July 2009 Archives

The Richardson Independent School District in Texas churned out some unbelievably impressive results on its recent teacher evaluation scores — in fact, they performed so well that reporter Jeffrey Weiss of The Dallas Morning News found himself curious, with a hint of suspicion. The district used a program dubbed the Professional Development and Appraisal System for its evaluations. The PDAS uses eight "domains" to group teachers into four categories: Exceeds expectations, proficient, below expectations, and unsatisfactory. Things got a bit fishy for Weiss when he began breaking down the data on a school-by-school basis. Within his data, which encapsulated results from...


After laying off nearly 400 teachers in June, the Broward County, Fla., school system is now looking to fill dozens of positions, according to The Miami Herald. At the end of June, 394 teachers were laid off due to budget cuts and low enrollment levels. The majority were elementary teachers who were in their first years of teaching in the school system. According to Broward Schools Superintendent Jim Notter, most of the 89 new positions cannot be filled by these recently laid-off teachers because of lack of certification or qualification requirements. ``It's just a huge slap in the face of ...


Even as school districts nationwide continue to grapple with budget shortfalls and spending cuts, they are seeing a significant jump in federal funds for classroom technology, according to the Wall Street Journal. For some observers, that resource breakdown is problematic. The technology funds—available to schools through the U.S. Education Department’s Enhancing Education Through Technology Program—can be applied strictly to technology expenses and development. That means they cannot be used to avert teacher layoffs, for example, or to save student after-school programs. President Obama recently revived the EETT program, which came into existence in 2002 as part ...


Parents in school districts across the country have taken to raising funds to help cover school supplies, maintain programs, and even save teachers’ jobs that are being cut by financially-strapped school districts, according to The Seattle Times. In the Tacoma, Wash. school district, parents of kindergarteners at Lowell Elementary raised $16,000 in order to save the jobs of three teacher’s aides. Meanwhile, in New York City, parent groups raised enough money to hire 200 teachers and aides this past year. Despite its good intentions, however, parent fundraising has its drawbacks. Some observers worry that it can widen the ...


Forty-nine Florida schools were flagged after the state Department of Education found students repeatedly using memorized phrases on standardized writing tests.


Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela’s Ashes who recently passed away, would always admit that his 30 years as a teacher were what made him a strong writer, The New York Times reported. In his third memoir Teacher Man, he wrote about teaching in New York City's public schools: “Instead of teaching, I told stories. ... They thought I was teaching. I thought I was teaching. I was learning.” McCourt first taught in 1958, at age 28, at Ralph R. McKee Vocational High School in Staten Island and then taught from 1972 to 1987 at Manhattan’s selective ...


This summer, Matthew Robson, a 15-year-old Londoner, was awarded a two-week internship at Morgan Stanley, after his mother had a brief conversation with a senior analyst about her son’s difficulty finding real-life work experience, according to the TimesOnline. The 15-year-old was put to work in the bank’s media and internet research department where he wrote How Teenagers Consume Media, a report that has caused a sensation among fund managers, CEOs, and analysts in Tokyo, London, and on Wall Street. The report, which Matthew says reflects the collective views of about 300 teenagers, appears to spell doom and gloom ...


Elementary school students at Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s alma mater imagine what their futures could hold.


Hundreds of new Minnesota teachers are out of work and unable to find other teaching jobs.


While Michael Jackson will be remembered as the “King of Pop” to millions, few people will recall Jackson’s early school days as well as Felicia Childress, his Garrett Elementary kindergarten teacher in Gary, Ind. Childress recounted some of her fond memories of Jackson’s youth in an ABC 7 News video. The 92-year old teacher said that she remembers Jackson as a happy kindergartener who—presaging his later life— was often the center of attention in the classroom. She also noted that young Jackson had a slight speech impediment, common among many children. "Michael had this stammer, but when ...


A new study on teacher turnover found that teachers often leave the profession due to tensions with school officials and fellow educators over differing teaching philosophies and school policies, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nationwide, one third of the teachers leave the profession within their first three years, and by the end of five years, only 40 to 50 percent of the teachers remain. Four researchers at Georgia Southern University interviewed 134 teachers at a large metropolitan elementary school to study teacher turnover. One unique aspect of the study was that it was suggested by the schools’ teachers, who wanted ...


Our sister publication Digital Directions, as part of its coverage of the National Educational Computing Conference this week in D.C., provides this video clip of University of Michigan professor Elliot Soloway discussing the need for the effective use of technology in the classroom. Soloway believes that schools are failing to keep up with the transition from the industrial age to the era of "the knowledge worker" who relies exclusively on mobile devices. Because computers are just an add-on in schools, he argues, we are selling students short. Elliot Soloway: Ed-Tech Classroom Climate from Education Week on Vimeo. Incidentally, Soloway ...


Forty-one teachers from Illinois recently got a lesson in how to teach agriculture—straight from the farm. Teachers from DuPage County, Ill., participated in a four-day course on farming and food production in a partnership program between Aurora University and the DuPage County Farm Bureau, according to the Chicago Tribune. Teachers can receive graduate-level credit for the course if they create two lesson plans. Upon completing the course, educators are encouraged to introduce students to agriculture careers by incorporating the farming lessons into math, science, social studies, and language arts classes. "There are so many things our kids in the suburbs...


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