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Contents contributed and discussions participated by Bonnie Sutton

Bonnie Sutton

AEI PANEL DISCUSSION: What will the 2012 election mean for education? - 2 views

fiscal cliff Obama common core budget cuts sequestration ESEA
started by Bonnie Sutton on 16 Nov 12 no follow-up yet
  • Bonnie Sutton
    On Thursday, November 8, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) hosted an event, "What Will the 2012 Election Mean for Education?" This particular discussion focused largely on K-12 policy issues, with occasional references to higher education.


    Katherine Haley, Policy Advisor, Office of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)
    Frederick M. Hess, Resident Scholar and Director of Education Policy Studies, AEI
    Alyson Klein, Education Reporter, Education Week
    Andy Rotherham, Co-Founder and Partner, Bellwether Education Partners
    Kristen Soltis Anderson, Vice President, The Winston Group

    Andrew Kelly, a research fellow at AEI, served as the event's moderator, offering a series of questions to the panelists on a range of topics. Notably, before he began with formal introductions, Kelly indicated Administration officials had planned to participate (Massie Ritsch of the Department of Education and Zakiya Smith of the White House were listed as participants on marketing materials), but a directive from the White House on not discussing election results or second term plans meant they were unable to attend. Following a "lightning round" to start things off, Kelly turned to specific questions. The remainder of this summary is organized by his questions.

    President Obama's Second Term Priorities

    Kelly's specific questions began with one that could be best answered by the Administration officials not in attendance-What will be the Education Department's priorities be in a second term? Education Week's Klein offered the first response, stating this year will be "higher ed's turn." According to Klein, though the Administration is not likely to say it publicly, they are perfectly content with Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) gridlock and will continue to push reforms through the waiver process.

    Later in the event, Hess indicated he believed a second term was going to be a "hell of a lot less fun" for the Department of Education (ED). In the first term, the Department was busy passing, designing, and implementing Race to the Top (RTT), Investing in Innovation (i3), waivers for ESEA, and other innovative programs. Over the next four years, according to Hess, the story is going to be about accountability and "holding people's feet to the fire" on RTT and waiver requirements.

    Where Is the Electorate?

    Kelly turned to Soltis-Anderson, who has a polling background, for the initial response on the question of how the American people view education policy. According to Soltis-Anderson, the public's views on education policy are driven largely by policies which appear to have an obvious impact, such as class sizes. When it comes to more abstract ideas, such as structural reforms, the public is less likely to be supportive.

    Hess agreed with this point, noting that, by and large, parents and communities like and value their local schools. Rotherham buoyed Hess' point, noting the education reform issues on state ballot initiatives in Idaho and North Dakota, not exactly the most "Blue States," were soundly rejected. Soltis-Anderson generally agreed with the panel, but did suggest economic woes could drive the public to support education reform.

    ESEA Reauthorization & Waivers

    The general sense of the panel was that little was going to happen on ESEA, absent some level of pressure from within or outside of the Halls of Congress. Klein did report she had just discussed the topic with House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), who said to expect multiple pieces of legislation very similar to last year, albeit with a few "tweaks." Unfortunately, Kline did not provide any details on what those tweaks may be.

    Haley, who was the least vocal of the panelists throughout the event, did say there was some concern among House members with the waiver program, mentioning that Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) cited the waivers as evidence of an "Imperial Presidency" circumventing Congress. However, absent state-level about waiver implementation, Klein noted that it is difficult to see a path to reauthorization next year. Haley acknowledged the point, noting that the House did receive letters from the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) raising some level of concern, but after the waivers had begun to be implemented. Haley added that "the letters were received way too late" in the process.

    Rotherham said there were big disagreements over the direction of education policy, but one area where there was "quiet consensus" is that the states cannot be left to "their own devices" in terms of accountability. Hess replied he wasn't sure anyone could agree on anything, citing the "pander-fest" on maintaining the interest rate on subsidized Stafford Loans as the one area of agreement over the past year (and an ineffective use of taxpayer funds).

    Fiscal Cliff & Education Funding

    Before turning back to education reform topics, the panel also addressed the pending fiscal cliff and its impact on education, with Kelly putting the first general question to Haley. Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) top staffer for education referred to the Speaker's remarks at the previous day's press conference. Haley repeated, "It is not the intent of the House to let the [sequestration] cuts take effect on January 2." She also reiterated Boehner's position that entitlement reform, tax reform, and spending cuts must come as a package. Though Haley maintained the intent of the House was to address the issue comprehensively, the rest of the panel said they could not see any way around the issue beyond a punt.

