Archive | September, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court to decide the affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Case No. 11-345)

30 Sep

In The next great civil rights struggle: Disparity in education funding, moi said:

Plessy v. Ferguson established the principle of “separate but equal” in race issues. Brown v.Board of Education which overturned the principle of “separate but equal.” would not have been necessary, but for Plessy. See also, the history of Brown v. Board of Education

If one believes that all children, regardless of that child’s status have a right to a good basic education and that society must fund and implement policies, which support this principle. Then, one must discuss the issue of equity in education. Because of the segregation, which resulted after Plessy, most folks focus their analysis of Brown almost solely on race. The issue of equity was just as important. The equity issue was explained in terms of unequal resources and unequal access to education.

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the city and there must be good schools in all parts of this state. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.

I know that the lawyers in Brown were told that lawsuits were futile and that the legislatures would address the issue of segregation eventually when the public was ready. Meanwhile, several generations of African Americans waited for people to come around and say the Constitution applied to us as well. Generations of African Americans suffered in inferior schools. This state cannot sacrifice the lives of children by not addressing the issue of equity in school funding in a timely manner.

The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-funding/ U.S. Supreme Court watchers are awaiting the decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Case No. 11-345).

Mark Walsh is reporting in the Education Week article, Affirmative Action Case Up for Airing at High Court:

The future of affirmative action in education—not just for colleges but potentially for K-12 schools as well—may be on the line when the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a race-conscious admissions plan from the University of Texas next month.

That seems apparent to the scores of education groups that have lined up behind the university with friend-of-the-court briefs calling on the justices to uphold the plan and continue to recognize the need for racial diversity in the nation’s schools and classrooms.

Long identified as essential to the missions of many postsecondary institutions and school districts in the United States, diversity has emerged as central to our nation’s overarching goals associated with educational excellence,” says a joint brief by the College Board, the National School Boards Association, and several other K-12 groups and others that deal with college admissions.

In an interview, Francisco M. Negrón Jr., the general counsel of the NSBA and a co-author of the brief, emphasized the stakes in the scope of the issues posed in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Case No. 11-345), which is set for arguments Oct. 10.

This is predominantly a higher ed. case, but our interests in K-12 diversity are not dissimilar to the interests of higher education,” he said.

Student Abigail Fisher challenged the University of Texas at Austin on admissions.

The Fisher case is one of the biggest of the court’s new term, and for now is the only education case on the docket.

It involves Abigail Fisher, a white applicant who was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 under the university’s “holistic review” program. That program may take race into account for the quarter of places in UT-Austin’s entering freshman class not filled by the Texas law that guarantees admission to high school students who finish in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes.

Lawyers for Ms. Fisher say that but for the consideration of race, she would have been admitted. They say that the Texas program should be struck down under the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection clause because it fails the requirement for a narrowly tailored race-conscious program set forth in the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger. That 5-4 decision involved the University of Michigan law school, and the majority opinion by then-Justice Sandra Day O’Connor expressed a desire for all use of affirmative action in education to end within 25 years.

Friends of the Court

If Supreme Court cases were decided by the sheer weight of friend-of-the-court briefs, the University of Texas at Austin would easily prevail in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case involving its race-conscious admissions plan. More than 70 such briefs have been filed before the U.S. Supreme Court on the university’s side, while 17 amicus briefs were filed on student Abigail Fisher’s side. Among the highlights:

From briefs on behalf of Abigail Fisher:

Current and former federal civil rights officials [most of whom served in Republican administrations]:
“The University [of Texas at Austin] is already a remarkably racially diverse institution and has just enrolled its first majority-minority class, thanks almost entirely to the impact of its race-neutral Ten Percent Plan. It is precisely this type of institution that has benefited from, and should continue to benefit the most from, implementing race-neutral alternatives.”

Asian American Legal Foundation:
“In the name of racial diversity, racial preferences in college admissions programs in general, and at the University of Texas at Austin in particular, discriminate against Asian-American applicants by deeming them overrepresented relative to their demographics in the population and thus less worthy of admission than applicants of underrepresented races.”

Pacific Legal Foundation, Center for Equal Opportunity, and other groups:
“So long as universities are allowed to weigh race, there will be an irresistible tendency to do so mechanically and with an eye toward achieving a predetermined racial mix. If such discrimination is banned, schools will instead consider an applicant’s life circumstances and perspectives on an individual basis, which is what ‘individualized consideration’ should mean anyway.”

From briefs on behalf of the University of Texas at Austin:

U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.:
“The nation’s interests in a range of areas—including military readiness, national security, public health, federal law enforcement, global competitiveness, and education—will be more readily achieved if the pathways to professional success are visibly open to all segments of American society.”

Teach For America:
“History and research show that students from all backgrounds are best served when their classrooms and schools are led by a diverse staff of teachers and principals. Yet without a diverse pipeline of graduates from the nation’s leading colleges and universities, our schools will struggle to recruit the heterogeneous cadre of leaders they badly need.”

The College Board, the National School Boards Association, and other education groups:
“In the elementary and secondary setting, … diversity not only contributes to the achievement of students, it also contributes positively to the development of citizenship traits, transmission of cultural norms, and growth of interpersonal and social skills that students will need to be productive and thriving citizens of a democratic nation.”

SOURCE: Education Week

Opponents of race considerations would be happy to speed up that end point.

The mood of the country concerning racial issues has changed over the last 10 years,” said Edward Blum, the founder of a Washington nonprofit group, the Project on Fair Representation, that is behind Ms. Fisher’s case. “To argue today that children of successful minority parents need affirmative action to be admitted to elite colleges and universities just seems to ring hollow.”

Ms. Fisher, who graduated this year from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, is not giving interviews.

