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Deadlines loom on districts' race to top plans
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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The deadline pressure states faced in submitting applications in the federal Race to the Top competition is now being felt at the local level, as school districts scurry to craft work plans that show how they will execute ambitious changes in education policy. Eleven states, plus the District of Columbia, have won a combined $4 billion this year through the program, which was intended to support changes in teacher evaluation, data systems, math and science education, and other areas. All of the winners secured varying degrees of commitment from local school systems and teachers' unions to help carry out their Race to the Top plans. Now the winners in the second round of the competition, which was part of the 2009 economic-stimulus package, have until Nov. 22 to submit "scope of work" plans from their school districts and other participating local education entities to the U.S. Department of Education. More

Poll: Learning disabilities are often misunderstood
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
About 80 percent of Americans believe the statement "people with learning disabilities are just as smart as you and me" to be generally accurate. But a majority of the public also link learning disabilities with mental retardation and autism, and more than 50 percent agree that learning disabilities are "often caused by the home environment children are raised in." The poll, which suggests that there's a stigma associated with learning disabilities even as people generally agree disabilities can be overcome with proper instruction, was commissioned by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation of New Haven, Conn., which makes grants to support children with learning disabilities. More

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Colorado district simplifies instruction with curriculum 'dashboards'
The Durango Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A group of second graders at Park Elementary in Colorado talked and laughed while playing a game that involved dice and matching plastic chips and sheets of paper. Most students were only vaguely aware they were learning about multiplication, and none knew he or she was practicing number sense, properties and operations — a Colorado state academic standard for math. More



Girls on the Run program comes to New Franklin, Dondero schools in New Hampshire
Portsmouth Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Sitting in a tight circle, 12 girls from Dondero Elementary School in New Hampshire talk about the stress they face daily, the need to take a break from all the activity and using running as an outlet to do so. The lesson, which took place after school Oct. 5, was one in the Girls on the Run program, new to Portsmouth's Dondero and New Franklin elementary schools, which strives to educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. More

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School kids deserve more than junk food
CNN (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Your kids deserve better. Because Congress failed to pass the Child Nutrition Bill, bad school lunches will remain bad. While the bill wasn't perfect, it would have created stronger nutritional standards and provided more money for the school lunch program — adding six cents per lunch for the first time in 30 years. This was the first step on the long ladder to fresh food, and now it's a missed opportunity. Among other things, this bill would have banned the junk food that is served in schools and competes with the fresh food your kids need. Eating this junk every day will take 10 years off their lives and cost you a fortune — adding thousands of dollars to the family health care tab. More

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Obama, Republicans debate education, spending
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
President Obama and a Republican senator jousted over education and spending during a pair of competing radio addresses. Obama, wrapping up a week of school-related events, said Republican budget plans will lead to big cutbacks in education should they win control of the House and Senate in the Nov. 2 elections. The president said an improved education system is essential if the U.S. expects to compete with China, India and other growing countries in the global economy. More



California Gov. Schwarzenegger veto ax falls heavily on welfare,
child care and special education programs

The Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes nearly $1 billion for social programs before signing the budget bill lawmakers had passed about eight hours earlier. Advocates for the poor say the cuts are too deep. Schwarzenegger vetoed nearly $1 billion in spending on welfare, child care, special education and other programs before signing the budget bill that lawmakers had passed about eight hours earlier after a marathon overnight session. More

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Houston-area schools tracking students with radio
frequency badges

The Dallas Morning News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Two school districts in the Houston area have begun monitoring student's whereabouts on campus by issuing them identification badges with radio frequency identification technology — the same technology used to track cattle. The Spring school district in Houston has distributed the ID badges to about 13,500 of its 36,000 students since December 2008. The Santa Fe school district, about 30 miles south of Houston, began using the badges this year. More

Indianapolis Public School kids repeat kindergarten at a high rate, but does it help?
The Indianapolis Star    Share    Share on
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They failed kindergarten. There are gentler ways to put it — that they are repeaters, that they were retained, that they are getting a second chance to succeed. But the fact is that mingling this year among the 70 children in Indianapolis Public School 61's kindergarten are six students who, for various reasons, were deemed unprepared for first grade. And so they're back. A seventh child, struggling mightily in first grade, is coming back to kindergarten for reading instruction. She, too, could be a full-time kindergartner again soon if her mom allows it. More

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Massachusetts school system to get Muslim holiday
The Boston Globe    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a move that school officials believe is the first of its kind in the state, Cambridge public schools in Massachusetts will close schools for one Muslim holiday each year beginning in the 2011-2012 school year. The school will either close for Eid al-Fitr or Eid al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, depending on which holiday falls within the school year. If both fall within the school calendar, the district will close for only one of the days. The Cambridge public school district’s decision, was made as the national discussion about Islam continues, fueled by a Mosque proposal two blocks from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Florida preacher Terry Jones's threat to burn a Koran. The discussion has also touched local schools, as Wellesley school officials in Massachusetts drew criticism recently for a video that showed sixth-grade students kneeling during a prayer service at a Boston mosque during a field trip in May. More

New Jersey school bus advertising bill advances
The Associated Press via Bloomberg Businessweek    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New Jersey's cash-strapped public school districts are one step closer to being able to raise money by soliciting school bus advertising. The measure, approved late last month in the Assembly, would allow ads on the outside of buses that districts own or lease. Districts would set their own ad rates, determine how many ads are sold and their size. But ads for tobacco or alcohol products or ones that push a political agenda would not be allowed. More

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On New York school tests, warning signs ignored
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When New York State made its standardized English and math tests tougher to pass this year, causing proficiency rates to plummet, it said it was relying on a new analysis showing that the tests had become too easy and that score inflation was rampant. But evidence had been mounting for some time that the state's tests, which have formed the basis of almost every school reform effort of the past decade, had serious flaws. The fast rise and even faster fall of New York's passing rates resulted from the effect of policies, decisions and missed red flags that stretched back more than 10 years and were laid out in correspondence and in interviews with city and state education officials, administrators and testing experts. More



Education as an economic issue
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
President Obama is hardly the first to make the argument that the education of America's youth is of vital economic importance. Since coming to office, Obama has made education reform — centered on innovation and competitiveness — a cornerstone of his administrations focus. More

NAESP convention to focus on five content areas
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The NAESP Convention provides the strongest and most comprehensive opportunity for principals and other school leaders to experience learning and to network with colleagues from around the world. The plenary sessions, as well as the concurrent sessions, will spotlight five content areas and support a scaffolding of discussions, interactions, and information that will provide comprehensive learning opportunities for principals. A strong component of our programming this year is to engage and include school-based professional learning teams and teacher leaders, which are necessary for a successful school that is result-oriented. 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 Kevin Craft at kcraft@naesp.org.
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