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Why principals need to 'get messy,' stop micromanaging instruction, and build capacity
Scholastic Magazine
As testing scandals continue to plague districts, and school leaders grapple with teacher evaluation and tenure, school closures and the new standards, principals are increasingly under pressure. In his new book, "The Principal," Michael Fullan calls for urgent change in the principal's role and how schools are run.
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How Brown v. Board of Education changed — and didn't change — American education
The Atlantic
Two milestones in the history of American education are converging this spring. The second is reshaping the legacy of the first. The first landmark moment will arrive May 17, with the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision striking down "separate but equal" segregation in public education. The second watershed will follow in June, with the completion of what is likely to be the last school year ever in which a majority of America's K-12 public school students are white.
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Extracurriculars are central to learning
U.S. News & World Report (commentary)
Harvard President Drew Faust recently wrote of students overlooking the benefit of following their "interest in art or linguistics or any of the other humanity disciplines." The trend towards employable subjects like math and science is reflected in decisions of college students as well as decision-making in primary and secondary schools. Funds have been cut in more than 80 percent of U.S. school districts since 2008. The very first programs to go are often disciplines such as music, art and foreign language.
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By not challenging gifted kids, what do we risk losing?
MindShift
It's easy to assume that for extremely bright young pupils, life in the classroom is a snap. But when conventional school curricula fail to stimulate their hungry young brains, leaving them bored and stymied, these kids may get lost in the system. Some end up with C averages and slip into truancy, and many may never blossom to their full potential. It's a big loss for lots of reasons, including the fact that these precocious kids represent a unique pool of talent for generating new ideas and innovations. And because of inadequate policies, we may be losing opportunities to nurture the Henry Fords and Marie Curies of the future.
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Coalition of health groups: Sex education teacher standards needed
Education Week
Who teaches sex education in your school? In middle and high schools, it's a safe bet to say it's probably the same person who teaches health classes. And chances are also good those teachers weren't required to take a sex education course in college as part of their certification to teach health. While many teacher preparation programs offer such classes, many of them don't require them, a coalition of sex education groups say.
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9 inspiring social studies apps
eSchool News
Math and science seem to get all the focus these days, but other core subject areas deserve just as much attention–and this includes social studies and history. Student engagement may dwindle when they read about historical events or other cultures from a textbook, but giving them access to social studies apps can help stir their interest and make learning more engaging.
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Learning with disabilities: One effort to shake up the classroom
NPR
This is what an inclusive classroom looks like: Children with disabilities sit next to ones who've been deemed "gifted and talented." The mixing is done carefully, and quietly. Students don't necessarily know who's working at what level. Despite a court ruling 25 years ago that gave children with disabilities equal access to general education activities, change has been slow. Today, about 17 percent of students with any disability spend all or most of their days segregated. Children with severe disabilities can still expect that separation.
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US schools make progress by limiting access to unhealthy foods
Medical News Today
Most students in grades kindergarten through 12 have access to foods and beverages during the school day outside the federal school meal programs, which are called competitive foods. At the time of this study, competitive foods were subject to minimal federal nutrition standards, but states could implement additional standards. This analysis examined the association between school nutrition practices and alignment of state policies with Institute of Medicine recommendations.
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Will budget cuts force ed-tech entrepreneurs to listen to teachers?
eSchool News
There's good and bad news for the future of K-12 education technology. Let's get the bad news out of the way first: An annual survey from the Consortium for School Networking reveals that financial constraints continue to limit technology in schools. CoSN senior consultant Denise Atkins-Shorey laments that districts may be forced to delay tech repairs due to lack of funding: "In the technology world, that's a really dangerous piece, because if a piece of equipment were to fail and it's no longer supported ... there's no replacement for it."
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More than 7 percent of kids on behavioral meds
NBC News
A new survey finds that 7.5 percent of children aged 6–17 are taking some sort of prescription medicine for emotional or behavioral difficulties. It's a first look at the problem, and supports evidence that more and more U.S. kids are getting drugs for conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The good news is that more than half of their parents said the medication helped their children "a lot." The troubling news is that low-income kids were more likely to be given such drugs. LaJeana Howie and colleagues at the National Center for Health Statistics used data from interviews of the parents of 17,000 children in 2011-2012 for the study.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    3 end-of-the-school-year reminders (Connected Principals Blog)
Parental involvement in schools: How much is enough? (By: Brian Stack)
Inventive games that teach kids about empathy and social skills (MindShift)
How playful learning will build future leaders (The Christian Science Monitor)
Dress codes are thorny subject for many schools (The Detroit News)

