100 billion in new education spending. Of that total, Duncan has $5 billion in discretionary funding. That money alone makes him the most powerful Education Secretary ever. Duncan's choices could have a transformative impact on America's beleaguered public-education system.
Atlanta schools soft on cheats?
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Keylina Clark was puzzled when her son told her shortly after taking state standardized tests last year that he knew he’d passed. Her son struggled mightily in school. A test proctor gave him answers, he said. Clark believed him. Atlanta Public Schools, however, apparently did not. The Atlanta district has received more such cheating claims than any of the five other large metro districts, an Atlanta Journal Constitution investigation shows. The newspaper also found the district’s handling of 20 cheating complaints in three school years raises questions about how it polices its educators
Back to School/Do the Math: Latest 'new math' concept: Start early and make it fun
Eleanor Chute, Bill Schackner, and Joe Smydo
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Many American adults can't explain how to compute miles per gallon, interest paid on a loan or a 15 percent tip. Some -- even college graduates -- aren't too embarrassed to confess: "I can't do math." But as the school year begins, it's time to do the math. First part in a series -- http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09242/994281-298.stm
Second in the series --http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09243/994394-298.stm
Does Paying For Good Grades Cheapen Education?
National Public Radio
As a new academic year begins, hundreds of schools around the country are experimenting with programs that offer students pay for performance. But critics say school administrators should not be turning the schoolhouse into a workplace. Rather than motivate students, they charge, the reward programs cheapen the educational experience by using "bribes" to win temporary obedience.