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Monday, August 20, 2018

Healthy Kids Survey Results - Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

Healthy Kids Survey Results - Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent Torlakson Announces Results of Healthy Kids Survey at Public Schools

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use continues to decline among middle and high school students, and improvements have occurred in indicators of pupil engagement, school climate, and mental health among high school students, according to the 2015–17 Biennial State California Healthy Kids Survey.
The survey assesses how well schools are meeting students’ needs for school safety, drug and alcohol prevention, mental health, and other factors that influence learning and positive development.
Conducted every two years since 1985, the survey provides insights for educators and health professionals about how to improve services for students.
The California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) coordinated the survey of a representative, random sample of seventh, ninth, and eleventh graders statewide.
"This is the largest statewide survey in the nation to identify the needs of adolescents and how well our schools are meeting those needs. It increases our understanding of how students feel about school and how they rank their school environment," said Torlakson, who started his career as a high school science teacher and coach.
"The more we can meet the needs of the whole child, including their social and emotional health and mental health needs, the more we can help them succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college. The improvements in academic motivation and school climate indicators suggest that the state’s requirement that school districts address these factors as part of their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP) may already be working. However, most of these school climate improvements occurred among seventh graders, pointing to the need to enhance our efforts in high schools to address this LCAP priority."
DHCS Director Jennifer Kent added, "The California Healthy Kids Survey helps behavioral health agencies, school-based health programs, and community organizations harness support for youth prevention programs, and helps to justify the sustainability of these programs over time by showing real prevention successes to funders and stakeholders."
The survey results have indicated a general decreasing trend in alcohol and marijuana use since 2011–13. Current use of alcohol, binge drinking, and marijuana use among eleventh graders decreased by four points. Lifetime marijuana use dropped by seven points. Nevertheless, use of marijuana was reported by 17 percent of eleventh graders, only six percentage points lower than for alcohol.
“We must continue to be diligent in our efforts to prevent, or at least limit, marijuana use in light of the potential effect of the legalization for adults as a result of the passage of Proposition 64 two years ago,” Torlakson said. 
The results also show pronounced improvements in all grades in academic motivation (by seven points in seventh grade) and across indicators of bullying and victimization at school. Experiencing any harassment is down more than six points in 9th grade, to 31 percent.
Among seventh graders, but not among high school students, there were also increases in school connectedness and perceived safety.  Perceived school safety even declined in eleventh graders by more than four points. Only six in ten high school students now feel their school is safe or very safe.
Also noteworthy, two indicators of mental health—chronic, debilitating sadness and suicide contemplation—both improved among ninth and eleventh graders after showing little change in the last survey. It is still disturbing that three in ten high school students appear to suffer from chronic sadness and about one-sixth have contemplated suicide. 
 “Although, overall, there are many positive survey findings, our state’s high schools clearly need to do more to be safer, more supportive, and more engaging,” Torlakson added.
CDE and DHCS are working together to ensure even further improvements over the next two years. Educators, prevention specialists, youth service providers, and health agencies will collaboratively focus more attention to better meet the needs of youth and help them thrive and succeed.
Survey results are available at the 16th Biennial Statewide SurveyExternal link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) website.
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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Healthy Kids Survey Results - Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

Teachers in the US are even more segregated than students #educlor

Teachers in the US are even more segregated than students

Teachers in the US are even more segregated than students

Editor's Note: 
This post is part of "Teacher diversity in America," a series from the Brown Center on Education Policy that examines minority underrepresentation among public educators in the U.S.
An increasing amount of evidence shows that alignment in the racial or ethnic identity of teachers and students is associated with a range of positive student outcomes, from test scores to disciplinary actions to teacher expectations. Due to the underrepresentation of teachers of color in the current workforce, minority students stand to disproportionally benefit from efforts to increase teacher diversity.
With this evidence, it is easy for many practitioners and policymakers to take a next logical step, concluding that, because minority students tend to benefit uniquely from diverse teachers, teachers of color will be most beneficial in schools serving large numbers of minority students. Thus, any new teachers of color are often steered (whether covertly or overtly) toward high-minority schools. Taken to an extreme, given the tenacious grip of racial segregation on America’s schools, we could have a school system where the teacher workforce is every bit as diverse as its students—and perhaps every bit as segregated.
In addition to the risk of creating a racially segregated workforce, the logical leap above is misguided for at least two reasons. First, it ignores the evidence showing that teachers of color benefit white students—perhaps not always through test scores, but through pro-social beliefs and attitudes. Second, schools serving large numbers of minority students already tend to have the most racially diverse workforces, while many students of color in predominantly white schools have virtually no exposure to teachers of color.
As districts and states across the country pursue racial and ethnic diversity among teachers, we should pay attention to how teachers of color are distributed to avoid creating another layer of school segregation.
As districts and states across the country pursue racial and ethnic diversity among teachers, we should pay attention to how teachers of color are distributed to avoid creating another layer of school segregation. After briefly contextualizing segregation and its manifestations in schools, we report our findings that teachers are even more segregated than students in the U.S., suggesting the need for a new framework around the hiring of nonwhite teachers.


