On Feb. 7, a Washington, D.C., arbitrator ruled that 75 public school teachers with probationary status were wrongly terminated under former school chancellor Michelle Rhee in 2008 and should be reinstated, reports The Washington Post. According to the ruling by Charles Feigenbaum, "The glaring and fatal flaw in the process that DCPS used is that teachers were never told why they were terminated, other than that it was based on the input from their principals. They were not told what that input was. They had no opportunity to provide their side of the story." Feigenbaum ordered that the teachers ...


A company that allows teachers to sell their lesson plans online paid out over $1 million to educators last year, according to a recent VentureBeat blog post. But some question whether or not teachers should reap these benefits. TeachersPayTeachers and WeAreTeachers are both websites designed for educators to buy and sell lesson plans. TeachersPayTeachers, which was founded in 2006 by Paul Edelman, has more than 320,000 registered users—nearly 10 percent of all educators nationwide, reports VentureBeat. The best-selling teachers make more than $1,500 a month, said Edelman, a former New York City teacher. One seller even managed...


Mary Worell, an American journalist-turned-teacher who is currently working in the Netherlands, finds it significant that Dutch educators, including administrators, tend to dress very informally: I realized that this casualness toward dress code was indicative of something deeper in the culture of the school and the attitude toward the teachers. They are considered professionals and treated as such. It's as if someone said "Yes, I know you're a professional and I don't need you to wear black pumps and suit pants to prove it."... ...Overall the school culture itself seems to lead toward a mutual respect among colleagues and an ...


Alexander Russo over at This Week in Education writes that about five years into his ed reform coverage, he's had an epiphany: The major difference between "reformy types" and "career educators," he claims, is that the latter believe (not without reason) that reform could actually make things worse. This possibility might seem hard to believe for reformers, many of whom can't imagine things being any worse (and many of whom, it should be said, have yet experienced few major setbacks in their own lives). But for those with a longer perspective (historical, personal, professional) the possibility of things going from ...


Teachers' use of video content for instruction has increased dramatically over the past three years, according to a survey.


Here's something you probably didn't know: February is National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month. To commemorate their 28 days, school-based health centers around the nation (of which there are more than 1,900) are inviting local and federal policymakers to tour their facilities, according to the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care. In Maryland, U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes visited a school-based health center in Baltimore County and said the expansion of these facilities is the ultimate goal, reports WBAL. School-based health centers resemble any other health center: They have a full team of providers who offer physical and mental ...


While the concepts of rote learning and drill-and-kill instruction have acquired negative reputations, Justin Snider, a doctoral student at Columbia University, seeks to remind educators that memorization—in the sense of "learning things by heart"—can be highly enriching for students. Memorization, he writes, is challenging, exercises the brain, and can give rise to new insights on material. The problem, he allows, is that it has also become too closely associated with multiple-choice tests....


Two months after AFT President Randi Weingarten commented that education can learn a lesson about performance evaluations from National Football League teams, Eduwonk Andrew Rotherham checks in with a couple of experts on the validity of the comparison. In a piece on Time.com, Rotherham interviews Tim Daly, president of the New Teacher Project, and his brother Brendan Daly, a former teacher who is now the defensive line coach for the St. Louis Rams. According to Tim Daly, the highest-performing schools use some of the same techniques as those used by professional football teams—frequent observation, assessing what's working and ...


Educators should stop using the term "at risk" and start using "school dependent," according to principal Brian Nichols of Newport News, Va. "At risk" emphasizes a list of variables that impact success but are outside the school's "circle of influence," he writes on the ASCD EDge social networking site. The shift in language "puts the focus on the variables that we have control of," such as the quality of instruction, according to Nichols. "Please join the movement!" pleads Nichols. "Success is far more likely with this approach!"...


Author and education activist Kirsten Olson itemizes the attributes of a highly effective school. Her central point—the one that suffuses all the others—is that educators themselves need to be "passionately engaged in learning." But she expresses some doubt as to whether this is commonly the case: Many teachers and school leaders unfortunately, just aren't very interested in learning. They seem to regard it as a chore, a way to force kids to behave, something that has to be done to kids to get them ready for adult life. They lack intellectual curiosity about research in the field, breakthroughs...


