Class Notes: Affirmative Action, iPads In Class and More Education News

Each week, TIME's Kayla Webley fills you in on the goings on in the education world, everything from pre-K to higher ed.

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Supreme Court to Hear Case on Affirmative Action in College Admissions
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that for the first time since 2003 will question the consideration of race as a factor in college admissions. The case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, was filed by a white student who says she was denied admission at UT Austin because of her race. The case is the first to tackle the contentious issue since a 5-to-4 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003, which allowed public colleges and universities to consider race as one of many factors in admissions. Read more here.

Study Finds iPads in the Classroom Boost Test Scores
A new study on iPads in the classroom has some good news for Apple — preliminary findings show students who use the tablets score better on literacy tests than those who don’t. The study comes from Auburn, Maine, where educators have been using iPads to help teacher some 266 kindergarten students since this past fall. In addition to scoring higher on literacy tests, the study found students who used the iPad were also more enthusiastic about learning than those who did not. Read more on Techland here.

Bill Gates: “Shame Is Not the Solution”
In a New York Times op-ed, Bill Gates called the New York State Court of Appeals decision to allow teachers’ individual performance assessments to be made public “a big mistake.” While the billionaire said he is a strong proponent of measuring teachers’ effectiveness, “publicly ranking teachers by name will not help them get better at their jobs or improve student learning.” On the contrary, he writes, it will make it a lot harder to implement teacher evaluations systems that work. Read the full op-ed here.

Pepper Sprayed Students File Lawsuit
Nineteen University of California, Davis students and alumni who were peppered sprayed at close range by a police officer during an Occupy Wall Street-inspired protest on Nov. 18 have filed a lawsuit that claims the university police violated their free speech and assembly rights. According to the Los Angeles Times, the students allege the university did not properly screen and train campus police. They are seeking financial damages and policy change in how the university handles protests. Read more here.

NYPD Monitors Muslim Students Far Beyond Its Reach
For years, the New York Police Department has been monitoring Muslim college students at schools as far away as Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, according to an Associated Press investigation. The AP report finds police kept an eye on professors some 300 miles away from the city and even went as far as to send an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip, where he noted students’ names and how often they prayed. Read the full AP story here.

World’s Largest University Struggles to Educate Millions of New Students
The latest story in TIME’s partnership with the Hechinger Report is an article on the largest university in the world, India’s Gandhi National Open University. According to the Sarah Garland, enrollment at the school has doubled in recent years to as many as four million students (about 10 times the size of America’s largest university). But while India’s economic growth is staggering, its population growth has increasingly become a hazard to the country’s financial future as it tries to educate a new generation to sustain the progress, Garland writes. Read the full story here.

Kayla Webley is a Staff Writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @kaylawebley, on Facebook or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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