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Leaving no school behind: Can bad ones be turned around?
USA Today
The Obama administration has long supported charter school startups, but now aims to invest about $3 billion in those begging for improvement. Some critics say that strategy is bound to fail. In 2002, educator Ryan Hill opened his dream school with all of 80 students, four teachers and one office manager. "I was there till midnight every single night," he said. "It was really hard." Like many startups, the Newark, N.J., middle school started with a single grade level and grew by adding a grade each fall.
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Study confirms link between school climate and violence
Medical News Today
A meta-analysis of independent studies reporting a relationship between school climate and school violence showed a moderate negative relationship between students' perception of school climate and violence. The results of this analysis, published in the April edition of the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior, show that there is a relationship between school climate and violence. The analysis concludes that changes in the school environment could probably reduce the appearance of violent behavior.
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Science standards are true to NRC framework, reviewers conclude
Education Week
A panel of reviewers convened by the National Research Council has concluded that the final Next Generation Science Standards issued are consistent with an NRC framework document that sought to guide their development. This "fidelity check" had long been planned to provide some assurance that the 26 lead states and their partners who set out to write the standards did not stray from the vision for science education articulated in the framework, according to Heidi Schweingruber, the deputy director of the congressionally chartered NRC's Board on Science Education.
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Parents complain about math placement
The News and Observer
Educators in Wake County, N.C., and across the state touted the new Common Core math curriculum introduced this school year as being more rigorous — challenging even the brightest students. But several Wake County parents of academically gifted students say the new math curriculum has fallen short of testing their children. Now these families are upset about having to rush through a last-minute process to make their children eligible to take a seventh-grade math course that will be offered to some gifted sixth-grade students this fall.
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Delays predicted in Common Core success
Cinncinnati.com
There's good news and bad news about the rise of the Common Core. The good news: the Common Core's tougher tests and higher standards in most grades will likely push teachers and students to stretch further academically than they would have under current academic standards. But there's bad news: Even in the most optimistic light, it may take five years or more before high schools enjoy higher graduation rates.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    States pull back from Common Core (U.S. News & World Report)
Is the Common Core initiative in trouble? (The Washington Post)
Sorting kids at school: the return of ability grouping (Desert News)
Testing consortium releases draft accommodations policy (Education Week)
Common Core testing will require digital literacy skills (eSchool News)

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iPads soar in popularity among K-12 schools
eSchool News
Desktop and laptop PCs still dominate in schools, but iPads already are the second most widely used ed-tech devices in K-12 classrooms just three years after their introduction in 2010, according to an informal survey of educators by the ed-tech company Netop. What's more, the survey reveals a dramatic shift in spending toward iPads next year, with 57 percent of educators saying their schools plan to invest in iPads for the 2013-2014 school year.
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Teachers: Ed-tech boosts students' abilities, self-sufficiency
eSchool News
Technology's potential to aid teaching and learning when properly implemented and used is widely agreed upon, and teachers say that ed-tech has the potential to both positively and negatively impact students' learning. A new infographic from Teacher Portal chronicles the emergence of ed-tech in today's K-12 classrooms. Teachers said that ed-tech tools offer numerous advantages and can help boost student learning and engagement.
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Writing and learning in the digital age
U.S. Department of Education
Teachers today face a number of challenges as they design writing instruction for their students in our new digital world. Not only must educators adapt the writing process to an increasingly diverse population of students, they must also adopt the best methods to employ new technological tools and integrate this knowledge into a complex learning environment. In response to this challenge, the National Writing Project launched the Digital Is website in 2010 to provide a forum for teachers to share and engage with other educators in the field of digital writing.
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Childhood bullying risk increased by poor parenting
Medical News Today
Children who are exposed to negative parenting — including abuse and neglect but also overprotection — are more likely to experience childhood bullying by their peers, according to a meta-analysis of 70 studies of more than 200,000 children. The research, led by the University of Warwick and published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect, found the effects of poor parenting were stronger for children who are both victims and perpetrators of bulling (bully-victims) than children who were solely victims.
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Can computers really grade essay tests?
The Washington Post
Can computers really grade essay tests? The National Council of Teachers of English say "no," even if there is new software that says "yes." New software described in this New York Times story allows teachers to leave essay grading to the computer. It was developed by EdX, the nonprofit organization that was founded jointly by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and that will give the software to other schools for free. The story says that the software "uses artificial intelligence to grade student essays and short written answers."
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Why don't schools embrace good ideas?
The Huffington Post (commentary)
Michael J. Petrilli, executive vice president at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, writes: "If you asked me that question fifteen years ago, I would have given a pat answer: incentives, or the lack thereof. In our bureaucratic education system, described most accurately as a public monopoly, nobody faced strong incentives to look for ways to build a better mousetrap. And if that mousetrap was threatening to anyone (as mousetraps tend to be), forget about it; the status quo ruled."
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Civil rights groups to Arne Duncan: Reject districts' NCLB waiver bid
Education Week
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, eight civil rights groups are urging him to reject the petition by nine California districts that want their own tailor-made No Child Left Behind waiver. The CORE waiver request, submitted after California was unsuccessful in getting a statewide waiver, is undergoing a peer review at the federal level. U.S. Department of Education officials have said they want to let these California districts (who go by California Office to Reform Education) know by later this spring whether their request has been granted.
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'A Nation at Risk': How much of 'apocalyptic' education report still applies?
The Christian Science Monitor
It wasn't the first report calling into question the quality of American public schools, but 30 years ago Friday, "A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Education Reform" sounded an alarm that continues to resonate. Touted by President Ronald Reagan, the 1983 report spoke of "a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people." Using imagery popular at the time because of the nuclear arms race, it said the United States had been "committing an act of unthinking unilateral educational disarmament." And it noted that schools must better serve the whole population — "affluent and poor, majority and minority" — lest people become "effectively disenfranchised."
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School safety legislation since Newtown, Conn., shooting
Education Week
After the devastating school shootings in Newtown, Conn., in December, state lawmakers around the country vowed to act. The mission: Devise ways to prevent a similar tragedy. They came up with hundreds of possible strategies. An Education Week analysis of nearly 400 bills related to school safety filed in the days, weeks and months after the deadliest K-12 school shooting in U.S. history found that legislators have proposed solutions that include arming teachers, adding guards or police officers, and shoring up the security of school buildings.
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Surgeon General tastes healthy schools' recipe in Chicago
ED.gov Blog (commentary)
Everyone wants healthy school environments, but limited funding, space and time can challenge robust plans. The Healthy Schools Campaign has helped some Chicago schools build innovative partnerships and strong parental support to work around those issues, and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin got a taste of the results during a recent visit to Chicago's Nathanael Green Elementary School.
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Study confirms link between school climate and violence
Medical News Today
A meta-analysis of independent studies reporting a relationship between school climate and school violence showed a moderate negative relationship between students' perception of school climate and violence.

