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Lines grow long for free school meals, thanks to economy
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Millions of American schoolchildren are receiving free or low-cost meals for the first time as their parents, many once solidly middle class, have lost jobs or homes during the economic crisis, qualifying their families for the decades-old safety-net program. The number of students receiving subsidized lunches rose to 21 million last school year from 18 million in 2006-2007, a 17 percent increase, according to an analysis by The New York Times of data from the Department of Agriculture, which administers the meals program. Eleven states, including Florida, Nevada, New Jersey and Tennessee, had four-year increases of 25 percent or more, huge shifts in a vast program long characterized by incremental growth. The Agriculture Department has not yet released data for September and October. More

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Census: Poverty dominates many school districts
Reuters    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Nearly half of all children in America live in school districts with high levels of poverty, according to U.S. Census data. In 2010, 45 percent of all children resided in school districts with poverty rates greater than 20 percent. Another 34.3 percent live in districts where poverty rates are between 10 and 20 percent. Counties with poverty rates significantly above the national average for school-age children were found Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Texas. More



Experts say social sciences are 'Left Behind'
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As the majority of states implement common-core content standards, experts at the National Research Council argue that the focus on mathematics and language arts leaves out the social and economic studies that can help students connect content to their daily lives. Researchers at an NRC forum on social sciences in Washington suggested that the expansion of testing in math and reading under the No Child Left Behind Act has led to a piecemeal approach to social and behavioral science subjects in the states. While all but four states have adopted the common-core standards in mathematics and language arts and the NRC has proposed a full set of voluntary national science standards, social and behavioral sciences have failed to gain a significant presence in either set of standards, despite protests last year from the field. More

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Bottom line on mathematics education
The Huffington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
First some axioms: Mathematics is honestly useful for all citizens. It can help them in school, at work, as citizens and in their daily lives. This is the reason we teach mathematics every year from kindergarten through the end of high school. The mathematical education of the general public is a priority of our educational system above and beyond the education of future mathematicians and scientists. More

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Middle schoolers getting prepped for college
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Middle school students are being asked to do much more than take pre-algebra these days; they're being asked to start launching their future careers. A rise in college- and career-readiness programs targeted at middle schoolers, particularly disadvantaged ones, has been spurred by mounting research that shows middle school is a key time to improve the academics and attitudes needed to succeed in high school, college and beyond. More

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Study: 40 percent of kids who attempt suicide first try in elementary or middle school
Time    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Almost 40 percent of kids attempting suicide make their first try in middle or even elementary school, according to research that suggests that kids who think they want to kill themselves are considering it long before previously assumed. About 1 in 9 children have attempted suicide before their high school graduation, but learning that they're making plans as early as elementary school is especially chilling. More

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High-tech education clicks ... but only for some schools
The Kansas City Star    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Technology opens the door to exciting possibilities in education — but only for schools that can keep up with the trends. "We're living in an extraordinary time," said Karen Cator, director of education technology with the U.S. Department of Education. Education technology can assess student performance, connect students to multimedia and empower teachers to create rich lessons. Yet many school systems remain mired in the past, beset by fears of technology, cyberbullying, distracted students and prohibitive costs. More

US education chief says education will fix economy
The Associated Press via Las Vegas Sun    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that a post secondary education remains the surest path to professional and economic success, even as more Americans than ever are going into debt to pursue higher learning. Duncan said students should consider some form of higher education, including college or vocational training, if they want to more easily secure a job after high school graduation. Outside of mortgages, student loans are the top source of household debt. More

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Survey: Kids in developing countries dream of better education than US kids
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
To find out what kids around the world dream of when it comes to pursuing the best life they can imagine, the ChildFund Alliance surveyed 5,100 children throughout Africa, Asia, the Americas and the United States. The nonprofit, which works with vulnerable kids in 56 countries, asked privileged kids and children in need questions about their ideal jobs and how they would improve their countries as president. The survey concluded that those in developing countries are focused on education, while kids in the United States have the chance to set their sights on the arts and sports. More

