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States face challenges when it comes to school reform
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With a renewed focus on student achievement and school reform, many state education agencies find themselves under pressure to change operations and show positive results, and a new report gives several suggestions for how state education leaders can work within their states, and with the federal government, to effect change. More

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New Race to Top spurs concerns about testing preschoolers
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The proposed assessment requirements for the new Race to the Top early-learning competition are sparking concerns from some preschool advocates, who fear the provisions could lead to high-stakes testing of young children and unfair accountability measures imposed on educators. More



US students' low math test proficiency could have consequences for GDP
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
U.S. students rank poorly in proficiency on both domestic and international math exams, a problem that could cost the country $75 trillion over 80 years, according to a new study. U.S. students fall behind 31 countries in math proficiency and behind 16 countries in reading proficiency, according to the report released Wednesday, titled "Globally Challenged: Are U.S. Students Ready to Compete?" More

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Days spent reading to dogs during summer may help avoid decline of reading skills
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Second-graders who read aloud to a canine over the summer seem to maintain their reading skills during the dog days of summer, according to a study by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. In the study, published in a whitepaper on the school's website, second-grade students with a range of reading aptitudes and attitudes toward reading were paired with dogs — or people — and asked to read aloud to them once a week for 30 minutes in the summer of 2010. More

Report: 'Academic vocabulary' lessons boost reading skills
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The meanings behind academic vocabulary words can take longer to understand than common nouns and adjectives for many young students, particularly non-native English speakers. Often complex and intangible concepts, these words are generally not used in everyday conversation but they may be scattered throughout textbooks and scholarly articles, making those readings that much more difficult for students to grasp. More


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Schools restore fresh cooking to the cafeteria
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
The idea of making school lunches better and healthier has gathered steam in many parts of the nation in recent years, but not equally for every child. Schools with money and involved parents concerned about obesity and nutrition charged ahead, while poor and struggling districts, overwhelmed by hard times, mostly did not. In Greeley, Colo., where 60 percent of the 19,500 students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, is trying to break the mold. More

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Poll: Americans love teachers but split over teachers' unions
The Christian Science Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, have at least a few things they can agree on in education reform, according to a new poll released: They have confidence in teachers — and believe the nation should be doing its utmost to recruit and encourage good ones — and they want more choice in what public schools or charters their children can attend. More

Kids with nut allergies feel teased, excluded
Health.com via CNN    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Amanda Santos wanted to send her 5-year-old daughter, Skylar, to a small private school. But after they interviewed, met the teachers and submitted Skylar's medical records, they never heard back from the school, despite repeated inquiries. Santos, who lives in Fairhaven, Mass., can't say for sure why communication was cut off so abruptly, but she's convinced that Skylar's severe nut allergy was an issue. More

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Survey suggests Americans support teachers, but not online education
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New poll results from Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup reveal that the American public has an overall positive outlook on its children's schools, although poll respondents seem to oppose online learning. More

Kids urged to take steps to avoid spreading illness at school
HealthDay News via U.S.News & World Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As the new school year approaches, pediatricians are reminding parents and kids that children with contagious infections, such as strep throat, should stay home from school and receive the appropriate treatment. According to the experts from the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., strep throat is just one of several common childhood illnesses that could spread easily if parents and children do not take the proper precautions. More

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Should educators visit student homes?
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The new chief of the Chicago public schools, Jean-Claude Brizard, suggested recently that teachers visit the homes of their students. Many people reacted to that badly, as math teacher Jason Kamras's principal did when Kamras dropped in on his students' apartments near Sousa Middle School in Southeast Washington. The Sousa principal feared for his young teacher's safety in a high-crime area. Kamras, however, found the visits invaluable. He understood his students better. Parents were more supportive. Now a D.C. schools official, Kamras is one of many educators who think unannounced visits can be worth the risk. More



No Child Left Behind debate centers on federalism
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Much has been said about the ineffectiveness of No Child Left Behind, the sweeping, decade-old federal education law that uses student performance on standardized tests as the barometer for academic achievement. Standards mandated by the law were supposed to increase school accountability on a national scale, but they are now often criticized for unfairly penalizing underperforming schools. More

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Arne Duncan on Rick Perry's education record
EducationWeek (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan feels "very, very badly" for the children in Texas, where Republican Gov. Rick Perry has pushed through policies that have raised class sizes and cut funding, according to an interview Duncan gave on Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital With Al Hunt." More

Obama 'No Child' waiver proposals rile conservative
U.S.News & World Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama administration's announced No Child Left Behind waivers are drawing suspicion and fire from the right as states wait to hear what conditions the waivers will require. Since Congress hasn't overhauled the nation's key education policy, which has been overdue for reauthorization since 2007 and is now widely considered out of date and "onerous" — the most common word used to describe its requirements — Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that he will move forward with granting waivers to states from the law's key provisions "in return for reform." More

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Mayor Emanuel secures $5 million for CPS principals' merit pay
Chicago Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made principal recruitment, training and evaluation a centerpiece of his overhaul of Chicago Public Schools and has secured $5 million in private donations to help boost salaries for the city's best-performing principals. Figuring out which measurements should be used to determine the city's "best-performing" principals is a matter of considerable debate, however, and will be a thorny issue for CPS leaders and the mayor as they launch a program they're calling the most far-reaching of its kind in the U.S. More

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Judge blocks Indiana-mandated teacher contract
The Associated Press via The Republic    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A judge blocked the Indiana Department of Education from using new teacher contract forms that would have allowed school districts to change the hours or days that teachers work without adjusting their pay. The Indiana State Teachers Association union requested the preliminary injunction, arguing that the forms violated state law and the rights of teachers. More

Minnesota takes a step toward providing the evaluations teachers want and need
Minnesota Public Radio (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Minnesotans would probably be surprised to learn many of our public school teachers go years without an evaluation. That's a disservice to students and the teachers themselves, and it's about to change. One important and positive element of the newly passed education law is that Minnesota will now require annual evaluations of all public school teachers. More

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Montana reaches 'No Child' compromise
U.S.News & World Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Montana reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education to lower the yearly targets for math and reading stipulated by No Child Left Behind, the law that requires students in the public education system to be "proficient" in reading and math. The deal will allow the state's schools to receive federal education funding, which was in jeopardy because many were expected to miss benchmark targets. More



Congratulations to the Class of 2011 National Distinguished Principals!
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
Each year, NAESP celebrates the contributions of 62 outstanding principals from across the country. Read about this year's class, which will be honored in a special program this October in Washington, D.C. More

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Webinars serve up school nutrition know-how
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The School Nutrition Foundation's 2011-2012 Webinar Wednesday series kicks off this month with two free webinars on new proposed meal patterns. The first, "Menu Changes to Meet the New Proposed Meal Patterns" will be held Wednesday, August 24, followed by "Understanding the Proposed Meal Patterns" on Wednesday, Aug. 31. For more information and to register, visit the School Nutrition Foundation webinar website. 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.

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