Teaching Matters Newsletter - April 10, 2012


April 10, 2012  |  Sign up to receive Teaching Matters

E4E Teachers Present Proposal

To Keep Great Teachers, RESPECT Their Careers

Read Geneviève DeBose's article about a proposal by Educators For Excellence (E4E) about ways to retain effective teachers by offering them career paths and opportunities to show leadership. 

It's All About the Kids

During a visit to Western High School, a Las Vegas campus benefitting from ED’s School Improvement Grant program, Deputy Secretary Tony Miller witnessed how five simple words - "it's all about the kids" - can guide the comprehensive transformation of a school when bold strategies are unleashed and a group of motivated teachers are at the helm. Read the ED blog. See photos and read the related Las Vegas Review-Journal article.

Newton Piper, Teacher at ED

Teachers@ED: Newton Piper

Newton Piper is one of the hundreds of employees at the U.S. Department of Education who is also a teacher. Read this article about his early career teaching math and science in Bangkok, Thailand, and learn about his most recent experiences serving in the Office of Special Education Programs. 

Arts Education in U.S. (A Good News/Bad News Story) 

Last Monday, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the U.S. Department of Education, released the findings of the first nationwide arts survey in a decade that comprehensively documents the state of arts education in U.S. public schools.

At the announcement, Secretary Arne Duncan pointed to the importance of the report because it allows us to compare changes in arts education over time, and it’s the first survey that enables us to get a clear sense of how the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law has affected arts education. “It’s a good news, bad news story,” according to Secretary Duncan. Read more.

According to a new report from the National Endowment for the Arts, at-risk students who have access to the arts in- or out-of-school tend to have better academic results, better workforce opportunities, and more civic engagement.
Arts Report Cover

New Math

Percentage of teachers who believe the following would have a "very strong impact" or a "strong impact" on improving student achievement:
  • High expectations:  96%
  • Effective and engaged principals:  91%
  • Teaching 21st century skills:  89%
  • Teacher professional learning that is relevant to personal and school goals:  85%
*From Primary Sources: 2012, published by Scholastic and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

ED Announces New Site to Stop Bullying

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently unveiled the revitalized Stop Bullying website, www.stopbullying.gov. Read the article.

Top 5 Teacher Quotes from RESPECT Conversations

teacher listening
Wisdom from teachers heard by ED
5.  "The way that most schools view STEM is very different from how employers like Northrop-Gruman view it. That needs to change. We need to move into the 21st century." (Indianapolis, Ind.)
4.  "It is past time for a new vision of the teaching profession for the 21st century." (S.C.)
3.  Explaining teachers' exasperation with the large number of programs they are being asked to implement: "Teachers have initiative fatigue. Too many balls are in the air." (Mont.)
2.  “Data is a number to the superintendent. But to me, it’s Miguel, who slept in his car last night. Isn’t this data?” (Seattle, Wash.)
1. "I recently learned that one of my former students is now doing some incredible work in the area of Alzheimer’s research. On that very same day, my father was admitted into an institution–for dementia. That was when I recognized the amazing impact that we have as teachers." (Chicago, Ill.)

Teachers Win the Lottery!

We always knew we didn't do it for the money, but this feel-good lottery story really brings it home! The "Three Amigos" - three friends who work in an elementary school - won the Mega Lottery in Maryland this past week. Even as they find themselves $35 million richer, these two teachers and one administrative support person won't be giving up their school jobs. Read more.
three people holding up lottery check and one lottery ball character

Teachers' Notes & Resources

  • Interested in RESPECT? Send an email to TeachTalk@ed.gov to learn how teachers can participate in the National Conversation About Teaching.  You can also check out the dedicated website for more information.
  • Help with Differentiation. Center On Instruction (an ED-funded national content center) recently added Using Instructional Routines to Differentiate Instruction: A Guide for Teachers to their resources. This publication helps educators plan differentiated instruction using 72 formatted activities called Instructional Routines, which provide a structure for teaching specific foundational reading skills. This resource provides support in the alignment of instruction in schools that are implementing School Improvement Grants (SIG) and/or College and Career Ready Standards (including Common Core State Standards).
  • Teachers Talk Teaching. Check out Teaching Ambassador Steve Owens' response to Larry Ferlazzo's Ed Week blog Classroom Q&A about the NEA Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching's "Transforming Teaching."

Teaching Ambassadors Recommend Reading

  • From Leah RaphaelThe Courage to Teach:  Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life, by Parker J. Palmer. I just read a fantastic chapter in this book and it seriously rocked my world. Read a review of the book by Cristen Vernon at Central Michigan University.
  • From Greg Mullenholz: That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back, by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum. This book offers four challenges that America faces - globalization, the IT revolution, the growing deficit, and excessive energy consumption. Rather than blame any one side of the political system, the authors recognize that by understanding the history of America, including the capacities and resources we still enjoy, we can regain our place in the world. The authors make a case for increasing our commitment to education as a country and re-envisioning the way our educational systems work in order to meet 21st century demands. Insights by Secretary Arne Duncan and other education leaders illustrate the urgency for acting now.
  • From Steve Owens: My Garden Sprouts - a Journal of Classroom Growth, by Teaching Ambassador Fellow Sharla Steever. How often does a book on education achieve both literary and visual artistry? How often would you expect any book on education to be both practical and inspiring? This book is a newly published annotated journal for elementary classroom teachers suitable for any teacher who wants to take their practice to the next level. It would be a great gift for a new teacher or someone in an induction and mentoring program. Read Steve's full review