Friends of the Court

If Supreme Court cases were decided by the sheer weight of friend-of-the-court briefs, the University of Texas at Austin would easily prevail in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case involving its race-conscious admissions plan. More than 70 such briefs have been filed before the U.S. Supreme Court on the university’s side, while 17 amicus briefs were filed on student Abigail Fisher’s side. Among the highlights:

From briefs on behalf of Abigail Fisher:

Current and former federal civil rights officials [most of whom served in Republican administrations]:
“The University [of Texas at Austin] is already a remarkably racially diverse institution and has just enrolled its first majority-minority class, thanks almost entirely to the impact of its race-neutral Ten Percent Plan. It is precisely this type of institution that has benefited from, and should continue to benefit the most from, implementing race-neutral alternatives.”

Asian American Legal Foundation:
“In the name of racial diversity, racial preferences in college admissions programs in general, and at the University of Texas at Austin in particular, discriminate against Asian-American applicants by deeming them overrepresented relative to their demographics in the population and thus less worthy of admission than applicants of underrepresented races.”

Pacific Legal Foundation, Center for Equal Opportunity, and other groups:
“So long as universities are allowed to weigh race, there will be an irresistible tendency to do so mechanically and with an eye toward achieving a predetermined racial mix. If such discrimination is banned, schools will instead consider an applicant’s life circumstances and perspectives on an individual basis, which is what ‘individualized consideration’ should mean anyway.”

From briefs on behalf of the University of Texas at Austin:

U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.:
“The nation’s interests in a range of areas—including military readiness, national security, public health, federal law enforcement, global competitiveness, and education—will be more readily achieved if the pathways to professional success are visibly open to all segments of American society.”

Teach For America:
“History and research show that students from all backgrounds are best served when their classrooms and schools are led by a diverse staff of teachers and principals. Yet without a diverse pipeline of graduates from the nation’s leading colleges and universities, our schools will struggle to recruit the heterogeneous cadre of leaders they badly need.”

The College Board, the National School Boards Association, and other education groups:
“In the elementary and secondary setting, … diversity not only contributes to the achievement of students, it also contributes positively to the development of citizenship traits, transmission of cultural norms, and growth of interpersonal and social skills that students will need to be productive and thriving citizens of a democratic nation.”

SOURCE: Education Week   http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/09/28/06scotus.h32.html?tkn=XUOFyffLI8gEbWxzrz2Nk2RMFlvQXv3nnePW&cmp=clp-edweek

The theory of “affirmative action” has evolved over time.

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Affirmative action” means positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded. When those steps involve preferential selection—selection on the basis of race, gender, or ethnicity—affirmative action generates intense controversy.

The development, defense, and contestation of preferential affirmative action has proceeded along two paths. One has been legal and administrative as courts, legislatures, and executive departments of government have made and applied rules requiring affirmative action. The other has been the path of public debate, where the practice of preferential treatment has spawned a vast literature, pro and con. Often enough, the two paths have failed to make adequate contact, with the public quarrels not always very securely anchored in any existing legal basis or practice.

The ebb and flow of public controversy over affirmative action can be pictured as two spikes on a line, the first spike representing a period of passionate debate that began around 1972 and tapered off after 1980, and the second indicating a resurgence of debate in the 1990s leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision in the summer of 2003 upholding certain kinds of affirmative action. The first spike encompassed controversy about gender and racial preferences alike. This is because in the beginning affirmative action was as much about the factory, the firehouse, and the corporate suite as about the university campus. The second spike represents a quarrel about race and ethnicity. This is because the burning issue at the turn of the twentieth-first century is about college admissions.[1] In admissions to selective colleges, women need no boost; African-Americans and Hispanics do.[2] http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/affirmative-action/

Stanford provides a good analysis of the theory.

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.

A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class

The question which this society has to answer is how to provide a good education for ALL despite, their race or social class.

Related:

3rd world America: Many young people headed for life on the dole https://drwilda.com/2012/09/21/3rd-world-america-many-young-people-headed-for-life-on-the-dole/

The Civil Rights Project report: Segregation in education https://drwilda.com/2012/09/19/the-civil-rights-project-report-segregation-in-education/

Study: Poverty affects education attainment https://drwilda.com/2012/08/29/study-poverty-affects-education-attainment/

Center for American Progress report: Disparity in education spending for education of children of color                     https://drwilda.com/2012/08/22/center-for-american-progress-report-disparity-in-education-spending-for-education-of-children-of-color/

Education funding lawsuits against states on the rise https://drwilda.com/2012/01/25/education-funding-lawsuits-against-states-on-the-rise/

3rd world America: The link between poverty and education https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/3rd-world-america-the-link-between-poverty-and-education/

Race, class, and education in America                 https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/race-class-and-education-in-america/

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©              http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                         http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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Stupid is as stupid does: The teacher and the 12-year-old

29 Sep

In Teachers and social media: Someone has to be the adult, moi said:

Right Said Fred, the English trio had a hit with the danceable little ditty, I’m Too Sexy

I’m too sexy for my love too sexy for my love
Love’s going to leave me
I’m too sexy for my shirt too sexy for my shirt
So sexy it hurts
And I’m too sexy for Milan too sexy for Milan
New York and Japan
And I’m too sexy for your party
Too sexy for your party
No way I’m disco dancing

Too sexy might be OK for a dance club, but it shouldn’t describe the relationship between a teacher and their students. Teachers must be professional and authoritative in the classroom.

Allie Townsend is reports at Time about a Massachusetts school district’s rule which attempts to keep teachers from acting like morons. In Hey Teach Get Off the Facebook: District Bans Teacher-Student Friendships Townsend reports:

School officials in Norton, Mass., having issued a ruling against online connections between teachers and current or former students. Worried about potential inappropriate Internet communications between teacher and pupil, the board made a plea to teachers to avoid social media relationships with students – or else.

