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Hashtags, and lots of ICYMI's
We at the Journal-World are trying out some Twitter hashtags.
The thing about hashtags, though, is that there needs to be a community of people who all use them and know what they mean. If you're already tweeting about state and local education, post a comment below and let us know what hashtags you're using. Meanwhile, here are a few we've been using at the paper:
#usd497 - for general items about the Lawrence school district.
#usd497BOE - for items about the Lawrence board of education.
#ksde - when tweeting about the Kansas State Department of Education
#ksboe - for the Kansas State Board of Education.
Also, here are two I'm proposing that I hope will really take off: #LawrenceDB8 and #Lawrence4N6 for info about Lawrence and Free State high school debate and forensics.
Finally, if you really want to be in the Twitter-loop about state political news in general, don't for get #ksleg for the Kansas Legislature, and #kspolitics.
In Case You Missed It: Test scandals; school reform; funding lawsuits; and more
I like reading news and analysis about education issues from beyond the borders of the Sunflower State. Once in a while, it serves as a heads up about things headed our way. The last week or so has been especially interesting.
Boycotting standardized tests
Last month, teachers in Seattle refused to administer required standardized tests to ninth-graders, calling the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) a waste of time, among other things. Now there's concern the boycott may spread to other cities and states.
Teachers cheating on their own tests
A national scandal is erupting in three states about prospective teachers paying others to take their certification tests. Here's a good roundup about the scandal by the New York Times.
State school finance litigation
The National Education Access Network keeps tabs on school finance lawsuits throughout the country. There's a good interactive map that shows where plaintiffs have won, and where states have prevailed. Two states worth looking at – Nebraska and South Dakota – are where courts held that funding is actually a legislative function and cannot be decided by courts. Note, however, that their state constitutions are very different from the Kansas Constitution.
Market-based education reform
Jeff Bryant writes in the Washington Post how school reform measures being pushed in statehouses and by the Obama administration benefit the for-profit education industry, to the detriment of minority students. His conclusion: “Over 10 years (after No Child Left Behind) we see how education reform mandates have played out – powerful corporate interests are mining new profit centers while poor children of color, who were the intended beneficiaries of reform, are getting stuck with the shaft."
Junk food vending machines
Education Week reports on efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying to get schools to put healthier food in vending machines.