Officials of some California schools are confiscating students' cellphones before they take standardized tests because of concerns about cheating. Officials say students could take pictures of the tests and post them on social media Internet sites. Officials say that, last year, 36 exam questions were posted on social media, prompting them to monitor such sites for evidence of cheating.
Florida lawmakers have wrapped up the legislative session with education seen as a big winner. Lawmakers approved teacher raises, expanded opportunities for students pursuing career and technical training in high school and $1 billion in new spending for education, including a $407 increase in per-pupil spending. The controversial parent-trigger law failed to pass the Senate for the second consecutive year.
Social sciences deserve the same kind of attention and funding as physical science and medical research, President Barack Obama said in a recent speech at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. "In all of the sciences, we have to make sure we are supporting the idea that they are not subject to politics, that they are not skewed by an agenda," he said.
The implementation of Common Core State Standards and the push for more electronic communication has led some schools to abandon lessons in cursive handwriting. In Missouri, each district decides whether to mandate cursive instruction. In St. Louis schools, early grades teach cursive, but the expectation in later grades is that students write legibly. Some teachers, however, are integrating handwriting lessons into other subjects.
More school districts in Illinois are scaling back lessons in cursive handwriting to teach keyboarding or adhere to the Common Core State Standards, which do not include cursive. The change worries parents who say their children might not learn a valuable skill. Among teachers, there is uncertainty about how much time to devote to cursive and how valuable a skill it actually is.