As inappropriate teacher-student Facebook scandals have been made public in recent weeks (three in New York public schools alone) school boards are attempting to eliminate the possibility of a problem by issuing rules to faculty and staff forbidding social media connections with students, mainly on sites Facebook or MySpace. “We want to head it off at the pass,” one school board member told the Boston Globe. “Teachers know this already, but we wanted to have something official on the books.”

Children are not mature and adults can not expect the same level of maturity that most adults are presumed to have. Immature people, like kids, will take even harmless interactions and embellish and broadcast them to the world at large. The safest course of action for for teachers who want to be viewed as teacher professionals is to use common sense when using all social media and never put yourself in a situation with a student which can be viewed as compromising. https://drwilda.com/2011/12/18/teachers-and-social-media-some-has-to-be-the-adult/

Emma Brown writes about the latest bout of teacher stupidity in the Washington Post article, D.C. teacher admits sending lewd message to 12-year-old student:

A District elementary school teacher admitted Friday to sending a lewd Facebook message to a 12-year-old student, an act that D.C. Public Schools officials called “abhorrent, inexcusable behavior.”

Jurelle V. Turner, 46, pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court to “certain obscene activities and conduct,” a misdemeanor. School system officials said they have begun efforts to fire him.

Teachers are expected to act as professionals and behave accordingly,” spokeswoman Melissa Salmanowitz wrote in an e-mail. “What’s been alleged is illegal and a gross abuse of power. It is abhorrent, inexcusable behavior.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/dc-teacher-admits-sending-lewd-message-to-12-year-old-student/2012/09/28/94234b3a-099e-11e2-afff-d6c7f20a83bf_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

Moi wrote in Managing school Facebook relationships can be challenging:

Janet R. Decker posts at Education Nation the article, ‘Like’ It or Not, Facebook Can Get Teachers Fired:

School employees have constitutional rights that must be protected, but it is also important to protect students and safeguard the image of teachers as role models. Yet, teachers and administrators may be unsure of their legal responsibilities surrounding social networking. Part of the difficulty is that technology advances at a quicker pace than legal precedent. Because of this reality, schools are encouraged to implement policies and consider the following recommendations regarding employees’ online behavior.

1. EDUCATE! It’s not enough to have policies, schools should also have professional development about these issues. By doing so, staff are notified about the expectations and have a chance to digest and ask questions about the policies.

2. Be empathetic in policies and actions. Administrators may wish that a school’s computers only be used for educational purposes, but this is an unrealistic expectation.

3. Create separate student and staff policies, because the laws pertaining to these two groups differ greatly.

4. Involve staff in policy creation. This process will help employees comprehend the policies and will likely foster staff buy-in.

5. Be clear and specific. Policies should include rationales, legal support, and commentary with examples.

6. Ensure your policies conform to state and federal law.

7. Include consequences for violations in your policies and implement the consequences.

8. Provide an avenue for appeal and attend to employees’ due process rights.

9. Implement policies in an effective and non-discriminatory manner.

10. Evaluate and amend policies as the law evolves. Much of the law related to technology is in flux. What is legal today may not be tomorrow.

In sum, it is important that school employees understand that they are expected to be role models both inside and outside of the school – even while on Facebook. http://www.educationnation.com/index.cfm?objectid=72C543DE-4EA0-11E1-B607000C296BA163

Because information posted on social media can go viral, it is important to use common sense in dealing with both parents and students. https://drwilda.com/2012/09/23/managing-school-facebook-relationships-can-be-challenging/

Teachers and others in responsible positions who deal with children must exercise common sense and not put themselves in situations which at the minimum will be awkward and which will lead to activity which is inappropriate.

Boundaries people. Boundaries.

If you are too stupid to use caution or you can’t exercise caution, society will begin to impose sanctions against those engaged in inappropriate activity with children. Engaging in inappropriate activity with children does not make you too sexy, it makes you too stupid!

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

 

What is “EDU STAR”: Harnessing Technology to Improve K-12 Education

28 Sep

As everything in society becomes more closely tied to technology, key questions are whether technology is useful in a given circumstance and how to evaluate the usefulness of a particular technology application. In a 2004 policy report, Evaluating The Effectiveness of Technology in Our Schools, ACT had some interesting questions about the use of technology in schools:

Specifically, this report:

Focuses on issues that need to be considered as we assess the impact of technology and develop evidence-based strategies for technology integration that contribute to high achievement for all students.  Provides useful information and specific recommendations about evaluating the effectiveness of technological applications implemented to enhance teaching, learning, and achievement. Technology should be a tool to help educators meet the educational needs of all children. As such, technologies cannot function as solutions in isolation but must be thought of as key ingredients in making it possible for schools to address core educational challenges1. Technology can serve as an enabler in teaching and learning to:

 Help organize and provide structure for material to students.

 Help students, teachers, and parents interact, anytime and anywhere.

 Facilitate and assist in the authentication and prioritization of Internet material.

 Simulate, visualize, and interact with scientific structures, processes, and models.

 Help in learning history and depicting future trends.

 Serve as an extension and enhancer for handicapped populations.

 Provide automated translators for multilingual populations2.

However, technology and equity are not inevitable partners. Simply providing access does not ensure that technology will effectively enhance teaching and learning and result in improved achievement. Nor does providing access imply that all teachers and students will make optimal use of the technology. Technology may mean little without appropriate objectives and goals for its use, structures for its application, trained and skillful deliverers, and clearly envisioned plans for evaluating its effectiveness.

Two yardsticks we can use to measure the strides technology has made are accessibility by students (and teachers) to technology resources and how technology is actually utilized by schools and teachers in different settings and for different students. http://www.act.org/research/policymakers/pdf/school_tech.pdf

Two researchers are proposing a systematic method for evaluating technology for schools.