    As far as the specifics of sequestration, Klein indicated the ideal scenario would be agreement upon a general framework with several months of debate and discussion on meeting this framework. This would allow schools to prepare. However, Klein also indicated that schools are already preparing for these cuts and suggested Title I and IDEA would be preserved in the final resolution. However, the veteran reporter also indicated that there will be a great deal of advocacy on the Impact Aid programs, which would be hit immediately in a sequestration scenario. She also said that small programs, which were doomed by the Administration's proposal for consolidation in its budgets and ESEA Blueprint, are likely to remain in a similar state in the current environment.

    Hess also lamented the lack of debate on the hard choices facing the country due to the fiscal cliff, including cuts to education programs during the campaign. Rotherham agreed the discussion was lacking, but said it was an even bigger issue at the state and local level. According to Rotherman, although most states have their budgets back in order in the near to medium term and there are certainly federal concerns, chiefly the Pell Grant Program which he described as having a "Pac-Man effect" on the ED budget, the pension problem facing states and localities should be a bigger concern for education advocates than the federal fiscal cliff.

    Disappointment for Education Reform (& Common Core) at the Ballot?

    The panel wrapped its discussion with a look at many of the education reform measures and candidates which failed on state ballots, particularly the loss of Tony Bennett in Indiana. Kelly asked the group if the Bennett result was "foreboding" or just a one-off scenario. The consensus appeared to be "foreboding," with members of the panel suggesting these election results could derail the Common Core Standards.

    According to Hess, who cited the numerous times the Obama Administration has promoted Common Core, including in the Democratic Party Platform, "Common Core blew up in Indiana" because it is now seen as a partisan issue in many Republican leaning states. In response, Haley indicated that the House Republican Caucus is comfortable with Common Core if it is a state decision. However, Haley also said, when states are "compelled" by the Administration to adopt Common Core, as many House GOP Member believe is the case with RTT, they no longer see it as a "state prerogative." Rotherham agreed Common Core was in danger of becoming a highly partisan issue. He noted that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the famed conservative state legislature organization, was taking a vote on opposing Common Core this week.

    Whether it was the Tony Bennett race, the rejection of certain reforms in Idaho or other states, Klein said it was a bit of a feeling of "déjà vu" with the Harkin-Enzi ESEA reauthorization effort. It turns out, though the Left and Right of each political party are thousands of miles apart in terms of funding, it appears they are more aligned than both sides realize (or would care to admit) when it comes to policy. Where NCLB, as flawed as it is, was created by a centrist bipartisan coalition, the latest efforts to thwart certain elements of ESEA reauthorization plans and other federal reform-minded efforts have been led by an unwitting coalition of the more ideological factions of both parties.

    Audience Questions

    Hillary Goldman of ISTE opened the audience questions by asking if the school system IT needs associated with certain federal requirements could apply enough pressure on policymakers. Hess and Rotherham indicated that, if anything, the IT concerns could be a hindrance and not a help in promoting Common Core and/or more systemic reforms.

    Ellin Nolan of Washington Partners asked about the fiscal cliff and a scenario where lawmakers simply allow it to happen because they can then go back and remedy the situation for key constituencies. Panelists acknowledged they had heard suggestions that lawmakers might choose this route, noting no one should look at Congress without a heavy dose of cynicism, but also indicated the incredible attention on the "fiscal cliff" would likely require at least a punt from the Congress.

    A representative of the National School Boards Association asked the final question of the event, seeking additional insights on what might happen with key players in education policy. Secretary Duncan has already announced his intent to stay and Hess said he believed that Carmel Martin would likely stay on as well. Haley noted that Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) is term limited as the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Ranking Member and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) was the "heir apparent." Haley said Alexander and Enzi clearly had different styles and personalities, an understatement which drew chuckles from the audience and the dais.

    Additional information on the event, including an archived webcast, is available online.
Bonnie Sutton

Information wants to be free, but does education? - 3 views

free information. ivy league spring online education
started by Bonnie Sutton on 13 Nov 12 no follow-up yet
  • Bonnie Sutton
    By Dominic Basulto

    Are education and information one and the same when it comes to wanting to be free? (ARNE DEDERT - EPA)
    The concept that anyone - regardless of socioeconomic background - could get an Ivy League education for free would seem to be the Holy Grail of education, particularly at a time when the nation's total student loan debt has passed the $1 trillion mark. Who would argue against the world's best professors teaching you subjects in the sciences and humanities while you're at home streaming course videos the way you might a Netflix movie?

