NAESP Before the Bell
July 22, 2011

Standardizing student data: How to make it relevant
Schools have long dealt with data, tracking students' personal information, grades, courses and attendance. Although most states have implemented some sort of system by which to collect and monitor students' data, these often remain disconnected. But efforts are underway to help standardize student data.More

Study: Training of teachers is flawed
The New York Times
The National Council on Teacher Quality, an advocacy group, is to issue a study reporting that most student-teaching programs are seriously flawed. The group has already angered the nation's schools for teachers with its plans to give them letter grades that would appear in U.S. News and World Report.More

New science framework paves way for standards
Education Week
With the goal of sparking big changes in K-12 science education across the country, an expert panel convened by the National Research Council today issued a framework to guide the development of new national standards in the subject. Top priorities include promoting a greater emphasis on depth over breadth in understanding science and getting young people to continually engage in the practices of both scientific inquiry and engineering design as part of the learning process. More

US geography scores disappoint
Education News Colorado
About 1 in 3 American fourth-graders can read a compass rose well enough to identify basic map regions, and more than half know that the Great Plains has more farming than fishing or mining, according to the latest federal assessment of geography. That was the good news. The National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the test, released results for the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress in geography. More

Panel: Evolving technology has great classroom potential
eSchool News
Technology, when used properly, has the potential to increase student achievement and engage students in learning. But the overwhelming number of technology devices and solutions sometimes leads to technology use that does not enhance teaching and learning. More

What role do corporations play in supporting STEM education?
Corporations like Microsoft, Dell and Google are stepping up to invest in STEM education. Corporate funding can help schools provide programs they couldn't otherwise afford — but what are the implications of having students engaged in corporate-sponsored science?More

Can a playground be too safe?
The New York Times
When seesaws and tall slides and other perils were disappearing from New York's playgrounds, Henry Stern drew a line in the sandbox. As the city's parks commissioner in the 1990s, he issued an edict concerning the 10-foot-high jungle gym near his childhood home in northern Manhattan.More

Despite cheating scandals, testing and teaching are not at odds
The Washington Post (commentary)
Recent news reports of widespread or suspected cheating on standardized tests in several school districts around the country have been taken by some as evidence that we must reduce reliance on testing to measure student growth and achievement. Others have gone even farther, claiming that cheating is an inevitable consequence of "high-stakes testing" and that we should abandon testing altogether. More

States test education law
The Wall Street Journal
Many states say No Child Left Behind unfairly penalizes schools that don't meet rigid requirements. Tired of waiting for Congress to overhaul the law, states like Wisconsin, South Dakota, Montana and Idaho have taken matters into their own hands.More

How fallout from the debt debate could affect education
Education Week (commentary)
Congress and President Barack Obama are still struggling to reach a deal to end a fiscal showdown over the $14.3 trillion federal debt ceiling, and K-12 education will likely be affected one way or another, no matter how it's resolved. Any deal to raise the debt ceiling — and avoid a U.S. default — will likely mean sharp cuts in federal government spending that will affect most agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education. Even though Obama has said he will not support draconian cuts to federal education spending, some cuts seem likely.More

Los Angeles charter schools have high teacher turnover
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles charter schools serving middle and high school students are losing about half their teachers every year, according to a study of the Los Angeles Unified School District released. The rate of turnover is nearly three times that of other public schools, although they also are seeing high rates of departures. The picture is different for students, although less conclusive: If they attend a charter school, they are more likely to remain there than students in a traditional public school. More

Walker indicates state will 'Race to the Top' again
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Gov. Scott Walker indicated Wisconsin's intent to apply for another round of the federal government's Race to the Top competition, dubbed the Early Learning Challenge. According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Education, governors from 36 states and the District of Columbia submitted their intent to apply for a piece of the $500 million competitive grant. Applications will be available at the end of the summer and they'll be due to the federal government sometime this fall, according to Liz Utrup, assistant press secretary in the U.S. Department of Education.More

Memphis, Tenn., board: No school until city forks over funds
In an escalating political battle, the school board in Memphis, Tenn., is threatening to delay the start of school year until the City Council forks over $55 million in tax revenue earmarked for education. By an 8-1 vote, the board decided to postpone the start of the school year, currently scheduled for Aug. 8, until the City Council approves the Memphis City Schools budget for fiscal 2012 and deposits the money in the district's account.More

Michigan governor signs major changes to teacher tenure into law
Gov. Rick Snyder signed teacher tenure reform into law, the final step for some of the most sweeping changes made to Michigan's education system in decades. Now, the work will begin to implement the changes called for in the new package of four laws. The laws end the practice of school districts making staffing decisions based on seniority, with classroom effectiveness now being a main consideration for administrators when making staffing decisions. More

Call for proposals now open for 2012 conference
Submit a proposal to present a concurrent session at NAESP's 2012 conference March 22-24 in Seattle.More

NAESP report outlines research, recommendations for principal evaluation
Read NAESP's latest report on the Principal Evaluation Initiative and listen to full expert briefing from the National Leaders Conference. More