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Fiscal cliff ignites education activism
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Juandiego Wade is worried. As vice chair of the Charlottesville City School Board in Virginia, he's responsible for the well-being of its 4,000 students. And if Congress doesn't come up with a solution to upcoming automatic budget cuts soon, his students may feel the loss. "We've already been cut to the bone," Wade said. So with the estimated reduction of $350,000 to his district's budget, it's hard to see what else can go before cutting teachers. Charlottesville may have to fire four teachers, special education programs, and help for delinquent students. More


School photo sales drop as cool factor fades
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The school photo may be going the way of the overhead projector. In a nation that Instagrams on its smartphone and is friends with everybody and their mother on Facebook, many students, parents and even grandparents are turning away from the classic blue backdrop, smile-and-say-cheese school photo that brought income to schools and smiles to the faces of generations of grandmas. More

Illuminating the Common Core: Student work to inspire schools
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Let's face it. Studying a new set of standards is not exactly an inspirational experience for many educators. If anything, it may be unnerving, as they wonder: "How am I going to do this? What should this look like in my classroom?" Those seeking some concrete and creative ideas to tackle the Common Core State Standards may find helpful a Web resource that serves up lots of examples of student work to bring the common core to life (plus some standards in other disciplines). Developed jointly by Expeditionary Learning and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the online collection of exemplary student work includes a heavy dose of student creativity and the arts. More

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Report: Physical education programs stalled by state loopholes
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A report by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and the American Heart Association has found that while nearly 75 percent of states require physical education in elementary through high school, over half of states permit students to substitute other activities for their required physical education credit, or otherwise fail to mandate a specific amount of instructional time. More

Report: Science reduced in Kansas elementary schools
The Associated Press via The Washington Examiner    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Elementary schools in Kansas and four surrounding states have drastically reduced or even eliminated instruction in science because teachers feel pressured to improve performance in math and reading, according to a survey conducted by a Kansas school superintendent. George Griffith, superintendent of the Trego school district and a member of a Kansas committee drawing up new national science standards, told the Kansas Board of Education on Tuesday that he surveyed more than 900 elementary teachers in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska as part of a doctoral dissertation. More

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How teachers mix online math with classroom instruction
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As schools start experimenting with educational software — or blended learning — teachers are trying to find ways of using tech to enhance learning in different subjects. When it comes to math, specifically, the tactics vary widely — from using software for remediation, to practicing drills and exercises to move students ahead at their own pace, to completely re-conceptualizing the traditional classroom model. More

Survey shows cursive writing still taught in most Kansas school districts
Lawrence Journal World    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The age of computers hasn't yet made handwriting obsolete. But many state school officials are still worried that the traditional loops and slants of cursive penmanship could become a lost art. According to a survey by the Kansas State Department of Education, 90 percent of state school districts said they are still teaching cursive writing in elementary school. Of those, most begin teaching it in third grade. And in schools where it's taught, teachers typically spend anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour a day working on cursive script. More


Race and the principal pipeline
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The teaching diversity gap — there are proportionately fewer minority teachers than minority students nationwide — has been the target of programs aimed at bringing more minorities into teaching. But there's been less attention to the way race affects potential school leaders' pathways to principalship. Given that most principals have taught at some point, you might expect that the principal force would be just as disproportionately white as the teaching force. But it turns out that's not the case. More

The state of teacher evaluation reform
Center for American Progress    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama administration's Race to the Top competitive grant program initiated an unprecedented wave of state teacher-evaluation reform across the country. To date, most of the scholarly analysis of this activity has focused on the design of the evaluation instruments or the implementation of the new evaluations by districts and schools. But little research has explored how states are managing and supporting the implementation of these reforms. More

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Study: 'Curious George' boosts children's science, math skills
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Although he rarely says a thing, all of the silent wondering "What if?" by Curious George that leads to disaster, adventure, and fun, is rubbing off on children. A new study of the PBS KIDS television series based on the books by H. A. Rey and Margret Rey finds that the show and books developed to tie into the program improved the science and math test scores of 4- and 5-year-olds More

Higher education institutions have a role in teacher evaluation reform
Diverse: Issues In Higher Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As states begin to roll out new systems for teacher evaluation, institutions of higher learning should position themselves to be partners in the process and incorporate the new measures into their teacher prep programs. That was one of the key takeaways from a panel discussion at the Center for American Progress titled "The State of Teacher Evaluation Reform: State Education Agency Capacity and the New Teacher Evaluation Systems." More


