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Turkey to stop teaching evolution in secondary schools as part of new national curriculum

Evolution will no longer be taught in Turkish secondary schools after being described as a “controversial subject” by the government.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has personally approved the change, which will be part of a new national curriculum being published later this month.

The head of the education ministry’s curriculum board, Alpaslan Durmuş, said a section on Darwinism would be cut from biology classes from 2019.

“We have excluded controversial subjects for students at an age unable yet to understand the issues’ scientific background,” he told a seminar in Ankara, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

“As the students at ninth grade are not endowed with antecedents to discuss the ‘Origin of Life and Evolution’ section in biology classes, this section will be delayed until undergraduate study.”  

Mr Durmuş said pupils at elementary schools would still be given an “evolutionary point of view” and learn evolutionary biology from year five. 

Claiming the curriculum was being “simplified”, he said the government was attempting to educate children in line with “local and national values”. 

Erdogan to Turkish referendum critics: ‘Talk to the hand’

Academics from Turkey’s most prestigious universities have reportedly criticised the proposals, pointing out the only other country to exclude evolutionary theory from schools was Saudi Arabia.

The omission was first noticed in January, when the Turkish government first announced its new primary and secondary school curricula. 

The education ministry said a draft would be discussed and criticism taken into account before the publication of the final version, including a possible replacement chapter entitled “Living Beings and the Environment”, with all references to Darwinian theory removed. 

Other changes included a decrease in the amount of homework and allowing more time for children to play, and the life of Turkey’s secularist founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk being given less focus.

Mustafa Akyol, a senior fellow at the Freedom Project at Wellesley College, said the change appeared to arise from advice given by Egitim Bir-Sen, a conservative education union. 

Writing in a column for Al Monitor, he said debates about the theory of evolution date back to the late Ottoman Empire and have repeatedly surfaced under the rule of Mr Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

“Since the early 2000s, religious conservatives have had the upper hand in Turkey, and their distaste for the theory of evolution is well established,” Mr Akyol wrote.

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    Soldiers involved in the coup attempt surrender on Bosphorus bridge with their hands raised in Istanbul on 16 July, 2016

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    A civilian beats a soldier after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, 16 July, 2016

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    Soliders involved in the coup attempt surrender on Bosphorus bridge

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    Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wave flags as they capture a Turkish Army vehicle

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    People pose near a tank after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, 16 July, 2016

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    Turkish soldiers block Istanbul’s Bosphorus Brigde

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    A Turkish military stands guard near the Taksim Square in Istanbul

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    Turkish soldiers secure the area as supporters of Recep Tayyip Erdogan protest in Istanbul’s Taksim square

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    Turkish soldiers detain police officers during a security shutdown of the Bosphorus Bridge

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    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks to media in the resort town of Marmaris

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    Supporters of President Erdogan celebrate in Ankara following the suppression of the attempted coup

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“Many of them see the theory as corrosive to religious faith and want to ‘protect’ young generations from such ‘harmful’ ideas.”

The latest move is part of a wider struggle between secularists and right-wing religious groups in Turkey, which is undergoing constitutional reforms to grant the President dramatically increased powers following a referendum held in April.

The vote, which European monitors found did not meet international standards, resulted in the parliamentary system of government being replaced with an executive presidency that has long been the ambition of Mr Erdogan.

He has been accused of undermining Turkey’s democratic and secular foundations with in increasingly autocratic and religious agenda, imposing restrictions on alcohol, building new mosques and reintroducing state religious education.

More than 50,000 people have been arrested since a failed coup against Mr Erdogan in July last year, with many more dismissed or detained.

Journalists, prosecutors, soldiers, civil servants and academics are among those targeted in the ongoing purge, which has seen almost 33,000 teachers sacked.

The government has accused suspects of supporting the Gulenist movement blamed for the attempted coup, but critics say baseless accusations are being used for a wider crackdown on dissent.

Fethullah Gulen, a US-bsed cleric, has denied involvement and foreign governments including the UK have found no evidence to support Ankara’s allegations or its designation of his Hizmet movement as a terror organisation.

