What do Facebook,
potatoes, and immigration have in common? Well, they have all been recently
reported on in the context of education. Educational laws, bills, and rulings
have been making the news in the past few weeks with an emphasis on the
negative aspects of the newest bunch.
Complaints about the
nutrition of the food being served in schools have been rolling in for years
(see 162School Lunches: Would You Eat
Them? One Teacher Did, And Blogged About It). Most recently, President
Obama has rallied to reduce the amount of potatoes consumed in US schools. However,
this proposal is being opposed by the Senate who believe that the vegetable has
received a bad reputation on poor grounds. This topic has garnered attention by
both The New York Times and edweek.org.
The potato is not the
only object of contention this week. Facebook is in the news again; this time
with a connection to education. Missouri once put into effect a law that
controlled teacher-student contact on the social network Facebook. Edweek.org announced that this law
was recently repealed on the grounds that it violates the first amendment
rights of teachers and students.
While teachers and students may not have to fear the
loss of Facebook in the educational setting, students in Alabama may have
another thing to fear: deportation. A new law requires students who are new to
school districts to show a valid birth certificate in order to enroll. Although
students without certificates will not be turned away, there is still fear that
the families may be deported if the state finds out they are in the country
illegally. USA Today reports on
the consequences this law has had on attendance since the beginning of the
Alabama school year.
Bullying has also been a hot topic in the news
recently and has garnered enough attention to have 21 states writing laws. Education Week reports that these
states want to clarify what bullying means and set up guidelines for handling this
type of behavior.
Another bill currently in the works will offer
waivers on teacher evaluations as well as many other awards in order to find
better teachers for disadvantaged schools. However, The Washington Post reports that there is still much debate as
to what needs to be done in order to get teachers into these schools.
In other news, edweek.org announces a rewrite of No Child Left Behind is in the works that will
change many of its main features. Although the standardized testing
requirements will stay the same, the need for adequate yearly progress may
disappear. This bill has been a long
time coming. Several proposals have been made before; however, they always met
with too much opposition. There were also several amendments to the bill
approved and discarded during the writing process.
The New York
Times reports that this
Bill was passed due to many objections in the Senate over President Obama’s
idea to waiving of evaluations and other important proponents of NCLB. Iowa
Senator Tom Harkin was a major figure in getting the bill passed with a reduction
in the role the government has on public education. While there is much support
in the Senate there are still many who oppose the bill due to the lack of