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AM News: Guns, Waivers, & The Mayan Doomsday

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Schools Look to Armed Police After Connecticut Massacre Bloomberg: For now, Boone is considering shifting more officers' time to elementary schools. “It's a new day,” Poe said. “You have to think differently here.” 

Teachers unions reject arming educators in schools Washington Post: The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, the nation's dominant teachers unions with a total of some 4.5 million members, have issued a joint statement on school safety.
Unions Leave Sidelines In Gun Control Debate Huffington Post:  On Thursday, the head of a leading teachers' union called for a renewal of the assault weapons ban and limitations on high-capacity magazines, saying the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last week called for commonsense gun control reforms.
Seattle Public Schools to pay fired drama teacher $750,000 Seattle Times:  A longtime drama and language teacher who was fired in 2005 will receive a $750,000 settlement from Seattle Public Schools.

ND files No Child Left Behind waiver tomorrow Grand Forks Herald: The state-defined accountability system will focus on college/career readiness, school improvement methods and overall teacher and principal evaluation. 

Maryland's new school metric Baltimore Sun: Maryland developed the School Progress Index in order to receive a federal waiver from the requirements of the Bush-era federal No Child Left Behind Act. 

Doomsday Prophecy Prompts Rumors of Violence in Schools NYT: The Mayan prediction that the world will end on Friday has caused rumors of violence in schools, including shootings or bomb threats, and a few districts have canceled classes.

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It would be simpler, and better professional practice because of superior backwash effects upon teaching and school leadership, for Maryland to simply post the schools' accreditation reports online, which is what is done at Scottish Schools Online, which I think sets the model for everyone else. There, parents can read through reports of 20 pages or so (as an educator, I found the older, longer reports more useful), and can also access data on how their high school students are doing on public examinations (I think they don't submit their younger children to public examination, and hope they don't).

By contrast, Maryland's School Progress Index will continue the same fixation on testing that has been plaguing our schools since 2001, leading to some improvements in scores but at considerable opportunity cost. We'd be better off if our primary schools looked like those in Finland, where all students learn to read pretty well, with higher national scores than ours, and yet never have to face a standardized test until they reach their teens. We would have happier teachers who would be willing to stay in their classrooms at lower salaries, thus saving our taxpayers money.

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