Huffington Post has an interesting article about a proposed system to evaluate education technology. In the article, Education Technology: Hamilton Project Report Calls For EDU STAR To Evaluate Tech In Schools, the technology is described:

In a new paper for The Hamilton Project, Duke University’s Aaron Chatterji and Northwestern’s Benjamin Jones propose establishing a third-party ratings organization dubbed “EDU STAR” that would evaluate education technologies.

The proposal aims to encourage innovation in the education sector — which has seen relatively little new technologies compared to other industries — and provide new methods to help students learn.

While instructional software can offer personalized learning for students and potentially complement a teacher’s skillset, little is known about the effectiveness of learning technologies. According to the report, schools often have no way of knowing if a product works, and collecting such information or running their own tests requires investing both time and money.

In their paper, Chatterji and Jones write that their proposed nonprofit organization would bridge the information gap between market suppliers and schools, test software-based learning tools, and disseminate ratings and other measures of effectiveness online — similar to the publication Consumer Reports.

EDU STAR would begin by focusing on instructional content, which it would evaluate based on one or more of the Common Core State Standards. The organization would also collaborate with entrepreneurs, screening their products before they go into schools.

According to the report, EDU STAR plans to partner with a group of schools or school districts to test new technologies. The idea is that every school would set aside time for students to engage in digital learning, during which they would log into the EDU STAR system and work with the products that are being evaluated.

Chatterji and Jones estimate that one large school district would be enough to provide comprehensive results. In the event that there is not sufficient interest from schools, EDU STAR may offer incentives like discounts on software or compensation.

When it comes to disseminating results, the organization would be responsible for creating easily accessible reports detailing the effectiveness of various products and publishing these reports online. EDU STAR would rate each technology on a scale of one to five stars, and would also include supplemental information like how many students have used the software, how it was tested, user ratings from both students and teachers, and how effective the product is for different types of students. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/27/hamilton-project-report-c_n_1917166.html?utm_hp_ref=education

Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.”                                Bill Gates

Citation:

Abstract

Technological progress has consistently driven remarkable advances in the U.S. economy, yet K–12 education sees little technological change compared to other sectors, even as U.S. K–12 students increasingly lag behind students in other nations. This proposal considers how we can take a signature American strength—innovation—and apply it to K–12 education. We argue that the advent of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and broadband Internet create promising opportunities for developing new learning technologies but that a fundamental obstacle remains: the effectiveness of learning technologies is rarely known. Not surprisingly, when no one knows what works, schools are unlikely to buy, and innovators are unlikely to create. Our proposed EDU STAR system will solve this problem by (a) undertaking rapid, rigorous, and low-cost evaluations of learning tools and (b) reporting results to the public. Coupling Internet-based real-time evaluation systems (demonstrated daily by many leading companies) with trusted reporting (modeled by Consumer Reports and others), the proposed EDU STAR platform will help schools make informed learning technology decisions and substantially reduce entry barriers for innovators. EDU STAR will bring together K–12 schools, teachers, and innovators and continually improve this critical foundation for economic prosperity.

Downloads

  • Aaron Chatterji

    Associate Professor, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University

  • Benjamin Jones

    Associate Professor, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Resources:

What Forty Years of Research Says About the Impact of Technology on Learning

A Second-Order Meta-Analysis and Validation Study

  1. Rana M. Tamim
  1. Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University
  1. Robert M. Bernard
  2. Eugene Borokhovski
  3. Philip C. Abrami
  4. Richard F. Schmid
  1. Concordia University
    Abstract
    This research study employs a second-order meta-analysis procedure to summarize 40 years of research activity addressing the question, does computer technology use affect student achievement in formal face-to-face classrooms as compared to classrooms that do not use technology? A study-level meta-analytic validation was also conducted for purposes of comparison. An extensive literature search and a systematic review process resulted in the inclusion of 25 meta-analyses with minimal overlap in primary literature, encompassing 1,055 primary studies. The random effects mean effect size of 0.35 was significantly different from zero. The distribution was heterogeneous under the fixed effects model. To validate the second-order meta-analysis, 574 individual independent effect sizes were extracted from 13 out of the 25 meta-analyses. The mean effect size was 0.33 under the random effects model, and the distribution was heterogeneous. Insights about the state of the field, implications for technology use, and prospects for future research are discussed.

This Article

  1. Published online before print January 10, 2011, doi: 10.3102/0034654310393361 REVIEW OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH March 2011 vol. 81 no. 1 4-28
  1. » AbstractFree
  2. Full Text
  3. Full Text (PDF)

    All Versions of this Article:

    1. current version image indicatorVersion of Record – Mar 2, 2011
    2. 0034654310393361v1 – Jan 10, 2011

Researcher Studies Effects of Technology in Schools http://www.komu.com/news/researcher-studies-effects-of-technology-in-schools-29344/

Technology In Schools: Weighing The Pros And Cons http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/22/technology-in-schools-wei_n_772674.html

Related:

Technology report: Ed-Fi, the student info data base                                https://drwilda.com/2012/05/14/technology-report-ed-fi-the-student-info-data-base/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©  http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

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Detroit schools illustrate the dangers of toxins in schools

27 Sep

Detroit is dealing with a host of problems at this moment in history. The Detroit school system not only faces academic and financial challenges, but it is at the center of a lead crisis which threatens the health of children attending Detroit schools. Jaclyn Zubrzycki writes in the Education Week article, Lead-Exposure Problems Spotlighted in Detroit:

Lead has been linked to negative trends in school performance, especially among poor and African-American students, in Chicago, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Texas, among other places, but there is little research on how schools can help affected children.

A Lead ‘Epicenter’

One of the new studies pulls together public-health and education data to draw attention to the large numbers of Detroit children who have been exposed to lead.

Detroit is one of the epicenters for lead in the country,” said Jane L. Nickert, the director of the childhood-lead program in the city’s department of health and wellness. “And educators don’t know what they’re dealing with because no one’s told them.”

