October 5, 2012
Education Roundup for the Week Ending October 5, 2012
SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Education (CDE) today issued this week's Education Roundup of education-related announcements of public interest.
Microsoft Administrator Releases List of Approved
Technology and Services Schools May Purchase
The CDE today announced the Microsoft Settlement Claims Administrator has released its Product Eligibility Information [https://edtechk12vp.com/product.aspx] list of approved computer hardware and software, technology maintenance, professional development, or other related services that schools may purchase with vouchers they already received through the Education Technology K-12 Voucher Program [https://edtechk12vp.com/default.aspx] . The program was created in 2006 as a result of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by California consumers and businesses concerning certain Microsoft software.
Nearly 8,000 California Schools [https://edtechk12vp.com/admin/statementAdmin.aspx] received vouchers totaling more than $268 million. However, only $212 million has been redeemed. CDE is urging the schools to redeem their vouchers because the deadline for making purchases is September 25, 2013. The schools were awarded vouchers because they already have state-approved technology plans, and at least 40 percent of their students are low income.
In the first of six Technology Readiness Tool surveys conducted last month by the CDE, schools were asked about their readiness to administer online assessments to students by the 2014-15 school year. Schools submitted information on the type of computer hardware and software they possessed, and their concerns about staff and training. The vouchers may be redeemed to address the schools’ technology needs and to provide professional development for staff.
Schools may also consult the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Web page to view the minimum system requirements schools need to administer online assessments.
Career Technical Education Event Thrives Despite Funding Shortfalls
Five hundred students from California will gather this weekend in the Stanislaus County town of Denair to participate in the Central Region Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapter Officer Leadership Conference at Denair High School.
The annual meeting is designed to help youngsters develop leadership and responsibility skills to run the chapter offices of the FFA. The FFA was founded by a group of young farmers in 1928 to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population.
The attendees represent 68 chapters with 19,000 agriculture student members in 10 counties. What makes the event so unusual is that it is coordinated by student leaders, hosted by an outstanding small school, continues to thrive despite inadequate state funding, hosts a large contingent of students, and has the commitment and support of teachers who are accompanying the students. The highlight of the conference will be the keynote address by California's candidate for National FFA Office, Lindsey Anderson.
The California FFA is a career technical student organization recognized by the CDE for providing students with real-world experience and leadership skills that prepare them for careers. This is part of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson's Career Readiness Campaign - Initiatives & Programs designed to lower the student dropout rate in California and provide high school graduates with the skills needed to pursue further education and training as they prepare to enter the workforce.