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Should teachers have a national standardized text?
By: Archita Datta Majumdar
The nation's education system has been going through a rough patch in which the smallest of developments in one corner of the country are having ripple effects in other parts of the country — and not always positive ones. For example, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposal to bring about drastic changes in teacher evaluations has created quite a furor. His proposal suggests that 50 percent of the evaluations should be tied to how students are faring in standardized test scores.
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Wanted: A great principal
Center For Teaching Quality (commentary)
Jessica Keigan, a contributor for Center For Teaching Quality, writes: "Dear Potential Principals, Thanks for applying to work at our school! We are excited to meet you and excited that you have expressed an interest in becoming our leader. We understand that the next few weeks will be rather busy with the multi-layered interview process, and school and community visits. We are excited to see what you bring to the table. Because, here's the thing, you are applying for a position that is going to be really hard to fill."
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Why math?
Edutopia (commentary)
According to a recent Raytheon survey, 44 percent of middle school students would rather take out the garbage than do their math homework. On the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment, American high school students placed 27th among their OECD colleagues, demonstrating a troubling lack of problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Only 11.6 percent of high school graduates express an interest in pursuing STEM in college. Of these, just over half meet the ACT college readiness benchmark in math.
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Teaching artists aid students in Common Core push
The New York Times
The 23 second graders in Betty Borkon's class at George M. Davis Elementary School in New Rochelle, New York, didn't know it, but a classroom activity in which they were pantomiming what it would be like to be desert ninjas, walking trees and stuck-to-the-ground starfish was not just playtime. While the roomful of 7- and 8-year-olds flopped, flailed and chopped the air with make-believe bravura, Borkon was somewhat furtively taking a step forward in her march toward helping them meet the English language arts requirements under the set of academic standards known as the Common Core.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keywords COMMON CORE.


Why texting should be part of teaching
EdTech Magazine
Ever heard of Teacher Text? It's a moniker for the intentional use of text messaging for educational purposes. The increasing role of technology in the classroom affords new ways for schools to lessen the fear of handheld devices as a distraction and lean in to strategic ways to augment their use in learning environments.
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Relevant math for students' lives: Creating context with social justice issues
MindShift
Perhaps one of the most common questions teachers hear from students who struggle with math is, "When will I ever need this in the real world?" Concepts educators are covering can often feel archaic and remote from the things students care about in their immediate lives. But when educators think creatively about helping students see the applications of math in the real world, it provides a unique point of entry and interest into a subject that many kids may dislike.
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Creating a visitor management system
Scholastic Administrator Magazine
In America today, more than 80 percent of schools use pencil and paper to track visitors entering school buildings. In practice, this is the equivalent of leaving the back door open to the public. Pencil-and-paper tracking has several inherent flaws. At the most basic level, nothing compels an individual to write down his or her real name. Even if the person does write the correct name (and you can read it), that doesn't tell you anything else about that individual and his or her suitability for entering the building. Pencil-and-paper sign-in sheets are also nearly useless in emergency evacuations and they don't allow for reporting at the district level.
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A better recess using rock-paper-scissors
Dr. Melinda Bossenmeye
Students at Jefferson Elementary School are participating in a new playground program designed to reduce conflicts during recess time. The solution is Rock, Paper, Scissors and it’s part of the Peaceful Playground Program. “Boys and girls take turns,” Biddle said. “If there is a problem they do rock, paper, scissors or talk it out.” Third-grader Carlos Biddle said that the playground is friendlier than it was last year.
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Promoted by Dr. Melinda Bossenmeye


