Archives for category: Technology, Computers

Remember the Néw York Times story about the tech executives in California who send their own children to a no-tech Waldorf school?

Look at this:

“Please comment on this and help stop before it starts. This has to be stopped before these are turned into laws. This is how bad it is getting in Connecticut.

“HIGH-STAKES testing BEFORE Kindergarten…..Keyboarding instruction in Kindergarten. God help these children:



Ramon Cortines, interim superintendent of schools in Los Angeles, said that the district can’t afford to buy iPads or computers for every student and staff member. This is a repudiation of his predecessor John Deasy’s signal initiative, which was couched as a civil rights issue.

“Los Angeles Unified School Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said Friday the district cannot afford to provide a computer to every student, signaling a major reversal for his predecessor’s ill-fated $1.3-billion effort to distribute iPads to all students, teachers and school administrators.

“Instead, Cortines said, the L.A. Unified School District will try to provide computers to students when needed for instruction and testing.

“I don’t believe we can afford a device for every student,” said Cortines, who added that the district never had a fleshed-out framework for how the devices would be used in the classroom and paid for over time.

“Education shouldn’t become the gimmick of the year,” Cortines said in a meeting Friday with several reporters.”

Rachel Levy sent out an alarm about terrible legislation proposed in Virginia.

Evidently the Republicans in the legislature have been taking their marching orders from ALEC. ALEC wants deregulation of schools. It would like a free market in education, with charters, vouchers, and public schools chasing dollars and students. ALEC doesn’t believe that local school boards will approve enough charters, so ALEC recommends that governors create commissions that can override local resistance to charters. Thus ALEC prefers Big Government and is quite happy to crush local control.

There are other parts of this legislation and other bills that are odious. Unfortunately, a bill to decrease the number of required state tests was defeated.

If you live in Virginia, now is the time to get active. Let your elected representatives hear you!

Five districts and the California School Boards Association are suing the state for $1 billion to recover the cost of computers and other technology needed for Common Core testing. They say the state must pay for unfunded mandates. The state says the districts must pay to comply with federal law.

The irony is that Arne Duncan keeps saying that the Common Core was developed by the states and is not a federal program. It is surely not mandated by NCLB.

Leonie Haimson lists here the best and worst education events of 2014.

She cites the demise of inBloom as one of the best and the Vergara decision as one of the worst.

What would you add to her list?

Tony Talbert was a professor at Baylor when he decided to spend his sabbatical teaching high school so he would be better at preparing teachers.

“My return to high school allowed me to encounter students who considered digital technology not simply a tool for a specific task but instead a context for living and engaging in the world around them. It quickly became clear to me that the high school students I was teaching in 2013 ordered and perceived their world in a significantly different manner than the high school students I once taught more than two decades past.

“The old teaching and learning paradigm where technology is a tool to be used for a singular purpose and then put away until it is needed again had made way for a new paradigm where technology is a context without a beginning and without an end. Simply put, in the lives of my high school students digital technology was an extension of themselves. Therefore, it was with this reality that I as teacher had to find a way to incorporate this new paradigm into my lesson planning and teaching method in order to more meaningfully inform and transform the minds and lives of my students.”

Now the trick will be for teachers and students to use technology thoughtfully and not become part of the technology industry’s bottom line.

Chris Rowan, a pediatric occupational therapist, wants governors, schools, and parents to ban the use of handheld electronic devices for children under the age of 12.

Rowan lists ten reasons why he believes that these devices impair children’s healthy development.

Among the negative effects, he says, are attention deficit disorder, obesity, increased impulsivity, delayed cognitive development, sleep deprivation, mental illness, aggression, decreased concentration, and exposure to radiationeission.

What do you think?

The Network for Public Education shares the widespread sentiment that testing has gotten out of control, consuming too much time in the classroom and narrowing the curriculum.


In this post, NPE endorses a new initiative to protect children from invasions of their privacy by online testing, which these days is collecting confidential information that may be shared with vendors and other third parties without parental consent.


