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From DA

State Proficiency Standards Vary

According to the authors of "The Proficiency Illusion," a new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), those who care about strengthening U.S. K12 education "should be furious."

If you visit the District of Manatee County in Florida, be ready to hand over your driver's license to have it swiped and checked against a database of sex offenders.

To shrink class sizes in Haverhill (Mass.) Public Schools, members of the Haverhill Public School Committee, the equivalent of a board of education, have been pushing the district's four curriculum supervisors to teach math, English, science and social studies classes in grades 6-12.

The Beaverton School District is the third-largest district in Oregon, encompassing 57 square miles just outside Portland, with 38,000 students and 4,100 staff members in 44 schools.

Think of social networks in schools and you probably think of trouble. MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and the rest seem more of a challenge than an opportunity to districts around the world despite the fact that students are participating in droves outside of school walls. But some new free tools are making it easier to bring social networking into the curriculum, giving schools the ability to help students leverage the connections they make online in safe and effective ways.

As the magazine of education leadership for top-level decision makers in K12 education, District Administration reaches key executives in virtually every school district in the United States, including superintendents, business officers, technology managers, curriculum directors, library/media center directors and funding administrators. Certainly no one is better qualified to comment on current district spending than the readers of this magazine.

Metropolitan Nashville (Tenn.) Public Schools is one of the largest urban districts in the country, covering 525 square miles of Davidson County and including 75,000 students and more than 9,000 staff members. The district has maintained its Web site since 1997.

So here is the latest news about the Web for school leaders: it's not as scary for kids as it has been made out to be, your students are already using social networking tools extensively to discuss schoolwork, and, believe it or not, your parents support more use of social Web tools in schools.

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