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EdTech: The new growth catalyst of Indian education industry

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The Indian EdTech industry is believed to have received a $16.1B in VC funding, a 32X increase from 500M received in 2010. The growth spurt in this industry is driven largely by K-12 Segment, higher education, and upskilling categories.

Coupled with the growing popularity of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and distant education India’s EdTech industry is poised to reach $30 billion in the next 10 years.

he Education industry in India has witnessed maximum disruption during the pandemic. Education today is no longer restricted to just traditional classrooms. The restrictions imposed by the Government and the rigid safety protocols have paved the way to new-age pedagogies.

A fruitful outcome of these disruptions, however, has been the openness of all stakeholders- the government, private and public schools, tutors, coaching institutes, students, and teachers- in adopting the digital mode of learning, leading to the EdTech boom we are seeing today.

EdTech has the power to bridge the learning gap given technology’s ability to obliterate geographical barriers. As much as educators understand that digital adoption is the need of the hour, they also want to retain a few unparalleled benefits of a traditional classroom setup such as peer discussion, one-on-one support from educators and creating opportunities to work on group collaborative assignments.

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Governor Proposes Record Education Funding

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Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to live up to his commitment to neighborhood public schools and colleges with a record $102 billion in Proposition 98 guaranteed funding — $8.2 billion more than last year’s historic level — in his proposed 2022-23 state budget, released in January.

The budget includes an additional $3.3 billion in Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) discretionary funds to provide a 5.33 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), and increases Prop. 98 per-pupil funding to $15,261.

“The unprecedented investments prioritized in today’s budget proposal will be instrumental in the learning resiliency and recovery of our 8 million students,” said CTA President E. Toby Boyd. “The pandemic has made clear that living in the state with the fifth-largest economy in the world doesn’t mean all students in our schools and communities have the resources and services they need to succeed.”

The budget proposal provides resources for learners from cradle to college, with $639 million to expand transitional kindergarten, as well as $12.7 billion for California Community Colleges, an increase of $560 million from last year.

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School Mask Mandates Fall as Coronavirus Cases Decline

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday announced that he will lift the state’s mask mandate for schools and child care settings next month in a move that highlights a growing desire across the country to shift away from certain mitigation measures and into a “new normal” as coronavirus cases fall.

“We can responsibly take this step given the continuing drop in new cases and hospitalizations from omicron, and with all the evidence projecting a continued decline over the coming weeks,” Murphy said at a press conference, adding that “this is a huge step back to normalcy for our kids.”

He made clear that school districts can still decide to enforce their own mask policies.

“We are not removing the ability of individual district leaders to maintain and enforce such a policy within their schools or any private child care provider from maintaining such a policy within their business should community conditions require,” Murphy said. “Likewise, any student, educator or staff member or visitor who chooses to continue masking up while indoors may freely do so.”

The announcement follows a decision last month by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, also a Democrat, to nix the mask mandate for K-12 schools and comes as other democratic governors are signaling similar shifts, including in neighboring New York and Connecticut.

In Illinois, a circuit judge ruled to suspend Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive orders on masking and quarantining for schools last Friday – though the governor said his attorney general would appeal the ruling immediately.

To mask or not to mask has become one of the most politically divisive COVID-19 culture wars to spin out of the pandemic. While Democrats favor mask requirements in schools over Republicans, poll after poll shows that a majority of parents support masking requirements in school – a finding that’s held steady for more than a year.

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Nampa superintendent Paula Kellerer resigns

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Saturday’s agenda also has an item to possibly take action on the vacancy left by Kipp. The board can appoint a replacement.

Kellerer states in her resignation letter that “sometimes, values and deeply held individual beliefs are too far apart. When that occurs, it creates division and prevents a district from effectively focusing on the important work of student achievement.”

When that happens, she writes, “change needs to occur.”

Kellerer has been the superintendent at Nampa for over four years and was one of Idaho’s highest paid superintendents, making over $155,000 to lead the district. Her history in Nampa runs deep. Her children graduated from Nampa schools. She spent six years as Nampa’s deputy superintendent, from 2004 to 2010. Kellerer spent seven years at Nampa’s Northwest Nazarene University where she was dean of NNU’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies.

Kellerer also is a member of Idaho’s Professional Standards Commission, and she was not present for its two-day meeting Thursday and Friday.

“My prayer and hope for our community is that you as board members value and support this outstanding leadership team and the teachers and staff members that call Nampa home. I wish each of you great success and thank you for your service as educational leaders of our community,” Kellerer wrote in her resignation letter.

Read Kellerer’s letter here.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates and for news from Saturday’s special board meeting. 

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Rite to Wellness event brings health education and fitness for all to Garfield Park

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Father and son going to kindergarten

Participants stood with their fists in front of their face, ready to throw punches to the beat, their feet shoulder width apart as the instructor, Seobia Rivers, had shown them.

The beat dropped, and the dozen participants started swinging, first a quick punch, then a hook, then a combination of moves. “Knuck if you Buck” by Crime Mob played as Rivers, the kickboxing instructor, described her next move and the group followed.

“Yeah we knuckin’ and buckin’ and ready to fight,” the hip-hop group raps.

The kickboxing class was part of a day focused around health and wellness at the Garfield Park Gold Dome Field House, 100 N. Central Park Ave.

Community members got a taste of several types of workout classes and listened to speakers talk about how they could improve their diet and take care of their health.

“My class, I want you to think about it as this is a physical workout, but it’s also a mental workout as well,” Rivers said before starting her class. “This is your time to practice talking to yourself, cheering yourself up.”

The Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collaborative hosted the event as a prelaunch to its Black Culture Wellness Campaign, which will offer fitness activities, wellness workshops and nutrition education around various locations near Garfield Park.

The collaboration will offer programs like nutrition fairs, parenting classes, nutrition classes and exercise programs in the neighborhood’s park pistrict spaces and in some school buildings, Crawford said.

Saturday’s prelaunch included Afrobeat fitness, kickboxing, tai-chi, senior chair workout, African dance, African drumming and line dancing. The workout activities were separated by discussions about the benefits of a plant-based diet and health and healthy parenting.

“Chair exercise means that we value our elders and we’re gonna be intentional about developing exercises that helps them get their blood rate up,” said Theodore Joseph (TJ) Crawford, executive director of the Rite to Wellness Collaboration.

The prelaunch event was also a way to show the community what they could expect to see more regularly as Rite to Wellness works toward their goal of opening a wellness campus in Garfield Park. The campus would incorporate fitness, health, mental health, and financial resources all in one place, Crawford said.

“So everything you see today speaks to health, wealth, wellness,” Crawford said. “And it’s a reflection of the things that we value and the principles that guide our work.”

Letti Butler, a resident of the nearby Homan Square neighborhood, sat to rest after line dancing to a couple songs with a group of participants toward the end of the day.

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Education Briefs

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Pile of daily papers with news on the computer

Meghan Haldorson, Bachelor of Science-Teaching Elementary Education/K-6 Education Magna Cum

Laude Jake Muhlbauer, Bachelor of Science Business Administration

Jake Muhlbauer Bachelor of Science Management Information Systems

Opiew Okey Austin MN Bachelor of Science Business Administration

Yesenia Ortiz Aguilar Austin MN Bachelor of Arts Mass Communication

Eleanor Hinchcliffe, Religion and English, Edward Hinchcliffe and Gretchen Erickson

Brock Lawhead, Psychology and Political Science, Brandon and Jennifer Lawhead

Jordan Allen, Arts and Sciences, Bachelor of Science, computer science, Eau Claire

Jennifer Boyle, Arts and Sciences, Bachelor of Science, chemistry, Eau Claire

Kallie Bumgarner, Arts and Sciences, Bachelor of Arts, art, Eau Claire

Jacy Hansen, Education and Human Sciences, Bachelor of Science, communication sciences and disorders, Eau Claire

Madison Lang, Business, Bachelor of Business Administration, marketing, Eau Claire

McKenzi Steinbrink, Arts and Sciences, Bachelor of Arts, criminal justice, Eau Claire

Bangladesh extends closure of schools over Omicron

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The announcement was met with disappointment by some teachers and experts. At a school in the Moghbazar area of the capital, Dhaka, teachers were frustrated over having to restart online classes for their 500 students.

“Students just don’t get the lessons the same way online as in the classroom. It’s very important to use teaching materials to help them understand clearly,” Mizanur Rahman, a teacher at Provati Bidya Niketon, told The Associated Press news agency.

He said the measure was affecting students in other ways, too.

“Students come to school and play with their mates. It develops their minds and increases knowledge,” he said.

‘A little contradictory’

The school closures have raised eyebrows at a time when Bangladesh is still allowing business events, including a month-long trade fair that began in January and has been visited by thousands of people.

An annual, month-long book fair is likely to open sometime in February in Dhaka as well, drawing thousands more visitors.

Experts say the lack of consistency is illogical and undermines pandemic precautions.

“Educational institutions are rather more essential than recreation centres or trade fairs,” argued Liaquat Ali, a biomedical scientist and adviser to the Dhaka-based Pothikrit Institute of Health Studies, saying the move was “a little contradictory”.

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Link Learning offering options for alternative education

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Link Learning is an education program that offers students an alternative way to earn credit toward their high school diploma. With three physical U.P. locations in Escanaba, Marquette, and Menominee providing services to students across the entire U.P., the program is becoming an increasingly popular mode for students to learn with a mix of virtual and on-site teaching.

“Most of them come to us about six credits short, so they’re behind,” said Executive Director Kristi Teall. “And our goal is to get them caught up and be able to either one, get their diploma with us or in many cases they’re able to go back to their traditional high school as well. It really depends on what it is that they want to do.”

While there is no one prerequisite reason why students enroll with Link Learning, many have struggled with the format in traditional schools. Link Learning switches up this approach by typically having students take one course at a time.

Board of Education Trustee Jodi Casais leads effort to investigate Bayonne’s water contract

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Exterior view of a typical American school building seen on a spring day

Under an agreement made by Mayor Mark Smith administration’s in 2012, at that time, the city gave up its management of the local water-sewer utility, and turned it over to United Water and its private investment partner, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), for a 40-year period. After the deal was made, United Water was renamed Suez Water, and KKR was succeeded by another investment company.

Under the terms of the agreement, the private investment firm was guaranteed a profit of 11 percent each year. Also under that deal made by the Smith administration, the private companies were guaranteed annual rate increases of from a range of 3.75 to 4 percent.

Per the agreement, Suez Water is required to provide annual maintenance and repairs to the Bayonne water-sewer system up to $500,000 per year. If additional funds are required for maintenance and repairs, the private companies are required to incur the cost upfront, but must be paid back by the municipality with water-sewer revenues within twelve months. If existing revenues are not sufficient, utility rates must be raised to reimburse the private entities.

In May of 2021, former Director of Municipal Services Tim Boyle told Casais and others that the city is bound to the contract and that the only way out of it would be to pay hundreds of millions to buy out the contract. A review by outside legal counsel at Rainone, Coughlin, and Michello confirmed that the city would have to pay over $300 million to cover the cost of the life of the contract.

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