Before The Bell
Aug. 2, 2013

Arming Arkansas teachers with guns in school
USA Today
When the new school year begins in Clarksville, Ark., some staff will carry a slightly heavier workload — 9 mm handguns. The school district is making use of a state law that allows teachers to carry concealed handguns on campus. More

Learning objectives, targets and goals
By Erick Herrmann
Several types of learning objectives are present in classrooms today. While educational objectives that refer to content knowledge and skills are the most common, the incorporation of language objectives is becoming increasingly popular. This is especially true in classrooms with English-language learners and in bilingual programs as a way to communicate to students how they will increase their knowledge, understanding and fluency in the target language.More

How Common Core standards will change the classroom
The first school bells will ring in Florida in just a few weeks, and students will be greeted by new Common Core standards. Florida leaders are still debating which test will accompany those standards, and school leaders are trying to get ready despite the controversy at the capitol. Students in Florida could see big changes in their classrooms this year. Common Core standards mean fewer multiple choice tests, more word problems and a new focus on how students arrive at the right answers.More

Common Core is a massive, risky experiment on your kids
Fox News (commentary)
Controversy is swirling about the new Common Core national standards, which are designed to transform K-12 education in English language arts and math. Especially in the area of math, Common Core proponents insist that it is the only way to address the problem of lagging achievement by American students. But the Common Core math standards fall far short of what students need for more advanced work. More

How are classrooms implementing mobile technology?
eSchool News
Advocates of mobile technology in the classroom say that devices such as tablets and smartphones boost student engagement and offer a way to personalize learning for each student. Now, a new survey takes a look at the extent to which mobile technology has penetrated classrooms and reveals what's keeping some districts from forging ahead with mobile technology deployments.More

New report documents effects of childhood poverty on education, adult life
Youth Today
The United States prides itself on being the land of opportunity, and we like to believe that everyone has the chance to succeed in life. A key component in this belief is the provision of free public education, which is intended to reduce the differences among children of varied circumstances, giving each a chance to achieve according to his or her abilities and talents. More

Newer teachers most likely to be engaged at work
U.S. teachers for grades K-12 with less than one year of experience are the most engaged at work, at 35.1 percent. Engagement drops to 30.9 percent for teachers who have been on the job for one to three years and falls further to 27.9 percent for educators with three to five years of experience. Engagement picks back up slightly for those who have been teaching for more than five years.More

Q&A: Stanford researcher on learning English in today's multiethnic classrooms
Stanford Report
There are more than 5 million children in classrooms across America whose primary language is not English. That's 11 percent of the U.S. school-age population. The figure is the highest it's ever been, and nearly every state is affected, says professor Claude Goldenberg of Stanford's Graduate School of Education.More

Avoid these common hiring mistakes
By Mel Kleiman (commentary)
Mel Kleiman, a speaker, consultant and author on strategies for hiring and retaining the best employees, writes: "Did you ever think you'd hired an eagle, only to have the person turn out to be a turkey on the job? At one of my recent speaking engagements, one participant brought down the house when she said: 'I interviewed the good twin, then the evil twin showed up for work.' The reasons apparent eagles turn out to be total turkeys can most often be attributed to one of these four common hiring mistakes."More

Prepping for the future: Modern education, old problems
Wired (commentary)
Dr. Jeff Borden, vice president of instruction and academic strategy and lead of the Center for Online Learning at Pearson, had a teacher in high school who used to reference this quote, "A 'smart' person learns from their mistakes without having to make them over and over. An 'educated' person, however, learns from the mistakes of others and never has to make them at all." It's a powerful argument for education, no? It speaks to the idea that we are transforming minds, not just informing students. It speaks to the notion that we are changing paradigms and ultimately the paths of our people, for the betterment of society.More

Illinois school to pilot elementary STEM program
The News-Gazette
Next Generation School in Champaign, Ill., is one of 44 in the country that will participate in a new pilot program that will teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics to students in kindergarten through fifth grades. The school was selected to participate in Project Lead the Way's National Elementary STEM Pilot Program, which has Chris Bronowski, its head of school, feeling "incredibly excited."More

