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  Mobile version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe Dec. 17, 2010
Curriculum   School Leadership   Federal Advocacy & Policy   In the States    Association News    Contact NAESP

Poll: Most want easy way to fire bad teachers
The Associated Press via KSAT-TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
In overwhelming majority of Americans are frustrated that it's too difficult to get rid of bad teachers, while most also believe that teachers aren't paid enough, a new poll shows. The Associated Press-Stanford University poll found that 78 percent think it should be easier for school administrators to fire poorly performing teachers. Yet overall, the public wants to reward teachers — 57 percent say they are paid too little, with just 7 percent believing they are overpaid and most of the rest saying they're paid about right. More


Report: Only 1 percent of 'bad' schools turn around
The Christian Science Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
A lot of attention is being given to the idea of school "turnarounds" lately — the concept of taking a poorly performing school and drastically changing the staff, curricula, or other elements in an effort to make it much better. But a study underlines just how hard it is to actually turn around a failing school. The study, Are Bad Schools Immortal?, examined more than 2,000 of the worst-performing district and charter schools in 10 states over five years. It found that very few of them closed, and even fewer — about 1 percent — truly "turned around." More

Mixed emotions about standardized testing
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The author of the Speaking Out article in the January/February issue of Principal magazine feels conflicted about high-stakes testing because although NCLB requires it and principals are expected to use the resulting data to inform their decision-making, the process adds undue stress to students and the data from a single achievement test are not representative of a student's abilities. "While we know these assessments are increasing anxiety and stress," the author writes, "states continue to promote the test as unavoidable, and administrators capitulate by pressing teachers to prepare their students and by encouraging test performance as early as elementary school." More

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Singing science teacher attracts YouTube following
The Chicago Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Scientific concepts can be tricky for middle school students to learn, but Chicago teacher Doug Edmonds has found that the lessons become a little easier when set to the music of, say, ABBA. For the past year and a half, the Wood Oaks Junior High School science teacher has been recording himself singing new, science-oriented lyrics to popular tunes and posting the videos on YouTube for his students — and students from around the world — to view. More

Teacher takeover
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There's a concept being tested in districts around the country to open teacher-run schools. Instead of a building principal in charge of the intricacies of leading a school, the teachers work together to address instruction, budgets, discipline, and other traditional aspects of a principal's job. Consequently, the My Two Cents question for the January/February issue of Principal magazine is: What do you think are the risks of teacher-run schools? More


Schools miscommunicating with parents
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A seventh-grader at River Bend Middle School in Sterling, Va., is getting little homework. Under a new system called standard-based grading, teachers are supposed to use quick quizzes in class, not overnight assignments, to assess how students are doing. It is fairer and more dependable, many experts say, but it is also preventing the student's mother from helping her child learn. "Parents don't find out until after a child has been assessed whether the child knows the subject or not," said the mother, who asked not be identified out of fear of stigmatizing her child. More

New challenges for Obama's education agenda in the face of a GOP-led House
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For two years, backed by a friendly Congress and flush with federal stimulus money, President Obama's administration enjoyed a relatively obstacle-free path for its education agenda, the focus of which is the $4 billion Race to the Top grant program. But with Republican deficit hawks taking control of the House in January, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will no longer have billions of dollars to use at his discretion. The administration also has to recalibrate its goals for working with Congress to overhaul the main federal law on public schools. Fortunately for the administration, its ambitions for the law, the Bush-era No Child Left Behind effort, are shared by Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who will be the chairman of the House education committee. More

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School boards group questions US guidance on bullying
Education Week (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The general counsel of the National School Boards Association is warning the U.S. Department of Education that recent federal guidance to schools on bullying and harassment expands the standard of liability for school officials and "will invite misguided litigation." "The expansive position on what conduct constitutes 'harassment' protected by federal civil rights laws and what remedial measures are legally required will unnecessarily complicate investigations and possibly expose school districts to liability beyond that envisioned by the Supreme Court," says the Dec. 7 letter from Francisco M. Negron Jr., NSBA's top lawyer, to Charles P. Rose, the Education Department's general counsel. More

Charter Schools: A report on rethinking the federal role in education
Brookings    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The federal government's role in charter schools has expanded of late and is likely to be an important element in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The current federal role is a haphazard collection of laws, rules, funding preferences, and rhetoric that lacks coherence at the policy or action level. In that context, the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings gathered a group of prominent policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to address what the federal government should do if its policy were to increase the number of effective charter schools in the nation. More


Changes for TIF, school improvement grants in spending bill
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Teacher Incentive Fund, which U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called one of his predecessor's greatest achievements, would get a makeover — and less money — under the giant spending bill under consideration in the U.S. Senate. The TIF doles out grants to districts to create pay-for-performance programs. It would get $300 million under the Senate bill, which finances pretty much the entire federal government, including the Education Department. Last year, the TIF was financed at $400 million. More

New guidelines make teacher tenure less automatic in New York City
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In most schools across the country, tenure is not something to be gained, but something to be lost. Virtually every new teacher earns it, including in New York City, where all a principal has had to do to give a teacher almost guaranteed lifetime employment is to check a box on a computer program. Not any longer. Under guidelines released, principals are directed to base their decisions on an elaborate system that measures teachers' success in and outside the classroom, including student performance on standardized tests. The principals then have to explain their recommendation in three paragraphs. More

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Washington governor proposes deep cuts to state programs
The Associated Press via Yahoo! News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire unveiled a two-year budget plan that uses a mix of cuts to state programs, suspension of voter initiatives and use of the state's "rainy day" fund to patch a projected $4.6 billion deficit. In her proposal, Gregoire made about $3 billion in cuts in her 2011-2013 budget to programs across state government. Another $1.1 billion was saved by not paying for two voter-backed education initiatives that deal with teacher pay raises and money for reducing class sizes. Her plan would leave the state's operating budget with a balance of about $881 million. More

President's Perspective: Standing firm amid constant change
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The more things change, the more they stay the same. We've all heard this adage about change and constancy, but its wisdom has become especially apparent to me in my recent travels as NAESP president. It's clear that we live and work in a world that is changing in ways we don't always understand or know how to manage. Elementary and middle-level principals, in particular, are in a state of continual adaptation, juggling an often dizzying array of priorities, expectations, and demands from a usually noisy chorus of cohorts, including parents, peers, bosses, and associates at home, in the state house, and, increasingly, in the distant halls of Congress and the Department of Education. It can be exhausting! More

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Participate in Community Service Day at the 2011 Convention
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
NAESP's Annual Convention & Exposition kicks off on Thursday, April 7, with a day of volunteer service at Booker T. Washington Elementary School, a K-5 school in Tampa, Fla. Community Service Day is a powerful demonstration of commitment during the NAESP convention that raises awareness of the importance of volunteerism and of principals helping each other. Volunteers will complete hands-on projects such as planting and installing playground equipment to make B.T. Washington a better and brighter place to educate students. More



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