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Child poverty rate hits 20 percent in US as families struggle
The Christian Science Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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There has been a "significant decline" in economic well-being for low-income children and families over the past decade as the official child poverty rate grew by 18 percent and poverty levels for families with children increased in 38 states, according to a new study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. NAESP is an outreach partner for the Foundation.

For the latest information or to create customized charts, visit the Foundation's Data Book Homepage, or click here to see how your state ranks.
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Rotten apples: Coping with educators who cheat
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Students are returning to school for what is likely to be a tough year amid cheating scandals that have forced thousands of students to seek remedial tutoring because they were promoted based on falsified test scores. The scandals have left some districts with huge budget shortfalls, not to mention a stigma that won't go away any time soon — and local officials also face the prospect of further sanctions from the federal government. More



All together now? Educating high and low achievers in the same classroom
Education Next    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The greatest challenge facing America's schools today isn't the budget crisis, or standardized testing, or "teacher quality." It's the enormous variation in the academic level of students coming into any given classroom. How we as a country handle this challenge says a lot about our values and priorities, for good and ill. Unfortunately, the issue has become enmeshed in polarizing arguments about race, class, excellence and equity. What's needed instead is some honest, frank discussion about the trade-offs associated with any possible solution. More

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Boys and reading: Is there any hope?
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At an American Library Association conference in 2007, HarperCollins dressed five of its male young adult authors in blue baseball jerseys with our names on the back and sent us up to bat in a panel entitled "In the Clubhouse." We were meant to demystify to the overwhelmingly female audience the testosterone code that would get teenage boys reading. Whereas boys used to lag behind girls in reading in the early grades, statistics show, they soon caught up. Not anymore. More


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Book battles heat up over censorship vs. selection in school
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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U.S. schools have banned more than 20 books and faced more than 50 other challenges this year, the American Library Association reports, and many more are expected this fall. "By far our busiest time is the early fall," says Angela Maycock of the association's Office for Intellectual Freedom. "When students go back to school, we see a real upswing in complaints." There is intense debate over whether those challenges involve censorship or are just parents seeking age-appropriate reading material. More

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Many students feeling rushed at school lunch
USA Today via The Daily Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
School districts across the country are revamping their menus to serve healthier fare, but most schools give students so little time to eat that they could be contributing unwittingly to the childhood obesity problem. Healthful food can take longer to eat, and research shows that wolfing down a meal in a hurry often means people eat more. More

Schools look at movies, restrictions in classroom
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The superintendent of the Missouri school district that recently banned two books — "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Twenty Boy Summer," could next be focusing on movies. Vern Minor, who heads the Republic, Mo., district, has suggested it take a look at the appropriateness of movies shown in classrooms. "The day may come when we have the discussion," says Minor, who thinks the school district might be able to use standards set by the motion picture industry in deciding which movies to show at schools. Though there has been no formal board discussion, Minor has suggested G-rated movies be shown to elementary students, PG to middle-school students and PG-13 to high school students. More

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States miss a social-media education opportunity
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In classrooms across the country, teachers are embracing new technology to reach their students. From social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to messenger programs such as Skype, teachers are more equipped to communicate with their students than ever before. However, in some places, new laws and proposed measures are impeding teacher communication with students outside of school-sanctioned email systems. More

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Survey of school, district workers shows wider use of RTI
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Another study shows the growing popularity of response to intervention. Response to intervention, or RTI, is a strategy that involves identifying students' learning problems quickly and using a series of focused lessons, or interventions, to address those problems before they become entrenched. The intensity of the interventions increase if a student doesn't respond. In this survey, full implementation of RTI involved universal screening of students at least three times a year, the use of clear decision rules to move students between tiers of instruction, and regular monitoring of students' progress based on their learning needs. More

Superintendents sound off on school reform at Harvard conference
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In the eyes of Indiana State Superintendent Tony Bennett, America's schools can only improve by taking on a number of different reforms simultaneously. Different parties to the education debate stress different measures — charter schools, voucher programs that use public money to fund private schools, looser union protections for teachers — but implementing reforms one at a time won't do anything, Bennett said. More

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Duncan: States don't need to join common core for waiver
Education Week (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If you were worried that the administration's plan to offer No Child Left Behind waivers to states who adopt college-and-career ready standards would somehow doom the Common Core State Initiative, you can rest easy. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, unequivocally and in no uncertain terms, said that states absolutely do not have to participate in Common Core in order to qualify for one of the department's to-be-determined NCLB waivers. More

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Review of Census data reveals information tied to schools
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It is August, and the Census Bureau is counting things again. This time it was items associated with school, which is just around the corner for children across the country. Ever wondered, for example, how much people spend on back-to-school clothes? About $7 billion, according to figures released Friday by the bureau, judging from sales at family clothing stores in August 2010, the last back-to-school shopping month for which it has data. That is about the size of the Los Angeles city budget. More

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E-Rate puts spotlight on Internet safety
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Federal Communications Commission has released an order that will require schools to educate students about Internet safety in order to comply with the federal E-Rate program, which provides funding for schools to achieve online connectivity. The requirement comes from language in the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, which was signed into law as a part of the Broadband Data Improvement Act in October 2008. More



Lessons in austerity: How New York City principals make budgets work
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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Five months after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg outlined a plan to give principals more autonomy to run their schools, the city imposed what would be the first of five consecutive cuts to the schools' budgets. To make ends meet, principals have trimmed after-school programs, shrunk their support staffs and tightened their schools' use of things like printing paper, markers and Post-it notes. They have dismissed coaches who used to help teachers prepare for their lessons, and teachers whose salaries they could no longer pay. More

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Massachusetts education officials may seek No Child Waiver
WBUR-FM    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Massachusetts may eventually abandon part of the education standards set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. State education officials are considering seeking a waiver that would release Massachusetts from the 100 percent proficiency rule imposed by the federal education act, which requires that all students demonstrate good command of grade-level subjects on state exams by 2014. More

Texas school cuts to be felt in ways big and small
The Associated Press via KTRK-TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As students return to school, the impact of cuts made by the Texas Legislature to education funding will be felt in ways big and small. Some students will notice larger classes, others will miss out on field trips. Districts have eliminated teaching jobs and administrative positions. In the face of a $27 billion state budget shortfall, the Legislature cut $4 billion over the next two years in funding for school districts — the first decrease in per-student spending in Texas since World War II. More

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Registration and housing now open for NAESP's 2012 Conference and Expo
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Join elementary and middle-level principals from across the country March 22-24 and learn how to transform your school into a high-performing learning community. Submit a proposal to present a concurrent session or register today. More

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Check out NAESP's best books for principals
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Just in time for back-to-school season, the latest catalog from the National Principals Resource Center has a wealth of books to help you inspire your students, connect with parents and strengthen your school. 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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