THE TEACHERS EDITION -- October 23, 2014

The Teachers Edition

October 23, 2014  |  Sign up to receive THE TEACHERS EDITION.

Video clip from Why Tim Bailey Teaches

Tim Bailey demonstrates “how to be sneaky and not break a branch” when going through the bushes to attack during the Civil War.


Why Tim Bailey Teaches

The teachers at ED love this video of Utah American history teacher Tim Bailey showing the rest of us how good teaching is done!

A 2009 National History Teacher of the Year, Bailey teaches at Escalante Elementary School (Salt Lake City, Utah), serving mostly disadvantaged students. Although his students come from families that recently immigrated from Latin America, Africa, Asia and other parts of the world, the children respond enthusiastically to Tim's creative approach to teaching American history and citizenship.

Bailey believes it is important that his students understand the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance--what they are promising when saying the words, and why the words themselves are important. History “is the glue that binds us,” Bailey says. We are hoping he sticks around the classroom for a whole lot longer.

Check out other inspirational videos of teachers practicing their specialized craft at, including a particularly compelling video called "Teach Special Education."

Teach to Lead


Submit an Idea for the Louisville Teacher Leadership Summit

A few weeks ago, Teach to Lead announced that we will be hosting three regional Teacher Leadership Summits, one each in Louisville, Ky. (December 6 – 7, 2014); Denver, Colo. (January 2015) and Boston, Mass. (February 2015).

These summits will bring together educators from around the regions to collaborate, problem solve and develop plans to put teacher leadership ideas into action. Teachers are invited to submit an idea, which may be selected for inclusion in the Louisville, Kentucky Teacher Leadership Summit, to be held December 6–7.

All educators are welcome to apply as individuals or as a team (teachers, principals, administrators, school board members etc.). There is no registration cost for the summit, and you can register for any summit, regardless of where you live. However, costs, such as travel and lodging, may not be covered, so please keep that in mind when you apply.

If Kentucky is not the right regional summit for you, but you still want to submit your idea, check future issues of The Teachers Edition for information about how to submit ideas for Denver and Boston.

The deadline for idea submissions for the Kentucky Summit is 10 pm ET Sunday, November 2, 2014.

As space is limited for each summit, idea submissions will be reviewed and invitations for participation, with registration details, will be emailed to those accepted. Please read the criteria below carefully before submitting your idea.

Summit Participants must: • Have an actionable teacher leadership idea; • Be available to attend the entire summit; • Commit to taking implementation steps following summit participation; • Currently serve as an educator committed to teacher leadership (this can include teachers, principals and administrators).

Submitted Ideas must: • Allow teachers to lead from the classroom; • Identify an area of need or target a specific problem; • Develop and implement approaches that address the need or solve the problem; • Utilize teachers’ professional experiences and expertise; • Promote collaborative work among multiple stakeholders; • Seek to create systemic supports for teacher leadership; • Be viable in the local context and sustainable over time; • Include tracking measurable improvements, including improvements beyond test scores.

Submitted Ideas may: • Focus on any level of change: the school, district, or state; • Be functioning at any stage of development: an emerging idea requiring input and buy-in from stakeholders; something currently being developed in collaboration with recruited stakeholders; or something that has been implemented which is ripe for improvement or expansion.

Click here to submit your best teacher leadership idea. The Teach to Lead team will notify you once your idea is accepted for attendance. We hope to see you in Louisville!

Boston Twitter chat

ORGANIZATIONS JOIN THE TEACH TO LEAD EFFORT. Since last week's report in the Teachers Edition, six organizations have joined the Teach to Lead effort. They include the Kentucky Education AssociationPrep ForwardBluegrass Center for Teaching QualityTeaching Trust, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, and Innovative Schools Network. Check out a list of the 43 organizations who have signed on.

ONE MORE THING. Check out highlights from a recent Teach to Lead Twitter chat. (Right) Boston teachers participate in a Teach to Lead Twitter chat.