    The state of Minnesota did exactly that, suggesting (for a short time) that the massive open online courses (MOOCs) that have taken the educational world by storm this year may just be illegal for the state's residents. In all fairness, it's not that Minnesota fears disruption in education, rather it fears all these online courses may be too good to be true. Shortly after reports started appearing, Minnesota clarified its position: their issue was with those wily folks from places like Massachusetts and California crossing over Internet state lines under the cover of darkness to offer free courses without first signing up to be a registered educational provider within the state.

    Which raises an interesting question: Can education be democratized and the cost of each course reduced to zero, similar to the entertainment industry?

    For educational providers, the key is being able to distill all of the essential aspects of an elite education into a Web-friendly format?. Just as we once ripped apart CDs and movies to transform them into digital streams, we are now attempting to rip apart Ivy League course lectures, transform them into digital bits, and then offer them online to anyone in the world for free.

    That's the easy part. The tricky part is transforming all the intangibles of an elite education such as one-on-one contact with the professor into something that can be distributed (and priced) online. There's also the matter of handing out certifications and degrees. As Coursera's struggle with plagiarism this summer shows, the state of Minnesota might actually have a valid point regarding quality. Finally, there's the matter of access: will students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds really have the same opportunity as students with greater access to the latest electronics?

    It all seems doable enough that Stanford president John Hennessy came out this year and said that it's not a matter of if, but when, online higher education becomes free.

    And he's not alone. The Post's own Vivek Wadhwa recently predicted that all online education would be totally free within 10 years - and that includes an education from the same elite institutions who have joined Coursera. For a really mind-blowing scenario of how it all unfolds check out the EPIC 2020 video - it lays out a realistic route for free online education by the year 2020.

    The math certainly seems simple enough. The biggest courses can attract as many as 150,000 people each. Instead of charging annual tuition, a top educational institution could conceivably charge tuition on a course-by-course or a lecture-by-lecture basis. At some point, the price of each lecture might be driven down to $0.99, which seems to be the going price of entertainment these days. Imagine tens of thousands of students from all over the world, downloading lectures for $0.99 each. It would just be a matter of pricing the content correctly and rewarding rock star professors the way we would reward rock stars on iTunes.

    What makes the whole education-wants-to-be-free debate so intriguing is that the entrenched market leaders are actually the ones driving the greatest disruption. The leaders of the MOOC revolution have been the likes of Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Princeton. In fact, some have even referred to this past spring as the "Ivy League Spring" - the events have been that dramatic, with educational regimes toppling overnight. However, as we now know from recent experience, spring-time movements can be rolled back just as quickly as they started. et's hope it's not the case with online education.
Bonnie Sutton

Digital Literacy - 2 views

teacher's perspective common sense media's survey
started by Bonnie Sutton on 09 Nov 12 no follow-up yet
Bonnie Sutton

What Does the Election Mean for Education in the 113th Congress? - 3 views

education and the 113th congress workforce readiness K-12
started by Bonnie Sutton on 09 Nov 12 no follow-up yet
  • Bonnie Sutton
    Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Impact of America Competes Act
    Wednesday, 7 November, 2012

    The day after the elections, at first blush, feels like Groundhog Day. After all the campaigning, spending and voting, very little appears to have changed. President Obama was given another four years in the White House, John Boehner (R-OH) was assured another two years as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Harry Reid (D-NV) will continue as the Senate Majority Leader. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will also hold on to his Minority Leader slot. The only question mark is what future Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will choose for herself-will she stay as Minority Leader or will she go?

    Digging a little deeper, education advocates lost a few champions on both sides of the aisle. Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL) lost her seat in the election, and Dale Kildee (D-MI), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Jason Altmire (D-PA) Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Todd Platts (R-PA) will not be returning to the House Education and the Workforce Committee for a variety of reasons. In the Senate, Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) retired, leaving a vacancy on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Mike Enzi (R-WY), while remaining on the Committee, will give up his Ranking position, most likely to Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

    Turning to the topic of education spending, the Chair of the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Denny Rehberg (R-MT), lost his bid for a Senate seat. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) won his Senate contest, and Jerry Lewis (R-CA) retired. That leaves three vacancies on this all important Subcommittee for the Republicans.