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read more
Survey finds rising job frustration among principals
Education Week
A new national survey finds that three out of four K-12 public school principals, regardless of the types of schools they work in, believe the job has become "too complex," and about a third say they are likely to go into a different occupation within next five years.

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States pull back from Common Core
U.S. News & World Report
Lawmakers in some states hope to halt the transition to the Common Core State Standards, even as school districts across the country are rolling them out.

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Bill would ensure free breakfast for Texas' poorest students
The Texas Tribune
Many students at Arnoldo Cantu Sr. Elementary School in San Juan, a Rio Grande Valley town just east of McAllen, Texas, do not have much. The Texas Education Agency estimates that 89 percent of the students in the school's district are from low-income households. But every morning, all of the school's 927 students can count on a federally subsidized breakfast. Offering free breakfasts to all interested students in low-income areas, not just to those who qualify under federal guidelines, is a program that some state legislators are trying to expand to schools in poor neighborhoods across Texas.
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Montgomery hopes 'Innovation Schools' will help close achievement gaps
The Washington Post
Low-performing Montgomery County, Md., schools slated to get individual case-management help from central office administrators will be called "Innovation Schools" as part of the district's newest initiative aimed at closing achievement gaps, school officials said. The new program is not intended to replace the existing Focus Schools model, officials said at a Board of Education meeting.
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California district credits professional development for test score improvement
The Fallsbrook Village News
The Fallbrook, Calif., Union Elementary School District board of directors was recently presented with the School Accountability Report Cards regarding the 2011-2012 academic year. Eric Forseth, assistant superintendent of educational services, stated that there have been some initial signs that were very positive, especially in regards to student academic achievement. He believes that the directive for professional development and interactive instruction has "without question" had a tremendous impact on school success.
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Maryland board approves school safety guidelines
The Baltimore Sun
In the wake of the deadly bombings in Boston and the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, the Maryland State Board of Education approved new emergency planning guidelines meant to help local school systems better prepare for disaster. "It's very timely that we're here today, given the events that occurred last week," said Chuck Buckler, executive director of the student services and strategic planning branch of the Maryland State Department of Education.
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MSU prof: Teachers aren't equipped to put new science standards into practice
Michigan Public Media
A Michigan State University professor says most teachers aren't ready to implement new science standards planned by the state. The Michigan Department of Education says a plan called "Next Generation Science Standards" will provide more depth to students. MSU education professor Suzanne Wilson disagrees.
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Utahns can say goodbye to fill-in-the-bubble tests
The Salt Lake Tribune
In the future, Utah parents will tell their incredulous children about the days of pay phones, VCRs and dial-up Internet. Fill-in-the-bubble tests in schools will soon join that list. Across Utah, students are facing their last Criterion Referenced Tests, multiple-choice assessments, taken by computer for the past couple of years. Next spring, they'll see a new computer testing system called SAGE (Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence) — which adapts to their strengths and weaknesses.
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Maine public schools to be assigned letter grades
Portland Press Herald
Instead of handing out report cards, school officials will get grades themselves, as the Maine Department of Education announces A-through-F grades for Maine's 600 public schools. The first report card has yet to land, but the plan was already drawing criticism from Democratic legislative leaders and school officials.
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World Book Day grabs students' attention at CMS
Cleveland Daily Banner
"Welcome to World Book Day," said Sandy Farlow, Cleveland Middle School English teacher, to the young students entering the auditorium. "To your left as you walk in is an orange table. That is where you can sign up to win 'The Lightning Thief' ..." World Book Day is a component of CMS' larger reading initiative. "Our initiative is to have books in every classroom, in every subject," Farlow said. "Hopefully, they will have a book they can steal a couple of minutes to read."
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Vote today — NAESP election closes April 30
NAESP
NAESP's election closes Tuesday, April 30. Eligible NAESP members will elect a new president-elect as well as directors for Zones 3, 4 and 6. Electronic ballots are available on the NAESP website — but you will need to log in to access the ballot, which is members-only content. Visit the NAESP election page for candidate information and instructions for logging in.
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Deadline Tuesday for NAESP's Dissertation Competition
NAESP
Here's your chance to share your dissertation research and win up to $1000. NAESP is offering the first Elementary School Dissertation Competition, open to doctoral students who have completed and successfully defended their dissertation between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. But hurry — the deadline for competition applications is April 30.
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