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Stereotypes are harmful. However, a new study from researchers at Indiana University, entitled "Stereotype Threat Prevents Perceptual Learning," is taking this simple message to the next level: Negative stereotypes hinder learning in the present and could make it impossible in the future.

Until this year, the Oregon Department of Education was running a central portal of thousands of learning resources that required all teachers and students in the state to have an e-mail address as authentication for security purposes. Because many districts didn't offer student e-mail, however, the learning materials were not available to everyone.

Due to heightened vigilance regarding minority achievement, districts across the country are under scrutiny. One of these is the Wake County (N.C.) Public School System. Recently the Wake County school board decided to change the way it handles student assignments and busing between schools. Board members voted 5-4 on March 23 to end forced busing, a method initiated in the 1970s to promote diversity in public schools.

Tuition voucher program support has been withering under the Obama administration as it phases out the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. The program, a federally funded voucher program signed into law in 2004, has provided over 3,700 students in Washington, D.C., with scholarships to attend private schools. The administration's primary reasoning, it appears, has been strong union opposition to school vouchers.

The U.S. Department of Education has earmarked $350 million in Race to the Top grants for states to develop new assessments for the Common Core Standards. On September 2, it was announced that the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) was awarded $170 million and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) won $160 million. The two groups submitted their applications in June 2010.

Sometimes boards serve in an appeal role for decisions made at other levels. The rules for appeals often focus on whether the lower board followed protocols, rather than whether it ruled correctly. How does an administrator exert appropriate leadership if board members seem inclined to rule on the correctness of the decision, with which they disagree, rather than the protocols followed?

William J. Cirone, Superintendent of Schools Santa Barbara County (Calif.), Office of Education

Dear William,

Last spring, Public Agenda, a nonprofit research organization, released a report on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The report, entitled "Can I Get a Little Advice Here?" presented the results of a survey administered to 600 adults from 22 to 30 who had at least begun some form of higher education. The survey asked the respondents to reflect on the quality of their interactions with their high school counselors.

Twitter. Twitter?

We know. Your first reaction is to stop reading because you think, "Another crazy who sings the praises of a silly cell phone service that enables you to tell the world what you had for breakfast in 140 characters or less. Who cares what you had for breakfast? And how can you say anything interesting in 140 characters, let alone less?"

Resist that impulse. Read on, please.

In Oshkosh, Wis., second and third graders build houses out of milk crates, the teacher simulates a flood, and they talk about how home insurance works. In Chicago, high-school social studies classes take field trips to places like the Chicago Board of Trade and the Federal Reserve, to learn about markets and banking.

School budgets are tight, but there are still many things school leaders can do to keep schools safe.

# The five-minute safety rule. Take five minutes at every faculty meeting to discuss one topic from your school's safety or crisis plan.

The current generation of edugames—computer based video games intended for educational use—stands in stark contrast to the drill-and-practice CD-ROM games of the past. While the earliest games were most often tightly focused on topics with clear right or wrong answers, such as math equations, spelling words or historical trivia, today's technology has allowed the latest generation of game developers to branch out to design games in interdisciplinary and creative subjects, including writing, history, literature, biology, business, personal finance and more.

TYLER TECHNOLOGIES

Telematic GPS, Starts at $179

Offering innovative choices to students and families is at the heart of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Academic Transformation Plan. Spearheaded by Chief Executive Officer Eugene Sanders, the Whatever it Takes blueprint offers what he calls "a gamechanging opportunity" for improvement through academic and non-academic strategies.

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