9 Takeaways You Need To Know About Education And Tuesday’s Election

Education issues in the elections.

With the midterms on Tuesday, we’ve devoted our weekly roundup to focus on education’s role in the election. Here are our nine takeaways of key issues and trends to watch:

1. Teachers are flexing their (political) muscles

With just days to go, both of the major teachers’ unions have devoted their considerable resources to the election.

The American Federation of Teachers has its members on the ground, making calls and knocking on doors, for more than 100 key Senate, House and gubernatorial races.

While the AFT is focused more on national races, the National Education Association (the largest U.S. teachers’ union with nearly 3 million members) is primarily targeting state and local races.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. This has been a year packed with teacher activism. There were walkouts and demonstrations in five states. What did they want? Their main concerns were better pay and working conditions. Arizona, West Virginia, Colorado, Kentucky and Oklahoma are also states with some of the lowest education funding rates in the nation, as well as very low rates of teacher pay.

For education advocates, conversations on funding education are long overdue.

In a report, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities called the last 10 years, “A Punishing Decade for School Funding.” Twenty-five states are still providing less total school funding per student than they were in 2008, according to this report by the AFT.

2. Keep an eye on the governor’s races

Education is the No. 2 issue in campaign ads for governors, according to the Wesleyan Media Project. It falls to 15th when you look at federal races, says Travis N. Ridout, the project’s co-director. This, he explains, is reflective of the importance of states vs. the federal government in setting education policy.

There are 36 gubernatorial races on Tuesday. Seventeen of those, because of retirements and term limits, will see a new governor in office. And 12 states will elect governors who appoint the state school chief (often called a superintendent).

New Mexico and Maryland are two states where the governor will have to make tough choices right away: rewriting the formula used to determine how funds are distributed to schools.

3. Follow the money

Voters in Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Colorado, Missouri and Utah will see education funding measures on the ballot. All told, these could add $2.6 billion for early childhood, K-12 and higher education. That’s according to the Center for American Progress.

“We’re seeing voters are looking to find ways to increase state funding for public education,” says Jessica Yin of CAP. (You can read the full report here.)

Colorado is considering the biggest increase in education funding: $1.6 billion. Amendment 73 proposes to create a Quality Public Education Fund through tax hikes for corporations and individuals who earn more than $150,000 a year.

4. ‘Non-traditional’ funding sources

Three states are looking at new sources of education revenue.

Michigan is mulling whether to legalize recreational marijuana. If approved, 35 percent of excise taxes on weed in the state would go towards K-12 education, with the rest of the revenue devoted to local governments and road repairs. Voters in Missouri are considering a similar measure. If passed, the proposal would legalize medical marijuana and funnel tax revenue towards veteran healthcare and early childhood education.

(The idea to fund education by taxing marijuana sales has appeared on state ballots before. Voters in Nevada, Oregon and Colorado approved similar measures, since as early as 2012.)

Maryland, meanwhile, is looking at casino revenue to support early education, career and technical education, dual enrollment programs and more. The measure is anticipated to generate at least $750 million in supplemental funding from 2020 to 2022.

5. A “blue wave?”

Many Democrats are predicting an anti-Trump blue wave that will lead their party to take the House. Democrats only need 23 seats to take control. The numbers, however, seem less favorable to Democrats when it comes to taking over the Senate.

So what does that mean for education policy?

Democratic control of the House could bring a new push to update the Higher Education Act. This is the main federal law governing approximately $120 billion in annual federal financial aid spending through grants, loans and work-study. It also covers anti-sex discrimination rules found under Title IX. The legislation was first passed in 1965 and last updated in 2008.

In the past year, both parties submitted their own bills with — wait for it — major differences. The two sides are currently are at an impasse, particularly on guidelines for federal student aid and regulations of for-profit colleges. A Democratic majority in the House could allow for enough bipartisan cooperation to pass a renewal, says Bethany Little, a principal of the Education Counsel, an educational consulting firm.

