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Monday, July 08, 2013

Ed News Roundup

Remember that thinking, after the mass killings at an elementary school earlier this year, that we should arm teachers and staff at our schools?  Well, Kansas passed a law allowing teachers and others to be armed.  Guess what the problem is? Via TPM:

An insurance company based in Iowa has refused to renew coverage for Kansas schools that permit teachers and staff to carry concealed firearms on campus, the Des Moines Register reported on Sunday.

EMC Insurance Cos. made the decision after Kansas enacted a new law to allow the concealed guns on campus. The company told the newspaper the decision was based on financial policy, not politics. The company reportedly covers 85 to 90 percent of Kansas school districts.

"We’ve been writing school business for almost 40 years, and one of the underwriting guidelines we follow for schools is that any on-site armed security should be provided by uniformed, qualified law enforcement officers,” Mick Lovell, EMC’s vice president for business development, told the Des Moines Register. “Our guidelines have not recently changed.” 

So is the solution that instead of giving our teachers professional development in teaching, we give them arms training?

Charlie reported this one in a comment but it's worth reposting.  From the News Tribune:

The usual complaint about the Legislature is that it creates policies without funding them.

This session broke new ground, however. The Legislature funded a major new policy in public education but then failed to authorize it. Unfunded mandates have become funded nonmandates.

Yup, they funded the 24-credit high school diploma but not the legislation for it.

Missing from the list of supporters, though, is the Washington State House of Representatives and the Washington State Senate. Both failed to pass legislation authorizing the state board to require school districts to have 24-credit high school programs. And that failure means it will not be in place in time for the high school class of 2018.

What can B.F. Skinner teach us about the wave of the future of teaching, namely, technology?  From Ed Week:

 Skinner:

With this machine, the student sees a bit of text or other printed material. As soon as the student has finished his response he operates the machine and learns immediately whether he was right or wrong. This is a great improvement over the system in which papers are corrected by a teacher, where the student must wait, perhaps til another day, to learn whether or not what he has written is right. Such immediate knowledge has two principle effects. It leads most rapidly to the formation of correct behavior. The student quickly learns to be right. But there is also a motivating effect. The student is free of uncertainty or anxiety about his success or failure. His work is pleasurable. He does not have to force himself to study. A classroom in which machines are being used is usually the scene of intense concentration.
Ed Week:
Computers are, of course, useful tools. And they have a place in the classroom as well. But there are good reasons that in the decade following Dr. Skinner's unveiling of his teaching machine that they did not spread beyond a few lab schools.

For our students, this is not, by and large, an innovation that empowers. While computers can lead them through the steps to learn certain skills, there are places that only a good teacher can take them.

A video featuring an incredibly articulate 12-year Egyptian boy - who will be president someday - he even questions why there are so few women in their legislature and why men can beat their wives in the name of discipline.  Apparently someone was paying attention in school.   He says, "I use my own brain."


Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/07/07/2668662/money-aside-legislature-missed.html#emlnl=Peter_Callaghan#storylink=

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/07/07/2668662/money-aside-legislature-missed.html#emlnl=Peter_Callaghan#storylink=cpy

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