[ECP] Educational CyberPlayGround K12 Newsletters Headlines and Resources

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[ECP] Educational CyberPlayGround K-12 Newsletter

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Happy Reading for Today,


Timothy Wu wrote a provocative op-ed arguing that computer algorithms are not “speech”, on the ground that if they are, regulators would not be able to rein in antitrust or other abuses. He argues that treating search engine results as protected speech would, therefore, be harmful to comsumers. As I explain in this response, it would be a disaster for consumers if search engine results were NOT treated as speech, and indeed that, in other contexts, courts routinely protect ranking systems calculated by crunching large volumes of data using computers. And antitrust regulators regularly address speech. “Let’s fix prices” is speech, for example. It is a factual matter that needs to be determined – is Google abusing its dominant market position to favor its own products, contrary to its broadly advertised public claim that its organic results (as opposed to its sponsored links) are unbiased by lucre. The charge has been made, and various agencies are investigating. Let’s wait to see what they find. ~Paul Alan Levy It's Not Computers Whose Speech is Protected -- It's Their Owners by Paul Alan Levy Suppose a company were to design a formula to rank other companies with respect to their overall desirability to potential customers. After creating a complicated formula, the company would accumulate a database of factual information, relying largely on information gathered from the other companies, but also relying on inputs from other sources; each of these inputs would be quantified using a proprietary method; finally, the company would plug all of this quantitative data into a computer that would crunch the numbers and publish a ranking.

Anatomy of a disparity
To identify the nation's wealthiest school districts, MSNBC's 24/7 Wall St. analyzed census data for each of the more than 10,000 school districts across the United States. In the 10 richest districts, median incomes ranged from $176,000 to $238,000. By comparison, the national median household income was $52,000. Annual median incomes in the poorest districts ranged from $16,607 to $18,980, well below the national poverty line ($22,314) for a household of four. In San Perlita Independent School District in Texas, 30 percent of residents earned less than $10,000 each year. According to the National Center of Education Statistics, the wealthiest districts spend far more per pupil than the national average. The Edgemont, New York district spends more than $25,000 per student annually. In contrast, Barbourville, Kentucky spends less than one-third that amount. All of the richest districts made the 2012 U.S News & World Report Best High Schools list, except for Bronxville, which ranked fourth in Newsweek's Top 20 High Schools in the Northeast. In the richest districts, up to 90 percent of the district budget is from residents' taxes. Homeowners pay an average of $18,000 in Weston, Connecticut and $43,000 in Bronxville, New York. By comparison, as little as 6 percent of school revenue is generated by local taxes in the poorest districts, with state and federal funding making up the difference.

CFO for company that applied for the most gTLDs from ICANN, used to be CFO of ICANN
This is so outrageous you can't make its up.

204. Incentives and Responses under No Child Left Behind: Credible threats and the Role of Competition. 2012. A new paper from the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education looks at the responses of schools that did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under NCLB. Did these schools then focus on high-stakes subjects (English and math, part of AYP computations) and shift away from low-stakes subjects? To make AYP, certain percentages of students had to score above pre-designated cutoffs. Did this induce schools to focus on students scoring around the cutoffs at the expense of other students? And since only certain grades were included in AYP computations, did this shift focus from low-stakes grades to high-stakes grades? Were there differences in how different subgroups (say, advantaged versus disadvantaged) were affected? Using data from Wisconsin and regression discontinuity designs, the author found improvements in these schools in high-stakes reading, and spillover effects to low-stakes language arts, patterns consistent with a focus on marginal students around cutoff points. This did not appear to come at the expense of other students. Performance in low-stakes grades suffered, as did performance in weaker subgroups, in spite of inclusion in AYP computations. While there was no robust evidence of effects for test participation and graduation, attendance did improve in threatened schools where it mattered for AYP. Schools that failed AYP only in reading and/or math did substantially better in these subjects the next time round.

College: Grieving Father Struggles to Repay Dead Son's Massive Student Loans. On the hook for Student Loans even when dead. Despite the help of a lawyer, he has not been able to determine exactly how much he owes, or even what company holds his loans. Reynoso and his lawyer don’t even know exactly how much he now owes, but it appears to be well into the six figures. The loan that Bank of America originated is clear. A few months after he buried his son, Francisco Reynoso began getting notices in the mail. Then the debt collectors came calling.

