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Common core poses challenges for preschools
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Although the common-core standards are calibrated to ensure that students leave K-12 schools ready for work and college, they are also posing challenges for the educators who work with children just starting out their school careers. As 46 states and the District of Columbia work this year to put the new curricular guidelines in place, preschool and early-childhood educators are determining how to balance the common standards' emphasis on increasing and measuring academic rigor with research findings on young children's developmental needs, which place a high value on play, the arts, social skills and integrated instruction. More

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As budgets get stretched, schools turn to free digital tools
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Think of it as a welcome demand meeting an urgent need: Even as public school funding plummets, it's never been easier to find inexpensive or free high-quality education tools online. The digital revolution, which smashed old patterns of other traditional media, is radically changing what can be found in the average classroom. Teachers and school districts are turning online for teaching games, collaborative tools and even custom-made entire "textbooks." More



At top public schools, the arts replace recess
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In the art room at P.S. 188 in Bayside, Queens, a group of 9-year-olds was busily putting the finishing touches on an enormous poster for the fourth-grade play. Its topic: saving the Earth. Down the hall in the music room, beneath portraits of Mozart and Bach, classmates were breaking into a spirited rendition of "Hear Those Bells" on fluorescent-colored recorders. Cheerleaders in the gym were perfecting a victory chant, jumping, twisting and stamping their feet. And in the library, children in a Suzuki violin class were toiling away at "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," while their music teacher, a professional violist from Iceland, coached them "to stand straight and tall." All of this concentrated learning — activities parents commonly think of as enrichment — was taking place not after school hours, but during recess, the once-unstructured mid-day break that for some elementary school students is slowly being squeezed out of the day. More

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Study: State science expectations 'all over the map'
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A student in New Hampshire or Rhode Island is likely to have a much tougher time achieving academic "proficiency" in science than another in Virginia or Tennessee, a new analysis suggests. But don't blame it on the schools. The reason is that states around the nation set the bar for science proficiency at widely varying levels, concludes the report issued today by the business coalition Change the Equation, in collaboration with the American Institutes for Research. More

Researchers find that abstinence-only education does not lead to abstinent behavior
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
States that prescribe abstinence-only sex education programs in public schools have significantly higher teenage pregnancy and birth rates than states with more comprehensive sex education programs, researchers from the University of Georgia have determined. The researchers looked at teen pregnancy and birth data from 48 U.S. states to evaluate the effectiveness of those states' approaches to sex education, as prescribed by local laws and policies. More

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Study: Physical education recess mandates boost school physical-activity time
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Schools are more likely to offer students 150 minutes of physical education per week if located in a state or district that mandates that level of PE, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The study's authors, based out of the University of Illinois at Chicago, worked off the National Association of Sport and Physical Education's recommendation that elementary students should be offered at least 150 minutes of PE each week. According to the study, less than 20 percent of third-graders were offered that level of PE in the 2007-2008 school year. More


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Disability a focus as school bullying protections grow
Disability Scoop    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Nearly all states now have laws prohibiting school bullying, but just 16 offer specific protections for those with disabilities. An analysis of laws from across the nation released by the U.S. Department of Education indicates that just one classification — race — is more likely than disability to be highlighted in state anti-bullying efforts. Currently, 46 states have anti-bullying laws on the books designed to protect children in the classroom. In recent years there have been significant efforts to add or improve such policies amid a number of high profile cases of young people taking their own lives after being targeted. Last year alone, the Education Department report indicates that there were 21 bills enacted or amended to address school bullying. More

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What's wrong with parents visiting a school?
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Paula Prosper worried that her son was not ready for the differences between his private Montessori school and the public Fairfax County, Va., seventh-grade she planned to transfer him to next year. Prosper, a teacher, asked whether he and she could sit for a few hours at Longfellow Middle School "to see what happens in classes and to get a feel for the school in general." The answer was no, with explanations that made little sense. More

