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AASA News of the Nation

Hot TopicsLeadership Matters
Superintendents in the NewsAASA News


  Hot Topics 


'Exemplary’ Dallas ISD School Skipped Science, Social Studies for 3rd-graders
Dallas Morning News, Nov. 18
DALLAS-–Field Elementary in Dallas was rewarded with “exemplary” status, in part because of third graders’ high scores on statewide math and reading tests. A recent investigation, however, says that those scores came at a price: students learned only math and reading for most of the school year. According to the 227-page report by Dallas school investigators, teachers were pressured to fabricate grades for science, social studies and enrichment courses like music. Some of the grades were given by teachers who had never taught the subjects. The report details a principal’s determination to have her students pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Third-graders take the math and reading portions of the test.


An Interactive Whiteboard for $749
The Hitachi StarBoardLink turns your dry erase board into an interactive whiteboard for only $749 and converts already invested dollars (projectors, dry erase boards) into interactive, engaging classrooms. It's finger-driven and multi-touch capabilities make it easy for your teachers and students to use. MORE

Lessons of 'Parent Trigger'
Los Angeles Times, Nov. 14
LOS ANGELES, Calif.--California’s ‘Parent Trigger’ law on public education was first pulled nearly a yearly a year ago. And, according to the Los Angeles Times, much has been learned since parents at McKinley Elementary School in Compton demanded that McKinley be taken over by a charter organization. ‘What followed in Compton was the stuff of high educational drama,’ according to a Times’ editorial. And what has emerged is a less splashy version of the trigger, one more likely to bring about real parent empowerment and solid reform, says the newspaper. The Times notes that the trigger’s new thrust is ‘a far cry’ from the idea that petitions would provide a revolutionary path for change, including closing a school, replacing its staff or switching to a charter.

Most States Want Waiver on U.S. Education Law
Reuters, Nov. 15
WASHINGTON--The U.S. Education Department says 11 states have formally asked to opt out of the No Child Left Behind Law, and that a majority of all states intend to do so. Those seeking to take advantage of NCLB waivers offered by President Obama are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Waivers would allow states to set their own proficiency standards instead of those mandated by the law. And they will also have more flexibility in spending federal education money. The department will begin a peer review of the requests after the Thanksgiving holiday and make decisions by mid-January. It said 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have expressed interest in waivers.

‘Average Is Officially Over’
U.S, News & World Report, Nov. 18
WASHINGTON-–Two prominent American authors who are proponents of education and technology warn harshly that the nation is in decline and there is no time to waste in confronting the problem. ‘Average is officially over,’ said New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. ‘We are in the worst kind of decline -- a slow decline. It's just slow enough for us to think that we're not in a decline, or that it's reversible.’ He and Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, drew a bleak picture of future America at a book event here. ‘This country is now, in my view, in a vicious cycle with regards to teacher quality,’ said Tucker. ‘I think that will condemn us for years to come.’ Both men advised that Americans to stop the infighting over schools and join to invent the future.

   Leadership Matters 


Almost Another NCLB Victim
Forum for Education and Democracy, Nov. 15
STEWART, Ohio--Here comes a school superintendent and prominent public education leader willing to take a risk with an at-risk child. He is George Wood, superintendent and secondary school principal at Stewart’s Federal Hocking Local School District and executive director of the Forum for Education and Democracy. An 18-year-old girl, who had missed almost 14 days of school this year and had tests to pass, recently asked to enroll in the district. ‘Do we take this girl -- who we do not have to take, who has aged out of public schooling, who is not an ‘official’ district resident -- and risk damaging our school report card?’ writes Wood. No question, he says: ‘We enrolled her the next day.’ But Wood also calls for federal-state cooperation in such issues.

Five Strategies To Improve Leadership Development
There is no greater superintendent challenge than increasing the capacity of the school's key leaders. Read how Westfield Washington superintendent Mark Kean employed five strategies to dramatically improve leadership development in his district.

Hrabowski: An Educator Focused on Math and Science
CBS 60 Minutes
NEW YORK--Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), warns that the United States is not producing enough scientists and engineers critical to creating more jobs. He is on a veritable crusade at the mid-sized state university that has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative schools in the nation. With revolutionary approaches to schooling, UMBC is graduating outstanding scientists and engineers, many of whom are minorities. Hrabowski’s ‘Meyerhoff Scholars’ are expected to adhere to a rigorous schedule and strict rules designed to instill discipline and build community. Here’s the script of a CBS 60 Minutes in-depth interview with Hrabowski, who will be the keynote speaker at AASA’s National Conference on Education in February.

Wealth Matters in School Cuts
Albany Times-Union, Nov. 15
ALBANY, N.Y.--A public education advocacy group has charged that New York State’s poorest school districts took a much heavier hit from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's school aid cuts than wealthier districts. The new study by the Alliance for Quality Education ranks the state’s 700 districts in several wealth categories. The ‘poorest’ districts lost about $547 per student, while ‘poor’ districts lost $843 per student. ‘High wealth’ districts lost $269 per student and ‘average wealth’ districts lost $495. The losses were a result of Cuomo's $1.3 billion cut in school aid in the 2011 state budget. Responding to criticism from Billy Easton, executive director of AQE, Cuomo's spokesman Josh Vlasto replied by email: ‘Billy Easton is the paid lobbyist for a group funded by the teacher's union. What do you expect him to say?’

Fulton Superintendent 'Concerned' About Alleged Abuse Cover-Up
CBS, Nov. 11
ALPHARETTA, Ga.--Fulton County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa says he is concerned about allegations of a cover-up of abuse of some students in the district and that officials will be held accountable. He was asked about the confirmation by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard that a criminal probe has been launched into alleged abuse at Hopewell Middle School in Milton from 2002 to 2007. Alex Williams, now 18, was reportedly shoved, cursed at and isolated by a special education teacher during the 2006-07 school year. A report by the county education board concluded that former special education teacher apparently mistreated six students, and parents are charging that the issue was covered up by the school system.