Ms. Nickert was not part of the new study, which was conducted by researchers from her agency, the Detroit Public Schools, the University of South Florida in Tampa, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and MPRO, a nonprofit health-care group.

It demonstrates a link between blood lead levels and lower performance on the Michigan Assessment of Educational Progress, or MAEP: Students with an early-childhood blood lead level of 10 milligrams per deciliter of blood—about half of what Reginald’s was at age 1—were more than twice as likely to score less than proficient on all three subjects in the state assessment than students with less than 1 milligram per deciliter, after controlling for factors like family income and maternal education.

The research is being reviewed for publication by the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers connected the health records and the 2008-10 test scores of 21,281 students in grades 3, 5, and 8 in the Detroit school district. They found widespread lead poisoning in the district, including some schools where 54 percent of the population had elevated blood lead levels, said Randall E. Raymond, a geographic information specialist in the district’s office of research, evaluation, assessment, and accountability.

National Challenges

The Detroit research comes as advocates nationwide are calling for more awareness about recognizing and ameliorating lead’s impact on students, and for an increase in funding from the Atlanta-based federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recently set a lower threshold for identifying children as lead-poisoned but cut funding for lead education and surveillance programs from $29 million a year to $2 million a year.

The CDC last spring lowered the level of lead considered dangerous from 10 milligrams of lead per deciliter of blood to 5, responding to years of research showing detrimental impacts from lower levels of exposure.

Related Stories

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/09/24/05lead.h32.html?tkn=RQYFnr3lblaH%2BAOHy7UUzOcaJLVrPNjRzgCE&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1

The research is being reviewed for publication in American Journal of Public Health.

Moi wrote about Toxic dangers in schools:

Tim Walker and Cindy Long report in NEA Today:

An estimated 14 million American children attend public schools that are in urgent need of  extensive repair or replacement and have unhealthy environmental conditions, including poor air quality, unsafe drinking water and inadequate safety systems. http://neatoday.org/2012/01/10/cnn-indoor-air-quality/

The Agency for Toxic Effects and Disease Registry (ATEDR) has some good information about the effects of toxins on children.

In Principles of Pediatric Environmental Health: What Are Special Considerations Regarding Toxic Exposures to Young and School-age Children, as Well as Adolescents? ATEDR reports:

Young Child (2 to 6 years old)

With the newly acquired ability to run, climb, ride tricycles, and perform other mobile and exploratory activities, the young child’s environment expands, as does the risk of exposure.

Many of a young child’s toxic exposures may occur from ingestion. If the child’s diet is deficient in iron or calcium, the small intestine avidly absorbs lead….

School-aged Children (6 to 12 years old)

School-aged children spend increasingly greater amounts of time in outdoor, school, and after-school environments. They may be exposed to outdoor air pollution, including

  • widespread air pollutants,

  • ozone, particulates, and

  • nitrogen and sulfur oxides.

These result primarily from fossil fuel combustion. Although these pollutants concentrate in urban and industrial areas, they are windborne and distribute widely. Local pockets of intense exposure may result from toxic air and soil pollutants emanating from hazardous waste sites, leaking underground storage tanks, or local industry. One example of a localized toxic exposure adverse effect was seen in children exposed to high doses of lead released into the air from a lead smelter in Idaho. When tested 15 to 20 years later, these children showed reduced neurobehavioral and peripheral nerve function [ATSDR 1997b]….

In addition, some school age children engage in activity such as

  • lawn care,

  • yard work, and

  • trash pickup.

These and other work situations may put them at risk for exposures to hazardous substances such as pesticides used to treat lawns.

Adolescents (12 to 18 years old)

But nothing more than just adolescent behavior may result in toxic exposures. Risk-taking behaviors of adolescents may include exploring off-limit industrial waste sites or abandoned buildings. For example, in one reported case, teenagers took elemental mercury from an old industrial facility and played with and spilled the elemental mercury in homes and cars [Nadakavukaren 2000]. Teens may also climb utility towers or experiment with psychoactive substances (inhalant abuse, for example). Cigarette smoking and other tobacco use often begins during adolescence. For more information about adolescent tobacco use see CDC Office of Smoking and Health at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco

Compared with younger children, adolescents are more likely to engage in hobbies and school activities involving exposure to

  • solvents,

  • caustics, or

  • other dangerous chemicals.

Few schools include basic training in industrial hygiene as a foundation for safety at work, at school, or while enjoying hobbies.

Many adolescents may encounter workplace hazards through after-school employment. Working adolescents tend to move in and out of the labor market, changing jobs and work schedules in response to employer needs or their own life circumstances [Committee on the Health and Safety Implications of Child Labor 1998]. In the United States, adolescents work predominately in retail and service sectors. These are frequently at entry-level jobs in

  • exterior painting of homes,

  • fast-food restaurants,

  • gas stations and automotive repair shops,

  • nursing homes,

  • parks and recreation, and

  • retail stores.

Such work may expose adolescents to commercial cleaners, paint thinners, solvents, and corrosives by inhalation or splashes to the skin or eyes. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimated that, on average, 67 workers under age 18 died from work-related injuries each year during 1992-2000 [NIOSH 2003]. In 1998, an estimated 77,000 required treatment in hospital emergency departments [NIOSH 2003]….

Metabolic Vulnerability of Adolescents

Metabolic processes change during adolescence. Changes in cytochrome P450 expression [Nebert and Gonzalez 1987] result in a decrease in the metabolism rate of some xenobiotics dependent on the cytochrome CYP (P450) – for example, the concentration of theophylline increases in blood [Gitterman and Bearer 2001]. The metabolic rate of some xenobiotics is reduced in response to the increased secretion of growth hormone, steroids, or both that occur during the adolescent years [Gitterman and Bearer 2001]. The implications of these changes on the metabolism of environmental contaminants are areas of intense research. By the end of puberty, the metabolism of some xenobiotics achieves adult levels.

