Best Practices

Best Practices’s Docs

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California’s two student privacy laws 2014

California has the strongest student data privacy laws in the nation. Should we model the federal Student Digital Privacy Act on them? Find out what’s covered.

K12NN Site Admin October 3, 2014 June 30, 2015 student data, student data privacy, student privacy
Washington State’s Democratic Party Opposes Common Core: How-To

Washington state’s Democratic Party passed a resolution opposing Common Core State Standards on Saturday, January 24, 2015. Here’s the text of the resolution, as well as a description of the dozen or so steps various Washington state Democratic Party insiders and affiliated people took in order to pass the resolution: Resolution Opposing Common Core State Standards WHEREAS the copyrighted (and therefore unchangeable) Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of controversial top-down K-12 academic standards that were promulgated by wealthy private interests without research-based evidence of validity and are developmentally inappropriate in the lowest grades; and WHEREAS, as a means of avoiding the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment prohibition against federal meddling in state education policy, two unaccountable private trade associations–the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)–have received millions of dollars in funding from the Gates Foundation and others to create the CCSS; and WHEREAS the U.S. Department of Education improperly pressured state legislatures into adopting the Common Core State Standards and high-stakes standardized testing based on them as a condition of competing for federal Race to the Top (RTTT) stimulus funds that should have been based on need; and WHEREAS as a result of Washington State Senate Bill 6669, which passed the State legislature on March 11, 2010, the Office of the Superintendent of Instruction (OSPI) adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS) on July 20, 2011; and WHEREAS this adoption effectively transfers control over public school standardized testing from locally elected school boards to the unaccountable corporate interests that control the CCSS and who stand to profit substantially; and WHEREAS the Washington State Constitution also calls for public education to be controlled by the State of Washington through our elected State legislature, our elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction and our elected local school boards; and WHEREAS implementation of CCSS will cost local school districts hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for standardized computer-based tests, new technology, new curricula and teacher training at a time when Washington is already insufficiently funding K-12 Basic Education without proven benefit to students; and WHEREAS some states have already withdrawn from CCSS; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we call upon the Washington State legislature and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to withdraw from the CCSS and keep K-12 education student-centered and accountable to the people of Washington State.

K12NN Site Admin January 26, 2015 January 26, 2015 Oppose Common Core, Resolution, Washington state
Basic Ed Tech Infrastructure Needs and Competency, Federal Department of Education, LAUSD Report, January 2015

Director of the Office of Education Technology Michael Culatta’s letter to the Los Angeles Unified School District serves as a basic guide to implementing teaching that uses computers to benefit a wide range of students.

K12NN Site Admin January 21, 2015 January 21, 2015 ed tech, education technology, ipads, ipads for schools, K-12, K-12 computers, LAUSD ipads, school district IT
Tennessee’s 2014 Community Schools Law

In 2014, State Representative Gloria Johnson passed a law to facilitate the creation of Community Schools in Tennessee. These schools are described in the law, Section 3.8: (8) A community school is a traditional school that actively partners with its community to leverage existing resources and identify new resources to support the transformation of the school to provide enrichment and additional life skill opportunities for students, parents, and community members at large. Each community school is unique because its programming is designed by and for the school staff, in partnership with parents, community stakeholders, and students; Social services, adult ed, health clinics, and other resources for the entire family are offered at Community Schools. See our brief description of what a Community School is in the FAQ here. Check out the University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships on Community-Student Partnerships and also from UPenn, their examples of Community-Assisted Schools.   Here’s what the law’s text says: Tennessee Community Schools Law, 2014

K12NN Site Admin January 10, 2015 January 10, 2015 Best Practices, community schools, Tennessee
WA State’s I-1351: Successful K-12 Class Size Reduction

Great news for WA state coming out of the 2014 elections! Voters there passed a class size reduction ballot initiative. Provisions include: Initiative 1351 would lower class sizes for kindergarten through 12th grade and create 25,000 more jobs, including about 7,400 for teachers. The state Office of Financial Management estimates the measure would cost $4.7 billion through 2019. Mostly supported by teachers’ unions, the measure would establish limits for class sizes – 17 students for kindergarten through 3rd grade and 25 students for grades 4 through 12. Low-income schools would have smaller classes. Read about the margin of voter approval and other details having to do with the funding requirements to support this new policy change here. Bill text from the state of Washington is attached as a pdf.

