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Analysis: Have The Unions Benefited From The DeVos Confirmation Fight?

Analysis: Have The Unions Benefited From The DeVos Confirmation Fight?

Analysis: Have the Unions Benefited From the DeVos Confirmation Fight? It has been a month since Betsy DeVos was narrowly confirmed as the secretary of education, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the deciding vote. Despite facing significant opposition, the teachers unions were unsuccessful in 

Young Adults Ill-Informed About The People, Places, And Cultures Of The World, Report Says

Young Adults Ill-Informed About The People, Places, And Cultures Of The World, Report Says

According to a recent survey conducted by the National Geographic Education Foundation, young adults in the United States are showing signs of isolation, lack of knowledge, and indifference towards the world’s people, places, and cultures. Despite constant news coverage of the war in Iraq, natural 

Supreme Court To Hear Challenge To Internet-Filter Law

Supreme Court To Hear Challenge To Internet-Filter Law

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the constitutionality of a federal law that mandates public libraries receiving federal technology funds to block pornographic websites. The law in question is the Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000 (CIPA), which also applies to schools that receive federal technology funding. However, the case currently before the Supreme Court does not challenge the law in terms of computers in classrooms or school libraries. Public and private schools receiving federal technology funds must implement plans that include the installation of blocking software to protect children from sexually explicit websites.

A special three-judge federal trial court in Philadelphia ruled on May 31 that the law was invalid when applied to public libraries. The court unanimously concluded that the statute violated the free speech rights of library patrons under the First Amendment, as software-filtering programs often block websites containing protected speech. The court determined that there are alternative, less restrictive methods for libraries to prevent access to prohibited content under CIPA, such as obscenity, child pornography, and other material that may be considered harmful to minors but acceptable for adults.

Congress has authorized an expedited review for this law, and the Bush administration has appealed the decision of the three-judge panel directly to the Supreme Court in the case of United States v. American Library Association (Case No. 02-361). The appeal, signed by Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson, argues that the district court’s decision hinders Congress’ efforts to ensure that federal assistance provided to libraries for internet access does not facilitate access to illegal and harmful pornography.

Mr. Olson further contends that just as a library chooses which books and magazines to include in its collection, it can also decide to restrict access to the internet. The American Library Association has challenged the law on behalf of public libraries and patrons. They argue that CIPA infringes upon the First Amendment and restricts access to the internet within one of the most democratic and speech-enhancing institutions in America, the public library.

The Supreme Court announced on November 12 that it will hear this case. Oral arguments are expected to take place early next year, and a decision is anticipated by the end of the court’s term in June. In recent years, the justices have examined various laws aimed at protecting children from sexually explicit material online. In 1997, the court struck down the Communications Decency Act, Congress’ initial attempt to regulate internet pornography. Last term, the court issued a divided ruling on the Child Online Protection Act, upholding parts of the law but remanding it to a lower court for further review. COPA is a general law that criminalizes the provision of sexually explicit material to minors on commercial websites.

MIT Professor Touts $100 Laptops At Educational Technology Conference

MIT Professor Touts $100 Laptops At Educational Technology Conference

Approximately 6,000 individuals attended the National Educational Computing Conference at the San Diego Convention Center yesterday. The conference highlighted an education initiative aiming to provide up to 150 million low-cost laptops to students in developing countries by 2008. Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute 

Dayton Feels The Heat From Charter Schools

Dayton Feels The Heat From Charter Schools

In the blighted West Side of this city, Residence Park Primary School is now just a distant memory. However, inside the faded brick building that used to house it, a new school has emerged. A vibrant banner hangs across the front of the building, declaring 

Districts Partner To Build School Music Programs

Districts Partner To Build School Music Programs

Three years ago, the Nashville school district took steps to enhance its music education program with the assistance of local music-industry experts, at the urging of the mayor. This included the incorporation of new technology, an increase in band and choral groups, as well as the teaching of unconventional genres like mariachi, hip-hop, and bluegrass. Mayor Karl Dean stated that the aim was to establish Nashville as a city with exceptional music programs, as it is often associated with the music industry. Meanwhile, in the Anaheim City elementary district, located 2,000 miles away in California, not a single music class had been offered for over 20 years.

