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States struggle to meet special education goals
Disability Scoop    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The nation is showing some signs of improvement in educating students with disabilities, though federal officials say nearly half of states continue to need help. For the 2010-2011 school year, 30 states met a series of goals for their special education programs, according to an analysis of new U.S. Department of Education ratings that was done by Education Week. That's up from 28 the year prior. Each year, the Education Department assesses how well states live up to their plans to meet the needs of students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. States are given one of four labels — "meets requirements," "needs assistance," "needs intervention" or "needs substantial intervention." More


Fitter middle school students scored better on math, reading tests, researchers find
WebMD    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Fitter kids do better on school tests, according to new research that echoes previous findings. The fitter the middle school students were, the better they did on reading and math tests, says researcher Sudhish Srikanth, a University of North Texas student. The researchers tested 1,211 students from five Texas middle schools. They looked at each student's academic self-concept — how confident they were in their abilities to do well — and took into account the student's socioeconomic status. They knew these two factors would play a role in how well the students did, Srikanth says. More

ACT to launch college and career testing for elementary school students
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Standardized testing is under increasing scrutiny, as proponents tout its potential for bringing accountability to education while opponents deride it as misguided and exhausting. How much testing is too much? How early is too early? Now, assessment provider ACT Inc. has announced plans to develop a "next generation" assessment system that would test students for college and career readiness as early as kindergarten and continue through high school. More

Bilingualism 'can increase mental agility'
ScienceDaily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Bilingual children outperform children who speak only one language in problem-solving skills and creative thinking, according to research led at the University of Strathclyde. A study of primary school pupils who spoke English or Italian — half of whom also spoke Gaelic or Sardinian — found that the bilingual children were significantly more successful in the tasks set for them. The Gaelic-speaking children were, in turn, more successful than the Sardinian speakers. More

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A child's emotional development can be influenced by speaking multiple languages
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On the classic TV show "I Love Lucy," Ricky Ricardo was known for switching into rapid-fire Spanish whenever he was upset, despite the fact Lucy had no idea what her Cuban husband was saying. These scenes were comedy gold, but they also provided a relatable portrayal of the linguistic phenomenon of code-switching. This kind of code-switching, or switching back and forth between different languages, happens all the time in multilingual environments, and often in emotional situations. More

Important facts to know about learning math
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
We've explored a variety of angles about different aspects of teaching and learning math — everything from stereotyping girls to how to deal with math anxiety to the importance of spatial thinking. Here are some helpful articles that examine the learning processes. More

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Researchers: Cyberbullying not as widespread, common as believed
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
While parents may spend more time worrying about their kids being terrorized by text, tweet, Facebook, or Formspring, new research suggests that cyberbullying "is a low-prevalence phenomenon, which has not increased over time and has not created many 'new' victims and bullies, that is, children and youth who are not also involved in some form of traditional bullying." The research, presented at the American Psychological Association convention, involved 450,490 students in 1,349 American schools surveyed between 2007 and 2010 and another 9,000 Norwegian students at 41 schools. It was intended to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions about cyberbullying. More

To increase learning time, some schools add days to academic year
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A typical public school calendar is 180 days, but the Balsz district in Arizona, where 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch, is in session for 200 days, adding about a month to the academic year. According to the National Center on Time and Learning, a nonprofit research group in Boston, about 170 schools — more than 140 of them charter schools — across the country have extended their calendars in recent years to 190 days or longer. More


Public skeptical of LIFO and online learning, Fordham survey finds
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
While members of the public may broadly support cost-cutting measures for schools and look suspiciously at budgetary decisions that protect teacher seniority, most want districts to avoid laying off not only teachers but also other education workers who work directly with students. Those findings come from a report published today by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington think tank, titled "How Americans Would Slim Down Public Education", based on 1,009 telephone interviews in March and with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. There were also four focus groups interviewed about the issues touched on in the report. More

Evaluate principals fairly
News Chief (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
School principals in Georgia have now been formally put in the same boat as teachers — they will be judged to a large extent on how well students perform — under new job descriptions written by the Polk County School District's central administration. State law now requires the replacement of principals and assistant principals at F schools, while also stepping up the pressure on administrators who schools received a D. More

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Can Twitter replace traditional professional development?
The Hechinger Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Twitter and Facebook might soon replace traditional professional development for teachers. Instead of enduring hours-long workshops a few times a year, teachers could reach out to peers on the Internet in real time for advice on things like planning a lesson (or salvaging a lesson that's going wrong), overcoming classroom management problems or helping students with disabilities. More


Study: Extended school year boosts scores for early learners
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A program that extends the school year for low-income students is getting positive results, and researchers say it could be a cost-effective alternative to mandatory retention policies advocated by Gov. Susana Martinez. A report by the Legislative Finance Committee's research staff examined data on about 26,000 New Mexico students who finished third grade in 2011. They looked at a number of questions related to early literacy, and one key finding was that students enrolled in the K-3 Plus program had higher test scores in reading, writing and math than students with similar demographics who were not enrolled. They also found positive results for students who took state-funded preschool. More

