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Some school districts are waiting on spending federal aid
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As schools handed out pink slips to teachers this spring, states made a beeline to Washington to plead for money for their ravaged education budgets. But now that the federal government has come through with $10 billion, some of the nation's biggest school districts are balking at using their share of the money to hire teachers right away. More

US schools chief endorses release of teacher data
The Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that parents have a right to know if their children's teachers are effective, endorsing the public release of information about how well individual teachers fare at raising their students' test scores. "What's there to hide?" Duncan said in an interview. More



New California school will focus curriculum on the learning styles of boys
The San Francisco Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A California all-boys school opening will focus on boys' learning styles by giving them tools on the first day of school, allowing them to move around and encouraging them to explore. On their first day of school, the boys will begin to build their desks. "We're going to allow them to make mistakes, experiment, be a little disorganized," said headmaster Jason Baeten. "It's going to be messy, but we think they'll fall in love with school." More

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Studies show why students study is as important as what they study
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a review of more than 100 studies from the U.S. and across the globe, Chris Watkins, Institute reader in education at the University of London, ties the current discussion over how to teach modern critical thinking and problem-solving skills back to the decades-old discussion of students' motivation in the classroom. More



Portland, Maine, principals tightening their belts
The Portland Press Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Principals and teachers in Portland, Maine say they will pinch every penny this year and continue to seek help from various sources in the community. Maine education officials warned superintendents last month that a state funding curtailment is likely this year because Maine's two-year budget faces a $100 million revenue shortfall. They didn't say exactly how much each district could lose, and it could be months before that information is available. More

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Chicago Public Schools unveils push for healthier school meals
The Chicago Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
During the last school year, most Chicago Public Schools did not offer recess, regular nutrition classes or more than 40 minutes of physical education a week. Most also served few whole grains and healthy vegetables. But they did use other foods as rewards and fundraisers. High schools sold sports drinks in machines and nachos and fries as daily lunches. Any one of these factors would knock a school out of contention for "gold" recognition through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's HealthierUS School Challenge program. But Chicago Public Schools and a consortium of supporters vowed to get at least 100 schools in compliance over the next three years. More



Commentary: K-12 stimulus — Exposing the myth of 160,000 teachers jobs
Hawaii Reporter    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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The Federal Education Jobs Fund that gives the states $10 billion for K-12 education to crate or save 160,000 teacher jobs is a hoax. First, in most states any teacher due to be laid off for the 2010-2011 academic year had to receive a notice in the spring, approximately six months ago. In many cases these teachers have already been rehired. For example, in Washington state, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said the bill would save 3300 jobs, but in fact only 445 teachers received layoff notices and many, if not most, have already been rehired. More

Unions' tactics diverge in engaging Obama agenda
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Forced into an uneasy balancing act between their members and the president they helped elect, the national teachers' unions are responding to the Obama administration's teacher-effectiveness agenda in notably different ways. Publicly at least, National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel has hewed closely to the union's internal policy statements on such matters as embedding student learning into policies on teacher evaluation and pay. But the heads of the union's state affiliates have taken sundry positions on initiatives such as the federal Race to the Top competition, with some participating in the shape of their states' bids for the $4 billion initiative and others opposing them outright. More

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Congress to investigate school turnaround companies
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Questions have been raised about some of the companies chasing the $3.5 billion in Title I School Improvement Grants to target the bottom 5 percent of America's schools, and now Congress is jumping in the act. As The New York Times pointed out in a recent story, some of the companies certified by states as school turnaround partners have no experience actually improving the fortunes of low-performing schools—or any school, for that matter. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who chairs the House Education and Labor Committee, announced that he will hold hearings to look into who's in line to get this money and if they are qualified for the job. More



Federal money to save jobs is too late for some teachers
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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The $322 million in federal aid available to save teaching jobs in Georgia — part of a national package for the states. For teachers in transition, the start of the new school year has been a bittersweet reminder of the jobs they lost. Some educators are still looking for work. A few are finding themselves in fields they never would have dreamed of in college. For others, it has been an adjustment or a change in mission as they switch from public school to parochial or private school to keep a steady paycheck and peace of mind. More

Idaho to bolster middle school credit requirements
Idaho State Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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Idaho will start keeping score in middle school, requiring students in seventh and eighth grades to complete at least 80 percent of their class credits before they advance to the next grade. Until now, students did not have to pass those grades to continue onto high school. More

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No charges in Philadelphia school laptop-spying case
The Associated Press via USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Federal prosecutors will not file charges against a Philadelphia school district or its employees over the use of software to remotely monitor students. U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger says investigators have found no evidence of criminal intent by Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania or its employees who activated tracking software that took thousands of webcam and screenshot images on school-provided laptops. More

Former governors prod states on digital education
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Two former governors of Florida and West Virginia with longstanding interests in education policy unveiled an effort intended to encourage states to more deeply weave current and future technology innovations into public education. In a press release, Governors Jeb Bush and Bob Wise say that the newly-formed Digital Learning Council will move digital learning to the forefront of education and away from the "niche role" they believe digital learning plays today. More

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Union leader says parents should know teachers' ratings
The Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The head of the American Federation of Teachers said that she believed parents have a right to know how well their children's teachers are rated on employee evaluations, but strongly disagreed with The Times' decision to publish data showing how individual teachers may have influenced the standardized test scores of students. Such data should be considered only as part of a well-rounded evaluation of a teacher's performance, Randi Weingarten said, and then should be available only to the teacher, his or her principal and individual parents. It is wrong, she said, to make such information widely available to the public. More

Technology is being used to improve struggling Arizona school
KVOA- TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A struggling Arizona middle school is incorporating more technology into lessons as part of a turnaround effort. Using state grant money, the school bought computers on wheels. Each classroom is equipped with document cameras, camcorders, web cams and projection screens.Student assignments will incorporate this new technology in to there classrooms. The school's new principal Mary Quinan wants to leverage the technology to lift student performance. Every single sixth-grader will have access, all day, on campus. More



Sir Ken Robinson to keynote at NAESP's convention
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
NAESP's 2011 Convention and Exposition will open with an address by keynote speaker Sir Ken Robinson, a world-renowned inspirational speaker and an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation, and human potential. Be sure to mark April 7-10 on your calendar and make plans to see Robinson at the convention in Tampa, Fla. More

Deadline extended for Sharing the Dream grants
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
You now have until Aug. 31 to submit your application for a $5,000 grant to go toward a family and community involvement project at your school. NAESP and MetLife Foundation will award 25 elementary and middle school principals with funding for projects that engage the local community to build greater ownership for the work of the school; encourage parents to become meaningfully involved in schools and their children’s learning; and include a global-engagement component. 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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