The Back Page(10)

Gleanings

New Poll Reveals Budget Woes
District technology budgets have taken big hits, according to a report released this summer by CoSN and Grunwald Associates. The Digital Leadership Divide survey found that while 38 percent of district tech budgets have increased in the past three years, 62 percent have decreased or remained flat, with the greatest impact felt on supplies and equipment, proposed laptop initiatives, and staffing. Those fortunate districts that reported dollar increases cited visionary leadership and strong community support as key factors.

And Speaking of Money...
Superintendent pay has risen by more than 12 percent in the past 10 years, with average salaries ranging from $96,387 to $174,805, depending on district enrollment. This according to Education Week, who got wind of the National Survey of Salaries and Wages in Public Schools stats thanks to a partnership with Education Research Service. Other data points from the report: over the last decade principal pay has increased by about 4 percent; teacher salaries, however, have dropped 2 percent when adjusted for inflation.

Camera Craze
Market research firm IDC predicts explosive growth in camera phones in the next few years, leaping from 19 million users in 2003 to 298 million in 2007. In fact, IDC analysts expect that by 2006, nearly 80 percent of all cell phones will include cameras. If their forecast proves correct, this could complicate the already sticky issue of mobile phones in schools, in particular when it comes to classroom cheating — for example, students surreptitiously photographing exams and then e-mailing them to their associates.

Hit List

Books
Hot off the press this month is The Superintendent as CEO, a textbook-like tome written by Texas A&M professors John R. Hoyle and Virginia Collier, and University of Kentucky's Lars G. Bjork. With the exception of the first and last chapters, the book is structured around the American Association of School Administrators' Professional Standards for the Superintendency (also penned by Hoyle), with compelling case studies, theoretical frameworks, research, and discussion questions backing up each of the eight standards. Virtually every aspect of the role of the superintendent is explored here, from policy and governance to values and ethics. While the authors cover all of this ground quite competently, with an impressive amount of insights rooted in research, don't expect any lengthy how-tos. Corwin Press, www.corwinpress.com

Tool
Educators who enjoy dabbling with blogs will find much to like about Rich Site Summary, an XML-based format for aggregating content from various Web sites (RSS is also sometimes called Really Simple Syndication). RSS apps such as the cross-platform Radio UserLand or the Mac-only NetNewsWire allow users to grab headlines and story descriptions from Wired, The New York Times, and countless other news blogs that have set up RSS feeds. And if they want to get particular, they can pull Election 2004 headlines from Time's Web site, for instance, rather than the magazine's world stories. The upshot for those in charge of posting news on their school sites, or who simply want to catch up on the events of the day, is they don't have to scour their favorite sites for updates. Instead, the news gets pushed to them. For a list of RSS readers, see blogspace.com/rss/readers.

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