A new study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology finds that teachers may be less inclined to respond critically to work by minority students, thus creating a "positive feedback bias" that may contribute to racial achievement gaps. The study, covered in The Atlantic and The Huffington Post, asked more than 100 teachers in the New York City area to grade a poorly written (but fake) student essay. The researchers found that teachers who thought the essay was written by a black or Latino student (by virtue of the student name provided) tended to offer more praise and less criticism ...


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made a surprise visit to Luke C. Moore High School in Washington on Wednesday morning to join teachers and school support staff for a Teacher Appreciation Week breakfast.


English teacher Renee Moore follows up on that study finding that automated grading programs can assess student essays as effectively as human readers can. Moore says that her experience, it just so happens, has been exactly the opposite. Besides, she adds, responding to student writing is about more than just providing a grade: Our students are sharing their thoughts with us, and before anything else, teachers should be respectful, thoughtful readers of those ideas. Like many of my colleagues, I respond to my students' writing with questions and comments--on what they are saying. ... When I sit down next to each ...


Maybe this guy just holds a special place in my heart because I once ran into him in a Sally's Beauty Supply store in Phoenix (no, I have no further explanation for why he was there, and yes, he is massive!), but ... ... over the weekend, NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal earned his doctoral degree in education from Barry University in Florida. According to The Miami Herald, the now-retired basketball star has been "quietly working toward his doctoral degree in organizational learning and leadership with a specialization in human resource development. He studied before and after games, and between his work on ...


Anthony Salcito, vice president of education for Microsoft Corp.'s Worldwide Public Sector, has selected our very own blogger David Ginsburg (A.K.A. Coach G.) as one of his 365 global heroes in education. Salcito's blog project is intended to highlight individuals who are "making meaningful changes in their communities to ensure a bright future for young people." Below David—who, as his readers know by now, believes that real education reform starts with effective classroom practice—explains his theory of "cause-effect coaching":...


As a colleague pointed out to me today, 'Pineapplegate'—the uproar about a question on the New York state reading test—isn't going away. So it's high time we blogged about it. The controversy started when the New York Daily News ran a piece summarizing an "absurd test question about a talking pineapple," which the paper said has confused students, parents, and educators. The Daily News learned about the question—a silly rewrite of the Aesop's fable "The Tortoise and the Hare" in which a pineapple challenges a hare to a foot race—after a parent posted it on her...


Public school teachers in New York City may not contact students through personal pages on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to the Education Department's first set of social media policy guidelines released on Tuesday.


Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail and one of our former opinion bloggers, writes in a USA Today column that "we need to stop lumping blacks and Hispanics together" when talking about ways to improve educational outcomes for minority students. By many measures, urban school districts are making more progress closing achievement gaps between Hispanic and white students than between African American and white students. According to Whitmire, that's because Hispanics and blacks have different educational needs—and should consequently be taught differently. He writes: At successful all-black schools, school staffs build cultures based on social justice and employ...


Picking up on the Khan Academy meme, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has launched a program to encourage its students to create short instructional videos for K-12 students on science and engineering concepts, according to a release from MIT. The videos—of which there are already some three dozen—will be posted on the MIT+K12 website, as well as on YouTube. Some will also be made available through Khan Academy itself, which appears to be both the inspiration for and a partner in the initiative. Teachers and students can also use the MIT+K12 site to communicate with the...


Fashion designer Kenneth Cole felt the wrath of many teachers this week after his company posted a billboard with a controversial slogan in reference to the ongoing education reform debate. The advertisement posted above New York's West Side Highway shows a picture of a woman in a red blazer and asks, in a harmless pun, "Shouldn't everyone be well red?" But the offending statement is written below, in small letters: "Teachers' Rights vs. Students' Rights. ..." According to the Wall Street Journal, the billboard was part of Cole's venture into "socially conscious advertising." The accompanying website, WhereDoYouStand.com, offers a forum ...


