As we reported in 2009, Tony Danza, the actor best known for playing the loveable housekeeper in the 1980's sitcom "Who's the Boss," spent a year teaching at a public high school in Philadelphia. And now—surprise, surprise—he's written a book about the experience. In a related opinion piece in USA Weekend, Danza shares some of the lessons he learned from having "gone toe-to-toe with a class of Philadelphia 10th-graders for an entire year." The piece is not an attempt to guide policy or even stake a claim in the reform debate. The takeaways are few and simplistic....


As educators head back to school, what are they most excited about? What are their biggest fears? What are they planning to change this school year? We polled Education Week readers to find out. Read more here....


Continuing his search for answers to schools' writing-instruction problems, Washington Post education columnist Jay Mathews profiles Rick Cannon, a renowned English teacher at an all-boys Catholic high school in Washington. For more than 30 years, Mathews reports, Cannon has been getting glowing results from an "uncompromising," old-school approach to teaching composition. Among the master's tactics: Cannon insists, with parents' help, that students do their writing in long-hand as much as possible (as a way of slowing them down); he is near-fanatical about the importance of constant revision for anyone who is not at the approximate level of Shakespeare; he warns ...


The Associated Press reported this week that a former teacher who is now running for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in Michigan was issued a written reprimand this past June by his school for "intimidating and threatening students by grabbing their desks, yelling in their faces and slamming his fists on their desks."


Here's a unique news item: At a time of widespread budget-cutting and job uncertainty in education, the St. Paul, Minn., school district actually added 110 teaching positions this summer. The new positions, according to the Pioneer Press, are part of a district reform effort that, among other things, aims to even out class sizes and give teachers more time to work together on planning and examining student data. Funding for the new positions (in case you're wondering, as I was) comes from a whopping $17 million increase in the district's budget—paid for, according to the Pioneer Press story, by an...


Echoing TLN blogger Ariel Sacks, Memphis teacher Brittany Clark wonders why well-respected teachers are so often encouraged by their own districts to leave the classroom: I've seen this pattern. I'm frequently encouraged to move into school administration, instructional leadership and district-level teacher preparation. This sentiment comes not just from my peers, but also from school district leaders and administrators who actually encourage me to leave the classroom. This does seem kind of ironic, doesn't it? Clark, for her part, says it would make much more sense for schools to give top educators leadership positions (with appropriate pay increases) that allow ...


We knew there was a lot interest/trepidation out there about the planned common-core assessments, but this headline (from our Education Week colleague Catherine Gewertz) puts things in a whole new light: "Sample Common-Assessment Items Released, Traffic Crashes Server." So what will the tests be like? Catherine, our resident common-core expert, says that it's too soon to tell for sure (sorry), but that both assessment groups—the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium—are aiming to place an emphasis on "synthesis and application" as opposed to rote responses. She also notes...


Ever been to a children's museum? Perhaps like this one or this one? They tend to be colorful, friendly buildings. Now contrast that with an image of a typical public elementary school. Remove the bulletin boards and posters at the school, and you're likely left with a dark, dank, monochrome edifice. But not all public schools fit that profile. The pop culture website Flavorwire recently did a feature on the 20 "most beautiful and imaginative public schools in the world"—and indeed, it's worth a look. The list includes only two U.S. schools, both of which are located in California....


According to the Ayn Rand Institute's Books to Teachers Program, teachers requested more than 400,000 copies of the author's books in the 2011-12 school year, a 30 percent increase in requests from the 2010-11 school year.


A piece in The Shreveport Times recently described the challenges that elementary school teachers are facing with back-to-school expenses. In Caddo Parish Schools in Louisiana, the stipends that teachers usually put toward supplies were recently halved to $100 per teacher.


One of the inevitable first-day-of-school tasks for elementary teachers (and many secondary teachers) is introducing the class rules. So it's no wonder teacher-bloggers have taken up the topic this week. Patricia Hensley, author of the Successful Teaching blog, laments educators' use of vague language in rule-making. She writes: Too many times we tell our students to behave and they have absolutely no idea what that entails. When my daughter was young, I remember her coming up to me and asking if she was have (with a long a sound). I couldn't understand her until she told me that I told ...


English teachers take note: Grammar—yes, grammar—has been making headlines this summer.


On the new Smartblog on Education, Tom Whitby, contributing editor and former a high school English teacher, highlights a potential glitch with the Connected Educator Month idea: Almost by definition, most of the teachers who are aware of it are already, well, connected educators


In response to what he sees as multiplying signs of public schools'—and teachers'—failures, David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale University, envisions the rise of "local Internet schools." These, he explains in a Wall Street Journal piece, would be one-room neighborhood schools in which students from a range of grades would learn mainly from high-quality online courses, with occasional help from patched-in tutors and teaching assistants. Actual classroom teachers would be expendable: In front sits any reliable adult whom the neighbors vouch for—often, no doubt, some student's father or mother, taking his turn. He leads the...


By guest blogger Ellen Wexler According to a new study that surveyed 2,000 teachers across the United States and Canada, one out of four science teachers who used lab animals in their classrooms released the organisms into local environments after they were done using them for instructional purposes. The study, funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that only 10 percent of those teachers released the animals as part of a planned release program—which suggests that the other 90 percent of teachers released animals that could potentially cause harm to native environments. The researchers—mostly part of ...


By guest blogger Ellen Wexler A few weeks ago, we received a letter from Holocaust survivor Peter Fischl, who has spent the last 18 years sharing his history and working to promote Holocaust education. We looked through Teaching Now and realized that it hadn't included coverage on Holocaust education before, so we decided to give Fischl a call. Fischl took some time to speak with me about his past work and the new Holocaust education resource he just designed. The education kit, called "Man's Inhumanity to Man," is Fischl's most recent project and somewhat of a summation of his efforts ...


Digital technology has made it both easier for students to cheat and for teachers to catch offenders, according to a recent piece in The Chicago Tribune. But overall cheaters maintain the upper hand.


A 4th grade teacher in Indiana has swapped out all her students' chairs for exercise balls.


In sharp contrast to last summer's celebrity-attended rally and march to the White House, the Save Our Schools gathering this year proved a quiet, 150-person affair. Held this weekend in the regal Wardman Park Marriott in downtown Washington, the convention featured presentations on an array of topics including advocacy, social justice, and elevating student voice, and a keynote by author and activist Jonathan Kozol. Attendees also attended workshops during which they crafted official policy stances to eventually present to policymakers (though these sessions were closed to the media). Mike Klonsky, Chicago-based educator and activist who is a first-year member of ...


Writing in the Deseret News, Theresa Talbot, a Utah teacher in her 25th year, says that the real problem with education today is that students are, well, lazy and recalcitrant. Among the examples she cites: It is the students in my math classes who, when I showed them how to work a multiple step problem, called out, "I'm not doing that; it's too much work." It is the students who "complete" and turn in every assignment and still score less than 30 percent on the test covering that material because they are not the ones who actually did the work ...


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