[ECP] K12 Newsletters = Free Resources + Ed Review

  • From: "K.E." <admin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: K12NewsLetters@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 23:49:21 -0500

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Wow, just learned that babies cry in the language of their mother. Well, it is 
described that way, even though it is pre linguistic. Gotta read about it for 

Story 2009 - Crying is a language itself. They produce this pattern when they 
cry. It is pre - linguistic. Babies' cries imitate their mother tongue as early 
as three days old seeding language development and bonding.

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Free Resources

Census in Schools
offers lesson plans, fact sheets, and activities for learning about the 2010 
census.  How are census data used? Why is the wording of questions important? 
What are the various ways of representing data? How has the census affected 
history? What predictions can you make about the future based on census data? 
These and other topics are the focus of lessons for Grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12 
that help develop knowledge and skills in math, maps and geography, civics, 
reading, and writing.  (U.S. Census Bureau)
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site
offers lessons on initial battles of the U.S.-Mexican War.  Topics include key 
individuals in the war, regular soldiers and volunteers, uniforms, war 
medicine, "debating the boundary," the price of expansion, and the Treaty of 
Guadalupe Hidalgo.  The lessons are designed for elementary and middle school 
students.  (National Park Service)
features "Estuaries 101 Curriculum" -- three modules for Grades 9-12 that focus 
on life science, earth science, and physical science.  Students use historic 
and real time data and hands on activities to investigate estuaries -- the thin 
zone along a coastlines where freshwater systems and rivers meet and mix with 
the ocean.  (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
NASA Images
provides photos and video related to space exploration, aeronautics, and 
astronomy.  Topics include the universe, solar system, earth, and astronauts.  
A space flight interactive timeline shows images and video from the 1959 launch 
of Explorer 1, the first spacecraft successfully launched by the U.S., to the 
Mars Rovers and International Space Station.  (National Aeronautics and Space 
NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab
provides dozens of animations and images about topics such as coral reefs, 
ocean acidification, humans' impact on the ocean, the dead zone, hurricanes, 
African droughts, and more.  Images of data are included.  These resources draw 
on NOAA data sources, satellite images, and computer models.  (National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration)
Science Nation
is an online magazine that each week looks at discoveries and researchers that 
will change our lives: an artificial retina that can help the blind to see, new 
materials for building things stronger and lighter, what we're learning from 
organisms in hot volcanic vents, and ice core secrets that could reveal answers 
to global warming.  (National Science Foundation)
Tides of Change Video Series
explores oceans and how they affect earth?s climate.  Videos focus on six 
topics: the water cycle, carbon cycle, sea level changes, ocean salinity, 
remote sensing, and phytoplankton (the tiny marine plants responsible for half 
of the photosynthesis that occurs on earth).  (National Aeronautics and Space 

ED REVIEW October 30, 2009


At Columbia University?s Teachers College on October 22, capping a month of 
events focused on the teaching profession -- on October 9, speaking to 
prospective teachers in the University of Virginia?s Curry School of Education 
(http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2009/10/10092009.html), and, on October 20, 
hosting a virtual town hall meeting with current teachers 
 -- Secretary Duncan called for America?s colleges of education to dramatically 
change how they prepare the next generation of teachers, so they are ready to 
prepare their future students for success in college and careers.  ?By almost 
any standard, many if not most of the nation?s 1,450 schools, colleges, and 
departments of education are doing a mediocre job of preparing teachers for the 
realities of the 21st century classroom,? he said.  ?America?s university-based 
teacher preparation programs need revolutionary change, not evolutionary 
thinking.  However, I am optimistic that, despite the obstacles to reform, the 
seeds of real change have been planted.?  More than half of the nation?s new 
teachers (220,000 annually) graduate from a school of education.  High-quality 
alternative certification and teacher residency programs have emerged, but 
those programs produce fewer than 10,000 new teachers annually.  Therefore, the 
task of ?recruiting and preparing an army of great new teachers depends heavily 
on our nation?s colleges of education.?  What needs to change?  ?I don?t think 
the ingredients of a good teacher preparation are much of a mystery anymore,? 
the Secretary explained.  ?Our best programs are coherent, up-to-date, 
research-based, and provide students with subject mastery.  They boast a strong 
and substantial field-based program, in local public schools, that drives much 
of the course work in classroom management and student learning and prepares 
students to teach diverse pupils in high-needs settings.  And, they have a 
shared vision of what constitutes good teaching and best practices -- including 
a single-minded focus on improving student learning and using data to inform 
instruction.?  The Secretary used the remainder of his address to highlight 
rising efforts to improve teacher education.  ?I cite all these examples to 
point out that, with courage and commitment, our teacher preparation programs 
absolutely can provide dynamic and effective teacher preparation for the 21st 
century?.  In place of the uncertain profession, I want to see teacher 
preparation programs one day rival those of other professions.?  FOR MORE 

The Department has announced public meetings in Boston, Atlanta, and Denver to 
listen and learn from assessment experts and practitioners.  The goals of these 
meetings are two-fold: to gather technical input to inform development of a 
Race to the Top Assessment Competition and to enable states -- who will be the 
grant applicants -- and the public to participate in and learn from these 
events.  Secretary Duncan has pledged to reserve up to $350 million (of the 
$4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund) to support consortia of states that are 
working to create new assessments tied to a common set of standards.  The 
grants would be distributed through a competitive process next year.
Over six days of meetings in the three cities throughout November and December, 
Department staff will solicit a range of input about effective and innovative 
approaches to the development of the next generation of assessments.  In each 
city, there will be a full-day focused on general assessment issues and 
half-days concentrating on specific topics, such as technology, high school 
assessment, assessment of students with disabilities, and assessment of English 
language learners.
All the meetings are open to the public.  The official notice, along with 
information on how to RSVP for the meetings, can be found online.  The 
Department also encourages the submission of written input (see instructions on 
the submission process online), and plans to post transcripts of every meeting 
session and all written input submitted to the agency.  