The Corporatization of U.Va.

The purpose of a university is to create "a habit of mind," that lasts through life.
THAT is indeed what it is all about, creating a habit of mind.

A chilling effect
Approved nearly a year ago by state lawmakers and Gov. Robert Bentley, Alabama's immigration law is considered the toughest in the nation, and the state's public schools are contending with the human fallout, reports Education Week as part of its 2012 edition of Diplomas Count. The law makes it criminal for undocumented immigrants to register a vehicle or rent an apartment, and penalizes anyone who employs or houses undocumented immigrants. It also requires districts to ask new students for proof of citizenship or lawful immigration status; districts then report that information to the state education department. Educators see impacts of the law play out every day in troubling trends. For example, in Foley, Alabama, educators expect the rate at which Hispanic students are held back a grade to be as much as four times what it was last year. Though scores on state achievement tests for the current year aren't available, Foley's staff are bracing for a drop in academic growth for Hispanic and English-learner students, who have been outperforming non-Hispanic white and African-American peers for the past three years. "A child who is in fear cannot learn, and that is what we are dealing with," says William Lawrence, longtime principal of Foley Elementary. Twenty percent of Foley's 1,200 students are Latino, most of them American-born.

Children are Scared
President Obama has ordered his administration to stop deporting young immigrants who came to the U.S. as young children and who do not pose a security threat.

Vouchers safe
Congressional backers of D.C.'s private-school vouchers have struck a deal with the Obama administration to keep money and students flowing into the controversial program.

Really Fat Kids
In recent years, an uneven yet growing body of research has suggested that obesity is associated with poorer academic performance beginning as early as kindergarten.

Accountability systems that are outcome-focused
A new report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education looks at the Portfolio School District strategy employed by the Baltimore Public Schools. Under portfolio management, districts manage a portfolio of diverse schools -- through traditional district operation, charter operators, and nonprofit organizations -- and hold all schools accountable for performance. The report finds that under CEO Dr. Andrés Alonso, Baltimore City Public Schools have come a long way over the last five years in improving student achievement, granting schools more autonomy, and creating an environment friendly to innovators and new school providers. The introduction of a higher level of accountability to schools via student-based budgeting and other policy levers has helped fuel a dramatic shift in district and school culture. The district has also aggressively closed failing schools, engaged parents and community organizations, spread principal autonomy to all schools, introduced pupil-based funding, and expanded citywide choice to middle school students. However, the report has several recommendations for the district. It must develop a clear set of accountability metrics that drive school closure and charter revocation or non-renewal decisions; consistently and regularly communicate to schools and the community how it makes closure decisions; improve timing of closure announcements so that children in schools slated for closure can participate in the choice process; ensure enough high-quality seats to satisfy student need; keep consistent messaging from all district offices regarding school-level autonomy; better define and communicate expectations for schools; and consider accountability systems that are outcome-focused and open to any instructional methods provided they produce student achievement growth.

Texas Can't Get It Right
Because of low scores on the state's new end-of-course exams, or EOCs, many incoming Texas 10th-graders will have to retake them in July, landing them in summer classes to prepare - and leaving school districts with a hefty bill.

Retention - Who Will benefit?
Retention And Social Promotion. Criteria for who benefits from retention

Not good
About two-thirds of Los Angeles Unified's elementary and middle schools and three-quarters of its high schools rank among the state's lowest performing on benchmark tests.

3rd Graders in OH
A sweeping education bill proposed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich that imposes a new reading requirement for the state's third-graders and a stricter evaluation of teachers has passed the Ohio General Assembly, largely along party lines.

Uncertified Teachers Teach in Charter Schools
A new Louisiana law that allows uncertified teachers to teach in charter schools, a change in line with the goal of allowing charter schools to try new approaches to improving student performance, is drawing controversy.

"Parent Trigger" laws
The U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously endorsed "parent trigger" laws aimed at bypassing elected school boards and giving parents at the worst public schools the opportunity to band together and force immediate change.

No Business Tax Credit to Private Schools
New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch has vetoed a business tax credit passed by the Legislature that would provide students with scholarships to attend private schools, receive home-schooling or switch to a public school outside their district.

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