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Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkey-evolution-secondary-school-education-national-curriculum-recep-tayyip-erdogan-regime-a7804016.html

Windham Southeast gets info, but no Act 46 advice

Act 46

Windham Southeast Supervisory Union residents hold signs protesting school district mergers at a meeting Wednesday night in Brattleboro. Photo by Mike Faher/VTDigger

BRATTLEBORO – After 19 months of complex, contentious school district merger talks in Windham Southeast Supervisory Union, two top state education officials visited Brattleboro on Wednesday night to help sort things out.

Donna Russo-Savage, principal assistant to the state education secretary, and Brad James, Vermont’s education finance manager, answered questions and walked local officials through the intricacies of Act 46 and its recent update, Act 49.

But they wouldn’t offer any guarantees or a clear direction for the supervisory union’s educational future.

“I’m not going to be telling anybody what they should do,” Russo-Savage said. “That is for you to decide how you are going to proceed.”

Sitting a short distance from several protesters holding anti-Act 46 signs, Russo-Savage also made clear she wouldn’t get into any debates about the controversial law.

“If any of you have things that you want to say about why this is a horrible thing to do, if you wait until after Brad and I leave, that’s great,” she said. “Because we have no power to change it.”

Act 46, approved by the Legislature in 2015, pushes school districts statewide to merge into larger administrative entities in an effort to lower costs and increase educational opportunities.

But Brattleboro-based Windham Southeast, which is one of the state’s largest supervisory unions in terms of enrollment, has struggled to come up with a merger plan.

That’s in part due to ongoing opposition to the concept of creating one large school board for the region. It’s also because Vernon dropped out of Act 46 talks last year in an effort to preserve the town’s unique school choice setup.

Earlier this year, Windham Southeast’s Act 46 study committee asked state officials for help in deciding how to proceed.

James and Russo-Savage

Brad James, Vermont education finance manager, and Donna Russo-Savage, principal assistant to the state education secretary, attend a school merger meeting Wednesday night in Brattleboro. Photo by Mike Faher/VTDigger

That spurred the visit from James and Russo-Savage. Before taking her job with the Agency of Education, Russo-Savage spent years advising the Legislature on education matters and is considered an authority on Act 46.

Russo-Savage said Act 49, which the Legislature approved this year, has two provisions relevant to Windham Southeast’s structure and current situation.

First, the union now has until Nov. 30 to put a merger vote before its residents – a reprieve from the previous July 1 date.

“So there is a little bit more time for you to get your ducks in a row,” Russo-Savage said.

Also, the law gave Vernon special dispensation to legally separate from the Brattleboro regional school union. That would allow Vernon to go its own way while the remaining districts — Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford and Putney — consider an Act 46 merger among themselves.

In two previous votes, Dummerston opposed Vernon’s exit from the union. The new legislative language allows Vernon to vote itself out; the town has scheduled that vote for July 18.

“That definitely changes your situation,” Russo-Savage said.

She declined, however, to say what merger setup might be best for Windham Southeast, deferring to the local Act 46 study committee.

Russo-Savage said local officials must focus on the two primary goals of Act 46 – educational opportunity and equity; and fiscal efficiency and transparency.

“Merger by itself isn’t going to advance the goals of Act 46,” she said. “What merger can do in certain circumstances is create more flexibility so that it is easier and there are more options for communities to (reach) those goals together.”

The local study committee still is considering creation of a four-town Windham Southeast Supervisory District, with each district considered “necessary” – meaning approval by all four would be needed.

Russo-Savage told officials that, if they want to get that proposal before the State Board of Education in September, they should wrap up their work in August.

The fate of that merger plan in Windham Southeast is unclear, as some residents have lobbied hard against it. At Wednesday’s meeting, several attendees held signs bearing slogans such as “Town school boards are not the problem” and “Too many issues for a single board.”

Russo-Savage explained a few other merger options and said Windham Southeast school boards could ask state officials to allow them to retain their current governance structure.

Such a request would be due early next year, but it comes with a big risk: Act 46 empowers the State Board of Education to draw up an education plan for Vermont by the end of November 2018, and there are no guarantees the board will accept a district’s pitch to remain untouched by Act 46.

For instance, the state board could decide that Dummerston – where local Act 46 critics have been most outspoken – must merge its district whether the town wants to or not.

School boards that are not voluntarily merging must “self-evaluate” their ability to meet Act 46 goals; talk with other districts about working together; and ultimately submit to the state a “written explanation of how it is that what you’re proposing is the best thing for your students and your taxpayers,” Russo-Savage said.

