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November 21, 2012
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News for Education Decisionmakers

  State Board News 
  • Mich. board proposes changes to bill on governor's school takeover
    The Michigan Board of Education passed a resolution on a 5-2 vote recommending changes to proposed legislation that would place "failing" schools taken over by the Education Achievement Authority under the authority of the governor instead of the state board. Opponents of the bill disagree with allowing the new EAA to take over schools performing higher than the bottom 5 percent and exempt them from state testing. Proponents say the current system under the state board's control is not working and the bill would expand school choice. Detroit Free Press (11/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Idaho board rethinks online course rule
    The Idaho State Board of Education has repealed a law that would have required students to take at least two online courses to graduate from high school, following the rejection of a ballot referendum that would have established the mandate. In reversing the law, officials say they believe that online learning is important, but a different process may be necessary to put a requirement in place. The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) (free content) (11/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • S.C. board dismisses idea of using letter grades to rate educators
    The South Carolina Board of Education assured teachers at its meeting last week that it won't use letter grades as part of a new evaluation system slated for 2014-15. The state's education department recommended a scale of A to F to "clearly communicate" a teacher's performance. However, educators propose a model that rates teachers as exemplary, satisfactory, needs improvement and unsatisfactory, and administrators as exemplary, proficient and needs improvement on various education goals. The State (Columbia, S.C.)/The Associated Press (11/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Trends & Technology 
  • Proposed social media policy considers First Amendment rights
    Officials in a Massachusetts school district are considering a new policy that would limit the way teachers and students can use social media to interact. The goal is to ensure that any interaction on such sites is "in a safe and responsible manner." Under the proposed policy, teachers would be banned from communicating with students from a personal social media profile but would be allowed such interaction from a professional profile. MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.) (11/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Federal director of educational technology to step down
    Karen Cator announced Wednesday that she will step down from her role as director of educational technology for the U.S. Department of Education. It is still unclear who will replace Cator, whose tenure with the department will end in 2013. During her tenure, Cator advocated for education technology and professional development to help teachers master classroom technology. Her office also released the first national education-technology plan. Education Week/Digital Education blog (11/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Policy & Legislation 
  • 1,189 districts are represented in Race to the Top competition
    In the latest round of the federal Race to the Top grant competition, 371 applications, representing 1,189 school districts, were received. This most recent round was open to school districts or a consortia of districts, which were required to provide plans to personalize instruction for students. Klint Willert, a superintendent of Marshall Public Schools in Minnesota, said his consortia's application "established a vision of creating an experience where learning is the constant and time is the variable." Education Week/District Dossier blog (11/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Will Congress reauthorize NCLB in the next four years?
    No Child Left Behind, which expired in 2007, is no closer now to being reauthorized than it was when President Barack Obama first took office. Debate over the federal education law is expected to continue into Obama's second term, as the administration and Congress appear divided over key issues. "At the moment, it's unclear if there is a real commitment and consensus in Congress for reauthorizing [the education law]," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Friday in a speech. The Huffington Post (11/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  NASBE News 
  • NASBE releases 2 new student health policy guides
    The National Association of State Boards of Education is releasing two new chapters in its Fit, Healthy, and Ready to Learn series of school health policy guides. Developed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these updates to "Policies to Promote Physical Activity and Physical Education" and "Polices to Promote Healthy Eating" are especially timely given recent and coming changes to federal policies and initiatives. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Save the date!
    NASBE's annual legislative policy forum, titled "Advancing State Interests Through Federal Policy: Challenges and Opportunities in the New Congress," will be March 14 to 15. Mark your calendars and watch for more details. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Editor's Note 
  • SmartBrief will not publish Thursday
    In observance of Thanksgiving in the U.S., SmartBrief will not be published Thursday, Nov. 22. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was 'thank you', that would suffice."
--Meister Eckhart,
German theologian and philosopher

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