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Principals matter: School leaders can drive student learning
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Most teachers have long known that they affect the life chances of children. But it took the work of economists to convince the world of public policy to take seriously what is now known as "teacher effectiveness." Now one of those very same economists has turned to another subject that, to most teachers and principals, is similarly self-evident: principals, like teachers, affect the life chances of children, too. More

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STEM coalition blasts plan to end science testing mandate
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A Republican proposal to end the federal mandate for science testing in public schools is coming under fire from a broad-based coalition that supports improved STEM education. "Removing the existing requirement ... sends a powerful, negative and unambiguous signal to U.S. schools and the public that science — along with all of its related subdisciplines — is no longer a national priority," says the STEM Education Coalition in a letter sent today to members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. More

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In DC schools, early lessons in gay tolerance
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In the national push to prevent bullying, more elementary schools are introducing lessons about gay tolerance. Some lessons begin before the first day of kindergarten. One fall day at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Northwest Washington, Scarlette Garnier and her pre-kindergarten classmates drew pictures of their families and talked about their similarities and differences. They found that some children live with grandparents, some have a mommy and a daddy, and some, like 5-year-old Scarlette, have two mommies. More

Scholar: Urban children's literature in short supply
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Does it seem possible that over the last decade, only one book series for early readers — those in the second- and third-grade range — features a main character who is Latino? That rather stunning discovery was made by Jane Fleming, a professor at the Erikson Institute in Chicago, with her colleague Sandy Carillo, a literacy and language specialist who works with English learners in a school district in suburban Chicago. More

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Healthy school lunches: Pictures on lunch trays help students pick and eat their vegetables
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Getting young children to eat their servings of fruits and veggies, particularly in school, has been a long and hard struggle for parents, schools and lawmakers over the years. But children might not have to be forced by the law or school to eat their fruits and vegetables. According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, students who were given visual hints were more likely to choose and eat their vegetables. University of Minnesota researchers staged an experiment in which elementary students at a school in Minnesota went through the lunch line with trays that pictured carrots and green beans in tray compartments, suggesting that those are the foods that belong there. More

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In some cash-strapped schools, kids bring their own tech devices
KQED    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At Mankato Public School System in Minnesota, students bring their homework, their lunches and books to school like most students across the country. But they also bring whatever tech devices they own — and they don't have to hide it or turn it off when they walk into class. Mankato has joined the growing Bring Your Own Technology movement that allows students to use their own Netbooks, laptops and tablets — anything that connects to the school's wireless network — during class time. More



New report examines international education-technology policies
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new report comparing educational technology use of K-12 students in 21 countries found that, despite global economic uncertainty, many countries are still investing in technology to improve educational systems and boost student achievement. Twenty governments said that giving students better access to the internet is a top priority, and roughly half said students need more access to computers. More

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Shift away from 'seat time' on display in states
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Thirty-six states have established policies that give districts and schools some degree of ability to award credits to students based on mastery of a subject, rather than "seat time," a new report says. At the same time, the issue brief, released by the National Governors Association, reveals the diversity of approaches taken by state lawmakers as they try to create more flexibility for students through virtual and other alternative options to traditional classroom instruction. More



Baltimore principals among lowest-paid school leaders in Maryland
The Baltimore Sun    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Even as Baltimore principals have been given an unprecedented amount of responsibility over the past four years under schools CEO Andrés Alonso, their average salary has remained among the lowest in Maryland. The average salary for city principals this school year is about $108,000, just $2,800 more than their pay in 2008, according to an analysis of school system employee salaries obtained through a Maryland Public Information Act request by The Baltimore Sun. More

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California lawmakers keep school buses rolling
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
School buses are likely to keep rolling for now, as the Legislature restored $248 million for home-to-school transportation that was particularly crucial for small and rural school districts that need to take students across long distances. Gov. Jerry Brown, who eliminated the school busing money as of January after state revenues fell short of projections, has indicated that he supports the move. More

