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US education secretary: Poor economy forces tough choices
The Associated Press via The News & Observer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned that tough times will continue for school districts across the nation, but praised one North Carolina school system for taking innovative steps to improve education. Duncan said in Charlotte, N.C., that many school districts are trying to decide whether to lay off teachers to balance budgets because of the poor economy. More

Race to Top winners face data system challenges
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
In the Race to the Top, state data systems were somewhat overshadowed by more high-profile and controversial sections of the competition, such as teacher evaluations and school turnaround plans. Yet several key reforms in winning states hinge on the effectiveness of those data systems, and judges and outside experts worry states could face some heavy lifting to ensure their data systems keep up with their policy plans. More

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Californians say science education should be a priority for schools
The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Californians believe that science education should be a priority for the state's schools and want it to be taught early and more often, according to new public opinion research released today by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning and its partners in the Strengthening Science Education in California Initiative. To strengthen science education, the public wants schools to have the labs and equipment they need, strongly supports providing teachers with specialized training and wants schools to spend more time teaching science. More

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Common data standards released
Education Week (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For those of you who have been following the building of state longitudinal data systems, the Common Data Standards Initiative's Technical Working Group has released its first set of voluntary common data standards, intended to make it easier to compare and exchange information across districts and states. The consortium's Technical Working Group reads like a who's who among data watchers — the National Center for Education Statistics, the Data Quality Campaign, the State Interoperability Framework, the Council of Chief State School Officers, etc. — and this is their attempt to get state data systems, if not on the same page, at least using the same dictionary. More



Recess: It's more than just a break from classes
NorridgeHarwoodHeights-News.com    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
Officially, recess is a break from the usual school day activities. It gives students the chance to have unstructured physical activity and to practice what they learn in physical education class. It also provides great opportunity to cultivate social skills outside of the classroom. Studies have shown that recess helps children learn how to play together and handle conflict, solving minor conflicts such as what to play, who can play, when to start, or stop, etc. Research has shown that elementary school children became progressively inattentive when recess was delayed, resulting in more active play when recess occurred. Additionally, students were found to be more on task and less fidgety in the classroom on days when they had recess. More

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Big fifth grader to small middle-schooler
The Associated Press via The Seattle Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Transitioning to middle school is hard. Kids go from being bigshot fifth-graders in a school where they knew everyone, to being pipsqueak sixth-graders in a school where they don't know anyone. They have six teachers instead of one, locker combinations they can't figure out, and nobody to sit with at lunchtime. "It's such a traumatic time, even for a well-adjusted elementary school student," said Joyce Stallworth, senior associate dean at The University of Alabama's College of Education. "They are coping with everything from changing classes to physical changes and hormones to increased academic expectations." More



Obama picked wrong school to give speech
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Philadelphia school chosen for President Obama's second annual "back to school" speech to students around the country is consistently ranked as a top public college-preparatory institution. That's why he should have picked a different school to visit. Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, have focused federal education policy on turning around failing schools, though there is little evidence that their initiatives — expanding charter schools, linking student test scores to teacher pay, etc — will help anything. Why not give the speech at a school that was forced to restructure as a result of his policies, or where his motivational speech would be heard live by kids who rarely hear such talk? More

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President Obama announces major expansion of 'Educate to Innovate' campaign
The White House    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At the White House, as part of his "Educate to Innovate" campaign to raise American students to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade, President Obama will announce the launch of Change the Equation, a CEO-led effort to dramatically improve education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Change the Equation, a new 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is a response by the business community to the President's "call to action" at the National Academy of Sciences in spring 2009 for all Americans to join the cause of elevating STEM education as a national priority essential to meeting the economic challenges of this century. More

Racial disparity in school suspensions
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In many of the nation's middle schools, black boys were nearly three times as likely to be suspended as white boys, according to a new study, which also found that black girls were suspended at four times the rate of white girls. School authorities also suspended Hispanic and American Indian middle school students at higher rates than white students, though not at such disproportionate rates as for black children, the study found. Asian students were less likely to be suspended than whites. The study analyzed four decades of federal Department of Education data on suspensions, with a special focus on figures from 2002 and 2006, that were drawn from 9,220 of the nation's 16,000 public middle schools. More

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K-12 policy shifts loom in GOP surge
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The conservative wave sweeping toward the 2010 midterm elections could put in power a group of congressional Republicans who are largely disenchanted with a recent expansion of the federal role in K-12 policy and leery of offering incentives for states in areas such as adoption of common standards and assessments. A slew of victories in November bringing GOP control to one or both houses of Congress would also almost certainly spell the end of federal financial help for schools facing layoffs and other cuts, analysts on both sides of the political aisle say. More



Candidate says education board is overstepping its authority over Texas' textbooks
The Dallas Morning News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
An effort by some State Board of Education members to specify how Christianity and Islam should be covered in new world history books is illegal and should be dropped, a candidate who is expected to be an incoming board member and who has clashed with social conservatives said. Thomas Ratliff, a Republican from Mount Pleasant who defeated former board Chairman Don McLeroy of College Station in a hotly contested primary in March, said the board resolution is in direct conflict with a 1995 state law that limits the board's authority over textbooks. More

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California Board of Education addresses teacher evaluation issue
The Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The California Board of Education took up the controversial issue of teacher evaluations, unanimously voting to create an online database to share information about local, state and national efforts to measure educators' effectiveness. The board also asked the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Fresno school districts to propose specific ways the state can support local efforts to create more meaningful evaluation tools, including the value-added method of using students' test scores to rate teacher performance. More



Whitaker and Marzano to speak at NAESP 2011
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Renowned authors Todd Whitaker and Robert Marzano are scheduled to present in plenary sessions at NAESP's 2011 Annual Convention & Exposition, which is taking place in Tampa, Fla., April 7-10, 2011. Both men are significant figures in the pre-K-8 education arena. More

Got questions? Principals Help Line has answers
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With a new school year beginning, you're likely to have a number of questions about the principalship — and NAESP has a resource you can use to get the answers and advice you need. The Principals Help Line is a confidential, online forum where members can ask questions to veteran principals about their most pressing issues and challenges. 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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