TEACHING MATTERS Newsletter--November 21, 2011

Teaching Matters


ED's bi-weekly newsletter celebrating teachers and teaching.

November 21, 2011  |  Sign up to receive Teaching Matters

Middle School students introduce Arne Duncan in Louisville, KY

Arne Inspires Middle-Grades Educators

(and vice-versa)

Twenty-four years after the publication of Nancie Atwell's In the Middle, Secretary Duncan discusses the unique needs of students in the middle grades and argues about the importance of creating schools that keep our most at-risk students on track for college and careers. Read his speech.
Read Middle Grades Matter, a reflection from the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) Annual Conference written by Teaching Ambassador Fellows Genevieve DeBose and Kareen Borders.
Arne Duncan
Study Finds that Teachers are...Overpaid?

Duncan:  Teacher Pay Study Asks the Wrong Question, Ignores Facts, Insults Teachers


Nation's Report Card Released This Month

The NAEP scores are out. Read the 2011 results for reading and math from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and view a summary of your state's progress. Check out 12th Grade Student Achievement in America: A Report to The National Assessment Governing Board.

American Teacher FREE Screening for Teachers

Friday, January 27 6:00-9:00 pm (Eastern)*
Speaking of teacher pay issues, the Washington Teaching Ambassador Fellows will hold a free screening and discussion of the film American Teacher at the U.S. Department of Education (400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC  20202). The event is open to teachers.  Look for registration information in an upcoming edition of TEACHING MATTERS.
*Snow date:  February 3 6:00-9:00 pm (Eastern)
American Teacher movie poster
Twitter Town Hall with John Merrow

Duncan Answers Burning Questions In Twitter Town Hall

Teachers and parents emailed and tweeted questions in this hour-long Twitter Town Hall, moderated by NPRs John Merrow on Monday, November 14. Read the Tweets. Watch the archived video. Follow Arne on Twitter.

StoryCorps sponsors National Day of Thanks and Listening!

StoryCorps, the national nonprofit oral history organization, is asking all Americans to take a few minutes to thank a beloved teacher on the day after Thanksgiving. Paying tribute to a teacher on November 25 can range from posting a memory on Facebook (@storycorps), a video on YouTube, to sending a tweet (also @storycorps or #thankateacher) or a “thank-you” note. Participants can also record a face-to-face interview using StoryCorps’ free Do-It-Yourself Guide. Read about the StoryCorps launch in September at the White House. More about StoryCorps.
Photo supplied courtesy of StoryCorps

Hard Facts about Teacher Induction

27 = number of states requiring induction systems for new teachers

11 = number of states whose teacher induction programs last for 2+ years

 3 =  number of states that have funded induction programs that last for 2+ years*

*Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa
(Source:  New Teacher Center)


315 Blue Ribbon Schools Honored

The Blue Ribbon School award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that have helped close the achievement gap and whose students attain and maintain high academic goals.
Locate the Blue Ribbon Schools in your state. Read the blog article.
Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony
Teachers Secretary Duncan recently met

Top 5 Teacher Quotes

Wisdom from Teachers (heard by ED)

5.  On the tough job that teaching is:  "...the 6-7 hour day in the classroom is exhausting — most people wouldn’t even do a birthday party for 25 -35 youngsters"  (on the ED.gov blog).
4.  On what teachers need most:  "“Time. Time to work alone and together” (Louisville, KY).
3. Oregon Teacher of the Year contrasts her son's initial salary with her own after 30 years of teaching. "My son was hired by an engineering firm directly upon finishing his engineering degree. They sent him a moving company and a stipend to help with moving costs...Within two years of being hired with this company -  with only his BS and with two year’s tenure -  his salary surpassed mine" (Corvallis, OR). 
2. On the importance of teachers:  “Poverty is not destiny” (CA).
1.  What others don't know about teaching:  I actually wrote a grant to get money to buy an adapter to hook the DVD player in my classroom to the TV. The year we moved classrooms and the adapter disappeared was a sad, sad year…” (Southern MD)

Partnering to Improve World Literacy

On November 18, Secretary Duncan announced that the U.S. Department of Education will join founding partners USAID, World Vision, and AustraliaAid in a Grant Challenge to develop practices that will dramatically improve world literacy. Duncan said, "Not only are reading and writing critical to learning all other subjects, but literacy is what enables people to enjoy the full benefits of citizenship. Literacy opens doors to better living conditions, improved health, and expanded opportunities. It empowers people to build more secure futures for their families." Read about it.

Teaching Ambassadors Recommend Reading

From James Liou:  Getting it Right:  A Comprehensive Guide to Developing and Sustaining Teacher Evaluation and Support Systems. Published by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Liou, a National Board Certified Teacher, writes, that the piece is "simply written" and "compellingly ties together teacher evaluation and teacher support as a matter of principle, while also nicely describing the balance between the need for differentiated support and simultaneously being part of a learning community." 
From Steve Owens: I Used to Think . . . And Now I Think . . . Twenty Leading Educators Reflect on the Work of School Reform. Edited by Richard F. Elmore. "This is an awesome policy book. Last year a colleague sent me a draft of his chapter. I wrote to him recently to inquire if it had been published. Answer: yes. I read it on a plane to Pittsburgh. I recommend it to each and every teacher. I went through with a highlighter and selected my favorite quotes."
From Madonna Ramp: Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us. Written by Daniel Pink. "This book revolutionized the way I think about motivation for both our students and colleagues. It all boils down to 3 things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. We could offer these three things to every member of the educational community and see dramatic results, and I am already seeing dramatic results in my practice." Video outline of the book.