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Federal budget's approval sets stage for future battles
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
Education advocates are already bracing for protracted budget battles in the coming year, even as they sort the winners and losers in the bill approved by Congress financing the U.S. Department of Education and the rest of the federal government through September. The hard-fought agreement followed months of wrangling between Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, who aimed to significantly curtail domestic discretionary spending, including for K-12 education, and the Obama administration, which sought to shelter education and other priorities. More



In public school efforts, a common background: Private education
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Ten years ago, the No Child Left Behind bill was passed by the House of Representatives, 384 to 45, marking the first step toward a major transformation of public education in America. The law has ushered in what its supporters like to call the "reform movement." For the first time, human bias was removed from student assessment and replaced with scientific accountability systems. No longer did teachers' subjective opinions of children distort things. Scores on standardized tests became the gold standard. More



California may add gay history to textbooks
The Associated Press via Google News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
California conservatives were outraged in 1966 when the state Board of Education adopted a new junior high school history textbook. The book's inclusive treatment of the civil rights movement and influential black Americans would indoctrinate students, undermine religious values and politicize the curriculum, they said. Forty-five years later, gay rights advocates say similar arguments are being advanced to defeat a bill that would make the state the first to require the teaching of gay history in public schools. The California Senate approved the landmark measure, but it needs to clear the Democrat-controlled Assembly and Gov. Jerry Brown's desk. More

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Recess revolution: Introducing structure and organization to play time
Deseret News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Across the nation, principals are looking for ways to organize or structure recess. Some have shortened the amount of time for recess or eliminated it altogether because of discipline issues or the time it takes to get back on topic when students come in bickering after recess. Other schools have cut back on recess time to focus on academics. More

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Professional learning communities: Making students and teachers better
Minnesota 2020    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In some city neighborhoods, small towns and even close-knit suburbs, each child has a lot of mothers and fathers "looking out" for him or her. In these places, adults don't parcel out children as "my child" and "your child" but as "our children," feeling some degree of responsibility for all the little ones playing up and down the block. Some Minnesota school districts are trying to introduce a similar model in teaching, called a "Professional Learning Community." The move pulls teachers out of isolation in their classes and places them into a community based on collaboration amongst educators to improve student achievement. More

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Teachers, parents favor exercise balls in classrooms
The News-Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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Nontraditional furniture in the classroom has been the domain of special education for many years, but it's beginning to find its place in regular classroom settings. Students with sensory issues, for example, might require cushions for traditional chairs. It's not unusual, though, for occupational therapists and educators to forsake the chair entirely, instead offering exercise balls, also known as stability balls or Pilates balls. Educators in districts said occupational therapists have been using stability balls with students on individualized education plans for a decade or more. More

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Teacher-leader corporations helps turn around schools
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's hard to imagine two Boston schools superficially more different from each other than Blackstone Elementary, with its labyrinthine 1970s layout, and Orchard Gardens K-8 School, which opened in 2003, with its modern skylights and cheery primary color accents. But they were similar in the way that matters most in young lives: Both Boston schools were among the poorest-performing in Massachusetts. Now, though, district and school leaders think the pair may have turned the corner, thanks in part to an influx of a corps of top teachers in each school. More



Senate misses goal on education rewrite
The Hill    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Despite the intentions of Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the Senate began its recess without holding a markup on the overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Harkin in January set the goal of having a bill "ready for markup by our Easter recess." Negotiations between key legislators have lagged since then, although Harkin and key House members say they believe they can still pass a bill this year. More


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Feds allow states to lower special education funding
Disability Scoop    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Federal education officials say they will allow two states to reduce spending on special education, but denied a similar request from a third state, in letters. Legally, states are not allowed to reduce funding for special education from one year to the next. But the U.S. Department of Education can grant one-year waivers allowing a state to lower its funding for students with disabilities if there are "exceptional or uncontrollable circumstances." More



Rating teachers on state standardized test results
The Boston Globe    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Massachusetts Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester proposed a set of regulations that would radically overhaul the way teachers and administrators are evaluated, making student's Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System results central to judging their performance. The proposed regulations would reward teachers and administrators whose students show more than a year's worth of growth in proficiency under the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System and on other exams, while educators whose students underperform would be placed on one year "improvement plans." Evaluating teachers and principals has become a focal point for the state as it tries to reduce high school dropout rates and turn around dozens of failing schools. More

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Many Tennessee parents grow skeptical of No Child Left Behind's benchmarks, labels for schools
The Tennessean    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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More than 400,000 Tennessee students in third- through eighth-grade will head back to their classrooms, eager to wrap up their annual Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program exams. They're probably unaware of the impossible odds they face: National and state education leaders predict only a fraction of schools will meet minimum performance standards on those tests. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told Congress that 82 percent of America's schools could fail to meet benchmarks set by No Child Left Behind this year. More

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Illinois Schools Implement Lexia, Improve

75% of kindergartners in Des Plaines, IL elementary school had no letter recognition. Lexia Reading software helped bring 88% up to speed by end of 1st grade.
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Funds give full-day kindergarten a boost
The Indianapolis Star    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels' announcement that the state will increase funding for full-day kindergarten programs doesn't necessarily mean that every district will jump at taking advantage of it. For growing districts a decision to move a half-day program to full-day comes down to finding enough space to accommodate a district beyond capacity. In Indianapolis Public Schools, which already offers full-day kindergarten, the impact the additional money will have is not yet clear. Most school officials agreed that any education funding increase is good news, particularly after cuts and frozen budgets in recent years. More

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Gov. John Kasich calls for more school vouchers in Ohio
Dayton Daily News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The number of tuition vouchers parents could use to move their children from chronically low-performing public schools to private schools would quadruple under Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget. The state is approaching the mandated 14,000 cap on vouchers, with 13,062 students already enrolled in the program this school year. More than 1,700 students in the Dayton, Ohio, area use private school vouchers to opt out of attending public schools designated as "academic watch" or "academic emergency" for two of the past three years. More

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Cast your vote for NAESP's Board of Directors
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
This year's elections are underway for a new president-elect and directors for Zones 1, 2 and 8. Log in to the NAESP website by May 10 to access the ballot and cast your vote! Candidate biographies and FAQs are available online. More

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Get professional advice when you need it
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Whether it's a problem to solve, a dilemma to analyze or a simple issue to discuss, the Principals Help Line is your place to go for professional advice and answers. For members only, this confidential service links you with respected veteran administrators who stand by to offer you help. 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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