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Are Schools on the Verge of a Mobile-Phone Revolution?

Over 75 percent of teens own cell phones, making them the perfect tool for learning—if teachers are on board with using them.

These days its pretty impossible to find a teen without a cell phone—over 75 percent of them own one—which means that schools should be seriously looking at how to harness the technology in the classroom. In fact, given the possibilities for learning through games, simulations, virtual environments and interfaces, we could be on the verge of a mobile education revolution. But, while isolated schools or school districts have experimental pilot projects, many educators are still pretty wary of mobile-based learning, and some even ban mobile phones from being on campus.

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Thanks to a Corrupt Bureaucracy, California's Schools Would Crumble During an Earthquake

The Field Act is a good piece of legislation that requires California school buildings to meet high inspection standards. Too bad it isn't enforced.


When it comes to earthquakes in California, the question is not if but when the state will be hit by another big one. But just how prepared the state's schools? I wondered that after last month's 9.0 temblor in Japan, and wrote about statewide efforts through The Great California ShakeOut to teach kids what to do during a quake. I even wrote that California's schools are generally structurally sound thanks to "the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake, which resulted in the Field Act being passed, requiring 'schools to be built to higher inspection standards and construction standards.'"

Except, thanks to a major series launched this morning by California Watch, we now know that's not true. Officials in the Division of the State Architect, the chief regulator of construction standards for public schools actually haven't enforced the Field Act. Thousands of schools across the state have serious seismic issues—structural flaws and safety hazards that were reported during construction—and they could put student's lives in danger during a quake.

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Court Decision Ends "Last Hired, First Fired" in Los Angeles Schools

The ACLU argued that the policy of firing the newest teachers first unfairly targets students in disadvantaged communities—and won.


Pink slipping teachers according to seniority is on the way out the door in Los Angeles—at least at schools in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods. Superior Court Judge William F. Highberger gave the go-ahead on Friday to a settlement that limits the use of seniority in teacher layoffs at 45 Los Angeles Unified School District campuses with high staff turnover. The settlement also decrees that layoffs at the rest of the district's schools must be equitably distributed.

The case, Reed v. State of California, et al., pitted the ACLU against the city's teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles. Massive budget cuts in LAUSD over the past few years have led to the layoffs of thousands of newer teachers. The ACLU argued that given these cuts, LAUSD's agreement with UTLA—the last hired, first fired method of doling out layoff notices—unfairly targets students attending schools in disadvantaged communities.

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