National News

Toledo Escapes The Looming Bloom, Turns Its Taps Back On

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 12:18

A weekend-long ban on drinking tap water in Toledo, Ohio, was lifted early Monday. Some 400,000 residents in the region had been told not to drink the water.

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Foreigners Flee As Violence Worsens In Libya

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 12:18

Conditions in Libya have gone from bad to worse in recent months, with its main airport now a battleground and foreigners pulling out of the country.

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Federal Judge Strikes Down Alabama Abortion Law

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 12:18

A federal judge has ruled an Alabama abortion law unconstitutional. The measure required doctors to have admitting privileges in nearby hospitals. The ruling comes amid legal fights over just how far states can go to regulate abortion.

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What You Need To Know About Sierra Leone And Ebola

NPR News - Mon, 2014-08-04 12:18

Sierra Leone is one of three West African nations hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is there and has the latest.

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Luxury seats coming to an AMC theater near you

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-08-04 11:37

As movie ticket sales continue to decline, AMC has found a new way to attract moviegoers to its theaters.

The second largest movie chain plans to spend about $600 million to add luxury reclinable seats to 40 percent of theaters over the next five years. While this could mean up to 70 fewer seats per screen, AMC has seen an 80 percent increase in crowds at theaters that have undergone renovation. Wesley Morris, a staff writer for Grantland, says AMC hasn't raised the prices on these tickets yet.

"But they put a premium on that kind of movie going. You see it where the nicer theaters become this exclusive event. So they’ve all gone out to the suburbs… and so you got a whole class of movie goers that are stuck downtown with the crappy bedbug seats."

AMC plans to wait a year after revamping its theaters before increasing ticket prices. The average ticket price has been becoming more expensive every year, and with the added fee for luxury seats, it raises the question of who can actually afford these tickets.

“You can never get AMC to obviously sort of say, ‘Oh, well clearly we’ve got an upper class customer.’ But I think they would say that we are trying to appeal to an upper-echelon.” 

The push to protect student data

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-08-04 08:30

It’s summer. School is out and kids are more concerned with what they're wearing to the pool, than with history and algebra.

But that doesn't mean teachers and other educators are taking a break.

In fact,  lots of them are spending their summer breaks grappling with student data.  What to gather. How to use it. And how to protect it.

Data has never played a greater role in education, particularly as schools move to models of "personalized learning," or tailoring a child's education to meet his or her abilities.  

And while there are lots of upsides to having so much information on students, there are downsides as well.

Parents are concerned about privacy—especially after the  NSA revelations and the Target data breach. Parents are also worried that marketers could get a hold of their kids' information.

The U.S. Department of Education has jumped in.  It issued new guidance for schools and districts about how to keep parents informed about data collection.  

There’s also a new government website focused on the federal laws that cover how student data can be used.  

And this video highlighting The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act known as FERPA: 

 

Last week, U.S. Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced new federal legislation to protect student privacy.  They’ve called it the “Protecting Student Privacy Act of 2014.” 

Here are some highlights of the bill.   (And take note, it's  all about how data is shared--not about what's collected) 

   Security 

  • Requires educational agencies and schools to have security measures in place to keep student data confidential.
  • All parties to whom schools and agencies disclose data must have established security procedures to protect the data.
  • Any outside party obtaining access to records must destroy all copies, after the data has been used for the expressed purpose.

  Marketing

  • Outside parties can’t use the data to market to students.

 Transparency

  • Parents and students must be allowed to view records and request corrections of any data they believe is inaccurate.
  • Agencies and schools must keep track of who requests access to educational records.

 

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