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Common Core Standards are a 'heavy lift' for districts, educators
U.S. News & World Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Implementing the Common Core State Standards will be challenging — but not impossible — according to experts speaking in New York at the Education Nation summit, part of an NBC News initiative. The new standards, adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, require English and math lessons to go more in-depth to teach students critical thinking and analytical skills, in order to develop students who are more prepared to succeed in college and the workplace. During an informal survey at a discussion panel, 92 percent of those attending said they thought rolling out the new standards would be either difficult or very difficult. More


ED-Green Ribbon Schools inspire other schools
U.S. Department of Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At the inaugural ED-Green Ribbon Schools awards ceremony, the 78 winning schools were given an important homework assignment. Each school was challenged to return to their community and adopt a future green school. These partnerships will help to share best practices in reducing schools' environmental impact and cost; improving health and wellness; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education. More

Should the Common Standards 'change everything'?
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Not long ago, a survey of teachers found large numbers sizing up the Common Core State Standards as pretty similar to what they're already teaching. The architect of the survey, William Schmidt of Michigan State University, saw in this a distressing sign that too many teachers don't grasp the depth of the change the standards represent, so they might well resist embracing it (or, he theorized, they simply hadn't read the standards). That makes a new entry into the Common Core conversation all the more interesting. More

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Should kids learn to code in grade school?
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Deep into the digital age, the need for everyone to understand and learn programming is becoming more and more apparent. Codecademy, Coursera and other education startups are stepping in to fill the much-needed gap to teach adults to code. For kids, nonprofits like CodeNow are raising funds to run summer programming camps for minority high school students, while other organizations like Girls Who Code are working on getting middle and high school girls interested in computer science. While these are all worthwhile endeavors, each is working to fix what’s broken — teaching an essential skill that’s not taught in most schools. More

Newspaper: Test security inconsistent among states
The Associated Press via ABC News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The federal government has no standards to protect the integrity of the achievement tests it requires in tens of thousands of public schools, and test security among the states is so inconsistent that Americans can't be sure those all-important test scores are legitimate. That's according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report. The newspaper surveyed 50 state education departments and reported many states do not use basic test security measures designed to prevent cheating. More

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Youth fitness testing in schools
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Techniques ranging from running to push-ups to sit-and-reach tests have been used to measure various aspects of fitness in children and adults. However, evidence is sparse on how well some of these techniques correspond to desired health outcomes in children, fueling debate about the best fitness measures for youth. Fitness testing has traditionally focused on four aspects: heart and lung function, body composition, muscular and skeletal fitness, and flexibility. A committee convened by the Institute of Medicine undertook a comprehensive review of the science and found that it supports the use of specific ways to measure three of these components — cardiorespiratory endurance, body composition, and musculoskeletal fitness — in young people. These measurements should be used in national youth fitness surveys and school-based fitness tests, says the committee's report. More

Great writing comes out of great ideas
The Atlantic    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Schools in the U.S. are about to confront a host of new challenges. The majority of states are on their way to adopting the Common Core Standards, a set of reforms that will dramatically change the way many schools teach writing across subject areas, not just in English class. Recent studies included a sample of schools that had reputations for excellent writing programs. Teachers at these schools became part of professional learning communities, working together, sharing ideas, gathering information, and changing curriculum and instruction in response to what they were learning. Such approaches build schoolwide capacity by honoring the knowledge and experience that teachers bring with them. More


Computers seen as 'unfunded mandate' as online testing looms
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As new online testing designed around the Common Core State Standards looms, public school officials are concerned about what they see as an "unfunded mandate" to buy enough computers to accommodate the shift. School district officials in Forsyth County, N.C., for instance, say they must spend about $2.9 million to have students in certain classes ready within two years to take the high-stakes tests online. By the 2014-2015 academic year, students in fifth- and eighth-grade science, high school biology, Algebra I and English II in public schools statewide, including the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, must be ready to take exams with a computer, whether it be a laptop or some other device. More

Recession's impact on education: Survey reveals parents unable to provide as desired
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Center for the Next Generation and Parents magazine recently surveyed over 2,100 parents across the country about how the recession and ensuing slow economic recovery has impacted parenthood — from family planning to education choices. On the education front, 1 in 5 parents indicated they have been unable to provide their children with the quality of education they would like due to the state of the economy. According to the survey findings, private school enrollment in pre-K-12 increased from 5.9 million in 1995-1996 to 6.3 million in 2001-2002 before decreasing to 5.5 million in 2009-2010. More

Traditional or charter schools? Actually, they help each other, study says.
The Christian Science Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Charter schools are not a silver bullet for education reform, a new report says, but applying the best practices from some charter schools to low-performing public schools may increase student achievement. Early data show that the strategy — applied in Houston and Denver pilot programs — yielded "promising" results, according to the report, titled "Learning from the Successes and Failures of Charter Schools" and released by the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution. More

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New plan will allow merit raises for DC school principals
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
D.C. Public Schools officials plan to offer performance raises to principals and assistant principals who score well on annual evaluations, expanding the merit pay system already in place for teachers. All high-performing administrators would be eligible for salary increases of up to $5,000, while those working in the District's 40 lowest-performing schools would be eligible for a raise of up to $20,000. More