Linda Wagner, superintendent of the Anaheim City district, shared that when a time capsule was recently opened, they discovered evidence of an orchestra, but this was from 25 years ago. Seeking inspiration for reviving music education in their district, officials from Anaheim visited Nashville to observe the successful program there. They met with the mayor of Nashville, the head of Warner Music Nashville, the superintendent of schools, and local music educators to gain insight into the partnerships formed between businesses, schools, and the government in Music City. During the visit, they toured classrooms, participated in panel discussions, and discussed how to proceed in Anaheim.

The trip was made possible in part by the NAMM Foundation, the philanthropic branch of the National Association of Music Merchants, an organization that supports the music-products industry. The NAMM Foundation adopts a "teach me to fish" approach, providing professional development and resources for program development rather than solely contributing money.

While the music education program in Nashville has been successful, it may not be directly applicable to Anaheim due to contextual differences. Nashville benefits from the presence of the Country Music Association, which has generously donated up to $8 million to public schools, as well as from Taylor Swift’s support for music education. louie Magdaleno, the principal at Marshall Elementary School in Anaheim, acknowledges that Anaheim does not have the same musical reputation as Nashville. Furthermore, Nashville was not starting from scratch when they implemented their new music education initiative. Mary Grace, the director of curriculum and instruction for the Anaheim district, believes that Anaheim needs to catch up to where Nashville was when they began.

However, both Nashville and Anaheim have similarities. They are both urban centers with a high number of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals, indicating a high level of poverty. Anaheim boasts attractions like Disneyland Park, which attracts around 16 million visitors annually and employs tens of thousands of people. Both cities also possess large convention centers, hotel infrastructure, professional sports teams, and arenas. Additionally, both cities host NAMM conventions, drawing thousands of musicians and music-industry professionals each year.

The partnership between the two districts was established about two years ago when Linda Wagner reached out to Anaheim’s mayor for assistance in restarting music classes. Mayor Tom Tait recognized the numerous benefits of music education and contacted the NAMM Foundation for support. The foundation sent two trainers from Nashville’s program to provide professional development in Anaheim.

Music in Action: An Inspiring Visit to Cane Ridge Elementary

During their visit to Nashville, the representatives from Anaheim had the privilege of observing the remarkable music class led by Kiera Crite, a talented music teacher at Cane Ridge Elementary. In this 2nd grade lesson, she taught the students about whole, half, quarter, and eighth notes. The students enthusiastically sang a song to help them grasp the musical vocabulary, followed by reading and demonstrating note durations on a drum. To further enhance their understanding, the students formed small groups to practice playing these notes. Jackie Filbeck, a member of the Anaheim school board, expressed her awe, stating, "This is a whole new level of music education."

It was intriguing for the Anaheim representatives to learn that Cane Ridge Elementary has three music teachers for just 1,000 students, guaranteeing that each student receives at least one hour of music instruction per week. This stark contrast with Anaheim’s student-to-music-teacher ratio of 800-to-1 left the visitors astonished. In Anaheim, students are fortunate to have approximately half an hour of music education per week. This stark comparison highlighted the inadequate provision of music education in their own district.

Another eye-opening revelation for the Anaheim administrators was that the Nashville district incorporates music teacher positions into their operating costs, without relying on donations. These positions constitute less than 2 percent, which amounts to $14 million, of the district’s $800 million budget. Nashville’s Superintendent, Jesse Register, explained that this funding doesn’t require yearly reallocation, providing stability for the music education program. Ms. Grace, the curriculum director from Anaheim, found this information encouraging and recognized the possibility of establishing a citywide music education program, regardless of a major donor’s involvement.

The timing seems opportune for Anaheim to reconsider fund allocation. With California’s local-control funding formula allowing districts more flexibility in utilizing funds for disadvantaged students, English-learners, and foster children, there may be room to redirect funds towards music education. These three student groups collectively represent the majority of the district’s population. However, the Anaheim group acknowledged the challenges they may encounter. Finding a pipeline of qualified music teachers may prove difficult due to the absence of music education in the area for an extended period. Will the teacher contract present obstacles when it comes to evaluating music teachers? Additionally, will classroom teachers, who have become increasingly focused on accountability measures, support the idea of sending their students down the hall for 45 minutes a week?

