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Are gifted students slighted in schools?
District Administration Magazine
The American public school system's focus on struggling students leaves high-achievers without a challenging enough education — a detriment to the country in a time of concerns over international competitiveness, says a new guidebook. Policy support that has vacillated between gifted and struggling students for several decades is now firmly behind getting low-achievers up to speed, says Andy Smarick, a partner at the nonprofit Bellwether Education Partners and author of the September guidebook, "Closing America's High-achievement Gap."
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8 incredibly easy steps to a professional development makeover
eSchool News
There's a lot of talk these days, especially with the implementation of Common Core, about how to reform student learning. However, there's a group of learners education is leaving behind, say experts: Teachers. Professional development needs a makeover, they say, and it's a lot easier than you may think.
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PARCC releases fully functional sample test questions for Common Core
THE Journal
PARCC has made its sample test questions available for computer-based practice. Sample items for the upcoming assessments of Common Core State Standards have been released previously for testing on paper across all grade levels; now PARCC schools "will be able to engage with the sample items using computer-based tools such as drag-and-drop, multiple select, text highlighting, and an equation builder."
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Personalized progress: How tech model is driving achievement
District Administration Magazine
Personalized learning is beginning to produce positive results in student achievement as it becomes more established in districts nationwide. These success stories are encouraging more districts to adopt the tech-heavy learning model that's designed to customize education for each student. At FirstLine Schools, a New Orleans charter network where most students are low-income and many have special needs, the personalized learning approach has produced some of the highest scores on the Louisiana state assessment in the New Orleans area, says Chris Liang-Vergera, FirstLine's director of instructional technology for personalized learning.
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New Common Core resource aids students with special needs
eSchool News
One of the best nonprofits for the advancement of education technology has developed a new, free Common Core website for educators that offers customizable resources to improve teaching and learning for struggling students and those with disabilities. The website's — PowerUp WHAT WORKS — materials focus on four key areas, including evidence-based practices, Common Core State Standards, technology in schools and classrooms, and personalization of learning through Universal Design for Learning and differentiated instruction.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    10 interactive math apps for K-12 students (eSchool News)
The surprising reasons kids cheat in school (TakePart)
5 fresh ways to keep professional development engaging (eSchool News)
Report: Despite some gains, most states don't pass education policy evaluation (U.S. News & World Report)
Motivation: The gas that fuels a child's educational engine (District Administration Magazine)

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7 instructional strategies for the Common Core
eSchool News
As significant numbers of educators, parents and politicians push back on the Common Core Standards now that implementation has begun, many teachers are left to navigate the shift with little or no direction about how to change their teaching practice to accommodate the new standards. Implementation challenges range from a lack of professional development and curriculum materials aligned with the Common Core, to inadequate technology infrastructure and changing assessment practices.
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Kids have skewed view of gender segregation
Michigan State University via ScienceDaily
Children believe the world is far more segregated by gender than it actually is, implies a new study led by a Michigan State University scholar.
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Training the brain to listen: A practical strategy for student learning and classroom management
Edutopia
During the school year, students are expected to listen to and absorb vast amounts of content. But how much time has been devoted to equipping students with ways to disconnect from their own internal dialogue (self-talk) and to focus their attention fully on academic content that is being presented? Listening is hard work even for adults. When students are unable to listen effectively, classroom management issues arise.
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Students should be tested more, not less
The Atlantic
Testing is terrible for learning, destroys student and teacher morale, and impedes opportunities for productive, meaningful teaching. This oft-repeated axiom has become accepted as true without proof. Opposition to testing and all its associated ills has led to an over-generalization of the word "test" and an unwarranted reputation as the embodiment of all that is wrong with American education. One researcher believes we are throwing a very effective learning tool out with our educational bathwater, and asserts that we should be testing students more, not less.
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When you fail, I fail — An approach to leadership
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
As school leaders, we must realize we are in this together. If we can create the following conditions, we can experience success together. Supervision of Instruction occurs between 8:00 and 3:00 or it doesn't get done! The power to change education, for better or worse, is and always will be in the hands of teachers. Therefore, principals as instructional leaders must separate the managerial side of the principalship with that of improving teacher effectiveness. No longer is it acceptable to sit in an office, work on state reports, complete teacher evaluations, or engage in any other activity that can be completed outside the school day. An effective principal designates school hours for students, teachers, and parents, every day.
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Why teachers can't reach every child
The Washington Post (commentary)
Larry Cuban, a former high school teacher and superintendent who now teaches at Stanford University, writes: "Neatly dressed, carrying a large notebook and a couple of bulky textbooks, Victor would smile at my 'good morning,' walk to the rear of the room and sit down. He would put aside a ruler, open a book, take out paper and begin writing. He often wrote steadily and intensely for 10 or 15 minutes. If we were in the midst of a discussion or group work, I would quietly ease over to him and ask what he was writing. He would smile, close the book and put away the paper. Victor, you see, could not read above the fourth-grade level."
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10 critical issues facing education
Education Week (commentary)
Peter DeWitt, a K-5 public school principal taking a leave of absence to be a trainer with Visible Learning, writes: "During my leadership training at the College of Saint Rose I took a class with Jim Butterworth (my mentor) called Critical Issues. Jim was a voracious reader, an assistant commissioner for the New York State Education Department, former superintendent, and an amazing professor. All of those combined with a 2 ½ hour class led to some of the best educational discussions I've ever had."
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How teachers deal with a longer school day
The Atlantic
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and public school officials faced a predicament two years ago. They wanted to fix the fact that Chicago had one of the shortest school days in the nation. But they didn't have the money to pay the city's 20,000 teachers to work more. To make their plan economically viable — and to end a weeklong teachers strike that resulted partly from their proposal for longer teacher hours without a proportionate pay increase — they agreed with the union to rearrange the workday. Before the change, teachers were typically required to arrive at least a half hour before their students each morning. They often used that time for staff or parent meetings and collaborating with colleagues.
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Teachers stay in the profession during Obama-era policies
Center for American Progress
Five years ago, U.S. teachers were asked in a survey how many years of experience they had; their most common answer was one year. Policymakers feared an impending crisis because, if past trends held, about half of these teachers would leave in their first five years. But the latest results from the Schools and Staffing Survey, or SASS — a nationally representative study of teachers by the U.S. Department of Education released just weeks ago — show that 70 percent of teachers in their first year stayed in the profession. In the new SASS, most teachers said that they had taught for five years.
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Obama's State of the Union speeches and education: A scorecard
Education Week
Set your DVRs: President Barack Obama will give his State of the Union speech next week, on Jan. 28. So that means a week from now, we'll all be mulling over the education portion. After all, Obama (and most other presidents) typically use their annual address to Congress to outline an edu-wish list for the year. It often includes at least one big idea (whether brand new or recycled from an earlier proposal). Is Obama usually able to get what he wants from Congress? Short answer: Not so much.
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Appropriations bill boosts funding for education as states up funding, too
Deseret News
Congress has approved a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill providing significant relief for education programs hit hard by sequestration cuts. Politico reports that the bill awards education programs a total of $67 billion, which is only slightly less than the $71.2 billion President Obama proposed in his 2014 budget. The president is expected to sign the bill, according to the LA Times.
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Philadelphia principals fired in cheating scandal
The New York Times
Three Philadelphia Public Schools principals were fired last week after an investigation into test cheating that has implicated about 140 teachers and administrators, a spokesman for the district said. The action follows years of investigating the results of state standardized math and reading tests taken from 2009 to 2011. The investigation, conducted by the school district and the state department of education, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General, identified 33 schools — including three public charter schools — where an analysis of test answer sheets found a suspicious number of wrong answers that were erased and made right.
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When you fail, I fail — An approach to leadership
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
As school leaders, we must realize we are in this together. If we can create the following conditions, we can experience success together. Supervision of Instruction occurs between 8:00 and 3:00 or it doesn’t get done!

