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Confronting a low-income crisis in US schools
District Administration Magazine
The number of U.S. students who come from low-income families has long been the metaphorical elephant in the room when it comes to education funding. But, according to a new report by the Atlanta-based Southern Education Foundation, it's a problem that can no longer be ignored. For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of our public school students fall into that low-income category. For Steve Suitts, vice president of the foundation, the alarming trend is that the increase of low-income students is now occurring in regions where it had not been before.
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Privacy pitfalls as education apps spread haphazardly
The New York TImes
At school districts across the country, the chief technology officers responsible for safeguarding student data are tearing their hair out. Scores of education technology start-ups, their pockets full from a rush of venture capital, are marketing new digital learning tools directly to teachers — many are even offering them free to get a foothold in schools. That has enabled educators nationwide to experiment with a host of novel "adaptive learning" products, like math and foreign language apps that record and analyze students' online activities to personalize their lessons.
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Telling or teaching? Knowing when it's right to 'give a fish'
By Pamela Hill
A famous proverb tells us, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." When applied to teaching — and, more appropriately, to special education — it also begs a question. Who decides if the best approach is to give a fish or teach fishing lessons when teaching a student with learning disabilities? The teacher must always be negotiating and evaluating.
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Preparing a classroom culture for deeper learning
Edutopia
After reading an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence, students form a circle to engage in conversation about liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The inquiry circle begins with two questions posed by the teacher: What is more important, liberty or the pursuit of happiness? Are liberty and the pursuit of happiness inalienable rights? To begin, some students argue that liberty and the pursuit of happiness are only open to the people who follow rules within a society. Others argue that while they agree to the rule of law, the argument might have exceptions. One student asks, "Is it morally right to take away freedoms for all crimes committed?" Another student responds, "Yes, what if a crime is committed to save someone's life?"
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5 questions about video games in the classroom
THE Journal
Every year, video games find their way into more and more classrooms around the world. However, not every classroom teacher — especially those who are not necessarily digital natives — is comfortable with the idea of allowing their students to play games as part of the learning process. Even those who can get used to the idea wonder how to get started and, almost as importantly, what to tell their students' parents when they ask why their children are playing video games at home AND at school.
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The 4 C's of 21st century learning for ELLs: Collaboration
By Erick Herrmann
In the first two parts of this four-part series, we explored critical thinking and communication. Collaboration is the next topic we will explore. Any teacher who has tried putting students into groups to work together without first setting up guidelines knows that group work can be a slippery slope, with some students thriving and others not participating effectively. When working with English learners, there are special considerations when having students collaborate, including language proficiency levels and cultural backgrounds.
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Making K-12 'innovation' live up to its hype
Education Week (commentary)
Is innovation losing its luster? Critiques of the ubiquitous "disruptive innovation" theory have led some to wonder. Growing use of quotation marks around the word innovation, and the eye-rolling its use can sometimes provoke, reflect not only its overuse, but also a dawning reality: What we call "innovation" often lacks substance and sometimes works to our detriment, not our betterment.
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    1. WHICH ONE IS YOU?
       A. I have to push students through the basic language art skills.
       B. I have to teach what comes along even if students cannot understand it.
       C. I "Rescue" my students by using a structured and sequential approach that
           enhances any reading, spelling, penmanship, and composition curriculum
           including Common Core expectations.


Twitter 101: 5-step guide for social media in education
Edudemic
If you aren't using Twitter, chances are that you're reluctant to adopt new technology. Or maybe you've used Twitter for years to keep up with friends but now want to use it in the classroom. Either way, you might be hesitant to ask colleagues for help. Fear not. This guide will help you through the Twitter landscape and show you how to find the best educational resources for both yourself and your students.
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Educators: Standardized test demands hurt Common Core
Education World
'Tis the season for test taking and many educators have had it up to here with high stakes testing connected to the Common Core state standards. A recent survey of Education World readers revealed that out of several criticisms of the CCSS and their implementation, 44 percent of respondents said that standardized test performance is overemphasized.
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Researchers hunt for 'secret sauce' of digital learning success
EdTech Magazine
What makes some digital learning initiatives successful and others not? That's the focus of a 2014 study released recently by the America's Promise Alliance's Center for Promise. The study is titled "Wired to Learn: K-12 Students in the Digital Classroom," and it examines how five school districts implemented digital learning strategies to help students succeed in the classroom and how those initiatives performed.
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What makes a great school leader?
The Telegraph (commentary)
Excellence is not an act, but a habit. The schools and their staff practice being excellent. But what then is the starting point for inspirational leadership? First. It's knowing where you want to go. At the heart of that knowledge is deciding what it is that you want your children and students to have by way of 21st century minds, knowledge and skills. Great school leaders have thought through this question very carefully, and of course are prepared to adapt as they proceed.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keywords LEADERS.