Final state reports on education jobs created or saved under the American 
Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will be published on Recovery.gov later 
today, but, according to a preliminary report issued on October 19, at least 
250,000 education positions across the nation were directly credited to the 
ARRA.  ARRA funding has enabled states to restore nearly all of their projected 
education shortfalls for both Fiscal Year 2009 and Fiscal Year 2010.  Filling 
these budget gaps has allowed states to avert layoffs of educators in school 
districts and colleges and universities while helping districts make progress 
on reforms that will improve teaching and learning in classrooms.  
For example, in 2008, the St. Louis Public Schools faced a significant budget 
deficit due to the economy.  Using ARRA funding, the district was able to 
address critical needs, including saving the jobs of 85 teaching and learning 
facilitators.  A new Department video tells the story of three of those 
facilitators.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWlPgU4WiT4
Looking forward, to assist grantees and subgrantees in managing ARRA grants, 
the Department will hold web conferences on Cost Allocations/Indirect Costs 
(November 2, 2-3:30 p.m. ET) and Internal Controls (November 16, 2-3:30 p.m. 
ET).  http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/recovery/web-conferences.html

On October 23, Secretary Duncan discussed Department activities and plans 
concerning science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in a 
live webcast from the National Academy of Sciences.  ?Our Administration is 
committed to raising standards, upgrading curriculum, and forging partnerships 
to improve the use and understanding of science and technology in our 
classrooms,? he said.  ?We are calling on states to enhance teacher preparation 
and training and to attract qualified math and science teachers to better 
engage students and reinvigorate those subjects in our schools.  We support 
initiatives to pay more teachers in high-need subjects like math and science 
and rewarding excellence by paying teachers and principals who do a great job 
in the classroom.?  The event was being sponsored by the President?s Council of 
Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), in response to the President?s 
agenda to focus on general science and technology literacy to help the U.S. 
workforce become more competitive internationally and to grow the number of 
Americans who are interested in pursuing science and engineering careers.  FOR 
http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2009/10/10232009.html.  (Note: An archive of 
the video webcast is available at 
http://www.tvworldwide.com/events/pcast/091022/, while the White House posted 
an event blog entry at 

According to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 
within the Institute of Education Sciences, states vary widely in where they 
set their student proficiency standards for fourth- and eighth-grade reading 
and mathematics.  Specifically, using National Assessment of Educational 
Progress (NAEP) achievement levels as a reference point for understanding the 
stringency of state standards, most were in the NAEP basic achievement level 
range, except in fourth-grade reading, where most fell below NAEP?s basic 
level.  Overall, only two states set standards within NAEP?s proficient 
achievement level.  ?This study confirms what we?ve known for a long time: 
states are setting the bar too low,? the Secretary said.  ?We?re lying to our 
children when we tell them they?re proficient, but they?re not achieving at a 
level that will prepare them for success once they graduate.?  

?Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data,? another 
NCES study, presents the number of high school graduates, the Averaged Freshman 
Graduation Rate (AFGR), and dropout data for grades 9-12 for public schools 
during the 2006-07 school year.  Among the findings: 2,892,351 public school 
students received a high school diploma in 2006-07, resulting in an AFGR of 
73.9%; 16 states had an AFGR above 80%, while 12 states had an AFGR below 70%; 
and there were nearly 618,000 dropouts from high school among 48 states, 
resulting in a dropout rate of 4.4%.

In an October 21 letter to Chief State School Officers and State Directors of 
Special Education (http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/091021.html), 
the Secretary urged states to maintain high standards and not compromise the 
Section 616 determination process under the Individuals with Disabilities 
Education Act (IDEA).

In an October 26 letter to college presidents 
(http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/guid/secletter/091026.html), the Secretary 
urged institutions of higher education to become Direct Loan-ready for the 
2010-11 school year.  While a majority of institutions continued to use the 
Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program delivery process last year, over 
500 others responded to the fiscal uncertainty by switching to the Direct Loan 
Program.  These colleges? move to direct lending happened in an effective and 
efficient manner, without interruption of service to students, and the number 
of Direct Loans increased by nearly two-thirds compared to the previous year.  
The President has proposed lawmakers make the loan system more reliable by 
moving to a 100% Direct Loan delivery system.

The College Board has released its annual studies on trends in college pricing 
and trends in student aid, as well as the benefits of postsecondary education. 

The Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, is accepting 
applications from non-profit organizations to conduct month-long, 
community-wide reads between September 2010 and June 2011.  Roughly 75 
organizations will be selected to participate, receiving a grant ranging from 
$2,500 to $20,000, educational and promotional materials, and access to online 
training resources.  Organizations will select from 31 reading choices. 
http://neabigread.org/guidelines.php  (Note: The deadline for all applications 
is February 2, 2010.)

Through December 18, elementary and secondary students, teachers, 
administrators, and parents from across the nation have the opportunity to 
share their ideas and opinions on how technology should be used in the 
education process, through Project Tomorrow?s latest annual Speak Up survey.  
Results are shared with participating schools, so that they can use the data 
for planning and community discussions.  Results are also used by government 
agencies and other organizations to inform programs and policies.

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