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read more
5 common myths about school administration
eSchool News
It's not always teachers who face criticism in the U.S. Many school administrators say that misconceptions about their career motivations and the position in general still exist today — and many myths have survived for decades.

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How much teachers get paid — State by state
The Washington Post
How much do teachers across the United States get paid? Here is data, state by state, collected from the National Center for Education Statistics by Jon Boeckenstedt, associate vice president at DePaul University in Chicago.

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A longer school day in Chicago, but with what missing?
The Hechinger Report
For decades, children here had one of the shortest elementary school days in the country, and students were in class fewer days than their peers not only nationally but also in much of the developed world. Rahm Emanuel vowed in his successful 2011 mayoral campaign both to rectify the situation and to give Chicago's kids a well-rounded education during their additional school hours. And by the fall of 2012, the former chief of staff to President Barack Obama had lengthened the day and year for elementary and high schools alike. Despite a budget crisis, he came up with funds to begin delivering on the second half of his promise. Educators, he said, should not have to choose between offering math or music.
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Gov. Brown reemphasizes local control of state's public schools
EdSource
In his State of the State speech, Gov. Jerry Brown made it clear again where he thinks the action should be when it comes to school reform — at the local level. Instead of "prescriptive commands issued from headquarters here in Sacramento," he said, the school funding reforms he and the Legislature have put in place "set more general goals" that "put responsibility where it should be" — in the classroom and school. "There is no way the state can micromanage teaching and learning in all the schools from El Centro to Eureka and we shouldn't even try," he said.
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Florida pushes longer day, more reading in some schools
Education Week
Two years ago, Florida took a step no other state has taken to improve students' reading skills: It required its 100 lowest-performing elementary schools to add an extra hour to their school day and to use that time for reading instruction. Early results suggest the new initiative may be paying off. After only a year with the extra hour, three-quarters of the schools saw improved reading scores on the state's standardized test, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT. Seventy of the schools earned their way off the lowest-performing list altogether.
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In Washington area, school days to be added to academic calendar after snow closings
The Washington Post
With classes canceled across the Washington region for Tuesday's snowstorm, some school districts are preparing to add days to the academic calendar to make up for this school year's winter closings. In Virginia, Maryland and the District, students are required to attend school for 180 days each year, and school districts must add days to the academic calendar in the event that inclement weather cancels classes. Although most school systems build in buffers, schools in Fairfax County and the District, for example, already are adding days to the school calendar one month into winter.
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Dive into Digital Learning Day with top tech articles
NAESP
Join NAESP, more than 50 national organizations, and over 17,000 educators to celebrate Digital Learning Day on Wednesday, Feb. 5. Digital Learning Day is a nationwide celebration of innovative teaching and learning through digital media and technology that engages students and provides them with a rich, personalized, educational experience. To get into a digital mindset, peruse these top articles from Principal magazine on technology issues.
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New Common Core briefs highlight instructional shifts
NAESP
Find the answers to your most pressing questions about the Common Core State Standards in two new briefs from the K-12 Center at ETS. These timely, informative briefs—"Seeing the Future: How the Common Core Will Affect Mathematics and English Language Arts in Grades 3-12 Across America," and "Coming Together to Raise Achievement: New Assessments for the Common Core State Standards"—were released in May and June, 2013, respectively.
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