Before The Bell
Nov. 18, 2011

11 states seek relief from 'No Child' provisions, in return for raising standards
The New York Times
Eleven states applied for waivers exempting them from key provisions of the No Child Left Behind law by the federal government's first deadline, promising in return to adopt higher standards and carry out other elements of the Obama administration's school improvement agenda, the Department of Education said. Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee asked the department for relief from some No Child provisions, including the requirement that all students be proficient in English and math by 2014. More

Collaboration: The key to doing more with less
eSchool News
NAESP and The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) have just agreed to share space in NAESP's Alexandria, VA headquarters. This move is more than a mere change in facilities. It is, in essence, a process being engaged in by the two associations that might well serve as a model for other education organizations on how to survive and thrive during hard economic times.More

Demand for French education surges in Louisiana
The Associated Press via Google News
The wave of Hispanics who flooded the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina doesn't appear to have dampened Louisiana families' demand for their children to get a French education. There's a waiting list at all 29 of the state's public French immersion programs, and this year at least one school — the International School of Louisiana in New Orleans — received more applications for its French program than ever before. Demand for Spanish language education remains strong, both for local use and as a language of inter-American commerce. But even some Spanish-speakers are seeking French language education for their children.More

Teaching kids about entrepreneurship
KQED
We start teaching kids about jobs and professions at an early age. That's not always the case when it comes to entrepreneurship, even though the skills necessary to build and run one's own company can be relevant to anyone: financial literacy, responsibility, problem-solving, creative thinking, collaboration and independence. How do you explain "entrepreneurship" to kids? How do you explain business models, business plans, and basic economics? Author Lull Mengesha argues that many elementary school-age kids already have an understanding of bartering, and that's where he starts the first book in his series "Building an Entrepreneur."More

Calming schools by focusing on well-being of troubled students
The New York Times
Turnaround for Children is a nonprofit that works with schools to help meet students' psychological and emotional needs. The organization's approach occupies a middle ground between the educators and politicians who believe schools should be more like community centers, and the education-reform movement, with its no-excuses mantra. For schools in tough neighborhoods where many principals say they can barely see their teachers' work through the fog of students' extreme behavior, Turnaround offers a whole-child model that requires the hiring of social workers and the training of teachers in how to respond to outbursts in ways other than sending children to the principal's office.More

5 not-so-obvious propositions about play
The Huffington Post
Children should have plenty of opportunities to play. Even young children have too few such opportunities these days, particularly in school settings. These two propositions — both of them indisputable and important — have been offered many times. The second one in particular reflects the "cult of rigor" at the center of corporate-style school reform. Its devastating impact can be mapped horizontally as well as vertically. The typical American kindergarten now resembles a really bad first-grade classroom. Even preschool teachers are told to sacrifice opportunities for imaginative play in favor of drilling young children until they master a defined set of skills.More

Children with high IQ more likely to subsequently use illegal drugs
Medical News Today
According to a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, a high IQ in childhood could be associated to illegal drug use later in life, especially among women. The researchers findings were based on data from just under 8,000 individuals in the 1970 British Cohort Study, a large ongoing population based investigation, which examines educational attainment, lifetime drug use as well as socioeconomic factors.More

Hand sanitizer in schools helps prevent some cases of influenza
Infection Control Today
A hand and respiratory hygiene program including frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer helps reduce illness caused by influenza A and missed school days in elementary school children, reports a study in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. "Respiratory hygiene education and the regular use of hand sanitizer can be an important adjunct to influenza vaccination programs to reduce the number of influenza A infections among children," according to the study by Dr. Samuel Stebbins of the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues.More

Private vs. public: No advantage
The Washington Post (commentary)
People who live in affluent neighborhoods such as northwest Washington, D.C., may wonder: Will it hurt my kid's chances of getting into Harvard if I let her stay in the public schools after elementary school? Local elementary schools such as Murch and Lafayette have nearly all children of college-focused parents and excellent achievement results. But Deal Middle School and Wilson High School are more economically diverse, leading some to doubt that the learning standards will stay high. More

