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Study: 7.5 million students miss a month of school each year
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On any given day, about 90 percent of USA students come to school — pretty good as attendance goes. But scratch beneath the surface and you may find less flattering figures. New research suggests that as many as 7.5 million students miss a month of school each year, raising the likelihood that they'll fail academically and eventually drop out of high school. The findings, from education researcher Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University, estimate that 10 percent to 15 percent of students nationwide are "chronically absent" from school, missing enough class time to be at "severe risk" of dropping out. More


Census: Minority babies are now majority in United States
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For the first time in U.S. history, most of the nation's babies are members of minority groups, according to new census figures that signal the dawn of an era in which whites no longer will be in the majority. Population estimates show that 50.4 percent of children younger than 1 last year were Hispanic, black, Asian American or in other minority groups. That's almost a full percentage point higher than the 49.5 percent of minority babies counted when the decennial census was taken in April 2010. Census Bureau demographers said the tipping point came three months later, in July. More

Gifted programs aim to regain budget toehold
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Dedicated programs for gifted students have lost their presence in the federal budget, leaving advocates and experts to defend legislation that lacks the support of the Obama administration and has been called ineffective and duplicative by members of Congress. The 24-year-old Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program has been cut in the past, but its cut a year ago has hit advocates for the gifted especially hard: They say they don't understand why the program has lost support at the same time the administration is calling for more innovation to keep the United States globally competitive and turn the economy around. More

The algebra problem
Harvard Education Letter    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's Crazy Hair Day at Marshall Elementary School in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood — which is perfect, because Tufts University researcher Bárbara Brizuela has brought a hat. In the stovepipe style and made from oaktag paper, the hat is one foot tall. Brizuela then asks, "If I'm five and a half feet tall, how tall will I be with the hat on?" Second-grader Jasmine, smiley in a pink sweatsuit, answers, "Six and a half feet." Rather than say, "Right!" Brizuela offers another question: "How do you know?" More

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Flipping for fitness
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Physical education teachers are often on the short end of the stick when it comes to technology innovations in school. When the battle of the bulge is fought every day in our schools, the conversations are usually more about removing the symptoms of childhood obesity, like limiting soda pop in vending machines and offering healthier school lunch options, than addressing the true cause of the problem–lack of overall physical activity. More

Playful games promote reading development
SciencesDaily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Short but intense training sessions in the form of structured language games from the age of four can stimulate children's early language development and may also make it easier for children to learn to read. Previous research has shown that children's reading development can be stimulated with structured and playful language games from the age of six. In a current three-year study, researchers at the University of Gothenburg are exploring the effects of having children as young as four participate in such games. More

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Should kindergarteners be allowed to evaluate teachers?
The Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At the tender age of 5 some kids are just learning how to spell "cat." In Georgia, though, 5-year-olds will soon be tasked with filling out surveys that could help determine which teachers get raises — or get fired. Under a pilot program, students from kindergarten and up will be asked whether their instructors know a lot about what they teach, and if they provide help when their pupils need it. The littlest ones will be guided through the process, circling smiley faces — or neutral or frowning ones — to indicate their opinions. Georgia is at the forefront of a movement to make student surveys part of teacher evaluations. But is the state going too far by making kindergartners part of such a high-stakes process? More


Students need a “bridge”between concrete activities, where most students understand, to abstract symbolic practice, where many students struggle. Take a look at three packaging options and videos for teachers and students. MORE

School-based health centers boost vaccination rates
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New research from the University of Colorado School of Medicine shows that school-based health centers are highly effective in delivering comprehensive care, especially vaccines, to adolescents. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, highlights the value of a 'captive audience' in a school setting where students can be easily reminded to get recommended vaccinations. More

The high stakes of standardized tests
CNN    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Standardized tests are nothing new in public schools. Chances are you filled out bubbles on an answer form at some point during your schooling. But for the past few years, scores from statewide tests in English and math have been used to determine which schools are doing a good job of educating students and which are "failing." Today, the test results count for more than just a letter grade for a school. Teachers in some states are now being labeled good or bad based on their students' scores. Welcome to the world of high-stakes standardized testing. More


Activist targeting schools, backed by big bucks
Reuters via Chicago Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
During her tumultuous three years at the head of the Washington D.C., public schools, Michelle Rhee set off a lot of fireworks. She's still doing it — on a national stage. Rhee has emerged as the leader of an unlikely coalition of politicians, philanthropists, financiers and entrepreneurs who believe the nation's $500 billion-a-year public education system needs a massive overhaul. She has vowed to raise $1 billion for her national advocacy group, StudentsFirst, and forever break the hold of teachers unions on education policy. More

