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.


Is your school air-conditioned in the summer? Heated in the winter? How does temperature control affect student learning?


Last month, the surgeon-writer Atul Gawande gave a much talked-about commencement address at the Harvard Medical School entitled "Cowboys and Pit Crews." Gawande's argument, in essence, is that doctors' conception of their work needs to undergo a major paradigm shift. As members of an elite, specialized profession, they have traditionally prized—and clung to—ideals of independence, autonomy, and self-sufficiency. But, Gawande contends, medical knowledge and processes have become so complex (and so prone to error and inefficiency) that doctors must begin to think more about how they can operate within effective treatment systems or teams. "We train, hire, and...


Will Richardson resists the socio-academic orthodoxy that his children have to go the traditional college route to be successful. What's more important, he argues, is that they begin to discover what they really want to invest their talents in: What [schools] and me and your mom need to help you with is finding your passion, going deep into learning about it, becoming an expert, and then using that expertise to change the world and make a living. We need to help you learn how to cobble together your own education, and you don't have to wait until college to start ...


This fall, Brevard Public Schools in Florida will join a handful of other districts nationwide that have adopted peer reviews as part of their teacher evaluation system. The change comes after Florida approved a bill this past spring that did away with tenure for new teachers, and requires 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation to be based on standardized testing measures. Michelle Spitzer of Florida Today reports that the peer reviews will not affect teacher pay until 2014, when a new state mandate may take effect. The peer evaluation method will require teachers with less than four years experience to ...


Sam Fuller, a 16-year-old in Albany, Calif., described his life as an "unschooled" student.


Ariel Sacks finds that teaching during the last few weeks of school—when the classroom mindset inevitably relaxes but essential work remains—requires a special kind of balance: June requires it's own attitude and approach. On the one hand, we cannot give up the hard earned order and structures we've used throughout the year. At the same time we can't stick to them exactly either. Alternating vigilance and relaxation of the mental faculties is necessary or the month can easily go awry and be a pit of frustration for teachers and students alike....


As the school year wraps up, many parents are scrambling to buy thank-you gifts for their children's teachers. One parent, who was interviewed on the Phoenix news station KSAZ Fox 10—but under a pseudonym and with his face and voice disguised—said that he feels "a lot of pressure" to make cash donations to teachers as an end-of-the-year gift, as well as for other occasions. "There's a Christmas gift, an end-of-the-year gift, one for teacher appreciation week..." said the parent. He also mentioned that as the years go by, a larger donation is expected: "Before it's been $10 or $20,...


The Los Angeles Unified School District, which has made headlines lately because of its plans to lay off thousands of teachers, also intends to cut 85 school librarian positions. Bill Chappell of NPR reports that the librarians "have been told that they no longer count as teachers," and that "the change in classification would make it easier for the school district to cut the jobs." Chappell also writes that the librarians are being grilled by the district's lawyers—with questions such as, ""Do you know how to take attendance?" and "How many weeks are in a school year?"—as an administrative...


Steven Pearlstein at The Washington Post offers a lofty vision for the future of the U.S. education system, in which students do most of their learning through individualized online programs.


Should kids go to recess before they eat lunch rather than after? Some in the Pleasanton Unified School District in California think so, according to an article in the Contra Costa Times. The "play-first lunch" program—already used throughout Montana and in other states—first went into effect in Pleasanton at Alishal Elementary School two years ago, reports the newspaper, which covers the Contra Costa and Alameda counties in California. The concept spread to other schools in the district after administrators observed that students who went to recess first wasted less of their lunch food, were more focused in classes,...


The Wall Street Journal reports on a new study finding that negative classroom environments--often the result of school budget cuts--cause students to feel stress.


Researchers, policymakers, and parents tend to agree that effective teachers are the key to high-quality schools—and, by implication, to maintaining an educated and thriving citizenry. So why are teachers in the United States so undervalued and lately even disparaged? That's the question at the heart of "American Teacher," a new documentary produced by author Dave Eggers and Nínive Clements Calegari, a former teacher who helped Eggers create the 826 National tutoring centers. The film was shown last night at an advance screening in Washington attended by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and assorted other government officials and ...


NYC Educator relates a story about a student asking to charge her cell phone in the classroom, and him refusing her request (cell phones are not allowed at school). But more recently, he writes, he saw another girl pull her phone charger out of the outlet at the end of class--and he let it slide.


I had to read this story a couple of times to make sure it wasn't satire of some sort: Chicago Public Schools this week has apparently issued new guidelines—to the tune of 45 pages—designed to allow schools to provide students with a 20-minute recess break. Currently, according to the Sun-Times, due to scheduling changes implemented in the 1970s, only 42 percent of the city's schools offer recess (with many of those schools holding it only in classrooms). And in most schools, because of the limit on students' free time, teachers' lunch breaks are relegated to the end of the...


Testing pressures and curriculum mandates may have "squeezed" current events out of many schools, but a high school teacher in Farmington, Conn., takes it upon himself to teach a five-week course on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars every May, according to an article by New York Times education writer Michael Winerip. Chris Doyle, an Advanced Placement United States History teacher at Farmington High School, turns to the current wars after his students have completed their A.P. exams. He brings in combat veterans to speak to his students, and, since textbook coverage of the wars is nonexistent, assigns readings from ...


The Simpsons' 22nd season's finale began with a pointed—but not-so-timely—education-policy spoof.


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