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Morning Read: iPad Replacement Costs Another LA Unified Worry

LA School Report | September 26, 2013

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Who pays if L.A. Unified students lose or break iPads?
Another issue in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s $1-billion effort to equip every student with an iPad surfaced Wednesday: Are parents liable if their child breaks or loses the tablet? The question emerged after revelations that 300 or so students at Roosevelt High School skirted security measures on the device and visited unauthorized websites. In response, the district suspended all home use of the Apple tablets, which have gone out to about two dozen schools so far. LA Times

Children’s advocates focus on raising money through the ballot box
In the face of federal gridlock and state budget shortages, veteran campaigners are holding an all-day conference in Oakland today to teach advocates a potentially valuable skill: how to go directly to voters to raise public money for children’s programs. “The federal government has left the building for now,” said conference leader and longtime San Francisco children’s advocate Margaret Brodkin. “It is essential right now that people figure out how to solve problems at the local level.” EdSource

A nudge to poorer students to aim high on colleges
The group that administers the SAT has begun a nationwide outreach program to try to persuade more low-income high school seniors who scored high on standardized tests to apply to select colleges. The College Board is sending a package of information on top colleges to every senior who has an SAT or Preliminary SAT score in the top 15 percent of test takers and whose family is in the bottom quarter of income distribution. The package, which includes application fee waivers to six colleges of the student’s choice, will be sent to roughly 28,000 seniors. New York Times

Education’s role in the fiscal face-off
Graphic: The budget uncertainty that education advocates and school districts have lived with for the past two years doesn’t seem likely to go away anytime soon. The across-the-board cuts known as “sequestration” that went into effect last March are still in place. And now, a spending showdown driven by conservative Republicans in Congress over whether to defund the president’s landmark health-care law means a government shutdown could be in the offing. Plus, there’s likely to be yet another fight in October over raising the federal debt ceiling.  EdWeek

Tech panel calls for new teacher training to deliver digital instruction
To make sure no California child is left off-line, all teachers must be specially trained to deliver technology instruction and the state also needs to a dedicated leader to oversee implementation of big picture strategies, says a panel of experts convened to help transition K-12 classrooms into true 21st century learning environments. While the Education Technology Task Force has yet to deliver its full report, state schools chief Tom Torlakson provided a glimpse late last week into work by the group he convened to help him integrate modern technology into today’s classrooms to improve teaching and learning. SI&A Cabinet Report

There’s an embarrassing flaw in STEM, the hottest school trend
Commentary: U.S. education lusts for STEM. Prepare to be pitied if you ask at a school conference what the acronym means (science, technology, engineering, math). There are STEM schools, STEM programs, STEM books, STEM experts. STEM grant applications get more respect. Everybody says STEM careers mean more money. I Googled STEM and got 146 million results. So I hesitate amid all that excitement to expose a flaw in the STEM movement. College Measures, a joint venture of the American Institutes for Research and Matrix Knowledge Group, has analyzed the data. The problem can no longer be ignored. The S in STEM has been oversold. Science might have created the modern world, but it is not a lucrative career choice. Washington Post

Calif. enacts law to help kids salvage online reputations
We frequently hear tech-savvy educators talk about the importance of helping students become more aware of their “digital footprint,” that searchable permanent record they are leaving when they post things to the Web. Now lawmakers in California have added a new wrinkle to this issue. Earlier this week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation designed to give teenagers a little more control over their online identities. The law requires Internet firms, effective in 2015, to remove online material posted by a minor when he or she so requests. EdWeek

Is California going too far to protect celebrity kids from paparazzi?
Paparazzi and parents are an increasingly volatile mix in Hollywood, with actresses such as Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry asking lawmakers to do something to protect their children from aggressive celebrity photographers. California Gov. Jerry Brown responded Tuesday by signing legislation that would raise fines and jail time to the maximum threshold for a misdemeanor – up to a year in jail and $10,000 for a first offense. But the law is opposed by more than the celebrity-hungry shutterbugs. The Motion Picture Association of America and the California Newspaper Publishers Association have joined legal analysts and reporters concerned that the law may be overly broad and interfere with legitimate news gathering and other legal activities. Christian Science Monitor

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