Content

Across the Nation
FBI: Foreign Extremists Sign Up to Drive School Buses
School Cafeterias Lag on Inspections
For Teachers, Middle School Is Test of Wills
All U.S. Colleges Now Accept ACT

In Federal Policy
Bill Gates Testifies on U.S. Competitiveness and High Schools
Dozens in GOP Turn Against Bush's Prized NCLB
NCLB Target Is Called Out of Reach

In the States
Illinois Latinos Lift Scores, Shrink Learning Gap
MD Moves to Tie Teens' Truancy to Licenses
Broken Trust: Many Florida Teachers Keep Jobs Despite Misconduct

In the Courts
Supreme Court Hears Student Free Speech Case

Other News and Highlights
Breaking Ranks™ 2007 Urban Secondary School Showcase
See Your Name—and Writing—in Print
Honor Your Teaching Stars
Take Our Survey on Interscholastic Athletics


Across the Nation

FBI: Foreign Extremists Sign Up to Drive School Buses
Members of extremist groups have signed up as school bus drivers in the United States, counterterror officials said in a cautionary bulletin to police. An FBI spokesman said, "Parents and children have nothing to fear." CNN.com, 3/16/07

School Cafeterias Lag on Inspections
Millions of children eat in school cafeterias that don't get the twice-yearly health inspections required by Congress to help prevent food poisoning. Schools are supposed to get two visits from health inspectors every year. But one in 10 schools didn't get inspected at all last year, according to Agriculture Department data, and 30% were visited only once. But the news is not all bad: 61% of schools got two or more inspections last year. Arizona Republic, 3/17/07

For Teachers, Middle School Is Test of Wills
Faced with increasingly well-documented slumps in learning at a critical age, educators in New York and across the nation are struggling to rethink middle school. As they do so, they are running up against a key problem: a teaching corps marked by high turnover and often lacking expertise in both subject matter and the topography of the adolescent mind. And the demands of teaching middle school show up in teacher retention rates. New York Times, 3/17/07

The Principal's Book Club
Looking for guidance on supporting your new teachers? Join The Principal's Book Club by June 14 and receive the July book, Leading the Teacher Induction and Mentoring Program, 2nd Edition.

All U.S. Colleges Now Accept ACT
The ACT college entrance exam is celebrating a bit of a milestone this year: It now says it is accepted by every four-year college and university in the United States that requires such a test. USA Today, 3/19/07

In Federal Policy

Bill Gates Testifies on U.S. Competitiveness and High Schools
America’s future is in peril, and “the problem begins in high school,” said Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., at a March hearing convened by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to examine the United States’ competitiveness for the 21st century. Principal’s Policy Blog, 3/19/07

Breaking Ranks II Training
High school reform is high on the agenda of education policymakers. Breaking Ranks II: Strategies for Leading High School Reform outlines the need for current high schools to engage in the process of change that will ensure success for every high school student. Learn more about Breaking Ranks II and arrange to attend a Breaking Ranks training session at www.nassp.org/brii.

Dozens in GOP Turn Against Bush's Prized NCLB
More than 50 GOP members of the House and Senate—including the House's second-ranking Republican—were expected to introduce legislation that could severely undercut President Bush's signature domestic achievement, the No Child Left Behind Act, by allowing states to opt out of its testing mandates. Washington Post, 3/15/07

NCLB Target Is Called Out of Reach
The No Child Left Behind Act, the landmark federal education law, sets a lofty standard: that all students tested in reading and math will reach grade level by 2014. Even when the law was enacted five years ago, almost no one believed that standard was realistic. But now, as Congress begins to debate renewing the law, lawmakers and education officials are confronting the reality of the approaching deadline and the difficult political choice between sticking with the vision of universal proficiency or backing away from it. Washington Post, 3/14/07

The “lawmakers and education officials” considering the reauthorization of NCLB might benefit from the insight of actual educators. Familiarize yourself with NASSP’s recommendations for NCLB reauthorization and use the Principal’s Legislative Action Center to ensure that your elected officials are familiar with them as well.

