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Study gauges value of technology in schools
The New York Times
With school districts rushing to buy computers, tablets, digital white boards and other technology, a new report questions whether the investment is worth it. In a review of student survey data conducted in conjunction with the federal exams known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the nonprofit Center for American Progress found that middle school math students more commonly used computers for basic drills and practice than to develop sophisticated skills. The report also found that no state was collecting data to evaluate whether technology investments were actually improving student achievement.
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School prayer: 50 years after the ban, God and faith more present than ever
The Christian Science Monitor
School prayer was banned by the U.S. Supreme Court 50 years ago, but there is probably more presence of religion in public school environments — through club ministries, classes, after-school and interfaith programs, and faith-based services — than ever.
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Study: Math requirements not aligned with Common Core in many states
The Washington Post
In a new sign that schools are not ready to fully embrace the Common Core State Standards, a report concludes that the large majority of states that have adopted the Core have not adjusted their math high school graduation requirements to meet the standards. The report, issued by Change the Equation and the National School Boards Association's Center for Public Education and called "Out of Sync: Many Common Core states have yet to define a Common Core-worthy diploma," found that 10 states plus the District of Columbia — out of the 45 that adopted the Core — have yet to align their math sequences of courses and graduation requirements to standards.
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Ready, set, read — Summer fiction ideas for kids of all ages
MindShift
Prevent summer brain drain: that's the reason many backpacks — most likely laying in the same places they were joyfully dropped on the last day of school — contain a rumpled, but hopefully not forgotten, summer reading list from school. Teachers and experts have long suggested that reading over summer break helps kids from losing everything they’ve learned over the school year. And new research shows that reading fiction especially might do more than serve kids academically — it may even make them better people.
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How to hold onto a kid's natural genius
MindShift
Progressive educators have long been pushing to develop curriculum and teaching methods that will help students build skills that will be useful outside the perimeter of school. President Barack Obama, legislators and dozens of business leaders have noted that the American education system isn't teaching young people to think critically or solve problems creatively — skills that will be needed for the jobs of the future.
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  • Virtual learning for little ones raises developmental questions
    Education Week
    Given that the youngest schoolchildren are part of the touch-screen generation, the question of whether they're too wet behind the ears for online learning has shifted to a more complex concern: making sure the technology they're using in school is developmentally appropriate. In the Kyrene school district in Tempe, Ariz., which serves 18,000 students in kindergarten through 8th grade, educators first look at what they want students to learn, then decide which, and whether, technology can best help.
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    Can digital games boost students' test scores?
    MindShift
    In the past few years, educators have been closely watching the evolution of digital games used for learning. With a huge influx of products — whether they're individual apps for tablets or an entire suite of software — the market is already big and continues to grow, with entire game-based schools cropping up across the country. There's no question students are interested in digital games — 97 percent of kids play them — but what educators and industry watchers want to know is whether playing those games can actually improve student achievement.
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    4 steps to close the achievement gap
    Principal (Commentary)
    Gail Connelly, NAESP Executive Director, writes: "Most educators agree that achievement gaps resulting from race and socioeconomic status are a moral imperative that we have a responsibility to address. We know that principals play a key role in closing achievement gaps. Research over the past 30 years shows that strong school leadership is second only to teaching among school influences on student success and is most significant in schools with the greatest need. As the role of the principal expands, and becomes more and more complex, it may help to keep a focus on four key things that principals can do to improve learning conditions for students and create a school culture that helps close the gap."
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    Rapid rise seen in use of digital tools for PD
    Education Week
    Teachers and principals are becoming increasingly comfortable using online tools to hone their professional skills, and are turning to options from social networking to Web-based classes to do so, a new nationwide survey reveals. The findings, which cover a lot of ground, were included in the Speak up 2012 survey, "From Chalkboards to Tablets: The Digital Conversion of the K-12 Classroom." Speak Up is an effort led by Project Tomorrow, a nonprofit group based in Irvine, Calif., that seeks to improve students' academic preparation through technology and other means.
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    Tech, education leaders talk STEM challenges
    Politico
    Education and tech leaders lauded the Obama administration's efforts to open the science, technology, engineering and math fields to more students — but said the resource challenges in underfunded schools remain a major hurdle. Tom Kalil, the White House's deputy director for technology and innovation, said the Obama administration's efforts include preparing and recruiting 100,000 new STEM teachers and opening opportunities to get more younger students interested in STEM.
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    The rise of education technology
    The Next Web
    The one-size-fits-all approach to education has never been more outdated or irrelevant. Now thanks to the transformative effects of technology, learning has become something that can be tailored and personalized to suit individual students' unique learning needs. Today's learners, from primary school children to university students, are early adopters who respond intuitively to technological innovation.
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    LEAD issues 5 digital learning recommendations
    eSchool News
    On the heels of President Barack Obama's ConnectED Initiative launch, the bipartisan Leading Education by Advancing Digital Commission released a five-point blueprint outlining specific actions to accelerate the expansion of K-12 digital learning. At the same time as the U.S. Department of Education and Federal Communications Commission noted a need to determine how technology can transform K-12 education, the LEAD Commission has for more than one year worked with more than 300 ed-tech thought leaders to identify barriers that currently hamper digital learning in the U.S., and the necessary steps to overcome those barriers.
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    Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword ConnectED.