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'Bully,' the documentary
Harvard Education Letter    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Schools and bullies are so closely linked that even young kids who feel threatened know to avoid unsupervised areas: school yards, locker rooms, stairwells, cafeterias, the school bus. The only problem is, of course, they can't. Now comes a documentary that will make even the most complacent adult feel the terror that school bullies can inspire. "Bully," which opened nationally April 13, offers a hard look at the kind of violent and emotional abuse many children face daily when they leave for school in the morning. More

Who will vet the textbooks of the future?
THE Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The best free show in Austin every November is a meeting of the Texas State Board of Education. That's the meeting each year that features hearings on proposed textbooks. Individuals from every end of the political, social and educational spectra — affectionately called the Wingnuts — testify to the quality of the textbooks proposed for adoption in the entire state. Because Texas is one of the country's largest single markets for textbooks, in the past the outcome of those hearings and the education board's deliberation have affected schools and students from Alaska to Alabama — but things are changing. More


Quit Facebook or be expelled, school says
The Sydney Morning Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A Queensland primary school principal is threatening to expel students aged under 13 who refuse to delete their Facebook accounts, in a bold bid to stamp out cyber bullying at her school. The policy has been applauded by cyber safety experts who say schools are grappling to deal with a surge in problems caused when children use social media sites designed for adults. Leonie Hultgren, the principal of Harlaxton State School in Toowoomba, Queensland, has explained the school's new policy in its latest newsletter. More

SLICE act would cut pizza-as-a-vegetable provision
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In response to congressional action last fall that allows a small amount of tomato paste to count as a serving of vegetables in school meals — and in turn making a slice of pizza the equivalent of a half-cup of broccoli on lunch trays — U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., introduced a bill that would put an end to the practice. More

Education Department issues guidelines for restraining, isolating disruptive students
iWatch News via The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In response to simmering concerns over reported abuses, the U.S. Department of Education issued multiple guidelines for how schools can avoid going overboard in restraining or isolating disruptive students. "As education leaders, our first responsibility must be to make sure that schools foster learning in a safe environment for all of our children and teachers," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement accompanying the release of "Restraint and Seclusion: Resource Document." More

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House panel takes a look at school choice, parent triggers
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Parent trigger laws have gotten a lot of attention lately — and they're about to get even more when the Hollywood version comes out later this year. The House subcommittee that oversees K-12 education got in on the act, exploring parent triggers, plus long-standing, oft-debated choice options for parents, including charter schools and school vouchers. More

All 15 Texas State Board of Education seats up for grabs
The Associated Press via New England Cable News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Next year, a debate as old as Darwin could be revived in Texas. The State Board of Education is scheduled to review science materials in summer 2013, when Amarillo attorney Marty Rowley, Amarillo Independent School District board president Anette Carlisle and a handful of other contenders for seats on the panel hope to stir anew efforts to kindle classroom discussion of alternatives to evolution. All that's certain is sentiments would be strong. More


Gov. Brewer vetoes bill making changes to online education
The Arizona Republic    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have enacted sweeping changes to the state's online-education system.The legislation would have made it easier for Arizona junior- and high-school students to take online courses, which likely would have pushed further growth in the system. The bill also would have boosted accountability by creating a master list of approved courses and a state ranking and evaluation of each course. In addition, Senate Bill 1259 would have required students to take final exams in online classes in the presence of another person to help prevent cheating. More

Schools adapt to Web's prevalence in education, students' lives
St. Cloud Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As more parts of our daily lives depend on user names and passwords, access to reliable broadband service is a growing need in education, affecting school districts' bottom lines as well as their ability to provide quality education. Broadband is being used in Minnesota schools for student testing, reports to the state, portals for parents to track their child's work and for students to take online classes, according to report from the Governor's Task Force on Broadband. Professional development for teachers is another area where broadband access can reduce costs. More

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Coming up Tuesday: Free webinar on program evaluation
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The NAESP/Solution Tree webinar series continues Tuesday, May 22, with Essentials for Principals: Effective Program Evaluation, presented by co-authors Mardale Dunsworth and Dawn Billings. They'll share strategies to address programs' strengths and weaknesses, and maximize collaboration and transparency in the process. Visit our webinar page for more on this series, and other upcoming sessions from NAESP. More

Apply for grant to support arts in your school
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Strengthen arts education in your school with a 2012 Champion Creatively Alive Children grant. Crayola will award up to 20 grants, which include a $2,500 monetary award and $500 worth of Crayola products. The deadline to apply is June 15. More

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