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Study seeks more effective teacher development
eSchool News
As the nation pushes to improve the quality of its public school teachers, it's pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into teacher development with little way to measure the results. In a small study in the Memphis, Tenn., City Schools, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is testing two ways to help, then measuring their effects on student test scores.
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Survey: School bullies often popular
HealthDay News
Middle school students who bully are often the most popular, a new study has found. And the results were the same whether it was boys or girls who spread rumors, started fights or pushed other students around. For the study, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, surveyed nearly 1,900 students in 99 classes at 11 Los Angeles middle schools. The surveys, conducted at different points during grades 7 and 8, asked the participants to name the students who were considered the "coolest" and the ones who were bullies.
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Literacy by 3rd grade a renewed priority for states
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
Flunked, retained, held back. Whatever you call it, increasing numbers of states are not promoting students who are struggling to read at the end of third grade. Thirty-two states have passed legislation designed to improve third-grade literacy, according to the Education Commission of the States. Retention is part of the policies in 14 states, with some offering more leeway than others.
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States soon to weigh science standards adoption
Education Week
With common standards in science set to be finalized in March, states will soon face the dilemma of embracing them as their own or going their own way, raising the question of how common the Next Generation Science Standards will ultimately prove to be. The 26 "lead state partners" helping to develop the K-12 standards have agreed to "give serious consideration" to adopting them. Recent interviews with officials in a number of those states, such as California, Delaware, Kansas and Maryland, reveal a generally positive reaction to the second and final public draft.
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How will Common Core Change education?
Edutopia
As full implementation of Common Core State Standards nears, educators are searching for answers to three questions: 1) What are the CC State Standards? 2) How will they change what I do? and 3) Why are they here? Some of the details are frustratingly elusive as various groups — publishers, school districts, states and universities — jockey for positions in the first post-NCLB initiative.
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Every day should be Digital Learning Day
ED.gov Blog
As teachers across the country welcome powerful learning technologies into the classroom, students are engaging and benefitting from enhanced opportunities to achieve. Access to technology has become as important to learning as access to a library, yet teachers remain the critical link between students and the content. As new, more mobile technologies have entered the classroom, often in the backpacks of students, teachers become orchestrators of projects and seek the best emerging digital environments for improving motivation, relevance and depth of learning.
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Aspiring teachers ill-prepared to use education technology effectively
eSchool News
Students who are studying to become teachers use social media in their personal lives more frequently than in-service teachers do, and they want to use ed tech in their classrooms — but their teacher preparation programs aren't fully preparing them to do this, according to a new report from Blackboard Inc. and Project Tomorrow.
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Does the smartphone have a place in the classroom?
THE Journal
With an increasing number of social networks and technologies commanding more and more of our students' time and attention, are we too far gone to successfully integrate smartphones and mobile technologies into classroom learning?
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Is school designed more for girls than boys?
The New York Times
Girls tend to develop certain skills earlier than boys: for example, the ability to sit still and stay attentive. Our school day, more often than not, demands that students do just that — sit for long periods of time and listen attentively — or else suffer a lower grade or disciplinary action. Now, girls are outperforming boys at all levels of the educational ladder, from kindergarten to graduate school.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Study: What makes a good teacher (The Washington Post)
Study: Highly effective principals raise student achievement (The Huffington Post)
DOE announces 16 winners of Race to the Top-District competition ( U.S. Department of Education )
Teacher absence as a leading indicator of student achievement (Center for American Progress)
Cheat sheet for the first days of school (Edutopia)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


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Educators embrace digital learning strategies
MindShift
The second annual Digital Learning Day was designated to bring attention to the benefits of technology for learning. As part of the effort, PBS LearningMedia has released a survey showing that 74 percent of teachers say educational technology benefits their classroom in many ways, including the ability to reinforce and expand content, motivate students and respond to a variety of learning styles. Given these numbers, and despite increasing access, it's not surprising that 68 percent of teachers still want more access to technology in the classroom. That number goes up to 75 percent of teachers in low-income schools.
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Measuring student creativity topic of new report
Education Week
Can student creativity be assessed in a meaningful way? Should it even be evaluated? And if so, how? These are some of the questions explored in a new working paper published by the global Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. "Creativity is widely accepted as being an important outcome of schooling," according to the paper, by researchers at the Center for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester in England. "Yet there are many different viewpoints about what it is, how best it can be cultivated in young people, and whether or how it should be assessed."
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Study: States lack data on principals
Education Week
While principals increasingly are moving to center stage in national debates over school improvement, a new study finds most states have little or no information about how their principals are prepared, licensed, supported and evaluated. The Dallas-based George W. Bush Institute was expected to release an analysis of all 50 states' principal policies and related data collections in Washington. It finds that even states with otherwise comprehensive longitudinal-data systems collect limited information about principals, particularly on their preparation.
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Schools need to invest in more than words to tap STEM's transformative powers
EdTech Magazine (commentary)
The cries from the battlefield about the need for more STEM soldiers have been ringing loud in clear in education circles and in the media. The "crisis in STEM education," as Inc. magazine describes it, has made the American workforce less competitive with rising nations like China and India, which churn out high-quality STEM students en masse.
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Study seeks more effective teacher development
eSchool News
As the nation pushes to improve the quality of its public school teachers, it's pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into teacher development with little way to measure the results. In a small study in the Memphis, Tenn., City Schools, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is testing two ways to help, then measuring their effects on student test scores.

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Study: What makes a good teacher
The Washington Post
Even as most of the nation's 15,000 public school districts roll out new systems to evaluate teachers, many are still struggling with a central question: What's the best way to identify an effective educator? After a three-year, $45 million research project, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation believes it has some answers.

