From the Editors: Reading (and Math) Is Fundamental

Reading (and Math) Is Fundamental
Principal, November/December 2010

If you can read this, thank a teacher.” Sound familiar? You’ve probably seen this message on a bumper sticker at some point recently—perhaps even in your school’s parking lot this morning. This message, in just eight words, reveals the significance of good reading instruction and the responsibility schools have in training the nation’s citizenry.

The impact of reading fluency is often taken for granted by the general public. Reading and applying the instructions in a manual or understanding your health benefits are essential acts that require basic levels of reading and comprehension. and the same can be said of math. Without this basic building block, how else would you split the dinner bill among friends or balance your checkbook?

The value of mastering these two subjects—language arts/reading and mathe­matics—is immeasurable to student success in school and in life. conversely, the way that teachers deliver instruction and the way that schools configure curricula for these subjects is equally important.

So with the emergence of the common core state standards, we want to make sure you have the necessary information to effectively meet the needs of your stu­dents. The organizations behind the common standards initiative—the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers—provided responses to questions about the intent, impact, and meaning of the math and language arts standards, detailing how they will influence instruction in a Q&A you’ll find on page 16. This article is one of four theme articles about math and language arts, all of which explore how to make teaching and learning in these subjects more meaningful.

This issue also features a second Q&A—an interview with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. NAESP executive Director Gail Connelly recently met with Duncan to discuss a number of issues ranging from the role of principal evaluation to the education Department’s underinvestment in principal leadership. The conversation begins on page 34 and continues on the NAESP website with audio clips from NAESP Radio.

Finally, but certainly not least, we must bring attention to this year’s class of National Distinguished Principals. In a special section we always enjoy highlight­ing in the magazine are the 62 elementary and middle school principals from public and private schools around the nation, and the world, who will be recog­nized for their exceptional school leadership Oct. 14-15 in Washington, D.C. The eight-page salute to these principals is between pages 32 and 33.

As always, if you would like to contact us, send an e-mail to

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