Three organizations recently released new education rankings of states. Education Week’s Quality Counts is a comprehensive analysis of states’ education policies and student outcomes, conducted by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. New this year is a ranking report from StudentsFirst, under the leadership of former DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, which looks at how “reform-minded” states are, as defined by policies such as expanding the charter school sector and tying teacher and principal evaluation to student performance. The National Council on Teacher Quality’s State Teacher Policy Yearbook hones in on teacher preparation systems. An older, fourth report – the Foundation for Child Development’s Child Well-Being Index – puts all three new rankings in perspective, by taking a deep dive into a variety of factors that affect student learning, both within and outside of the classroom. …
A final report issued this summer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that evaluates Head Start programs in the United States suggests that school bus drivers are among agency employees who engage families and communities as well as assist in tracking a student’s success in the federal program for low-income preschoolers….
Source: Advisory Committee on Head Start Research and Evaluation, August 2012
Commercial dishwashers can kill everyday bacteria but not norovirus, the cause of stomach flu and many foodborne illnesses around the world, according to a new study.
Although restaurant-industry guidelines for cleaning dishes and silverware eliminate bacteria, they are not effective against norovirus, said researchers from Ohio State University. They found the virus can withstand both manual and mechanical washing….
Efficacies of Sodium Hypochlorite and Quaternary Ammonium Sanitizers for Reduction of Norovirus and Selected Bacteria during Ware-Washing Operations
Source: Lizanel Feliciano, Jianrong Li, Jaesung Lee, Melvin A. Pascall, PLOS One, December 5, 2012
From the School Transportation News story:
In his paper “School Bus Versus Public Transportation: Secondary Educational Opportunities Resulting from the Transportation Alternatives,” David Peterson, transportation analyst for St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools, set out to provide a solution to inflexible school bus schedules at dismissal that discourage participation in school-activity programs.
The first part of his solution is to assign students to neighborhood schools, were students can generally walk home after activities, if a ride on the school bus or with parents or others cannot be obtained. However, the majority of neighborhood students would still be school bus riders, which he adds is an “enormous” marginal cost savings for school districts over public transportation for large groups of students. And students with IEPs and 504 plans, homeless students and others with “special needs” would continue to ride the school bus unless other more economical means are identified on a case-by-case basis…
The study consists of three phases of research:
– An analysis of available data about Pennsylvania school libraries and their relationships to the 2011 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) Reading and Writing scores
– An analysis of survey data about the perceptions of school library programs of administrators, teachers, and librarians and the relationships between those perceptions and their assessments of library program teaching of 21st Century Learner and PA/Common Core standards, and, in turn, the relationships between educators’ assessments of library program teaching of those two sets of standards and PSSA scores
– Estimated investments needed to fund those components of a 21st century school library infrastructure that would have the greatest impact on student achievement in Pennsylvania
From the summary:
AASL sponsors a longitudinal survey to provide data on the health of the nation’s school library programs. The annual survey is open to library centers at all schools teaching at the primary and secondary levels. The first survey was conducted in 2007 and results from each year are available for review . Most of the questions are tracking questions, though, each year the survey includes a short series of topical questions. In 2012, the topical questions were focused on filtering and online access.
Source: Govistics, Center for Governmental Research (CGR), 2012
From the press release:
Of the largest school districts in the U.S., the District of Columbia, Newark, NJ and Buffalo, NY spent the most per pupil in 2010, according to an analysis by Govistics of recently released U.S. Census of Governments data. Per pupil spending was about $29,400 in D.C.; $28,600 in Newark; and $26,900 in Buffalo….At the other end of the scale, the 10 districts with the lowest per pupil costs spent less ─ in some cases significantly less ─ than one-third the amount spent per pupil in 2010 in D.C., Newark or Buffalo, the Govistics analysis found. Govistics (www.govistics.com) is a web-based product of the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) and provides interactive access to key government data on U.S. school districts and local governments.
From the abstract:
Background: School pandemic preparedness is essential, but has not been evaluated.
Results: A total of 1,997 nurses from 26 states completed the survey. Almost three-quarters reported receiving the seasonal influenza vaccine during the 2010-11 season. Very few reported that their school/district had a mandatory influenza vaccination policy. Pandemic preparedness scores ranged from 0 to 10 points, with an average score of 4.3. Determinants of school pandemic preparedness were as follows: planning to be a point of dispensing during a future pandemic, having experienced multiple student or employee hospitalizations and/or deaths related to H1N1 during the pandemic, having a lead nurse complete the survey, and having the school nurse study participant be a member of the school disaster planning committee. Conclusions: US schools must continue to address gaps in pandemic planning.
Source: C. A. Lewis, P. W. Johnson, Occupational Medicine, First published online: July 9, 2012
From the abstract:
Back injuries are common in transit drivers, and can result in substantial direct and indirect cost to the employer and employee. Whole-body vibration (WBV) is one risk factor for drivers. Standards have been adopted (ISO 2631-1) to guide researchers in measuring and analysing WBV levels. Lately, a new standard has been added (ISO 2631-5) that takes impulsive exposures into account….The aims of this study were to determine the levels of vibration for bus drivers using both ISO 2631-1 and 2631-5 standards, and whether there are differences in vibration levels and seat transmissibility between different road types….Conclusions: Bus drivers are potentially being exposed to daily vibration levels higher than recommended especially on certain road types. The current seat in this study does not attenuate the vibration….
From the summary:
This First Look presents national and state level data on student enrollment by grade and by race/ethnicity within grade, the numbers of teachers and other education staff, and several student/staff ratios for the 2010-11 school year.