Renee Moore decries the persistent resource gaps between schools in poor and well-off areas: My teachers and most of those with whom I have taught here in the Mississippi Delta have done amazing work under often disgraceful conditions. I wondered then and now, how much more they could have done if they had the resources and support of their better situated colleagues? Shouldn't ending this longstanding inequity be a top priority of education reform and ESEA reauthorization? How can we seriously address determining which teachers are or are not effective when even the best teachers in poor schools are forced ...


Patrick Riccards at Eduflack warns educators not to be fooled by vendors' cart-before-the-horse claims that their products are "Common Core certified" or "approved." It's true that most states have signed on to the Common Core State Standards Initiative and that it will likely play a role in ESEA reauthorization, he writes, but: ... [W]e still don't know what Common Core looks like in the schools and THERE IS NO ONE TO APPROVE ANYTHING ON BEHALF OF COMMON CORE! No one is certifying or approving on behalf of CCSSI. At a time when states and districts are worried about Common Core...we...


This is kind of cool: Skype just officially launched a network dedicated to teachers, called Skype in the Classroom. Teachers have been using Skype's free videoconferencing software to bring experts to class, connect foreign-language students to native speakers, and hold virtual field trips since the service began in 2003. But it hasn't always been easy to find other teachers to connect with. The new network allows users to post and search for projects to collaborate on and find other teachers by location on a map. Skype in the Classroom began beta testing in December 2010 and, as of now, the ...


Will Richardson, the teacher-turned-tech-expert who was featured in our previous Teacher PD Sourcebook, recently gave a presentation for TEDxNYEd, a spinoff of the renowned yearly TED Talk conferences. Richardson says kids today, in the era of smartphones and constant connectivity, learn differently, and that schools need to adapt to stay relevant. He discusses the ills of test prep, saying "this system is killing our kids. It's taking all the imagination, all the creativity, all the initiative, all the engagement right out of them." Check out the video for yourself (it's 14 minutes well spent). A rising-star math teacher who is ...


In The New York Times' Room for Debate feature, education experts address a hot-button question that many policymakers believe speaks to the major difference between the U.S. and countries with higher performing education systems (in fact, it's the very question I asked Education Secretary Arne Duncan at the International Summit on the Teaching Profession): How do we raise the status of teachers in the U.S.? While so much of the dialogue around this topic has been, well, hazy, the answers provided by these experts are, for the most part, impressively specific. Kati Haycock, president of the Washington-based think ...


In a Washington Post op-ed this morning, Eva Moskowitz, the founder and chief executive of the Success Charter Network, argues that class-size reduction efforts take away from schools' capacity for innovation and teacher support: Obsession with class size is causing many public schools to look like relics. We spend so much to employ lots of teachers that there isn't enough left to help these teachers be effective. According to the city's education department, New York public schools spend on average less than 3 percent of their budgets on instructional supplies and equipment (1 percent), textbooks (0.6 percent), library books ...


Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond, who also attended the International Summit on Teaching in New York last week, has posted a blog post highlighting positive rhetoric used by the foreign guests in reference to teachers. In a statement rarely heard these days in the United States, the Finnish Minister of Education launched the first session of last week's with the words: "We are very proud of our teachers." Her statement was so appreciative of teachers' knowledge, skills, and commitment that one of the U.S. participants later confessed that he thought she was the teacher union president, who, it turned out, ...


An incentive program aimed at bringing National Board certified teachers to high-poverty schools in Washington state is not working as intended, according to a new report from the University of Washington's Center on Reinventing Public Education. The finding comes on the heels of Gov. Christine Gregoire's proposal to suspend the bonuses paid to NBCTs—including the $5,000 they receive for having the certification and the additional $5,000 awarded to NBCTs who teach in "challenging" schools. She projects the cuts would save the state nearly $100 million in the next two years. Since the incentive program began four years...


Here's your business news of the day: TeachersPayTeachers, the website that lets teachers sell their lesson plans and materials, reportedly paid out $1 million dollars to teachers last year. To cite another measure, the company is generating $2 million in gross sales. According to Business Wire, one unnamed teacher makes as much money selling her stuff on the site as she does—well—teaching. (But then, maybe that's not saying all that much, right?) In any case, the company's apparent growth would seem to tell us two things: 1) that what teachers do and create has value; and 2) that—at...


In a post on the Harvard Business Review's Innovations in Education blog, a Harvard-trained social entrepeneur discusses an initiative his company created to improve teacher quality in India by developing a "recipe for good teaching." Part of this involved creating a 'micro-process' for teaching that essentially anatomizes the instructional protocals for different concepts. As he describes the finished product (in a sentence that kind of boggles the mind): We created a teachers' toolkit that mapped every concept in the Indian K-8 syllabus into 8000-plus detailed experiential teaching plans ... The author claims that implementing this toolkit—in addition to providing ongoing...


