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Curriculum   School Leadership   Federal Advocacy & Policy   In the States    Association News    Contact NAESP

Schools prepare for national standards
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The movement to adopt common standards swept 40 states and the District of Columbia last year, a watershed for public education expected to ripple through many aspects of teaching and learning. The standards, spelling out what should be learned in English and math every year from kindergarten through high school, are meant to replace what has been a jumble of benchmarks that vary from state to state in content and depth. The Center on Education Policy reported that many states plan to revise teacher training within the next two years. But in most cases, key measures will not be rolled out until 2013 or later. More


Race to Top winners get guidance on plan alterations
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
The Obama administration has released guidance meant to spell out what kinds of amendments it will accept to plans submitted by states that won a share of $4 billion in grants under the federal Race to the Top competition — and the types of changes that would put the awardees' funding at risk. In documents sent to governors and other state officials, U.S. Department of Education officials explained that amendments to plans must be "consistent with the underlying principles," of the high-profile competition, in which 11 states and the District of Columbia won grants of up to $700 million. More

Study finds decline in K-12 computer science education
Computerworld    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Computer technology may drive the U.S. economy, but computer science education is absent in most American K-12 classrooms, according to a report by the Association for Computing Machinery and the Computer Science Teachers Association. "Some states and some schools are offering some really excellent courses. But overall, the picture is pretty bleak," said report co-author Mark Stehlik, assistant dean at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science. More

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Effort to restore children's play gains momentum
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Studies and statistics have been mounting that suggest the culture of play in the United States is vanishing. Children spend far too much time in front of a screen, educators and parents lament — 7 hours 38 minutes a day on average, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation last year. And only 1 in 5 children live within walking distance (a half-mile) of a park or playground, according to a 2010 report by the federal Centers for Disease Control, making them even less inclined to frolic outdoors. Behind the numbers is adult behavior as well as children's: Parents furiously tapping on their Blackberry's in the living room, too stressed by work demands to tolerate noisy games in the background. Weekends consumed by soccer, lacrosse and other sports leagues, all organized and directed by parents. The full slate of lessons (chess, tae kwon do, Chinese, you name it) and homework beginning in the earliest grades. Add to that parental safety concerns that hinder. More

Pennsylvania middle schoolers impress impress 'judges' in mock trials
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Gifted consortium teachers Dan Williams of Marshall Middle School in Wexford, Penn., and Gwen Cohen of Hampton Middle School in Allison Park, Penn., have been working together on the mock trial for the past seven years, but the event has been a favorite of students for more than a dozen years. "The kids love to participate in this," said Cohen. "We never have trouble with kids not following through." The middle school students use the same fictitious cases that were used by high school students in a similar program the year before. According to Williams, the cases, which are based on real-life cases written by law school students from Temple University in Philadelphia, are created so either side can legitimately win its argument. More


The greening of environmental education
The Harvard Education Letter    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Teaching students about the environment does, indeed, lend itself to controversial issues — climate change, coal mining, oil spills, and coastal erosion, to name a few. But the intent, Brian Day, executive director of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) says, is not to take sides. Instead, environmental education has two main objectives: To teach students about the complex interactions between human systems and natural systems, and to show them how to make informed and responsible decisions about their lives and the environment. To achieve these goals, environmental educators say, there are certain guidelines teachers should keep in mind. More

The future of school boards
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Local control of schools implies to many Americans the existence of a small group from the community to oversee elementary and secondary education in order to safeguard and promote the well-being of students. This vision of the school board is synonymous with democracy in the minds of people. Yet, the arrangement does not always optimize learning outcomes and put youngsters on track for fulfilling and productive lives, stirring up questions about whether there are more effective ways to govern schools. More

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An untimely turn in a school turnaround
The Boston Globe    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Vowing to put a fresh face at the front of nearly every classroom, the newly appointed principal of an underperforming Boston school broomed out dozens of teachers last spring and swept in talented colleagues from places he formerly worked. To win over parents, he dispatched teachers on home visits over the summer, hosted back-to-school events, and sent students home with letters promoting the efforts to overhaul the South End’s Blackstone Elementary School. By the time fall rolled around, Stephen Zrike appeared to be on the verge of orchestrating an elusive feat in urban education: Turning a school of persistent failure into an academic success. But then, Zrike, a 34-year-old rising star of the Boston public school system, abruptly walked away by accepting a more prestigious position in Chicago's public school system. More


Failing kindergarteners?
The San Francisco Chronicle (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Despite knowing that administrators and teachers feel pressure to prepare their students for standardized testing, failing kindergarteners seems a bit ridiculous. The first standardized tests begin in second grade, which is light years away from kindergarten developmentally. Even Norway, which is considered to have one of the best public education systems in the world, doesn't begin to teach students to read until they are 7 years old and testing starts in fourth grade. More

Education Department backs English-proficiency tests for common standards
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The federal government plans to pay for states to work together to create English-language-proficiency tests for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, according to a notice for proposed grant priorities published in the Federal Register. The plan calls for a minimum of 15 states to join together in each consortium that applies to create an English-proficiency test, prompting some observers to speculate that federal officials favor the idea of having a very limited number of such tests, if not one national test. Currently, states can choose from a wide variety of English-proficiency tests that were developed by state consortia or commercial publishers for accountability purposes under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. States such as California, New York, and Texas even developed their own individual English-proficiency tests. More

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie approves toughest anti-bullying law in the country    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Gov. Chris Christie has signed a bill that, advocates say, gives New Jersey the toughest anti-bullying law in the country. "This is no overstatement. Today is one of the most important civil-rights days in New Jersey history," said Steven Goldstein." Christie signed a law that is so different and so much better than anti-bullying laws that exist elsewhere across the country, that it's stunning." The "Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights" is intended to eliminate loopholes in New Jersey's first anti-bullying law, enacted in 2002, that encouraged school districts to set up programs to combat bullying but did not mandate it. More

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Achievement gap slow to close in California
The Sacramento Bee    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new report shows that the achievement gap between white students and African-American and Latino students in California will take years to narrow — and that boys are falling further behind girls. In 2009 there was a gap of 27 percent between fourth-grade white students and African-American students, and a gap of 22 percent between white and Latino students in math. There also was a 28 percent gap between white and African-American fourth-graders in reading. More

7 ways you save by attending NAESP's Convention
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
Because NAESP is featuring the fullest roster of expert speakers you will find anywhere this year for the 2011 Annual Convention & Exposition, it is definitely the best deal around, no matter how you slice it. Learn all seven ways you can save by attending. More

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