ASCD's EDge blog reports on the work of Teach For America's chief knowledge officer Steven Farr, who has spent a decade studying data and conducting observations in an effort to determine what distinguishes great teachers from their less effective peers. What he's found is that, in contrast to the Hollywood portrayals of heroic teachers, exceptional instruction has considerably less to do with personal charisma or dramatic performance than it does with effective planning and self-awareness: Pedigree teachers, Farr found, set and maintain high expectations for their students; they plan purposefully and tirelessly. But perhaps most importantly, they habitually reevaluate their ...


According to the Los Angeles Times, Corona-Norco Unified School District, the 10th largest school system in California, has managed to avoid "the pitfalls common to similar districts with diverse student populations and budget constraints."


On Wednesday, May 2nd, Google will host its first Education on Air, a free online conference about education technology. Presenters will hold sessions between 12 p.m. and 10 a.m. through Google+ Hangouts, video chats that will be livestreamed to the public on Google's social media pages. The session topics are (not surprisingly) Google-centric, but also seem pretty fun and practical. For instance, you can watch presentations on Using Google Docs to Organize the Classroom, Google Forms for Everything, Managing Digital Portfolios, and the Use of Google Earth to Visualize Student-Collected Air Pollution Data. There's no need to register, ...


By guest blogger Stephen Sawchuk Four teachers have been announced as the first recipients of the Fishman Prize from the New Teacher Project (TNTP), a teacher-training group. They'll each be awarded $25,000 and get the chance to participate in a summer internship with the organization. Before you say, "not another teacher contest," this one is interesting because TNTP has designed it with the idea of spreading effective teaching practices. The summer residency program—designed so the winning teachers don't miss any class time—will involve working with other teachers to improve technique and producing a paper to be published...


Heads-up: If you are a reading or language arts or English teacher and you're getting apprehensive, or excited, about the Common Core standards—and you probably should be one or the other at this point—we have a couple of timely webinar opportunities for you next week. From Paper to Practice: Implementing the Common Core State Standards in English/Language Arts, scheduled for Tues., May 1, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET, will feature two literacy educators from Kentucky who are on the cutting edge in working with special instructional tools designed for the standards. They'll illustrate some of ...


A new study out of the University of Akron has found that automated grading programs can assess student essays as effectively as human readers can. The study essentially compared computer-generated ratings to those of human scorers on thousands of essays written by high school juniors and sophomores. The differences, the researchers concluded, were not significant. "In terms of being able to replicate the mean [ratings] and standard deviation of human readers, the automated scoring engines did remarkably well," the study's lead author, Mark D. Shermis, told Inside Higher Ed. While automated readers may improve efficiencies in grading papers and tests, ...


In a recent Huffington Post piece, Jessica Minahan, co-author of The Behavior Code, writes that teachers are not properly prepared to work with students who have mental health problems. Even so, she claims, "In a typical classroom of twenty, chances are good that one or two students are dealing with serious psychosocial stressors related to poverty, domestic violence, abuse and neglect or a psychiatric disorder." And according to at least one study she sites, these students are not making any significant academic or behavioral progress in school. The problem starts with teacher training, says Minahan. Education degree programs include just ...


Could a teacher's bad habit compromise his classroom management? Emily Yoffe of Slate's Ask Prudence thinks so—and she has a nose for these sorts of things ......


A couple of months ago, I came across an interesting Bloomberg Businessweek story about a business school program at the University of Virginia designed specifically for K-12 principals. The idea behind the program is that today's principals, particularly those leading struggling schools, need management training as much as (if not more than) education experience. The program participants, according to the story, "examine case studies on companies such as General Electric (GE) and Walt Disney (DIS), study organizational behavior, and learn how to analyze data." Many schools whose leaders have completed the program have reportedly seen strong test-score gains. "I took ...


Do you have any students in your class who don't own books at home? According to her press agent, the founder of the nonprofit First Book, Kyle Zimmer, likes to share the anecdote about a teacher in a Title 1 classroom who asked her students to bring in a book from home to read in class. To her surprise, three students brought back a phone book, the only book they found at home.


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