NAESP Before the Bell
Nov. 15, 2011

Teachers, facing low salaries, opt to moonlight
eSchool News
Second jobs are not a new phenomenon for teachers, who have historically been paid less than other professionals. In 1981, about 11 percent of teachers were moonlighting; the number has risen to about 1 in 5 today. They are bartenders, waitresses, tutors, school bus drivers and even lawnmowers. Now, with the severe cuts many school districts have made, teachers who hadn't considered juggling a second job before are searching the want ads. The number of public school teachers who reported holding a second job outside school increased slightly from 2003-2004 to 2007-2008. While there is no national data for more recent years, reports from individual states and districts indicate the number may have climbed further since the start of the recession.More

Study: Publicly naming educators tied to performance scores hinders reform
The Huffington Post
In a departure from recent efforts to publicly name teachers tied to the performance — and projected performance — of their students, a new report says the practice actually undermines efforts to improve public schools. The study by the Center for American Progress notes that linking teachers' names to value-added estimates subjects educators to a number of consequences, like parents pressuring principals to reassign their children. The CAP also warns that value-added estimates should never be the only factor in making decisions about teachers.More

Arne Duncan calls for personal finance lessons starting in kindergarten
Yahoo News
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that schools should incorporate personal finance into lesson plans. He proposes that such instruction should start as early as kindergarten to combat widespread financial illiteracy. "As important as reading and math and social studies and science, I think today more than ever financial literacy has to be part of that," Duncan said at a speech at the Treasury Department. "To continue to have a population that is relatively illiterate in these matters I think has real negative consequences to our democracy." Duncan acknowledged that it's up to individual districts and states to make the move, however, since the Education Department doesn't have any authority over curriculum content. More

Poor history curriculum threatens Texas' future
Austin American-Statesman
A report issued this month by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board asserts that instead of working to further education, the Texas State Board of Education has made curriculum decisions that contribute to historical illiteracy. Keith A. Erekson, a history professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, outlines serious flaws in curriculum guidelines State Board of Education members adopted in a series of highly contentious, highly publicized meetings.More

Rules raise bar for Head Start centers
Education Week
For the first time in the more than four-decade history of the Head Start program, early-education centers will have to prove they prepare disadvantaged children for kindergarten in order to hold on to their grants. Long-awaited final rules require the nation's 1,600 Head Start and Early Head Start programs, including migrant and tribal programs, to meet higher quality benchmarks every five years. Poor performers — which the federal Office of Head Start estimates to number about 1 in 3 — will have to recompete for their grants beginning as early as December.More

Panel urges cholesterol testing for kids
The Associated Press via Detroit Free Press
Every child should be tested for high cholesterol between ages 9 and 11 so steps can be taken to prevent heart disease later on, a panel of doctors urged. Until now, major medical groups have suggested cholesterol tests only for children with a family history of early heart disease or high cholesterol and those who are obese or have diabetes or high blood pressure. But studies show that is missing many children with high cholesterol, and the number of them at risk is growing because of the obesity epidemic. The recommendation is in new guidelines from an expert panel appointed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.More

Study reveals health value to children of National School Lunch Program
Medical News Today
The federally funded National School Lunch Program provides free and reduced-price meals to more than 31 million children every school day, according to its website. And a recent study by current and former Iowa State University researchers confirmed that school lunches improve the health outcomes of children who reside in low-income households. The researchers analyzed data from nearly 2,700 NSLP children (ages 6-17) taken from the 2001-04 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Their study finds that the NSLP reduces the prevalence of food insecurity by 3.8 percent, poor general health by 29 percent, and the rate of obesity by at least 17 percent in its participants.More

Few minority teachers in classrooms, gap attributed to bias and low graduation rates
The Huffington Post
Minority students will likely outnumber white students in the next decade or two, but the failure of the national teacher demographic to keep up with that trend is hurting minority students who tend to benefit from teachers with similar backgrounds. Minority students make up more than 40 percent of the national public school population, while only 17 percent of the country's teachers are minorities, according to a report released this week by the Center for American Progress. More

House minority lawmakers want subgroup targets in ESEA bill
Education Week
House lawmakers representing districts with high concentrations of Asian, African-American and Hispanic students have said they'd like to see a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act include performance targets for different subgroups of students. The group's concerns are nothing new — it has said in the past that its members were worried about a potential retreat from subgroup accountability. More

Candidates seek to limit federal role in education
The Associated Press via The Denver Post
When it comes to education, the Republican field of presidential candidates has a unified stance: Get the federal government out of schools. How they'd do that varies. Take the Education Department. Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul along with Texas Gov. Rick Perry want to shut it down altogether, while Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich want to shrink it. Offering student loans? Herman Cain says the department should get out of that business. And then there's the Bush-era education accountability law, No Child Left Behind. Perry calls it a "direct assault on federalism," while former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has long expressed animosity toward the law. More

Rough path seen for Senate's ESEA bill
Education Week
The prospects for a bipartisan, comprehensive rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act moving through Congress this session remain cloudy, even after a hearing on a bill that was intended to serve as a prerequisite for sending it to the floor of the U.S. Senate. During the Nov. 8 hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Republicans continued to express tepid support for the measure, while civil rights advocates typically aligned with Democrats lambasted the bill as a major step backward on student accountability.More

Chicago Public Schools lays out metrics for principal bonuses
Chicago Tribune
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the criteria by which high-performing Chicago Public Schools principals will receive up to $20,000 in bonuses for boosting student achievement this school year. Charter school principals will be eligible too, and the mayor announced that network chiefs — who oversee groupings of elementary schools and high schools — also can receive bonuses for driving significant gains at their schools.More

Michigan Senate passes bill requiring pledge of allegiance in schools
The Huffington Post
A bill that requires every Michigan public school student to start the day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance has been approved by the state Senate. The Republican led Senate passed the bill 31-5 that carries two provisions: requiring students to recite the pledge and mandating that every public school purchase a flag for each of its classrooms. The school board would also be required to ensure that those flags are displayed. The bill does note, however, that a student "shall not be compelled" to participate against objections by the student or the student's parents.More

Report: No Child Left Behind waiver could cost $2 billion
Los Angeles Times
It would cost cash-strapped California at least $2 billion to meet the requirements for relief from the federal No Child Left Behind law, state officials said. Although the state Board of Education made no decision at its meeting in Sacramento, the clear implication of a staff report presentation was that California should spurn an opportunity to seek a waiver from federal rules that sanction schools for low test scores. The No Child Left Behind rules are widely unpopular here and elsewhere in the country.More

6 essential resources on RTI
Learn the basics of RTI with six recommended books from the National Principals Resource Center, including "RTI & Math: The Classroom Connection and Implementing RTI with English Learners." Plus, check out the NPRC's latest catalog, filled with the trusted resources principals need to tackle education challenges. Now accepting purchase orders.More

Exclusive online course: Bullying 101 for School Principals
Maintaining a safe, nurturing school environment for students is every school leader's top priority. To help you do that, the NAESP Foundation has partnered with Hazelden Publishing to give NAESP members access to an exclusive, low-cost online course, Bullying 101 for School Principals: What Principals Should Know and Be Able to Do. Register today and put a stop to bullying at your school. More