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Study: US schools' approach to student data threatens privacy
Reuters
School districts across the United States are failing to properly protect troves of sensitive student data as they rush to adopt new online systems pitched by private companies, a report released on Friday found. Most of the 23 school districts studied had inadequate privacy protections and poorly defined contracts with outside vendors that left student data vulnerable, said the Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham Law School, which conducted the review.
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Elementary and Secondary Education Act flexibility waivers
Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress previously examined the extent to which states applying for first-round Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, flexibility waivers in 2012 planned to expand in-school learning time to turn around low-performing schools. Our examination specifically reviewed state plans for explicit details about how states planned to use ESEA flexibility waivers and the 21st Century Community Learning Center, or 21st CCLC, optional waiver for comprehensive school redesign to add time for student learning and teacher collaboration and planning.
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Report: New system of assessments needed when Next Generation Science Standards are implemented
National Academy of Sciences via Science Daily
New types of assessments will be needed to measure student learning once the Next Generation Science Standards are implemented, says a new report from the National Research Council. The tests that states currently use emphasize factual knowledge and were not designed to assess the type of understanding envisioned by the standards, which emphasize depth of knowledge based on the ability to integrate core content with science and engineering practices.
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Building technology fluency: Preparing students to be digital learners
Edutopia (commentary)
On a given day, how much time do your students spend working on their fluency? At the elementary level, hours are devoted to reading and speaking fluency. In middle and high school, students read aloud, deliver oral presentations, and write in a variety of formats to improve upon their language fluency. And yet, while we devote a significant portion of every school day to a student's reading, writing and language fluency, how much time is devoted to the development of their technology fluency?
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Learning science concepts using the iPad
The Boston Globe
Technology is often seen as a powerful way to improve education, but just handing out the latest gadgets won’t by itself improve how children learn. That's something educators and administrators are wrestling with, as schools experiment with rolling out iPads and tablets. Enter Matthew Schneps, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who studies dyslexia and has long been intrigued by technology's potential to help people with this learning disability, who often struggle in an education system dominated by the textbook. The discoveries he has been making about how people with dyslexia analyze blurry images and read faster on hand-held devices led him to wonder about what kinds of non-text-based learning might be enabled by technology.
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To make science real, kids want more fun
NPR
Are American kids being adequately prepared in the sciences to compete in a highly competitive, global high-tech workforce? A majority of American parents say no, according to a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. Nearly one-quarter of all parents said their child's school today doesn't put enough emphasis on science curricula. And 30 percent of parents with children in kindergarten up through fifth grade say there's too little emphasis on science.
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Report outlines strategies for recruiting and retaining teachers
THE Journal
To attract and keep the best educators, the teaching profession must evolve to offer a "staged" career trajectory, where teachers can move up in the profession without switching to administrative roles, according to a new report from Pearson's Research and Innovation Network and the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. The report, "Creating Sustainable Teacher Career Pathways: A 21st Century Imperative," describes recent initiatives at the local, state, and national level that promote teacher career advancement and provides a state-by-state analysis of current and proposed approaches for promoting teacher leadership.
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The 10 biggest trends in education technology
THE Journal
The one guaranteed constant in educational technology is change, and the pace of that change is definitely accelerating. So as we approach the new year, THE Journal pauses to survey the ed tech trends on the horizon. As in previous years, we have assembled a distinguished panel of five experts, including several from our advisory board.
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Tablets make it nearly impossible for kids to get lost in a story
The Atlantic
Asi Sharabi, a contributor for The Atlantic, writes: "I've spent a lot of time watching my three- and five-year-old daughters explore, play, and read on an iPad. While touch-screen devices are wonderful in many ways, they do a really lousy job in one particular area: deeply engaging kids in narrative. Interactivity is stopping children from falling in love with stories. This, I fear, will have long-term consequences, depriving children of one of the most important benefits of reading for pleasure, the essential inner work of imagination and empathy."
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Urban schools team up to serve greener, healthier lunches
District Administration Magazine
Six of the nation's biggest school districts have taken another bold step in changing the face of school lunches. The districts in the Urban School Food Alliance — New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas, and Orlando — have banded together to purchase biodegradable trays made of sugar cane to cut down on both cost and waste. The alliance formed in July 2012, with the goals of improving the quality of school food and lessening the environmental impact of food service. In total, the alliance bought more than $530 million in cafeteria food and supplies last year, and the six districts serve 2.6 million meals every school day.
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Needing pencils, iPads or piccolos, teachers turn to crowdsourcing
The Hechinger Report
When Patty Lee asked her kindergarten students in early October what letter had a "ba" sound, 23 little hands pressed colorful markers hard against the small dry eraser boards on their laps, connecting lines to semicircles. Lee, who teaches at Public School 251 in Brooklyn, N.Y., complimented students who showed her the letter "b" while telling others who had written a "d" to try again. Just a few weeks earlier, this simple exercise would have been very different because Lee, like many teachers across the country, was scrambling to provide the most basic supplies, like markers, for her students.
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Deconstructing PISA: Implications for education reform and fighting poverty
The Huffington Post
Every three years, American policymakers eagerly anticipate the release of scores for the Program for International Student Assessment. While any single test, no matter how strong, can explain only a limited amount about our education system, PISA provides some unique insights, testing students' ability to apply knowledge and skills both in and out of school. It is taken only by 15-year-olds, making it a decent proxy for the "college-and-career readiness" that is the focus of current debates.
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Students in large cities make progress
ED.gov Blog (commentary)
America's big cities have long been beacons of promise and opportunity. Yet too often, big-city school systems have failed to equalize educational opportunity or truly prepare our young people to compete in a knowledge-based, global economy. In large cities, more than a third of all teens fail to graduate on time, and high school dropouts have few opportunities as adults to find rewarding work to sustain a family.
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How to use technology in education
National Review Online
It's hard to talk about schools today without talking about technology. Enthusiasts celebrate the wonders of tablets, virtual schools, and "blended" learning. Skeptics recall a litany of overhyped, underwhelming past efforts. News accounts whipsaw between breathless tales of digital learning and horrific accounts of troubled virtual schools. Last year, Forbes ran a cover story titled "One Man, One Computer, 10 Million Students: How Khan Academy Is Reinventing Education." But we've been there before, plenty of times. Indeed, in 1922, Thomas Edison proclaimed, "The motion picture is destined to revolutionize our educational system.... In a few years it will supplant largely, if not entirely, the use of textbooks."
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Education Department awards $120 million to districts
The Associated Press via ABC News
Students will earn an associate's degree and a high school diploma at the same time. Every student will have a laptop to take home at night. And teachers will be retrained to let students move at their own pace. All are pilot programs the Education Department is funding with $120 million in grants to five school groups, Secretary Arne Duncan said. "These are bold, locally directed improvements in learning and teaching that will improve both student achievement and educator effectiveness," Duncan told reporters.
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How to use technology in education
National Review Online
It's hard to talk about schools today without talking about technology. Enthusiasts celebrate the wonders of tablets, virtual schools, and "blended" learning. Skeptics recall a litany of overhyped, underwhelming past efforts.

