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Study: Competing pressures put strain on school principals
Ventura County Star    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
California principals are facing shrinking budgets and mounting responsibilities to lead teachers and keep schools running — creating competing pressures that may make the job untenable, a study has found. Principals reported working 60 and sometimes 70 hours a week. As budget cuts thinned the ranks of support staff, they juggled roles as teachers, community liaisons, nurses, athletic directors, crisis managers and budget gurus. More

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States hit turbulence in school overhauls
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama administration is stepping up pressure on states to make good on their commitments under its Race to the Top competition, after all 12 winners either scaled down plans or pushed back timelines to overhaul their public education systems. The U.S. Department of Education warned that Hawaii, which won $75 million in Race to the Top funding, is so far off track that the state could lose its money if it doesn't start making good on its pledges. It was the first state to receive such a stern warning, though federal officials have threatened in the past year to withhold smaller amounts from Rhode Island and Delaware. More



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Let the kids play: They'll do better in school
Time    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
First Lady Michelle Obama may be on to something with her unflagging "Let's Move" admonitions — the latest research shows that physical activity may help children do better in school. Amika Singh, a senior researcher at VU University in the Netherlands, reports in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine that physical activity is associated with better academic performance, as measured by higher GPAs and better scores on standardized tests. More

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There's a right way for teachers and students to use social media together
Los Angeles Daily News (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Most teachers understand that when they meet with a student one-on-one, it's best to leave the classroom door open. And it's important to stick to academic matters, leaving personal comments out of discussions. But what about online communication? How much information should teachers and students share in text messages and social media such as Facebook and Twitter? Those are questions that teachers and school districts must answer right away. New technology is changing the way we communicate with one another, and schools must adapt. More

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Bus drivers may face new rest rules following truckers, pilots
Bloomberg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
U.S. bus operators may face new limits on drivers' work hours, after the Department of Transportation released revised rules for truckers and airline pilots. The agency is seeking public comment and data on driving time and its association with safety as it considers new rules, according to a notice set for publication in the Federal Register. Bus companies operate differently from trucking companies, requiring the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to gather separate data, the notice said. More

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Teacher evaluation reform spreading across the nation
The Oklahoman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Oklahoma isn't the only state rushing to adopt a new high-stakes evaluation system that promises to identify the best teachers, the worst teachers and everyone in between. In the past three years, 32 states have made changes to teacher evaluation systems, according to a report from the National Council on Teacher Quality released in October 2011. The new systems differ, each relying on some combination of student performance data and principal observations to score a teacher's ability in the classroom. More

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Study: More education increases IQ score
Voice of America    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Staying in school really can make you smarter. A new study from Norway finds that students who remain in school longer than their counterparts have higher IQ scores. In the mid-1950s, the Norwegian government began requiring students to attend school until they were 16-years-old, rather than allowing them to drop out at 14. Communities had until 1972 to phase in the compulsory education reform, which meant that, for nearly 20 years, youngsters in some municipalities went to school for seven years and others attended classes for at least nine years. Students who got a full two years of extra schooling showed an IQ gain of more than 7 points. More

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School absenteeism, mental health problems linked
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
School absenteeism is a significant problem, and students who are frequently absent from school more often have symptoms of psychiatric disorders. A new longitudinal study of more than 17,000 youths has found that frequently missing school is associated with a higher prevalence of mental health problems later on in adolescence, and that mental health problems during one year also predict missing additional school days in the following year for students in middle and high school. More

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Survey finds education grantmakers getting more strategic in 2011
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Philanthropies maintained consistent funding levels for education during 2011, on average, but were more strategic and deliberate with dollars, according to a new report on trends in education philanthropy. The latest edition of the annual report was produced by Grantmakers in Education, a Portland, Ore.-based membership association of 280 public and private philanthropic organizations that fund education. The association assessed 2011 trends and changes in education funding based on survey responses from 184 members varying in size and type. More



No Child Left Behind policy progress report
U.S. News and World Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The nation's now unpopular key education policy saw more action in Washington in 2011 than it did since it passed in 2001. No Child Left Behind has been overdue for a rewrite since 2007, and education experts agree final reform needs to come from Congress. But this year, the real action came from the executive branch. More

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Vulnerable children, underperforming schools: The need for cross-agency collaboration
The Huffington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As Congress debates reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we need to consider how our educational policy priorities will or will not benefit our most vulnerable students. If policymakers are interested in the underperformance of schools, they need to be interested in vulnerable children such as — but not limited to — those in foster care. More

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Obama administration scrutinizes Georgia's early Race to the Top work
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama administration is raising some concerns about Georgia's early work to improve public schools with a $400 million, four-year federal Race to the Top grant. The administration is stepping up the pressure on Georgia and 11 other Race to the Top winners to make good on the reforms they promised in 2010 in exchange for millions in grant money. In mid-January, the U.S. Department of Education is set to issue a report sizing up how the winners did in the first year. More



Challenges lie ahead for early-learning grant winners
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The nine states splitting $500 million in Race to the Top early-learning grants must now deliver on a slate of ambitious promises to improve the quality of early-childhood education for tens of thousands of low-income children who rely on a patchwork of publicly financed child-care and preschool programs. By awarding millions of federal dollars to the states with winning bids for the Early Learning Challenge grants, the U.S. Department of Education is providing opportunity for — and exerting high-profile pressure on — California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington state to prepare more of their low-income and at-risk children for success as they enter kindergarten. More

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Middle school model re-thought in Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Enquirer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Educators have long known that the middle school years are critical for a student's academic development. What's not known is the best way to group those students to get the most out of them academically. Studies on which system works best are inconclusive, at best. When Cincinnati Public Schools announced that it would expand Western Hills High School to seventh- through 12th- grade, it was the district's latest attempt to boost middle school achievement through grade reconfiguration. More

For public schools, the year brought big cuts
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In public education circles, 2011 was the year that officials quickly learned how to do more with less. No relief was provided from the federal No Child Left Behind mandate that Pennsylvania's 500 school districts continue to move students toward proficiency in math and reading. Yet, the state budget provided nearly $900 million less in funding for public schools. More

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Gov. Jerry Brown says he will increase education funding
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
California Gov. Jerry Brown's 2012-2013 spending plan assumes billions in additional revenue from his tax increase initiative. If the measure fails, Brown says, more drastic cuts would be needed. More



January's PD 360 topic: Differentiated instruction
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
NAESP members now have access to high-quality online professional development — at no cost — thanks to a partnership forged with PD 360, one of the world's largest, most respected sources of on-demand learning for educators. More

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Discover tech tricks with Principal magazine
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The January/February issue of Principal is filled with ideas to maximize classroom technology for today's 21st century learners. Dive into the online edition for all the latest articles and Web exclusives. More

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Before the Bell is a benefit of your membership in the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). For information about other member benefits, visit www.naesp.org or contact us at naesp@naesp.org.

Before the Bell is a digest of the most important news selected for NAESP from thousands of sources by the editors of MultiBriefs, an independent organization that also manages and sells advertising. The presence of such advertising does not endorse, or imply endorsement of, any products or services by NAESP. Neither NAESP nor Multiview is liable for the use of or reliance on any information contained in this briefing.

Feedback about an article? Contact NAESP Liaison Cynthia Rosso at crosso@naesp.org.
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
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