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Studies: Education gap grows between rich and poor
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Education was historically considered a great equalizer in American society, capable of lifting less advantaged children and improving their chances for success as adults. But a body of recently published scholarship suggests that the achievement gap between rich and poor children is widening, a development that threatens to dilute education's leveling effects. It is a well-known fact that children from affluent families tend to do better in school. Yet the income divide has received far less attention from policy makers and government officials than gaps in student accomplishment by race. More

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Common school program reduces signs of bullying
Reuters Health    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A widely implemented school program aimed at improving kids' behavior helps to slow the increase in bullying during the elementary grades, according to a new study. Researchers found that teachers at schools with the behavior program reported fewer displays of aggression, teasing and rejection among their students. Catherine Bradshaw, who worked on the study, said the decreases in undesirable behaviors were "modest," but that they come at an important time in kids' development. More



A field trip to a strange new place: 2nd-grade visits the parking garage
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
P.S. 142 is a high poverty school so close to the Williamsburg Bridge that during recess children can hear the cars above them driving to Brooklyn. Almost all of the 436 students qualify for free lunches. On the first day of school, when they walk into Frances Sachdev's kindergarten class in Room 117, most are already behind. By age 4, the average child in an upper-middle-class family has heard 35 million more words than a poor child. Studies have shown that while about two-thirds of kindergartners from the wealthiest 20 percent of households are read to at home every day, about a third of children from the poorest 20 percent are. More

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NCLB waivers: Implications for testing, standards implementation
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The big education news out of Washington was that 10 states have been awarded waivers of key accountability provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act. This action by the U.S. Department of Education holds some potentially important implications for teaching and learning, as it essentially opens the door for states to rethink their priorities and approaches in evaluating schools (and districts). And accountability systems create a lot of pressure to influence what gets taught—and how—in the classroom. More

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Pushing to keep exercise in the school curriculum
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Recently, on the blacktop at Clifford School in California, a fourth-grade class played two-on-two keep-away with basketballs. Jessica Mazeau, a physical education instructor who teaches at Clifford five days a week, led the students in dribbling and passing drills. She does not actually work for the school or for the Redwood City School District. The school’s parent-teacher organization pays $71,000 a year to Rhythm and Moves, a company based in Burlingame, which sends Mazeau to the school along with sports equipment including hula hoops, jump ropes and basketballs. More

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Beyond strategy and winning, how games teach kids empathy
KQED    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Annie Murphy Paul writes, "Until I had children, I couldn't be bothered with playing games. Couldn't stand poker, pinochle or gin rummy. Bored out of my mind by Sorry! and Stratego. Never understood the appeal of chess, checkers or backgammon. But once I had kids, games took on a new appeal. Apart from entertaining my kids on rainy afternoons, I saw how many different skills games helped to develop. Card games like Uno and Go Fish helped my sons learn to recognize colors and numbers. Board games like Candyland and Chutes and Ladders reinforced their burgeoning conception of a linear number line. And word games like Scrabble and Boggle, which we're just beginning to try out, promise to expand their vocabularies and enhance their understanding of word stems and endings." More



Amidst chaos, 15 minutes of quiet time helps focus students
KQED    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On a recent morning at Visitacion Valley Middle School in South San Francisco, Principal James Dierke looked out over the school's auditorium at more than 100 eighth graders. A restless din filled the large room. Bursts of laughter and errant shouts punctuated the buzz. Most of the students seemed disinterested in Dierke's announcements about the spring's impending graduation, upcoming field trips and recent birthdays. Then, Dierke struck a bell and said, "Okay, it's quiet time." And just like that, a hush fell over the auditorium. Students straightened their backs and closed their eyes. Some bowed their heads. Others rested them on the backs of their chairs. The once-boisterous hall became silent and remained so for the next 15 minutes. More