The state board’s ultimate authority in Act 46 merger matters doesn’t sit well with some in Windham Southeast.

Dummerston resident Paul Normandeau told Russo-Savage there are “a number of communities who are struggling at this stage throughout the state with merging.”

“How do you think the politics would be for the State Board of Education to force mergers among not just a minority of schools, but a large number of schools throughout the state?” Normandeau asked.

“I have no idea, politically,” Russo-Savage said. “But I do know what the legislation says. And the legislation requires the state board to merge districts to the extent necessary to create equitable governance structures that are sustainable.”

Despite all the talk about alternative proposals, Windham Southeast Superintendent Ron Stahley argued that the extensive work of the local study committee – and the current, four-town merger plan – shouldn’t be discounted or discarded.

“We do have a great school district, but many students are not getting equitable programming based on the services that we have now,” Stahley said.

At the same time, the opportunities presented by a merger show “a savings that we didn’t expect and much better services for our schools,” he said.

Article source: https://vtdigger.org/2017/06/22/windham-southeast-gets-info-but-no-act-46-advice/

Education chief weighs Carl Paladino’s ouster

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Dennis Vacco, Carl Paladino’s attorney, discusses the case against Paladino during a break in the first day of a marathon hearing on his future as a Buffalo school board member.
Jon Campbell / Albany Bureau

ALBANY – Carl Paladino’s attorney on Thursday accused Buffalo school officials of being out to “get” the former Republican gubernatorial candidate, who was at the state Education Building on Thursday to fight to keep his spot on the city’s school board.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia convened the first day of a marathon hearing focused on Paladino’s future on the Buffalo Board of Education, which Paladino, a Buffalo businessman, was first elected to in 2013.

The school board voted earlier this year to ask Elia to remove Paladino, accusing him of willfully sharing confidential information about negotiations with the city’s teachers union and a pending lawsuit that was discussed during a closed-door meeting.

Paladino’s legal team contends the board’s majority bloc is trying to punish him for comments he made to a Buffalo art-weekly in December, in which he suggested Michelle Obama should “return to being a male” and live in an African cave with a gorilla.

Dennis Vacco, Paladino’s lead attorney, called his client’s comments “low and unfortunate,” but said they are protected under free speech.

“This petition is a phony petition,” said Vacco, the former state attorney general. “It is a petition from the (school board’s majority) to ‘get’ Carl for his speech.”

Read more

Paladino’s gorilla remark draws outrage

Paladino meets with Trump team amid transition

The school board petitioned Elia under a rarely-used state law that allows the state education commissioner to remove a school board member if they willfully neglect their duties.

Paladino, who ran for governor in 2010 and was the honorary co-chair of President Trump’s New York campaign last year, has been an outspoken contrarian on the Democrat-led board, frequently clashing with school officials, the teachers union and fellow board members in his four years in office.

The effort to remove Paladino began shortly after his December 2016 comments to Artvoice, the Buffalo-based alt-weekly.

But the school board’s petition ultimately focused on his sharing of information from the board’s executive sessions rather than his comments, which are protected by the First Amendment.

The petition accuses Paladino of sharing confidential information about the board’s collective-bargaining negotiations, which was discussed in an executive session — or private meeting — of the board in October. Paladino included some of that information in an op-ed he wrote for Artvoice in January.

“This was not a mistake, not an error, but … a calculated decision to advance his political agenda,” said Frank Miller, the school board’s attorney.

Paladino is also accused of sharing details of pending litigation and legal advice from the board’s attorneys in an email to the board’s president, which he copied to several media members.

Elia is expected to hear arguments through at least Monday. She plans to hear from several prominent witnesses, including Buffalo Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash and school board member Larry Quinn, the former president of the Buffalo Sabres and a Paladino ally.

The commissioner is expected to issue a written decision sometime after the hearing.

Article source: http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/new-york/2017/06/22/education-chief-weighs-carl-paladinos-ouster/103110654/

Who decides whether universities should be gold, silver or bronze?

The long-awaited teaching excellence framework results have arrived, both confirming and confounding expectations. Chris Millward, the director of policy at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which ran the exercise, explains how the results were calculated.



