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Which states' kids miss the most school?
Mother Jones
September is upon us, and American kids are filling up their backpacks. But lots of kids won't be going back to school — at least not very much. A national report by nonprofit Attendance Works presents a map that zooms in on a statistic called "chronic absenteeism," generally defined as the number of kids who miss at least 10 percent of school days over the course of a year. The measure has become popular among education reformers over the past few years because unlike other measures like average daily attendance or truancy, chronic absenteeism focuses on the specific kids who are regularly missing instructional time, regardless of the reason why or the overall performance of the school.
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Recess redress: The importance of play in education
By Suzanne Mason
Ask any child what his or her favorite subject is in school, and most will say recess. Yet a recent Gallup poll conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that up to 40 percent of U.S. school districts have reduced or eliminated recess to focus more on academics. Despite these changes, recess still remains an important part of a child's education. In fact, a new study by the University of Lethbridge in Canada showed that free play can help with the core essentials for development in the brain.
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Common Core in action: Manipulating shapes in the elementary math classroom
Edutopia (commentary)
Monica Burns, a contributor for Edutopia, writes: "As a former elementary school teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom, I know how powerful iPads can be as learning tools in the hands of students. This mobile device is so much more than a content consumption tool, because students can use an iPad for hands-on learning. They can move items across the screen, write about a topic, and document their learning using audio and visual tools."
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword COMMON CORE.


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Get the stats on STEM vs. STEAM
eSchool News
STEM education is, by now, familiar to educators and parents across the country. Without STEM knowledge, students won't be well-prepared to enter college and the workforce. But some are hoping that STEAM education, which includes the arts, will receive more support in classrooms. According to research compiled by the University of Florida, students who engage in music education often perform better on math tasks. For instance, one study showed that students who took music appreciation scored 61 points higher on their SAT verbal section and 42 points higher on the SAT math section.
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Big year looms for Common Core testing
Education Week
For four years, schools in nearly every state have been working to put the Common Core State Standards into practice in classrooms, but few have put them to the test — literally. This year, that changes. The 2014-2015 academic year is when nearly every state must have assessments in place to reflect the common core, or other "college- and career-ready" standards they have adopted. And unlike last year, when many states were allowed to cut back on their regular tests because they were field-testing new assessments, this year's achievement results will be a cornerstone of states' public accountability reporting.
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Music lessons enhance brain function in disadvantaged kids
Pacific Standard
There is much evidence that poverty, and the chronic stress it creates, hinders the development of young brains. However, new research finds one important aspect of neural functioning is gradually strengthened when underprivileged children engage in a challenging but fun activity: Music lessons. A newly published study of six- to 9-year-olds living in gang-infested areas of Los Angeles finds those who spent two years participating in a free music-instruction program processed the sound of certain syllables more rapidly than their peers with less musical training.
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How to turn your school into a maker haven
MindShift
One of the best ways for frustrated parents, students and teachers to convince school leaders that it's time for a reboot is with amazing student work. An unconventional learning community of "makers" — people who like to figure out and fix problems with their hands — stands ready to demonstrate a hands-on learning style in which students engage problems that matter to them, taking agency and displaying creativity along the way.
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A majority of students entering school this year are minorities, but most teachers are still white
The Huffington Post
A majority of the public school students heading back to school this September aren't white. But the teachers leading their classrooms are still overwhelmingly so. This year marks a milestone for U.S. public schools in that it is the first time a majority of students will come from minority groups. According to projections from the National Center for Education Statistics, 49.7 percent of students entering public schools this year are white, compared to 50.3 percent of students who identify as black, Hispanic, Asian or another nonwhite ethnicity. Just 10 years ago, in 2004, nearly 60 percent of public school students were white. By 2022, that figure is projected to fall to just 45 percent.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Use BYOD strategies to prepare for BYOA (District Administration Magazine)
US education: How we got where we are today (The Christian Science Monitor)
How the tourism industry dictates when kids in 14 states go back to school (Vox)
PDK/Gallup poll finds rising awareness, majority opposition to Common Core (Education Week)
Helping students start the year with a positive mindset (Edutopia)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


