NAESP Before the Bell
Dec. 28, 2010

NAESP Member refutes Huffington Post editorial
NAESP
Nov. 16, 2010 issue: I am rarely stirred by an editorial, but the 'The Principal's Dilemma' necessitates a response from a working principal. The author, a teacher by profession, describes a school that in no way resembles the ones that I and my colleagues in Pennsylvania work in everyday. She makes sweeping generalizations about the principalship without citing sources or justifying her arguments. At a time when the United States' education system is receiving attention from federal policymakers, documentary filmmakers, and members of the media, it is imperative to separate fact from fiction and ensure the voices of principals are being heard.More

US asks educators to reinvent student tests, and how they are given
The New York Times
Sept. 7, 2010 issue: Standardized exams — the multiple-choice, bubble tests in math and reading that have played a growing role in American public education in recent years — are being overhauled. Over the next four years, two groups of states, 44 in all, will get $330 million to work with hundreds of university professors and testing experts to design a series of new assessments that officials say will look very different from those in use today. More

Forget what you know about good study habits
The New York Times
Sept. 7, 2010 issue: There are effective approaches to learning, at least for those who are motivated. In recent years, cognitive scientists have shown that a few simple techniques can reliably improve what matters most: how much a student learns from studying. The findings can help anyone, from a fourth grader doing long division to a retiree taking on a new language. But they directly contradict much of the common wisdom about good study habits, and they have not caught on. For instance, instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention. So does studying distinct but related skills or concepts in one sitting, rather than focusing intensely on a single thing.More

Kids haven't changed; kindergarten has
The Harvard Education Letter
Oct. 19, 2010 issue: In the ongoing battle over kindergarten — Has exploratory play been shunted aside for first-grade-style pencil-and-paper work? — one of the nation's oldest voices in child development is weighing in with historic data. The Gesell Institute for Human Development, named for pioneering founder of the Yale Child Study Center, Arnold Gesell, and known worldwide for its popular parenting series Your 1-year-old through Your 10- to 14-year-old, shared the results of an 18-month study at a conference in New Haven, Conn. The national study, undertaken to determine how child development in 2010 relates to Gesell's historic observations, used key assessment items identical to those Gesell created as the basis for his developmental "schedules" which were published in 1925, 1940, and after his death by colleagues Louise Bates Ames and Frances Ilg in 1964 and 1979.More

More students need a laptop computer for the classroom
USA Today
Aug. 31, 2010 issue: Back-to-school supplies for middle school students used to mean pens, notebooks, maybe a new backpack. But for a growing number of families, the list now includes a laptop computer. "We would never send our own kids to pediatricians that were practicing medicine from the 1970s or 1980s," says Mark Hess, principal of Sarah Banks Middle School in Wixom, Mich. "Why would we send our kids to schools that are practicing instructional techniques that are decades old? If we did that, it'd be educational malpractice." More

School principals weigh in on 'Waiting for Superman'
Reuters
Nov. 2, 2010 issue: The documentary film, Waiting for Superman, has been generating a lot of buzz since its release in September for its portrayal of problems within U.S. schools and what might be done to solve them. The movie, directed by Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim, An Inconvenient Truth, explores charter schools — public schools operating outside the boundaries of public school systems — competitive lotteries to get into them, and roles played by parents, students, teachers and unions. Reuters asked four real-life principals to watch the film and talk about its themes. Each principal was asked the same questions. More

George W. Bush Institute plans school principal program
CBS News
Oct. 1, 2010 issue: For its first initiative, the George W. Bush Institute will focus on improving the performance of school principals. Former first lady Laura Bush was to announce the institute's formation of the Alliance to Reform Education Leadership. The alliance will consist of a network of school districts, universities and foundations offering educational programs to current and future school leaders. "If we do our job right, these graduates will be in very high demand," said James W. Guthrie, senior fellow and director of education policy studies at the institute. Guthrie said that the entities participating must meet certain criteria by, for instance, offering classes in areas including business and ethics and guaranteeing participants will spend time in schools. More

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan: Headmaster of US school reform
The Christian Science Monitor
Sept. 3, 2010 issue: When students headed back to school, educators nationwide are implementing controversial school reform wrought by Arne Duncan. Pushing competitive market approaches and armed with unprecedented funding and support from the president, he is possibly the most powerful education secretary ever. More

What other countries are really doing in education
The Washington Post (commentary)
Nov. 5, 2010 issue: As the education reform debate continues — and is fueled by educational documentaries, educational forums and manifestos — let's take a moment to look at what these countries that we are propping up on a pedestal actually do. For a while now we have been told that the United States is falling behind and that we must catch-up. As Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, "Today, there are many different approaches to strengthening the teaching profession — both here in America and in countries that are outperforming us such as Finland and Singapore. Our competitors in other parts of the world recognize that the roles of teachers are changing. Today, they are expected to prepare knowledge workers, not factory workers, and to help every child succeed, not just the [ones who are] easy to teach." More

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan takes reform show on the road
The Washington Post
Aug. 31, 2010 issue: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was on a campaign to cheer on America's teachers at a time when a sizable number are skeptical of President Obama's education agenda. Duncan faces a curious situation. In the past year and a half, he has dispensed tens of billions of dollars to sustain schools through fiscal crises and to fund ideas to improve. He awarded nine states and the District $3 billion for education innovation. As the school year started, he unloaded another $10 billion for education jobs. More

Kindergarten dilemma: Hold kids back to get ahead?
MSNBC
Sept. 7, 2010 issue: When schools start back into session around the country, some parents of young children face a difficult question: Send their little ones to kindergarten as soon as they become age-eligible, or hold them back in hopes that an additional year of maturity will give them an academic boost? This voluntary kindergarten delay, dubbed "redshirting" after the practice of benching college athletes for a season to prolong their eligibility, is a source of much national and personal debate. As kindergarten programs have become more rigorous, redshirting proponents argue, kids need to be older to handle the curriculum.More

Cyber-bullying defies traditional school bully stereotype
The Washington Post
Sept. 3, 2010 issue: The advent of social networking sites and text messaging has allowed young girls the opportunity to take on a role traditionally reserved for boys, experts say. The girls have become bullies — or, more specifically, cyber-bullies. The Virginia Department of Education defines cyber-bullying as "using information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cellphones, text messaging, instant messaging and websites to support deliberate, hostile behavior intended to harm others." Cyber-bullying in Virginia's Fairfax County public schools seems to occur primarily in middle schools, said Sgt. William H. Fulton of Fairfax County police, school resource officer supervisor. More