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5 education ideas from the State of the Union
CNN (Commentary)
To guess the education plans in President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, look no further than the guests in first lady Michelle Obama's box. Obama's action points often reflected their stories: an undocumented college student who took part in Obama's "deferred action" plan; a 16-year-old winner of the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair; a recent community college graduate who now works on wind turbines; a young machinist who laid the foundation for his manufacturing career at his Kentucky high school; a first-grade teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.; an early childhood educator from Norman, Okla., and a NASA Mars Curiosity rover team member who volunteers to mentor students in FIRST robotics.
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Teacher absenteeism
USA Today
New research suggests that teacher absenteeism is becoming problematic in U.S. public schools, as about one in three teachers miss more than 10 days of school each year. The nation's improving economic picture may also worsen absenteeism as teachers' fears ease that they'll lose their job over taking too many sick days, researchers say. First-ever figures from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, compiled in 2012, also show that in a few states, nearly half of teachers miss more than 10 days in a typical 180-day school year.
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Creating schoolwide PBL aligned to Common Core
Edutopia (commentary)
Green Street Academy is a two-year-old public middle and high school in urban Baltimore. One of the school's focuses is to embrace the green eco-sustainability movement and the new career paths it will generate. Like most schools, GSA is designed around extremely high academic standards that capture students' imaginations, stimulate their curiosities and inspire their successes. Unique to our program, though, is that last year we began the process of transforming the entire school to a true project-based learning environment by the end of this school year.
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Students must learn more words, say studies
Education Week
Children who enter kindergarten with a small vocabulary don't get taught enough words — particularly, sophisticated academic words — to close the gap, according to the latest in a series of studies by Michigan early learning experts. The findings suggest many districts could be at a disadvantage in meeting the increased requirements for vocabulary learning from the Common Core State Standards, said study co-author Susan B. Neuman, a professor in educational studies specializing in early literacy development at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
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Cursive, written word decline as technology takes over
WXIX-TV
Computers in the classroom have created a new normal, but have electronics pushed some things aside, like the written word? In some places, students are barely being taught to write in cursive, and it bothered one Upstate parent so much she contacted FOX Carolina. Jane Nelson's 13-year-old daughter Erin Bell is a swimmer who knows how to stay afloat, but the teen is concerned that she's not been taught certain life skills in school to keep from drowning in society.
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Improving the effectiveness of our teachers will help student achievement
Center for American Progress (Commentary)
For a third-grader sitting in a classroom trying to comprehend fractions, the ability of her teacher to help her understand this mathematical idea is vitally important. Without knowing this core concept the student may never be able to succeed in future math classes and beyond. The more we study teaching, the more apparent it is that excellent teaching is likely to lead to learning. In sum, this student's future in school may depend on the skill of the teacher in her classroom today.
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How 'game mechanics' can revitalize education
eSchool News
Today's students are ahead of their time—or at least, their careers are. According to "Futurework: Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century" (from the U.S. Department of Labor), 65 percent of today's grade-school kids will end up at jobs that haven't been created yet. How do we cultivate an empowered workforce, one that is capable of interacting with multiple forms of technology that permeate and transform our lives, while the technology continues to evolve at such a rapid pace?
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ADHD treatments not working for most young children
HealthDay News
Most young children being treated for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder — either with or without medication — still have serious symptoms of their condition, according to a new long-term study. The neurobehavioral disorder interferes with the ability to concentrate. ADHD also causes restlessness, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior, which can have lasting effects on children's intellectual and emotional development.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Study seeks more effective teacher development (eSchool News)
Survey: School bullies often popular (HealthDay News)
Every day should be Digital Learning Day (ED.gov Blog)
US states, local governments plead for new 'No Child Left Behind' (Reuters)
Texas judge makes the economic case for funding education (The Dallas Morning News)

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Study: NCLB waiver weaken grad rate accountability
The Associated Press via ABC News
Many states granted waivers from the No Child Left Behind law are relaxing or ignoring federal regulations designed to hold schools accountable for the number of students who graduate from high school on time, according to a new study. When No Child Left Behind was signed into law in 2002, states used so many different ways to calculate graduation rates it was almost impossible to know how many students in the U.S. finished high school with a regular diploma in four years.
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Schools rethinking perfect attendance awards
KSEE-TV
Round Meadow Elementary School gives awards to the handful of students who make it through an entire school year with a perfect attendance record — that means no absences, no tardies and no early sign-outs. No exceptions. But the school, in Hidden Hills, Calif., may change its policy for the 2013-2014 school year, says principal Jeremy Resnick. The flu has hit students and staff hard this year, and he doesn't want to encourage kids to come to school, or their parents to send them, when they have a potentially contagious disease.
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The e-book revolution is bypassing US elementary schools
Computerworld
The American education system should be benefiting enormously from the e-book revolution, but it isn't. Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the major children's literature and textbook publishers are screwing up. We hear all the time that the U.S. education system is in need of major reform and that other countries are leaving us in the dust. Education reform is a big subject and can be extremely controversial. But changes in the way children's books are supplied and sold can make a difference, and those changes shouldn't be controversial at all. What is needed is for book publishers and vendors to commit to e-books in a significant way.
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Education chief says rule waivers free up funds for states
Reuters
By waiving certain requirements in the education law known as No Child Left Behind, the U.S. government has been able to send some states an additional $2.8 billion in total for schools, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said at a Senate hearing. "We've tried to free almost $3 billion in ... money under No Child Left Behind that was prescribed by Washington," he told the Education Committee.