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10 things in school that should be obsolete
MindShift
So much about how and where kids learn has changed over the years, but the physical structure of schools has not. Looking around most school facilities — even those that aren't old and crumbling — it's obvious that so much of it is obsolete today, and yet still in wide use.

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How are Race to the Top states doing in year 2?
ED.gov Blog
In only two years, the 12 states with Race to the Top grants continue to show improvements in teaching and learning in their schools. The U.S. Department of Education released state-specific reports for the 12 Race to the Top states, providing detailed, transparent summaries of each state's accomplishments and challenges in year two, which covered the 2011-2012 school year.
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US states, local governments plead for new 'No Child Left Behind'
Reuters
U.S. state and local officials again called on Congress to pass renewed "No Child Left Behind" education legislation, writing in a letter on Tuesday that it must become "a top priority for every member of the House and Senate." Nearly a year ago — on Feb. 6, 2012 — the same groups, including the National Governors Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National School Boards Association, made a similar plea to reauthorize the federal education funding law.
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Federal autism panel to increase focus on services
Disability Scoop
With an "overwhelming" volume of autism research being produced, a federal advisory panel says that significant strides are being made in understanding the disorder, but serious gaps persist. In a report, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee — a federal advisory panel comprised of government officials and members of the autism community — outlined progress made in the last two years. Specifically, the group highlighted new autism prevalence numbers, better information about co-occurring conditions like gastrointestinal issues and sleep problems as well as evidence that brain changes accompany behavioral improvements as some of the most remarkable advances.
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No Child Left Behind: Early lessons from state flexibility waivers
U.S. Department of Education
Testimony of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions: "Chairman Harkin, Ranking Member Alexander, and Members of the Committee. Thank you for inviting me here today to testify on the flexibility that the Department of Education has provided under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to empower States, districts, and schools to move forward with reforms that benefit all students. I say that we have provided flexibility under the law to States, which is true, but the guiding principle of ESEA flexibility is that it is for students."
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White House allies produce preschool-for-all plan
The Associated Press via ABC News
Days before President Barack Obama outlines his agenda for the coming year, a think tank with close ties to the White House is outlining a plan that would provide preschool for all children within five years. The Center for American Progress proposal provides a road map for how the Obama administration could move forward with pre-kindergarten programs for all 3- and 4-year-olds. For families with younger children, federal subsidies for child care would increase to an average $7,200 per child and the number of students in Early Head Start programs would double.
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Goodbye, high-fat chips: New rules for school snacks
USA Today
Out with the candy bars, high-fat chips, full-calorie sodas and sugary pastries sold in school a la carte lines, vending machines and snack bars during the school day. The government released its proposed standards for "competitive foods," the name given to foods that are not part of the regular school meals. The standards set limits for calories, fat, sugar and sodium. The proposed rules do not apply to foods sold at after-school fundraisers, bake sales or concession stands at sporting events and other after-school activities. They also don't affect the foods kids bring in their lunches or what's served at birthday parties, holidays and other celebrations at school.
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Report: California school districts misspent millions of cafeteria money
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
California school districts have misspent tens of millions of dollars intended to provide subsidized meals to low-income students, according to a state Senate report. The California Department of Education recently ordered eight districts to repay about $170 million to programs that offer free and reduced-price lunches and breakfasts, according to the investigation by the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes.
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Texas judge makes the economic case for funding education
The Dallas Morning News
When State District Judge John Dietz sided with school districts in their lawsuit over state funding, he cited three primary reasons to support public education: civic, altruistic and economic. The civic aspect dates to 1876, when the Texas Constitution required the state to establish public schools. That was recognition of the role that education plays in a democracy. As a society, we collectively agree to fund schools, he said, because people realize how education affected their lives. And they know that children don't the money to pay for schools themselves.
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Mississippi bill would allow 2 teachers, staff per school to carry concealed weapons
The Huffington Post
Mississippi teachers may be getting some new, albeit unconventional, school supplies if a new piece of legislation passes in the House. Under House Bill 988, which the House Education Committee, two teachers or staff members in Mississippi schools would be allowed to carry concealed weapons, the Associated Press reports. The measure is part of a recent trend of proposed legislation to enable school workers to carry guns in school, following the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
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Judge's ruling on school funding could cost Texas billions
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Before declaring Texas' public school finance system unconstitutional, state District Judge John Dietz offered a hypothetical. A vast majority of Texans want the state's students to have an education system challenging enough to prepare them for the high-tech jobs of tomorrow, Dietz said. But if those same Texans were told that doing so would cost an additional $2,000 per student — or between $10 and $11 billion extra in every two-year budget — that support would quickly evaporate, he said.
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Yoga club helps middle schoolers keep calm and carry on
Star Tribune
Reading, writing, arithmetic. Throw in a little downward dog and some students at Lake Middle School in Woodbury, Minn., say they have a recipe for success. A new after-school yoga club is helping the students build physical strength and transition into their teenage years, which often come with more responsibility, pressure and stress.
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Deadline March 15 for Children's Book Award
NAESP
Calling all aspiring authors. Submissions for National Children's Book Award Contest are due Thursday, March 15. Prospective authors may submit a picture or chapter book written for children ages 3-16. Judging will be based on content, originality and age-appropriateness. Winners will receive a contract with Charlesbridge Publishing.
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Save the date: Jeans and Jerseys
NAESP
Join NAESP for Jeans and Jerseys, Wednesday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m., at The Center Club in Baltimore. Admission includes music, food, drinks, book signings by a celebrity author, a silent auction and much more. Visit the conference website for more information about Jeans and Jerseys, along with other exciting pre-conference festivities.
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