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Confidence in US public schools at record low
The Associated Press via Yahoo News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new poll says that confidence in U.S. public schools has dropped to the lowest level in nearly four decades. Twenty-nine percent of those questioned in a Gallup poll said they had a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in public schools. Forty percent had some confidence while 30 percent expressed little or none. When Gallup first measured confidence in public schools in 1973, 58 percent reported having a strong belief in the country's educational system. Since then, that number has steadily tracked downward. The survey released Wednesday also found record lows in public confidence in churches or organized religion, banks and television news. More

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Charter schools still enroll fewer disabled students
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Charter schools in most states continue to enroll proportionately fewer students with disabilities than traditional public schools, a new government report shows. Across the country, disabled students represented 8.2 percent of all students enrolled during the 2009-10 year in charter schools, compared with 11.2 percent of students attending traditional public schools, according to a Government Accountability Office analysis of Department of Education data. More



American Medical Association wants obesity education taught in schools, soda taxes
The Associated Press via CBS News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The American Medical Association wants schools to include a yearly curriculum aimed at preventing obesity for public school kids and teens. The nation's largest professional society of doctors agreed to support legislation that would require classes that taught the causes, consequences and prevention of obesity for first- through 12th-graders. Doctors will be encouraged to volunteer their time to help with that under the new policy adopted on the final day of the AMA's annual policymaking meeting. More

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Study aims to identify predictors of physical activity in children
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
How much time do young children spend being physically active compared with being sedentary? Do these children meet the recommended 60 minutes/day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity? The findings may surprise you. Children ages 8 to 10 spend more than 80 percent of their waking hours in sedentary behavior, according to a study published in PLoS One, and only 4 percent of their time engaging in MVPA. The MVPA percentage equates to roughly 20-25 minutes/day, which is less than half the daily recommended amount from the American Academy of Pediatrics. More

Hands-on science exams reveal students' skills
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
To get a better understanding of how well students can solve complex problems and apply science to real-life scenarios, the National Assessment for Education Progress recently used hands-on experiments as a way to test fourth-, eighth- and 12th-grade students, and found that this kind of assessment gives a much more accurate reflection of student comprehension. Results from a 2009 round of testing called "The Nation's Report Card Science in Action: Hands-On and Interactive Computer Task," examined 6,000 students — 2,000 at each grade level — from across the country. More


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How districts create community connections with social media
THE Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
These days you'd be hard-pressed to find a public school district anywhere in America that hasn't made technology an integral part of its strategy for enhancing classroom learning. But when it comes to harnessing the power of technology to communicate with constituents — not just parents and students, but all members of a community — many are lacking. That is beginning to change, as more districts realize that in an era of constrained budgets, communicating in a clear and engaging way with stakeholders about everything from the district's overall education vision to scholastic and extracurricular success stories can go a long way toward enlisting broad community support, financial and otherwise. More

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6 lingering obstacles to using technology in schools
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Though educators are finding smart ways to integrate technology and learning, the road has been and continues to be challenging on multiple fronts. The "NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition," a collaboration between the New Media Consortium, the Consortium for School Networking and the International Society for Technology in Education, takes the birds-eye view and encapsulates some of the significant challenges that must still be addressed. Behind the challenges listed here is also a pervasive sense that local and organizational constraints are likely the most important factors in any decision to adopt — or not to adopt — a given technology. Even K-12 institutions that are eager to adopt new technologies may be constrained by school policies, the lack of necessary human resources and the financial wherewithal to realize their ideas. More

Laptops, personalized learning replace lectures in schools
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Last year, Kim Crosby spent about 80 percent of her class time teaching math concepts at Waukesha STEM Academy in Wisconsin. For the other 20 percent, she helped students individually. This year, that time was reversed: 80 percent of her class time was spent moving from student to student; about one-fifth continued to be a standard lecture format. The rest of the direct-instruction materials she wanted students to see, she assigned them to watch or read at home. More


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The enlightened classroom
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Solar power has long been touted for its environmental impact. But now it has a new role: saving teachers' jobs. School districts across the country are turning to solar power to cut their electricity costs. With the money they're saving, they are able to retain more teachers and programs in the face of budget cuts. As a bonus, some schools are using solar installations to teach kids about renewable energy. More