Puberty results in the rapid growth, division, and differentiation of many cells; these changes may result in vulnerabilities. Profound scientific and public interest in endocrine disruptors – that is, chemicals with hormonal properties that mimic the actions of naturally occurring hormones – reflects concerns about the effect of chemicals on the developing reproductive system. Even lung development in later childhood and adolescence may be disrupted by chronic exposure to air pollutants, including

  • acid vapors,

  • elemental carbon,

  • nitrogen dioxide, and

  • particulate matter [Gauderman et al. 2004].

Citation:

Principles of Pediatric Environmental Health
What Are Special Considerations Regarding Toxic Exposures to Young and School-age Children, as Well as Adolescents?

Course: WB2089
CE Original Date: February 15, 2012
CE Expiration Date: February 15, 2014
Download Printer-Friendly version Adobe PDF file [PDF – 819 KB]

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=27&po=10https://drwilda.com/2012/07/08/toxic-dangers-in-schools/

This society will not have healthy children without having healthy home and school environments.

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National Education Policy Brief: Designing teacher evaluations

25 Sep

Teacher evaluation is a hot topic. Moi wrote in Report: Measuring teacher effectiveness:

Public Impact has a produced a report, Measuring Teacher Effectiveness: A Look “Under the Hood” of Teacher Evaluation in 10 Sites which examines teacher evaluation efforts in three states. So, how is teacher effectiveness measured? Well, kids know good teaching when they see it. Donna Gordon Blankinship of AP reports in the Seattle Times article, How Do You Find An Effective Teacher? Ask A Kid

Adults may be a little surprised by some of the preliminary findings of new research on what makes a great teacher.

How do you find the most effective teachers? Ask your kids. That’s one of four main conclusions of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its research partners after the first year of its Measures of Effective Teaching Project.

Preliminary results of the study were posted online Friday; a more complete report is expected in April, according to the foundation….

The first four conclusions of the study are as follows:

-The average student knows effective teaching when he or she experiences it.

-In every grade and every subject, a teacher’s past success in raising student achievement on state tests is one of the strongest predictors of his or her ability to do so again.

-The teachers with the highest value-added scores on state tests, which show improvement by individual students during the time they were in their classroom, are also the teachers who do the best job helping their students understand math concepts or demonstrate reading comprehension through writing.

-Valid feedback does not need to come from test scores alone. Other data can give teachers the information they need to improve, including student opinions of how organized and effective a teacher is….

See,Students Know Good Teaching When They Get It, Survey Finds https://drwilda.com/2012/06/13/report-measuring-teacher-effectiveness/

Dr William Mathis of the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education has written a policy brief which focuses on teacher evaluation.

Here is the press release for Research-Based Options for Education Policy Making:

New Brief Offers Suggestions for Teacher Evaluation Design

Contact

William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/9x5wrws

BOULDER, CO (September 20, 2012) –The first in a new series of two-page briefs summarizing the state of play in education policy research offers suggestions for policymakers designing teacher evaluation systems.

The paper is written by Dr. William Mathis, managing director of the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education.

Mathis summarizes research findings on the effects of teacher evaluation systems, including unintended as well as intended consequences. At a time when teacher evaluation controversies in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and other school districts have erupted—particularly over the issue of evaluations based in part on the growth of students’ test scores—understanding the evidence about these issues has taken on new urgency.

Mathis counsels that lawmakers should be wary of approaches based in large part on test scores, because of three problems:
1.      The measurement error is large—which results in many teachers being incorrectly labeled as effective or ineffective;
2.      Given that only certain grade levels and subject areas are tested, relevant test scores are not available for most teachers; and
3.      The incentives created by the high-stakes use of test scores drive undesirable teaching practices such as curriculum narrowing and teaching to the test.

Instead, he advocates systems like peer assistance and review (PAR) that de-emphasize test scores. Such systems are more labor intensive but that have “far greater potential to enrich instruction and improve education.” He also advocates balancing summative, high-stakes assessment systems “with formative approaches that identify strengths and weaknesses of teachers and directly focus on developing and improving their teaching.”

In any case, “Given the extensive range of activities, skills, and knowledge involved in teachers’ daily work, the system’s goals must be clear, explicit and reflect practitioner involvement,” Mathis says.

This two-page brief is part of Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking, a multipart brief that takes up a number of important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research. Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations to policymakers are based on the latest scholarship.

Find William Mathis’s brief on the NEPC website at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/options-teacher-evaluations

The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information on the NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.

This brief is also found on the GLC website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/

Citation:

William J. Mathis

September 20, 2012

Research-Based Options for Education Policy Making is a 10-part brief that takes up important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research.  Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations for policymakers are based on the latest scholarship. 

Introduction

Section 1:  Teacher Evaluation.  After reviewing different types of evaluative methods, Mathis points out the importance of using a combination of methods, of including all stakeholders in decision-making about evaluation systems, and of investing in the evaluation system

Section 2:  Common Core State Standards    

Section 3:  Preschool Education

Section 4:  Effective School Expenditures

Section 5:  Funding Formulas and Choice

Section 6:  English Language Learners Parent Involvement

Section 7:  Dropout Strategies

Section 8:  21st Century College and Career Ready

Section 9:  LGBT Safety Policies

Section 10:  Detracking

Policy Brief Download

The Center has produced a report, which focuses on teacher evaluation.Teacher Evaluation  Proper evaluation seems to be key to both addressing many problems teacher tenure was developed to protect from faulty evaluation of a teacher and to improve the quality of those in the teaching profession. Evaluation is just one component, however. New teachers need a proper induction into the profession and mentors to help them hone their skills and methods of teaching. If problems emerge, teachers need proper training and coaching to progress.

