NAESP Before the Bell
Aug. 2, 2011

Debt ceiling fix could mean problems for states
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
The cost of the compromise needed to raise the federal debt ceiling likely will inflict more fiscal pain on states still struggling to recover from the recession and the end of federal stimulus spending. President Barack Obama and Republicans sealed a deal to avoid the nation's first financial default and raise the debt limit while slashing more than $2 trillion from federal spending over a decade.More

Arne Duncan boosts merit pay at teaching conference
The Huffington Post
Teachers should have salaries starting at $60,000 and the opportunity to make up to $150,000 based on performance, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told educators at the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards conference. "The field of teaching is poised for change," Duncan said. "Many bright and committed young people are attracted to teaching, but surveys show they are reluctant to enter the field for the long-haul. They see it as low-paying and low-prestige."More

Children's publisher backing off its corporate ties
The New York Times
Two months after Scholastic, the world's largest publisher of children's books, was hit with a barrage of criticism for distributing an unbalanced curriculum sponsored by the coal industry, the company is cutting back its InSchool marketing division's corporate-sponsored projects, and creating a new review board to vet its materials.More

With students losing math skills, some educators trying to help them make vacation count
The Boston Globe
It used to be, the only math that students did during the summer involved counting snow cones, sandcastles or surfboards. The situation is changing, but more slowly than many educators would like. There are a wide variety of math programs available during the summer for a price. And demand, at least anecdotally, appears to be on the rise.More

Teacher quality: Are incentive programs enough?
National Journal
Two Republican lawmakers involved in education issues said last week that teacher quality initiatives should be largely a state activity rather than a federal one. "I'm a big advocate of rewarding outstanding teaching," said Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.More

Bill Gates: Poverty not excuse for no education
eSchool News
Microsoft founder Bill Gates told the National Urban League that a child's success should not depend on the race or income of parents and that poverty cannot be an excuse for a poor education. Gates said shifting the emphasis to education helps in the battle against poverty.More

5 things students say they want from education
eSchool News
With so many education stakeholders debating the needs of today's schools, student voices aren't always heard when it comes to what they want from their education. And while it's important to note what businesses would like to see in their future employees, at the end of the day it really comes down to the students themselves.More

Is the charter-school movement stuck in a rut?
Education Next (commentary)
As the U.S. charter fleet sails past the 5,000-school and two-decade markers, there is reason to worry that it's getting complacent, unimaginative and self-interested. This criticism is separate from the quality-and-achievement challenges that beset many current schools and the "caps," fiscal constraints and political/bureaucratic barriers that continue to confront far too many of them in far too many places.More

Home school rules change: Parents will have to put it in writing that student has withdrawn
Houston Chronicle
A new documentation requirement will make it harder for students to leave the public school system under the guise of home schooling, closing a loophole in Texas' dropout statistics. More than 20,000 secondary students withdrew from public school in 2009-2010 to be taught at home, according to Texas Education Agency data.More

Education takes a beating nationwide
Los Angeles Times
After a particularly brutal budgeting season this summer, states and school districts across the country have fired thousands of teachers, raised college tuition, relaxed standards, slashed days off the academic calendar and gutted pre-kindergarten and summer school programs. Slashed budgets are nothing new for educators, but experts say this year stands out.More

Gov. Haslam seeks waiver from No Child Left Behind
The Associated Press via Johnson City Press
Gov. Bill Haslam said that Tennessee is seeking a waiver to use its revamped education standards to measure schools instead of those mandated by No Child Left Behind, the nation's governing education law.More

Florida might reject $100 million grant to educate children
Orlando Sentinel
Florida's decision to reject federal grants tied to the Obama administration's health care overhaul means it might not be able to compete for $100 million to improve the care and education of young children. A new federal Race to the Top program that aims to improve early learning was launched in May, the latest push from Washington to spur reform through competition among states.More

Phoenix district schools add time, improve results
The Arizona Republic
Until last month, Saul Martinez had no idea he goes to school 20 days longer each year than most other fifth-graders in Arizona. Saul is part of a 2-year-old experiment in the Balsz Elementary School District, the first of two small Phoenix districts to stretch their school year by a month. More

Michigan toughens school standards
The Detroit News
At least 200 public schools in Michigan would be at risk of losing their state accreditation — and being closed — under new standards being pushed by the state Department of Education. Under the changes, accreditation would be based on standardized test scores, a move state education officials say would help them identify failing schools that need support and intervention. More

Oversight problems prompt freeze of school reform funds in California
California Watch
This year's payout of a three-year $416 million federal grant to struggling schools has been delayed for several California schools after monitoring teams found the state Department of Education and local districts not implementing required reforms. More

Registration and housing now open for NAESP's 2012 Conference and Expo
Join elementary and middle-level principals from across the country March 22-24 and learn how to transform your school into a high-performing learning community. Submit a proposal to present a concurrent session or register today!More

NAESP Radio: Solving the student cell phone dilemma
Plug in or turn off? Students are more wired than ever — and many schools are struggling to keep up and adapt. In the latest edition of NAESP Radio, NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly and the Consortium of School Networking's Keith Krueger dissect the issue.More