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Class sizes show signs of growing
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
After dropping for decades, average class sizes in American schools may be growing again as schools cope with budget shortfalls. Although some educators see the rising numbers as a worrisome trend, others see an opportunity for innovation. The national ratio of students to their teachers fell between 1980 and 2008, from 17.6 to 15.8 students per public school teacher, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. More

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Teaching teachers a better way
The Huffington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
While a lot of focus here in Washington is on the new Congress, there is also a whole lot going on in American education. Education Secretary Arne Duncan talked about the need to turn "the education of teachers in the United States... upside down" in a speech. He was highlighting the findings of a report by a blue ribbon panel on teacher training put together by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. More



Bridges build teamwork
Chattanooga Times Free Press    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Students at Tunnel Hill Elementary in Chattanooga, Tenn., recently participated in Bridge Day, a project-based learning exercise. It's a teaching approach that combines hands-on and traditional textbook learning and unites math, geometry and history in projects to demonstrate students' knowledge. All the Bridge Day participants are in the Alpha program, the school's gifted curriculum. More

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Kindergarten program boosts students' vocabulary
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new randomized control trial in Mississippi has found that a good kindergarten literacy program can boost disadvantaged students' vocabulary in kindergarten by as much as an extra month of school. Early childhood programs like Mississippi's have focused heavily on early vocabulary for decades, with growing urgency since a seminal 1995 University of Kansas study showed children of parents on welfare enter school knowing about 525 words, less than half of the 1,100-word vocabulary of children of parents in professional jobs. More

Physical Education: The benefits of weight training for children
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's a common perception that kids won't get stronger by lifting weights and will probably hurt themselves. But a major new review just published in Pediatrics, together with a growing body of other scientific reports, suggest that, in fact, weight training can be not only safe for young people, it can also be beneficial, even essential. More



The challenge of educating non-English speakers
The Seattle Times (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Education policy has rarely garnered our collective attention as it does now. With debates raging across the country about how to boost student learning and evaluate and pay teachers, and whether Superman will show up to save the most poorly performing schools, education is a hot topic. One aspect that needs more attention, though, is the question of how best to educate students whose native language is not English. It's a politically charged topic that rarely focuses on research and instead pits those who don't want to spend resources on instructing children in any language other than English against those who believe bilingual education is a civil right. More

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It's time for serious discussions about what works in schools
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
"Education reform" is a concept educators are well familiar with and not ashamed to take on. In schools across the country, educators are continually assessing. They assess student progress. They assess curriculum and educational materials. They assess the validity and usefulness of data and tests. And, yes, they even assess their own successes and failures. In recent years, "education reform" has become a buzzword in education policy circles that is offered up as the prescription to a failed public school system. Each user's expression of intent is different. Some see reform as an entrée into a wider discussion about charter schools and of school choice broadly. More

School reform engine may be losing momentum
Stateline.org    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
This has been a busy year for education reformers. Primed by billions in stimulus funding, states spent much of 2010 scrambling to complete ambitious school improvement plans outlined in detail in hundreds of pages of applications for federal "Race to the Top" funding. Many have adopted policies that are central to the Obama administration's education agenda, such as changing the ways teachers are evaluated, giving more latitude to charter schools, revising student tracking systems and putting an emphasis on turning around low-performing schools. More

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Schools chief returns Race to the Top money — for his teachers
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A number of school districts in states that won money in the Education Department's $4 billion Race to the Top competition have decided they don't actually want the money because, in most cases, officials think it is more trouble to accept it. In Ohio, which won $400 million in the Race sweepstakes, more than two dozen districts and public charter schools say they think it will cost them more than they will get from the federal government to implement the required reforms, according to Sean Cavanagh. And then there is the Jones County School District near Macon, Ga., headed by Superintendent Bill Mathews. More



NY study says punishment doesn't solve absenteeism
The Associated Press via The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A report commissioned by the state's Office of Children and Family Services says hauling parents into family court is not the best way to combat a rising tide of kids who chronically miss school. In New York City, "chronic absenteeism" — when a student misses at least 20 of the 180 days in a school year — afflicts 40 percent of high school students and educators currently refer cases to social services for neglect.Under New York law, chronic school absence is a trigger for complaints to the Office of Children and Family Services. Referrals can lead to family court, foster care or probation-like PINS supervision. More

As NCLB deadline gets closer, more schools look at shrugging off compliance
The Billings Gazette    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In Billing, Mont., the Billings School District 2 trustees were listening to a report on No Child Left Behind compliance, hearing about which schools had the requisite percentage of children testing at grade level in math and reading, required by the 2002 federal law. The report was something of a mixed bag. In some cases, white students were performing better than their minority counterparts and students from more affluent homes were doing better than those from poorer families. More

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Schools may add to harassment policies
Star Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Minnesota School Board Association is advising school districts across the state to expand their harassment and violence policy to specify several more groups, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. The association also is pushing for boards to put more pressure on school officials to intervene when they witness bullying. The association's updated harassment policy is much more specific. It prohibits any form of harassment or violence "on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, familial status, and status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation or disability." More

School lunch programs might break poverty cycle
Reuters Health    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
According to the researchers, the findings suggest that school programs aimed at reducing so-called food insecurity can break an insidious cycle of poverty: Poor children go hungry, get bad grades, don't go on to college and fail to rise out of their socioeconomic status — raising children whose lives follow the same unfortunate narrative. More

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Mo. budget panel head criticizes education raises
The Associated Press via The News-Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A lawmaker tasked with reviewing state spending has criticized raises given to nearly two dozen Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education employees, saying they were improper given the state's current fiscal woes. The Kansas City Star reported that 23 department employees over the past year were promoted and received a total of more than $307,000 in raises. The pay increases for individual employees amounted to as much as $45,000. More

Urban 8th-graders in Mass. face high dropout risk
The Associated Press via The Boston Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Massachusetts education officials say new data show that more than a third of eighth-graders in urban school districts during the last academic year are considered at risk of dropping out of high school. The state Education Department used a new system for measuring students' likelihood of dropping out by looking at factors including low MCAS scores, high absenteeism, and suspensions. The system found that about 7,700 urban students are at risk. The rate at suburban and rural districts was 8 percent. More



Chester appears on The Balancing Act
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
left On Tuesday, Nov. 23, NAESP President Barbara Chester appeared on Lifetime TV's The Balancing Act and discussed how principals, teachers, and parents can help students improve their reading skills. "Elementary principals work in partnership with parents and families to ensure that they have the information and tools they need to help their children thrive in school and in life," said Chester. "Because of this essential connection, I'm pleased to represent schools—and principals — on The Balancing Act, furthering the conversation about how to help students succeed." Watch the segment here.

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The NAESP Foundation's Online Auction is underway
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Holiday shopping has never been easier! Get great deals on high quality items through the NAESP Foundation's Online Auction, taking place from now until Dec. 16. Bids on all items start at $1 with no reserve. Just visit the auction's website to purchase wonderful items in time for the holiday season, and please share the link with friends, family, and colleagues. More
 
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