Thousands Submit Creative School Design Applications -- THE TEACHERS EDITION -- March 3, 2016

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

March 3, 2016  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

ED Calls for Equity for Students of Color with Disabilities

In order to address data that show children of color with disabilities are more likely to be educated in settings outside of the general classroom and removed from the classroom for discipline reasons, which is a violation of the federal IDEA law, ED issued a proposed new rule to address the disparities that exist. Acting Secretary King said, “this effort is not about reducing the number of children who are identified as having a disability. It's a matter of making sure the right services are getting to the right children in the right way … (it’s) something we can and must fix. And we can do it with this proposed rule.” Comments can be made to the Federal Register notice until May 16.



We asked two educators to react to ED's action in response to disparities faced by minority students who receive special education services. Lisa Coates (left) and Josalyn Tresvant McGhee draw on more than 20 years of collective experience to highlight how "reducing disparities can mean the difference between lifelong success or failure." 

Thousands of eBooks Your Students Will Love Are Now Free


Thousands of free eBooks are now available to students who attend Title I schools and students who receive special education services, using the Open eBooks app. The app contains books from popular publishers, like Penguin Random House and HarperCollins. This newsletter's teacher-writer downloaded the app last weekend and has books including two Obama biographies; Dork Diaries; and Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak picked out for students to start reading. 

$50M School-Design Competition Draws 10,000 Applications

Laurene Powell Jobs' national competition calling on teachers, students, communities, and groups of any kind to re­imagine the American high school has received some 10,000 ideas. At least five proposals will be chosen and $50 million divided among them. Called XQ: The Super School Project, the campaign expects to narrow down the applications to 400 semifinalists by spring. Early indications suggest the results are "phenomenal" (Sullivan, Vogue). 


Obama's Teen Job at Ice Cream Shop Inspires New Jobs Initiative

A $5.5 billion White House proposal called the Summer Opportunity Project hopes to "significantly increase the percentage of youth in evidence-based summer opportunity programs, decrease the percentage of youth experiencing violence over the summer, and -- more broadly -- make sure that young Americans have the support they need to get their first job." In a LinkedIn post, President Barack Obama credits his first job for getting him on the path to where he is today

Would Higher Salaries Actually Mean More Future Teachers?

Oklahoma's governor wants to give every teacher a $3,000 raise, South Dakota is increasing sales taxes by half a cent to boost teacher pay, and several other states are looking for ways to raise salaries in the face of teacher shortages. But will salary increases lead to significant impact? Research isn't clear. Many teachers opt to work in private schools, which typically offer lower pay but better working conditions, whereas a study of 10 school districts offering $20,000 to high performers who agree to teach in low-performing schools showed that a majority of candidates were uninterested (WongThe Atlantic). 

king confirmation

Vote on King Expected Next Week

As deliberations over a new Supreme Court nominee continue to stall, Acting Secretary John King recently met with members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, who agreed to vote on his appointment next Wednesday. While a  new president could name a new secretary next year, officials were unwilling to wait any longer because there is too much important work to be done (ToppoUSA Today). 

Statistical Analysis Shows Whom Teachers Tend to Marry

A Bloomberg Business analysis of 2014 U.S. Census data determined who people in different professions are likely to marry. Doctors and lawyers tend to be attracted to their economic equals, female CEOs tend to marry other CEOs, while male CEOs sometimes marry their secretaries. As for teachers? We tend to like each other


What ADHD Feels Like for a Child

A short film from a Swedish filmmaker depicts a day in the life of a young student with ADHD, sharing his classroom challenges and other struggles. Spoiler alert: despite setbacks and tears shed, there's a happy ending (Bologna, Huffington Post). 

Despite Viral Resignation Letters, Why I Won't Quit Teaching

Former Arkansas teacher of the year Justin Minkel shares how despite the recent phenomenon of viral resignation letters panning the teaching profession, he plans to "be teaching elementary school when I'm an old, tired, yet happy man." He writes in his Education Week blog post: "So to anyone considering a career in this battered, beleaguered profession that makes all others possible, I have this simple advice: Do it." 

How Schools Can Be More Trauma-Sensitive for Students

Thirty-year teacher and author Susan Craig writes that part of why schools aren't adequately trauma-sensitive is because teachers aren't invited to research conferences alongside mental health experts and psychologists. "Even when I raise questions about why teachers aren’t invited, it’s like they fall back on me with 'Well, teachers teach, they don’t deal with mental health.' My argument is that yes, teachers do teach, and one of the ways out of the effects of trauma is to help them teach in a manner that works for the brain to overcome trauma." 


FCC Debates Expanding High-Speed Internet Access in Poorer Communities

In Coachella, Calif., and Huntsville, Ala., some students depend on school buses that have free Wi-Fi to complete their homework. In cities like Detroit, Miami and New Orleans, where as many as one-third of homes do not have broadband access, children crowd libraries and fast-food restaurants to use free hot spots. While some students have easy access to high-speed Internet at home, others have to travel for it, a gap that the Federal Communications Commission is debating whether to resolve this month with a possible $2 billion per year investment (Kang, New York Times). 

preserving old schoolhouse

Learning About History, Students Preserve History 

Loudoun School for the Gifted (Ashburn, Va.) students are working to preserve a schoolhouse that was used by black children at the Ashburn Colored School, which opened about 1892 and closed in the 1950s. Students will direct the effort to choose how to restore the flooring, windows and paint colors, with the help of volunteer preservationists. They also hope to meet Yvonne Neal, 83, who attended the school (Balingit, Washington Post).

Resources to Use

What We Heard from Educators This Week


5. Said during #shadowastudent week: "I understand it now. I like understanding things." (Fifth Grader, Hawaii)

4. "It's interesting we have to have a conversation about girls in STEM when most of their teachers are female. What message are we sending?" (Teacher, Florida).

3. "We have to start thinking about STEM as a means to an end, not the end itself -- part of the journey to what you do next" (Administrator, New York). 

2. "When we commonly hear adults say, 'I am not good at (insert own subject),' how can we expect students to react positively?" (Teacher, Michigan).

1. "Children shouldn't have to conform to the school; the school has to conform to the children" (Principal, New York).