Oversimplification abounds in teacher evaluation discussion
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Should student achievement data be a major factor in teacher evaluations? While the political winds are whispering "yes" more loudly every day — and in many places, the whispers have become shouts — it seems that the louder we yell, the dumber we get. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has been widely misquoted as having said that there is no way to measure teacher effectiveness. More

Study: Cash incentives reduced problem behavior, increased time spent on academics for some students
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
To get low-income teenagers to spend more time on school work, a new study suggests that schools should pay them. A recent study released by MDRC and co-authored by NYU Steinhardt researchers J. Lawrence Aber and Pamela Morris analyzed how parents and their teenage children were affected by the Opportunity NYC-Family Rewards program, a three-year conditional cash transfer program launched by the Center for Economic Opportunity in the Mayor's Office in 2007. Conditional cash transfer programs offer monetary assistance to low-income families in an effort to reduce short- and long-term poverty while encouraging parents to increasingly invest in their children. More


DOE provides guidance to help classroom teachers combat bullying
U.S. Department of Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. Department of Education has released a free, two-part training toolkit designed to reduce incidents of bullying, for use by classroom teachers and educators. The toolkit was developed by the Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center, supported by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students, in collaboration with the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers. Teachers care about bullying in the classroom, but many don't know how to effectively intervene and prevent it, according to data collected by the National Education Association. The toolkit is designed to provide classroom teachers with the knowledge and skills to intervene in bullying behavior and to de-escalate threatening behaviors at school. More

Aggression among kindergartners investigated
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Not all aggressive children are aggressive for the same reasons, according to Penn State researchers, who found that some kindergartners who are aggressive show low verbal abilities while others are more easily physiologically aroused. The findings suggest that different types of treatments may be needed to help kids with different underlying causes for problem behavior. More

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Some grumble about change as school lunches get leaner and greener
NPR    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
This fall, the more than 38 million kids who get their lunches through the National School Lunch Program are seeing big changes on their trays. Generally, "it's more fruits, more vegetables, more whole grains, low-fat, no-fat dairy," Jessica Donze Black of the Pew Trust's Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project told Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan. "The things we know kids need more of." Federal guidelines governing what and how much kids are served are being phased in gradually over three years, starting this year. But the new kinds of food — more salad, less 26-ingredient mystery burgers and fried spuds — coupled with the perception that costs are up and calories are down, is making for a bit of a rocky transition. More

Why 3rd grade is so important: The 'Matthew effect'
TIME    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Take a guess: What is the single most important year of an individual's academic career? The answer isn't junior year of high school, or senior year of college. It's third grade. What makes success in third grade so significant? It's the year that students move from learning to read — decoding words using their knowledge of the alphabet — to reading to learn. The books children are expected to master are no longer simple primers but fact-filled texts on the solar system, Native Americans and the Civil War. Children who haven't made the leap to fast, fluent reading begin at this moment to fall behind, and for most of them the gap will continue to grow. More


DOE boosts district-led efforts to recognize and reward great teachers and principals through the 2012 Teacher Incentive Fund
U.S. Department of Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. Department of Education announced 35 grants awarded to improve pay structures, reward great teachers and principals and provide greater professional opportunities to teachers in high poverty schools. Winning applicants comprise districts, partnering districts, states and nonprofits that together serve nearly 1,000 schools in 150 urban, suburban, and rural school districts in 18 states and D.C. More

Poll: Obama leads Romney on children's issues, Americans wants politicians to address our 'American Challenge'
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
By almost a 3-to-1 margin (56 to 20 percent), American voters are deeply concerned that the lives of American children have become worse over the last decade. And, by a 58 to 36 percent margin, voters are not confident that life for our children's generation will be better off. They recognize that American children are no longer the healthiest, the most educated, and best-prepared kids in the world. They feel that what once was the American Dream — the knowledge that our kids would have opportunities we could never even imagine — is today the "American Challenge" to make that the reality once again. And that challenge is an American one — not a partisan one. More

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1st report released using the state of Washington's new school-progress system
The Associated Press Via The Seattle Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Washington education officials released their first report for a new way to look at how Washington public schools are doing at teaching kids reading and math. The new school-accountability system is designed to help local officials focus on closing the achievement gaps between kids of different ethnic and economic groups. It is Washington's answer to the federal education law known as "No Child Left Behind." Washington has been granted a waiver to take a different approach to identifying and helping failing schools. More

Affirmative action case up for airing at high court
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The future of affirmative action in education — not just for colleges but potentially for K-12 schools as well — may be on the line when the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a race-conscious admissions plan from the University of Texas next month. That seems apparent to the scores of education groups that have lined up behind the university with friend-of-the-court briefs calling on the justices to uphold the plan and continue to recognize the need for racial diversity in the nation's schools and classrooms. More

It's National Principals Month
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Congress has declared October as National Principals Month, continuing a three-year tradition launched by NAESP and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. The declaration recognizes the vital contributions principals make to schools and communities. Throughout the month, NAESP will be spotlighting principals and exemplary school leadership, including the recognition of this year's class of National Distinguished Principals. More

Build student leadership with resources from NAESP
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Strengthen your school's student council and celebrate the contributions of student leaders with resources from the National Principals Resource Center. It's your one-stop shop for student council advisor and member handbooks, pins, recognition medallions and kits for student leadership. More


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