NAESP Before the Bell
Feb. 18, 2011

Obama requests $4.5 billion increase for education in 2012
President Obama's 2012 budget proposal for education is one of the few areas that actually show a significant increase — to the tune of $4.5 billion, compared with the proposal for 2011. The $77.4 billion request will be spent on reforms, teacher training for STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind.More

Education technology rides wave of stimulus funding
Education Week
From the purchase of laptops to modernization of data systems and the training of teachers, states and districts have funneled a major chunk of their economic-stimulus funding into technology. Yet the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has not necessarily sealed its legacy as an agent for widespread technology integration across the nation's schools, education technology advocates say.More

Studies find language is key to learning math
Education Week
New research shows a lack of language skills can hamstring a student's ability to understand the most fundamental concepts in mathematics. A series of studies led by Susan Goldin-Meadow, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago, found that profoundly deaf adults in Nicaragua who had not learned a formal sign language could not accurately describe or understand numbers greater than three. While hearing adults and those who used formal sign language easily counted and distinguished groups of objects, those who used only self-created "homesigning" gestures could not consistently extend the proper number of fingers to count more than three objects at a time, nor could they match the number of objects in one set to those in another set.More

New physical education requirement in Virginia
The Free Lance-Star
In Virginia's General Assembly, HB 1644 has passed the House and SB 966 has passed the Senate. These bills will require 150 minutes of physical education each week for public school students in kindergarten through eighth-grade, with a mandated policy for high schools to achieve the same goal.More

7 technology tips for elementary schools
In conversations with educators in the lower grades, you often find that there is a sense of frustration or even fear in bringing technology into the classroom. These emotions have nothing to do with a fear or frustration with technology itself. In fact, many of these educators want to bring technology into their classroom but are boggled by how to train or prepare 6 to 9 year-olds to create multi-step and engaging projects.More

Reading at some private schools is delayed
The New York Times
Public elementary schools are federally mandated to teach reading almost from Day One. But private schools in New York set their own curriculums, and even some of the most prestigious choose not to teach reading until first-grade or later. So as more and more children are being encouraged to read before they are out of Pull-Ups, these schools' deliberate approach is causing friction.More

Interdisciplinary lessons in a time of testing
Education Week (commentary)
It is truly impossible for teachers to meet all the requirements that districts, states and the federal government impose in the allotted amount of time given to teach. For instance, in Florida, elementary schools are required to have a 90-minute reading block, plus 30 minutes of structured physical education. Add 30 minutes for lunch, 45 minutes for activity, and you'll soon find yourself utterly dumbfounded as you try to squeeze in math, science, social studies, writing, character education, technology skills and more.More

School stimulus benefit may be short-lived
The Boston Globe
In the two years since Congress made the federal government's largest one-time investment in public schools, change has rippled through classrooms from coast to coast, as districts have expanded school days, improved teacher training and tried to tie teacher evaluations to student performance. But the stimulus package's long-term impact on public education is far from certain and may already be flagging.More

Key questions about early education in Obama's budget
The New America Foundation
As it does every year, the education policy team at New America has compiled a list of key questions prompted by the Obama administration's budget request. The questions are designed to heighten the quality of debate on federal education policy and spark conversations among policymakers, the media, stakeholder groups, and the public.More

Cramming for kindergarten tests
Chicago Tribune
To test into some of Chicago's top schools, incoming kindergartners must be able to do more than just count to 10 or rattle off the alphabet. They could be asked to identify trapezoids, figure out how many cookies they'd have if mom put two more on their plate, demonstrate advanced literacy skills and, for gifted programs, be able to infer relationships, recognize patterns and predict what comes next.More

Texas history standards get 'D'
Houston Chronicle
A conservative education think tank has severely criticized Texas' new social studies curriculum standards as a "politicized distortion of history...offering misrepresentations at every turn." A conservative Republican majority of the State Board of Education adopted the new history standards last year. The harsh indictment of the new standards is almost certain to renew calls for the board to start over and develop an acceptable history curriculum to serve some 5 million Texas public school children for the next decade.More

The 5 biggest myths about school vouchers
TIME (commentary)
One of the most contentious budget debates this year may be over something the president did not include in his 2012 spending plan — school vouchers. Now more often called "scholarships," vouchers have been debated for decades, but support for these initiatives is on the rise. In Washington, D.C., after years of discussion, Congress established a plan in 2004 to give 1,700 students in Washington a voucher of up to $7,500 to attend private and religious schools in the city as alternatives to the frequently lousy neighborhood schools. The program was controversial from the start — it was the first federal funding for vouchers in three decades. But in 2009, under intense pressure from the teachers unions, Congress and the Administration began to dismantle the program and no new students are participating.More

Georgia elementary school putting weight on wellness program
The Gainesville Times
Teachers at Friendship Elementary in Buford, Ga., are replacing classroom chairs with exercise balls as part of a new wellness program. The school recently began an initiative that couples its academics with a focus on health and wellness. More

A principal's minute with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
VideoBrief NAESP Executive Director, Gail Connelly asked U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to share his thoughts on how schools can achieve and sustain high quality education for all children without guaranteed adequate funding to fulfill mandates required as a result of any changes to the law.More

2011 annual convention hotel reservations: There's still time to register!
The 2011 NAESP's Annual Convention has been designed specifically with you in mind to ensure that your experience is rewarding and enjoyable. Please make your lodging reservations today.

PLEASE NOTE: The last day to make new lodging reservations is March 10. After that date you must call the hotels directly. Also, rooms at the Embassy Suites are now SOLD OUT. Please book rooms at the Hyatt Regency Tampa or the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel. We look forward to welcoming you to Tampa!More