Kids need at least 7 minutes a day of vigorous physical activity, aren't getting it
Stone Hearth News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Children need a minimum of seven minutes a day of vigorous physical activity, demonstrates recently published findings by University of Alberta medical researchers and their colleagues across Canada. "If you watch late-night television or look in the backs of magazines, you'll see magical ads saying you need just 10 minutes a day or five minutes a day of exercise to stay fit. And for those of us in the medical field, we just rolled our eyes at that. But surprisingly, they may actually be right and that's what this research shows," says co-principal investigator Richard Lewanczuk, a researcher with the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the U of A. More

Flame retardants linked to neurodevelopmental delays in children
UC Berkeley    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Prenatal and childhood exposure to flame retardant compounds are linked to poorer attention, fine motor coordination and IQ in school-aged children, a finding by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley's School of Public Health, that adds to growing health concerns over a chemical prevalent in U.S. households. The new study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, focuses on PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, a class of persistent, endocrine-disrupting compounds widely found in foam furniture, electronics, carpets, upholstery and other consumer products. The chemicals easily leach out into the environment and are inhaled or ingested through dust, then accumulate in human fat cells. More

A principal's perspective: Getting the most out of classroom iPads
Edutopia (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For the first two months of school, "When are the iPads going to be handed out?" was a continual mantra from students and teachers. But finally, when we were able to tell them a day, frustration turned into anticipation. Southside High School's goal was to efficiently assign an iPad to each ninth- and tenth-grader, without seriously impacting the regular instructional day. Boy, was that off target. More

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Hundreds of school districts apply for $400 million Race to the Top-District competition
U.S. Department of Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. Department of Education announced it received 371 applications — representing more than 1,100 school districts — for the Race to the Top-District competition. The 2012 RTT-D program will provide close to $400 million to support locally developed plans that will personalize learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare every student for success in college and careers. More

How education could plunge off the 'fiscal cliff'
CNN    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Sequestration: The word strikes fear in the hearts of school boards and administrators nationwide, and with good reason. What does it mean? The term refers to the across-the-board budget cuts that will automatically occur in federal programs in January 2013, unless Congress reaches an agreement by the end of this year on reducing the deficit. What kind of cuts will this mean for education? The American Association of School Administrators estimates the reductions would amount to over $4 billion. That would plunge education funding into pre-2003 levels, according to the National Education Association. More


Texas Education Agency seeks $1 million for exam security, cheating scrutiny
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Texas Education Agency is asking the state Legislature for $1 million for investigations into irregularities in student tests. Education Commissioner Michael Williams says the money would "create a special investigations unit that would be in charge of reviewing reports that suggest serious testing irregularities" and reinstate random school audits that were slashed due to budget cuts, according to The Dallas Morning News. More

Iowa report urges early identification of struggling students
The Des Moines Register    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Achievement gaps among Iowa students are largely driven by challenges such as childhood poverty, according to a report by the state Department of Education. Students with fewer needs tend to perform on par with their non-challenged peers, despite racial differences, the report states. "Students with disabilities, children who do not speak English as their native language and children who come from low-income backgrounds increasingly are falling behind classmates who do not face similar challenges," Education Director Jason Glass writes in the report. More

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No Gatorade, whole milk at Chicago Public Schools?
Chicago Sun Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Gatorade, vitamin drinks and even whole milk would be barred from sale in Chicago Public Schools during school hours under a new "Healthy Snack and Beverage" policy up for a school board vote. Selling chocolate bars for school fund-raisers and using candy or fattening cupcakes to reward kids would be "minimized" but not necessarily outlawed under the proposal. Instead, "nonfood" rewards must be promoted. A "wellness team" in each school would establish ways to hold "healthy" fund-raisers and offer "healthy celebrations and rewards" that comply with "applicable federal regulations" and meet the very specific caloric, fat and sodium guidelines outlined in the policy. More

Schools to use Move to Learn
Hattiesburg American    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Pine Belt elementary and middle school teachers in Mississippi have a new tool to improve academic performance in the classroom. The Mississippi Department of Education has launched a new campaign to help teachers incorporate physical activity into lesson plans. The Move to Learn campaign is based on two Mississippi academic studies that show a correlation between increased fitness and improved test scores, as well as fewer absences and fewer disciplinary incidents at school. More

Free webinar next Tuesday on principal evaluation
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
What are the traits of an excellent principal? How should a principal's skill and impact be measured? NAESP had been grappling with these very questions. In "Rethinking Principal Evaluation," a free webinar on Tuesday, Nov. 20, learn about the new NAESP/NASSP joint framework on principal evaluation. Researchers Matthew Clifford and Steven Ross will present their insight and recommendations. More

Energize your school with STEM
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The November/December issue of Principal explores science, technology, engineering and math. See how to prioritize STEM in your school with tips on strengthening math education, ideas for partnering with businesses for STEM programs, and much more. Don't miss the next installment in the "Charting Your Path" series for early career principals. More


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