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Liz Pape vividly remembers the first time she conducted a presentation on the benefits of K-12 distance education courses. It was at a 1997 national conference for school administrators. The audience's reaction was anything but enthusiastic. The room was filled with doubt, apprehension and skepticism.
After a demonstration of Furl at a professional conference, Jim Wenzloff was so taken with the powerful new online tool, he wrote a Guide to Furl for his district Web site. "Furl allows you to save anything you view on the Web and share it with teachers or students," said the interactive media consultant for Michigan's Macomb Intermediate School District. "And you can use it for so many educational purposes." Indeed, Furl is a hot topic on school-related blogs such as Wenzloff's Visit My Class, yet most educators are not familiar with the term.
Monte Vista Elementary students are running in class. And jumping. And stretching. Teachers not only look on, but encourage the behavior. The 3-6 grade teachers are guiding students through targeted exercises and games as part of the Early Sport program, a research-driven fitness program that exemplifies 'new PE.'
Problem: It sounds like a Nancy Drew novel: The Case of the Missing Books. Except, for the Lee County School District in Fort Myers, Fla., the problem was all too real. During a standard review of costs by the governor's task force, a process that analyzes possible cost savings and procedure improvements in Florida's schools, a startling discovery was made about textbook losses. The task force estimated that from 1997 to 2002, the school system had lost 62,272 books, representing approximately $2 million.
While reports of rising childhood obesity rates have prompted schools to examine what gets served in the cafeteria and in school vending machines, interest in student health has not yet sparked a revolution in what gets served in the classroom. Health education is not identified as a core subject in the No Child Left Behind act; neither does the legislation call for highly qualified health teachers. Only 16 percent of states require student testing on health education topics.
Change Coming to No Child Left Behind
A fundamental change in how the Education Department enforces the No Child Left Behind act could affect the education of millions of students as states seek federal approval on everything from teacher quality to the measuring of student progress.