Chris Millward, director of policy at Hefce Photograph: HEFCE

If the Tef doesn’t reflect teaching quality in the classroom, what is it telling us?
The Tef measures outcomes that we know matter to students. Whether they are able to continue with their studies, how they experience teaching, assessment and feedback, and academic support, and whether they can fulfil their ambitions by progressing into further study and employment.

How did you ensure the number-crunching painted a fair picture?
Tef panellists and assessors were appointed as experienced experts, either with leadership responsibilities for learning and teaching, or as student representatives, widening participation experts or employer representatives. We received more than 10 times as many applications as we had places available, so we have great confidence in the people we appointed. They received substantial training then worked in groups to reach their judgments.

During two assessment weeks, these groups worked together to compare and refine their judgments so that there was consistency between them. They reached an initial hypothesis on the rating based on the core metrics and the ones that were split by student characteristics. They then considered the submission made by the provider and updated their rating. In a number of cases, the panel changed the initial rating after considering the submission. So the assessment confirmed how important it is for the metrics to be contextualised.

How did you ensure universities weren’t penalised for being strong in widening participation?
There were two widening participation experts on the panel. They made sure that how well universities had achieved the best outcomes for all types of student, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, was a key consideration throughout the assessment process. For some universities this was about targeted widening participation support, like particular activities supporting particular groups, but also an inclusive learning and teaching culture and strategy that embraces the diversity of the student body.

What made the best submissions stand out?
In the best submissions, the panel was struck by how universities demonstrated really profound student engagement across everything they do. They offered a genuinely joined-up approach to learning, and they could see that embedded throughout the institution. In some cases, this might have been students co-creating courses, but there was a real diversity of engagement with students, and you could see how it results in the positive outcomes for all students shown in the data. This links to the definition of gold, which looks at consistency in outstanding practice.

The best institutions also showed strategic coherence, and a clear mission and a strategy. They really understood their specific groups of students, which informed approaches in different subject areas on the ground, as well as at an institution-wide level.

Was the Tef aimed at shaking up the traditional university hierarchy?
It wasn’t one of the desired outcomes. Every institution was assessed on its merits, based on the metrics and their submission, so there was no starting point to shake up the system. We’ve used a distinctive approach in the Tef, using measures that benchmark to try to get down to specific outcomes within each institution. We think it is a responsible use of the data, since there’s also qualitative evidence and – crucially – judgment, but the use in an overall assessment is new.

Is the Tef driving behaviours in universities already?
We know from our contact with universities that the Tef is shining a spotlight on learning and teaching in higher education, with a view to making it as much of a priority for universities as research. The data and submissions we are publishing this week provide a unique picture of learning and teaching across the UK – the first in the world – and will help to support universities’ improvement efforts during the coming years.

We’re now moving to the next stage, where we’ll publish the submissions which will tell us lot about UK teaching and learning. This evidence will be a distinctive resource for universities to support their improvement. Though in terms of the ultimate impact on university decision-making and student choice, it’s too early to say.

How will you ensure students understand what the Tef means, particularly if they’re first in their family to go to university?
We have made clear that this is an important piece of information, but that it should be used by students alongside other pieces. And it’s not burrowing down into course level yet.

We’ve thought very carefully about how we’re going to explain the results on the Ucas and Unistats sites where students can find the data. We will also work actively with students and universities during the coming weeks and months to understand how this is working and whether any further advice is needed.

Also, since we’re part of the Department for Education now, which covers higher education, further education and schools, we’re in a good position to link up with the various advice networks that flow through, like the careers enterprise company which acts as the government agency securing joined-up advice for students.

For international audiences, the government has provided advice to be deployed by the British Council offices and others engaging with students overseas. This emphasises that the Tef ratings are built on a baseline of excellence.

How do you expect the exercise will evolve?
We are working with the government on a lessons learned exercise, with input from institutions and students as well as our panellists and assessors. We’re not at the final point yet, but we expect that government will want to make some adjustments on the basis of this. But these will have to be made quite soon if the assumption is that we will run another assessment in 2017-18. We wouldn’t want to change it too much: the worst thing for the sector and for students would be to keep tweaking it so it’s not comprehensible and it becomes too complex.

In parallel, we’ll be piloting how Tef could work at subject level, which will take us into a new world. There’s also a commitment for a government review of the Tef, which will report by 2019. All of this will play into its further development.

