Weekly News Brief 2/10-2/16 The Two Codes Your Kids Need to Know | Parents Question Whether Shooting Drills Traumatize Kids

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The Two Codes Your Kids Need to Know – By Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times

A few years ago, the leaders of the College Board, the folks who administer the SAT college entrance exam, asked themselves a radical question: Of all the skills and knowledge that we test young people for that we know are correlated with success in college and in life, which is the most important? Their answer: the ability to master “two codes” — computer science and the U.S. Constitution.

Since then they’ve been adapting the SATs and the College Board’s Advanced Placement program to inspire and measure knowledge of both. Since the two people who led this move — David Coleman, president of the College Board, and Stefanie Sanford, its chief of global policy — happen to be people I’ve long enjoyed batting around ideas with, and since I thought a lot of students, parents and employers would be interested in their answer, I asked them to please show their work: “Why these two codes?”

Their short answer was that if you want to be an empowered citizen in our democracy — able to not only navigate society and its institutions but also to improve and shape them, and not just be shaped by them — you need to know how the code of the U.S. Constitution works. And if you want to be an empowered and adaptive worker or artist or writer or scientist or teacher — and be able to shape the world around you, and not just be shaped by it — you need to know how computers work and how to shape them.

 

Parents Question Whether Shooting Drills Traumatize Kids – By Carolyn Thompson, The US News and World Report

Long before an ex-student opened fire on his former classmates in Parkland, Florida, many school districts conducted regular shooting drills — exercises that sometimes included simulated gunfire and blood and often happened with no warning that the attack wasn't real.

The drills began taking shape after the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. But 20 years later, parents are increasingly questioning elements of the practice, including whether the drills traumatize kids.

April Sullivan was pleasantly surprised by an "I love you, Mom" text from her daughter last May, even though she knew the eighth-grader wasn't supposed to be using her cellphone during school in Short Pump, Virginia. But she did not know that her child sent it while supposedly hiding from an intruder. The girl didn't know the "code blue" alert was a drill.

"To find out later she sent that text because she was in fear for her life did not sit well with me," Sullivan said.

Henrico County Public Schools have since changed the way they conduct drills, making clear at the start that the events are not real and notifying parents as the drill begins or right after, district spokesman Andy Jenks said.

The backlash underlines the challenges administrators face in deciding how far to go in the name of preparedness.

Thirty-nine states require lockdown, active-shooter or similar safety drills. Other states have less explicit requirements or leave it to districts, according to the Education Commission of the States. A Mississippi task force has proposed twice-yearly active-shooter drills.