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US Education Secretary Arne Duncan takes reform show on the road
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is on a campaign to cheer on America's teachers at a time when a sizable number are skeptical of President Obama's education agenda. Duncan faces a curious situation. In the past year and a half, he has dispensed tens of billions of dollars to sustain schools through fiscal crises and to fund ideas to improve. He awarded nine states and the District $3 billion for education innovation. As the school year starts, he will unload another $10 billion for education jobs. More

The US Department of Agriculture grants help plant seeds of good nutrition with school gardens
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Since first lady Michelle Obama planted a garden at the White House in the spring of 2009 and invited schoolchildren to help tend and harvest the produce, more school gardens have been sprouting up across the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announces it will award $1 million in grants for eligible high-poverty schools to start community gardens. More





More students need a laptop computer for the classroom
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Back-to-school supplies for middle school students used to mean pens, notebooks, maybe a new backpack. But for a growing number of families, the list now includes a laptop computer. "We would never send our own kids to pediatricians that were practicing medicine from the 1970s or 1980s," says Mark Hess, principal of Sarah Banks Middle School in Wixom, Mich. "Why would we send our kids to schools that are practicing instructional techniques that are decades old? If we did that, it'd be educational malpractice." More

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Themed curriculums are top choices for middle-school students
The Baltimore Sun    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Baltimore City schools that offer themed curriculums were the top choices of middle school students and their parents this year, the first time they were allowed to select alternatives to their neighborhood schools. According to city school officials, Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy West in Maryland attracted the most students who identified the science, technology, engineering and mathematics academy as their number one choice. "It seemed that the thing that was attractive is whether or not the school offers something that captures the interests and excitement of students," said Jonathan Brice, executive director for student support services. More

Youngsters head back to globe-trotting classrooms
The Sun News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New Century International Elementary is the latest example of Cumberland County, N.C.'s, push toward a more global education. Whereas their parents may have taken a couple of years of Spanish in high school, some children in Cumberland County are fully immersed in foreign language by kindergarten. The innovations put the school system at the forefront of such efforts nationwide, said Superintendent Frank Till Jr., who has made international education one of his top priorities. More



Top teachers, bottom schools
Honolulu Star-Advertiser    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Getting Hawaii's best teachers and principals to work at the state's lowest-performing schools is a key element of the Race to the Top plan to lift student achievement that won approval. Nearly $19 million in federal funds, a quarter of the $75 million Hawaii won in the nationwide contest, will go toward turning around the lowest-achieving schools. The plan includes pay incentives to attract top educators, professional development to enhance teaching, and more learning time for students, including summer school. More

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19 states are piloting teacher prelicensing exam
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Education programs across 19 states are piloting a performance-based assessment for teacher-candidates that potentially could serve as a common prelicensing measure for new teachers. Based on a test in use in about 30 education schools in California, the Teacher Performance Assessment includes a "teaching event" requiring teachers to extensively document and submit for review artifacts of their planning, instruction, and ability to assess and respond to student needs. Five of the states taking part in the work — Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee, and Washington — have committed in legislation to use a performance-based licensing test, and officials have signed memoranda of understanding agreeing to adopt the assessment if it proves to be technically valid and reliable. More



Senate report hints at a definition for what works
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Language buried in a report on a Senate appropriations bill may provide a glimpse of the bar Congress will set for judging the effectiveness of school improvement interventions in the next iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Yet education watchers worry Congress won't back up its call for rigor with the cash to pay for the research. In its report on the education budget for the 2011 fiscal year, the Senate Appropriations Committee calls on the U.S. Department of Education to "encourage and support" states and districts to use their Title I school improvement grants only for interventions that would meet the evidence required for the two most stringent evidence standards in the federal Investing in Innovation, or i3, research grants—the "validation" and "scale-up" categories. More

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Texas tries to access federal education funds held up by rule
The Dallas Morning News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas and federal education officials met in Washington but did not come to an agreement over $830 million in extra school funds Texas stands to receive. "While the meeting did not produce an immediate solution, we will continue to work with the Department of Education and others to determine the best path forward to try to access these funds for Texas schools," Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott said in a statement. Scott and the governor's senior adviser Mike Morrissey met with U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary Tony Miller and are working on a way to allow Texas to get the money despite conditions placed on the grant. More



Detroit Public Schools will mail summer homework packets
The Detroit News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Detroit elementary and middle-school students don't resume classes for two weeks, but they already have homework. Detroit Public Schools announced it will mail 62-page packets of homework to 28,650 students in grades three through eight. The packets, which must be finished and turned in the first day of classes, focus on areas in which Detroit Public Schools students have tested poorly. The initiative is the first time Detroit Public Schools students have been given homework before the start of school, said Detroit Public Schools spokeswoman Kisha Verdusco. More

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Teachers blast the Los Angeles Times for releasing effectiveness rankings
The Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
National and local teachers unions sharply criticized The Times when the newspaper published a database of about 6,000 third- through fifth-grade city school teachers ranked by their effectiveness in raising student test scores. "It is the height of journalistic irresponsibility to make public these deeply flawed judgments about a teacher's effectiveness," said a statement issued by United Teachers Los Angeles. More

After Katrina, how charter schools helped recast New Orleans education
The Christian Science Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Before hurricane Katrina, the school system in New Orleans was like a dysfunctional marching band: It had structure and central direction, but academic failure and corruption dragged it down. Five years later, the schools are like a nascent jazz band: bursting with energy and improvisation and making bold academic strides — but still far from achieving their full promise. More

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Sens. David Williams and Dan Seum are planning to pre-file a bill which allows children to attend a school in their neighborhood
The Associated Press via Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Kentucky's Senate president David Williams, R-Burkesville, and a fellow Republican lawmaker Dan Seum, R-Louisville, are pushing a proposal to allow Louisville public school students to attend the school closest to their homes. The Courier-Journal reported that Sens. Williams and Seum are planning to pre-file a bill to change the language in a state law to guarantee children the right to attend a neighborhood school. More



Deadline for $5,000 grant is Aug. 31
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The deadline to apply for a $5,000 Sharing the Dream grant is Aug. 31. NAESP and MetLife Foundation will award 25 elementary and middle school principals $5,000 to fund projects that engage local communities. More

Mentor Training Program starts up in September
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
Novice school principals face the same issues as seasoned administrators—budget cuts, staff accountability, increased class size, and diverse learning communities, to name a few—but who can they count on for support and guidance? Perhaps it's you. More


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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.

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