Survey: Teachers want tablets in the classroom, still face barriers to access
K-12TechDecisions
A new survey by digital education company, TES Global shows that 96 percent of teachers say technology plays a significant role in the classroom, yet barriers still exist to accessing that technology. The results of the survey were released at SXSWedu and the research provides an interesting peek into the minds of educators and highlights what they feel are the most important technologies and what the barriers are to accessing those technologies.
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No Child Left Behind: What standardized test scores reveal about its legacy
The New York Times (commentary)
With Congress now attempting to rewrite the No Child Left Behind law (the current version of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary School Act), it's a good time to look at what NCLB accomplished and did not accomplish. Here's one attempt to answer that question, and the upcoming post is another, this one looking entirely at standardized test scores and how "achievement gaps" fared during the NCLB era. This seems only fair, since modern school reformers have made standardized test scores the chief metric of student achievement and school effectiveness.
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Rewrite of AP framework for US history criticized
Education Week
Concerns about an overhaul to the Advanced Placement U.S. History curriculum framework have been spreading through a growing number of states over the last few months, with critics saying it emphasizes negative aspects of the nation's history and downplays "American exceptionalism." Policymakers in Colorado, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas have pushed back on the new framework, which outlines the concepts and skills students need for a college-level history course. The Republican National Committee also condemned the guidelines last summer, calling them "radically revisionist."
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California State Board suspends school accountability on Common Core
The Associated Press via ABC News
The California Board of Education suspended the state's school accountability system on March 11 for one year to give teachers and students time to adjust to new standardized tests aligned with Common Core standards. The board voted at a meeting in Sacramento not to produce an Academic Performance Index for the 2014-15 school year. The index uses student results on statewide tests to rank schools and to identify those that need improvement.
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Why Las Vegas is desperate to hire thousands of teachers
The Huffington Post
Technology specialist Sara Boucher teaches about 1,000 students in classes as large as 45 at Steven G. Schorr Elementary School in Clark County, Nevada, making it hard to tailor instruction and impossible to learn everyone's name. She does her best, but the teacher shortage in the county, which includes Las Vegas, is about to get worse. Next school year, Clark County expects to have 2,600 teachers fewer than it needs. The shortage, the result of an awakening economy, attrition and growing population has created teeming schools, a heavy reliance on substitute teachers and oversubscribed special education programs.
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iPads keep students connected, even on snow days
eSchool News
Recovering lost instructional time caused by snow days has been a source of great frustration for West Virginia's educators, but the recent utilization of take-home technology is proving to be a game-changer, says one Kanawha County school official. Leah Sparks, the technology director for Kanawha County Schools, has spent several years planning for a district-wide technology program that has culminated in the distribution of nearly 10,000 iPads this school year. While the program is still in its infancy, Sparks said she already is receiving reports of teachers and students connecting through the devices even when they aren't in the classroom.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    State education department unveils system to classify schools' performance (JournalStar.com)
Sen. Casey introduces bill to reduce school suspensions (The Huffington Post)
Blended learning: How the nation's capital is reinventing its classrooms for the future (District Administration Magazine)
How to make elementary teachers stronger in STEM (eSchool News)
USDA allocates $5.5 million to help schools serve healthier lunches (The Hill)

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




Apply by March 23 for Student Council Excellence Awards
NAESP
Recognize your student council's hard work with the American Student Council Association Student Excellence Awards. Since 1987, this prestigious award has honored excellence in leadership, citizenship, and community service. The deadline to submit your application is March 23. Applicants must submit the $10 processing fee by this deadline to be considered.
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Celebrate Digital Learning Day
NAESP
Join NAESP and thousands of educators across the country to celebrate Digital Learning Day on Friday, March 13. Digital Learning Day, created by the Alliance for Excellent Education and supported by dozens of education organizations, is a nationwide celebration of innovative teaching and learning through technology that engages students and provides them with a rich, personalized, educational experience.
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