A struggling elementary school in West Palm Beach, Fla., is considering returning a $20,000 gift because the donor is the owner of several gentlemen's clubs, according to the Miami Herald. Joe Rodriguez, a former Marine who has been married for 30 years and has six children, said he regrets not finishing high school, reports the Herald. Over the years, he's raised at least half a million dollars (through car washes and sporting events featuring "scantily clad women") to donate to charities for at-risk and underprivileged children. His recent donations have helped save a park for at-risk teenagers from closing ...


The controversial documentary "Waiting for 'Superman'" comes out on DVD Feb. 15—and for every purchase, DonorsChoose.org has agreed to give $25 to a classroom project listed on its website, reports The Washington Examiner. DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that connects teachers in need of classroom resources with people who want to contribute. The teachers fundraising, most of whom are in high-poverty schools, usually request a few hundred dollars for materials such as journals or microscopes. Any chance the popular charity will get flack for supporting the documentary, which received criticism for its anti-union (and pro-Michelle Rhee) slant?...


Two months after a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education told a national teacher's convention in Florida that he didn't know how to increase parent accountability, lawmakers in the Sunshine State introduced a bill that would require teachers to evaluate parents of early elementary school children, according to a CNN report. Parents would receive a "satisfactory," "needs improvement," or "unsatisfactory" rating based on their communication with teachers as well as their child's attendance, homework completion, test readiness, and sleep schedule, states CNN. It's easy to imagine that this would upset many parents, but many teachers are also unhappy ...


Former Teacher staffer Bryan Toporek just launched a new blog on Education Week about K-12 athletics, named—appropriately—Schooled in Sports. An avid sports fan himself, Bryan has already posted entries about NCAA recruiting in middle schools, phys ed requirements, and student-athlete concussions. Bryan previously reported on high school sports for the Falls Church News-Press in Virginia, and is a former NBA Team Leader for bleacherreport.com. The new blog's definitely worth a look (and an add to your RSS feed)....


In a somewhat satirical post, ASCD blogger Steven Weber proposes the idea that school reforms have killed social studies. "At some point between the standards movement and high stakes testing, some school districts decided that social studies was an add-on, rather than essential to developing a well-rounded citizen prepared for life and work in the 21st century," writes Weber. " ... [W]hat gets measured gets done and some principals even joke that 'social studies better not be taught in my school until all students are proficient.'" Since the implementation of NCLB, the amount of time spent teaching social studies has ...


Responding to the State of the Union address, Mr. McNamar of the Daily Grind thinks that if the president really wants to elevate the teaching profession, he needs to put his money—or somebody's money—where his mouth is: I'm not looking to be on the cover of Forbes magazine or sitting next to Oprah ... But I wouldn't mind being reasonably compensated. Let me be clear, I don't complain about teacher salaries often, but my paltry $45,000 after 8 years of nation building compared to the $65,000 a friend makes for managing a restaurant (he does a great ...


In Tuesday's education-heavy state of the union address, President Obama gave repeated nods to teachers--and the critical role they'll play in rebuilding the U.S. economy.


A new online series developed by the education arm of NBC News offers free videos and resources for chemistry teachers that aim to show students the subject's relevance in everyday life. The series is called Chemistry Now (no relation to Teaching Now) and has 31 weekly lessons. As of now, only three are available, but NBC Learn plans to release a new segment every week of the school year. The project, which was created in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, covers a variety of topics ranging from the chemical breakdown of all the components of a cheeseburger to the ...


Students in England will begin to see gay issues popping up in their classes, as the government pushes to raise awareness about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual community, according to the Daily Mail. Beginning in February, which is LGBT History Month in the U.K., the organization Schools Out will make lesson plans with gay themes available for math, geography, science, and English teachers to download. Math problems and assigned reading will involve gay characters, and language classes will use words such as "outing" and "pride," reports the Mail. The Department of Education is backing the initiative, which includes ...


A new study says taking tests helps people learn, even moreso than some studying techniques.


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