Content


Across the Nation
Embracing the Challenge of AP English for All Students
Superintendents Boycott Newsweek’s High School Rankings
High School Seniors Fail in Finance
Videotaped Beating Reflects Rise in Teen Violence
Yearbooks Not Wired for the Next Generation
Widely Used AP Textbook May Contain Bias

In Federal Policy
NASSP Supports New School Safety Bill
Join the Federal Grassroots Network

In the States
Attack on Teacher Highlights "Chronic Problem"
New York Group Mentors Girls in Writing

Other News and Events
2008 Chinese Bridge Delegation to China


Principal's Poll
Should schools require students to take AP or IB courses and exams?




Across the Nation

Embracing the Challenge of AP English for All Students
Several schools across the nation are starting to require students to take AP English courses and exams. Administrators and faculty are saying the rigorous courses are exactly what’s needed to prepare students for college and good jobs, even for those students with English as a second language. One school has found that requiring the AP courses helps establish consistency across the English curriculum. Washington Post, 4/14/08
Principal’s Poll: Should schools require students to take AP or IB courses and exams?

The Strategic School: Making the Most of People, Time, and Money
Join the Principal’s Book club by June 13 to receive the July book, The Strategic School: Making the Most of People, Time, and Money by Karen Hawley Miles and Stephen Frank. The book explores the link between purposeful resource allocation and academic achievement, and shows principals how to effectively use the resources they already have at hand.

bookclubcover

Superintendents Boycott Newsweek’s High School Rankings
Almost 40 superintendents recently sent a letter to Newsweek, asking to be left out of the annual "America’s Best High Schools" rankings because of the list’s "flawed" methodology. The rankings take only one variable into account: the number of students sitting for AP or IB exams—and educators are calling the list "simplistic and misleading." Jay Mathews, inventor of the methodology, responds to the letter in his column. Washington Post, 4/14/08

The Challenge Index Debate
Look for William Donahue’s response to Jay Mathews’ column in the May issue of NewsLeader. Donahue is the principal of Byram Hills (NY) High School and coauthor of the letter sent to Newsweek requesting the opt-out. Mathews offered answers to some frequently-asked questions about his Challenge Index in an article for Principal Leadership. (NASSP member log-in required. Not a member? Join now!)

High School Seniors Fail in Finance
A survey released last week by the Federal Reserve found that high school seniors, on average, answered only 48.3% of questions about personal finance and economics correctly. The number was even lower than the 52.4% in 2006 and marked the worst score out of the six surveys conducted so far. Houston Chronicle, 4/9/08

Videotaped Beating Reflects Rise in Teen Violence
The recent taped beating of a 16-year-old girl in Florida by other teens whose intent was to publish the video on YouTube has sparked outrage and a call for better policing on such sites. Experts are saying that teen violence has worsened as kids try to seek attention from others on a world stage. eSchoolNews, 4/10/08 (Free registration required.)

Appreciation Time
Did you know that Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4–10? Read the latest entry of the Middle View blog for ideas and suggestions on how to show your teachers how much you value their hard work.

Yearbooks Not Wired for the Next Generation
Although yearbook sales have declined steadily over the last couple of decades, many college advisers are calling technology and social networking the "final nail in the coffin for already expensive yearbooks." Sites like Facebook are already connecting students instantaneously, allowing them to share photos and stay in touch. Jostens introduced an online version of its yearbook creation software a few years ago and said the percentage of schools offering such discs has moved into the double digits in recent years. Washington Times, 4/9/08

Widely Used AP Textbook May Contain Bias
A high school student has raised concerns that an AP government textbook American Government, by conservatives James Wilson and John Dilulio, presents a skewed view of topics from global warming to separation of church and state. In the textbook, the authors say that global warming is "enmeshed in scientific uncertainty" and the text also makes incorrect statements on prayer in school. The publisher, Houghton Mifflin, and the College Board are currently reviewing the claims. Associated Press, 4/9/08

President’s Education Awards Program
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the President’s Education Awards Program is a way for principals to recognize and honor those students who have achieved high academic goals through their hard work and dedication to learning. Each award includes an embossed certificate signed by the President of the United States, the Secretary of Education, and you, plus a congratulatory letter from the president. There is no charge for these certificates, and there is no limit to how many you can give as long as students meet the established criteria. You can also reward every student who accomplishes high academic achievement with pins for just $1.50 each.

President's Education Awards Program

In Federal Policy

NASSP Supports New School Safety Bill
Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week would provide schools with the resources and support they need to create robust emergency preparedness plans in case of a terrorist attack or national disaster. The Schools Empowered to Respond Act would establish an Office of National School Preparedness and Response within the Department of Homeland Security to create training materials for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary teachers and school personnel; ensure that school district emergency management plans are consistent with federally recommended practices; and involve school personnel in the planning and execution of terrorism response plans. Principal’s Policy Blog, 4/15/08

Reauthorize NCLB Now
If Congress does not reauthorize NCLB, it will not simply go away. Rather, school leaders will be stuck with this flawed legislation for several more years. Contact your representative and encourage him or her to support an NCLB reauthorization that incorporates
proposed improvements in 2008.

Join the Federal Grassroots Network
NASSP has created a new Federal Grassroots Network made up of NASSP members who have or are willing to foster close relationships with their members of Congress to inform them of how policies they create in Washington impact education in their districts and states. Responsibilities for membership include meeting with members of Congress at least once yearly and participating in quarterly Web or telephone-based conferences. Any NASSP member who would like to join should complete the Web-based reply form at www.nassp.org/grassroots.

In the States

Attack on Teacher Highlights "Chronic Problem"
An attack by a student on a Baltimore teacher drew nationwide attention when it was captured on video from a cell phone, as fellow students stood by and cheered on the attacker. The incident was not uncommon—Baltimore suspended students 515 times last year for attacking staff members. Area schools are working to reduce violence through several methods, one of which is giving principals more authority to allocate spending on security. Baltimore Sun, 4/13/08

New York Group Mentors Girls in Writing
A nonprofit mentoring group, Girls Write Now, is pairing at-risk high school girls in New York who want to be writers with women who are authors, journalists, playwrights, poets, and editors. About 40% of the student participants are immigrants. The group combines mentoring with creative writing training and its members boast a 100% college acceptance rate. New York Times, 4/14/08

Other News and Events

2008 Chinese Bridge Delegation to China
The College Board has announced the 2008 Chinese Bridge Delegation. This program brings school and district leaders to China for a one-week educational tour as guests of Hanban (Office of Chinese Language Council International) to learn about Chinese culture and language. Participants visit schools and cultural sites, build ties with Chinese and U.S. educators, and gather ideas for starting a Chinese-language program. Delegates must pay a $900 registration fee, but the program covers airline tickets, hotel accommodations, group meals, tour guides and admission tickets, and visa fees. To learn more and apply, visit www.collegeboard.org/chinesebridge.