6. The DeVos factor

The controversial U.S. Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, has been mentioned in $3 million worth of political TV ads and dozens of Facebook ads, overwhelmingly Democratic, according to a new analysis by Politico.

In races and states where public education is a big issue, her work advocating for vouchers and charter schools, scaling back civil rights protections for students, and siding with loan servicing companies over student borrowers could motivate many voters, even though DeVos’ name isn’t on the ballot.

7. Key Race: Arizona governor

David Garcia, a professor at Arizona State University, is running on the Democratic ticket against incumbent Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.

Ducey is campaigning on how he ended the teacher walkouts this spring: by signing a bill that promised a 20 percent raise to teacher salaries. NPR has reported that the legislation does not require that every teacher get a 20 percent raise.

The race could be a nailbiter. Garcia has attacked Ducey’s record on education but has faced a “crush of spending from incumbent Ducey and his allies,” reports Bret Jaspers of member station KJZZ.

Arizona will also be voting on the future of school vouchers. Proposition 305 will try to expand the state’s voucher program from special-needs students to all students in the state.

Republican Ducey is a firm supporter of charter schools in the state, saying he’s skeptical of the “profit motive” of charter institutions.

8. Key Race: Wisconsin governor

Democrat Tony Evers, the current superintendent of public instruction, is up against Republican incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, with education as the spotlight issue of the race.

About 40 percent of voters there put K-12 education as one of their top two issues, according to polling by Marquette University Law School.

Public education has experienced a bumpy road in Wisconsin since Walker took office in 2011. Funding for K-12 schools saw a $749 million cut during Walker’s first two years in office. Last year, the state boosted funding by $649 million, a figure Walker has frequently cited in his campaign ads.

Although Wisconsin wasn’t a part of the 2018 wave of teacher walkouts, teachers there did express their brooding discontent in 2011. Teacher unions in the state lost collective bargaining rights when Walker passed an anti-union act.

(Following its passage, median salaries dropped by 2.6 percent and median benefits by 18.6 percent, and many teachers left their jobs, according to the left-leaning Center for American Progress.)

Evers is proposing increased investment in all levels of education, from early childhood through higher ed. Polling suggests Evers has an edge with independents, but according to Shawn Johnson of Wisconsin Public Radio, “Wisconsin’s Republican Party has a proven record of getting its voters to turn out.”

9. One key congressional race

Keep an eye on this one: West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional district. It’s an open seat in an impressively red district that’s currently held by a Republican, and yet Democrats see a chance to flip it blue.

Polls suggest a competitive race between two state lawmakers: Democrat Richard Ojeda and Republican Carol Miller.

Ojeda is a state senator, army veteran and former high school teacher. Miller is a member of the state House of Delegates and a small business owner.

As state senator, Ojeda has been a fierce advocate for education, including better pay for teachers. He became the face of teacher walkouts in the state earlier this year, to the point where some protesters chanted his name, reported Politico.

For her part, Miller has focused her campaign on economic growth, particularly for the coal industry, gun rights and combating the opioid epidemic.

Miller is a pro-Trump candidate, riding on the tailcoat of the president’s success in the region. Ojeda, on the other hand, has vocalized regret for voting for Trump in 2016. (In 2016, 73 percent of voters in the district voted for President Trump.)

[“source=ndtv”]

Why You Don’t Always Need the Latest Photography Gear

Why You Don't Always Need the Latest Photography Gear

If you’re anything like me, you spend half your time fighting for new business and the other half fighting your urge to spend the money you make from new business on gear. So, for a bit of fun, today I thought I’d share my own personal, self-directed pep talk whenever I feel the urge to splurge.

I see you sitting there. One window open to Fstoppers. Learning about the latest and greatest gear. A second window permanently parked on B&H. Maybe a third open to Amazon.

You must have spent half the morning so far pouring over options. You’ve looked at all the mirrorless cameras. You’ve read every review and memorized the specs. You’ve even spent more time than you’d care to admit reading the gearheads duke it out in the comment sections over everything from the importance of sensor size to whether or not having two card slots magically designates you a professional photographer.