School segregation does not exist in a vacuum, but is part of an interconnected structure of segregation that extends to residence and employment. Residential segregation can be primarily attributed not to self-segregation of minority racial groups but instead to decades of federal policy that prevented nonwhite families from acquiring mortgages, redlining practices, the strategic placement of interstates and highways throughout the 20th century, and individual actions of white families. Employment segregation takes the form of predominantly white jobs having an average salary four times higher than that of heavily black or Hispanic jobs. Furthermore, a 2017 meta-analysis of callback rates for fake resumes with racially coded names reveals the continued presence of simple employment discrimination.

Each of these factors significantly influences the racial segregation of Continue reading: Teachers in the US are even more segregated than students
Big Education Ape: Black Lives Matter in Our Schools: Developing an Anti-Racist Pedagogy – I AM AN EDUCATOR -

Elizabeth Warren questions the hiring of for-profit-college officials at the Education Department - The Washington Post

Elizabeth Warren questions the hiring of for-profit-college officials at the Education Department - The Washington Post

Elizabeth Warren questions the hiring of for-profit-college officials at the Education Department

Updated with response from Education Department.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is asking Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to explain the hiring of two officials with ties to the for-profit-college industry, questioning their roles and potential conflicts of interest.
Warren, a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, sent a letter to DeVoson Friday raising concerns about Robert S. Eitel and Taylor Hansen. Eitel, as first reported in the New York Times, has taken unpaid leave from Bridgepoint Education, an operator of for-profit colleges where he works as an attorney, to serve as a special assistant to DeVos. Hansen, a former lobbyist at the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (now called Career Education Colleges and Universities), told ProPublica that he was hired on a temporary basis at the department.
Their appointments come as the Education Department has extended the deadline for career schools and community colleges that provide vocational training to submit appeals under the gainful employment rule. The controversial regulation threatens to withhold federal financial aid from institutions whose graduates are unable to earn enough to repay their student loans.

For-profit colleges have lobbied against the rule for years, arguing that it unfairly targets the sector and would ultimately hurt the low-income students they educate. Their protests fell on deaf ears during the Obama administration, but the Trump administration and congressional Republicans have taken up the cause with promises to roll back the rule.
In her letter, Warren questions the timing of the extension and Hansen’s hiring because he lobbied against the gainful rule, according to the Senate Office of Public Records Lobbying Disclosure databases. She said his “recent employment history clearly calls into question his impartiality in dealing with higher education issues at the Department of Education, and raises alarming conflicts of interest concerns.”

Hansen, she added, also may have other conflicts of interest related to the student loan program because his father, Bill Hansen, is president of United Student Aid Funds, a company that collects education debt. The Continue reading: Elizabeth Warren questions the hiring of for-profit-college officials at the Education Department - The Washington Post

Schools are using AI to track their students — Quartz

Schools are using AI to track their students — Quartz
Schools are using AI to track what students write on their computers

Over 50 million k-12 students will go back to school in the US this month. For many of them using a school computer, every word they type will be tracked.
Under the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), any US school that receives federal funding is required to have an internet-safety policy. As school-issued tablets and Chromebook laptops become more commonplace, schools must install technological guardrails to keep their students safe. For some, this simply means blocking inappropriate websites. Others, however, have turned to software companies like GaggleSecurly, and GoGuardian to surface potentially worrisome communications to school administrators.
These Safety Management Platforms (SMPs) use natural-language processing to scan through the millions of words typed on school computers. If a word or phrase might indicate bullying or self-harm behavior, it gets surfaced for a team of humans to review.
In an age of mass school-shootings and increased student suicides, SMPs can play a vital role in preventing harm before it happens. Each of these companies has case studies where an intercepted message helped save lives. But the software also raises ethical concerns about the line between protecting students’ safety and protecting their privacy. 
“A good-faith effort to monitor students keeps raising the bar until you have a sort of surveillance state in the classroom,” Girard Kelly, the director of privacy review at Common Sense Media, a non-profit that promotes internet-safety education for children, told Quartz. “Not only are there metal detectors and cameras in the schools, but now their learning objectives and emails are being tracked too.”