    While several other House Members with education connections will not be returning, in particular, Betty Sutton (D-OH), a former teacher, among the newly elected are education supporters such as Carol Shea Porter (D-NH) and Dina Titus (D-AZ) who both served on the Education and the Workforce Committee in the 111th Congress. In total, there will be 76 new Members in the 113th House of Representatives.

    In the Senate, there will be 12 new Members. The number of women will reach 19, an increase that will surely change some dynamics in the Senate Chamber. Surprisingly, the Democrats picked up two seats, bringing their total majority to 54. Among those newly elected, Joe Donnelly (D-IN) is a former teacher and school board member, and once Congresswoman now Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) served on the Education and the Workforce Committee in the House. Now a Senator, Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has expressed strong support for early childhood education and higher education policy.

    While Democrats had a lot to celebrate on the National level, 30 Republicans will be serving as governors in 2013. Several interesting ballot initiatives around the country also indicated a strong interest in education reform and for the most part more investment in spending on education. In two states-Georgia and Washington- the of expansion of charter schools was supported; in Idaho, three laws were overturned that were strongly opposed by teachers in the state; and California Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) successfully pushed through a tax increase that will provide an additional $6 billion for K-12 education. On the other hand, a generous tax increase for education failed in Arizona. Another troubling sign that was noted in terms of state contests was the election of individuals who do not support the adoption and implementation of the common core college and career ready standards. This will be something to watch closely in the months ahead.

    Maryland's version of the Dream Act, making in state tuition available to undocumented students who had attended high school in the state, was passed by a wide margin. Coupled with the poor showing for Republicans across the country among Hispanic voters, many advocates hope there will be support for much needed immigration reform in the 113th Congress.

    While the President was criticized during the campaign for not providing a plan of action for his second term, his priorities for education have been well defined by his first four years. Unable to drive a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) through the Congress, the President succeeded in rewriting K-12 policy through a combination of financial carrots, regulatory reform and the granting of an unprecedented waiver plan for all interested states. He has acknowledged that his pledge to expand early childhood education was not met; he has said he wants to provide incentives for colleges to hold back on tuition increases and do more to make sure access results in degree completion; he says he will pay more attention to parental involvement as he pushes for a rewrite of the ESEA bill; and he is certain to continue to fight for his signature programs-Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation (i3), School Improvement Grants and Promise Neighborhoods. The Congress has a long list of reauthorizations that are past due beyond ESEA-the Higher Education Act, Career and Technical Education, the Workforce Investment Act, the Education Sciences Reform Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who has declared his desire to remain in office, will be engaged in all education efforts the House and Senate choose to promote.

    Prepared for Triangle Coalition by: Ellin Nolan, Washington Partners, LLC (
Bonnie Sutton

Congress Likely to Stay Divided on Education - 2 views

vouchers stem science and math teachers change in education
  • Bonnie Sutton

    Congress Likely to Stay Divided, Will Gridlock on K-12 Continue?
  • Bonnie Sutton
    Congress Likely to Stay Divided, Will Gridlock on K-12 Continue?
    By Alyson Klein on November 6, 2012 11:36 PM

    The U.S. House of Representatives is likely to stay in GOP hands and the Senate under Democratic control, according to the Associated Press. Over the past two years, that combination has meant a lot of sniping and not much action on big issues, including the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

    So does two more years of a divided Congress mean two more years of gridlock on key issues? Lawmakers will get their first test soon. Even before the new Congress takes office, lawmakers must figure out a plan to head off "sequestration," a series of planned, 8.2 percent trigger cuts to nearly every federal K-12 program, including special education and money for disadvantaged students.

    Earlier today, U.S. Rep. John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, said that he would see a House GOP victory as an indication that voters don't want to see tax increases, which some Democrats have called for as a way to help put the nation on firmer fiscal footing.

    "The American people want solutions-and tonight, they've responded by renewing our majority," Boehner told the Republican National Committee in an election night speech. "With this vote, the American people have also made clear that there is no mandate for raising tax rate."

    The divided Congress must also get to work on a lengthy list of education legislation, including renewing the ESEA, as well as the laws that govern higher education, special education, career and technical education, and workforce development. And the lawmakers have to figure out how to cope with a roughly $7 billion shortfall in the Pell Grant program, and a planned rise in student loans, which are set to double to 6.8 percent next year. More here.