You’ve imagined yourself walking onto set with all these new toys. Naturally, everything from the $2,500 lens to the round, metal dongle whose name you can’t recall but were told was an absolute necessity by your favorite vlogger is in your bag. And of course, you imagine you’ll use every single item in your new artillery, forgetting for a moment that you’ve been getting along just fine without any of it to this point.

As a matter of fact, if you were to take a moment to really think about it, you’d realize that anything deemed cutting edge technology can’t, by definition, be a necessity. Since photography has been around for well over a century, with amazing imagery being created long before you were born, it stands to reason that as much as you want that new LED panel, it would be hard to argue that you objectively need it.

Was Richard Avedon any less of a photographer because he didn’t shoot mirrorless? Did Alfred Hitchcock suck as a director simply because he didn’t have dual-pixel autofocus at his disposal? Of course not.

You don’t become a professional photographer by being able to buy the best equipment. You’re not being hired for your ability to use your credit card. You’re being hired for your ability to create art that no one else can create. You’re being hired for your unique voice. You’re being hired for your experience and because you’ve put in the hard work over the years to now make it all look so easy.

So, maybe all those hours you spent on Google this morning trying to get the definitive answer to whether full frame or APS-C is a superior format wasn’t the best use of your time. Maybe it would have been more useful to have spent the morning cold-calling clients for whom you can put your old equipment to use. Maybe instead of surfing the web, you should have been updating your own website. Maybe instead of having a Twitter duel over the merits of someone else’s work, you should be out creating work of your own.

Being a professional photographer is not about the tools you bring to set inside your designer case. It’s about the creativity and work ethic you have no matter what tool you hold in your hand.

So, next time you find yourself strolling down the digital shopping aisles in search of value, turn your attention instead to building the value of your own product. Instead of looking for a new camera, ask yourself if there’s a way to get more out of the one you already have. Instead of trying to convince yourself that you really need that upgraded lens, ask yourself if there’s a new way you can look at a familiar subject. And next time you subconsciously, maybe not so subconsciously, begin to think that you could really go to “the next level” if only you had better equipment, remind yourself that you can’t buy creativity. You can’t buy experience. You can only work for it.

[“source=TimeOFIndia”]

Mobile apps may or may not be collecting your child’s data—but here’s why you should assume they are

This week two democratic senators are calling on federal regulators to investigate if children’s apps are tracking their data.

Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut sent a letter on Wednesday to the Federal Trade Commission, writing they are concerned that numerous apps are potentially violating the law.

Without explicit parental consent, it is illegal to collect data on children under the age of 13 according to the Children Online Privacy Protection Act, which went into effect in 2000.

This comes after last month when the New Mexico Attorney Generalsued the maker of app Fun Kid Racing, as well as the online ad businesses run by Google, Twitter and three other companies.

The suit accused the companies of violating the law, and that Google misled parents by allowing apps to remain in its Google Play store children’s section after it was notified by researchers that thousands of apps may be tracking young children.

“The problem is this – we don’t know where the onus lies,” New York Times reporter Edmund Lee told CNBC’s “On the Money” in an interview.

Lee says the law isn’t clear on whether it should be the platform such as Google or Apple to make sure the apps in their stores are complying with the law, whether it’s up to the game developer or if it should be up to the third party data firm tracking the data.

“So there’s a whole system in place that everyone keeps passing the buck and there’s no case law yet,” says Lee. “Even the legislation – it’s not entirely clear who is ultimately responsible.”

Fortnite

So what should a parent do if they are concerned their child is being tracked?

Lee says, “You should just assume it’s going to happen you should assume you’re going to be tracked.”

“Right now it’s the ‘Wild West’ there are very few protections, few sort of places of enforcement around it, and that’s why it’s hard as a parent and as a kid to navigate,” he added.

However, Lee notes most of these are harmless games, and the tracking data is used for advertising purposes, which is how these companies make money.