    5 questions as NCLB reauthorization moves forward
    Education Week (commentary)
    Well, forwardish. There's going to be a lot more action in Congress this year than we've seen at any time since way back in 2001, when the No Child Left Behind Act passed and George W. Bush was president and "Friends" was the hottest sitcom and no one was tweeting NCLB markups because Twitter wouldn't be invented for five more years.
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    School prayer: 50 years after the ban, God and faith more present than ever
    The Christian Science Monitor
    School prayer was banned by the U.S. Supreme Court 50 years ago, but there is probably more presence of religion in public school environments — through club ministries, classes, after-school and interfaith programs, and faith-based services — than ever.

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    Students can learn by explaining, studies say
    Education Week
    Children are quick to ask "why?" and "how?" when it comes to new things, but research suggests elementary and preschool students learn more when teachers turn the questions back on them.

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    As standardized testing grows, parents opt out
    The Washington Post
    A decade into the school accountability movement, pockets of resistance to standardized testing are sprouting up around the country, with parents and students opting out of the high-stakes tests used to evaluate schools and teachers.

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    Duncan calls slow school Internet 'morally unacceptable'
    U.S. News & World Report
    Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asked cable companies to help boost technology in America's classrooms Wednesday, telling corporate officials slow internet speeds in schools are hurting kids in the classroom. "Most schools have about as much Internet bandwidth as your house," Duncan said during a conference in Washington, D.C. "We are denying our teachers and students the tools they need to be successful. That is educationally unsound and morally unacceptable." Speaking at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association's 2013 Cable Show, Duncan called on the industry to help accelerate a number of technological upgrades for classrooms, including moving textbooks from print to digital, creating more preschool programs and upgrading school networks to support broadband speeds up to 120 mbps.
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    CPS layoffs: More than 850 teachers and staffers handed pink slips by district
    The Huffington Post
    The worst fears of Chicago Public School teachers and staffers were confirmed when district officials announced it was laying off some 850 employees. "Given the historic financial crisis facing our District, next year's budget will not come without painful decisions, which is why we are making tough choices at central office in order to minimize impacts to our classrooms," said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett in a statement. "We will continue this work over the next several weeks to further identify reductions to central office spending to help close the District's $1 billion deficit and make sure that every dollar helps protect precious classroom funding."
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    More special-ed kids head to traditional schools
    San Jose Mercury News
    Los Angeles Unified will shift hundreds of disabled students from special-education centers to traditional schools this fall as it accelerates efforts to integrate youngsters with physical and developmental handicaps. The initiative calls for merging four special-education centers with nearby traditional schools and reconfiguring others, with more changes planned in the years ahead. In addition, all preschoolers who might previously have been enrolled in special-ed centers will start their schooling at traditional campuses instead.
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    Awesome Montana kids comfort shelter animals by reading to them
    The Huffington Post
    A group of awesome school children from Hamilton, Mont., regularly pass up play time to bring a little comfort to animals at their local shelter. Once a week, students from the Keystone to Discovery Enrichment program, a nonprofit summer and after-school project for behaviorally or academically at-risk youth, head to Bitter Root Humane Association to read to shelter animals that are waiting for adoption. The program not only gives the kids a chance to work on their reading skills, but also helps soothe the animals.
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    Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

        Debating iPads or Chromebooks for 1:1? Why not both? (THE Journal)
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    No Child Left Behind bill passes Senate committee, but no end in sight for recasting Bush law (The Huffington Post)
    Announcing the Principal Ambassador Fellowship (ED.gov Blog)
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    Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.




    Crayola grant deadline this Friday
    NAESP
    Strengthen arts education in your school with a 2013 Champion Creatively Alive Children grant. Crayola will award up to 20 grants, which include a $2,500 monetary award and $1000 worth of Crayola products. The deadline to apply is this Friday, June 21.
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    New opportunity for school leaders: Principal Ambassador Fellowship
    NAESP
    The U.S. Department of Education is looking for up to three of the nation's best and brightest principals for its inaugural Principal Ambassador Fellowship. Applications are now available for this part-time, year-long leadership opportunity. Principal Ambassadors are outstanding practicing principals with a record of leadership, strong communication skills and policy insight. The deadline for applications is July 16.
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