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.”
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.