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 ...


Here’s one to think about. Eric Walker, a high school chemistry teacher in Livingston County, Mich., was recently suspended for three days for allegedly striking a student with a pointer. The girl’s mother, in addition to wanting Walker terminated, reported the incident the police but, to her dismay, the county prosecutor decided not to press charges because he determined Walker did not show criminal intent. In fact, Walker—though he acknowledges poor judgment—claims he was merely trying to wake the student up. “It was certainly not to inflict any pain whatsoever,” he said in a written statement. “I...


No one doubts the ability of students to find their way around a computer—sometimes to their advantage, sometimes to their detriment. Teachers can often fall at the other end of the spectrum. Occasionally tripped up or stymied by computer problems in the classroom, teachers are also increasingly objects of cyberbullying courtesy of their students. How to make the most of this odd marriage? At Maine’s Nokomis Regional High School, tech savvy students are being used to solve teacher tech problems, according to The Christian Science Monitor. “Tech sherpas,” as they are known in the hallways, do everything from ...


Forget the in-service workshops and the highly qualified teacher requirements. It could be that the best way for schools to improve teachers’ performance is simply to let them talk to each other—at least according to one researcher. In an award-winning study of Pittsburgh public schools, Carrie Leana, a professor of organizations and management, found that the openness of a school’s communication networks was a more important factor to students’ success on math and reading tests than teachers’ credentials or experience levels. Leana suggests that school leaders spend less time worrying about formal teacher training and performance evaluations and ...


The release of this month’s New York City school report cards and the threatened teacher witch-hunt, as reported earlier, has principals questioning the system as well, reports the New York Times. The report cards graded schools on how they fared citywide, as well as against schools with similar demographics. To further complicate matters, the grading system focused on rewarding improved student performance, which ironically occurs more often in low-performing schools. After receiving complaints from leaders of top-tier schools who had their own suggestions for equalizing the system, the city decided to factor in bonus points for strong scores on ...


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