NAESP Before the Bell
Aug. 12, 2011

School's in for summer
Chicago Tribune
Contrary to popular belief, most principals don't spend the annual hiatus languishing poolside with a cool drink and a book. As soon as students clean out their lockers, these administrators say, they begin focusing on the next year. More

Public-school losses: private schools' gain
The Christian Science Monitor
As public school teachers face what may be the longest string of layoffs ever, the private sector gets a boost. Transport and janitorial contractors, online tutoring companies and private schools are among those seeing a more talented workforce or an uptick in business. More

7 keys to an effective autism education program
eSchool News
With incidences of reported autism increasing exponentially, educators are struggling to accommodate the needs of this growing population of students. But some key steps, including individualized assessments and data tracking, can help schools create effective programs for students with autism, one expert says.More

Consortia flesh out visions for common tests
Education Week
Common academic standards, adopted by nearly every state, lay out big shifts in expectations for teachers and students in mathematics and English/language arts. Now a new set of documents edges closer to offering a vision of how those standards might look in the classroom and on tests.More

Sex education in NYC schools becomes mandatory
Students in New York City will be required to take sex education classes that include lessons on how to use a condom — a curriculum that the head of the school system said is long overdue. It's the first time in nearly two decades that middle and high school students will be forced to take the mandatory classes, according to a report. More

Principals: 5 leadership strategies for the new year
Edutopia (commentary)
As the calendar turns to August, school leaders across the country are meticulously planning for the upcoming year. This process has become more difficult as mounting challenges such as budget cuts and what seems like a relentless attack on the profession of education have taken their toll on staff morale. With this being said, quality leadership becomes even more essential in order to cultivate a school culture whose primary focus is on the learning and achievement of each and every student. Here are some of my leadership strategies for making change during challenging times. More

Are school boards part of the problem or the solution?
The Washington Post (commentary)
In the drama of public education, many people seem to see school boards as wearing black hats. When is the last time you heard a positive reference to school boards in our ongoing national debate? School boards are part of the problem, right? Actually, local school boards have an essential role in education reform. More often than not, they are composed of energetic citizens who bring a passion for their communities to bear on nettlesome issues ranging from graduation rates to childhood obesity and bullying. More

Kids and technology: The developmental health debate
How much screen time is appropriate for children? The developmental debate has raged for decades, only to be reignited by the latest waves of iPads and social media. Dr. Larry Rosen, professor of psychology and author of "Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn," sees innovations like social media as developmental pluses for what he calls the "iGeneration."More

Teachers feeling 'beat down' as school year starts
National Public Radio
VideoBrief As students prepare to begin another school year, their teachers are hopping mad. They're facing layoffs and deep budget cuts and many say they're tired of being blamed unfairly for just about everything that's wrong in public education. They're so mad that many are bypassing their unions and mounting a campaign of their own to restore the public's faith in their profession.More

Closing the loop in education technology
THE Journal
K-12 education isn't using technology effectively and isn't investing nearly enough in IT infrastructure to enable next-generation learning. That's the conclusion of a new report, "Unleashing the Potential of Technology in Education," which called for a greater financial commitment to education technology and the adoption of a holistic, "closed loop" approach to its implementation.More

More states strengthening rigor of assessments
Education Week
A handful of states have increased the rigor of their state assessments since 2007, an analysis released by the statistical wing of the U.S. Department of Education concludes. The finding stands in contrast to earlier studies of state proficiency standards — often referred to as cutoff scores — released by the federal agency, which has generally found mixed patterns in the rigor of states fourth- and eighth-grade proficiency standards in reading and mathematics.More

Gov. Perry calls for less spending, smaller federal role in K-12
Education Week (commentary)
As speculation about his presidential aspirations grows, Texas Gov. Rick Perry told an assembly of state lawmakers from around the country that the federal government needs to stop "dictating" school policy and limit spending. Perry's speech at the National Conference of State Legislatures' legislative summit offered no formal announcements about a White House campaign, but he provided a sharply contrasting vision from the Obama administration on the federal role in creating jobs and spurring innovation during a bleak economic period.More

Now the little ones can take all their classes online in Michigan
Detroit Free Press
Most online instruction in Michigan was geared toward middle and high school students — until last year. But at two new cyber-charter schools, students as young as 5 are taking all online classes. It's happening at Michigan Virtual Charter Academy in Grand Rapids and Michigan Connections Academy in Okemos, which opened after new laws last year allowed for two such schools for K-12 students.More

Philadelphia lawmakers debate value of vouchers
The Philadelphia Inquirer
New analysis by Center on Education Policy in Washington finds "no clear, positive impact on student academic achievement" for pupils who used money from publicly funded voucher programs to transfer to private schools. As Pennsylvania legislators debate several voucher proposals, these findings are being cited by opponents and refuted by supporters.More

61 percent of Virginia schools miss federal benchmarks
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
More than three-fifths of Virginia's public schools and 97 percent of districts failed to meet annual benchmarks in reading and mathematics under the federal No Child Left Behind law. As a state, Virginia failed to make adequate yearly progress for the second straight year.More

Baltimore County Board of Education passes revised facility use policy
The Baltimore Sun
The Baltimore County Board of Education voted to approve a revision of Policy 1300 that regulates the use of county school facilities, ending a long and contentious public debate — and allowing community organizations greater leeway to use facilities for meetings, fundraisers and other activities.More

Department of Education: Money for South Carolina to go elsewhere
The Associated Press via The Post and Courier
The U.S. Department of Education says $144 million of federal bailout money meant for South Carolina's public schools will be doled out to the other 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. State leaders replied the state doesn't need the money, which represents a federal intrusion into state education. The federal agency sent a letter to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley and Superintendent Mick Zais, notifying them South Carolina's money will go elsewhere if the state doesn't apply for it.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

Webinars serve up school nutrition know-how
The School Nutrition Foundation's 2011-2012 Webinar Wednesday series kicks off this month with two free webinars on new proposed meal patterns. The first, "Menu Changes to Meet the New Proposed Meal Patterns" will be held Wednesday, Aug. 24, followed by "Understanding the Proposed Meal Patterns" on Wednesday, Aug. 31. For more information and to register, visit the School Nutrition Foundation webinar website.More