   Superintendents in the News 


Williamson Co. Superintendent Defends Student Teaching Policy
WKRN-TV, Nov.16
FRANKLIN, Tenn.--Williamson County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney says he has put restrictions on the number of student teachers in classrooms because of Tennessee’s new teacher evaluation process. ‘We want to make sure that when the student achievement results come in, they accurately reflect the (regular) teacher’s work and not that of a novice,’ said Looney. Under the restrictions in the county’s middle schools, student teachers will not be in about half the classes. In high schools, about a quarter of classes will have restrictions on student teachers. The new restrictions apply to classes that have end-of-the- year achievement tests that make up 35% of the new state teacher evaluations.

Down to Three: Aguillard, Cooper, Gonsoulin are Superintendent Finalists
The Advertiser, Nov. 15
LAFAYETTTE, La.-–Three candidates have been voted finalists for superintendent of Lafayette Parish Schools, including one who said he was not surprised because ‘I’m a man of God.’ The Lafayette school board picked Walter Gonsoulin, an assistant superintendent for the Starkville (Miss.) School District; Pat Cooper, CEO and President of Early Childhood and Family learning Foundation in New Orleans; and Donald Aguillard, superintendent of St. Mary Parish Schools. One will succeed departing Lafayette Superintendent Burnell Lemoine in January. ‘Honestly, I'm not surprised that I've made it to the finals because I'm a man of God, and what God has for you is for you,’ said Gonsoulin, according to The Advertiser newspaper. He was the top vote getter.

Seven Area School Superintendents to Retire at End of School Year
State Journal-Register, Nov. 13
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. --With several citing a desire to spend more time with family and on personal interests, seven area school superintends will retire at the end of this school year. Between them, they have more than 250 years of education experience. They are Bob Gillum in Ball-Chatham; Maureen Talbert in Pleasant Plains; Kathy Garrett in Auburn; Valerie Carr in New Berlin; Marlene Brady in North Mac; Connie Woods in Panhandle; and Philip Shelton in Mount Pulaski. Some observers say pension changes, school funding woes and changes in teacher evaluations and curriculum standards may have played roles in the decisions. ‘It’s going to be a huge brain drain. They know the job inside and out,’ said Sangamon County Regional Office of Education Superintendent Jeff Vose.

School Leaders Prepare for Bumpy Legislative Ride
Kansas City Star, Nov. 18e
TOPEKA, Kan.–-Kansas officials say the 2012 state legislature will be dominated by tough new choices on education and taxes. Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to seek big changes in tax policy, including moving away from dependence on the state income tax. And he will propose major changes in the current schools funding formula. Legislators must also grapple with drawing new district lines based on the 2010 Census. ‘These are the biggest, most complex and also, frankly, the most interrelated issues that we are going to have in a long time,” says Stuart Little, the Shawnee Mission School District’s legislative representative. ‘You can’t fix a budget until you figure out tax policy,’ Little explained. ‘And you can’t figure out a budget and tax policy until you know how much you’re going to spend on K-12 education. It’s going to be a terribly interesting year.’

  AASA News 

Create a Prevention and Response Plan Focused on Cyber Ethics
Do you have a prevention and response plan focused on Facebook, blogs and cyber bullying? There are cyber pitfalls out there, and your education community needs to be prepared! Sessions at the National Conference on Education provide a new perspective.
New Assessments Linked to the Common Core Standards
Curious about how your district should prepare for the new assessments linked to the common core standards? AASA Connect Assessment Expert Robert Smith details what the consortia are doing and the caution school leaders should take as they revamp their schools' curricula to match these tests.
Our Magazine's New Look
The School Administrator will take on a new look and introduce some lively new content in January. The redesigned magazine, with more color and easier navigation for readers, will include these new departments: The Ethical Educator, an actual dilemma from the school leadership ranks with recommended actions from four experienced educators and ethicists; Legal Brief, a practical column focused on a legal matter of relevance to superintendents; Best of the Blogs, short, provocative and thoughtful excerpts from blogs maintained by AASA members; and State of the Superintendency, an info-graphic on a telling finding about the contemporary role and outlook of superintendents.
Healthy Classroom and Cafeteria Environments
Find out more about Healthy Classroom and Cafeteria Environments through a virtual walk-through. Afterwards, take AASA's Quiz on Healthy Classroom and Cafeteria Environments. For more information, visit
Reimagining the School Day: More Time for Learning reports
Reimagining the School Day: More Time for Learning reports on a Wallace gathering where leaders in education, after school and other areas grappled with the challenges and merits of carving out more high-quality learning time for disadvantaged youngsters. The Wallace Foundation welcomes feedback from AASA members.
Finalists for 2012 AASA Women in School Leadership Award
Four finalists for AASA Women in School Leadership Awards were announced at AASA Women in School Leadership Forum held in San Diego, Calif., on Oct. 20, 2011. Co-sponsored by Farmers Insurance, the award recognizes exceptional leadership of active, front-line female administrators who are making a difference in the lives of students every day. The award pays tribute to the talent, creativity and vision of outstanding women educational administrators in the nation's public schools. Learn more.
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Alan November on AASA Radio: Leading School Culture Into The Digital Age
Interview with Alan November, an international leader in education technology. Listen now.


AASA Premier Member
NJPA Contract Solutions AASA and NJPA have formed an exclusive, business relationship that provides K-12 public school districts nationally access to over 120 national competitively bid, contract purchasing solutions. Learn more.

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