February 21, 2012 | Sign up to receive Teaching Matters
$5 Billion in Proposed Grants to Transform Teaching
Heeding the President's call “to
keep good teachers on the job and reward the best ones,” the Department of
Education launched a National Conversation about the Teaching Profession and announced its proposal for a $5 billion competitive grant program to
encourage states to overhaul the teaching profession.
Duncan officially announced the
proposal, called the RESPECT Project, at a teacher town hall on Wednesday at the Department. Enlisting the help of the Teaching Ambassador Fellows
, the Department plans to initiate a national conversation on teaching that will help to inform the new competition. Read the New York Times article
and the ED blog
Former Assistant Secretary Reunites with her Favorite Teacher
After almost 50 years of searching, Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana,
Superintendent of Santa Ana Unified Schools and former Department of
Education Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education,
finally got to thank Mrs. Silverman, the kindergarten teacher who
believed in her and helped shape her life. As a shy five year old,
non-English speaking daughter of Mexican immigrants, Meléndez' life
could have taken many directions. The education leader credits this
early childhood educator with putting her on the path to success. This
highlights the impact that a single teacher can have on one child.
Get Your Students in on the Policy Action!
ED launched the National Education Startup Challenge, which invites students in 6th grade through postsecondary to develop innovative, real-world solutions to help students graduate college- and career-ready.
For more information, go to http://nesc.challenge.gov
Teachers Share Their Experience Through Acting
What does education look and feel like from a teacher’s point of
view? Geneviève DeBose
a Washington Teaching Ambassador Fellow, captures the voices of
classroom teachers in creative ways for her Department of Education
colleagues. Read Fellow Maryann Woods-Murphy's blog
on how DeBose brought the classroom to the stage. Watch the newly released School Days video
to see clips from Teachers' Lounge
Teachers Pull Up to the Table
In a recent Huffington Post blog
, Teach Plus D.C. Teaching Policy Fellows reflect on their meeting with Arne Duncan and their reaction to his speech afterward. During his time with them, Duncan discussed the need for teachers to take the lead in the transformation of the profession. (See the related ED blog
Financial Capability Challenge – What do your students know about money?
face a fast-paced, dynamic economy and need a good financial education to
succeed. In response to that need, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Education are sponsoring the National Financial
Capability Challenge, which runs March 12 through April 13, 2012
The Challenge is a free, online series of financial questions for high school
students to test their knowledge of earning, spending, saving, borrowing, risk
protection, and more. Register at challenge.treas.gov
Top 5 Teacher Quotes
Wisdom from Teachers (Heard by ED)
5. Reflecting on methods for teacher training and placement:
"Teaching AP Calculus, AP Physics or circuit simulation without ever
having built a single radio, a satellite, a spacecraft system or an
advanced instrument is a short circuit approach to promotion and career
advancement in education. University-driven workshop training and empowerment displaces real
talent from the classroom and should really be a last resort method for
teacher placement, not a 'best practice.'” (Norm on ED blog
4. Regarding the need to
support teacher growth and development: "We starve teachers, so that’s why
they eat the kids. Teachers need to be nourished in order to thrive and
survive." (Boston, Mass.)
3. In consideration of her
options after receiving a reduction in contract for next school year: "I
never thought that in my eighth year of teaching I would be looking for another
new teaching position. I just don't have the energy to start over again."
2. On treating teachers as
professionals: “Teachers are experts. We don’t allow them to exercise
judgment.” (Cambridge, Mass.)
1. Comparing how Finland and the U.S. perceive teachers:
"Once Finnish candidates earn their MA and license, they are trusted to be responsible guardians of their nation’s future. We desperately need this kind of trust and respect of our teachers." (Dave on ED blog
Listen to this StoryCorps interview between Teaching Ambassador Fellow Antero Garcia and his former "drop-out" student.
Looking for free resources? Center on Instruction offers resources for instruction in such areas as STEM, literacy, Special Education, and ELL
that help educators improve academic outcomes so that all students graduate from high school
college- and career-ready.
Read the latest blog in the "Teachers at ED" series: Prior to coming to ED, Vanessa Tesoriero, who lost her own hearing at 17, gave her deaf students opportunity to shine!
Watch Secretary Arne Duncan respond via Facebook and Twitter to parents and teachers about the education goals for their children and students in 2012.
- A recent study showed how a great elementary
schoolteacher can raise the lifetime earnings of a single class by
$700,000, despite student background. Doubtful? Read Nicolas Kristoff's article in the New York Times about
the story of Olly Neal.
Group Designs New Teacher Logo
An apple sitting on an old wooden desk?
Christmas sweaters with matching earrings and socks? No more! Studio
360 has redesigned the image
Duncan at Harvard: Let's "Stop Fighting the Wrong Education Battles"
advocates to stop fighting the wrong education battles," Secretary Duncan
said at the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Askwith Forum on Monday.
"Seek common ground," he said, "knowing that it will both take
you outside of your comfort zone and require tough-minded collaboration
." Read Arne's speech
Who Is Responsible for Student Achievement?
In a recent ED Week article, David
Cantor discusses the complex challenge of determining who does what in our efforts to improve student achievement.
White House Science Fair
President Obama hosted a White House science fair, featuring
projects designed by over 100 students from across the country, in an effort to highlight the need for STEM teacher preparation and his related budgetary proposals. Read the Huffington Post article
and the related White House blog
Ask Mr. Mullenholz
About PD and Professional Learning
Teaching Ambassador Fellow Greg Mullenholz answers teachers' burning questions about education
policy. In this issue, he takes up teacher professional learning.
Teacher Question: Wait. In the title
of this blog, you call it “professional learning.” Is that the same thing as
“professional development” or “staff development?”
Mr. M: To emphasize the fact
that teachers are lifelong learners continually working to refine their craft,
many educators have begun replacing the term professional development with
professional “learning.” This new terminology represents a paradigm shift in
the way that teachers improve their practice to meet the needs of a variety of
learners and in the way that they work toward the rigorous goal of increasing
the number of college- and career-ready students nationally. Read more.
A Free Legal Clinic Opens When Class is Over
Dennis Kass, a
history teacher in Chicago's Little Village who
has a law degree, helped start a foundation at his school that offers
students and parents
free legal advice. Read Paul Engleman's article in the New York Times.
From Laggards to Leaders
In her reflection
on the first ever National Digital Technology Day, Teaching Fellow Claire Jellinek
discusses the importance of digital technology in education as we strive to compete in the global arena. She also makes the argument that the "smart use of technology simply develops our skills as teachers."
Teaching Ambassadors Recommend Reading
- From Bruce Taterka: The Art of Learning, by Josh Waitzkin. The author describes the principles of learning that allowed him to achieve world champion status in the unlikely fields of chess and martial arts. We use this book in our Theory of Knowledge class in the IB program at Mendham High School. Readable, compelling, and thought-provoking.
- From Kareen Borders: "Stepping Into a Student's Shoes," by Margery B. Ginsberg. This article makes the point that some of the best
professional learning is neither expensive nor prescribed. Shadowing students is an example of
professional learning that is accessible, inexpensive, and influential in the
ways it effects teachers' awareness and instructional practice.
From Steve Owens: "Teachers, Their Unions and the American Education Reform Agenda,"
by Marc Tucker. This paper, written by the President of the National Center on Education and the
Economy, is a balanced look at teacher unionism in the United States,
and its interaction with education reform. The historical
context is excellent, and an indispensable comparative introduction to
American and international labor relations in education. My
takeaway is that efforts like the US Education Department's Labor
Management Conference and International Summits are fostering a
movement in the direction of the European "Social Partnership" model.