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


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Inequities in student discipline: What to do about them
Edutopia
Sixty years after Brown versus the Board of Education officially ended segregation in our nation's public schools, the U.S. Department of Education released new data showing that our country continues to struggle with significant disparities in many aspects of public education. One example: student discipline.
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Mission and vision: Which direction are you rowing?
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
Tom Martellone, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "School mission and vision statements provide the same framework and structure as a team of skilled, synchronized rowers. Your school mission statement 'brands' why you are there and what your purpose is. It provides, or should provide, the lens through which all of your decisions get made. Often times, staff have gone through mission writing exercises only to come up with either a lofty or unclear mission statement that no one ever looks at. If the mission of your school is not clear, how do you make decisions? Is your staff focused on why they are truly there?"
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Why getting teacher accountability right is essential to Common Core's success
The Hechinger Report (commentary)
Most Americans agree that U.S. schools should be judged by how effectively they educate all of their students, including those from low-income families or with disabilities, and English language learners. Making sure that accountability systems support these goals is especially important as states move to assessments aligned with Common Core State Standards. Based on our research and observations of innovative programs in Chicago and New York, we have seen large-scale success in systems of schools that focus on essential elements. For starters, leaders of these schools focus relentlessly on improving the quality, consistency, and coherence of instruction, and have the time and resources to make real improvement possible.
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Obama administration wants better-trained teachers
The Washington Post
The Obama administration is making a second attempt to regulate the way the country prepares its classroom teachers, saying training programs should be held accountable to improve the quality of K-12 teachers. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that his department will propose regulations for teacher training programs this summer and seek public input in a process that should result in final rules in a year.
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Washington becomes first state to return to No Child Left Behind
The Washington Post
Two years after Washington state largely ditched the No Child Left Behind Act, the much-maligned federal education law will be in full effect there yet again for the coming school year, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. Last August, the Education Department placed Washington, Oregon and Kansas — and later Arizona — on "high-risk" status for losing their waivers from the law. Washington's standing became precarious because it did not meet the federal government's guidelines, which tie students' standardized test scores to teacher evaluations.
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FEATURED ARTICLE
TRENDING ARTICLE
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By not challenging gifted kids, what do we risk losing?
MindShift
It's easy to assume that for extremely bright young pupils, life in the classroom is a snap. But when conventional school curricula fail to stimulate their hungry young brains, leaving them bored and stymied, these kids may get lost in the system.

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read more
5 common myths about school administration
eSchool News
It's not always teachers who face criticism in the U.S. Many school administrators say that misconceptions about their career motivations and the position in general still exist today — and many myths have survived for decades.

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How much teachers get paid — State by state
The Washington Post
How much do teachers across the United States get paid? Here is data, state by state, collected from the National Center for Education Statistics by Jon Boeckenstedt, associate vice president at DePaul University in Chicago.

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New Texas law limits standardized tests, but not prep work
The Texas Tribune
When Texas legislators passed a law in 2013 that sharply reduced standardized testing for public high school students, they included a provision aimed at easing the pressure of high-stakes exams for students in lower grades as well. But a year later, the provision that was written to curb the time educators spent preparing students for standardized tests instead of teaching may not have had the intended effect.
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NAESP orchestrates push for federal funding to support principals
NAESP
NAESP has joined forces with national organizations representing the nation's principals to advance its longstanding advocacy initiatives related to directing federal funds to better support principals. The groups have come together to push a proposal that would direct local education agencies receiving funds from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to allocate no less than 10 percent of the total Title II funds available for professional development for principals to improve instructional leadership.
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Resources for autism awareness
NAESP
April is National Autism Awareness Month, and according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control, autism diagnoses are up 30 percent in the past two years. With 1 in 68 children having autism, it's more important than ever for school leaders to understand how to educate students on the autism spectrum. Discover more about autism through these articles from the Principal magazine archives.
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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 Meredith Barnett at MBarnett@naesp.org.
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