District Administration - June 2012 - (Page 14)
Who’s the Bully? After Stuart Chaifetz posted a videotape of teachers bullying his autistic son in a school in the North Bergan (N.J.) School District, N.J. State Sen. Diane Allen proposed a bill that would streamline the dismissal process for teachers found to be bullies. teA leADer resigns On July 2, Texas Commissioner of Education robert scott will step down from his role with the Texas Education Association after five years. Although he served longer than any other commissioner in the last 20 years, Scott says the last five years were “grueling.” going gAtes Bill tucker, former managing director of the nonprofit education think tank Education Sector, has left the organization to join the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as deputy director of policy development. Tucker’s previous work focused on virtual schooling. neW leADer for CPs On May 31, Barbara ByrdBennett took over as interim chief education office, for Noemi Donoso, who resigned in April from Chicago Public Schools less than one year after taking the post. ByrdBennett has led reform efforts in Detroit and New York. neW Alert system In light of the disappearance of high school student sierra la mar, who has been missing since March 16, the Morgan Hill (Calif.) Unified School District changed its alert system to notify parents in the morning and night if their children don’t show up to school.
By Marion Herbert
Year One of Texas Textbook Adoption Freedom
The 2011-2012 school year marked the first time in decades that Texas school districts could purchase instructional materials without approval by the state board of education. Senate Bill 6, which was implemented Sept. 1, 2011, freed up $792 million for school districts to purchase materials. The intent behind the bill was twofold: to allow district textbook coordinators to spend more money on instructional technology, and to prevent the content of textbooks from being held hostage to the political opinions of the state board of education. Prior to the bill’s passage, Texas was one of nearly two dozen states with a centralized system of purchasing, in which the state board of education approves a list of materials that districts can use state money to purchase. Now, publishers can circumvent the previous system and deal with just the district. “School districts responded favorably [to Senate Bill 6] because they were no longer restricted in their purchasing op-
Barbara Cargill (above), Texas State Board of Education chair, and the rest of the board no longer have the final say on instructional materials districts can purchase.
Having content approved by the board of education can subject it to close scrutiny.
tions,” says John Lopez, managing director for instructional materials and education technology with the Texas Education Agency. “The state board of education was concerned that districts would make the best decisions for students and align their purchases to Texas curriculum.” BOE Trying to Restore Control In an effort to restore some power that was lost, the Texas board of education issued Proclamation 2014 in April, which
requests that publishers submit content for approval by the board for the 20142015 school year. The proclamation is not mandatory, and many publishers may choose not to comply. Having content approved by the board of education can subject it to close scrutiny. According to the Texas Freedom Network, a nonprofit watchdog group, in 1995, the board asked for changes to health textbooks such as the removal of information about contraception and line drawings of breast self-exams. One publisher refused to comply with the board. In 2001, the board rejected an Advanced Placement environmental science book that discussed climate change. Throughout 2003, the board also struggled with publishers regarding civil rights, churchstate issues and evolutionary science. According to Lopez, it’s difficult to anticipate the new spending patterns of districts, but from what he has seen, districts are predominantly choosing materials previously approved by the board, most likely because they have been using them for years. He expects to see technology purchases increase by the next school year.
14 June 2012
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - June 2012
District Administration - June 2012
From the Editor
Geography Ed for a Flat World
Her Own Brand of Education Reform
Finding a Cure for Senioritis
Principals as Instructional Leaders
One Tablet Per Child?
Changing Lives With Assistive Technology
District Administration - June 2012