Related:

Study: Teacher merit pay works in some situations https://drwilda.com/2012/07/27/study-teacher-merit-pay-works-in-some-situations/

Manhattan Institute study: Evidence that ‘value-added modeling’ may be effective                                                         https://drwilda.com/2012/09/08/manhattan-institute-study-evidence-that-value-added-modeling-may-be-effective/

The attempt to evaluate teacher colleges is getting nasty  https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/523/

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Parent Trigger: ‘Won’t Back Down’

24 Sep

Moi has posted quite a bit about the “parent trigger.” This latest post deals with the movie. “Won’t Back Down.” Kelsey Sheehy writes in the U.S. News article, Pulling the ‘Parent Trigger’ on School Reform about the effect the “parent trigger” had on the school portrayed in the movie “Won’t Back Down.”

Trigger laws, which allow parents to intervene if their child’s school underperforms, are on the books in seven states—California, ConnecticutIndianaLouisianaMississippiOhio, and Texas—with as many as 20 states considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

While the laws vary by state, most include following provisions:

The school must be identified by the state as low-performing, often for consecutive years.

There must be a majority buy-in by parents of students either attending the school, or with students in lower grade levels who would likely attend the school in the future. This is typically in the form of a petition.

A handful of intervention options are typically available, including charter school conversion, forcing the school to replace the administrators and majority of teachers, or shutting the school down completely.

Proponents of trigger laws say they empower parents to step in when schools are failing their students, and give educators added incentive to take steps to improve schools that consistently fall short.

“[It] gives families leverage where they do not otherwise have it by increasing pressure on districts and others in charge of failing schools,” Dave Robertson, a state senator in Michigan said in a hearing last week on a proposed parent trigger bill, according to Michigan Live.

[Discover why students learn better with engaged parents.]

But critics argue that while the idea sounds good in theory, parent trigger laws lack transparency and risk doing more harm than good. http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/high-school-notes/2012/09/24/pulling-the-parent-trigger-on-school-reform

Stand for Children Washington hosted a screening of “Won’t Back Down” and moi received a complementary ticket to the screening.

Moi’s mantra for this blog is there is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is what works to produce education achievement in a given population of children. Having said that, there is no middle ground in the movie portrayals. The baddies are very bad and the the “good people” almost have halos. In moi’s opinion, a little more subtlety and shading of the motivation of the characters would have made the movie more effective. The script was just so-so. Still, the movie tugs at the heartstrings of those who feel that there is something drastically wrong with education. Overall, moi like the movie, because she believes that parents must have the option to be part of the solution in turning around failing schools.

Resources:

New movie ‘Won’t Back Down’ makes the case for education reform http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865563082/New-movie-Wont-Back-Down-makes-the-case-for-education-reform.html

Won’t Back Down’ rankles teachers unions but may resonate in trenches                                                            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/post/wont-back-down-rankles-teachers-unions-but-may-resonate-in-trenches/2012/09/10/38e1a9d0-fab5-11e1-a65a-d6e62f9f2a5a_blog.html

Related:

More states considering ‘Parent Trigger’ laws                           https://drwilda.com/2012/02/02/more-states-considering-parent-trigger-laws/

National Education Policy Center researches the ‘parent trigger’                                                                           https://drwilda.com/2012/09/05/national-education-policy-center-researches-the-parent-trigger/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

 

Managing school Facebook relationships can be challenging

23 Sep

Moi wrote about Facebook and school relationships in Teachers and social media: Someone has to be the adult:

Jennifer Preston is reporting in the New York Times article, Rules to Stop Pupil and Teacher From Getting Too Social Online that school districts all over the country are increasingly worried about the interaction between teachers and social media.

Faced with scandals and complaints involving teachers who misuse social media, school districts across the country are imposing strict new guidelines that ban private conversations between teachers and their students on cellphones and online platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

The policies come as educators deal with a wide range of new problems. Some teachers have set poor examples by posting lurid comments or photographs involving sex or alcohol on social media sites. Some have had inappropriate contact with students that blur the teacher-student boundary. In extreme cases, teachers and coaches have been jailed on sexual abuse and assault charges after having relationships with students that, law enforcement officials say, began with electronic communication.

But the stricter guidelines are meeting resistance from some teachers because of the increasing importance of technology as a teaching tool and of using social media to engage with students. In Missouri, the state teachers union, citing free speech, persuaded a judge that a new law imposing a statewide ban on electronic communication between teachers and students was unconstitutional. Lawmakers revamped the bill this fall, dropping the ban but directing school boards to develop their own social media policies by March 1.

School administrators acknowledge that the vast majority of teachers use social media appropriately. But they also say they are increasingly finding compelling reasons to limit teacher-student contact. School boards in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia have updated or are revising their social media policies this fall….http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/business/media/rules-to-limit-how-teachers-and-students-interact-online.html?hpw

Teachers and others in responsible positions who deal with children must exercise common sense and not put themselves in situations which at the minimum will be awkward and which will lead to activity which is inappropriate.

Boundaries people. Boundaries.

If you are too stupid to use caution or you can’t exercise caution, society will begin to impose sanctions against those engaged in inappropriate activity with children. Engaging in inappropriate activity with children does not make you too sexy, it makes you too stupid! https://drwilda.com/2011/12/18/teachers-and-social-media-some-has-to-be-the-adult/ For a really good analysis of the pros and cons of Facebook teacher and student Facebook relationships go to: Debate: Teacher-student friendships on Facebook http://debatepedia.idebate.org/en/index.php/Debate:_Teacher-student_friendships_on_Facebook

There are many of the same issues with teachers and parents as Facebook friends.

Gred Toppo has written the interesting USA Today article, Should parents ‘friend’ their child’s teacher? Among the suggestions are:

Find out the policy.

Ask the teacher and/or principal what their policy is on friending parents on Facebook. More and more districts are actively supporting teachers in creating professional school accounts so this may be a good option for some educators….

Teacher sets up a class Facebook page or group.