Protecting kids from summer learning loss
The Seattle Times (commentary)
Many children equate summer with vacation, adventure and new experiences that create lasting memories. However, for more than 472,000 of Washington's children living in poverty, summer means boredom and hunger. These kids have limited access to fun summer programs that keep them learning, nourished and ready to return to school on track and at grade level in the fall.More

Are texting and tweeting making our students bad writers?
Common Sense Media
The Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project surveyed middle and high school teachers about the impact of digital tools on student writing. While some 78 percent of the 2,462 teachers surveyed said tools such as the Internet, social media and cellphones "encourage student creativity and personal expression," others expressed concern that such tools are also having undesirable effects on students' formal writing.More

How they do education in Alaska
The Guardian
On a recent trip to Alaska, while gazing out across the playground to see mountain views and students skiing to school, London teacher Zoe Dunn could tell she was about to experience a very different approach to schooling. More

8 principal leadership tips for the new year
Connected Principals Blog
Justin Tarte writes: "I recently had the opportunity to hear Andy Greene, Middle School Principal from New York, speak to us about collaboration and the PLC process. From as soon as I walked in the room, I knew Andy's session was going to be good. More

What's important in a digital device initiative?
eSchool News
In recent years, many ed-tech advocacy efforts have morphed from emphasizing the need for schools to have ed-tech tools and devices to figuring out exactly which device, or mix of devices, meet students' needs, and how best to manage those devices.More

Rand Paul wants more school choice for poor, minority students
The Washington Post
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., wants children — especially minority and poor children — to have more choices in education. He wants more public charter schools. He wants more vouchers so that students can use tax money to enroll in private schools. He says students ought to be able to attend any public school in a community, regardless of their neighborhood and property lines. More

Nut-free elementary school decision upheld by Michigan Court of Appeals
A Michigan Court of Appeals panel upheld a decision dismissing a lawsuit over a Romeo-area elementary school's policy creating a nut-free school. The unpublished opinion addresses a lawsuit filed by the parent of a student at Hevel Elementary School challenging the decision of Romeo Community Schools to make the elementary school a nut-free zone because of a student with life-threatening nut allergies.More

Washington, DC, students reach new heights in annual standardized tests
The Washington Post
Students in the Washington, D.C., traditional public schools scored higher than ever on the city's math and reading tests this year, also posting the largest single-year gain since 2008, according to recent test results.More

Arizona 3rd-graders face new reading standard this year
Cronkite News via Maricopa Monitor
Arizona children entering third grade this year are the first who will have to prove that they can read at an acceptable level or face being held back. The Arizona Department of Education estimates that the law taking effect this fall will force about 1,500 children to repeat third grade next year. Another 17,000 third-graders are at risk of being held back under the new rule, said Pearl Chang Esau, president of Expect More Arizona.More

How they do education in Alaska
The Guardian
On a recent trip to Alaska, while gazing out across the playground to see mountain views and students skiing to school, London teacher Zoe Dunn could tell she was about to experience a very different approach to schooling. As impressive as the scenery sounds, Dunn was even more taken with Alaskan schools' approach to social and emotional learning — where student happiness and well-being are promoted alongside — and above — academic achievement. Here was a school where students resolved their own conflicts, mapped their feelings on wall charts and aspired to college from an early age.More

In Arizona, testing costs jump 50 percent under Common Core
The Daily Caller
The standardized tests required under Common Core will increase Arizona's test-related costs by 50 percent, according to a new report. Arizona's previous test cost between $18 and $20 per student. The new test will cost $29.50 per student.More

Reinforce math skills with everyday activities
A solid foundation in math is essential for students to succeed in school and beyond. This month's Report to Parents, "Reinforce Math Skills With Everyday Activities," helps parents incorporate math into family life, without a lot of time, effort or expense. Report to Parents is NAESP's family-friendly bulletin that you can post on your school website, forward to your teachers or parents, or distribute at your next school event.More

Improving school culture: A systematic approach
School success has traditionally been measured by standardized tests alone. These tests, according to Brian Perkins, tell you some things about how a school is doing, but they don't tell you everything — especially not about the climate of a school. Perkins, director of the Urban Education Leaders program at Teacher's College Columbia University, developed a process to help schools gather and use school climate data. More