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With online testing on the horizon, infrastructure could be a challenge
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With new online tests being designed to reflect the Common Core standards adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, school districts in these states will have to replace pencil-and-paper testing with the new online exams as soon as the 2014-2015 school year. But school leaders are unsure how the computers and software needed for such a move will be funded. Last year, the federal Education Department doled out more than $300 million in Race to the Top funding to two groups of states to create next-generation assessments tied to the Common Core standards. More



US Department of Education: Digital learning enrollment triples
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The digital revolution has officially hit America's classrooms. As school districts nationwide cut back on essentials, three-quarters of them plan to expand their digital offerings over the next three years, according to a new survey reported by the National Center for Education Statistics, the federal Education Department's research arm. More

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Rewrite of school lunch rules falls short of goals
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When the U.S. Department of Agriculture decides by the end of the year what school meals should look like, the agency will not be able to make all the changes it proposed in January, including placing limits on one food linked to obesity. Congress added clauses to the agriculture appropriations bill that keep the USDA from limiting how many servings of starchy vegetables, including white potatoes, students are allowed each week. Other provisions in the bill, signed by President Barack Obama on Nov. 18, allow a small amount of tomato paste on a slice of pizza to be considered a serving of vegetables, cut back on some of the limits the USDA wanted to place on the sodium content of school meals and require the agency to define what items are considered whole grains. More

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Congress and school lunches
Chicago Tribune (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Congress is ordering the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider pizza as a vegetable for school lunches. Pizza a vegetable? Yes! Pizza contains some tomato paste, and Congress says that a couple of tablespoons of the stuff should count as a serving of vegetables for schoolchildren. Even if we ignore the technicality that a tomato is a fruit rather than a vegetable, this is a sad example of lawmakers putting the financial interests of the food lobby ahead of the well-being of kids. Currently not one person ages 12-19 in this country meets the American Heart Association's criteria for ideal cardiovascular health. More

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6 more states sign on to help craft new science standards
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It looks like they're going to need a bigger table, and some extra chairs, to write those new science standards. If you thought 20 states was an awful lot to play a "lead" role in crafting the standards, brace yourself. Six more are joining in the fun: Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon, according to an announcement from Achieve, the Washington-based group facilitating the effort. More



Teacher development at center of new center for American progress studies
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Jordan Henry, a Los Angeles high school teacher, recently received his new score as part of the city's pilot program to take student test scores into consideration when testing its teachers. In the program, teachers receive a numerical value to represent the degree to which they influenced their students' learning. His score? Middle of the scale. "It's a big ho hum," Henry said. "What does this tell me?" Participating in the pilot — now facing a lawsuit from the Los Angeles teachers' union — landed Henry smack in between the policy and reality of new methods designed to help teachers improve, a task less simple than it seems. More

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Big expansion, big questions for Teach for America
The Associated Press via ABC News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a distressed neighborhood north of Miami's gleaming downtown, a group of enthusiastic but inexperienced instructors from Teach for America is trying to make progress where more veteran teachers have had difficulty: raising students' reading and math scores. "These are the lowest performing schools, so we need the strongest performing teachers," said Julian Davenport, an assistant principal at Holmes Elementary, where three-fifths of the staff this year are Teach for America corps members or graduates of the program. By 2015, with the help of a $50 million federal grant, program recruits could make up one-quarter of all new teachers in 60 of the nation's highest need school districts. The program also is expanding internationally. More

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Report finds charters struggling like other CPS schools
Chicago Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city leaders have long heralded charter schools' innovative approach to education, but new research suggests many charters in Chicago are performing no better than traditional neighborhood schools and some are actually doing much worse. More than two dozen schools in some of the city's most prominent and largest charter networks, including the United Neighborhood Organization, Chicago International Charter Schools, University of Chicago and LEARN, scored well short of district averages on key standardized tests. More

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Members everywhere jump on the JUST ONE bandwagon
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
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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 Cynthia Rosso at crosso@naesp.org.
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
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