Live from the Celebration of Teaching and Learning Conference in New York Bullying is a serious school issue that every classroom teacher will have to confront at some point—and the presentation schedule here reflected that. I attended the last of the four bullying-related sessions, which addressed the need for schoolwide efforts to prevent cyberbullying. Patricia Agatston, who has written cyberbullying prevention curricula and is a consultant for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, explained that conventional bullying and cyberbullying have many similarities—they are both aggressive, repetitive, and difficult for the victim to defend against. But cyberbullying, which occurs through...


Live from the Celebration of Teaching and Learning Conference in New York Great friend to Teacher Kathleen Cushman gave a presentation based on her book Fires in the Mind (our last Teacher Book Club title) today—and drew quite a crowd. By the time I arrived, it was standing room only. Seems we were lucky to snag Kathleen while we could! She played some of the audio clips from the interviews she conducted for the book about what motivates and inspires kids. I also popped into a session with David Kirp, education policy expert and author of Kids First: Five...


Live from the Celebration of Teaching and Learning Conference in New York This morning, developmental psychologist Niobe Way answered questions about why boys are struggling in school. It's a topic I wrote about a few years ago, after Peg Tyre published The Trouble With Boys. Way's take on the situation is that boys experience a "crisis of connection." Stereotypical notions of masculinity assume that boys aren't expressive and don't have—or perhaps even need—close friendships. But boys both need and want deep connections, said Way. And in her research, she's found that many boys have close friendships that are...


Live from the Celebration of Teaching and Learning Conference in New York One school that's come up again and again here at the Celebration is Brockton High School in Massachusetts. The school gained nationwide attention in September, when The New York Times published an article about its remarkable turnaround. Susan Szachowicz, the school's principal, explained at an early session today that Brockton had a 75% failure rate on state tests 10 years ago. She and a group of other teachers who were dissatisfied with those results began to work on a restructuring plan. "Leadership isn't about a position," said Szachowicz, ...


Live from the Celebration of Teaching and Learning Conference in New York In a heartwarming session, which had at least one audience member in tears, popular young adult novelist Walter Dean Myers and his now 17-year-old co-author Ross Workman described the process of writing a book together. As a bit of background, Workman wrote a fan letter to Myers when he was 13. He received a staggering response: Myers suggested that the two collaborate on a novel. Four years and countless drafts over e-mail later, Kick was completed. Myers said in the session that he embarked on the project because ...


Live from the Celebration of Teaching and Learning Conference in New York Greetings from the Big Apple, where thousands of educators have convened for the 6th annual Celebration of Teaching and Learning, hosted by WNET. At a session known as the "Teachers Town Hall," led by PBS' Alison Stewart, a roomful of educators voiced their thoughts on expanded learning time, dropouts, and turnaround schools. The discussion on why students drop out of school—the only portion of the session with no panelists—was perhaps the most insightful. It was certainly the most contentious. A young teacher in the audience...


Two reports released in conjunction with the International Summit on the Teaching Profession in New York highlight the lessons the United States can take from other countries' reform efforts.


Heather Wolpert-Gawron, who was among the estimated 19,000 school employees in California who received lay-off notices this week, offers "The Ten Commandments of a Pink Slipped Teacher." No. 5 seems particulary important: Thou Shalt Not Dwell on How The System is Broken to the Point of Avoiding Your Own Reality. Heather is an award-winning middle school language arts teacher who has written widely on education and instruction, including for Teacher. Somewhat ironically—or would presciently be a better word?—she published an article with us last spring questioning the indiscriminate nature of seniority-based layoff systems: Much as we might...


Amid the ongoing debates over collective bargaining and the power of unions, teachers were (yet again) a focus of major newspaper op-ed pages yesterday: In the New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof (apparently taking a breather from the revolutions in the Mideast), blasted the "pernicious fallacy" emanating out of the nation's air waves that teachers are somehow overpaid and responsible for the nation's budget problems. In fact, he argued, if our schools are to be competitive, we need to pay teachers more—albeit at differentiated rates based on performance: Teaching is unusual among the professions in that it pays poorly...


At a White House conference yesterday, President Obama gathered parents, teachers, bullying victims, and researchers to discuss anti-bullying efforts. The president recounted that, as a kid, he was a victim of bullying himself. "With big ears and the name that I have, I wasn't immune," he said (in what's become a much-quoted sound bite from the event). But in a subsequent Huffington Post op-ed, psychologist and addiction expert Stanton Peele responded that that the conference "failed to hit the mark" and "will have zero impact." According to Peele, warnings and admonitions against bullying don't work. Kids don't usually bully people ...


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