Trio of bills push for new teacher evaluation system in New Mexico
The Santa Fe New Mexican    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Teachers in New Mexico may be evaluated under a new system within a few years, if any of three legislative bills making their way through the Roundhouse this session are signed into law. The House Education Committee will likely hear at least one of these bills — two of which are companion bills — enacting a new teacher and principal evaluation system by 2013-2014. More

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Pennsylvania considers revamping assessments of educators
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
School administrators gave 99.4 percent of all Pennsylvania teachers "satisfactory" ratings during the 2009-2010 school year, the latest data available from the state Department of Education show. But, said Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality: "That kind of teacher evaluation system tells you almost nothing." The state's teacher evaluations "give no consideration to teacher effectiveness and include no objective measures of student performance," Jacobs said. More

School reform organization gets average grades
Chicago Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Over the last decade, a nonprofit teaching academy with strong political ties has launched an education revolution inside Chicago Public Schools, tearing down and rebuilding some of the city's worst-performing schools. Now running 19 schools and locked in a public battle to add six more, the Academy for Urban School Leadership has become a force inside CPS, a virtually autonomous "district within the district" supported by millions in public and private funding. More

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In Texas, a backlash against student testing
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Christopher Chamness entered the third-grade last year, he began to get stomach aches before school. His mother, Edy, said the fire had gone out of a child who she said had previously gone joyfully to his classes. One day, when he was bored in class, Christopher broke a pencil eraser off in his ear canal. It was the tipping point for Ms. Chamness, a former teacher, and she asked to observe his Austin elementary school classroom. What she saw was a "work sheet distribution center" aimed at preparing students for the yearly assessments that they begin in third-grade and that school districts depend upon for their accountability ratings. More

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New York governor amps up pressure on teachers, Legislature
The Associated Press via Yahoo News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared that the "Battle of Albany" is on. Taking on the state's traditionally powerful teachers unions, Cuomo threatened to impose tougher job evaluations Feb. 16 if the unions continue to, as he put it, block progress. The evaluations taking into account student performance were required by law two years ago. Lack of labor agreements now threatens more than $1 billion in school funding. More

Bills would reshape how state teachers evaluated in Washington
The Seattle Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Washington state already has a law, approved two years ago, to reshape the way public-school teachers are evaluated. Now it's looking at several proposals that would reshape the reshaping — one pushed by the business community, another backed by the state teachers union, one from Gov. Chris Gregoire and yet another from state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. So how do all of these differ from yet another system — one recently put in place by the state's largest school district, Seattle Public Schools? More

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Utah House passes $3.5 billion base schools budget
The Salt Lake Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The legislative session is a long way from over but, so far, schools have been largely spared from talk of budget cuts. The House passed a $3.5 billion base education budget bill, HB1, by a vote of 69-2. The bill is a first step in crafting the Utah budget. It's the foundation upon which lawmakers will build a final education budget in coming weeks for the next school year. More

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No-zero grading policy in Lowndes County, Ga., schools require retesting opportunities for failing students
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Lowndes County Schools students in Georgia can relax a little — third- through eigth-graders can no longer receive zeros on assignments. Under a new policy, report cards and progress reports will reflect a 60 out of 100 as the lowest grade, and teachers must offer students opportunities to retake tests and redo assignments until a passing grade is earned. The highest grade earned will be recorded, and teachers cannot record zeros, but can give an "incomplete" for work not turned in after insisting that the assignment be completed. More



Prepare to vote
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
This spring, eligible NAESP members will elect a new president-elect as well as directors for Zones 5, 7 and 9. Electronic ballots will be available through our website — but members will need to log in for access. Prepare now for the voting period in late March by making sure that you can log in, and contact NAESP if you have any trouble. More

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Sign up now for free mentoring webinar
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Join us on Tuesday, Feb. 21 for Inspired to Lead: Tips to Encourage the Next Generation of Great Principals, a free webinar on how to inspire, encourage and motivate aspiring principals to become game-changing school leaders. 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.
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