Some universities feel they scored poorly because they weren’t given enough guidance on how to complete their submission. How will you remedy this?
There was a deliberate decision taken not to prescribe what excellent teaching looks like. That was to reflect the diversity and autonomy of the sector. I would be cautious of too much of a top-down approach going into the future. But institutions can now see each other’s submissions, so there will be a degree of learning from that which will be really valuable.

Join the higher education network for more comment, analysis and job opportunities, direct to your inbox. Follow us on Twitter @gdnhighered. And if you have an idea for a story, please read our guidelines and email your pitch to us at highereducationnetwork@theguardian.com.

Looking for a higher education job? Or perhaps you need to recruit university staff? Take a look at Guardian Jobs, the higher education specialist

Article source: https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2017/jun/22/who-decides-whether-universities-should-be-gold-silver-or-bronze

Job advice for children in poverty a ‘national disgrace’ – BBC News

Apprentice at Airbus in FlintshireImage copyright
Getty Images

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An apprentice at Airbus in Flintshire

A lack of careers advice is stopping young people getting out of poverty in Wales, an education expert has warned.

Just 1.3% of school leavers went into work place training programmes, such as apprenticeships, last year.

Prof David Egan, of Cardiff School of Education, said it was a “national disgrace” that children were not given the chance to get out of poverty.

The Welsh Government said it was working to increase career advice capacity.

Prof Egan’s comments came as anti-poverty campaigners called for new targets and inspections for schools to check if they were encouraging young people to take up apprenticeships on the same level as degrees.

According to the latest figures there is approximately one careers advisor for every six schools, the equivalent of one to about 4,500 pupils.

Media captionProf David Egan said children were not getting the careers help to get out of poverty

A survey by Careers Wales – a Welsh minister-funded service charged with providing impartial careers advice – suggested just 1.3% of young people leaving school at 16 at the end of the last academic year went into work place training schemes, such as apprenticeships, a drop from 1.6% in 2012.

Prof Egan, chairing the national child poverty conference near Cardiff, said the figures were a “national crisis” and young people were being let down.

“I do think that is a disgrace, that we’re not providing, not encouraging, not enabling, our young people, particularly those perhaps from the most disadvantaged backgrounds to enable them to have those kinds of routes forward,” he said.

An estimated 200,000 children live in poverty in Wales – the equivalent of one in three.

Prof Egan said that the lack of careers advice in schools was especially damaging for children living in deprived areas, as they relied on it for impartial advice for routes into apprenticeships, higher and further education, which many did not get from their families and others within their communities.

“We do not have an appropriate careers service that can give independent and impartial advice to young people in Wales,” he added.

“When you think of the impact, we are not offering young people the opportunity, to give them the leg up out of poverty.

“In the end it will be through getting reasonably paid employment that they will have the chance of moving out of poverty, and moving their families out of poverty.”

A spokeswoman for the Welsh Government said increasing the numbers of young people doing apprenticeships was an important part of its policy to deliver at least 100,000 high quality apprenticeships in this assembly term.

“We have also increased our investment in apprenticeships from £96m to £111.5m for 2017-18, bringing our total investment in apprenticeships and traineeships next year to over £126m,” she said.

“We are working closely with Careers Wales and the National Training Federation on an action plan to increase the number of young people taking up apprenticeships and working with schools to improve the focus on apprenticeships and increase career advice capacity.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-40359928

Adam Braun of MissionU Shares His Best Career Advice

Before his 25th birthday and with only a $25 deposit, Adam Braun left his job at Bain Company and launched Pencils of Promise, a for-purpose organization with a mission to give kids around the world access to quality education.

Since it launched in 2008, the program has built over 400 schools throughout Ghana, Guatemala, Laos and Nicaragua and helped educate more than 70,000 students. The organization’s story is captured in Braun’s New York Times Bestselling book, “The Promise of a Pencil.”

Now, Braun is on another mission that is just as ambitious: he’s taking on the higher education system in America with his new education company MissionU.

At the San Francisco brunchwork launch, Braun described MissionU as a debt-free college alternative for the 21st century. Dr. Tony Wagner, Expert-in-Residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab and advisor to MissionU has said, “MissionU reimagines college by charging no tuition unless their students succeed, and delivers more real-world value than anything I’ve seen in years.”

brunchwork

Adam Braun and investor Jacob Shea at brunchwork’s SF launch

When students are accepted into MissionU’s one-year program, there is $0 in upfront tuition. Instead, students pay back 15% of their income for three years but only when a student makes at least $50,000 per year after completing the program.

