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Education report: Shortcomings of US schools pose national security threat
The Christian Science Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Nearly 30 years after the landmark education report "A Nation at Risk," a new report finds that America's failure to prepare its young people for a globalized world is now so grave that it poses a national security threat. Some of the key factors that the report cites in linking education shortcomings and a weakened national security: insufficient preparation of children for the highly technical jobs that both the private sector and the military increasingly need to fill, scant and declining foreign-language education, and a weakened "national cohesiveness" as a result of an under-educated and unemployable poor population. More


Majority of children overburdened by backpacks
HealthDay News via DoctorsLounge    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The majority of students carry backpacks weighing more than 10 percent of their body weight, and those carrying the heaviest backpacks are at increased risk of back pain, according to a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. Paloma Rodríguez-Oviedo, of the Hospital da Costa in Burela, Spain, and colleagues studied 1,403 school children to examine backpack weight and body mass index and their relation to back pain and back pathology. More

Making room for history, science, art in the Common-Core era
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Several education experts recently made the case for the importance of ensuring topics such as history, science, and the arts get adequate classroom time and attention as states and districts begin to implement the Common Core State Standards. The issue was the focus of a event hosted by the Washington-based research and advocacy group Common Core, which has just announced plans to create a set of curriculum maps in history and geography pegged to the common standards. More

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Building good search skills: What students need to know
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Internet has made researching subjects deceptively effortless for students — or so it may seem to them at first. Truth is, students who haven't been taught the skills to conduct good research will invariably come up short. That's part of the argument made by Wheaton College Professor Alan Jacobs in The Atlantic, who says the ease of search and user interface of fee-based databases have failed to keep up with those of free search engines. In combination with the well-documented gaps in students' search skills, he suggests that this creates a perfect storm for the abandonment of scholarly databases in favor of search engines. He concludes: "Maybe our greater emphasis shouldn't be on training users to work with bad search tools, but to improve the search tools." More

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Titanic a magnet for kids, fine line for educators
The Associated Press via Yahoo News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Eleven-year-old John Payne has been a student of the Titanic since kindergarten. He has scrupulously researched the ship, built a model out of Lego freehand and successfully lobbied his fifth-grade teacher in suburban Chicago to let him mark the disaster's centennial with a multimedia presentation for his class. What's not to like? There's mystery, high technology and heroes. Sunken treasure, conspiracy theories and jarring tales of rich vs. poor. But there's also death, lots of it, and that has some parents, teachers and writers of children's books balancing potentially scary details with more palatable, inspirational fare focused on survivors, animals on board or the mechanics of shipbuilding. More

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History Day helps students expand their lessons
Kitsap Sun    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Sarah Hemmet, Skylar Schmidt and Maddie Turner began researching how Starbucks has changed the way Americans drink coffee, they thought everyone was a fan of the caffeine-pushing corporation. But the trio, all seventh-graders, quickly learned that wasn't the case. "I liked hearing the different viewpoints," Schmidt said. "We think of it as a place everyone loves, but we learned that some people think it's ruining neighborhoods." The girls competed in Regional History Day at Olympic College in Bremerton, Wash., using their research to create an eye-catching exhibit that transformed a 32-gallon trash can into a giant white Starbucks cup, complete with the familiar green mermaid logo. More

Rice study: Minority administrators, school personnel key to engaging immigrant parents
Ultimate West U    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new study by Rice University, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and Vanderbilt University demonstrates that minority principals and other administrative personnel at elementary and high schools play an integral role in implementing policies and practices aimed at engaging immigrant parents of students. Researchers focused on the manner in which schools in districts with immigrant populations address low levels of parental involvement in their children's education and what measures they take in providing opportunities for engagement and support. More


Great principals: Leaders, learners, innovators
The Huffington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The age-old question of "What makes a good leader?" is making its latest debut on the education front in New York City. With all the recent developments regarding teacher evaluations, the discussion of principal evaluations has emerged. In order to improve education, every aspect of a school must be addressed — including the principal. Principals, like any other type of leader, have a lot of responsibilities. The main job of a principal is to ensure that the students in their school are receiving an effective education, and they must do whatever it takes to ensure that that happens — no excuses. What are the qualities of a great principal? More

Study: Teacher turnover affects all students' achievement
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When teachers leave schools, overall morale appears to suffer enough that student achievement declines — both for those taught by the departed teachers and by students whose teachers stayed put, concludes a study recently presented at a conference held by the Center for Longitudinal Data in Education Research. The impact of teacher turnover is one of the teacher-quality topics that's been hard for researchers to get their arms around. The phenomenon of high rates of teacher turnover has certainly been proven to occur in high-poverty schools more than low-poverty ones. The eminently logical assumption has been that such turnover harms student achievement. More


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Schools anticipate continued budget cuts
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
An end to emergency federal funding and the threat of mid-year cuts could disrupt economic recovery. School districts, already operating in their fourth consecutive year of budget cuts, do not anticipate returning to pre-recession funding levels for several years. In a new survey, school leaders report continued erosion of fiscal resources as the worst recession in recent history continues to impact state and local budgets. More


US ADHD diagnoses rocket upward
United Press International    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
From 2000 to 2010, U.S. children and teens diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder jumped from 6.2 million to 10.4 million, researchers say. Dr. Craig Garfield, a pediatrician at Children's Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said the 66 percent increase in physician-diagnosed ADHD cases in the past decade means it is now "a common diagnosis among children and teens." More