Chart indicating the reasons teachers are dissatisfied with their work.

During his presentation, Richard Ingersoll described the primary reasons that teachers who are dissatisfied leave the profession and argued for a strategy of addressing these concerns to retain teachers.


Why We Leave

At a recent panel discussion about how to recruit and retain great teachers in hard-to-staff schools, University of Pennsylvania professor Richard Ingersoll presented data that indicate teacher recruitment may not the problem we think it is. Instead, Ingersoll presented research that shows the nation is recruiting quality teachers well but that we are losing highly skilled teachers faster than we are gaining them. He argues that we should focus efforts on retaining teachers with a high level of skill. Learn more in Ingersoll's article, Data Say Retention Is Better Answer To ‘Shortage’ Than Recruitment.


Getting Testing Right

Last week, the Center for American Progress (CAP) held an event to discuss the growing concern around tests and the role they play in our nation’s education system. 

In the invitation to the event, CAP argues that there is a need for "Better, Fairer, Fewer Tests." They write, "For decades, many states and districts have taken a slap-dash approach to testing, and they have relied heavily on so-called bubble tests, which are often poor benchmarks of student learning. What’s more, tests have taken an outsized role in many areas. There’s far too much teaching to the test, and in some states and districts, students are simply overtested." Download the report unveiled at the event, Testing Overload in America

Read a Washington Post op-ed by Arne Duncan in support of efforts by state and local education leaders "to examine their assessment systems, ensure that assessments are high-quality and cut back testing that doesn’t meet that bar or is redundant."

Teach for America Video


Teach For America 

Stokes Passion 

for the Classroom

Teach for America's short inspirational video is part of a new series, and one that teachers may want to show to aspiring teachers in their classes. It offers cool scenes of real teachers demonstrating the impact of inspiring urban and Native American students in subjects like photography, band and P.E. 

Featured in the video are: Hoang Pham, Teach For America - Los Angeles ‘11. Hoang teaches first grade at KIPP Empower Academy in South Central LA; Samantha Wauls, Teach For America - South Dakota ‘13. Samantha teaches fifth grade at Lower Brule Elementary in Lower Brule, South Dakota; Wisdom Amouzou, Teach For America - Colorado ‘13. Wisdom teaches 8th grade at STRIVE Prep Montbello in Denver, Colorado; and Tamara Porras, Teach For America - New York ‘08. Tamara teaches at the International Center of Photography in New York City. 


Get the Facts, Spread the Word

Check out some of the resources available to inform students and families about the enterovirus (EV-D68) associated with the severe respiratory illness that has afflicted so many children the past couple months. Educators can access materials from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and ED’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students that address the outbreaks, including what parents need to know; how the virus is spread; and how to prevent illness.

Although enterovirus season is expected to taper off, flu activity usually begins to increase in October. CDC recommends that ALL children 6 months old or older get a flu vaccine. Resources can be found on the CDC flu web site. Finally, the President has made control of Ebola a top national security priority. Learn more.

Now, that's progress


N.J. Teachers Create 

Model Curriculum

New Jersey’s teachers have developed a model curriculum for English language arts and mathematics, aligned with the state’s new college- and career-ready standards, to help teachers make the shift in their classrooms. 

An estimated 300 teachers volunteered to work with the State to create the model curriculum in 2012 and many Garden state teachers say the model curriculum supports them in implementing the new standards while still allowing them to be creative in the classroom. 

“The model curriculum guides you by expanding on the standards,” one teacher said, “but you have a lot of freedom with it in how you teach.”

Meghan Snow, who helped lead the effort in mathematics for the New Jersey Department of Education, said that teachers “were very excited about putting something together that was coherent and made sense, that reflected what they wanted good instruction to look like.” New Jersey’s Race to the Top grant helped support the curriculum’s development.

Learn more (Progress).


