Michelle Shearer, a chemistry teacher at Urbana High School in Ijamsville, Md., has been selected as the 61st National Teacher of the Year, according to the Council of Chief State School Officers.


Just when you thought everyone was against teachers: We just got a press release informing us that, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2-6), Red Roof Inn is offering teachers (with, ahem, proper documentation) a 15 percent discount during May. Bonus: The release specifically notes that many Red Roofs are conveniently located near auto racing sites—not something you typically associate with Teacher Appreciation Week, but good to know I guess. You can thank me later....


The White House just announced the names of 85 kindergarten through 6th grade teachers who will receive the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, which is awarded each year to outstanding science and mathematics teachers throughout the nation. The award alternates between being given to kindergarten through 6th grade and 7th-12th grade teachers. This year's primary and middle school winners were first selected by their states, and from there chosen by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators. The recipients, as named by President Obama, will receive a $10,000 award from the National Science ...


As Liana mentioned, the Council for Exceptional Children is meeting in our neck of the woods this week. Yesterday, I caught an interesting session at the conference on the problem of disproportionate representation of minorities in special education. The speaker was Edward Fergus, who is the deputy director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education at New York University. Metro Center is the entity that, under a contract with the New York State Department of Education, provides technical assistance to New York school districts that have been cited for "disproportionality"—that is, for over-assigning students from certain racial categories to special...


The Council for Exceptional Children is holding its annual conference here in D.C. this week. When I attended on Tuesday, a number of sessions were oriented around studies on tools and techniques for improving instruction for students with special needs. Some of the studies' outcomes seemed to carry little weight, as their sample sizes were small, the variables inconsistent, and the durations limited. But the techniques being tested were notable. In a session about teaching writing to middle school students with emotional and behavioral disabilities, researchers from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., presented the results from an ongoing ...


This is bound to spark some interest. Harvard scholar Paul E. Peterson points to new research finding that 8th graders who received more direct instruction scored higher on an international math and science test than those whose teachers' predominantly engaged them in problem-solving activities. He notes that this is the direction that KIPP and other charter schools have already been moving, but that—sadly, in his view—most middle school instruction in the U.S., influenced by the "child-centered" theories of John Dewey and his progressive-education followers, "is weighted more towards problem-solving."...


School leaders' growing use of interactive networking platforms like blogs and Twitter for professional purposes has generally been welcomed as a way to promote transparency and idea-sharing and to model so-called 21st-century communication skills. But some educators are begining to ask whether, in the grand scheme of things, there aren't much better things administrators could be doing with their time. School technology expert Scott McLeod highlights an interesting comment in this vein: I watch principals or superintendents who tweet or blog a lot, and often I wonder what they could be doing in their building instead of that. In the ...


Wednesday (April 20) marked the 12th anniversary of the Columbine shootings. Students and communities found ways this week to remember the event and pay tribute to the victims' families. At Newman Middle School in Skiatook, Okla., students who may not have even been born at the time of the tragedy participated in Rachel's Challenge. The nationwide project, which aims to prevent violence in schools through anti-bullying efforts, was created in remembrance of Rachel Scott, the first of 13 people who were killed in the shootings. According to KJRH.com, the students at Newman were encouraged to write notes about random ...


In news somewhat related to my previous blog post... Both Harlem Childrens' Zone founder Geoffrey Canada and former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee made the 2011 TIME 100, a list of the year's most influential people. It's interesting to note that Canada's profile was guest written by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Rhee's, on the other hand, was written by Davis Guggenheim, who directed the controversial documentary "Waiting for 'Superman'," which both Rhee and Canada starred in. It seems Canada, at this point, is a less divisive character for Duncan to sing the praises of (especially considering ...


Self-proclaimed education reformers are a diverse crowd--politically, racially, and ethnically--says Michael Winerip at The New York Times, but they do tend to have at least one thing in common: They went to private schools.


As California ponders whether to add the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement in this country to the social studies curriculum in their schools, Tennessee just approved a bill that, as introduced, will prohibit teachers from discussing homosexuality in their K-8th grade classrooms.


Really tragic: "Bullied Minnesota Girls Reportedly Hang Themselves in Apparent Suicide Pact." The two middle schoolers, both 14, reportedly saw themselves as outcasts in school. The aunt of one of the girls says she was frequently teased about being overweight by her classmates....


These days it seems like every politician and pundit has a strong opinion about how to improve the teaching profession. But, in a piece for Time, Andrew J. Rotherham points to some recent research to show that we're actually a long way off from easy or one-size-fits-all solutions: [T]he reality is that because of years of inattention to teacher effectiveness, we still know relatively little about what makes a teacher great and how to build systems full of great teachers and high quality instruction. That frustrates policymakers -- and it should terrify parents. But it's also an enormous opportunity ...


A new poll of young adults ages 18 to 24 finds many unimpressed with the help their high schools provided.


A high school teacher in the Bronx who had a miscarriage after being pushed down while trying to break up a fight in her classroom explains why she didn't press charges against the students involved: They're so young, and for something like that to follow them for the rest of their lives? I think they were already stressed enough with the fact that they felt they caused the death of someone's child. I can't put anybody through that. After a brief leave of absence, she's back teaching in the same classroom....


Is it fair to ask teachers to implement differentiated learning for their students when many school systems don't customize professional development learning experiences for their teachers? Bill Ferriter explores this topic in his latest blog post in The Tempered Radical, in which he argues that "learning isn't the priority for most teacher professional development programs." Ferriter, a 6th grade language arts teacher and veteran when it comes to technology integration, recalls a "bizarre" moment in his professional career when he was required to take beginner technology lessons in order to fulfill the PD credits required to renew his teaching license ...


Will Richardson is seriously aggrieved by the curious spectacle of school standardized testing pep rallies: You have to wonder, is this really what we've come to in schools? That we have to remind kids that they are "bigger than the test" and show pictures of kids with captions like "6th Grade: Not Afraid" in an effort to steel their nerves? That showing what they've "learned" in schools is something they have to mentally prepare themselves for instead of just naturally exhibit? Really? For Richardson, these events send kids all the wrong messages about learning. But what's your view? Can they ...


The good news for New York City teachers is that Dennis Walcott, the newly named schools chancellor, wants to bring greater civility to school-reform discussions and has pledged that "you will never hear me say a bad thing about [teachers]." The bad news is that he's still planning to lay off thousands of teachers. On NYC Educator's blog, Miss Eyre finds this to be a peculiar form of goodwill-building, while NYC Educator himself charges Walcott with blatant hypocrisy: If you want to do better, Mr. Walcott, we're all ears. Please don't insult our intelligence by placing a ribbon on the ...


In an interesting Wall Street Journal article, Salman Khan describes the development of the Khan Academy, a free online library of K-12 math and science video lessons and practice exercises. Begun as a way for Khan to help tutor his younger cousins from afar, the service now houses more than 2,200 videos and is used by teachers and parents the world over. The beauty of the platform, Khan argues, is that it lets educators "change the basic rhythm of their classroom." Rather than giving one-size-fits-all lectures, teachers can have their students view the lessons outside of class, at their ...


While the Flip cam may be on its way out, a new kind of camera is debuting in classrooms, according to California Watch, an investigative reporting news site. Teachscape Reflect is a panoramic camera that takes 360-degree video images of a classroom. It was invented by Teachscape, a San Francisco-based for-profit company, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in order to "improve instruction and evaluate how effective teachers are in reaching all the students in their classrooms," says California Watch. The camera is operated remotely and can capture both the teacher and students at once. So far, several ...


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