The five states most vulnerable to sequestration’s education cuts

Automatic federal budget cuts will slash more than $1 billion in K-12 education dollars this year, and the reductions will be particularly painful in five states, Stateline.org reports.

North Dakota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Idaho, and South Dakota are the five states that rely most heavily on federal education money for programs such as Title 1 and Impact Aid.

On average, federal dollars comprise about 13 percent of states’ K-12 education spending. But in those five states, one fifth or more of K-12 money came from Washington, D.C., in fiscal year 2010, the most recent year for which data are available from the National Center for Education Statistics. North Dakota gets 22 percent of its education money from the federal government, while the other four states receive around 20 percent…

To read the full story, click here.

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First lady announces new website to help students exercise

Imagine students learning their ABCs while dancing, or memorizing multiplication tables while doing jumping jacks.

Some schools are using both methods of instruction, and Michelle Obama would like to see more of them use creative ways to help their students get the recommended hour of daily exercise they need.

As part of her “Let’s Move” program, a three-year-old campaign against childhood obesity, Mrs. Obama has announced a new website where school officials can sign up to get started.

According to the site, only 6 percent of states require physical education at every grade level. Just 20 percent of school districts require daily recess, and only one in three children is active every day. Yet active students perform better on tests, have better concentration, and show better behavior.

The website offers ideas for turning schools into “active schools,” and it includes links to grants and other resources to help with this effort.

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8 ways high schools are helping students de-stress

Do you feel like most of the kids at your school are stressed out? With mounting academic pressure and increasing competition for college admissions, high schools across the country are starting to take note of their students rising anxiety levels, the Huffington Post reports. According to a recent mental health survey, nearly 10 percent of young people ages 13 to 18 have an anxiety disorder, yet only 18 percent of those struggling with anxiety are receiving mental health care. To meet the demand for support and resources for struggling students, many schools are bringing in new programs that promote healthy habits, well-being and effective stress management. More and more schools are thinking outside the box for creative solutions to their students’ overwhelming workloads and 24/7 digital lives…

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Student must-haves for scholarship success

What materials should high school students focus on for scholarship success? How do most scholarship organizations get to know their applicants? Asks U.S. News. Scholarship organizations have the tough job of deciding whom to bestow financial aid upon. NerdScholar recently did a Scholarship Study in which 5,865 verified private scholarships were analyzed. With this data, NerdScholar looked into what materials scholarship organizations requested the most:

1. Transcript. The most requested item is the transcript. More than anything, since these scholarships are meant to make education more affordable, most scholarship organizations want to verify their candidate is a good student…

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Principal: Promise of Common Core is dying

Here’s a powerful piece about how an award-winning principal went from being a Common Core supporter to an opponent, says the Washington Post. This was written by Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in New York. She was named the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. She is one of the co-authors of the principals’ letter against evaluating teachers by student test scores, which has been signed by 1,535 New York principals…

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Lawmaker seeks to guarantee transgender student rights

A California lawmaker has introduced legislation aimed at guaranteeing transgender students the right to use public school restrooms and participate on the sports teams that correspond with their expressed genders, the Associated Press reports. The bill reflects the accommodations that a number of U.S. schools are being asked to make as Americans start identifying as transgender at younger ages. If approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s AB1266 would give young people the right “to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities” regardless of what gender is listed on their school records. The measure was introduced last week by Ammiano, D-San Francisco. The Capitol Resource Institute, a Sacramento-based group that lobbies for religious conservatives, highlighted Ammiano’s bill in a newsletter sent to its members on Friday, promising to fight the legislation on behalf of students who might “object to sharing bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms with students of the opposite sex.”

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Seven TED 2013 videos you don’t want to miss

Andraka, the 16-year-old who developed the cancer test, says he might be done with school. Photo: James Duncan Davidson.

These days, it seems even the masses—the Silicon Valley masses, specifically—have an education-focused mindset, and to prove that point, this year’s TED Talks focused on education in particular.

And it wasn’t just the “old guys” talking about data or assessments. Rather, the conference—titled “The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered.”—highlighted the brilliant minds of some of the most inventive, and just plain genius, high schoolers in the world.

These young participants mingled with the more seasoned education crowd to come up with some groundbreaking ideas.

For example, Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, gave an opening talk that stressed how important it is to keep students inspired. One way to do this, he said, is through collaboration.“If a student has a sense of self, it’s amazing how their dreams and values can make all the difference in the world,” he said.

Yet, Sugata Mitra, an educational researcher and winner of the 2013 TED Prize, said that schools are “broken” and “obsolete” as we know them.

“It’s called the bureaucratic administrative machine,” Mitra said. “In order to have that machine running, you need to have lots and lots of people. They made another machine to produce those people. It’s called ‘the school.’ The schools would produce the people, who would then become parts of the bureaucratic administrative machine.”

Mitra put a computer in the slums of New Delhi to see if children would explore the computer and teach themselves—which they did, he said. He’s now looking for funding to build a school in the cloud.

“We need to look at learning as the product of educational self-organization. If you allow the educational program to self-organize, then learning emerges. It’s not about making learning happen; it’s about letting it happen,” he said.

Sandwiched between these two talks were the stars of TED 2013: the young innovators. From developing a low-cost test to detect pancreatic cancer, to being the youngest person to achieve fusion, these kids truly are the future … and many say they might never go back to school, which begs the question: Does Mitra have a point?

(Next page: The seven videos you shouldn’t miss)

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eSchool News March 2013

Top News
Why international tests are wrong
International comparisons misrank U.S. students, a new report says—and this has important implications for U.S. policy.

Technologies
Nanotechnology coming to high school
Some Illinois students will have a chance to study nanotechnology in a special lab featuring equipment that typically isn’t seen in high schools.

Best Practices
Schools confront digital textbook challenges
Accessibility is one of many hurdles to using e-textbooks; here’s how some forward-thinking districts are overcoming these.

Curriculum
U.S. honors digital learning
Customized ed-tech plans and a new open online course for educators were among the highlights of Digital Learning Day.

Tech classes linked with better achievement
Robotics on the rise in schools
Sign of the times: There are now more robotics teams than varsity boys’ ice hockey teams in Minnesota high schools.

Leadership
Beyond 1-to-1 computing: Time for a new approach

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Become a Web Teacher: An Introductory Video

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WebTeach.com is a cloud-based teaching platform designed to empower educators and learners of all ages and stages. Participants can create and engage in best of class education experiences that can take place anywhere, anytime using virtually any web enabled device. WebTeach.com offers a straight forward approach to the sharing of knowledge making it an ideal tool for both teachers and students by allowing them to manage their own learning opportunities.

This video provides an overview of the features and benefits available for WebTeachers who decide:

• What subjects to teach

• When and how often you to teach

• How many students  to teach at one time   (1,2,25?)

• How much you want to charge

WebTeach.com’s cloud base solution is available at no cost to WebTeachers.  Functionality includes:

• Interactive whiteboards

• Screenshare documents, websites and apps

• Video + audio chat

• Record / review sessions

• Comprehensive dashboard

• Cloud storage for sessions

For more information visit www.webteach.com.

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