For parents worried about their child’s privacy – Lee says he tells his own daughter to keep her communication online only with people she knows.

“You’re not going to be able to look and know every single piece of data that’s being floated out there until there’s legislation and case law in place. But in the meantime make sure you know who your kid is talking to and it shouldn’t be strangers and it shouldn’t be someone they just met online.”

[“source=businessinsider”]

Xiaomi Mi A2 Set to Launch in India Tomorrow: Here’s Everything You Should Know

Xiaomi Mi A2 Set to Launch in India Tomorrow: Here’s Everything You Should Know

Xiaomi Mi A2 India launch live stream is scheduled to start at at 4pm tomorrow

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Xiaomi Mi A2 launch event is scheduled to start at 4pm on August 8
  • It will be live streamed for fans to watch in real-time
  • Xiaomi will give 100 people who register for the live stream F-codes

Xiaomi Mi A2 India launch is scheduled to start in less than 24 hours, marking the entry of only the second Xiaomiphone part of the Android One initiative in the country. The new Mi A2 smartphone is the follow-up to last year’s Mi A1, and the company is emphasising its cameras in its social media teasers. Gadgets 360 has previously learnt the smartphone’s base variant, unveiled in Spain last month, will not be coming to the Indian market. Instead, the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage model will serve as the entry point for the new model. Also, the smartphone will be an Amazon exclusive in India. The specifications of the handset are already known, so the Xiaomi Mi A2 price in India will be the big draw for all the fans. Here’s what you should know about tomorrow’s launch:

Xiaomi Mi A2 live stream

The Xiaomi Mi A2 India launch is scheduled for 4pm IST, and there will be a live stream. However, the link is not yet live, and we will update this story as and when it becomes available. Xiaomi fans looking forward to the Mi A2 launch in India can register for the live stream on the official site and 100 of these registrants will win F-codes for the handset.

Xiaomi Mi A2 price in India, specifications

As mentioned above, the Mi A2 price in India is not yet known. The smartphone was unveiled with price tag of EUR 279 (about Rs. 22,500) for the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant and EUR 349 (about Rs. 28,000) for the 6GB RAM + 128GB storage option. While the former is confirmed to launch in India at tomorrow’s event, the company was said to be still deliberating on the latter.

ALSO SEEXiaomi Mi A2 vs Mi A2 Lite: What’s Different?

As for the specifications, the dual-SIM (Nano) Xiaomi Mi A2 runs an optimised stock version of Android 8.1 Oreo, certified by Google’s Android One programme, and sports a 5.99-inch full-HD+ (1080×2160 pixels) display with a 18:9 aspect ratio, 2.5D curved glass, and Gorilla Glass 5. It is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC, paired with an Adreno 512 GPU.

 

In the camera department, the handset sports a dual rear camera setup. It consists of a 12-megapixel Sony IMX486 with f/1.75 aperture and 1.25-micron pixels, and a 20-megapixel secondary Sony IMX376 sensor with f/1.75 aperture and a 2-micron 4-in-1 Super Pixel size. The rear camera setup comes with dual-tone LED flash and PDAF. On the front, the handset gets a 20-megapixel Sony IMX376 selfie camera with f/1.75 aperture, fixed focal length, and a soft-LED flash. There is a 3,010mAh battery under the hood, and the India variant will come with Quick Charge 4 for fast-charging support.

In terms of connectivity, the smartphone includes 4G LTE, Bluetooth v5.0, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Miracast, an IR emitter, and USB Type-C. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack on the Xiaomi Mi A2. Sensors on the handset include accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, and proximity sensor.

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Xiaomi Mi A2

Xiaomi Mi A2

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
Display5.99-inch
Processor2.2GHz octa-core
Front Camera20-megapixel
Resolution1080x2160 pixels
RAM4GB
OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo
Storage32GB
Rear Camera20-megapixel
Battery Capacity3010mAh
BUY AT
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    Launching 8th August
    Buy

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]