    Over the past two years, the Republican House and the Democratic Senate have clashed on education funding issues. GOP lawmakers in the House have tried to boost funding for special education and disadvantaged students, while eliminating President Obama's favorite programs, including Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, and the School Improvement Grants. So far, Democrats and the administration have been able to keep those programs funded. Will that dynamic continue?

    Committees in each chamber have also approved bills to renew the ESEA law. While both scale back the federal role in gauging student achievement, they go in different directions when it comes to school improvement, teacher evaluation, and program consolidation. It's unclear whether lawmakers will get to work on finding a compromise between those bills-or allow the administration's plan to offer states waivers from key mandates of the current version of the ESEA, the No Child Left Behind Act, to stay in place.

    No changes to congressional control means no changes to congressional leadership on education issues. U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, will remain the chairman of the panels that oversee both education spending and policy. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn, who wrote a series of ESEA renewal bills that significantly scale back the federal role in K-12, will stay as the helm of the House Education Committee.

    One change? Sen. Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, a big advocate for rural schools who co-sponsored an ESEA reauthorization bill with Harkin, is term-limited as ranking member (top Republican slot). Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennesse, a former U.S. Secretary of Education who has been very skeptical of the federal role in education in recent years, will get first dibs on taking over that position in the next Congress.

    Some important congressional race results tonight:

    *Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., a big supporter of prekindergarten programs, was re-elected in Pennsylvania.

    *Rep. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who was endorsed by Democrats for Education Reform, won the Senate seat in Connecticut.

    *Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Republican, who helped champion the A-plus Act, which sought to significantly scale back the federal role in K-12, was unable to unseat Sen. Debbie Stabenow in Michigan.

    *Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, and former school board president and a fan of expanding higher education access, won the Indiana Senate race.

    *Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill, a long-time member of the House education committee and a moderate was defeated by former Rep. Bill Foster, a Democrat.

    *Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., defeated former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who has a long record on K-12 issues.
Bonnie Sutton

ASCD Releases Report on Common Core State Standards Implementation - 1 views

ASCD common core Adopting to Implementation Report
started by Bonnie Sutton on 06 Nov 12 no follow-up yet
  • Bonnie Sutton
    Posted Nov 1, 2012
    ASCD has released a new report titled Fulfilling the Promise of the Common Core State Standards: Moving from Adoption to Implementation to Sustainability, illuminating activities educators and policymakers at all levels can undertake to successfully implement the Common Core State Standards across the nation. This free report can be found on the EduCore site, ASCD's free repository of evidence-based strategies, videos, and supporting documents that help educators transition to the Common Core standards.

    The recommendations included in Fulfilling the Promise of the Common Core State Standards are derived from data gathered from field work, surveys, and educator summits. While focusing on tactics and strategies educators across the nation can use to implement the new standards, this report delves deeper into the needs, input, and activities of educators in four states diverse in location and education practice-Arkansas, Colorado, North Carolina, and Utah.

    Based on the data gathered, ASCD has made a number of key recommendations to education leaders that will help them successfully implement the Common Core State Standards in their school systems. Among the recommendations are to

    Transform principals into instructional leaders;

    Listen to educators about their professional learning needs;

    Adopt technology for teaching and learning;

    Align initiatives into comprehensive reforms;

    Make sure educators deeply understand the standards and the key instructional shifts they require; and

    Vet instructional resources for quality and alignment with the standards.

    This report is one of the projects funded through a three-year, $3 million dollar grant awarded to ASCD last year by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support implementation of the Common Core standards.

    To obtain a full copy of this report and to access the many resources from ASCD aiding educators in implementing the Common Core State Standards, visit

    Source: ASCD,
Bonnie Sutton

Media Diversity Why No One Cares - 2 views

Diversity media perspectives different ways of thinking and understanding
  • Bonnie Sutton
  • Bonnie Sutton
    Media Diversity: Why No One Cares
    by Joseph Miller, Esq.

    Media advocacy has always focused on the shortcomings of regulators and media giants. Although the faults of both regulators and the media industry are significant, advocates rarely discuss the role candidates for national office might play in rousing interest in media diversity among the electorate.

