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Morning Read: iPads, Software Getting Board Review

LA School Report | October 7, 2013

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L.A. school board to review $1-billion iPad project
The Los Angeles Board of Education has scheduled a special Oct. 29 meeting to review efforts to provide iPads to every student and teacher in the nation’s second-largest school system. The meeting was proposed by board member Monica Ratliff, who chairs a district committee that is overseeing technology in L.A. Unified, including major elements of the $1-billion iPad project. LA Times

L.A. Unified students need iPad keyboards to take state tests

Keyboards will be necessary for Los Angeles students to take new state standardized tests on iPads, an additional cost in the $1-billion effort to provide tablets in the nation’s second-largest school system, The Times has learned. In the past, L.A. Unified School District officials said that keyboards were not required and they removed them from specifications for an initial contract that went to Apple, maker of the iPad. LA Times

CDE urges cautious administrators to spend LCFF money
More than $2 billion in new state funding targeting educationally disadvantaged students arrived at California schools in August. But sources in the field said this week that more than a few school administrators have been reluctant to spend any of the money just yet. The Local Control Funding Formula, a ground-breaking restructuring of state support for K-12 services, was put into law as part of the 2013-14 budget although key accountability elements – including regulations governing spending – have yet to be developed by the California State Board of Education. SI&A Cabinet Report

Educators struggle to build career readiness measurement
In a landmark 1964 case, the U.S. Supreme Court struggled to define the difference between obscenity and protected speech – a ruling that prompted the famous line, “I know it when I see it.” A group of educators, academics and social scientists in California and many other parts of the country have found themselves groping for answers to a similar conundrum – how to build credible indicators for measuring a student’s readiness to enter the workforce. SI&A Cabinet Report

AWOL from the classroom
Editorial: It might be an exaggeration to say that California has a truancy crisis, but state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris nonetheless made an important point last week about how schools mismanage troubling levels of absenteeism. Officials estimate that there are close to 1 million elementary school students in the state who are truant each year, but that makes the problem sound worse than it is because any student who gets to campus late three times in an academic year is deemed to be truant. LA Times

Deciding who sees students’ data
When Cynthia Stevenson, the superintendent of Jefferson County, Colo., public schools, heard about a data repository called inBloom, she thought it sounded like a technological fix for one of her bigger headaches. Over the years, the Jeffco school system, as it is known, which lies west of Denver, had invested in a couple of dozen student data systems, many of which were incompatible. New York Times


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