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Back to school: Are we leaving gifted students behind?
The Christian Science Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Ian McKeachie is a freckled 15-year-old who "drifted along" in elementary school. Not because he didn't love to learn or because it wasn't a good school, but because he mastered new concepts so quickly that the classroom work presented no challenge. "My teachers would usually use me as a tutor for the other kids," he says, "so I was engaged in school, just not in a way that had me learning." Ian had hit a sort of "class ceiling" — the limits advanced students often encounter in an education system that groups kids by age and gives teachers little training or time to cater to individual needs. More

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Has technology changed the way children play?
KQED    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Last spring, there was a minor outcry when the Auburn School District in Maine announced that it would be piloting a one-to-one iPad program with its kindergarteners. Part of the uproar involved the cost of the program — some $200,000. But much of it involved the notion that somehow young children should not be exposed to technology, that somehow iPads and other gadgets inhibit their imagination and make them play less — or, to slightly modify one of Apple's famous logos, to "play different." But is that really the case? Has technology really dampened the way children play? More



A decade later, schools find lessons in 9/11
The Associated Press via Forbes    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It was about three years ago, the first time Jerry Swiatek got to the 9/11 portion of his social studies class and had some freshmen say they'd never seen footage of planes flying into the World Trade Center. Each year since, more students among the current crop of 15-year-olds tell him the same thing, leaving him still amazed that they've never experienced the horror of watching the twin towers collapse. It's etched forever in the minds of their teachers, but for the majority of school children, Sept. 11, 2001, is a day of infamy they don't remember. More

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California gay history referendum faces uphill battle
The Associated Press via Google News    Share    Share on
FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At churches, shopping centers, schools and local tea party meetings in California, fired-up volunteers have started gathering signatures for a ballot referendum that would repeal the nation's first law requiring public schools to include prominent gay people and gay rights' milestones in school lessons. Organizers of the Stop SB48 campaign — Senate Bill 48 was the law approved by the California Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in July — are telling would-be voters the new mandate would inappropriately expose young children to sex, infringe on parental rights and silence religion-based criticisms of homosexuality. More


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Experts: Linking student data to teachers a complex task
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As more and more states push legislation tying teacher evaluations to student achievement — a policy incentivized by the federal Race to the Top program — many are scrambling to put data systems in place that can accurately connect teachers to their students. But in a world of student mobility, teacher re-assignments, co-teaching and multiple service providers, determining the roster of students to attribute to a teacher is more complicated than it may sound. More

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In classroom of future, stagnant scores
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Amy Furman, a seventh-grade English teacher here, roams among 31 students sitting at their desks or in clumps on the floor. They're studying Shakespeare's "As You Like It" — but not in any traditional way. In this technology-centric classroom, students are bent over laptops, some blogging or building Facebook pages from the perspective of Shakespeare's characters. One student compiles a song list from the Internet, picking a tune by the rapper Kanye West to express the emotions of Shakespeare's lovelorn Silvius. More

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A rational approach to student-teacher ratios
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
What number of students should each teacher teach? How many is "too many?" Throughout the class-size debates of the past 15 years, which have led to limits in the range of 20 students per teacher in California, Florida and elsewhere, it turns out that the right answer is: it depends. More

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Why are Finland's schools successful?
Smithsonian Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It was the end of term at Kirkkojarvi Comprehensive School in Espoo, a sprawling suburb west of Helsinki, when Kari Louhivuori, a veteran teacher and the school's principal, decided to try something extreme — by Finnish standards. One of his sixth-grade students, a Kosovo-Albanian boy, had drifted far off the learning grid, resisting his teacher's best efforts. The school's team of special educators — including a social worker, a nurse and a psychologist — convinced Louhivuori that laziness was not to blame. So he decided to hold the boy back a year, a measure so rare in Finland it's practically obsolete. More

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Congress returns to face ESEA, education funding issues
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Congress returns from its summer recess with a full plate of unfinished business on the future of K-12 spending and policy — a tall order in Washington's polarized political climate. Lawmakers are also continuing to ponder reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, although the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate are taking far different approaches to the long-stalled renewal, which few observers expect to be completed this year. More

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New Mexico classrooms deal with textbook shortage
The Associated Press via The Washington Examiner    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
Homework usually means sitting down and cracking open a textbook. But in some classrooms across the state, students are more likely to be cracking open a laptop or pulling out a work sheet. New Mexico state funding for textbooks has taken a dive in recent years. Textbooks are purchased from the instructional materials budget, which is separate from the operational budget, and funding is based on the 40th-day enrollment figures from the previous year. More

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Cuts to K-12 aid take many states below 2008 levels
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently examined state spending in 24 states, representing about two-thirds of the nation's student population, looking at states where data was readily available. Researchers found that 21 of the 24 states analyzed are providing less funding per student to school districts in the current fiscal year than they did during the last one. Seventeen of the 24 states are actually providing less per-student funding for the coming year than they did four years ago, in fiscal 2008, when adjusted for inflation, they found. More

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Ohio to toughen standards on tutors
The Associated Press via Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Ohio's school superintendent ordered the state to overhaul its tutoring system after a study of a Columbus program that found hundreds of students being tutored in ineffective or unsafe operations. The Columbus Dispatch reported that Superintendent Stan Heffner wants to impose tougher standards on tutors, shed light on their performance and help school districts oversee those who participate in the federally-funded program. The changes will begin next year. More

Reading climbs priority ladder
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal wants to focus on improving early education and may be willing to pay extra to see that happen. In an exclusive interview, Deal said he is exploring the idea of a pay differential for top-notch teachers willing to work with some of the state's youngest students. Deal said he's still working on the specifics but expects any recommendations he makes to dovetail with the work of a committee looking at whether the state school funding formula is due for an overhaul after 25 years. More

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Former GM executive hopes to kick-start Detroit schools
National Public Radio    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If there were an award for the "most challenged" school district in the United States, the Detroit Public School system would have good reason to claim the title. New emergency manager of schools Roy Roberts' first major action is a new state-led effort to shake up the lowest achieving schools in DPS. Starting next year, they will be part of the Education Achievement System, a new district for the weakest schools. More



Apply by Sep. 16 to participate in the 2011 Memory Mission
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Don't miss the opportunity to join educators to build a school in the Dominican Republic, Nov. 29 through Dec. 6. Apply today. More

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NPRC books hot off the press
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The National Principals Resource Center has the latest books and resources to help you kick off the school year, including three new titles co-published by NAESP. 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.

Feedback about an article? Contact NAESP Liaison Cynthia Rosso at crosso@naesp.org.
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