Questions arise over grants for ELL tests
Education Week
While a group of 28 states forges ahead to develop a new generation of English language proficiency tests, important questions have arisen about how the language needs of millions more English learners living in the rest of the country will be met under the common core academic standards. Earlier this fall, a consortium of 28 states led by the Wisconsin education department was selected as the only winner of a $10.5 million competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Education to create new assessments of English language proficiency that will measure the language demands of the common standards.More

Advertisements on report cards? Unfortunately, yes
The Washington Post (commentary)
A school board in Colorado is so desperate for revenue that it is selling advertising space on the report cards that students at 91 elementary schools take home. Jefferson County Public Schools has sold about $90,000 worth of two-inch ads over three years from an arm of the state government called Collegeinvest, according to 9 News in Colorado. Collegeinvest administers college savings programs and is interested in a captive audience — parents of elementary school students. The revenue from the ads isn’t much compared to the $70 million in budget cuts that the board expects to face in the next two years, the station reported.More

Teaching without technology?
KQED (commentary)
New technology is a lightning rod and polarizing force because it not only begins to influence what we see and how we see it. It makes sense then, that debate of digital technology's role in society is naturally being played out in microcosmic form within schools. Education is designed to transmit a culture's history, values and theories of knowledge while also preparing students for the world of tomorrow. Yet, in times like ours, when the gulf between the past and future stretches light years, cognitive dissonance ensues when students, teachers and parents try to figure out what technology should be used to bridge this timeline.More

Congress blocks new rules on school lunches
The New York Times
A slice of pizza still counts as a vegetable. In a victory for the makers of frozen pizzas, tomato paste and french fries, Congress blocked rules proposed by the Agriculture Department that would have overhauled the nation's school lunch program. The proposed changes — the first in 15 years to the $11 billion school lunch program — were meant to reduce childhood obesity by adding more fruits and green vegetables to lunch menus, Agriculture Department officials said. More

Feds launch open-source 'Learning Registry'
eSchool News
A new federal resource will help groups share learning materials and policy recommendations as they strive to improve the quality and availability of learning resources in education. Launched by the U.S. Departments of Education and Defense, the new "Learning Registry" is an open-source community that takes advantage of technology tools to help users share information about learning resources more effectively among a broad set of education stakeholders.More

Research takes center stage at congressional hearing
Education Week
So you've heard a lot about the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. But there's this whole other law that gets much less attention: The Education Sciences Reform Act, which created the Institute for Education Sciences back in 2002. The House Education and the Workforce subcommittee on K-12 education held the first hearing on the reauthorization of ESRA, which has been pending since 2008.More

Gov. Christie seeks added power on school aid
The Wall Street Journal
The Christie administration wants to withhold state and federal aid to low-performing schools that refuse to undergo significant reshaping via measures such as removing principals and teachers, lengthening the school day and revamping the curriculum. The new proposals are laid out in New Jersey's application for a waiver from the requirements of No Child Left Behind, the accountability system passed into law under former President George W. Bush.More

Teacher pay plan in Iowa education blueprint is now on hold
Des Moines Register
A proposal to change how Iowa's teachers are paid has been put on hold for at least a year, and a task force is expected to convene in January to study the issue. The proposed four-tier career ladder had been a key component of Gov. Terry Branstrad's education reform blueprint, but questions about the cost and structure of the compensation system led state leaders to push for more time to study the issue, Jason Glass, Iowa Department of Education director, said.More

Principals' Help Line: Answers, just for principals
NAESP
As a principal, usually, you're the one with all the answers — but where do you turn when you're the one with the questions? The Principals' Help Line is the place to start. This confidential, members-only advice portal allows principals to receive, via email, ideas and advice from veteran members of NAESP's National Principal Mentor Program. Have a pressing question? Submit now and receive the solutions you need to be a better school leader.More

Join the MOVEment — tools from Let's Move in School
NAESP
Shake things up in your school with resources from Let's Move in School. Check out videos, monthly webinars, evaluation tools for principals and online toolkits to help boost physical activity in your school community.More