(From Primary Sources: A project of Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Data in primary sources comes from a nationally representative sample of more than 20,000 public school classroom teachers, conducted online by Harrison Group. The report includes a number of other interesting findings, including teachers' enthusiasm for the Common Core, passion for teaching, views about evaluation, and the time they need to collaborate with colleagues during the school day.)
"We need to make a stand right now that our schools need to be the most important thing we have in this country--not Wall Street, not Capitol Hill--our schools."
(Coach Frank Hall who appeared on 60 Minutes February 23, two years after he chased a gunman out of his Chardon High School and comforted injured students. Watch the video, which includes teacher Tim Armelli explaining why teachers chose not to identify the shooter: "This is our school," he says.)
TEACHER PRONE TO PANIC ATTACKS SAYS THERE IS "NOTHING TO FEAR FROM COMMON CORE." Learn why anxiety-prone Erin Sponaugle says, "Education is our best defense against fear" and how this insight has led her to embrace the new state standards. Read her editorial (West Va. Gazette).
MYTH OR FACT? This article takes on the "tallest tales" about the Common Core State Standards. Published by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, the writer debunks common misunderstandings, such as "The Common Core academic level is lower than what many states use now" and “CC standards call for teaching kids to add columns of figures from left to right instead of right to left.”
WITCH-Y CONSPIRACY? John Mullins, superintendent of the school district in Arab, Ala., compares conspiracy theories surrounding the Common Core Standards with the Salem witch trials. In an opinion piece, he writes, “A lack of understanding and fear can quickly lead to irrational beliefs and/or actions,” and he calls such conspiracies a “dangerous” threat to Alabama students. Read more (Alabama Live).
PARENT SUPPORT. In this article, national PTA President Otha Thornton offers three reasons why parents support the Common Core and argues that we need tests that assess the standards. "What is important is that the higher standards are measured with better tests. Because the rigor is higher, it may appear that scores have temporarily dropped," she writes. Read more.
NEA: CORRECT THE COURSE, BUT DON'T ABANDON SHIP. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, in an open letter to his organization’s members, writes, "In far too many states, implementation [of the Common Core State Standards] has been completely botched.” However, he writes that “scuttling these standards will simply return us to the failed days of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), where rote memorization and bubble tests drove teaching and learning. NEA members don’t want to go backward; we know that won’t help students. Instead, we want states to make a strong course correction and move forward.”
DATA DIVING. Over the past decade, school improvement and reform strategies have incorporated the use of data at all levels: classroom, school, district, state, and national. This toolkit is designed to assist the classroom teacher, or a team of teachers, in utilizing readily available data to:
1) Inform student instructional progress and needs,
2) Engage and motivate students by encouraging them to track their own progress, and
3) Empower students to take responsibility for their progress and to set and meet academic objectives.
While the templates shared in the toolkit demonstrate how practitioners can use data to inform their practice at the classroom level, they can be modified to fit the needs of the school and the district. Check out the toolkit.
PROTECTING PRIVACY. ED released guidance for companies that contract with schools to handle student data using the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as a foundation for the policy. Arne Duncan has called on school districts and tech companies to prioritize student privacy and data security. Learn more. Read Duncan's remarks made this week at the Common Sense Media Privacy Zone Conference. Read the related Education Week and Associated Press articles.
GROWING YOUR OWN: BUILDING A COMMUNITY OF TEACHER LEADERS. This tool released by the School Turnaround Learning Community provides teacher leadership guidance and highlights conditions that allow leadership to flourish. Teachers, administrators and others who want their voices heard would find this resource beneficial.
Baecker says, "Growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and graduating high school with a class size of 40 makes it easy to assume that I didn’t have the opportunities or the quality education needed to succeed beyond the classroom." However, her FFA agriculture teacher pushed her to excel and ultimately helped set her on a path to become a teacher that makes a difference for other rural students.
INVESTING IN INNOVATION
Grant Helps New Teacher Center Refine Induction
Helping new teachers succeed in their first year in the classroom is essential to building the teaching profession and improving career readiness for all students. New Teacher Center (NTC), which annually supports more than 6,300 mentors to improve the effectiveness of 23,000 new teachers across the country, is refining its induction model with help from the Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund of the Office of Innovation and Improvement. Learn more.
You Served, Now Teach
Learn more how veterans can continue to put their service and commitment to our country to use through Teach for America’s initiative, You Served for America, Now Teach for America.
At "What is your next mission?", those who served in the armed services can check out multiple career paths on the front lines of communities across the country. Learn more here, including information on AmeriCorps, Education Pioneers, TEACH.ORG, The Broad Center, TNTP and Troops to Teachers.
Teacher Amy Spies sets up workstations that include notebook paper, individual whiteboards with dry erase markers/erasers, clipboards, and other essential work materials.
Math Routines that Work
Watch this minute-long video from the Teaching Channel featuring Amy Spies, who teaches mathematics at Cypress Creek Elementary School in Port Orange, Fla. In the video, Spies shows how she facilitates cooperative learning by grouping students around work stations that maximize instructional time.
• REACHING ELLs THROUGH ACADEMIC LANGUAGE. This resource from the School Turnaround Learning Community equips educators to reach and teach English Language Learners (ELLs) by helping them become fluent in the language of school success—academic language. Read why Arne Duncan has said recently, "A world-class education means learning to speak, read and write languages in addition to English" in his L.A. Daily News op-ed.
• LIFELONG READERS. Larry Ferlazzo has written a three-part series answering a teacher's question about how to help her students become lifelong readers. A series of education experts (practitioners) answer the question. The third entry includes some nice insights and links to previous articles (EdWeek).
• "I GOT MY COULD..." Check out Parker Couch's students at Grizzlies Prep (Memphis, Tenn.) as they rap out the helping verbs. View the short video.
4. "Teachers are looking for opportunities to grow in the field of education. I know amazing teachers that feel trapped and disenchanted because their only opportunity for growth is administration." (Teacher, Atlanta, Ga.)
3. "The classroom I’ve always wanted is full of equipment for using engineering and technology to teach science. This classroom has the unconditional support of parents, administrators and community because no child will ever ask, 'When am I going to need to know this?'" (Principal, S.D.)
2. On the importance of ongoing professional learning for principals and teachers: "When you stop growing, you start rotting." (Principal, Knoxville, Tenn.)
1. "We're exhausted." (Teacher, N.J.)
U.S. Department of Education
THE TEACHERS EDITION - ED Teacher Newsletter
The Teachers Edition contains links to other websites and news articles. These links represent just a few examples of the numerous education reference materials currently available to teachers and the public. The opinions expressed in any articles or web pages do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Education. The inclusion of resources should not be construed or interpreted as an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any private organization or business listed herein.