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Military children stay a step ahead of public school students
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The results are now public from the 2011 federal testing program known as NAEP, the National Assessment of Educational Progress. And once again, schools on the nation's military bases have outperformed public schools on both reading and math tests for fourth and eighth graders. At the military base schools, 39 percent of fourth graders were scored as proficient in reading, compared with 32 percent of all public school students. Even more impressive, the achievement gap between black and white students continues to be much smaller at military base schools and is shrinking faster than at public schools. More

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How to start a successful virtual learning program
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Virtual learning can help districts address many needs, such as filling a gap between courses a school offers and courses students might want to take but aren't currently offered — and a new report offers insights from a number of seasoned experts on starting a virtual learning program. Statistics indicate that more than 1.5 million students attended fully online or blended learning programs during the 2009-2010 school year, and more school districts are turning to online instruction for its expanded curriculum offerings, flexibility and cost-saving potential. Some experts predict that roughly half of high school courses will be offered online by 2019. More

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Survey: Most teachers see the curriculum narrowing
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
You've heard it before, and now a new set of survey results drives the point home: Most teachers believe that in the era of high-stakes testing in math and English/language arts, other important subjects are getting pushed out of the classroom. At the same time, nearly half of those polled believe the extra focus on math and English is helping to boost students' "skills and knowledge" in one or both subjects. More

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Friendly advice for teachers: Beware of Facebook
National Public Radio    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The new and ever-changing world of social networking has blurred the lines between private and public, work and personal, friend and stranger. It's becoming a particular challenge for teachers who can quickly rile students and parents by posting comments or photos online. In some cases, teachers have been fired for statements they've made on Facebook, which is raising free speech issues. More

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Exit exams less popular as states shift to college- and career-readiness tests
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Fewer states are requiring students to pass high school exit exams to graduate, but more states are increasing standardized testing in college- and career-readiness assessment efforts. A report by the Center on Education Policy reveals that in the 2010-2011 school year, 25 states have or plan to implement policies that require students to pass end-of-grade or end-of-course exams to earn a high school diploma — a figure down from 28 the year before. More

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Students in big-city schools show gains in latest NAEP 'report card'
The Christian Science Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Students in America's largest cities are making gains in math, in many cases faster than students in the nation as a whole. Reading scores in those large cities — just as in the nation — have largely remained flat for the past two years. And in some cities — including Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, and Houston — students have made particularly striking gains over the past eight years, while in other cities progress has lagged. More

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5 tips for digital communication in the new year
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With a new year approaching, it's a great opportunity to re-evaluate what's working — and what's not — in your classroom, school or district communications program. Here are five tips to power better communications and community relations in 2012, plus some thoughts to ponder as we enter a new era in public school choice. More

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Kids online: The risks and the realities
KQED    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Internet seems like another member of the family sometimes. It lives in our home and follows us wherever we go, it vies for our attention and it entertains us. The habits we fall into around our online lives has a profound effect on our family relationships, especially when it comes to parents and kids. More

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Guidance on race-based factors gets polarized response
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Civil rights advocates and opponents of affirmative action are sharply divided on the wisdom — and legal soundness — of new Obama administration guidance to schools and colleges on how much flexibility they have in considering the race of students in areas such as attendance zones and admissions. The guidance was released after more than two years of lobbying by civil rights groups, which argued that a similar document issued by the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights in 2008, under President George W. Bush, did not faithfully advise schools and colleges on the permissible uses of race under the relevant U.S. Supreme Court decisions. More

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Teacher evaluations key to state chances for NCLB waivers
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Where their teacher-quality proposals are concerned, the fates of the 11 states that have bid for waivers of core principles of the No Child Left Behind Act appear to depend largely on how the peer reviewers — and, ultimately, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan — interpret their applications. The U.S. Department of Education's criteria for teacher quality — one of four policy areas states must address in their applications — hinge on the ability of states and districts to ready new teacher-evaluation systems for statewide implementation by the end of the 2013-2014 school year. More

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Florida lawmaker proposes bill to eliminate middle school physical education requirement
ABC News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Florida children in grades six through eight are required under current law to take one semester of physical education every year, but the state is now considering a bill to eliminate the requirement for that class. The bill's sponsor, Republican State Rep. Larry Metz, said in an email to ABC News that one of the main reasons behind the proposed law is to leave the decision to offer physical education up to local school districts, not the state. He is not opposed to physical education, he said, and the bill would not affect the current physical education requirement in elementary schools. More

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New teacher contract could shut down school choice program in California
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As schools across California bemoan increasing class sizes, the Alliance Technology and Math Science High School has boosted class size — on purpose — to an astonishing 48. The students work at computers most of the school day. Next door in an identical building containing a different school, digital imaging — in the form of animation, short films and graphics — is used for class projects in English, math and science. 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 is 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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Award program honors assistant principals
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The NAESP Foundation, along with the Pearson Foundation, has launched the Outstanding Assistant Principals Award to celebrate superb assistant principals and their vital contributions to schools. Winners will be chosen through NAESP state affiliates. Click here for details on eligibility and applying. 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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