"Go slow in order to go fast."

Advice to states on how to succeed with the Common Core State Standards from Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday (EdWeek).

In the interview with Marc Tucker, Holliday elaborates, "When the teachers see the Common Core being rushed into place, when they are told that their heads could roll if their students are not making progress against the Common Core, when they have not had the support they need to teach it well, they are at least frustrated and many will turn against the Common Core. It is critical that there is enough time between the time the Common Core is first introduced and the time that the professionals are held accountable for the results for teachers to get the support they need to teach it well."

Quote to Note

the New Math

Nostalgia for Budgets Past?

 At least 30 states are providing less funding per student for the 2014-15 school year than they did before the recession hit.  

 Fourteen of these states have cut per-student funding by more than 10 percent. 

According to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report, in at least 27 states, per-student funding is higher in the current fiscal year (2015) than it was in the last fiscal year (2014). Although they have added back a portion of the jobs cut since 2008 (estimated at 330,000), local school districts are still down 260,000 jobs compared with 2008.


Solution-Driven Activism

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) recently announced winners of its second annual Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism, a competition among AFT state and local affiliates to shine a light on innovative, inspiring and collaborative solutions to tough problems.

Two first-place prizes were awarded: Milwaukee Area Technical Federation, AFT Local 212 won for its solution to lagging graduation and course completion rates, while the other prize will be shared by the United University Professions and the New York State Public Employees Federation for their successful campaign to save Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., from privatization and to promote investment in the facility and actually expand healthcare in Brooklyn. The AFT's Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism - which was created in partnership with the Albert Shanker Institute and the AFT Innovation Fund - comes with $25,000 for each of the two winners. Learn more.


Staying Connected One Byte at a Time

Connected Educator Month is in full swing and the Office of Educational Technology at ED invites educators to join several upcoming events. Check out the links below for more information about each webinar and learn how to get connected!

What Are Future Ready Schools and Classrooms? Oct. 22 (8-9 pm ET)

Designing and Evaluating Effective Online Communities of Practice Oct. 23 (1-2 pm ET)

How Do We Support Future Ready Teaching? Oct. 28 (8-9 pm ET)

How Do We Measure Future Ready Progress and Success? Oct. 30 (8-9 pm ET) 

The Teach to Lead Initiative Oct.30 (8-9 pm ET), brought to you by Teach to Lead.

Leading from the Front of the Classroom


Teacher Leadership that Works

The Aspen Institute, working in partnership with Leading Educators, released Leading from the Front of the Classroom: A Roadmap for Teacher Leadership that Works, which offers practical guidance for designing effective teacher leadership opportunities. Leading from the Front of the Classroom provides grounded lessons from leading systems and a practical framework for designing and implementing teacher leadership effectively.

The organizations contend that "teacher leadership should not be pursued as a stand-alone or isolated project, or even primarily as a retention or reward strategy. Instead, teacher leadership should be designed to advance the most important district and school priorities." Put another way, the teachers at ED say, "If you want anything in schools to work well, let the teachers lead."

Students' Corner

Tools for Students

WHY YOU SHOULD GO TO COLLEGE. This post highlights recent Brookings research on key areas related to the value of a college degree: the economic return to a college degree; student loan debt and paying for college; the changing model of post-secondary education; and overcoming barriers to college. All of it points to one conclusion, to quote Richard Reeves: “Go to college.”

sticky notepad

Teachers' Notes

• TEACHERS PREFER CASH. In theory, teachers might accept lower current salaries in exchange for better benefits like health care and pensions. But a new paper suggests what teachers can already tell you: the concept is fundamentally flawed. Read more (Aldeman, Teacher Pensions). 

• THE SECRET LIVES OF TEACHERS. Nifty introductory piece in a series of segments about what teachers really do when they log off of their gradebooks and walk out of the school building (Drummond, NPR). There's a link for teachers to post stories about their "secret lives" as well.