Ultimately, the district leaders and music educators have a clear vision. They seek to establish a standards-based music program with highly qualified teachers, dedicated classrooms, and consistent funding that benefits all students. Superintendent Wagner affirmed their determination, stating, "There’s no doubt we want to press forward. It’s just a matter of pacing."

Arizona Teachers Set To Strike Over School Funding And Pay

Arizona Teachers Set To Strike Over School Funding And Pay

Teachers throughout Arizona are set to go on strike this Thursday in what is being hailed as the first-ever statewide strike to advocate for higher salaries and increased funding for schools. The strike comes after three days of "walk-ins" this week, allowing parents and community 

Nine Rules For Your First Days In Student Halls

Nine Rules For Your First Days In Student Halls

Almost three years ago, on this very day, I moved into my university dormitory, and it still remains amongst the most stressful things I have ever done. The move from Isle of Man wasn’t the difficult part, but the anxiety that followed was. When meeting strangers you have agreed to reside with, the initial interaction can be tense, uncomfortable, and bizarre. Here are some essential tips to help you navigate the first few days smoothly.

1. Avoid Prying on your New Roommates

The eagerness to place the profile pictures with real faces and get introductions out of the way on move-in day may make you hover. However, there is no need to familiarize yourself instantly with each new flatmate. The last thing someone carrying boxes needs is to be bombarded with questions about their course or if they’ve brought a kettle.

2. Keep Conversations Light

Small talk on the first day should be as mundane as possible without inducing boredom. Good small talk subjects could be where they come from, whether they like Game of Thrones, or how many shots of own-brand vodka they can do while standing on one leg. However, asking them to proofread the cleaning rota you’ve been working on is a less pleasant topic.

3. Be Friendly

When the time is right, the best way to combat the panic about making friends with everyone is to do exactly that. Instead of isolating yourself with the first few people you speak with, give each person in your flat some of your time and attention. You’ll end up using that polite voice you use for formal occasions and visiting family members, and the whole experience will likely feel like one of those odd mingle exercises you did in GCSE French. You didn’t sign up for college to take it easy, so be charming and push past it.

4. Don’t Fret over Missing Out

I arrived later than most on the first day and was instantly worried that I’d missed out on the first flat party. This wasn’t the case, and even if it was, it’s not worth worrying about; you have an entire year with these people. Relax and take it easy, congregating to talk about accents and A-levels on the first night of freshers’ week is part of basic human instinct like hunter-gathering or procreation.

5. Don’t Panic and Ask for Assistance

If someone has already taken your room, or you’ve been left out of the list, or your key isn’t working, don’t panic. On move-in day, universities are usually very efficient, but with such massive administrative challenges, mistakes can happen.

Freshers’ week has a lot of pressure to be the most enjoyable time you’ll ever have from the start, but the reality is that most experiences are mixed; you’ll feel homesick with the good parts. Freshers’ week wasn’t the most enjoyable time I had during my first year; the meeting with my flatmates and genuinely spending time together was much more enjoyable.

6. Never Leave a Dirty Pan to Soak

Wars have been started for less. A messy kitchen is the immediate source of the first breakdown in those insanely friendly first-term relations. Do you know what is simpler than trying to cover up used plates with an art project? Cleaning them.

7. Keep an Open Mind

The people you are paired with in dorms are improbable to be the people with whom you have most in common. You’ll usually find those who share your interests in your course or societies. However, even those with vastly different backgrounds or interests may become crucial people in your life. I happily lived with a group of my initial flatmates throughout my three-year degree because we all did different courses, led different schedules and lived very different lives. While I would never recommend forging close friendships with kitchen appliances, a toaster and blender can provide cheerful small talk.

8. Stay Occupied


Being a team player is important in all aspects of life, including in your relationships with your neighbors. If you notice your neighbor struggling with a severe hangover, consider assisting them with hydration, vitamins, food, or cleaning supplies. Remember, you never know when you may need their help in the future. Stay connected with the latest news and advice for students by following Guardian Students on Twitter: @GdnStudents. Additionally, explore exciting graduate career opportunities on Guardian Jobs.

Nearly Half Of England’s Teachers Plan To Leave In Next Five Years

Nearly Half Of England’s Teachers Plan To Leave In Next Five Years

According to The Guardian, a survey has found that a high volume of teachers plan to leave state schools in record numbers. The survey discovered that 43% of state school teachers in England intend to step away from their professions in the upcoming five years.