Monday, November 25, 2013

Education News Roundup

Locally (and thanks to reader Carolyn), news from Real Change newspaper about getting food to needy students for the weekends. 

While the kids of John Hay Elementary School play outside, LaRock carries bags of food into classrooms and surreptitiously slips them into the backpacks of 15 kids at the 500-student school on Queen Anne Hill.

Each bag contains cans of soup, crackers, tuna, granola bars and fresh fruit. There’s enough food to get a student through the next two days: two breakfasts, two lunches, three dinners and snacks.  Administrators slip the food into backpacks when students are outside of the classroom to avoid stigmatizing the students receiving the help.

So anti-hunger nonprofits decided to stop relying on parents to get the food from the food bank and instead bring it directly to the kids to take home.  The Queen Anne Helpline and the West Seattle Food Bank launched their programs in November at a handful of neighborhood schools, and hope to expand them to more schools.

Speaking of poverty, a great article from the Huffington Post (with graphs) about the effects of poverty on student test scores.  

LAUSD's giant plan of an iPad for every student (complete with Pearson content) continues to have issues.  One thing to consider from this story is the issue of technology versus other capital needs (like building renovation and upkeep).  From Diane Ravitch's blog:

The initial cost estimate was $1 billion for hardware, software, and content. The money was mostly taken from a 25-year school,construction bond issue. So, instead of repairing schools, students will have iPads for Common Core testing. 

Hiltzik points out that in three years, the lease on the Pearson content will expire and must be purchased again for another $60 million.  Also, the iPads will be obsolete in 3-4 years and must be replaced. 

The LA Times' Michael Hiltzik weighs in:

“The aspect of technology-based teaching that never gets the attention it deserves is the cost of ownership. Tablets need to be fixed or replaced, for hundreds of dollars a shot. And as the LAUSD has discovered, software isn’t forever. Think of the teachers and real pedagogical tools that could be paid for with $60 million a year, and how much added value they’d provide to students.

From The Washington Post's The Answer Sheet, good basic info on how the striking down of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and the effects on school districts. 

School boards, school system human resource departments, payroll departments, benefit administrators, employees, employee associations, and third-party administrators should be interested. The ruling affects employee benefits, and plan and policy administration.

A good overview of parental rights and public education via U.S. Supreme Court decisions from the HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association).  

The Supreme Court of the United States has traditionally and continuously upheld the principle that parents have the fundamental right to direct the education and upbringing of their children. A review of cases taking up the issue shows that the Supreme Court has unwaveringly given parental rights the highest respect and protection possible.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thurgood Marshall has TuTu's Pantry. 40 students take a second backpack home every Friday filled with food. I think they are in the 5th year of this program. The school community and a nearby church help to fill these backpacks every Friday during the school year.

A TuTu's Helper.....

Anonymous said...

The Hunger Intervention Program (HIP) provides Healthy HIP Packs to kids at John Rogers, Olympic Hills, and Viewlands. www.hungerintervention.org.

- North-end Mom

Dave said...

The Seattle District has the largest commercial kitchen on the West coast in the Stanford Center. South Kitsap sends 3,000 backpacks of food hoe each week (as of last February). You'd think someone could come up with the necessary funds to institute a district wide program here.

Where are Bill Gates and Nick Hanauer when they could actually be helping poor kids?

The City pays window dressing to helping students, where are they for something worthwhile like this?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Great to hear this is larger than just the one school in the article but the sadness is that there are that many hungry kids.

Anonymous said...

Ballard Food Bank provides food for kids on weekends at all Ballard area Elementary schools.

-slp

Anonymous said...

One of the bigger stories of the week is the potential closing of the Childhaven preschools. This could have quite an effect on both universal preschool provided by the city and the need for special education preschool services provided by the school district.
Harborgirl

Anonymous said...

Eckstein is sending home 100 backpacks a week, plus some extras mid-week. Donations pay for the food from University District Food Bank. You can sponsor a family for the year. They have a toiletries 'store' monthly. Also, teachers delivering Thanksgiving food baskets to families tomorrow. Hoping this program transitions to JAMS as many of these needy kids will.

- eckstein parent