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Across the Nation
Black Students Less Likely to Take AP Exams
U.S. Lags in Professional Development for Teachers
The Obama Effect On Closing the Achievement Gap
States to Suffer From Huge Budget Deficits
Opinion: Reexamining Black History Month

In Federal Policy
Senate Stimulus Package Makes Deep Cuts to Education
Duncan to Tour Country for NCLB Input

Other News and Highlights
Keep Your Students Fed This Summer

Principal's Poll:
What will be the actual Obama Effect on minority achievement?

Last week's poll results:
How effective are your state's teacher-review policies in weeding out ineffective teachers?
Very effective: 6%
Somewhat effective: 23%
Somewhat ineffective: 27%
Ineffective: 44%


Across the Nation

Black Students Less Likely to Take AP Exams
Although more than 15% of the three million students who graduated last year passed at least one Advanced Placement (AP) exam, Black students were less likely to have passed or even taken an AP exam than any other group. While Black students represented 14% of public school graduates last year, they accounted for 8% of the AP examinee population—and only 4% had passing scores. New York Times, 2/4/09

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. Lags in Professional Development for Teachers
A new report from the National Staff Development Council finds that while the United States is providing support and mentoring for new teachers and bolstering content knowledge, the type of support and on-the-job training most teachers receive is episodic, often fragmented, and disconnected from real problems of practice. Public Education Network, 2/6/09

The Obama Effect On Closing the Achievement Gap
In its month-long series on the "Obama Effect," NPR examines the president's symbolic and practical influence on accomplishing racial parity in education, and how Obama's presence in the White House will impact the racial achievement gap. NPR, 2/6/09
Related Item: Study Links Obama Presidency to Rise in Test Scores

Closing the Achievement Gap
Despite the progress made over the last decade to eliminate the achievement gap, educators would be remiss to think the mission has been accomplished. Unfinished Business: Closing the Racial Achievement Gap in Our Schools investigates the dynamics of race and achievement at a large public high school with a diverse student population. Examining the results of a diversity project conducted at the school, this book explores the factors that contribute to disparity in academic achievement in students of different racial and class backgrounds and identifies racial separation elements.

States to Suffer From Huge Budget Deficits
A new National Conference of State Legislatures report estimates that states will suffer from a $135 billion budget shortfall through fiscal year 2010. Nevada is expected to have the largest budget gap that will exceed nearly 38% of its general fund budget. Other states expecting large deficits include Arizona (28%), New York (24%), California (22%), Louisiana (20%), Washington (18%), and Hawaii (18%), according to the report. While there is no question that the state budget shortfalls will be enormous, the estimates vary. The Center on Budget Priorities and Policies predicts a $350 billion shortfall and the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates $312 billion in deficits. Stateline.org, 2/3/09

Opinion: Reexamining Black History Month
As schools have diversified curricula and our nation has welcomed its first Black president, critics weigh in on whether United States should continue to celebrate Black History Month. If President Obama has any say in it, the event will keep going strong. He recently called upon "public officials, educators, librarians, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs that raise awareness and appreciation of African American history." Associated Press, 2/6/09

In the February Principal Leadership

  • The Release of Learning
    Four instructional strategies support the gradual release of responsibility for learning from teacher to student.
  • Challenge Night (Web only)
    Students can lead one another toward changing their own school culture—you just have to provide the opportunities, get them started, and encourage the process.
  • Leading Generation Y
    To reap the full benefits of young teachers’ potential, you may have to adjust your leadership methods just a bit.
  • Creating Greatness
    To be a great school, every decision that’s made must support learning.

(Access to most articles requires member log-in. Not a member? Join now.)

In Federal Policy

Senate Stimulus Package Makes Deep Cuts to Education
The Senate’s economic recovery package that passed this morning cuts $67 billion in education funding from the House package. The House approved $150 billion for immediate investment in education, which the Senate pared down to $83 billion. The Senate’s package eliminates all of the $20 billion allocated to school renovation and trims $40 billion from the House’s proposed $79 billion stabilization fund for states, much of which would be spent on schools and state universities to make up for states’ budget deficits. House and Senate negotiators are expected to come to a compromise later this week. 2/9/09

Duncan to Tour Country for NCLB Input
After focusing his efforts on gathering support for the stimulus package, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan plans to fix No Child Left Behind—an effort that will take him on a cross-country tour to find out what educators and families think about the law and how it can be fixed. He’s also looking for suggestions on what to rename the law, he told U.S. News and World Report in a recent interview. U.S. News and World Report, 2/5/09
Related Item: Spellings to Stay in DC to Advocate for NCLB

Take a Stand On NCLB
There's only one way for your elected officials to know how you feel about the No Child Left Behind Act: You have to tell them. Use the Principal's Legislative Action Center (PLAC) to let your elected officials know how they can best support your efforts in schools.

PLAC icon

Other News and Highlights

Keep Your Students Fed This Summer
When school lets out this summer, millions of low-income children will lose access to the school breakfasts, lunches, and snacks they receive during the regular school year. However, two federal nutrition programs—the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program—can help fill the gap during the summer months. Visit www.frac.org/afterschool/summer.html to find out how recent changes to the Simplified Summer Food program make it easier to operate and provide a new opportunity to increase program participation. You can also download the Food Research and Action Center’s Simplified Summer Outreach Toolkit at www.frac.org/afterschool/summer_toolkit.htm.