The debate around SMPs sits at the intersection of two topics of national interest—protecting schools and protecting data. As more and more schools go one-to-one, the industry term for assigning every student a device of their own, the need to protect students’ digital lives is only going to increase. Over 50% of teachers say their schools are one-to-one, according to a 2017 survey from Freckle Education, meaning there’s a huge market to tap into.
But even in an age of student suicides and school shootings, when do security precautions start to infringe on students’ freedoms?

Safety, managed

The most popular SMPs all work slightly differently. Gaggle, which charges roughly $5 per student annually, is a filter on top of popular tools like Google Docs and Gmail. When the Gaggle algorithm surfaces a word or phrase that may be of concern—like a mention of drugs or signs of cyberbullying—the “incident” gets sent to human reviewers before being passed on to the school. Securly goes one step beyond classroom tools and gives schools the option to perform sentiment analysis on students’ public social media posts. Using AI, the software is able to process thousands of student tweets, posts, and status updates to look for signs of harm. 
Kelly thinks SMPs help normalize surveillance from a young age. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal at Facebook and other recent data breaches from companies like Equifax, we have the opportunity to teach kids the importance of protecting their online data, he said.
“There should be a whole gradation of how this [software] should work,” Daphne Keller, the director of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society (and mother of two), told Quartz. “We should be able to Continue reading: Schools are using AI to track their students — Quartz

As students return to school, US teachers face nationwide struggle to defend education - World Socialist Web Site

As students return to school, US teachers face nationwide struggle to defend education - World Socialist Web Site
As students return to school, US teachers face nationwide struggle to defend education

As the new school year begins across the United States, teachers are angry and determined. None of the demands teachers and school employees raised in last spring’s strikes and protests in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado and North Carolina have been met. Many of the supposed gains touted by the teachers’ unions have proven to be fictitious, and next to nothing has been done to restore the billions of dollars in education cuts carried out over the past decade.
West Virginia teachers protesting on the steps of the state capitol in Charleston
It has not taken long for the claims of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Education Association (NEA) and their pseudo-left allies such as the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the International Socialist Organization (ISO) that the spring struggles resulted in “victories” to be exposed as lies.
In each state, teachers are returning to school facing broken promises. In West Virginia, there is no fix for health care funding under the Public Employee Insurance Agency. In Arizona, the $1 billion in school funding has not been restored and wage increases for many teachers have fallen far short of the contract terms announced by the unions.
As the new school term begins, contract battles are ongoing in Seattle and Spokane, Washington. Teachers in the Los Angeles United School District, the second largest in the US, have been working without a contract for a year and negotiations are at an impasse. In New York City, the United Federation of Teachers has agreed to work under an expired contract until after the midterm elections, pointedly avoiding any action in November that might prove embarrassing to Democratic Party candidates. Unions are similarly forcing educators to work under expired or extended contracts in other locations such as Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California.
The conditions are emerging for teachers to link up their struggles with those of hundreds of thousands of other workers in the US and internationally. Some 230,000 United Parcel Service workers, who voted by more than 90 percent to strike when their contract expired on July 31, are battling a conspiracy between the company and the Teamsters union, which extended the contract indefinitely in an effort to force through a sellout that establishes a second tier of lower-paid “hybrid” driver-warehouse workers and maintains poverty wages for the bulk of the workforce.
Some 200,000 postal workers face contract expiration in September, and contracts will soon expire for steel, telecom and entertainment workers.
A report by the Brookings Institution looked at teachers’ salaries and per-pupil spending on a state-by-state basis and concluded that conditions were “favorable” this fall for statewide teachers’ strikes in such largely nonunion states as Mississippi, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, New Mexico, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah. Brookings added that growing calls for action have been reported in Indiana and Texas. An Education Weekblog predicted that Louisiana would be next.
As school doors open, what is the state of education in America?
• According to Education Week, the average teacher in 30 states makes less than a “livable wage.” One in five holds down a second job to make ends meet; many have three jobs. In rural Colorado districts, the earnings of 95 percent of teachers are less than the cost of living.
• In addition to spending hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets for school supplies, teachers are using charity appeals through crowdsourcing sites to Continue reading: As students return to school, US teachers face nationwide struggle to defend education - World Socialist Web Site