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Do teachers really come from the 'bottom 3rd' of college graduates?
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The conventional wisdom among many education commentators is that U.S. public school teachers "come from the bottom third" of their classes. Most recently, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took this talking point a step further, and asserted at a press conference last week that teachers are drawn from the bottom 20 percent of graduates. All of this is supposed to imply that the U.S. has a serious problem with the "quality" of applicants to the profession. More

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Number of students attending charter schools soars
The Associated Press via Google News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The number of students attending charter schools has soared to more than 2 million as states pass laws lifting caps and encouraging their expansion, according to figures released. The growth represents the largest increase in enrollment over a single year since charter schools were founded nearly two decades ago. In all, more than 500 new charter schools were opened in the 2011-2012 school year. And about 200,000 more students are enrolled now than a year before, an increase of 13 percent nationwide. More

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Influenza vaccination rates up in children
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Influenza immunization rates in children are up this year compared with last but are unchanged in adults, with 36 percent of each group getting the vaccine by the middle of November, government officials reported. Once offered only to the elderly and chronically ill, the flu vaccine is now recommended for everyone older than six months of age. Although the target population is 305 million people, vaccine manufacturers expect to make no more than 173 million doses this season because many people forego the shot. More

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Technology keeps up school, social contacts
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Every weekday, Jonathan Moisey looks forward to seeing his teacher, talking with his classmates and learning his favorite subject, math. For the past several weeks, he's done all that without setting foot outside his Port Vue home. Jonathan, 8, a third-grader at South Allegheny Elementary School in Pennsylvania, is homebound while he recovers from a cerebral contusion he suffered Sept. 17 from a blow to the head at a youth football game. Now, the 30 minutes he spends online learning with his classmates is the highlight of each day. More

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Educators: Define achievement
KQED    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Educators should take note. Making some simple changes in the way we talk to students can have a significant impact. We should never underestimate the potential of a child based on test scores, and should be wary of how grading can impact a child's image of themselves. We owe it to our students to give every child the encouragement and opportunity to learn. More



New guidelines for educational technology research could help educators, vendors
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
To produce a stimulating 21st-century learning environment, school leaders see educational technology as a no-brainer. But using research to distinguish a truly effective ed-tech product from a less-than-effective product can prove difficult when the research is conducted by a vendor or for-profit company. Now, new guidelines for vendors and educators aim to solve this comparison conundrum. More

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Louisiana Board of Education approves teacher evaluation standards
The Associated Press via The Times-Picayune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education decided how it will tie teacher evaluations to student performance scores to comply with a new law championed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. The scoring standards will begin statewide with the 2012-2013 school year. Public school teachers will have half their review pegged to student performance data — not the flat standardized test scores, but the growth in student achievement on those tests. More

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Florida governor wants a billion dollar boost for schools
The Associated Press via The Miami Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who was criticized for pushing school funding cuts a few months ago, is asking for a billion dollars more for education to come during an election year. Scott will introduce a budget for 2012 that calls for increasing the amount spent on the state's nearly 2.7 billion public school students by slightly more than $100 each and more than $1 billion overall. While the overall amount per student is not going up that much, it marks a dramatic change for the Republican governor. More

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Free webinar: Making Principal Evaluations Count
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Highly effective principals are essential for good schools, but districts have struggled to craft tools that accurately gauge a leader's performance. NAESP and the National Association of Secondary School Principals are leading the effort to improve principal evaluation, forming a plan to help schools and districts create assessment instruments that focus on the traits of excellent principals. Join this FREE EdWeek webinar on Tuesday, Dec. 13 for all the latest on the future of principal evaluation. More

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Recruit JUST ONE new member — and win a prize
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Are you in the drawing yet? Commit to recruiting JUST ONE new NAESP member and you could win 1 of 5 exciting thank-you premiums. 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 Cynthia Rosso at crosso@naesp.org.
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