Today, the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future held a forum in Washington to release its new report, "Team Up for 21st Century Teaching and Learning." The theme of event, and the report, was that teachers working together can accomplish a lot more when it comes to student achievement than teachers working alone. I'll be providing more details on Teacher's website about this study, the components NCTAF considers critical for building successful learning teams, and the event soon. I heard something interesting today that I haven't heard discussed much from one of the presenters, Tom Payzant, former superintendent of ...


On The Huffington Post, Tom Brenner, a laid off art teacher, responds to the apparent public apathy toward teacher job cuts: But understand this—teachers losing their jobs isn't about just teachers, it's about the students. Students don't get laid off—they continue to be required to come to school with significantly shrinking budgets and resources (I taught my art class last year with a $0 operating budget). He then points to the example of 5th grade teacher in Chicago he knows who, owing to layoffs, now has 47 students in her class. ... When I hear anecdotes like that, it's...


A sampling from the teacher blogosphere: Epiphany in Baltimore, starting to see the effects of teaching on his health, is trying to get back in shape. Hobo Teacher is having nightmares about grading. Mei Flower, fresh off a theatrical production set in the 1980s, is giving her hair a vacation. Mister Teacher is conjuring up satirical lesson ideas from his pool. Teacherninja is reading, going to his daughter's swim meets, and checking out what other people are reading at his daughter's swim meets. Donalyn Miller, not to be outdone, is reading a book a day, as often as possible with ...


I received an interesting e-mail today: Teaching Tolerance, which is run by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is looking for teacher bloggers: Teaching Tolerance is looking to expand its corps of bloggers. Specifically, we're looking for teachers who already blog and who want to reflect upon day-to-day classroom experiences. These teachers also need to be familiar with the mission of Teaching Tolerance: To promote respect for differences and appreciation of diversity in the classroom and beyond. The website is associated with the Teaching Tolerance magazine, which was just named the 2009 Periodical of the Year award by the Association of ...


University of William and Mary Professor Paul Manna, guest blogging for Rick Hess, says he doesn't quite understand the concern that teachers haven't been included in Race to the Top process. They've had plenty of chances, he says. I have a feeling this isn't going to go over very well with some people I know. Just a hunch. Update 6/23: Nancy Flanagan responds....


Earlier in the day I was speaking with our book whisperer blogger Donalyn Miller about reading. She's spearheading a book-a-day summer reading challenge for adults, which, by the way, has gone viral. In light of this, Donalyn mentioned University of New Hampshire English professor Thomas Newkirk's "slow reading" movement. Donalyn was discussing the difference between slow reading and fast reading. Fast reading—for lack of a better term—is something you do when you're deliberately plowing through dozens of YA books like she is this summer. Donalyn would agree that fast reading should come with a warning label. Children:...


Will Richardson responds to the question,"If you were a principal of a new school and you were hiring teachers, what would you look for?" Above all, he says, he'd look for candidates who ask "why" instead of "how": I think that's one of the first things I'd look for, people who are asking why. Why are we using blogs in the classroom? Why is this in the curriculum? Why are we making this decision? So much of the "how" stuff is figure-outable on our own that I wonder why we spend time on it. Incidentally, the mysterious "someone" who ...


A first-year, second-career teacher suggests how to make test-based accountability fairer for teachers.


A teacher in British Columbia cut a student's picture out of all but one copy of their school's yearbook after discovering the student made a disparaging comment about the principal.


Interesting point: On ASCD's edge blog, teacher Jason Flom notes that Steven Brill's much talked about, 8,000-word New York Times Magazine piece on Race to the Top and the current thrust of education reform did not quote a single teacher: It's outrageous! When an editor from one of the world's most powerful newspapers does not insist that a teacher's voice be included in such a premiere education piece we learn a lot about the esteem teachers are held in. It's the The-emperor-has-no-clothes moment of truth. Finally, we see and we should be livid! After all, we have the most ...


Following up on a big Washington Post story on interactive whiteboards, Bill Ferriter—noted IWB scourge—amplifies the case that, for all their 21st-century allure, the digital displays essentially preserve an outmoded form of instruction: Our schools have always been defined by a culture of presentation: I'll stand in front of you and give you the information that you need to learn. You sit in front of me and absorb it. While IWBs might make the presentation a bit more flashy, it still doesn't change the fact that we're presenting and our kids are absorbing. ... When you drop kids who...


From the late 18th century through the 20th century, government-run Indian boarding schools attempted to assimilate and Christianize Indian children and, in the process, often left them feeling degraded and abused. But the United States is not the only country with this painful history. Education Week has posted a story about how Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission is encouraging its indigenous population to speak out about the horrors they experienced in Canada's government and church-run schools. Stories of sexual and physical abuse, much like those we've read and heard about in this country, are emerging—150,000 Canadian children were...


Two Massachussetts high school teachers have been put on paid leave after holding up an anti-war sign during a year-end school assembly, according to the Cape Code Times. The teacher's silent protest reportedly took place at a point in the assembly when the school was honoring seniors who are entering military service—a ceremony the teachers involved saw as abetting military recruitment in schools. "I think we're supposed to open the door for differences of opinion," said Marybeth Verani, one of the teachers. "We're not all in lock-step agreement on everything." Many parents and students, however, didn't see it that...


In an op-ed published today in the Philadelphia Inquirer, James Sando, a teacher with more than 30 years of experience, argues that education policymakers these days seem to be fixated on reforms designed to hurt rather than help public education. UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.: In his piece, Sando quotes approvingly a remark by the Dean of Drew University to the effect that "It has got to stink being a teacher these days." This popped into my mind when I was reading a post by Doug Noon in which he reflects on hitting the 25-year mark as a teacher. Noon ...


A Washington Post opinion writer suggests that the "300,000 impending teacher layoffs for next year" figure has been skewed by teachers and media pundits alike.


Today the Memphis Daily News is reporting that, during recent visit to Memphis for the National PTA Convention, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told the paper the current standardized assessment formats do a poor job of challenging students. "Our [student] tests have to become much less simplistic, much less fill in the bubbles," he said. "We have to stop lying to children. In far too many states around the country, we are lying to children. You tell a child that they are on track to meet an arbitrary benchmark, and in fact they are woefully underprepared. We do them a ...


A prosecutor in Wayne County, Michigan, which includes the city of Detroit, is pressing for jail time or fines for parents who skip parent-teacher conferences.


A teacher blogger uses three examples from a recent standardized test to demonstrate the disconnect between a test's stated objective and what a test actually measures.


Newsweek has released its list of the top high schools in the United States, based on how much a school's staff challenges its students.

With standardized tests gaining increased importance in education policy, experts say teachers have increasingly been helping their students cheat on the tests.


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