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Mobile learning's major impact
eSchool News
As mobile learning cements its place in U.S. education, its impact continues to expand throughout school districts across the nation. Last year, Apple's education sales broke $1 billion for the first time ever, and iPads continue to hold the market share among education tablets. Mobile learning leverages the power of the internet to expand students' learning opportunities. In fact, 92 percent of teachers said they have greater access to educational content, resources and material due to the internet.
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US classrooms slow to move from interactive whiteboards to flat panels
THE Journal
Education sales of interactive displays in the United States dropped in the first half of the year compared to last year, pushed out of tech budgets by more focus on computing device purchases. Whereas the first six months of 2013 saw 76,500 interactive boards sold in districts and schools, that same period in 2014 had only 67,000 sales. Those numbers come from Futuresource Consulting, which tracks market insights on a number of categories, including education technology, in multiple segments. Mike Fisher, associate director of business-to-business electronics, said part of the drop is due to the high penetration — some 60 percent — of interactive displays within K-12 classrooms.
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How to get students to work harder
The Atlantic
Over the past five years, more than $200 million has gone toward launching the new Common Core standards, with the goal of closing achievement gaps in public schools. But for all their meticulous detail about math and language curricula, the standards fail to address one important factor: the psychological barriers that stand between many students and deeper learning. Unless students are motivated to take on the new standards, and persuaded that they're up to the challenge, the Common Core could have the unintended effect of leaving many students even further behind.
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How to avoid E-rate rule violations
eSchool News
This summer, the Federal Communications Commission created a Universal Service Fund Strike Force, which is tasked with combating waste, fraud, and abuse in various USF programs, including the E-Rate. This newly created Strike Force, which is part of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau, will almost certainly expend considerable resources ensuring that the procurement practices of schools receiving E-Rate funding comply with FCC rules.
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5 maps that show the best states for teachers
The Washington Post
As teachers across the country start a new school year, lawmakers in South Carolina are brainstorming ways to keep their teachers happy. The state's average starting teacher salary is in the bottom half among U.S. states, and every year, it has 4,000 openings for new teachers, but only 2,000 of its college graduates are going into teaching. Members of the state legislature have begun meeting in hopes of coming up with legislation to introduce in January to make the state more appealing for teachers to fill those positions. The National Education Association’s latest ranking of states shows what South Carolina and other states are up against as they work to attract and retain teachers. The following maps look at five sets of data about teaching across the country.
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Few principals in New York gave teachers low marks in first round of evaluations
Chalkbeat New York
Few principals across New York state gave their teachers low scores in the 2012-2013 school year as they implemented a new evaluation system that calls for in-depth classroom observations, according to data released by the state. Ninety-eight percent of teachers statewide received top ratings, "effective" or "highly effective," on the 60 percent of their evaluations made up primarily of observations, the data shows. Less than 1 percent of teachers earned the lowest rating on their observations.
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Education Department gives Newtown, Conn., $3.1 million to aid in aftermath of school shooting
Education Week
The U.S. Department of Education will provide an additional $3.1 million grant to the Newtown School District to aid in recovery from the 2012 shooting of 20 students and six adults at an elementary school there, the agency announced. "I believe that the district ran, for lack of a better word for it, on adrenaline last year," superintendent Joseph Erardi said in a conference call with reporters.
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Why Chicago students walk past guards on way to school
The Christian Science Monitor
When Chicago students left for their first day of school, many of them walked by a veritable army of guards designated to keep them safe. The school district added 100 Safe Passage workers — paid adult watchers — to the 1,200 who were on the streets last year to ensure that students who need to walk through potentially dangerous neighborhoods on their way to school get to class without incident. Over the next few weeks, thanks to a $10 million grant from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, the city will expand that number even more, adding 600 more workers and allowing 27 additional schools to be added to the program.
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US classrooms slow to move from interactive whiteboards to flat panels
THE Journal
Education sales of interactive displays in the United States dropped in the first half of the year compared to last year, pushed out of tech budgets by more focus on computing device purchases.

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Maximizing PLC time to flip your class
District Administration Magazine
Recently, we have been talking with a number of people about how to best implement flipped learning, and one hurdle mentioned over and over by teachers is that they do not have enough time.

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5 apps for today's administrators
eSchool News
Leading a school or a school district is, understandably, an important and critical job. Today's school administrators must keep up to date with learning trends, instructional strategies, technology initiatives, and everything in between.

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A look inside New Orleans schools, run almost entirely by charter companies
MindShift
New Orleans public schools are now almost completely charter run, offering an example of what "universal school choice" looks like when applied to a large, poor school district. NPR's Anya Kamenetz and photographer Edmund D. Fountain take a look inside that system, talking with with New Orleans parents, teachers and administrators about what works and what doesn't.
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Peaceful learning in outdoor spaces
NAESP
At Anna S. Kuhl Elementary, staff and community members teamed up to create a unique outdoor learning space, where students learn about virtually every subject. Keep these tips in mind when designing your own outdoor classroom.
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Principal professional development provider opportunity
NAESP
With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Mathematica Policy Research is issuing a request for proposals inviting principal professional development providers to participate in a large-scale impact study. The goal of the evaluation is to determine whether a specific principal professional development program is effective when implemented with fidelity in a large number of districts and elementary schools. The RFP will available online on approximately Sept. 9 here, and will be due Oct. 14.
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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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