Before The Bell
Dec. 20, 2011

Supporting children by teaching the adults who shape their lives
Harvard Magazine
The Brazelton Touchpoints Center, part of the Harvard University-affiliated Children's Hospital Boston, takes a holistic, relationship-focus approach to supporting child development. Instead of communicating directly with the parents of young children, the center empowers the people who work with parents, not only by arming them with information about child development, but by teaching them how to communicate that information in ways that prime parents for success.More

School bullying report makes recommendations to address issue, support victims
The Huffington Post
Struggling students who get bullied are more likely to slip behind and cut class. According to a report released by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, victims of bullying are often, as a result of social and emotional hurdles, distanced from learning, disadvantaged academically and more likely to fall behind in school attendance.More

Budget deal restores literacy aid, cuts US history program
Education Week
A budget compromise just announced in Washington would breathe new life into a major federal literacy initiative, but abolish funding altogether for some other Department of Education programs targeting aspects of the curriculum, including teaching American history, foreign languages and civic education. The Math and Science Partnerships program and Arts in Education, meanwhile, would see small cuts.More

Should computer science be required in K-12?
KQED
Computer science is not widely taught, even though programming may be one of the most important skills of the 21st century. While most schools do recognize the importance of helping students learn how to use new technologies, you'll still find scant opportunities in K-12 classes for students to learn how to actually build those very technologies. A report issued by the Association of Computing Machinery found that very few states offer K-12 computer science education at all. Just nine states allow CS courses to count towards graduation requirements for math or science. And no states require computer science for graduation.More

Civil rights office expands its reach into schools
Education Week
In the 21 months since U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stood on an iconic bridge in Selma, Ala., and pledged to aggressively combat discrimination in the nation's schools, federal education officials have launched dozens of new probes in school districts and states that reach into civil rights issues that previously received little, if any, scrutiny.More

Rating your teacher team
Harvard Education Letter
Schools are now playing catch-up in the world of teaming, but just putting teachers into teams doesn't always yield the hoped-for outcomes. While most teams are able to accomplish low-level tasks such as organizing field trips and planning bulletin board displays, they often fail to accomplish the higher-level goal of improving teaching and learning.More

Rules to stop pupil and teacher from getting too social online
The New York Times
Faced with scandals and complaints involving teachers who misuse social media, school districts across the country are imposing strict new guidelines that ban private conversations between teachers and their students on cellphones and online platforms like Facebook and Twitter.More

Schools race teaches states a hard lesson
The Washington Times
Every race has losers, and the Obama administration's Race to the Top education grant competition is proving to be no exception. As nine states await their prize money after coming out on top late in the Education Department's Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, the rest are left empty-handed, having spent thousands of hours carefully crafting plans that ultimately fell short.More

The 10 biggest education technology stories of 2011
eSchool News
Teachers use video podcasts to turn learning "upside down" ... New Web-search formulas have important implications for students and society ... "Bring Your Own Device" emerges as a top strategy for integrating technology into instruction: These are among the many key education technology developments affecting schools in the past year. More

10 years of assessing students with scientific exactitude
The New York Times
In the last decade, we have emerged from the Education Stone Age. No longer must we rely on primitive tools like teachers and principals to assess children's academic progress. Thanks to the best education minds in Washington, Albany and Lower Manhattan, we now have finely calibrated state tests aligned with the highest academic standards. What follows is a look back at New York's long march to a new age of accountability.More

States creating new districts to steer 'turnarounds'
Education Week
If the job of a traditional superintendent is hard, imagine the complexities involved in building a school system from scratch — especially one composed of schools with some of the most intractable educational challenges. That's the task facing education leaders in Michigan and Tennessee, which are building special districts to take over low-performing schools this year and next.More

9 states win early education grants
eSchool News
Nine states have won a collective $500 million from the federal government to help make pre-kindergarten and other early learning programs more accessible and better capable of narrowing the achievement gap between those who start kindergarten without any formal schooling and those who do. California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington state were announced as winners at the White House on Dec. 16.More

Maryland scores big in Race to the Top
The Washington Post
Maryland is one of nine states that won a total of $500 million in a competition for federal grants to improve early childhood education, Obama administration officials announced Friday. The state's share will be about $50 million over four years, which will help pay for a number of measures meant to ensure that more children — especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds — enter kindergarten with skills they need to succeed.More

Use of school lunch program soars in Georgia
The Associated Press via The Atlanta Journal Constitution
More Georgia students than ever before are relying on federally subsidized school meals — many for the first time — as families struggle to make ends meet in the sluggish economy. Nearly 60 percent of Georgia's public school students receive either a free or reduced lunch each day. That's an increase of about 47,000 students over the last five years enrolled in the program, which is aimed at low-income families.More

Michigan school districts seek waiver to teacher evaluations
The Detroit News
More than 40 percent of Michigan's school districts are seeking waivers from a new state law requiring them to adopt a uniform teacher evaluation system by 2013. Officials from 344 public school districts and charter schools have filed requests with the Governor's Council on Educator Effectiveness for exemptions because they have local evaluation systems in place, said Dennis Schornack, a senior strategy adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder. The deadline for filing was Nov. 1.More

Virtual schools booming as states mull warnings
eSchool News
More schoolchildren than ever are taking their classes online, using technology to avoid long commutes to school, add courses they wouldn't otherwise be able to take — and save their school districts money. But as states pour money into virtual classrooms, with an estimated 200,000 virtual K-12 students in 40 states from Washington to Wisconsin, educators are raising questions about virtual learning. States are taking halting steps to increase oversight, but regulation isn't moving nearly as fast as the virtual school boom.More

Recruit JUST ONE new member — and win a prize
NAESP
Are you entered in the drawing yet? It's easy. Commit to recruiting JUST ONE new NAESP member and you could win 1 of 5 exciting thank-you premiums.More

Principal evaluation webinar now available on-demand
NAESP
Did you catch NAESP and EdWeek's "Making Principal Evaluations Count" webinar? If not, you can view it now and download PowerPoint slides from the presentation. NAESP is leading the effort to improve principal evaluation, forming a plan to help schools and districts create assessment instruments that focus on the traits of excellent principals.More