75 percent of youths text daily; 1 in 4 has a smartphone
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
More than three-quarters of all U.S. teenagers have cellphones, and of those, a growing number have smart phones — cellphones that are always online. A report tells us how much, and exactly how, teens use them. People already know teens text a lot: A now-famous October 2010 survey by the Nielsen Co. showed the average teenager sent 3,339 texts a month. Teens text way more than they call. The Pew report shows it's getting to be even more like that. The Pew team called 799 people ages 12-17 and a parent or guardian. About 77 percent had cellphones, and about 23 percent had smartphones. Seventy-five percent of teens text, and they're texting more. Calls and texts are up, with the frequency of texts increasing and calls decreasing. More

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Tablets haven't killed the PC yet
The Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Despite the substantial growth of mobile handheld and tablet devices, traditional PC desktop and laptop systems aren't going away anytime soon. Just the opposite, according to a report: Annual PC shipments could grow by nearly 50 percent worldwide between now and 2016. According to market research firm International Data Corp. total PC shipments worldwide and across all segments grew a modest 1.8 percent in 2011, reaching 353.3 million units. That growth was driven by traditional portable computers, which increased 4.2 percent overall to 209.4 million units. Desktop PCs actually declined in 2011 worldwide by 1.6 percent from 2010, reaching 144 million units. More

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A School Improvement Grant report card from CEP
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Two years into the implementation of the federal School Improvement Grant program, state officials are generally optimistic about its potential, but have a lot of ideas for perfecting it, according to a pair of reports released by the Center on Education Policy, a research and advocacy organization in Washington. A note on methodology: CEP already has done some of the best research available on the SIG program, which aims to help states turn around some of their lowest-performing schools. For this study, CEP surveyed 46 state Title I directors from November through January 2012. More


Study: States differ in doling out turnaround funds
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
States have gone a bunch of different directions in giving districts money through the federal School Improvement Grant program, the largest national effort yet to turn around the nation's lowest-performing schools, according to a report released by the Center for American Progress. The report found big disparities in how selective states have been in deciding which schools got their share of the $3.5 billion in competitive grants made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. More

States look to enact cyberbullying laws
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Lawmakers in at least five states aim to stiffen or enact cyberbullying laws as national concern grows over electronic harassment and its deadly consequences. The states — Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine and New York — want to put penalties on the books for the types of digital bullying that led students in several states to commit suicide. More

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LAUSD does its homework
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
After extensive study, the Los Angeles Unified School District unveiled a new draft homework policy that looked like the product of some very badly done homework indeed. Flexible in the wrong ways, inflexible in the wrong ways, self-contradictory and at times simply muddled, it would have mandated that homework count for no more than 10 percent of a student's grade — meaning that it would make very little difference even if a student blew off half of it. At the same time, it failed to set appropriate amounts of homework based on students' ages and grade levels. It never differentiated between routine, daily homework and, say, final papers for a class, and assumed in alarming ways that disadvantaged and minority students were less capable of doing homework than others. More

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Quinn's quest for 'kindergarten for all'
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Kindergarten is not mandatory in New York City. And so anywhere between 3,000 and 6,000 children each year who meet the age qualifications don't enroll in kindergarten — and too often those are poor or disabled children who need it most. Christine C. Quinn, the city council speaker, said she would press Albany to approve a bill that would make kindergarten mandatory in the city, and end the experience of having children show up in first-grade without ever having attended a day of school. Such a measure would cost around $30 million a year. More


Tennessee science bill allowing discussion of creationism in schools passes state Senate
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Tennessee state Senate passed a bill that protects teachers who allow student to question and criticize "controversial" scientific theories like evolution. The Senate voted 24-8 for SB 893, which would allow teachers to help students "understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories" like "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning." More

C.R.E.W.: Freedom to explore brings responsibility
The Columbus Dispatch    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
C.R.E.W. students are expected to be critical thinkers, problem-solvers and self-starters. They must juggle multiple projects and apply what they learn to the real world. In class, the sixth-graders created a children's book that explains Buddhism. They searched for similes and hyperboles in Katy Perry's song, "Firework." They used electronic presentations to inform state senators about cloning, genetically altered plants and the Human Genome Project. These students earned the highest marks on their state achievement tests. So their teachers have given them the independence — and responsibility — to reach their potential. More

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Students unplug from technology
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Majid Ali is playing a lot of soccer these days and trying to ignore his parents and brother when they watch his favorite TV show, "The Big Bang Theory." "They love torturing me about this," Majid says. Beginning March 1, Majid and 114 other seventh-graders at Greendale Middle School in Wisconsin have tried to go cold turkey on technology. No "American Idol." No Facebook. No Xbox. The school's Tune Out is an annual rite of spring, raising funds for charity and raising awareness among kids who have spent their lives plugged in. More

Check out NAESP Convention News Online
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The NAESP Annual Conference and Expo — BEST PRACTICES FOR BETTER SCHOOLS™ — is underway. Follow the conference from home with Convention News Online. It's your hotspot for daily articles, blog posts, and photos from the event. Don't forget to check out conference tweets with the hashtag #NAESP12. More

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NAESP elections open March 26
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. Voting will open Monday, March 26, and will close Tuesday, April 24. Electronic ballots will be available through our website — but members will need to log in for access. Prepare now for voting by making sure that you can log in, and contact NAESP if you have any trouble. More
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