Top companies like Spotify, Lyft, Uber, and Warby Parker are partnering with MissionU on designing the curriculum and gaining early access to top graduates. The goal is to teach students skills that employers actually value and set the students up for a clear path to their future.

While creating a MissionU curriculum with leading employers, Braun realized the key to career success: differentiation through experiences. “Many things that employers want are very teachable, but they’re not being taught in college,” he said.

brunchwork

Adam Braun judging the Audience Challenge at brunchwork’s SF launch.

Instead of paying attention to standardized test scores and GPAs, employers are now analyzing candidates’ past experiences to identify ‘T-shaped learners.’ These individuals have a broad foundation of hard and soft skills, but can also go deep in a technical area of expertise. They’re not resting on the accomplishments of their past, they’re focused on their ability to contribute today and into the future.

In the early stages of your career, Braun argues that you should pursue unique experiences to hone your professional toolkit (similar to how he started his soft skills as a traveler in the developing world, refined his hard skills at Bain Company and then developed management expertise through his entrepreneurial journey creating Pencils of Promise and now MissionU).

“Step outside of your comfort zone and pursue experiences and programs that differentiate you from all the others entering the same job market.”

Braun identifies three rewards that should come out of any experience: mastery, money and meaning.

Early in your career, prioritize mastery. It’s critical to pursue experiences with the greatest capacity to learn. Later on, you will be able to gain money and meaning.

“At the earliest parts of your career, completely focus on the experiences that most enable you to achieve mastery. For anyone evaluating one opportunity to another: heavily prioritize whichever experiences allow you to attain the steepest learning curve.”

Often times, the projects that few others are willing to do can offer the most opportunity for personal growth and development in a short amount of time.

Article source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulinaguditch/2017/06/21/why-adam-braun-believes-pursuing-novel-experiences-is-essential-for-your-career/

Schools turn to teachers and snub DfE for education technology advice, survey finds

Teachers are seen as the most valuable source of advice about education technology for schools, while the Department for Education is the least influential, new research has found.

A National Education Research Panel (Nerp) survey of ICT leaders and decision makers in schools found that only a third of schools feel there is sufficient information to assess the effectiveness of ed tech.

Of those who took part, 44 per cent of those in primary schools and 36 per cent in secondary schools said they most value recommendations from teachers in their schools.

The DfE came bottom of the list, chosen by just 7 per cent of primary respondents and 4 per cent of secondary respondents.

The findings, outlined in a report by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), revealed the ed tech priorities of different types of schools.

Primary schools most wanted ed tech to help with communication with parents, chosen by 27 per cent of respondents, with 18 per cent choosing learning management solutions.

In secondary schools, the priorities were classroom content (39 per cent), training (35 per cent) and assessment (28 per cent).

‘Strong evidence base’ is needed

Caroline Wright, director general of BESA, said it was natural that teachers highly value the recommendations of colleagues, who had first-hand experience of what was working in their classrooms.

She added: “It is important that the wide range of ed tech solutions are fully considered, and information needs to be available to make an evidence-based decision.

“I would advise firstly enquiring whether the ed tech provider signs up to the BESA code of practice, developed in consultation with teachers to ensure quality products being offered.

“It is also important that the industry works closely with both schools and academics alike to ensure that a strong evidence base is developed to show what ed tech offerings work, and what doesn’t.”

The search found no appetitite for a new government body to offer advice in this area, following the closure of the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency in 2011.

Among secondary schools, 85 per cent strongly disagreed that there was a need for a such a body. The figure was 62 per cent for primaries.

Respondents from 454 primary schools and 252 secondary schools took part in the survey.

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow Tes on Twitter and like Tes on Facebook.

Article source: https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/schools-turn-teachers-and-snub-dfe-education-technology-advice-survey

Trump Administration Wants Advice on Cutting Back Education Regulations

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Got ideas for the Trump administration on how to get rid of “burdensome” education guidance and regulations?

The U.S. Department of Education wants to hear from you.

The agency put a notice in the Federal Register Wednesday asking the education community to identify specific guidance and regulations that are driving up costs, or creating too much extra work for states, districts, and educators.  

