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.”
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.