    How long should we wait for a regulatory or industry-led initiative to improve media diversity? Despite its mandate under Section 257 of the Communications Act, the Federal Communications Commission has failed to collect and aggregate minority ownership data in a form the public can use. With the exception of tiny glimmers of change in newsroom diversity, hiring, retention and promotion diversity at top media companies is dismal. Among Diversity Inc.'s Top 50 Companies for Diversity 2012, Cox Communications (#25) and Time Warner (#40) were the only media companies listed. Factoring in companies that are more relevant in a converged media industry, AT&T (#4) and Verizon Communications (#39) were also featured. But there is really not much need to look further than the senior management teams of top media companies, which are overwhelmingly white (Disney, Comcast, News Corporation, Viacom) despite the fact that minorities comprise 27.6 percent of the U.S. population, to see the lack of racial, ethnic and gender diversity among those who control so much of what we see and hear.

    But the most daunting challenge for policymakers is not to confirm whether these disparities exist-everyone knows they do-it is to address the underlying reasons for the lack of a political impetus to address them.

    Why don't we care? Despite the central role of the media in democratic politics, made clear by the record amounts of money the Obama and Romney campaigns have spent on political advertising, media diversity is frankly not that high up on the average American's priority list. A recent Time Warner Cable report finds that, while subscriber survey respondents were willing to pay $25 more per month for general, "opinion" diversity, they were willing to pay just $7 more per month for any improvement in "information that reflects the interests of women and minorities."

    The demographics of most media companies' senior ranks bear little resemblance to the demographic cross-section of the public media executives work tirelessly to reach. According to 4th, which evaluated front page stories from 38 different newspapers between January and mid-October, 2012, non-white reporters wrote a paltry 9% of stories on the economy, 9.2% of stories on social issues, and 7.3% of stories about foreign policy. Most startlingly, 98.2% of stories on immigration-an issue that is most contentious with respect to U.S. policies toward Latino immigrants-were written by white reporters. Why is the state of diversity in the media so discouraging? Do the media lack diversity because there is a lack of consumer demand for it? Or is it the other way around-has the media industry suppressed demand for diversity to preserve its control by non-minorities?

    This is more than just a chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. The lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the media is a consequence of post-racial politics.

    If a candidate perceives a particular initiative will secure a substantial number of votes from a powerful racial constituency, historically that candidate will make the issue resonate with voters. For some, the race appeal is made using racial code language. Richard Nixon's White House Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman, famously noted: "[T]he whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to." Thus, while the Supreme Court has encouraged states to pursue race-neutral policies to achieve diversity, politicians have actually turned that doctrine on its head: some politicians have advanced racial-neutral initiatives-such as the "War on Drugs" or the fight against "Voter Fraud"-to perpetuate inequality.

    Ohio State Moritz College of Law Professor Michelle Alexander has done extensive research on the means by which some policies without a specific racial component have actually perpetuated the same disparities that were so prevalent during the Jim Crow era. Specifically, Ms. Alexander has argued that, despite the fact that drug crimes were actually declining, the Reagan administration decided in 1982 to pursue Nixon's idea of a War on Drugs to garner the votes of whites who felt threatened by the advances of the Civil Rights Movement. President Bill Clinton carried the torch, trying to convince white voters that he would be even tougher on drugs and crime than his Republican predecessors.

    The current fight against "Voter Fraud" is another campaign some believe is racially-encoded and designed to suppress minority votes. These kinds of race-neutral campaigns leave their opponents in the unenviable position of being on the defensive having to assert a racial impact in an environment in which the mere mention of race is frowned upon.

    The post-racial nature of today's political discourse precludes politicians from addressing race head-on. Politicians are unlikely to explicitly address race in their campaigns as there is a fair risk that doing so would be considered taboo-or, at best, impolite-and alienate voters. Accordingly, media diversity has been relegated to the bottom of the pile of campaign initiatives candidates are likely to advance. This is unfortunate since politicians play such a powerful role in legitimating even the most dubious platforms.

    Joseph Miller, Esq., is Deputy Director and Senior Policy Counsel for the Media and Technology Institute at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. More information on Mr. Miller and his work can be found on the Joint Center website.
Bonnie Sutton

FCC Chairman, Experts, Discuss Driving Broadband Adoption and Effects on Economy at Joi... - 1 views

Broadband adoption effects on economy experts in technology
started by Bonnie Sutton on 11 Oct 12 no follow-up yet
  • Bonnie Sutton
    FCC Chairman, Experts, Discuss Driving Broadband Adoption and Effects on Economy at Joint Center
    by TIFFANY BAIN on OCTOBER 3, 2012

    Although it had only been in its new office location for less than three weeks, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies continued with old business recently with its "Broadband, the Economy, and Driving Adoption" panel discussion.