As online education spreads, new studies question its effects on students
The Hechinger Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Online education for K-12 students spread rapidly in the United States this year, aided by new technologies and ideas such as "flipped classrooms," according to a study. But the extent to which new technologies and approaches might raise student achievement remains unclear. A second study questions whether the net result will be positive. The New Media Consortium — a group of education technology leaders who study the role of tech in schools — published the first study, its yearly K-12 Horizon Report naming the top six technological trends that are changing the field of education. More

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Obama push on mandatory attendance age stalls in states
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Various news outlets are highlighting an Associated Press report that despite President Barack Obama's call for states to raise their compulsory school attendance age to 18 in his State of the Union speech at the start of the year, officials in all but one state responded with an implicit, "No thanks." In his Jan. 24 address, Obama specifically called on states "to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18," saying that it would directly lead to more high school students earning diplomas. More


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School funding practices unfair across states, National Report Card finds
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A Tennessee student receives less than 40 percent of the funding received by a similar student in Wyoming, according to a new report that assesses the equity of school funding across the country. The report found that only 17 states have progressive funding systems, according to which the state allocates greater funding to districts buckling under poverty. Utah, New Jersey, Ohio and Minnesota are the most progressive states. Six states have regressive funding systems, in which richer school districts receive more state dollars. Illinois is the most regressive state, followed by North Carolina, Alabama, Michigan, Texas and Colorado. More

Senate panel would allow use of after-school funds for extended day
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Should states and schools be able to use federal dollars originally aimed at after-school and summer learning programs to add extra time to the school day? The Senate appropriations committee says yes — in fact, lawmakers there recently passed a bill that allows states to do just that. Under the proposal, which has not yet been put forward in the U.S. House of Representatives, states could allow schools to use money from the $1.15 billion 21st Century Community Learning Centers program to add "significant" time to the school schedule. More

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Study shows half of school districts have a year's worth of cash in Illinois
Chicago Sun Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
More than half of Illinois' 800-plus school districts have more than one year's worth of operating cash on hand, suggesting some downstate and suburban school systems might be able to shoulder part of the funding burden for educators' pensions. Those numbers from the State Board of Education were released as Gov. Pat Quinn and the four legislative leaders prepare for a round of late-week negotiations on a package to help solve Illinois' $83 billion pension crisis. More

Pennsylvania must play catch-up on kindergarten
Patriot-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It is hard to fathom a child starting school at age 8 and even more difficult to imagine her not ever attending kindergarten. Yet in Pennsylvania, there is no requirement for children to begin school until age 8 and even worse, there is no mandate that a district must provide kindergarten. More


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Gov. Cuomo, lawmakers agree on cyberbullying bill requiring school officials to respond to reports
The Associated Press via New York Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Students in New York will learn the potentially deadly hazards of cyberbullying and school officials will be mandated to respond to the earliest reports of it, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders, who agreed Saturday to a bill on the subject. The bill defines cyberbullying as harassment, insults, taunting and threats through social media. More

Cursive slowly scribbled out of New Jersey curriculums as computer skills gain value in schools
The Star-Ledger    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The bulletin board at the front of Melissa Balzano's classroom in West Orange, N.J., is decorated with hand-written lists her students wrote in September, expressing their "Hopes and Dreams for Third Grade." For at least half the children in Balzano's class at Mount Pleasant Elementary School, learning cursive topped the list. More



Midcoast children offered free meals this summer
Bangor Daily News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Many children in the midcoast get two meals a day from their schools through the free and reduced lunch program. When the summer comes and backpacks get shoved in the closet until September, that security of having regular meals vanishes. A program in Warren, Damariscotta and Waldoboro will provide meals to any child who wants one throughout the summer. From September through June, the Miller School in Waldoboro serves about 70 percent of its students free and reduced-price breakfast and lunches. The school also has a program that gives students free fresh fruits and vegetables that they can take home. "In the summer many of them go hungry. This will be a great program for them," said Julia Levensaler, Miller School principal. More

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Arts education grant application due today
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Don't miss this chance to strengthen the arts 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 has been extended to Friday, June 22. More

Catch up on Principal's hottest articles
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Summer offers you the perfect time to catch up on the topics from the magazine you might have missed this year and in years past. Between relaxing on the beach and teeing off on the golf course, pencil in time to peruse our "best of the best" article list, featuring some of the most popular and most-clicked-on pieces from the online version of the magazine. 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.
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
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