What's needed for preschool to pay off? Two studies offer insights The Christian Science Monitor President Barack Obama's plan to expand high-quality preschool is expected to emerge in greater detail with his budget proposal in early April. While it's unclear if it will go anywhere given the austere mood in Washington, members of Congress have already introduced (or reintroduced) no fewer than half a dozen pre-K bills. As Washington and the public debate how much and how best to invest in preschool, two new studies of large-scale programs — one in multiple districts in New Jersey and one in Boston — have shown significant gains for students, compared with similar peers who were not enrolled.
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ADHD seen in 11 percent of US children as diagnoses rise The New York Times Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These rates reflect a marked rise over the last decade and could fuel growing concern among many doctors that the ADHD diagnosis and its medication are overused in American children.
Taking a crack at California's education system Los Angeles Times When Michelle Rhee wants to make a point about what she sees as the coddling of American children, she refers to her daughters' abundant soccer trophies. "My daughters suck at soccer," she says to crowds that roar with knowing laughter. The former District of Columbia schools chancellor is pitch perfect in the role of outraged parent and education reformer, distilling complex policy debates into bare-knuckled banter. In Rhee's world, as she recently told crowds in Los Angeles and Sacramento, teacher seniority protections are "whack," principals can be "nutty" and charter schools can be "crappy." Such frank talk has made the controversial former teacher a celebrity and potential political powerhouse.
Gains on state exams don't translate to national tests The Texas Tribune When Texas administers the last round of TAKS exams to 11th-graders in April, it will mark the end of a 10-year period that saw the state's public school students' scores on the standardized tests soar. In 2012, students nailed their 11th-grade state exit exams in math and English — more than 90 percent of them passed both subjects. That was true for only about 70 percent when the state first transitioned to the new assessment system in 2003. Widely praised by state education officials, the progress appears in advances on measures closely connected to the state scores, like high school graduation rates and the percentage of students who meet the state's college ready standards.
Civil rights groups: School safety not dependent on guns Education Week In a pre-emptive move against a school safety proposal from the National Rifle Association that is expected to include a call for more people trained and approved to carry guns at schools, a coalition of civil rights groups unveiled its own safety plan. It seeks the creation of positive school climates, thoughtful and comprehensive crisis plans, and improved safety features that don't turn schools into fortresses. Both plans — from groups not necessarily considered school safety experts — come as schools have been reworking safety and security measures after the deadliest shootings on a K-12 campus in U.S. history. The December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., took the lives of 20 first-graders and six employees.
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Outlook for many Illinois school districts gets gloomier Chicago Tribune Lawmakers are considering more cuts in education aid, and policy experts are talking about possible changes to the way Illinois funds public schools. Meanwhile, school district finances are deteriorating. The state released its financial portrait of public school districts this month, showing a drop in the number of districts with the highest financial rating and a big jump in districts that are deficit-spending.
School suspensions: Does racial bias feed the school-to-prison pipeline? The Christian Science Monitor Two students set off fire alarms in the same school district. One of them, an African-American kindergartner, is suspended for five days; the other, a white ninth-grader, is suspended for one day. An African-American high-schooler is suspended for a day for using a cellphone and an iPod in class. In the same school, a white student with a similar disciplinary history gets detention for using headphones. Two middle-schoolers push each other; the white student receives a three-day, in-school suspension, while the native American student is arrested and suspended, out of school, for 10 days. Civil rights groups have been saying for years that school discipline is not meted out fairly, citing examples like these reported last year from around the country by the U.S. Department of Education.
With GOP advocate, education issues could gain steam in Congress Education Week Education issues — which haven't gotten a lot of attention from Congress over the past four years — may have picked up an unlikely but powerful advocate: U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor. As the majority leader in the House of Representatives, the Virginia Republican has a major role in setting the agenda for the chamber. Throughout President Barack Obama's first term, Cantor served as a key counterweight to the administration's agenda on a broad swath of domestic issues, largely aligning himself with more conservative House Republicans on everything from health care to deficit reduction.
Fourth round of Investing in Innovation kicks off with pre-screening Education Week If you have a good, innovative idea to solve a vexing education problem — and it's relatively untested — then this pre-application process is for you. The U.S Department of Education is accepting "pre-applications" for its small $3 million development grants, which are part of a larger $150 million Investing in Innovation grant contest. The deadline to apply is April 26. Applications for the larger "scale-up" and "validation" grants — ;which require more evidence of past success but can win applicants up to $25 million — will be available later this spring.
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Federal employees respond as sequester takes toll By Maurice Leach With the arrival of April 1, the across-the-board automatic spending cuts known as the sequester are still on schedule to go into effect. The $1.2 trillion in cuts authorized under the Budget Control Act negotiated by President Barack Obama and Congress were signed into law in August 2011. The cuts will have a serious impact on the federal workforce, including furloughs of more than 1 million federal workers, a hiring freeze, cutbacks on overtime hours and a freeze on pay raises for six months.
This July, join Michael Fullan, Robert J. Marzano, Sir Michael Barber, and some of the most successful practitioners in education to learn how you can harness new tools to rise to the challenges of a changing educational landscape.
Racing the iPad in K-12 education District Administration Magazine In the move to 1:1 computing, school district leaders are increasingly looking for alternatives to traditional PCs and laptops, and for many districts, the go-to device is the iPad. But now, for a growing roster of Apple competitors, the time has come to give the iPad a run for its money. Lining up against Apple are some heavy hitters, including Google, Samsung, Lenovo, Dell and CDI, the largest provider of refurbished computers to schools. Such competitors say their devices provide important benefits missing in the iPad: easy content entry, long battery life, lower cost and safe transferability among students.
Are schools getting tongue-tied? District Administration Magazine English as a Second Language programs have historically focused on Spanish speaking students, but the ESL map is undergoing a dramatic transformation that is challenging K-12 schools to cope with a burgeoning number of different native languages — more than 100 in some locations — as new immigrants arrive in districts across the country. And the number of English language learners has increased by 65 percent between 1993 and 2004 compared to barely a 7 percent increase in the total K-12 population, according to a 2006 study by the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition. And according to the Migration Policy Center, better than 70 percent of ESL students are Spanish speaking.
ADHD seen in 11 percent of US children as diagnoses rise The New York Times Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Obama proposal reflects shift in views on early childhood education The Washington Post President Barack Obama's call for universal preschool in his State of the Union address underlines a national shift in thinking about early childhood education, driven by advances in neuroscience and a growing urgency about the need to close the achievement gap between poor and privileged children.
Dozens of Atlanta teachers indicted in cheating scandal The Atlantic Wire A grand jury has indicted 35 school administrators and teachers for their alleged part in the biggest standardized test cheating ring in our nation's history. "What's the big deal?" you may wonder. After all, even those hoity-toity Harvard kids aren't above cheating once or twice. Why not the 50,000 or so students in Atlanta's public school system? Well, according to Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., who spoke at the press conference announcing the indictment, federal funds were used in bonuses awarded to schools and teachers based on the results of Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, and employees who didn't participate in the ring were fired.
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Voting for AASA president-elect now open AASA Balloting in the 2013 election opened at 8 a.m. EST on March 4 and continues until 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 12. For the president-elect election, ballots were distributed via e-mail to all eligible AASA voters for whom the association has an email address. Voting forms will be mailed to those without an email address, and any email bouncebacks or undeliverable email will be mailed a paper ballot. Once a member's ballot has been cast, the voter is not entitled to vote again. Voting members can use their voting credentials to access their ballot at: https://www.directvote.net/AASA. Read messages from president-elect at http://www.aasa.org/headlinecontent.aspx?id=27592.