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As 2011 comes to a close, NAESP would like to wish its members a safe and happy holiday season. This issue of Before the Bell is a compilation of the most accessed articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume next Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012.


Arne Duncan: School reform's next test
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Jan. 4, 2011 issue: With a new Congress set to begin, key members on both sides of the aisle are poised to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as No Child Left Behind. In fact, the work has been underway for much of the past year, and few areas are more suited for bipartisan action than education reform. On many issues, Democrats and Republicans agree, starting with the fact that no one likes how NCLB labels schools as failures, even when they are making broad gains. Parents, teachers and lawmakers want a system that measures not just an arbitrary level of proficiency, but student growth and school progress in ways that better reflect the impact of a school and its teachers on student learning. More


What makes an effective school principal?
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Aug. 5, 2011 issue: Recent research shows that good principals in K-12 schools can create dramatic improvement, particularly in the lowest performing schools — but the consistency, fairness and value of current principal evaluation practices are questionable. An overview of current research on principal evaluation, introduced at a National Association of Elementary School Principals conference, provides guidance to state and district efforts to evaluate principals more effectively. More

Why teacher bashing is dangerous
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Feb. 15, 2011 issue: Far too many people are bashing teachers and public schools. The attacks are coming from different places for different reasons, and we need to pay attention to the differences. The parent who's angry at the public school system because it's not successfully educating his/her children is not the same as the billionaire with no education experience, who couldn't survive in a classroom for two days, but who has made privatizing education policy a hobby, and who has the resources to do so because the country's financial and tax systems serve the rich. More

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US plan to replace principals hits snag: Who will step in?
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Jan. 25, 2011 issue: The aggressive $4 billion program begun by the Obama administration in 2009 to radically transform the country's worst schools included, as its centerpiece, a plan to install new principals to overhaul most of the failing schools. That policy decision, though, ran into a difficult reality: there simply were not enough qualified principals-in-waiting to take over. More

House bill calls for eliminating 43 education programs
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
May 17, 2011 issue: Forty-three education programs would be scrapped under a bill introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce subcommittee that oversees K-12 policy. "It's time to trim the fat," Hunter said. "I will introduce legislation that will eliminate — not consolidate, not defund, but eliminate — 43 wasteful K-12 education programs. At a time when approximately one-third of American fourth-graders can't read, we must concentrate on education initiatives that have a track record of putting the needs of students first." More

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Obama prepares to revamp 'No Child Left Behind'
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Sept. 23, 2011 issue: President Barack Obama is poised to broaden federal influence in local schools by scrapping key elements of No Child Left Behind, the Bush administration's signature education law, and substituting his own brand of school reform. The move will bypass Congress, drawing fire from Republicans on Capitol Hill and some in the educational establishment but winning applause from governors across the country struggling to meet the demands of the nine-year-old law. More


Obama says too much testing makes education boring
The Associated Press via eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
April 1, 2011 issue: President Barack Obama said that students should take fewer standardized tests and school performance should be measured in other ways than just exam results. Too much testing makes education boring for kids, he said. Obama, who is pushing a rewrite of the nation's education law that would ease some of its rigid measurement tools, said policymakers should find a test that "everybody agrees makes sense" and administer it in less pressure-packed atmospheres, potentially every few years instead of annually. More

Duncan urges changes to NCLB
United Press International    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
March 11, 2011 issue: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told federal lawmakers eight of 10 schools could flunk No Child Left Behind standards this year. Duncan called on Congress to fix the law before the next school year so the schools and students most at risk of failing receive the assistance they need. "No Child Left Behind is broken and we need to fix it now," Duncan told the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. More

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The secrets of a principal who makes things work
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Sept. 27, 2011 issue: A good principal has been a teacher. While Ivy Leaguers in their 20s can now become principals, Jacqui Getz, 51, the new principal of Public School 126, a high-poverty school in Chinatown, N.Y., came up the old way. This is her third principal position, but before that, she was a teacher for nine years and an assistant principal for four. It's hard for principals to win over teachers if they haven't been one. "You're the principal," Getz said, "but you have to know how a teacher feels and how a teacher thinks." More

'Instructional rounds' approach flips classroom evaluations
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
June 28, 2011 issue: As school leaders work to improve classroom teaching, a new way of evaluating instruction — one that shifts the focus from the teacher to the students — is emerging. Called "instructional rounds," the practice is based on the way doctors make their rounds in a teaching hospital, using facts rather than value judgments to determine the effectiveness of instruction. More

