A group of San Francisco 1st graders took a field trip to City Hall with a twist: They went to surprise their lesbian teacher on her wedding day, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The students blew bubbles and tossed rose petals outside the main doors, and then crowded their teacher with hugs as she and her new wife exited the ceremony. The field trip occurred less than a month before voters in California will make a decision on Proposition 8, which aims to outlaw gay marriage and prevent students from learning about same-sex marriage in school. Interim director of ...


A new study has found that the U.S. is not effectively developing strong math skills in boys or girls, reports The New York Times. “We’re living in a culture . . . that’s telling everybody that only Asians and nerds do math,” said Janet Mertz, the study’s lead author. Rather than looking at standardized test scores, the study, which will be published in Notices of the American Mathematical Society, relied on data from prestigious math competitions, such as the International Mathematical Olympiads. The results show that the majority of U.S. participants are immigrants or children of immigrants from ...


Teachers at various points across the country have come under fire recently for showing their support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. The Virginia Education Association sent out an e-mail encouraging its members to wear “Obama blue” last week, prompting outrage among state Republicans about political influence in schools. In New York City, meanwhile, the Department of Education has clamped down on a United Federation of Teachers plan to have teachers wear pro-Obama buttons in their classrooms. And a group of teachers at Soquel High School in Santa Cruz, CA chose to wear “Educators for Obama” buttons in school. These ...


Dallas teachers can expect to hear as early as this week whether they are among the nearly 1,100 layoffs approved by the city’s school board on October 2, according to The Dallas Morning News. Teachers will account for half of the layoffs, as the district tries to fill an $84 million shortfall in this year’s budget. Many teachers told the newspaper they felt frustrated by district administrators’ handling of the crisis.“They don’t care about us,” said elementary school educator Kimberly Stephens. “If they did, they would have found another way to help clean up this ...


This Friday marks the end of the 27th annual Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read, sponsored by the American Library Association. Having had a week to consider the implications of banning books, it’s worth asking: Why do books come off the shelves in the first place? What are the underlying factors perpetuating censorship? In an NPR story about book banning, Judith Krug of the ALA suggests it’s a matter of fear, and that people who want to ban books are “not afraid of the book; they're afraid of the ideas. The materials that are challenged and ...


In PE class, Oregon students are handing in their dodgeballs for hiking boots, compasses, and table tennis paddles, according to The Oregonian. The state is getting serious about gym, making curriculum changes aimed at teaching specific skills, building self esteem, and reducing obesity rates. Traditional team sports leave too many students standing around, and promote competition instead of exercise, according to proponents of the new standards. The state deparment of education added PE to a list of subjects that must have textbooks, in an effort to provide consistency statewide and prepare districts for a new state law doubling the amount ...


Education reform has been in the shadows of the economy and foreign wars during this presidential campaign, but, according to Bruce Fuller, University of California, Berkley education and public policy professor and New York Times blogger, education is the key to attracting the Hispanic Vote. More specifically, how the candidates handle the issue of transitional bilingual classrooms, a language-learning technique Fuller advocates, could have a large impact on the outcome of this election. Barack Obama supports transitional bilingual education, where students transition to English by building on their knowledge of their native language. Fuller supports Obama’s position saying, “Transitional ...


No one knows what the future of the economy holds—government bailout notwithstanding, times are tough. In New York, Reuters reports, Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said on Thursday, “We know the economic situation has to be solved. But we want a responsible rescue, not an opportunistic bailout and that means, just like every single boss says to me, that there should be accountability for teachers, then there should be accountability for Wall Street.” According to Reuters, the UFT was one of many unions protesting the government’s proposed bailout on Wall Street this week—steps...


With companies spending billions to ensure the health and safety of products before they reach the market, one Harvard economist is puzzled that little is spent on researching educational theories before they reach our kids, according to The New York Times. Instead, says Roland G. Fryer, Jr., too many districts are using the blind approach when it comes to implementing school policies and plans. “If the doctor said to you, ‘You have a cold; here are three pills my buddy in Charlotte uses and he says they work,’ you would run out and find another doctor,” Fryer told the newspaper. “Somehow,...


Though still apparently dismissed by some administrators as the online equivalent of “faculty bathroom graffiti” (huh?), teacher blogs are becoming increasingly influential in the education community and beyond, according to an article in U.S. News and World Report. Many teacher blogs—there are as many as 6,000, according to Technorati.com—are now being read not just by other teachers but by parents, elected officials, and policy wonks, the article notes. They “raise important issues and give the rest of us a peek into a world that we see and hear about very rarely or only anecdotally through...


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