Carrots and sticks for school systems
The New York Times (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Education Secretary Arne Duncan has been pushing the states to create rigorous teacher evaluation systems that not only judge teachers by how well their students perform but also — when the results are in — reward good teachers while easing chronic low performers out of the system. More than half the states have agreed to adopt new evaluation systems in exchange for competitive grants from the federal Race to the Top program or greater flexibility under the No Child Left Behind law. More

Duncan discusses education reform, back-to-school changes
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A more well-rounded curriculum with less focus on a single test. Higher academic standards and more difficult classwork. Continued cuts to extracurricular and other activities because of the tough economy: Education Secretary Arne Duncan says these are some of the changes and challenges that children could notice as they start the new school year. Several significant reforms have taken place over the past three years. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core standards, a set of uniform benchmarks for math and reading. More

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New principal evaluations to focus on leadership, provide more accountability
The Ledger    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Florida school principals have been given a new assignment this school year: less management, more leadership. Principals will be evaluated under a new system that holds them more accountable for their students' achievements. "It is a paradigm shift from managing a school to leading a school toward success," said Cheryl Joe, the Polk County School District's director of professional development. "It also looks at the accountability of a school leader to increase student achievement through staff development and data analysis." More

Better schools through smarter testing
Los Angeles Times (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Despite the barrage of criticism that schools are spending increasing amounts of time testing our children and teachers are being forced to teach to the test, the reality is that testing is no fad. Initiatives like California's STAR test, the high school exit exam and Academic Performance Index, or API, scores are here to stay, and are likely to become even more pervasive in schools nationwide. But in the years ahead the way testing happens must change in a manner that will benefit our children and that parents are likely to embrace. More


Cellphones in the classroom: It's the law
KSLA-TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Cellphones in the classroom? It's now a state law. The new law makes it required curriculum for public schools starting in elementary, but some parents aren't so sure it has a place in the classroom. "It's sort of a double edged sword. On the one hand, it has provided a ton of information to our kids, but on the other hand it exposes them to individuals who are not well intended," said Domoine Rutledge, General Counsel for East Baton Rouge Schools in Louisiana. That's why the state legislature passed the law that requires public schools to make sure kids know what they're doing when they switch on those computers and cellphones. More

Compulsory school attendance may not be the answer
Examiner    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, he commented on five education topics important to his administration. He only asked for federal action on four of the issues, though. They included job training, teacher effectiveness, learning standards and college costs. The fifth topic was a request for states to increase the age for compulsory school attendance to the age of 18. Compulsory school attendance is an area that is strictly under state authority. Because of this, states have no incentive to act on federal recommendations. More

Education degree no longer needed to be school chief in Pennsylvania
Citizens Voice    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new law drops the requirement that prospective school chiefs have any experience in a classroom. There is no longer a need to be a teacher or principal or to have an education-related degree. That means area school districts will suddenly find a much larger pool of applicants for the top jobs. Supporters of the legislation say that the new requirements, including business and finance experience, are what a school chief needs in the time of unprecedented budget cuts. To be a school district chief, the law previously required a person to have a Letter of Eligibility, issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. To receive that letter, the person had to complete a graduate-level program of educational administrative study, which consisted of two full academic years. More

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Idaho schools still waiting on education waiver
The Associated Press via Idaho Press-Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When a handful of states revolted against the No Child Left Behind education program last year, Idaho was helping lead the charge. So why is the state now among those last in line for a federal waiver to get out from under the law's toughest requirements? State education officials, who applied for a waiver in February, contend the new five-star rating system they've proposed as an alternative to No Child Left Behind is unique and relies on more student data than plans proposed in other states that have already won waiver approval. They've also been working with the federal government since April to address concerns about Idaho's new accountability plan. More

Middle school student designs app for school district
The Journal Gazette    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Fort Wayne Community Schools in Indiana got a great bargain this year by having one of its own students design something that other districts spend thousands of dollars to produce: a free mobile app. Chance McKibben, a 14-year-old at Blackhawk Middle School, created a mobile app for the district that can be used on iPhones, iPads, Androids and other mobile devices. After downloading the app, people can use it to check school supply lists, calendars, lunch menus, grades and more. More


Are you a connected educator?
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Connected Educator Month is in full swing. It celebrates the power of online communities to transform teaching and learning. More than 60 national education organizations (including NAESP), communities and companies have joined forces to sponsor a slew of online activities, from forums to webinars to contests. More

Webinar: Technology and the Common Core
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On Thursday, Aug. 9, join NAESP for a free webinar on using technology to support Common Core teaching and learning. Lynn Nolan of the International Society for Technology in Education and principal Betsy Goeltz will examine the intersections between technology and Common Core planning, instructional strategies and assessment. Visit NAESP's webinar page for more upcoming presentations, including a series on school improvement. More


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