Nearly half of all preschoolers with ADHD are on medication
The Washington Post
The first national survey of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder shows that nearly half of preschoolers are on medication for the condition, and more than a fifth were receiving neither of the recommended therapies. American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines call for the use of behavioral therapy first with children younger than 6 because the long-term impacts of medications on developing brains are not well known. But the data show that 46.6 percent of the preschool aged children with the disorder had taken medication alone or with behavioral therapy in the previous week, and 53.2 percent had used behavioral therapy in the previous year. Another 21. 4 percent received neither therapy. The data come from the 2009-2010 National Survey of Children With Special Health Care Needs.
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Schools turn to technology for teaching's sake
EdTech Magazine
An intriguing thing has been happening in schools. A decade ago, the idea of integrating technology into the classroom changed the possibility of what teachers and students could accomplish or even imagine. While that classroom tech created seemingly endless opportunities, districts soon realized they didn't have the necessary infrastructure in place to support it all. School leadership then shifted their attention to building or rebuilding networks, tackling data management and bolstering enterprise security in order to advance their academic missions.
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Rural schools struggle to pay for transportation
Star Tribune
Some students near Bayfield, Wis., have to take a wind sled across a frozen bay to school. Children riding to class in the western Dubuque, Iowa, district are often in transit for an hour. School buses in the largest district, in St. Louis County, Minn., put on more than a million miles a year. The logistics of getting children to school in sprawling or remote districts can be dizzying — and expensive. Superintendents in the rural Midwest say that bringing children to school costs far more than state transportation aid and siphons money that could go to classroom instruction. With some facing declining enrollment, it's even tougher to cover the expense.
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Without janitors, students are in charge of keeping school shipshape
NPR
Back in 2011, Newt Gingrich was running for president, and he proposed a radical idea to help schools cut costs: Fire the janitors and pay students to do the cleaning. Needless to say, the idea to turn students into moonlighting janitors had about as much support as Gingrich's presidential campaign. But ask Kim De Costa and she'll say there isn't anything radical about asking students to clean up after themselves. At her school, there are no janitors. Instead, students in grades 6-12 meet in teams once or twice a week to clean assigned areas.
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The gap between rich and poor schools grew 44 percent over a decade
The Hechinger Report (commentary)
Jill Barshay, a contributor for The Hechinger Report, writes: "The growing gap between rich and poor is affecting many aspects of life in the United States, from health to work to home life. Now the one place that's supposed to give Americans an equal chance at life — the schoolhouse — is becoming increasingly unequal as well. I've already documented the startling increase since 2000 in the number of extremely poor schools, where three-fourths of the students or more are poor enough to qualify for free or discounted meals, and I've noted the general increase in poverty in all schools here."
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What we talk about when we talk about best practices: Assessment
By: Debra Josephson Abrams
In this part of the best practices series, we will examine assessment and the many manifestations it takes. Assessment is not limited to traditional testing. It includes programmatic and student needs analysis, alternative approaches to evaluating learning and student self-reflection. Best practices research indicates that traditional placement tests do learners an injustice.
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6 reasons it's important to create your own online assessments
eSchool News
Assessments are critical to our efforts to improve instruction in K-12 education. Yet, in an age when students are accessing a vast array of resources on computers, tablets and mobile devices, some school districts are still hesitant to take their assessments online.
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When teachers cheat
The Atlantic
Rampant conspiracies to alter kids' scores, including the one that resulted in the recent conviction of 11 Atlanta educators, attest to the dangers of high-stakes testing.
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Senate education leaders close in on bipartisan ESEA rewrite
Education Week
After nearly two months of negotiating behind closed doors, Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chairman and ranking member of the education committee, appear to be nearing consensus on major pieces of a bipartisan draft to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, according to sources. In what seems to be a departure from Alexander's original draft legislation, unveiled in January, the version being negotiated likely wouldn't allow Title I dollars for low-income students to follow them to the school of their choice, sources said.
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NEA campaign aims to shift ESEA away from 'testing, labeling and punishing schools'
THE Journal
A new multi-pronged campaign from the National Education Association will try to shift the focus of federal education policy away from high-stakes testing and back toward students, with a special emphasis on "children living in poverty, students with disabilities and English language learners." The campaign, called "Wave of Action," coincides with the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 by Lyndon Johnson (reauthorized under George W. Bush as No Child Left Behind, or NCLB), which is currently undergoing another reauthorization process in Congress. The campaign will include a range of activities, from a television ad to digital campaigns to teach-ins to leaflet distribution, all with the aim of pushing legislators to tone down the current law's emphasis on testing and the associated problems that come with it.
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States use cameras to crack down on school bus scofflaws
Stateline via The Huffington Post
MaKayla Marie Strahle was only 11 when she stepped off a school bus, started to cross the road and was struck and killed by a pickup truck in west central Wyoming just days before Christmas 2011. The driver, who had ignored the stopped school bus' flashing lights, was later convicted of three misdemeanor charges, including homicide by vehicle. MaKayla's death sparked calls for change, and spurred the legislature to take action. Last year, Wyoming became the first state in the nation to mandate that every public school bus have cameras attached to catch drivers who illegally pass.
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States seek guidance in face of 'opt out' push
Education Week
A flurry of parents opting their children out of taking new state assessments in places like Colorado, Florida, New Jersey and New York has both the U.S. Department of Education and state education departments reviewing policies and procedures for dealing with such instances. The No Child Left Behind Act — the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act — requires each school to test at least 95 percent of its students or else the district or state could face sanctions, some as severe as losing Title I money for low-income students. That requirement must be met for all students in a school, as well as for subgroups of students, such as those living in poverty or from racial-minority groups.
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Appeals court upholds yoga program in public schools
Los Angeles Times
The teaching of yoga in Encinitas public schools in California does not represent an illegal attempt at religious indoctrination, an appeals court ruled. A three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal upheld a decision by the San Diego Superior Court that the yoga program in the Encinitas Union School District is "devoid of any religious, mystical or spiritual trappings." Under a three-year grant from the K.P. Jois Foundation, which promotes Ashtanga yoga, yoga exercises are taught in twice-weekly, 30-minute classes.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Why kids are getting more aggressive on the playground (The Washington Post)
Turns out, snow days don't impact students' test scores — But absences do (The Huffington Post)
Learned helplessness: A daily tug of war (By: Pamela Hill)
8 strategies to keep informational reading fun (Edutopia)
How community violence hurts students (The Atlantic)

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




Teachers and technology: 3 key PD topics
NAESP
Mobile technology is rapidly becoming ubiquitous in schools, but teachers need more training to integrate it into their practice. A mere 18 percent of new principals say they feel prepared to guide teachers in technology use — but the latest Rise and Shine brief can help.
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Supporting staff with mental health issues
NAESP
Principal Erich May writes: "In my state, Pennsylvania, every middle and high school must have a Student Assistance Program. The purpose of the program is to identify students who have mental health issues or are engaged in behaviors that inhibit their success in school. Trained team members then provide supports in school and direct families to services outside the school."
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