Last weekend brought exciting news from our friends at United Opt Out and Student Privacy Matters. Recently Student Privacy Matters, an organization comprised of a national coalition of parents, co-chaired by NPE Board Member and Class Size Matters Executive Director Leonie Haimson, and Colorado parent Rachael Stickland, released information related to the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).


COPPA states that parents of children under the age of 13 not only have a right to know what online information is being collected from their children, they have a right to opt them out of any online program that their child participates in at school, including online testing.


UOO believes that COPPA may be the key to a national opt out strategy. Last weekend UOO’s Peg Robertson, also know as blogger Peg with Pen, wrote the following:


This has serious implications for the Opt Out movement. As PARCC and SBAC and other online tests roll out we have a national strategy that can be used, for all children under age 13, as we opt out/refuse the tests. Currently, any other online programs and online testing in use for under age 13 can be halted. We know that there will be many questions to answer as we move forward with this strategy – understand that the only way to get our questions answered is to try it. Let’s do this.



Student Privacy Matters has provided sample letters to send to your child’s school to get information regarding what on-line programs are in use, as well as to opt them out off those programs. UOO recommends using the sample opt out letter to opt children under 13 out of the upcoming PARCC tests, which will be mostly administered online.


NPE will follow developments on this exciting potential opt out/refusal strategy, and provide updates as they become available.


For more information, open the link and read more about the organizations and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Stephane Simon has written an in-depth article about the tech industry’s campaign to promote the tech industry.

Politico writes:

“CODING CONFLICTS OF INTEREST?: A PR campaign that featured an appearance from President Barack Obama on Monday to promote computer science education is raising questions about the motives of the tech-company funders and the growing influence of corporations in public schools. The $30 million campaign touting the need to train more employees for the industry is financed by companies like Microsoft, Google and Amazon – even as tech giants lobby Congress for more H-1B visas to bring in foreign programmers. Courses through the campaign’s marketer, the nonprofit, have not been formally tested but are making their way into tens of thousands of classrooms nationwide. And the coalition is pushing more than a dozen states to count computer science classes toward high school math or science graduation requirements.”

Simon writes:

““Nowhere else in education do we start by saying ‘We have a need for this in the K-5 curriculum because there are good industry jobs at Google,’” said Joanna Goode, an associate professor at the University of Oregon who works on computer science education. “I’m not doing this work to train Google employees.”
Such skepticism hasn’t slowed the industry’s momentum. Founded just last year, created three introductory programming courses for students in elementary and middle school in a matter of months. The curriculum has not been formally tested — but already, about 60,000 classrooms nationwide already have committed to using it….

“Silicon Valley CEOs have complained for years about a huge shortage of qualified programmers. In its “National Talent Strategy” released in 2012, Microsoft said it had 3,400 unfilled jobs in the U.S. for researchers, developers and engineers. And Zuckerberg has said that Facebook aims “literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find,” because they’re in short supply.

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists numerous categories of computer services as among the fastest-growing careers in the country; those jobs are also generally well-paid.

“Skeptics, however, aren’t convinced that there’s a real shortage — and suggest that tech companies are simply eager to bump up the supply in order to keep their labor costs down.
They note that salaries in the IT industry have not increased, in real terms, since the late 1990s — unlike salaries in other fields, such as petroleum engineering, where the labor market was undeniably tight. Furthermore, only about two-thirds of students who earn college degrees in computer and information sciences take jobs in that field within a year of graduation, according to an analysis by Hal Salzman, a professor of planning and public policy at Rutgers University.”

Read more:


Jeb Bush is one of the biggest boosters of online learning, virtual charters, and graduation requirements for online courses. His Foundation for Educational Excellence is funded in large part by the tech industry.

This is a shocker. FBI agents raided LAUSD offices and carted off 20 boxes of documents related to former Superintendent John Deasy’s controversial $1.3 billion iPad deal.


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