    In collaboration with Comcast, the Joint Center gathered a panel of broadband data experts and pragmatists to identify the factors impeding high broadband adoption rates in low adopting communities, share real-world examples of the effects of broadband in low-income and minority communities, and discuss lessons learned in convincing the aforementioned communities to adopt broadband.

    Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski delivered remarks prior to the main discussion and emphasized the increase in prevalence of broadband across the country.

    "Four years ago, these issues were issues that technology folks talked about," he began. "It's changed dramatically in the last few years, and I'm seeing people all over the country outside of these circles understand the benefits of it."

    While technology enthusiasts and people beyond the Beltway recognize and experience the benefits of broadband, Genachowski mentioned that nearly one-third of the United States' population has not realized the many advantages broadband offers.

    Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst at Leichtman Research Group, and Madura Wijewardena, director of research and policy at the National Urban League Policy Institute, pinpointed the divides within home broadband adoption rates.

    Leichtman suggested that income and age were significant divides in relation to broadband adoption, noting that nearly all households with incomes above $50,000 subscribe to broadband (91 percent) and have a computer at home (97 percent), while households that earn under $30,000 have lower broadband subscription rates (47 percent) and are not likely to have a home computer (59 percent). He also said that based on his firm's research, low adoption rates could be attributed to lack of "hardware" and "knowledge," rather than prior leading reasons such as cost and accessibility.

    Wijewardena indicated that race and education were also dividers and offered a couple of "optimistic points" regarding the narrowing adoption gap between blacks and whites.

    "It's fair to say that things are improving," he said. "At a time when business development is on the decline, black business creation has increased."

    Urban Affairs Coalition Government and Strategic Partnerships Director Arun Prabahakaran and University of District Columbia Community College Deputy Chief Executive Officer Dr. Julie Johnson shared the lessons they learned while trying to get more low-income and communities of color to adopt broadband at home.

    Johnson and Prabahakaran said that they realized that groups with low broadband adoption rates often have "a low perception of need" and "think free is too good to be true," referring to low-income broadband adoption programs such as Comcast's Internet Essentials initiative.

    Both pragmatists also realized that one way to encourage broadband adoption in these groups was to host digital literacy classes in places they trust the most because these groups often go where to places where they are most familiar and that are close to home.

    To attract and encourage more groups to participate in digital divide classes, Wijewardena recommended that the terms "jobs" and "businesses" be linked to marketing and other communications efforts. He suggested that having jobs and business development is a better "hook" than just saying "we have a digital literacy program."

    In his remarks, Genachowski also mentioned that while technology is a huge opportunity for business and education, the biggest obstacle is lack of home broadband access.

    "We have to innovate for equity," Johnson said.

    The "Broadband, the Economy, and Driving Adoption" panel discussion was facilitated by the Joint Center's Media and Technology Institute Vice President and Director Dr. John B. Horrigan. Horrigan was one of the lead team members on the FCC's 2009 National Broadband Plan, as well as author of the Plan's first working paper titled Broadband Adoption and Use in America.

    Tiffany K. Bain is a 2011 public relations graduate of Florida A&M University. She currently serves as the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council's Research Associate. She got her start in the industry in 2007 as an Emma L. Bowen Foundation intern at the nation's leading cable provider.
Bonnie Sutton

Get With the Computer Program - 2 views

evaluation of computer use in university effectiveness tools Ftf vs online and other methodologies
started by Bonnie Sutton on 08 Oct 12 no follow-up yet
  • Bonnie Sutton
    Get With the Computer Program

