December 2007 Archives

According to the BBC, more than 250,000 qualified teachers are no longer working in England’s schools. And between 2000 and 2005, nearly 100,000 switched careers--more than double the number than in the previous five years. The Tories, the country’s conservative party, point to “poor class discipline” and “red tape” among the reasons why teachers are fleeing the profession. Member of Parliament and Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove, a Tory, said that teachers needed to be removed from “government micro-management.” In a statement earlier in the month before Parliament, Gove presented his country’s slipping education numbers: “…We...


Last month, the state director of science curriculum in Texas Chris Comer resigned under pressure after forwarding an e-mail from a Texas professor who opposes teaching creationism in public schools. Now word comes from The Dallas Morning News that a master’s in science education that supports creationism has been approved preliminarily by a state advisory board. Developed by the Institute for Creation Research, the online curriculum for future science teacher includes instruction in the use of lab equipment as well as “advanced studies in creationism.” After visiting ICR’s campus and meeting with faculty, the advisory board found the ...


Israel’s second largest teacher’s union, the Secondary School Teacher’s Organization, reached a deal with the government to end its record-breaking, two-month teacher strike, according to Israeli news sources. Hours before the activation of a back-to-work court injunction, the head of the SSTO, Ran Erez, signed the deal, which includes a teacher wage hike of at least 17 percent, a pledge from the government to fund efforts to reduce class sizes, and the payment of salaries to teachers for wages lost during the strike. Not everyone applauded the deal, however. Dozens of teachers and students protested outside the ...


The Educational Testing Service doesn’t just grade students and produce teacher licensing exams, they also study teachers. According to The New York Times, the ETS reported Tuesday that the teaching profession is attracting a stronger pool of applications. “We’re seeing a pretty big jump in qualifications,” said Drew H. Gitomer, the ETS researcher who led a recent study that looked at a pool of prospective teacher candidates. The ETS reports that teachers taking the Praxis subject-area licensing exams between 2002 and 2005 had higher SAT scores and better college grades than their mid-1990’s counterparts. Coming out below ...


An Educational Testing Service study suggests that students’ low standardized test scores may have little to do with school quality, and much to do with outside factors like poverty and home environment, according to The New York Times. The study examined four variables outside of school control to predict state results on federal eighth grade reading tests. States with the lowest test scores tended to be those which had the highest percentages of children from single-parent homes, eighth-grade absenteeism, and eighth graders watching a lot of television, and the lowest percentages of young children being read to daily. The findings ...


Students in Seminole County, Fla., now have a new reason to work hard in school and get good grades: They can get a free Happy Meal out of it. Under a deal made by the county’s school board and local McDonald's restaurants, elementary students who get all A’s and B’s or have two or fewer absences can, in essence, redeem their report cards for McNuggets and fries (among other options) and a gender-specific toy. But that’s not all. As part of the deal, the students’ report cards now come in special jackets that include images of ...


A boost in Massachusetts students’ MCAS scores has many speculating that a longer school day may be the key ingredient for improved student performance. Scores increased across all grade levels in math, English, and science, according to The Boston Globe. Last fall, public schools in mostly low-income and low-performing districts extended the school day by one or two hours. According to state educators, the longer days afford students more time to focus on weak subject areas, hands-on instruction and participation in extracurricular activities. In turn, teachers can cover material more thoroughly, have more planning time, and receive extra training. Other ...


Thousands of secondary special education teachers in Michigan have lost their status as highly-qualified teachers because of a governmental mix-up. Michigan allowed its secondary education teachers to gain status as “highly qualified” teachers by taking an exam for elementary education, the Detroit Free Press reported today. In September, the U.S. Department of Education caught the state’s folly. Now, to comply with the No Child Left Behind law and to avoid sanctions from the federal government, Michigan must re-qualify its teachers. The state is giving the teachers until June 30, 2009, to re-qualify, which they can do by taking ...


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