Nearly 84 percent of the nation's school districts anticipate funding shortfalls in the upcoming school year, and a majority of those districts (some 64 percent) plan to cut staff to make up the deficits, according to a report released this morning [PDF] by the Washington-based Center on Education Policy. The report, which is based on a survey of school districts nationwide, attributes the bleak forecast to the fact that many districts have reached a so-called "funding cliff" after exhausting (or nearly exhausting) funds from the federal economic-stimulus and education jobs packages. All told, according to the report, 46 percent of ...


The Wake County school system in Raleigh, N.C., is on a mission to recruit male and minority teachers, reports the News & Observer. The paper, which covers Raleigh, notes that 50.5 percent of the students in the district are minorities, while 85 percent of the teachers are Caucasian. Since Tony Tata took over as superintendent in January, the district has made an effort to reach out to historically black colleges and universities for recruiting. In the past two months, the district has hired 45 new teachers, 27 of whom are minorities. Still, the paper reports that the district faces ...


One of the latest in a slew of education documentaries, "To Be Heard" profiles three Bronx high school students who participate in an outside-the-curriculum program called Power Writers.


Here's a good career-path gut-check question to ponder over the summer (just in case you were looking for one). By now most educators are familiar with TED Talks, the influential, Web-distributed presentations in which innovative thinkers share their ideas and inspiration. But could you deliver one? Doug Johnson thinks it's something every teacher should consider, even if only in a hypothetical sense: Could you give a TED talk inspired by a personal passion for what you do? What would it be about? What would others learn from it? What makes you look forward to the next day even after a ...


Imagine this: You're a kid in Iraq, and your parents tell you to pack your bags because your family has to leave the country in five minutes. What are the 10 things you take with you? Now your family needs help carrying their belongings. Which five of your things could you leave behind? This was just one of several learning exercises that English teacher Lauren Fardig had her 9th graders do at Banana Kelly High School in Bronx, N.Y. In a PBS NewsHour report, Fardig discussed how she took her students on a virtual journey to the Middle East ...


Liam Julian over at Fordham's Flypaper responds to the doom-and-gloom rhetoric surrounding the U.S.' static history NAEP scores and, well, every other education-related news item these days.


Sign of the times? After 10 years, ed-tech pioneer Will Richardson is closing down his influential blog and moving to a new space on Tumblr, a social-networking-slash-"microblogging" platform that is getting a lot of attention lately. Richardson believes it will help him, in effect, bridge the gap between blogging and tweeting. At the same time, with acknowledgement of the assorted ironies involved, Richardson is bringing out a new collection of the "40 or so" most-commented-on posts from his old blog—in book form. He sounds almost apologetic about this: It may be an anachronism by the time my grandkids...


Time.com legal columnist Adam Cohen, pointing to a couple recent court decisions, advises educators to take the high road when it comes to derisive or mocking postings by students on social-networking sites. Students, he says, have a constitutional right to make fun of their teachers—one they have exercised for generations. The difference, of course, is that today there's a better chance you'll find out about it. Too bad for you: There clearly can be student Facebook or MySpace speech that goes too far—for example, serious threats that really do disrupt educational activities. But when speech is merely...


In an opinion piece published by the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peter Smagorinsky, a professor of English education at the University of Georgia, questions the value of recent policy reports showing that increases in class sizes do not have a detrimental effect on student test scores. Most people don't go into teaching, he argues, to raise standardized test scores. Instead, they want to provide meaningful learning experiences and "make a difference in kids lives"—things that requires optimal working conditions: One working condition that matters is having class loads that enable the sorts of rich teaching and learning that make the ...


Sorry to put a damper on your weekend, but ... Remember Rafael Martin, the special education teacher who ran 50 miles last fall and received high praise for raising $12,000 in school supplies? (That's the same teacher who, according to My Fox Tampa Bay, had attempted the 50-mile run last May and was hospitalized toward the end for dehydration.) Well, My Fox now reports that Martin has been let go from his teaching job at Tenoroc High School in Lakeland, Fla. The station says that Martin's teacher contract will not be renewed, despite the fact that he received "mostly satisfactory ...


Public schools in Memphis, Tenn., will enter unchartered territory this fall when they start to use student feedback as part of the district's teacher evaluation rubric. The Commercial Appeal reports that the new model "incorporates stakeholder perceptions and tests of how well teachers actually know their subject area." Deputy Superintendent Irving Hamer told the Memphis paper that "No other district in the country is doing it this way." While student perception and teacher content knowledge will each count for 5 percent of a teacher's evaluation, the "remainder will be a mix of test scores (35 percent), principal observation (40 percent), ...


U.S. News and World Report has a story on students using text-message and social-media shorthand in their academic writing--including in essays for college applications.


Minority children spend around 13 or more hours a day either watching T.V., listening to music, playing video games, or consuming other forms of recreational media content, according to a national study released by Northwestern University. In contrast, white youth spend around eight and a half hours a day on those activities. The study, which used data from previous surveys conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation on media use among 8-to 18-year-olds, reveals that Black and Hispanic youth watch about an hour more of live T.V. each day than white youth, and spend 45 minutes more on computers, ...


Texas is considering a law that would give teachers access to students' detailed criminal histories, which are currently confidential in most states.


Hundreds of displaced teachers in Providence, R.I., applied for new positions in the district by "speed dating" principals, according to National Public Radio's Elizabeth Harrison.


At the Learning the Language blog, Mary Ann Zehr points to a law just signed in Alabama that requires schools to determine the immigration status of students.


A class of 1st graders in New York City could sympathize with the Maryland students I visited earlier this week: Neither of their classrooms had air conditioning.


While many view social media as a mere distraction for kids, a Los Angeles teacher finds that using Twitter in his classroom has helped his history students come out of their shells. CNN reports that Enrique Legaspi at Hollenbeck Middle School encourages his 8th graders to tweet their responses to the questions he asks during class, as the digital chalkboard projects their answers for everyone to see. Legaspi began incorporating Twitter into his curriculum after attending the annual Macworld convention in San Francisco earlier this year. He told CNN that the new teaching vehicle has allowed reticent students to share ...


The Harvard Education Letter reports on a charter school network in Dallas that, with the help of an HR consulting firm, has developed a system to use "predictive research" to identify teacher candidates who are most likely to be effective. Candidates for teaching positions with Uplift Education are put through a phone screening, a model lesson, and an interview. (An e-mail exercise and a data-analysis task are slated to be added this year.) But the process relies on a statistical method rather than an administrator's gut instinct. "At each step along the way," the HEL reports, "candidates are asked scripted ...


Bill Turque at the Washington Post writes about one D.C. public school's decision to adopt the Singapore Math program--and the many challenges that have come with it.


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