    The integration of increasingly sophisticated information and communication tools (ICTs) is sweeping university classrooms. Understanding how learners and instructors perceive the effectiveness of these tools in the classroom is critical to the success or failure of their integration higher education settings. A new study led by Concordia University shows that when it comes to pedagogy, students prefer an engaging lecture rather than a targeted tweet.
    ScienceDaily (Oct. 5, 2012) - From email to Twitter, blogs to word processors, computer programs provide countless communications opportunities. While social applications have dominated the development of the participatory web for users and programmers alike, this era of Web 2.0 is applicable to more than just networking: it impacts education.
    Twelve universities across Quebec recently signed up to be a part of the first cross-provincial study of perceptions of ICT integration and course effectiveness on higher learning. This represented the first pan-provincial study to assess how professors are making the leap from lectures to LinkedIn -- and whether students are up for the change to the traditional educational model.
    At the forefront of this study was Concordia's own Vivek Venkatesh. As associate dean of academic programs and development within the School of Graduate Studies, he has a particular interest in how education is evolving within post-secondary institutions. To conduct the study, Venkatesh partnered with Magda Fusaro from UQAM's Department of Management and Technology. Together, they conducted a pilot project at UQAM before rolling the project out to universities across the province.
    "We hit the ground running and received an overwhelmingly positive response with 15,020 students and 2,640 instructors responding to our electronic questionnaires in February and March of 2011," recalls Venkatesh. The 120-item surveys gauged course structure preferences, perceptions of the usefulness of teaching methods, and the level of technology knowledge of both students and teachers.
    The surprising results showed that students were more appreciative of the literally "old school" approach of lectures and were less enthusiastic than teachers about using ICTs in classes. Instructors were more fluent with the use of emails than with social media, while the opposite was true for students.
    "Our analysis showed that teachers think that their students feel more positive about their classroom learning experience if there are more interactive, discussion-oriented activities. In reality, engaging and stimulating lectures, regardless of how technologies are used, are what really predict students' appreciation of a given university course," explains Fusaro.
    The researchers hope these results will have a broad impact, especially in terms of curriculum design and professional development. For Venkatesh, "this project represents a true success story of collaboration across Québec universities that could definitely have an effect outside the province." Indeed, the large number of participants involved means this research is applicable to populations of learners across North America and Europe with similar educational and information technology infrastructures. An electronic revolution could soon sweep post-secondary classrooms around the world, thanks to this brand new research from Quebec
Bonnie Sutton

A National Talent Strategy: Ideas for Securing U.S. Competitiveness and Economic Growth, - 1 views

CSTA competitiveness country's future computational sciences
started by Bonnie Sutton on 08 Oct 12 no follow-up yet
  • Bonnie Sutton
    Microsoft Groundbreaking Speech and Report on CS Education

    Today Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith spoke at the Brookings Institution at an event on education and immigration reform and the presentation (and the report on which it is based) represents a huge leap forward in the effort to make computer science courses available to all high school students.

    In a new groundbreaking report called A National Talent Strategy: Ideas for Securing U.S. Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Microsoft argues that it is crucial to the country's future that there be more access to computer science in K-12 education in high schools. This report calls for a new Race to the Future that will help address the critical talent gap in computer science, not just for the high tech industry but for every single industry on the country that depends on computing for automation and innovation.

    Speaking at the Brookings Institute today, Smith made a powerful and compelling argument for the key place of computer science within STEM and the link to jobs that are already going unfilled.

    It is important to note that Smith and his team at Microsoft have been working with the Computing in the Core group that includes CSTA and ACM and that their passionate engagement in K-12 computer science education issues have been informed by key reports from CSTA and ACM.

    I strongly encourage you to watch the Brookings Institute webcast (and perhaps play it for your students!) and to download and read this new report.

    Chris Stephenson
    CSTA Executive Director
Bonnie Sutton

Mobile phone problems - 1 views

started by Bonnie Sutton on 06 Aug 12 no follow-up yet
  • Bonnie Sutton
    Mobile Phone Problems
    Even though mobile technology often simplifies the completion of everyday tasks, cell phone owners can also encounter technical glitches and unwanted intrusions on their phones. In an April 2012 survey, the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project assessed the prevalence of four problems that cell owners might face:

    Dropped phone calls
    Unwanted sales or marketing calls
    Spam or unwanted text messages (based on cell owners who text)
    Slow download speeds that prevent things from loading as quickly as you would like them to (based on those who use the internet or email on their cell phone or download apps to their cell phone)
    "The big change that mobile connectivity has brought to users is the instant availability of people and data," noted Jan Lauren Boyles, a Pew Internet Project researcher who authored this report. "As mobile owners become fond of just-in-time access to others and as their expectations about getting real-time information rise, they depend on the cell phone's technical reliability. Any problems that snag, stall, or stop users from connecting to the material and people they seek is at least a hassle to them and sometimes is even more disturbing than that in this networked world."

    Read or download the full report:
Bonnie Sutton

Most Texas Students Found not Ready for College - 3 views

college texas students ability preparation inequity
started by Bonnie Sutton on 05 Aug 12 no follow-up yet
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