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School dress codes aren't just for students anymore
USA Today
When kids in one Kansas school district return to class this fall, they won't be seeing cutoff shorts, pajama pants or flip flops — on teachers. The Wichita School District is just one of a growing number in the nation cracking down on teacher apparel. Jeans are banned in at least one elementary school in New York City. A school district in Phoenix is requiring teachers to cover up tattoos and excessive piercings. And several Arizona schools are strictly defining business casual.

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Study: Highly effective principals raise student achievement
The Huffington Post
It's indisputable that great teachers lead to successful students, as the presidential candidates have touted, but what about students' connection to their school principals? A study published in Education Next has found that the effect of highly effective principals on student achievement is equivalent to 2-7 months of additional learning each school year, while ineffective principals negatively impact student achievement by a comparable amount.

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Department of Education awards $3 million to Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and New York City to aid in recovery from Hurricane Sandy
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students has awarded $3 million in Project School Emergency Response to Violence grants to Connecticut ($250,000), New Jersey ($1.25 million), New York ($500,000) and New York City ($1 million) to assist with recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The widespread damage of the storm was particularly devastating to these communities.
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Few states look to extend preschool to all 4-year-olds
The New York Times
President Barack Obama's call in his State of the Union address to "make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America" rallied advocates across the country who have long argued that inequity in education begins at a very young age. Details of the president's proposal are expected to be unveiled when Obama visits a Head Start program in Decatur, Ga., but he indicated in his speech that the federal government would work with states to supplement preschool efforts.
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Tennessee schools make technology push
The Tennessean
Tennessee is a long way from putting a laptop in the hands of every one of its nearly 1 million public school students, but it is embarking on a technology plan that might change the classroom as much as the Internet changed the workplace. Officials want parents, who will ultimately foot the bill for millions of dollars in computers, infrastructure, ongoing Internet access and staff, to focus on the touted benefits of technology — personalized learning and immediate feedback.
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Maryland to counties: Increase weight of state standardized test in teacher evaluation
The Washington Post
The Maryland State Department of Education has told nine counties to increase the use of standardized tests in its teacher and principal evaluation models after rejecting plans the school systems submitted for approval. The state has specifically told the counties to make scores from the Maryland School Assessment at least 20 percent of the measure schools use to calculate how well students are learning as a variable judging educator performance.
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Large, small schools split over changes to state aid in Nebraska
The Omaha World Herald
Nebraska's largest school districts lined up against the smaller ones in a struggle over the state school aid formula. Neither group argued against the need to rein in the growth of school aid. But at an Education Committee hearing, each faction backed its own alternative for achieving that goal. The larger districts, including Omaha and Lincoln, supported Legislative Bill 640, introduced by State Sen. Galen Hadley of Kearney. The measure would make an across-the-board cut in state dollars going to K-12 schools.
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Education panel: South Carolina not improving fast enough
The Associated Press via Aiken Standard
Holding back third-graders who are far behind in their reading skills and requiring elementary school teachers to earn a literacy credential are among ideas being considered by South Carolina's education oversight panel. An annual report released by the Education Oversight Committee shows that schools are not improving fast enough to meet the panel's 2020 goals. The unsurprising report — which looks similar to previous reports — prompted chairman Neil Robinson to call for action.
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Schools rolling out survey for parents, teachers and students
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
How would you grade your school? Parents, students and teachers are being asked that question in a new statewide initiative. In an effort to help schools with improvement planning, the Illinois State Board of Education is requiring every public school in the state administer a 20-minute survey to teachers and students in sixth through 12th grades to help identify the strengths and weaknesses in their schools. Parents are also encouraged to complete the survey.
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Ballroom dancing teaches social skills to students
The Columbus Dispatch
Do not be fooled: This is not really about ballroom dancing. Yes, Kaliegh Justus has learned to rumba. Nihemma Deloach can fox trot gracefully. But the moves, the music and the fact that the kids know that the tango came from Argentina are just perks. Look around the Linden STEM Academy in Columbus, Ohio, classroom, and you'll see fifth-graders who eagerly hold one another's hands, look one another in the eye and move in close in fine dance formation.
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This month on PD 360: Rigor in the classroom
NAESP
NAESP members get free access to selections of PD 360's video-based materials and related resources for both individual learning and staff training. This month's segments are devoted to helping you and your teachers learn strategies for increasing rigor in your classrooms through project-based learning activities and standards-based curriculum.
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Deadline one month away 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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