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August 22, 2011
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News for the Education Profession

  Learning and Teaching 
  • Fla. increases rigor in kindergarten under common core
    Many Florida districts will introduce a more rigorous curriculum for kindergarten students this year as they begin phasing in Common Core State Standards. Rather than learning to count to 20 and practicing some basic math, the state's kindergarten students now will be expected to count to 100 -- by tens and ones -- and be proficient in addition and subtraction up to five. Expectations for reading also will be higher under the new standards, which are being implemented in most states. The Palm Beach Post (Fla.) (8/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Portland, Ore., kindergarten orientation boosts reading skills: Kindergarten students who took part in a three-week orientation program in Portland, Ore., experienced improved social and reading skills once they entered kindergarten. The program, which targets English-language learners and students who have not been to preschool, was piloted last year and has expanded to serve about 120 students at a total cost of $85,000. Students in the program learned classroom routines and participated in activities related to books they read. The Oregonian (Portland) (8/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  School Leadership 
  • Effect of Fla. merit pay law on specialty teachers is uncertain
    A Florida law basing teacher pay partly on students' state test performance goes into effect this year, but how it will affect specialty teachers in subjects such as debate and music is unclear. There aren't statewide criteria for measuring the teachers' performance, and districts will be tasked with creating criteria. However, it can be difficult to single out the impact of a specific educator. "The art teacher, the drama teacher, the music teacher give kids some purpose to come to school ... We all work together. How do you evaluate one over the other?" said Karen Whetsell, a high-school principal. Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) (8/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Half of Utah residents say teachers are underpaid, poll finds
    Half of respondents to a Salt Lake Tribune poll said Utah teachers, who made an average of $46,340 during the 2009-2010 school year, are paid too little. However, 47% of respondents said they would not be in favor of tax increases for education funding. The state's teacher pay, which is based on tenure and education level, is about $8,000 less than the national average. The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah) (8/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
I Used to Think… And Now I Think...
Richard F. Elmore brings together twenty leading educators such as Larry Cuban, Howard Gardner, Deborah Meier, Sonia Nieto, and Charles M. Payne to share their intimate reflections on the work of school reform. “A must-read for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers.” —Thomas W. Payzant Look inside the book.
  Technology in the Classroom 
  • Preparing students for the 21st century
    Given the ubiquity of the Internet and other digital tools, it's time for parents and educators to embrace technology and change in an "archaic education system," Duke University professor Cathy Davidson says. She suggests schools re-emphasize physical and arts education, end the focus on testing and college preparation, assign projects with real-world ties and teach students to communicate globally with digital tools. "It's time to survey our lives and figure out what works, what doesn't, and how we can make real and practical improvements in our schools ...," she said. blog (8/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teachers in Mo. sue to block social media ban
    The Missouri State Teachers Association filed a lawsuit Friday to block a new state law that bans teachers from communicating privately with students on social media websites, such as Facebook. The union claims in the lawsuit that the mandate is too broad, as well as unconstitutional, saying it will "chill" teachers' right to free speech. Supporters of the law, however, continue to defend it. Reuters (8/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Hot Topics 

Top five news stories selected by ASCD SmartBrief readers in the past week.

  • Results based on number of times each story was clicked by readers.
  Policy Watch 
  • Questions grow over the use of courts in school discipline
    Schools increasingly have turned to the court system to enforce student behavior during the past two decades, but federal officials and other critics want to scale back the practice. Arrested students are more likely to drop out of school, and dropouts are more likely to be unemployed or incarcerated, research has shown. However, some argue that while the legal system should not be involved with every infraction, there are times when it is appropriate. The Washington Post (8/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • More districts use four-day weeks to save money
    Some school districts have turned to four-day class schedules to save money and close budget shortfalls, particularly in rural districts. However, some parents worry reduced class time will hurt students' education. More than 120 school districts have adopted four-day weeks across 20 states, according to one study, and most are located in the West. The Washington Times/The Associated Press (8/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Should R-rated movies be allowed in schools?
    School districts frequently grapple with what movies are appropriate to be shown to students. Some activists have pushed for the removal of R-rated movies from the classroom. Others, such as Michael O'Neil of the National Coalition Against Censorship, argue that R-rated movies such as "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan" can be valuable teaching tools. USA TODAY (8/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News

The 3 Habits of Highly Successful Reading Teachers starts with the premise that every student—even those who struggle the most—can learn to read. It guides teachers in providing daily practice with high-frequency words, letter sounds, and word-solving strategies, and includes formative assessment tools. Click for details!

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  Faculty Lounge 
  • Why some boys don't enjoy reading
    Boys are less likely to read novels than girls, suggests young adult author Robert Lipsyte, who writes in this essay that part of the problem might be that girls are the target audience for the young adult book industry. "We need more good works of realistic fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, on- or offline, that invite boys to reflect on what kinds of men they want to become," said Michael Cart, a past president of the Young Adult Library Services Association. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (8/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASCD News 
  • Teacher effectiveness the focus of ASCD's 2011 Fall Conference
    Educators, are you ready to improve your classroom effectiveness? Join colleagues and experts at ASCD's 2011 Fall Conference, "Enhancing Teacher Effectiveness = Improving Student Learning" in Las Vegas on Oct. 28 to 30. This professional-development experience will connect you with important voices in education, research-based teaching practices, teacher evaluation practices, paths to integrating technology into your work and much more. Visit to learn more. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • A small win this September
    Curriculum specialist Stephen Weber says all students deserve a "win" this September, as they settle in for the new school year. In his recent ASCD EDge blog post, Weber examines the many forms this small win can take, advises on how educators can ensure wins for every student and offers additional advice on starting the year off right. Visit ASCD EDge to learn more. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change."
--Stephen Hawking,
British theoretical physicist and cosmologist

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