In the States

Illinois Latinos Lift Scores, Shrink Learning Gap
Across Illinois and the nation, Latino pupils are scoring better on state standardized tests and continuing to catch up to their White peers faster than Black students. Although critics have charged that last year's state test was easier—causing record-high scores for all Illinois pupils—Latinos experienced double-digit gains, continuing a five-year trend of rising scores. Chicago Tribune, 3/15/07

Changing Role of the Middle Level and High School Leader: Learning From the Past—Preparing for the Future
This document developed by the NASSP Task Force on Principal Preparation explores how the principalship has changed over the years and examines current and emerging models for school leadership in the 21st century.
Download the free PDF or buy print copies in the Principal’s Store.

MD Moves to Tie Teens' Truancy to Licenses
Maryland lawmakers issued a tough warning to teenagers: no school, no car keys. The House of Delegates approved a bill that would deny driver's licenses to students with 10 or more unexcused absences in the previous calendar year. The bill would require school districts to report each case of truancy to the Motor Vehicle Administration, and the student would have to present an attendance record to the state to get a permit. Washington Post, 3/16/07

During the last month of school, student behavior can deteriorate. Sign up for the April 4 Web seminar, Dealing with Bad Behavior From Good Kids: Surviving Spring While Preparing for Fall, featuring renowned school safety consultant and Safe &Civil Schools Director Randy Sprick, for specific tips on mitigating such behavior with five categories of simple, commonsense behavior intervention. Implementing these five categories can result in a productive (as opposed to destructive) end of the school year.

Missed the March 14 Web seminar on ninth-grade transition? Purchase and download the Webcast at www.nassp.org/webseminars.

Broken Trust: Many Florida Teachers Keep Jobs Despite Misconduct
Florida education officials charged with policing misconduct often send teachers they believe committed serious sexual or physical infractions against students back to the classroom with little or no supervision. An analysis of thousands of Florida teacher investigations found that more than half of the roughly 750 teachers punished since 1997 for sexual misconduct or physical and verbal assaults on students were able to keep their license to teach. About 150 of those teachers are still teaching in Florida classrooms. Often the principals who hire them do not know of the prior misconduct allegations. Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 3/18/07

In the Courts

Supreme Court Hears Student Free Speech Case
A high school principal was acting reasonably and in accord with the school's anti-drug mission when she suspended a student for displaying a "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner, her lawyer told the Supreme Court. On the other side, the attorney urged the justices to see the case as being about free speech, not drugs. Seattle Times, 3/19/07

Other News and Highlights

Breaking RanksTM 2007 Urban Secondary School Showcase
NASSP and the Center for Secondary School Redesign will convene representatives from more than 20 of the most innovative and successful middle level and high schools across the country to share their programs and strategies for success in the Breaking Ranks 2007 Urban Secondary School Showcase in Chicago, IL, April 23–24, 2007. The showcase will offer presentations, forums, and hot topic breakout sessions that provide participants with an opportunity to engage with school representatives and other participants.

See Your Name—and Writing—in Print
Share your experience, practices, and stories by writing for Principal Leadership magazine. There are three easy ways to contribute; choose the one that fits your schedule. Submissions for Celebrate the Principalship and Practical Matters must be submitted by May 1, 2007, to be considered for fall publication.

Honor Your Teaching Stars
The Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative of the U.S. Department of Education is accepting nominations for the 2007 American Stars of Teaching. The American Stars of Teaching program is designed to honor exemplary classroom teachers who are using innovative teaching strategies to improve student achievement and positively shape their school environment. Nominations must be submitted by April 1, 2007.

Take Our Survey on Interscholastic Athletics
NASSP and the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) are developing an online module on the role of the principal in interscholastic athletics and activities, and principals' input is important in determining the content of this module. Please complete the survey by Tuesday, March 27, 2007.