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This is the edition with a publication date of 2/6/2012.
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When money for education is tight and many states and districts are cutting education budgets, the resource side of education reform and school improvement becomes one of the most critical issues for sustaining our nation's schools. Without more effective use of the education dollar, current fiscal constraints and funding cuts could lead to battles over money, ineffective across-the-board budget cuts, and a substandard education system with a negative impact on student learning. This book for school and district leaders is intended to show pathways through this current fiscal mess by linking what is known about improving school effectiveness and student performance to more effective and efficient resource use practices. It will offer concrete, specific actions that can be taken now, without major changes in the organization and governance of America's school systems. The strategies discussed will include: a) initial data analysis to understand current performance context, i.e. creating a sense of urgency for retaining the focus on boosting student performance even in tough fiscal times, b) setting specific numeric and high goals, and using those goals to drive resource allocation priorities, c) selecting a curriculum program and developing a view of effective instruction practice, with more specific comments on the characteristics of effective reading programs, d) the trade-offs between core subjects (reading/English/language arts, mathematics, science, history and foreign language) and electives, the use of time and school schedules, and the emergence of career-technical programs to replace the old voc-tech programs, e) formative and benchmark assessments, and the use of data to improve teaching practice, f) the organization of teacher work into collaborative teams, g) ongoing, comprehensive professional development including the use of instructional coaches, h) strategies for struggling students including Tier 1, 2 and 3 strategies in the Response to Intervention approach to students who need extra help, i) leadership, and j) teacher, principal, and central office talent.