‘School Hardening’ Not Making Students Safer, Say Experts

It’s the proverbial “Quick Fix,”  in the form of millions of dollars allocated to “target harden” schools. Eager to demonstrate decisive, quick action to understandably anxious parents, officials have purchased products ranging from mega-expensive state-of-art surveillance technology, to metal detectors, facial recognition software, bullet-proof whiteboards, and fortified entries.

Kenneth Trump, a school safety expert, calls it the triumph of the “wow over the how.” 

..While improving physical security in schools is essential (specific recommendations in the report include installing internal locks and limiting the number of entry points), “we cannot convert our schools into prisons and treat our students like prisoners,” said Pringle.

…While educators, school leaders, and school safety experts are championing proven best practices, the $2.7 billion security industry is working overtime – with noticeable success –  to convince districts that sophisticated and expensive products and services are the answer to their problems.

According to AP, security firms in 2018 “helped Congress draft a law that committed $350 million to equipment and other school security over the next decade. Nearly 20 states have come up with another $50 million, ad local school districts are reworking budgets to find more money.”

“School safety is the wild, wild West,” security consultant Mason Wooldridge told AP. “Any company can claim anything they want.”

The security hardware and product industry has hijacked school safety, says Ken Trump.

“They have become increasingly organized in their lobbying of Congress and state governments. Their focus includes taking school security out of the hands of education agencies and put under the authority of homeland security departments, which, by their nature, tend of focus on the physical security measures and infrastructure hardening,” Trump says.

According to available research, as a school safety strategy, target hardening doesn’t work and is likely counterproductive. 

‘School Hardening’ Not Making Students Safer, Say Experts – NEA Today



Betsy DeVos Explains “Benefits” of Larger Class Sizes

Why waste time and energy on conducting research when you can just make it up instead?

Betsy DeVos Explains Benefits of Larger Class Sizes | C-SPAN.org

The look on the face of the guy sitting behind her is everything,

‘Major distraction’: school dumps iPads, returns to paper textbooks

[A] Sydney school has declared the e-book era over and returned to the old-fashioned hard copy version because it improves comprehension and reduces distraction.

…”[Students] have messages popping up and all sorts of other alerts,” said Mr Pitcairn. “Also, kids being kids, they could jump between screens quite easily, so would look awfully busy and not be busy at all.”

…Teachers also found the iPads …did not contribute to students’ technology skills.

…”The ease of navigation through the textbook was easier with the hard copy. …They learn better the more faculties they use, the more senses they use in research and reading and making notes.”

…Research into [the preference for] hard-copy textbooks “points to greater perceived comfort, comprehension, and also retention of what’s been read,” she said. “Some have found that there’s less immersive involvement [in digital text].”

…When students were asked about the general themes of a text, …the printed version made them better able to answer specific questions.

The study’s authors suggested print be preferred when an assignment demands more engagement or deeper comprehension.

‘Major distraction’: school dumps iPads, returns to paper textbooks


Over 2 hours of screen time a day can affect children’s brains, study finds

The study found that children who have more than two hours of screen time a day got lower scores on tests focused on thinking and language skills.

….These negative effects occur because children don’t know how to translate two-dimensional skills learned on a screen to the real, three-dimensional world. “If you give a child an app where they play with ..,virtual blocks, and stack them, and then put real blocks in front of them, they start all over.” 

Over 2 hours of screen time a day can affect children’s brains, study finds – INSIDER


‘Traumatic’ MCAS Question Removed From Exam After Students Complain | Edify

Teachers’ unions and advocacy groups on Wednesday demanded that state education officials invalidate an MCAS exam after the test contained a now-removed question asking students to write from the perspective of an “openly racist” character in the novel “The Underground Railroad.”

…According to the groups, the exam asked students to “write a journal entry from the perspective of the character Ethel, who is openly racist and betrays slaves trying to escape.”

…The press release from the unions and advocates, however, included a statement from the book’s author slamming the exam.

“Whoever came up with the question has done a great disservice to these kids, and everyone who signed off on it should be ashamed,” Whitehead said in the release.

‘Traumatic’ MCAS Question Removed From Exam After Students Complain | Edify