Obama Proposes $1 Billion to Attract, Retain Top Teachers -- THE TEACHERS EDITION - February 11, 2016

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

February 11, 2016  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

2017 Budget Features $1B Investment in Retaining Teachers

President Obama's proposed 2017 budget includes a $1 billion commitment -- called RESPECT: Best Job in the World -- to attract and retain effective educators in high-need schools through advancement opportunities, teacher-led development, improved working conditions and compensation. It also dedicates $10 million to Teach to Lead and $125 million to programs that would create and expand pathways into the teaching profession, particularly in high-need schools and high-need subject areas.

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After 10 years teaching in high-need classrooms in Los Angeles, Oakland, and New York City, middle school language arts teacher Geneviève DeBose worked in policy for a few years before returning to teach in the Bronx last school year. In a blog post, DeBose reflects on why she is drawn to the challenging low-income schools where she is needed the most and where Acting Secretary John King is hoping talented teachers like her will stay


EdWeek Collects Photos Depicting Range of #APrincipalsDay

Education Week collected photos on Tuesday of principals at work using the Twitter hashtag #APrincipalsDay. The project is part of a special report on principals: Shaping Strong School Leaders. Principals were caught counseling students, visiting classrooms, directing traffic, and eating lunch -- at 6 p.m. 

How One Teacher Gets All of His Students to Pass AP Calc

Anthony Yom, a math teacher in Los Angeles, got lots of attention a couple weeks ago when one of his students was among only 12 in the world to get a perfect score on the AP Calculus exam. Now, LA Times columnist Steve Lopez takes a look inside Yom's class to determine the secret recipe for how to get every one of your students to pass the exam. Says one student: "He challenges us to the max, so we do better on tests." 

Oakland Flips Narrative of Black Male Underachievement


Many districts are talking about black male underachievement in schools; Oakland Unified School District is doing something about it. Twenty schools are offering elective courses in the Manhood Development Program for students in grades three through 12. All classes are taught by black male instructors and study the full range of African-American history in the country. According to New York Times writer Patricia Leigh Brown, "think of it as #blackmindsmatter." 

Super Bowl Star's Teacher Told Him He'd Never Play Ball

Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib recalls one day in elementary school when "We had to write a little, one-page thing on what we were gonna be when we grow up, so I put, ‘I’m gonna be an NFL player.’" His teacher's reply was less than encouraging, but nevertheless he persevered, drawing strength from his ten-year-old wisdom. See what he said to his teacher in reply (Collier, Post-Gazette). In our defense, here are the odds of becoming an NFL star.

Majority of Students Feel Voiceless in Decisions at School

A survey of 66,000 middle and high school students found that only 47 percent of students feel they have a voice in their school. Meanwhile, 43 percent said they were bored in school. The survey writers point to student-teacher relationships as an important way to help improve some of these numbers. Read the rest of the results here (Education Week). 

Elementary Schoolers Learn Yoga to Overcome Trauma


At one Chicago elementary school, students say in-class yoga is helping them "calm down when you get angry." Child health researchers say children exposed to constant signs of stress can show similar symptoms of trauma to what's endured by combat veterans. At this school, students breathe and visualize success before taking tests (Al Jazeera America).

Drawings by Children Facing Deportation Illustrate Pain

kids drawings

A set of drawings by children in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Dilley, Texas, is getting some attention. 

The children -- who are from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras -- drew pictures of what happened when ICE came to their doors (Vice). 

Teacher-Researchers Ask, "What Will Kids Teach Me Today?"

Fifth-grade teacher Dorothy Suskind reflects on the benefits of being a teacher-researcher: "Teacher researchers pause each morning as they walk into their classrooms and ask, 'What will my students teach me today?' To answer that question, they listen to and watch their students engage in authentic work; collect work samples, photographs, and transcripts to document what their students say and do; and use that information to evolve their practice as they celebrate and support the voices and experiences of the children they teach" (Edutopia). 

science of kissing

For Valentine's Day: Why We Kiss

Just in time for Valentine's Day, check out this fun video from the entertaining Ph.D. behind the viral YouTube channel "It's Okay to Be Smart." According to this video, kissing helps us to test compatibility with our future love interests. Watch The Science of Kissing to learn more about why we do it and how dopamine and epinephrine play a role. Perfect for tomorrow's lesson plan. 

The Best Medicine for ADHD? Not Ritalin, But Adventure


Outside Magazine takes readers inside an adventure boarding school for kids with ADHD. For kids whose "neurons are exploding in a million directions," school leaders have found that outdoor adventure, like rock climbing and rappelling, is helping kids gain focus. According to the article, "studies consistently show that aerobic activity targets the same attentional networks that ADHD medication does" -- read to learn how it works for kids like Zack who was twice suspended and placed in a special classroom when he was in a regular middle school. 

U.N. Issues Concerns About Status of African-American Ed

A United Nations working group visited several states last month to evaluate the experience of African-Americans in the United States and issued a report last week decrying the presence of police in schools and "excessive punishment of poor children for minor offenses." They also objected to what they called "structural invisibility of African-Americans" in school curricula, particularly as it relates to colonization and enslavement, and de facto segregation in schools. 

The School Built to Train Officers for School Shootings


There is a new-looking school in Forsyth, Ga., but don't expect any students to walk into classrooms. That's because the school is being used as a national training site for how officers respond to school shootings. They expect to train 30,000 officers this year alone. This short video takes viewers inside a chilling simulation; says one trainer: "What somebody's gonna do and who's going to do it ... these are a lot of unknowns. But I know it's a statistical likelihood that it's going to happen" (Atlantic). 


Can Brad Pitt Help Head Start? 

How can we make Head Start more effective so that all attendees see long-lasting benefits? Find out what a new report says about using the "Moneyball" approach -- using data and evaluation to make certain taxpayer money is invested in the most efficient manner -- to help ensure that the program is a worthwhile investment (LiebermanEdCentral).

Jaime Escalante stamp

Stamped and Delivered 

Garfield High School (Los Angeles, Ca.) math teacher Jaime Escalante who was featured in the film Stand and Deliver, which depicted his quest to inspire and teach calculus to underachieving Latino students, is now featured on a new U.S. postage stamp"With his colleagues at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, he proved that supposedly 'unteachable' students could master even the most difficult subject," the USPS said in announcing the new stamp (Kim, Education Week).

David Johns at school with authors

Realizing A Dream

As Black History month kicked off, David Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, visited Browne Education Campus (Washington, D.C.) last week where he joined two young authors, Jeremiah West (age 10) and Joshua West (age 8), to read their book “Champions of Change: Live to Give,” which is about the importance of spending, saving and sharing. Johns reminded students of the value of reading and the importance of investments in early learning. 

What We Heard from Educators This Week

5. "No plan or program will ever fix [education] issues if you don't have the right people" (Teacher, Illinois).

4. "Until legislatures and teachers come together and talk about education rather than in two separate rooms, we will not have progress" (Teacher, Massachusetts).

3. "The most important adults in schools are the ones that know the most kids' names" (Teacher, Washington D.C.)

2. "Saying 'I'm just a teacher' is like SpiderMan or the Black Panther saying, 'I'm just a super hero.' Doesn't even sound right" (Principal, Pennsylvania).

1. "I don't have a choice to be a teacher leader. My students need me to be" (Teacher, DoDEA)

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