In California, teachers may not be bound to use printed textbooks much longer. By the fall of 2010, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to provide free, open-source digital textbooks for California high school math and science classes, according to ABC News. Schwarzenegger says the measure will save the state $350 million. Critics, however, doubt that digital textbooks would in fact save money, saying that they would require investing in new technology and teacher training. Either way, the initiative has reignited debate about the use of digital textbooks. Open-source digital textbooks offer more updated information in a timely manner, says Neeru Khosla, ...


A Connecticut middle school’s attempt to create mixed-level, integrated classes is facing a backlash from parents, according to The New York Times. Traditionally, Cloonan middle school in Stamford, Conn., has tracked students and put them in separate classrooms based on academic performance, with students ranked as zeros for highest achievement and ones and twos for medium and lower levels respectively. According to the Times, the system has created an “uncomfortable caste” system in which classes are segregated predominantly by race and socioeconomic level. “Black and Hispanic students … make up 46 percent of this year’s sixth grade [class], but ...


The Equity Project, a charter school in New York City that will open this fall, has attracted a staff of eight accomplished teachers by offering a $125,000 salary with the possibility of a $25,000 bonus, reports the New York Times. Founded by Yale graduate Zeke M. Vanderhoek, 32, the school is rooted in the finding that teachers are the most significant factor in student success. The Equity Project expects 120 5th graders, most of whom are from low-income Hispanic families, in its first year, with plans to expand to the 8th grade. After a 15-month nationwide search—in ...


High School students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg are waging grassroots campaigns to save their favorite teachers from layoffs, reports The Charlotte Observer. The district gave layoff notices to 304 teachers last month as part of budget overhaul, but students hope they can get some of decisions reversed—or at least voice their disapproval—through collective action. “We all know that we have about a .001% chance of winning the fight,” said one student, “but these teachers taught us to take a stand in the face of difficulty, so writing letters is the least we can do.” The protests go beyond letter and ...


A recent New York Times Magazine essay, adapted from Matthew B. Crawford’s book Shop Class as Soulcraft, explores the pressures students face to get a four-year college degree and pursue a white-collar career. Crawford, who has a Ph.D. and a history of white-collar jobs (including heading up a Washington, D.C.-based policy organization), looks at the cultural stigma surrounding careers in skilled-labor. After five months at the policy organization, Crawford quit to open his own motorcycle repair shop, which, he says, has brought him emotional, intellectual, and physical satisfaction. A choice, notes Crawford, that for a “gifted ...


According to USA Today, a recent report released by the U.S. Department of Education shows that the percentage of homeschooled children has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. In 2007, 2.9 percent or roughly 1.5 million of all school-aged children were homeschooled compared to an estimated 1.7 percent in 1999. The report also indicates an increase in the number of girls being homeschooled over boys, which were almost an even match in 1999. Girls now account for 58.1 percent of homeschoolers compared to boys at 41.9 percent. Findings from the report also reflect ...


Physicians and psychologists are becoming concerned about the effects of obsessive text-messaging on teenagers’ well-being, reports The New York Times. According to one recent study, American teens exchange an average of 2,272 text messages per month—or nearly 80 per day. While there are no definitive findings yet on the on the health effects of texting, experts are beginning to suspect that such compulsive activity may be leading to anxiety, repetitive stress injuries, and sleep issues—not to mention all manner of academic difficulties. (Note to teachers: Watch out for the kids who keep their hands under the desks ...


Everyone knows that students are often able to give teachers a hand with technology, but this is probably going above and beyond: A 17-year-old computer whiz in California has launched a new Web-based classroom management software program in hopes of simplifying teachers’ lives, according to the Contra Costa Times. Now a junior at El Segundo High School, Shahan Khan began working on the program when he was in 7th grade, prompted by teachers’ complaints about their current management system. “I decided teachers need a program that’s really easy to use,” he said. “That’s what inspired me to make ...


Education Secretary Arne Duncan is soliciting your advice, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Web site. In an effort to start an “open, honest conversation about education reform,” Duncan is making 15 stops around the country to talk to educators, parents, and students about what is and isn’t working in the current education system. The “listening tour” will continue online, with Duncan posing questions and seeking answers on pressing education issues, such as standards and teacher quality, through an open forum discussion on the USDOE Web site. You can participate here. The discussion has received nearly ...


Editor's note: Know a new or prospective teacher who could use some help settling into the classroom? Who doesn't, right? Well, you're in luck. We've just put together a best-of selection of our "Teaching Secrets" series, which features practical advice for new teachers written by the esteemed members of the Teacher Leaders Network. It's a great package of instantly useable information from real-life teachers—available for only $4.95. We now return to our regularly scheduled blog postings....


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