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Across the Nation
Duncan: Why Schools Are Crucial to Economic Recovery
States Get D+ On Teacher Reviews
Study Links Lead Levels and Student SAT Scores
Does Technology Hinder Critical Thinking Skills?
U.S. and Chinese College Freshmen Lack Skills in Scientific Reasoning

In Federal Policy
Department of ED Announces Assistant Secretaries

Other News and Highlights
Bullying Prevention Student Film Competition
International Confederation of Principals Convention

Principal's Poll:
How effective are your state's teacher-review policies in weeding out ineffective teachers?

Last week's poll results:
How do the APs in your school spend most of their time?
Working with teachers on instruction: 13%
Discipline: 71%
IEP and other paperwork: 6%
Other: 11%


Across the Nation

Duncan: Why Schools Are Crucial to Economic Recovery
The economy won't improve without a multi-billion dollar investment in education, said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. In defending the $140 billion allocated to education in the economic stimulus package, Duncan insisted that creating a better-educated workforce is the key to bringing about long-term economic recovery. Duncan said that the stimulus plan, still awaiting Senate approval, will help the economy in three ways: it will immediately invest in school repair and modernization; prevent hundreds of thousands of teachers from being laid off; and provide money for long-term school reforms. MSNBC, 1/29/09
Related Item: Duncan Contacts State School Chiefs to Sell Stimulus

Urge Your Senators to Pass the Stimulus Package!
Last week, the House of Representatives successfully passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1). Thousands of NASSP members read our Action Alert and contacted their representatives, urging them to pass this historic legislation, and making this a victory for middle level and high school principals nationwide.
This week, the Senate will take up its version of the economic recovery package (S. 336), and NASSP needs your help to urge your two senators to pass this landmark bill. Please visit the Principal's Legislative Action Center (PLAC) to contact your representatives today.
PLAC icon

States Get D+ On Teacher Reviews
A new study has indicated that states aren't taking the measures necessary to keep good teachers and remove bad ones. The study gave states letter grades on their review processes and the overall average was a D+. Although most states almost automatically grant tenure to public school teachers after three years, only Iowa and New Mexico require proof of teacher effectiveness before granting tenure. As far as new teachers, 23 states require that they be evaluated more than once a year, and nine don't require any evaluation of new teachers. Associated Press, 1/29/09

Study Links Lead Levels and Student SAT Scores
Virginia economist Rick Nevin has found a link between lower lead levels in children's blood and rising SAT scores. Nevin's data suggest that from 1953 to 2003, the fall and rise of the average SAT math and verbal score has mimicked the rise and fall of blood lead levels so closely that a majority of the change in scores is likely the result of lead. Nevin estimates that lead explains 45% of the historic variation in verbal scores and 65% in math scores. USA Today, 2/3/09

Does Technology Hinder Critical Thinking Skills?
Exposure to technology, according to a UCLA researcher, has attributed to an alarming decline in critical thinking and analysis. As students grow more accustomed to real-time learning and multi-tasking, they are prevented "from getting a deeper understanding of information." In addition, because fewer students now read for pleasure, their vocabulary, imagination, and critical thinking skills are being affected as a result, the research suggests. ScienceDaily, 1/29/09
Related Item: NASSP Editorial, The Dumbest Generation

bookclubcover Principal's Book Club: Mastering Professional Conversations
Join the Principal's Book Club now and receive one new release every three months. Join by March 13, 2009, to receive the April selection, Talk About Teaching: Leading Professional Conversations, by Charlotte Danielson.

U.S. and Chinese College Freshmen Lack Skills in Scientific Reasoning
Although Chinese students may know more facts about science than their U.S. counterparts, both groups are identical in their inability to scientifically reason, according to a recent study of college freshmen. While in some tests, Chinese students scored 40% higher than U.S. students in factual knowledge, both groups scored around 75% in scientific reasoning—shattering the conventional wisdom that suggests teaching science facts will improve students' reasoning ability. ScienceDaily, 2/1/09

In Federal Policy

Department of ED Announces Assistant Secretaries
Secretary Arne Duncan praised President Obama's intent to nominate the following individuals as assistant secretaries for the Department of Education: Carmel Martin, assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development, and Peter Cunningham, assistant secretary for communications and outreach. Read the full press release on the Principal's Policy Blog. 2/3/09

The Obama Education Plan
Elected on a platform of hope and change, President Obama has inherited a world of problems—notably, an economy in crisis—which will clearly affect the pace and scale of education reform. The Obama Education Plan: An Education Week Guide provides background on key points in President Obama's education plan and will include articles on major educational issues, stories of innovative practice, commentaries on controversial topics, and advice from top educational leaders.

Pre-order now! Orders will ship this week.
Online orders receive a 10% discount when you use promo code OBAMA.

Other News and Highlights

Bullying Prevention Student Film Competition
In cooperation with NASSP, Stories of Us has established a national competition for middle level and high school students to create films that explore the topic of bullying, and in particular, how bullying develops. Students in grades 6–12 are eligible to apply and the deadline is December 31, 2009.

International Confederation of Principals Convention
Join your international colleagues this summer in Singapore for the World Convention of the International Confederation of Principals. This biennial convention, that will be held July 6–10, 2009, brings together principals from around the world to share and learn new developments on leadership trends and insights. Early registration is open until February 28, 2009.