Parents ask whether the teacher would consider setting up (or whether the teacher currently has) a Facebook group and/or page for the class, which would let parents and teachers interact, and parents could get a window into things going on in the classroom….

Parents set up a class page or group.

In some schools, parents have set up a class page or group, which is a way for parents to stay connected with one another as well as with their child’s teacher if she or he agrees to do so. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/backtoschool/story/2012-09-05/teachers-facebook/57581640/1#.UF-jvmhfIrk.email

There are many ways teachers can connect with parents using technology.

Adam Steiner has written the great highdefteacher.com article, Ten Ways to Use Technology to Increase Parent Participation:

  1. Create a class webpage that provides contact/biographical info, updates on class activities, a calendar, and a place to communicate with the teacher.  This is the first step in opening a window for parents and I am surprised at how many teachers neglect to create a web page.  Ideally, a school system would provide a templated system of webpages ala Schoolworld to make it easier for teachers.  For savvier teachers, facebook or edmodo allows the teacher to increase the level of communication using a recognizable social media format.  This would allow for “wall posts”, integration with Twitter and/or text messaging and e-mail, and realtime chatting.  As long as you are not friending students, I think a class facebook page for information sharing would be a valuable tool.
  1. E-mail list for regular updates to the parents en masse
    Many pre-school teachers do it so why not at the upper grades?  Use your e-mail program to create a shortcut to e-mail your entire class and their parents.  This is a quick way to announce major assignments and be sure that there will be no question about whether the adequate information to complete the project was provided.
  1. Parent portal to grading system so that parents can get updates regularly
    Why have the end of the semester provide a surprise to an unsuspecting parent?  Provide ongoing access to grades.  If your school system uses one of the major student management systems such as iPass and Rediker, this may already be done for you.  If not, explore ways to make your grades available to parents on an ongoing basis.  For example, you could use turnitin.com to manage student papers and check for plagiarism, but you could also post grades on the site.  Parents could then be instructed to get the user name and password from the student.  Or you could use a teacher website creator like edmodo or learning management system such as Moodle to post grades and make them available to parents.  
  1. Class newsletter that is sent home regularly
    Another common pre-school practice that should be exported to the upper levels.  Rather than relying on occasional e-mail updates to parents, you could create a class newsletter that is sent home regularly – such as once a month.  This could be created using a word processing or publishing program and include photos of students, examples of student work, or upcoming assignments.  You could also make the newsletter itself a class assignment.
  1. Blogging
    If e-mailing a newsletter attachment is too 2004 for you, set up a class blog.  Provide all of the content of the newspaper, but online and send brief reminders to parents to check the blog.
  1. Twitter account for homework updates, projects, tests
    If you would like parents to have the ability to write back to you easily, but without total freedom, twitter is a great option.  Send home quick updates and get brief responses from parents.
  1. Make videos of class activities available online – teachertube, youtube, vimeo
    With parent permission, you could shoot video of particularly interesting class activities and then upload the video content to a video sharing website.
  1. Live chats for meetings – skype, iChat etc.
    Why restrict parent teacher meetings to the narrow intersection of the teacher workday and the parents’ availability?  Set up video enhanced meetings online using Skype, iChat, or other video services.
  1. Virtual open house via a live colllaborative session – twiddla, zoho
    There are a few free tools out for live online collaborative sessions.  All of these allow multiple participants to communicate with one another and shared ideas.  A couple options include Twiddla and Zoho, but there are many others.
  1. Online photo collection of class activities – dropevent
    Create a photo gallery for parents to view.  Better yet, give parents the opportunity to share their own photos of school events.  Drop Event is a great new website that allows for such collaboration. http://www.highdefteacher.com/features/parents.php

Improper use of Facebook can be detrimental to a teacher’s career.

Janet R. Decker posts at Education Nation the article, ‘Like’ It or Not, Facebook Can Get Teachers Fired:

School employees have constitutional rights that must be protected, but it is also important to protect students and safeguard the image of teachers as role models. Yet, teachers and administrators may be unsure of their legal responsibilities surrounding social networking. Part of the difficulty is that technology advances at a quicker pace than legal precedent. Because of this reality, schools are encouraged to implement policies and consider the following recommendations regarding employees’ online behavior.

1. EDUCATE! It’s not enough to have policies, schools should also have professional development about these issues. By doing so, staff are notified about the expectations and have a chance to digest and ask questions about the policies.

2. Be empathetic in policies and actions. Administrators may wish that a school’s computers only be used for educational purposes, but this is an unrealistic expectation.

3. Create separate student and staff policies, because the laws pertaining to these two groups differ greatly.

4. Involve staff in policy creation. This process will help employees comprehend the policies and will likely foster staff buy-in.

5. Be clear and specific. Policies should include rationales, legal support, and commentary with examples.

6. Ensure your policies conform to state and federal law.

7. Include consequences for violations in your policies and implement the consequences.

8. Provide an avenue for appeal and attend to employees’ due process rights.

9. Implement policies in an effective and non-discriminatory manner.

10. Evaluate and amend policies as the law evolves. Much of the law related to technology is in flux. What is legal today may not be tomorrow.

In sum, it is important that school employees understand that they are expected to be role models both inside and outside of the school – even while on Facebook. http://www.educationnation.com/index.cfm?objectid=72C543DE-4EA0-11E1-B607000C296BA163

Because information posted on social media can go viral, it is important to use common sense in dealing with both parents and students.

Resources:

Your School Needs a Facebook Page http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/4248

How Schools Can Use Facebook to Build an Online Community

http://mashable.com/2011/04/26/facebook-for-schools/ 

100 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom

http://www.onlinecollege.org/2009/10/20/100-ways-you-should-be-using-facebook-in-your-classroom/

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Check out Dr. Wilda’s COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART: http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/dr-wildas-new-blog-comments-from-an-old-fart/