K12NN Site Admin November 13, 2014 November 13, 2014 class size reduction, laws (passed)
High School Student-Led, On-Campus Voter Reg & Education Laws

As of this writing (November 2014), 10 states have laws to enable 17-year olds to pre-register, or in some cases, to enable students to lead peer-to-peer, campus-based voter registration efforts. See here: Several states, including Connecticut, Iowa, Florida, Maine, Wisconsin, Missouri and Texas – now allow 17-year-olds to pre-register. In Hawaii, 16-year-olds may pre-register so that their voter status is automatically activated when they turn 18. Wisconsin, according to a report from New America Foundation, reaches out to young voters through a state law establishing at every high school a “registration deputy,” filled by a volunteering teacher or staff member. The article further discusses how it works in California: The statute also reiterates that the last two full weeks in the months of April and September – now known as “high school voter weeks” – be designated as “high school voter education weeks,” and it authorizes each school administrator to name one or more students as voter outreach coordinators to encourage student registration during that time. “We know that when young people experience the importance of voting and a culture of civic engagement in high school, they are much more likely to be active voters once they are eligible,” Secretary of State Debra Bowen said in a statement last week. “We also know peer-to-peer education is one of the most effective ways to develop students’ interest in democracy, and we’ve seen wonderful examples of it throughout the state.” Getting the word out to the state’s nearly 2,000 schools with grades 9 to 12, however, may be the more difficult task. And, even then, planning and coordinating a school-wide voter registration event takes a willing administrator and an active student council to see it through. If your state does NOT yet have a law like this, maybe it’s time to work toward one. The way to combat voter suppression and caging is to make sure we always have a new crop of freshly registered voters who are conversant in civics and understand all aspects of the democratic process. Additional resources and reports: Project Vote has great sample legislation, research, and recommended practices for putting into place high school voter registration programs. League of Women Voters has a comprehensive toolkit and high school voter registration training manual, current as of 2013. Fair Vote has an abundance of resources in general and a very interesting section on the ability of state-recognized parties to permit 17 year olds to participate in partisan primaries and caucuses.

K12NN Site Admin November 7, 2014 November 8, 2014 high school voter registration
California: SSPI Tom Torlakson’s Greatness By Design vision of the teaching profession

In 2012, when the state of California was only just starting to emerge from the depths of the Great Recession and our millionaire’s tax ballot initiative to fund public education had not yet passed, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the results of a study he conducted that identifies the ways he plans to improve the career path for teachers at public schools. The long-term study is a plan to introduce more steps on the career ladder for teachers so that they can be recognized as master teachers in the classroom and also master teachers of other teachers. It’s called Greatness By Design. Torlakson explored best practices in several high-achieving countries that have student/family demographics similar to that of California. He gathered and sifted all the information together to drive forward a new vision of the teaching profession and the ways the state of California could support and develop new and seasoned teachers. Diversity, retention, reliance on research-backed and proven best practices, peer mentoring, resources to support teaching professionals, and continuing reflection on and perfection of one’s craft are central to Greatness By Design. See below for the full report. California Department of Education: Greatness By Design

K12NN Site Admin September 19, 2014 September 19, 2014
Vermont Resolution Against High Stakes Testing

Vermont was known for administering its state standardized test in October, which I thought was brilliant. It truly made the test diagnostic, because teachers and parents had the information from tests to work on all year long. Now Vermont has taken another bold step: in late July, 2014, it announced the State Board of Education had approved a resolution that rejects high-stakes testing under NCLB and instead urges that “multiple and qualitative assessments” be used to evaluate student work. So why don’t more states adopt this resolution? I’ve attached below and linked to the pdf of the resolution.

K12NN Site Admin September 18, 2014 September 18, 2014 State Board of Education resolutions, Vermont
California: Strongest Student Privacy Bills to Become Law? (2014)

The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that SB 1177, if signed into law, could become the nation’s most stringent student privacy law. It regulates “operators” (vendors) and what they may do with regard to student data. It says that any student data generated belongs to the district. Does it define testing companies as “operators”? Remains to be seen. Does it enable high-stakes testing? Perhaps. It may need revisiting to actually build in provisions to slow or halt HST. It’s a good start, at least. This piece from TechWire is an excellent overview of both SB1177 and AB1584. AB1584 spells out what the responsibilities are of local education agencies (LEAs) are to families and students regarding student privacy. For example, AB1584 requires that LEAs: Do establish that the local educational agency owns and controls student records. Do describe how students can keep control of their projects and other content created for school, along with a way to transfer their content to a personal account later. Do prohibit third parties from using student information for purposes outside of those named in the contract. Do describe how parents, legal guardians or students can review and correct personally identifiable information contained in their records. Do outline actions that third parties will take to make sure that student data is secure and confidential. Do describe procedures for notifying affected parents, legal guardians or eligible students when there is an unauthorized disclosure of student records. Do certify that student records will not be retained or available to the third party once the contract is over and lay out how that will be enforced. Do describe how local educational agencies and third parties will comply with the federal FERPA legislation. Do prohibit third parties from using personally identifiable information from student records to target advertising to students. Clearly our federal hole-riddled FERPA law needs updating. Anyway, here’s a link to actual bill text for both SB1177 and AB1584: SB1177 AB1584

K12NN Site Admin September 18, 2014 September 18, 2014
Public School Districts Fight Back Against Privatization With District-Based, All-Public “Schools of Choice”

Read more about the way Grand Prairie ISD has developed schools organized around themes (like magnet schools, but with no entry tests or applications) and shown versatility in offering programs that appeal to families in the community — all done as fully public, civil rights and IDEA-compliant taxpayer-funded and publicly-accountable schools.

K12NN Site Admin January 11, 2013 January 11, 2013 school reform, varied curriculum
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