Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Attorney general: Teachers must report communications

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Ms. Kathy's Kids Blog:

--- On Thu, 9/30/10, Louisiana Federation of Teachers <> wrote:

From: Louisiana Federation of Teachers <>
Subject: Attorney general: Teachers must report communications
To: mrs
Date: Thursday, September 30, 2010, 5:35 PM

Teachers must report electronic communications with students outside of school

Teachers who work with their students in activities that are not connected to the school, such as church youth groups, must follow rules set up to prohibit inappropriate contacts with the children, according to an attorney general's opinion.

The opinion, based on Act 214 of the 2009 legislative session, says that teachers who have e-mail communications with students outside of the official school system must report those communications to the school.

The law restricting ways that teachers can communicate was passed in response to concerns that some teachers were sending inappropriate e-mails to their students.

The bill, authored by Rep. Frank Hoffmann of West Monroe, was intended to protect teachers and students by making sure that e-mails could only be sent to students through approved school district channels.

The question arose about teachers who are facilitators for church youth groups, and who send e-mails or text messages to the children who are members of those groups.

The attorney general's opinion is clear. If the members of the youth groups are also students at the teacher's school, the teacher must report any electronic communications with the student to the school.

The opinion is on the attorney general's Web site at this link.

A wrong turn down the road to merit pay

Now that the U.S. Department of Education has announced that eight Louisiana school districts will split $36.5 million to experiment with merit pay for teachers, does that mean it's already too late to talk about whether or not merit pay really makes a difference in the classroom?

Hopefully, not. Because the data, while not yet conclusive, tends to show that there is little if any connection between performance-based pay and student achievement.

As Sarah Sparks writes here, the Department of Education is spending money before there is evidence that it is well spent. Says Sparks, "More than ever, the department needs a large, rigorous, comprehensive evaluation to dig into the details of whether and how performance-pay programs work."

Within a week of the Department's announcement of the grants, she notes, two different studies in Chicago and Nashville "have found few benefits for student achievement in merit-pay programs."

Despite a lack of evidence that these incentives accomplish their goal, the U.S. Department, as well as state and local education agencies around the country, are bound and determined to ram them down the throats of classroom teachers.


To read the rest of this article, please click here.

Help the NSU Demons win the Hawaii Five-O band contest!

Which college band performs the best rendition of the Hawaii Five-O theme? If the answer is Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, the school will win $25,000 and have a video of the band performing the piece on the CBS network this fall.

All that NSU has to do to win is get more votes than the other 17 colleges in the competition. That's where you come in.

Click on this link, and vote for the Spirit of Northwestern band. You're allowed to vote once each day until the CBS Hawaii Five-O Marching Band Mania competition is settled on October 4. Go Demons!

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