Friday, June 29, 2007

Beach Bag Blog

The Comp Book will be on vacation next week, so in the spirit of all things summertime, consider today's post the informational equivalent of a beach bag full of water wings, sun screen, flip flops and several good reads. Let's rummage around in that bag and see what we pull up first:
  • Susan Kovalik of the Center for Human Brain and Human Learning closed the WASA/AWSP Summer Conference in Spokane Tuesday, and her presentation gave all of the attendees a lot to think about. Some of her better bon mots:
    • "Everything we do in our buildings should be brain compatible."
    • "There's a fine line between leader and ringleader."
    • "We are not born intelligent, only the capacity to be so and every day, our experiences enhance, stifle or diminish our intellectual, social and emotional capacity."
    • "We are not our genes, we are our experiences."
    • "Socio-political action is the ultimate goal of any classroom."
    • "Responsible citizenship begins in kindergarten."
    • "When students graduate, are they jury ready? Voter ready? Credit ready? Employer ready?"

  • Granger High Principal Richard Esparza is traveling in China this week with a group of U.S. principals engaged in the College Board's Chinese Bridge Delegation program. You can read his travel blog here.

  • Harris Interactive, a global market research firm, announced the findings of a new national study of middle school students today. Harris polled 1,814 students in grades seven and eight Feb. 14 - March 7, 2007 about problems in their schools, standardized tests and high school course selection. There's lots to be mined in this survey, but perhaps the most intriguing: Nearly half (46 percent) of those student polled said that student behavior is the biggest problem in their schools. Fifty-nine percent said they think their school gives them the right amount of standardized testing, too.

  • The Educational Testing Service unveiled its latest survey of 1,526 adults about No Child Left Behind. Aside from the overall opinions about the nation's schools (which were given a letter grade of "C" by those polled), the research also drilled down on administrators' opinions about the omnibus education law. You can review all of the slides online. Among the key findings:
    • 52 percent of public school administrators believe NCLB should be reauthorized with major changes. (Slide 20)
    • 72 percent of the general public polled said in some cases, schools should be taken over/restructured with new administrators; another 24 percent said it should not happen in any instance. (Slide 29)
    • 77 percent of administrators said they strongly or somewhat agree more flexibility is needed for English Language Learners; teachers polled the same way, but 67 percent of those who identified as Hispanic agreed, as did 58 percent of the general public. (Slide 32)
OK, now I'm rummaging around deep in the bag...among the random Life Savers, loose Kleenexes and ponytail holders. Here's a few last items of note:
  • Jerry Bender, AWSP's director of governmental relations, will enter the blogosphere shortly when he heads to Washington, D.C. later this month for the NAESP/NASSP National Leaders Conference. "Can you blog from your phone?" he asked warily. (Answer: yes, you can.) Stay tuned for that launch.

  • AWSP is still looking for a few new principals and assistant principals to attend the aptly named New Principals' and Assistant Principals' Workshop later in July.

  • Did you know your volunteer parents who run your levy campaigns need to register with the state's Public Disclosure Commission? It's true. Check out the election guidelines for schools and districts.

  • June 28 was comedian Mel Brooks' birthday. (Just thought I would throw that one in. Hey, we're at the bottom of the beach bag -- random things appear!)
Time to hit the virtual beach. Have a safe and Happy July Fourth.

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