• TEACHER eATLAS. UNESCO has published a handy virtual map that previews the number of teachers that will need to be recruited by 2030 by country. 

• SAVE THE PLANET. Habitat the Game is looking for teachers with students between the ages of 7-12, who have access to smart phones, to collect baseline data on the impact their game has on changing kids’ behaviors. Launched as a collaboration between the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Rainforest Alliance, Habitat the Game was designed to teach 7-12 year-olds ecologically sustainable habits. For more information, contact   

• HONOR OUTSTANDING URBAN EDUCATORS. Nominate a colleague or apply for the Sontag Prize in Urban Education that recognizes outstanding teaching in mathematics, English language arts and other disciplines. Educators chosen for the Sontag Prize receive a $3,000 honorarium, a weekend of professional development at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, and the opportunity to teach students in Lawrence Public Schools’ Acceleration Academies, held during school breaks in Lawrence, Mass. Learn more.

 SPECIAL EDUCATION'S BULLY-FREE ZONE. America’s 6.5 million students with disabilities are already protected from bullying. Recently, however, schools received guidance detailing their responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of Americans with Disabilities Act regarding the bullying of students with disabilities. Catherine E. Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, emphasized that ED wants to work with schools to ensure that all their students learn in a safe environment “so that no student is limited in his or her ability to participate in and benefit from all that our educational programs have to offer." Learn more.

 DISCOVERY EDUCATION’S STREAMATHON THIS SATURDAY. The annual free idea-sharing marathon is a live, day-long virtual professional learning event that offers participating educators proven strategies for integrating digital media into classroom instruction to improve student engagement and achievement. Walk away with ready-to-use integration strategies to incorporate into the curriculum, creative ways to utilize digital media to engage students, strategies for differentiating instruction, and best practices for promoting a collaborative, connected classroom community. Learn how to participate.

• CYBERSECURITY. Help kids stay safe online with information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, and more in the Federal Registry for Educational Excellence (FREE).

• TEACHERPRENEURS ANNOUNCED! The Center for Teaching Quality announced their 2014-2015 cohort of Teacherpreneurs. Teacherpreneurs are expert teachers whose work-weeks are divided between teaching students and designing systems-level solutions for public education. Find out who they are.

• HALLOWEEN TREATS. Check out these sweet lesson ideas for Halloween-inspired learning from the Teaching Channel. 

• WEBINAR: RECRUITING AND RETAINING MINORITY TEACHERS. The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans will be hosting a webinar entitled Recruiting and Preparing Minority Teachers in Urban Schools on Thursday, November 6, at 6:30 pm ET. The webinar will discuss the topics surrounding minority teacher recruitment and supporting the educational excellence for all students. Register

open book

Recommended Reading

TO REACH A CHILD, GET IN THEIR MINDSET. Teachers will love the insights of Joan Richardson, of Kappan, as she explores two powerful ideas in her Learning First Alliance blog. She reflects on both Haim Ginott’s concept of who has the power in schools to set what he calls “the weather” in classrooms and schools and W.E.B. Dubois’s question of “how a child must feel when days and weeks and years have drilled into him that everyone thinks he’s a mistake.”  

Questions or comments about The Teachers Edition? Send them to ED's Teacher Liaison, Laurie Calvert:

bus tour -- Nashville, Tenn.

Top 5 Quotes

Wisdom from educators heard by ED

5. "I used to think change happens with a leader. Now I think change happens when we are all leaders." (Teacher, Wash.)

4. "A resource is not a resource if you don't know about it or can't find it." (Teacher, Texas)

3. "I am one of two teachers on an advisory board, but really, I feel like parsley on the plate." (Teacher, N.J.)

2. "Teachers need support, not sympathy." (Teacher, N.Y.)

1. "Teachers aren't respected because people don't really understand the complexity of teaching a student who has suffered generational trauma." (Principal, Penn.)