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Data tools aim to predict student performance
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Education leaders in North Carolina's Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district are scrutinizing the habits and grades of elementary school students to determine who may fall off track and fail to graduate from high school a decade or more from now. They don't need a crystal ball to make predictions. Officials in the 141,000-student district are relying on a "risk-factor scorecard" to help them spot children who are in jeopardy of becoming dropouts and then deploy resources to help them change course. More

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Can music improve behavior?
CNN    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
There is much research to show that music can improve academic performance. But what about behavior? Kindergarten teacher Shelvia Ivey sees the effects every day in her classroom. "It's fun to see the shy ones blossom and music is a way for them to do that," Ivey said. "For some of the more aggressive children who have a hard time controlling their instincts, it's a time for them to express themselves, too, and it's easier for them to control their instincts. And they're allowed to be expressive, and be unique." More

Educators, take note: Facebook could get you fired
Yahoo News (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's always interesting when a teacher bumps into a student while shopping during school breaks or on the weekend. The reaction is always the same: students are a bit surprised that their teachers own t-shirts, use coupons for things like peanut butter, and, yes, have lives outside the classroom. It's not, however, something that teachers can take for granted. A recent report from the University of Cincinnati warns educators and administrators about the dangers of using sites like Facebook, because teachers have been fired over their own social networking behavior. More

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Picking and choosing digital content
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As school districts navigate the shift from print to digital curricula, many are mixing and matching curriculum materials — from teacher-created work to open education resources to publisher-provided programs — to achieve the best customized combination for their teachers and students. Until every child has a device that can readily access digital curricula, however, most districts must rely on proprietary print materials as the primary source of curriculum. More

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Obama to highlight education in budget rollout
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In his fiscal 2013 budget request slated to roll out, President Barack Obama is making a big push for continued investment in education, including emergency aid for K-12 schools, competitive grants for teacher-related programs, and a new $8 billion fund to encourage jobs training initiatives at community colleges. Overall, the president is requesting $69.8 billion for the U.S. Department of Education, an increase of $1.7 billion, or 2.5 percent. More

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Kline releases final bill to replace No Child Left Behind
The Washington Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Republican chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce released the final two pieces of his reform agenda, designed to replace the widely criticized and decade-old No Child Left Behind federal education law. Rep. John Kline of Minnesota said he remains optimistic that, even in a highly partisan presidential election year, the measures can pass both the House and Senate. More

No Child Left Behind loses bite as Obama issues waivers
The Christian Science Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Many educators applaud the waivers from some parts of No Child Left Behind, saying the education-reform law has a one-size-fits-all approach. Others worry that minorities could suffer. More

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Let's Move! turns 2, USDA Secretary Vilsack sees improvement
CBS News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Let's Move! — the Obama administration's campaign to fight childhood obesity — celebrates its second birthday and according to Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the campaign is doing what it's supposed to do. "For the first time in a long time, we did not see a rise in obesity rates," Vilsack told HealthPop. The campaign kicked off two years ago in the hopes of raising a future generation of American children who eat healthier and exercise more than their predecessors. More



Demise of school counselors possible as funding continues to dry up in California
Contra Costa Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The end to the traditional school counselor positions may be on the horizon as the funding streams from Sacramento, Calif., continue to dry up. It's a tug-of-war as school district officials and their boards attempt to remain fiscally solvent at the expense of eliminating services designed to lay the foundation for students' futures. "It's not that districts don't want school counselors, it's just that they can't afford them," said David Kopperud, education programs consultant with the state Department of Education. More

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Florida House budget not in sync with Senate's
Orlando Sentinel    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Florida House passed a $69.2 billion spending plan that boosts funding for classrooms, but also cuts payments to hospitals, steers school construction dollars to charters and relies on higher tuition rates for college students. With a month left in the lawmaking session, the House budget that passed largely along party lines remains out of sync with the Senate's spending priorities on a few major issues — such as health care and environmental spending. 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. The 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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Tap into differentiated instruction resources on PD 360
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
This month's online professional development topics for NAESP members are differentiated instruction and response to intervention. NAESP members get free access to PD 360's wealth of video-based materials and related resources for both individual learning and staff training. 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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