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June 23, 2006 E-Mail news for the K-12 education profession

Eye on Curriculum 
Study: Toronto's failure, drop-out rates tied to language
Toronto high school students from the Caribbean, Central or South America and East Africa are twice as likely to drop out of school than are teens from China, Korea, and Japan, new district data reveal. The collection of such data is part of the diverse district's push to use demographics to pinpoint where school reform is needed.   The Toronto Star (6/23)
Miami school board warned of trouble over book ban
The Miami-Dade School Board may have a tough time winning an American Civil Liberties Union-filed lawsuit over the removal of a controversial book series from school libraries after the district's attorney had warned members earlier that a ban could violate board rules and legal precedents. The board decided last week that "Vamos a Cuba" and 23 other titles in the series did not accurately depict real life in those countries.   The Miami Herald (free registration) (6/23)
ONLINE DREXEL Degrees and Certifications. Perfect for working teachers who want to get ahead. 24/7 online access to coursework. Certifications available in Teacher, TESL, Principal and Technology Specialist. New B.S. in Education and M.S. in Education Administration: Collaborative Leadership. Learn More.
Professional Leadership 
Philly to replace seven principals of underperforming schools
Philadelphia schools chief Paul Vallas is firing the principals of seven low-performing schools and sending replacements who will first undergo special training at the University of Virginia next month. The district has also lengthened the principal's job at these and seven other failing schools to a full year to allow more time to make academic improvements.   The Philadelphia Inquirer (6/23)
 New Charlotte-Mecklenburg school leader seeks wisdom of Philly peer: Incoming Charlotte-Mecklenburg Superintendent Peter Gorman and its Chamber of Commerce members toured Philadelphia on Thursday and tapped local schools chief CEO Paul Vallas for advice on school reform.   The Charlotte Observer (N.C.) (6/23)
States under pressure to fix teacher-quality gap
Several states are trying to ease the disparity in teacher quality between poor, largely minority schools and wealthier, predominantly white counterparts. Researcher Scott Emerick argues that rather than treat the problem as a "supply and demand" issue fixable through incentives and targeted recruiting, states should instead aim to retain more educators through better working conditions and support. (6/23)
The new book Becoming a Literacy Leader gives you practical suggestions for collaborative change, coaching, intervention, fluency, assessment, a resource/meeting room for literacy PD, and more. A must-read for literacy specialists, coaches, staff developers/facilitators, and principals. Click here to browse the entire book online!
Technology Solutions 
Software lets schools manage assets better
The average district loses about $250,000 a year in assets, with computer and audiovisual gear most at risk, a new study by market research firm Quality Education Data concludes. One asset management software maker says his product lets schools track gear in more sophisticated ways than manual inventories, basic spreadsheets or simple database programs can.   eSchool News (free registration) (6/22)
Bill to ban ID chips for students advances in California
California's Assembly Education Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would place a three-year ban on the use of radio chips to track student movement or attendance. Although most parents at the hearing favored the technology as way of keeping students safer, bill sponsor Joe Simitian calls it "the educational equivalent of an ankle bracelet."   San Francisco Chronicle (6/22)
Looking for an easy and fun software tool to introduce into the classroom? Impatica for PowerPoint empowers teachers and students to become instant web publishers of multimedia presentations. It's ideal for book reports, digital portfolios, teacher web pages, and parent communications. Special, time-limited offer for ASCD SmartBrief subscribers!
Policy Watch 
South Africa mulls random searches in high schools
The South African Council of Education Ministers is moving to improve school safety, following a Human Rights Commission report that found violence had reached "unacceptably high" levels in the country's schools. Violence is most prevalent on urban, secondary campuses.   AllAfrica Global Media/Business (6/22)
  Do your mentors have the tools to succeed in helping their mentees? The The 21st Century Mentor's Handbook by Paula Rutherford is designed to support the busy classroom teacher who takes on the additional responsibilities of mentoring. Includes coaching tips, a mentoring calendar, and a CD-ROM of templates ready for mentor use. Learn more!  
Interested in learning more about advertising in ASCD SmartBrief? Contact Joe Riddle at (202) 407-7857 or
In the Field 
Gypsy press for better schooling for their children
Taking a page from the U.S. civil rights movement, Gypsies in several Eastern European countries are filing anti-discrimination lawsuits to gain more access to regular schools for their children. The lawsuits claim long-standing discrimination has resulted in high numbers of Gypsy students shunted off into remedial schools that typically lead to dead-end jobs.   Los Angeles Times (6/23)
Two friends flourish at struggling black school
In its series on black men in the Washington area, The Washington Post tracks straight-A students Jachin Leatherman and Wayne Nesbit as they vie to become valedictorian at troubled Ballou Senior High School. The two boys, co-captains of their football team, pushed their teammates to raise their grade point averages and join the National Honor Society.   The Washington Post (6/23)
Association News 
Learning-Driven Schools: A Practical Guide for Teachers and Principals
The author of this book explores the research on learning and describes how teachers can work backwards from learning goals to ensure all students reach their maximum potential. This book also provides information on how to extend this learning-driven approach beyond the classroom to ensure that teacher supervision and professional development programs emphasize learner outcomes. See sample chapters
 Related ASCD Resources: Learning-Driven Schools
 Learn more
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Don't waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson,
American author, poet and philosopher

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