And the department wants the responses to be as specific as possible, including, if possible, actual citations to regulations and guidance. The administration wants to hear back in the next 60 days.

The feedback will be used to help the department deliver on a White House executive order to trim or toss unhelpful federal regulations, the notice says. And presumably, the answers could also inform the agency’s work—in response to yet another executive order from Trump—to restore local control to education by identifying regulations that step on district and state decision making.

The ask may come at an odd moment for the Trump administration. State advocates and officials are wondering whether U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Co. will deliver on her local-control rhetoric and pledge to reduce the federal footprint, given the extensive feedback on ESSA plans. 

In fact, Chris Minnich, the executive director of Council of Chief State School Officers, said the department’s letters to states, especially Delaware, might go beyond the scope of the law. The department, though, has said states still need to give the feds sufficient information to show that they are complying with ESSA’s requirements, even with new flexibility. More on all that here. 


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Article source: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/06/trump_administration_wants_adv.html

Expert offers advice on building curriculum and resources

Dive Brief:

  • Crafting curriculum and engaging with vendors to fulfill curricular needs can pose challenges for K-12 educators and administrators, but there are important methods and tips that school districts can utilize to mitigate costs and fulfill the application of curricula, according to eSchoolNews.
  • Mindy Sinyak, the vice president of Customer Success, Noodle Markets, made clear that schools should give vendors a long lead time by as much as three weeks, in order for them to best offer educators the information they need. Educators and administrators should clarify if assessment components are needed, and if so what kind would be needed.
  • School officials must also be clear about what specific types of tech may be necessary to bring a curriculum to proper fruition, and letting vendors know about the type of tech you are already utilizing can help save costs and implementation time if they are able to integrate new tech with what is already in use.

Dive Insight:

The sheer breadth of options for curriculum support available from independent vendors underlies the benefits that can come from staff specializing in working with vendors and concentrating on curriculum development, instead of administrators wearing multiple hats. Administrators working to understand the myriad tech options available often have to rely on vendors to help dictate what their school needs, rather than going with a clear and detailed understanding of what is necessary.

Results of a District of Columbia public school pilot program also indicated that school principals who have the opportunity to work with operations managers can help alleviate the workload, putting their attention back on the classroom experience for students and assisting educators. Administrators can benefit from depending on curriculum directors to deal directly with vendors, and it can be a worthwhile investment for districts who want to continue to innovate.

Article source: http://www.educationdive.com/news/expert-offers-advice-on-building-curriculum-and-resources/445349/

Schools turn to teachers and snub DfE for ed tech advice – Tes

Teachers are seen as the most valuable source of advice about education technology for schools, while the Department for Education is the least influential, new research has found.

A National Education Research Panel (Nerp) survey of ICT leaders and decision makers in schools found that only a third of schools feel there is sufficient information to assess the effectiveness of ed tech.

Of those who took part, 44 per cent of those in primary schools and 36 per cent in secondary schools said they most value recommendations from teachers in their schools.

The DfE came bottom of the list, chosen by just 7 per cent of primary respondents and 4 per cent of secondary respondents.

The findings, outlined in a report by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), revealed the ed tech priorities of different types of schools.

Primary schools most wanted ed tech to help with communication with parents, chosen by 27 per cent of respondents, with 18 per cent choosing learning management solutions.

In secondary schools, the priorities were classroom content (39 per cent), training (35 per cent) and assessment (28 per cent).

‘Strong evidence base’ is needed

Caroline Wright, director general of BESA, said it was natural that teachers highly value the recommendations of colleagues, who had first-hand experience of what was working in their classrooms.

She added: “It is important that the wide range of ed tech solutions are fully considered, and information needs to be available to make an evidence-based decision.

“I would advise firstly enquiring whether the ed tech provider signs up to the BESA code of practice, developed in consultation with teachers to ensure quality products being offered.

“It is also important that the industry works closely with both schools and academics alike to ensure that a strong evidence base is developed to show what ed tech offerings work, and what doesn’t.”

The search found no appetitite for a new government body to offer advice in this area, following the closure of the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency in 2011.

Among secondary schools, 85 per cent strongly disagreed that there was a need for a such a body. The figure was 62 per cent for primaries.

Respondents from 454 primary schools and 252 secondary schools took part in the survey.

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Article source: https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/schools-turn-teachers-and-snub-dfe-education-technology-advice-survey