Category Archives: Schools K-12

Impairing Education

Source: Human Rights Watch, 2009

From the summary:
In this 70-page report, the ACLU and Human Rights Watch found that students with disabilities made up 18.8 percent of students who suffered corporal punishment at school during the 2006-2007 school year, although they constituted just 13.7 percent of the total nationwide student population. At least 41,972 students with disabilities were subjected to corporal punishment in US schools during that year. These numbers probably undercount the actual rate of physical discipline, since not all instances are reported or recorded.

Five New IES Reports from the National Center for Education Statistics

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey, June 2009

In the mid-1980’s, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) conducted a number of separate surveys concerning schools and school personnel. In 1985, NCES undertook a critical review of its elementary and secondary school data system, identifying gaps in content and in design. As a result of this review, NCES redesigned the SASS survey system to emphasize teacher demand and shortage, teacher and administrator characteristics, school programs, and general conditions in schools. SASS also collects data on many other topics, including principals’ and teachers’ perceptions of school climate and problems in their schools; teacher compensation; district hiring practices and basic characteristics of the student population.

The National Center for Education Statistics within the Institute of Education Sciences has released five Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) reports. SASS is a nationally representative sample survey of public, private, and Bureau of Indian Education-funded (BIE) K-12 schools, principals, and teachers in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. School districts associated with public schools and library media centers in public and BIE schools are also part of SASS.

Characteristics of Public School Districts in the United States: Results From the 2007-08 Schools and Staffing Survey
Characteristics of Public, Private, and Bureau of Indian Education Elementary and Secondary Schools in the United States: Results From the 2007-08 Schools and Staffing Survey
Characteristics of Public and Bureau of Indian Education Elementary and Secondary School Library Media Centers in the United States: Results From the 2007-08 Schools and Staffing Survey
Characteristics of Public, Private, and Bureau of Indian Education Elementary and Secondary School Principals in the United States: Results From the 2007-08 Schools and Staffing Survey
Characteristics of Public, Private, and Bureau of Indian Education Elementary and Secondary School Teachers in the United States: Results From the 2007-08 Schools and Staffing Survey

Follow the Stimulus Money

Source: Education Week, 2009

The following provides national and state-by-state breakdowns of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that has been budgeted for distribution by the U.S. Department of Education, based on estimates by the department. These amounts, which are rounded to the nearest whole number, do not include funds that are to be awarded through competitive grants, such as the Race to the Top fund and the Investing in What Works and Innovation grants.

Infection Control Tips for Education Institutions

Source: Charles P. Gerba, American School and University, June 1, 2009

The importance of infection control in education institutions.

Good hygiene practices that emphasize handwashing or hand sanitizers, along with proper maintenance, can help reduce the number of infections in schools each year.

It’s inevitable: Every school year, parents, teachers and administrators must deal with overwhelming numbers of sick children. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average child catches at least eight colds in a year, and kids in the United States miss as many as 189 million school days each year because of colds.

Typically, precautionary measures have focused on flu shots and other preventive care. Although these actions are important, administrators also should concentrate on the way their schools are being cleaned. Many staff responsible for cleaning schools and removing germs are not trained properly and are using outdated cleaning methods that don’t eradicate bacteria. By improving the way schools are cleaned, administrators can fight germs on the ground level and effectively keep kids and teachers in the classroom.

Ending Childhood Hunger by 2015: The Essential Strategies for Achieving the President’s Goal

Source: The Food Research and Action Center, July 1, 2009

By 2015, the United States should be a place where all children have the adequate and nutritious food they need to build healthy bodies and strong minds. Achieving that goal will require the nation to strengthen policies so that families and schools and other service providers that care for children are better able to provide food reliably and efficiently. Parents or other caregivers must be able to purchase and prepare adequate, healthy meals for the family. Schools, child care centers and homes, and afterschool and summer sites — the places where children are learning, playing, developing and being cared for — must meet children’s nutritional needs when they are in those settings. And children should be treated with respect when help is given, and in ways that do not identify a child’s socio-economic status or carry any stigma.

The Condition of Education 2009

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, 2009

Among the report’s other findings:

* Public elementary and secondary enrollment is projected to increase to 54 million in 2018. Over the period of 2006 to 2018, the South is projected to experience the largest increase (18 percent) in the number of students enrolled.

* The rate of college enrollment immediately after high school completion increased from 49 percent in 1972 to 67 percent by 1997, but has since fluctuated between 62 and 69 percent.

* The percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds who had completed a bachelor’s degree or higher increased from 17 to 29 percent between 1971 and 2000 and was 31 percent in 2008.

* Women accounted for 57 percent of the bachelor’s degrees and 62 percent of all associate’s degrees awarded in the 2006-07 academic year.
See also:

Teaching Labor’s Untold Story: How to Get Labor Back into the Classroom

Source: Rob Linné, Adrienne Andi Sosin, and Leigh Benin, New Labor Forum, Vol. 18 no. 2, Spring 2009
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In The American Pageant, a widely used U.S. history textbook for high school students, the authors imply that the labor movement is no longer relevant:

Organized labor withered along with the smokestack industries in which it had previously flourished. Some observers concluded that the trade union movement had played out its historic role of empowering workers and ensuring economic justice in the industrial age, and that it would gradually disappear altogether in the new post-industrial era.

This dismissal of the labor movement as a vital part of our culture and society is typical of school discourse across the United States. The de facto curriculum, created by corporate textbook publishers, usually presents labor organization as a historically circumscribed response to unique economic conditions of a distant past. Content analysis studies of commonly used textbooks have found that the role of the labor movement in our history and culture is minimized and decontextualized. At best, what students learn is gleaned from a few school lessons on the Industrial Revolution and the Great Depression, which teach labor unions as historical artifacts with little contemporary relevance. At worst, students assimilate the negative stereotypes about labor that spring from conservative advocacy groups and continue to flood our mass culture.

Fortunately, some educators and unionists have developed promising approaches to teaching about the American labor movement. This article will discuss and analyze three related but distinct avenues for teaching students about labor’s indispensable struggle for economic and social justice: (1) unions reaching out directly to youth; (2) teacher unions becoming active in integrating labor issues into the K-12 schools; and (3) union involvement and participation in education.

Building a Solid Foundation

Source: Sara Mead, New America Foundation, May 2009

In April, the states and school districts began receiving the first installment of more than $48 billion in federal economic stimulus funds for education and child care appropriated under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). This unprecedented federal investment in education–from early childhood through college–is a tremendous opportunity for state and local investments to improve our nation’s schools. The danger is that states and school districts may squander these funds on ill-conceived projects or use them simply to maintain the status quo. It is critical that the states and school districts make wise decisions about how to spend the stimulus funds, using them not only to maintain educational services and jobs during the current economic downturn but also to institute lasting reforms that will yield ongoing gains in student learning and help fuel America’s long-term economic growth.