FROM Stephanie Simon
The Big Business of Education When the program to give iPads to every LAUSD student fell apart, the name Pearson kept popping up in the news. Pearson supplied the digital curriculum on those tablets. But the 140 million dollar contract was scuttled when an investigation revealed a sweetheart deal between school officials and Pearson. Cozy relationships are nothing new for Pearson, according to a new investigation from Politico. The company has its finger in every piece of the American education pie. It makes billions from states on testing deals, online curricula, textbooks, and school turnaround plans. And it scores many of those deals without going through a competitive bidding process .
Protecting Student Data President Obama called for new legislation today aimed at protecting student data. Digital education products like tablets, Internet-connected software, and apps are becoming more commonplace in classrooms.That’s good news for raising tech-savvy kids, but it could also expose students to commercial data mining. We discuss what the new federal law would do, and the already-existing California law it’s based on.
Teacher "MoneyBall": Can Big Data Weed Out the Winners? Everyone from the federal government to students agree that high quality teachers are a top priority of school reform. No one seems to agree however on how to define exactly what makes a teacher successful. Enter Big Data. Now school districts across the country are hiring consulting firms that use data-driven screening tools to identify the superstars among the teacher rank and file, and some education advocates are calling foul. Stephanie Simon is the senior education reporter for Politico .
Partisan Politics and Public Education More than 1,000 kids from a dozen high schools joined teachers and parents last week on the streets of Jefferson County, a large and politically important suburban area outside Denver. As a result, the County’s elected school board may be re-thinking plans for Advance Placement in American history.
Do Public School Teachers Deserve Failing Grades? A judge in Los Angeles made national headlines last week when he ruled that tenure and seniority rules protect bad teachers and make them almost impossible to fire. He found that ineffective teachers end up in troubled neighborhoods, where they deprive poor and minority children of their constitutional right to an equal education. He said, “the evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.” Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and other “reformers” are celebrating a victory for the “rights of students.” Teachers’ unions insist they're not the real villains, calling it “another attempt by… special interests to privatize public education.”
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Trump's new look at civil rights and global warming President Trump is reportedly ready to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We look at the possible consequences. On the second half of the program, we hear about cuts in Obama-Era civil rights programs called for by the Trump Administration's first budget plan.