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Education secretary tells Congress: Change No Child Left Behind — or I will
The Christian Science Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
June 17, 2011 issue: The Obama administration is raising the stakes for Congress to act on reforming No Child Left Behind. If Congress won't move to reauthorize and amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act — then the administration will start addressing some of the act's flaws itself, Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned. The law, which was up for reauthorization more than three years ago, expects all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014, among other things. More

Ousted principals quickly find new education jobs
The Associated Press via The Boston Globe    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
March 29, 2011 issue: After Red Lake High School was labeled one of Minnesota's worst schools, its board moved quickly to dismiss the principal. It didn't take long for Ev Arnold to land on his feet, though: The same district now pays him the identical salary to oversee the school's turnaround. Arnold's situation is typical for principals in several states who were removed last summer under the federal School Improvement Grant program, intended to reform the nation's worst schools. The most popular way for schools to qualify for a slice of the $3 billion available was pick a reform plan that called for replacing what was considered failed leadership — but many of those principals are still running schools. More


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Studies take aim at playground gossip
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Feb. 4, 2011 issue: Gossip and social ostracization may come far down on the list of concerns for educators trying to prevent bullying, yet emerging research suggests relational bullying, though often the most frequently overlooked, may hold the key to changing an aggressive culture in schools. Of the three major types of bullying — physical, verbal and relational — relational aggression, has been the latest and least studied, both because it involves less visible, immediately dangerous behavior than fighting or verbal abuse, and in part because it involved more nuanced relationships among the bullies, victims, and bystanders. More

Ravitch: Standardized testing undermines teaching
National Public Radio    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
May 3, 2011 issue: Former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch was once an early advocate of No Child Left Behind, school vouchers and charter schools. In 2005, she wrote, "We should thank President George W. Bush and Congress for passing the No Child Left Behind Act. All this attention and focus is paying off for younger students, who are reading and solving mathematics problems better than their parents' generation." But four years later, Ravitch changed her mind. More

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Duncan, key senators sing off same page on ESEA renewal
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Jan. 28, 2011 issue: Three of the four members of the U.S. Senate's "Big 8" on education policy, along with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, told reporters that they intend to move quickly and collaboratively on a bill that fixes some of the key issues with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, whose current incarnation is the 9-year-old No Child Left Behind Act. All three lawmakers on the media call — Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., the top Republican; and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the ranking member of the subcommittee overseeing K-12 policy — said they want to see changes to the law's system for labeling schools. More

Principal's role vital to academic success
Deseret News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Sept. 2, 2011 issue: According to research, principals are the second most important figures at a school, next to teachers, in determining a child's academic success. And since principals are the ones in charge of hiring quality teachers and firing or remediating teachers who are not performing, their role may be even more important at a school than many have thought in the past. More

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How a tight budget can improve education
Newsweek    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Feb. 1, 2011 issue: Arne Duncan, 46, a 6-foot-5 former basketball player (he played professionally in Australia), was on the Harvard University team that set the NCAA record for highest free-throw percentage. He and his teammates, he jokes, shot well only when no one was guarding them. As secretary of education, he has grades K through 12 in a full-court press. Duncan says No Child Left Behind got things "exactly wrong" by being "loose on goals but prescriptive about how to get to them," which marks him as a friend of federalism. Some of the $4 billion in Race to the Top funding — incentives for innovations — has been used to prod states to repeal laws that prohibited linking teacher evaluations to students' achievements. More

Principals' job reviews getting a fresh look
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
July 15, 2011 issue: While policymakers have engaged in pointed discussions about teacher performance reviews, the conversation around evaluating principals has been less vociferous. The balance, however, is slowly starting to shift. Two groups representing elementary and secondary principals announced a joint plan to help states and districts create principal-evaluation tools that will provide trustworthy feedback and opportunities for professional development. More

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No Child Left Behind: Obama, Congress offer differing visions for education's future
International Business Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Oct. 21, 2011 issue: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was expressing a broadly shared sentiment when he referred to the landmark No Child Left Behind education law as "a slow-motion train wreck." Now lawmakers and the Obama administration are engaged in parallel efforts to reshape the way America teaches and tests its students. Duncan was alluding to a particularly onerous provision in the Bush-era law that required schools to demonstrate 100 percent proficiency on math and science tests by 2014 or face heavy penalties. More

More states defying federal government on education law
The Associated Press via ABC News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
July 26, 2011 issue: At least three states are vowing to ignore the latest requirements under the No Child Left Behind law in an act of defiance against the federal government that demonstrates their growing frustration over an education program they say sets unrealistic benchmarks for schools. The law sets a goal of having 100 percent of students proficient in math and reading by 2014, but states were allowed to establish how much schools must improve each year. Many states saved the biggest leaps for the final years, anticipating the law would be changed. More






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