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New Common Core resources for educators
eClassroom News
New resources released this month link Common Core-aligned curriculum with any school system’s assessment data, and what's more, these resources for educators are also 100 percent free. The resources, housed on Activate Instruction, are part of an open platform where educators can browse, search, rate, add, share and organize their favorite Common Core-aligned resources, and put them together in personalized playlists for students.

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The state of the Common Core
Edutopia
Millions of teachers and thousands of districts in 45 states are currently undergoing a sea change in the way that they teach and assess students. The new Common Core Standards for learning have been phased into states and districts since 2010, and the digitized Common Core Assessments are scheduled to deploy in states that have adopted them as early as the 2014-2015 school year.

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Congress approves budget deal that puts brakes on sequestration
Education Week
School districts chafing under the across-the-board federal cuts known as sequestration are about to get a reprieve: The U.S. Senate gave final approval, on a vote of 64 to 36 Wednesday to a broad budget deal that would ward off the vast majority of the impending cuts to K-12 education spending — and nearly every other federal program — for the next two years. The bipartisan deal, which was negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., would set spending levels at roughly $1.021 trillion this budget year. The U.S. House of Representatives has already approved the measure, so now it's headed to President Barack Obama's desk, and he's expected to sign it.
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Most of NCLB's 'failing' schools were not targeted the following year
U.S. News & World Report
Most of the schools that were deemed as failing under the sweeping education law known as No Child Left Behind were no longer identified as such one year later, once several states received waivers that increased their flexibility in developing school accountability systems. In a new report from the New America Foundation, released Tuesday, Policy Analyst Anne Hyslop analyzed data from more than 20,000 schools in 16 states that received NCLB waivers for the 2012-2013 school year. On average, two-thirds of the schools identified for improvement under NCLB for the 2011-2012 school year were not identified once waivers allowed states to develop accountability systems that ranked schools on a relative basis of school performance, rather than an absolute basis.
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Urban NAEP results: 'Regular' DCschools make big gains
Education Week
Remember when the fourth and eighth grade NAEP results came in last month and the District of Columbia delivered some of the biggest gains in the country? One of the big questions hanging over the District then was this: Was its large and typically-better-performing charter school sector the big driver behind those gains?
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Explore copyright issues in a January tweetchat
NAESP
Join NAESP and the American Library Association for a tweetchat on copyright issues for educators on Tuesday, Jan 7. From 6:00-7:00 p.m. (Eastern), Carrie Russell, director of the American Library Association Program on Public Access to Information, will field copyright questions from school administrators. The chat's hashtag will be #k12copylaw.
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Save the date for the 2014 NAESP Conference
NAESP
As 2013 draws to a close, make sure to mark your calendar for 2014's biggest professional development event for principals: the NAESP Conference, held July 10-12 in Nashville, Tenn. It's where the nation's principals and top education experts will gather for networking, discussions on hot education issues and presentations from visionary speakers. Don't miss this chance to dive into professional learning in one of the most exciting cities in America.
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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 Meredith Barnett at MBarnett@naesp.org.
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