Teaching Matters Newsletter - April 24, 2012


April 24, 2012  |  Sign up to receive Teaching Matters

Georgetown Student

Georgetown Student Makes a Case for Higher Expectations

Georgetown University freshman Darryl Robinson, 19, says D.C. schools left him unprepared for the rigors of Georgetown. He calls on teachers to expect more from students, including more critical thinking and problem solving. Read his editorial from the Washington Post. The photo above was taken by Matt McClain for the Post.

Read about the Department of Education's recent efforts to boost postsecondary success

RESPECT in the News

Teaching Ambassador Holds Roundtables in South Dakota

Read the article on Keloland television's website about Sharla Steever's recent roundtable discussions with teachers in Pierre, South Dakota about the RESPECT Project. “I like to call [the RESPECT vision] a living and breathing document,” Steever told reporters. “It’s changing constantly as groups are meeting in these roundtable discussions.” Visit the RESPECT Project website. 

Five Ways Educators Can Stop Bullies

A new documentary film, BULLY, follows several students to illustrate how bullying happens in schools—and how educators often struggle to stop it. This blog article outlines strategies that administrators, teachers, and other school staff can utilize to prevent bullying and to respond effectively when it does occur.

Read the related ED blog about the first Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Conference on Safe Schools and Communities, which took place in March at the University of Texas.
Stop Bullying sign

Become an Education Champions Fellow - Apply Now!

Apply today for the opportunity to join the second cohort of the Education Champions Fellowship. Fellows receive a stipend and are provided with unique opportunities to advise top education leaders at a conference. There they also work with other excellent educators to help find solutions to education's greatest challenges. All travel and lodging expenses are covered for the Fellows. If you are unable to apply, you can refer other teachers for the Fellowship by filling out a quick nomination form.

The Education Champions Fellowship is hosted by America Achieves and leverages the voice of a diverse group of the nation's most effective principals and teachers to improve national education policy and increase the practical tools available to educators nationwide. Applications are due May 7, 2012.

Jose Rico

Teachers@ED: José Rico

As the oldest child of Mexican immigrants, José Rico has dedicated himself "to design[ing] education programs that value students, include their parents and expect high standards from everyone," first as a high school science teacher, then as the founder of a school, and now as the executive director for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Read his story.

Teachers' Notes

  • On April 30, participate in the National Rural Education Technology Summit 2.0, which will focus on engaging administrators, teachers, and students in the conversation and using technology to overcome distance and bring resources to rural schools. Register here. Read the related blog
  • The Teaching Channel offers resources for teachers including videos, lessons, and teaching ideas. During Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7-11), the network will be giving away prizes to teachers.  To find out more, go to their website.
  • Watch the latest "School Days" edition, featuring just-announced data on student progress at our nation’s lowest-performing schools. Also learn about Secretary Arne Duncan’s visit to the South by Southwest Festival and discover a new tool to help high school guidance counselors make sure their students are applying for federal aid for college.

Top 5 Teacher Quotes

Wisdom from teachers heard by ED
5. Three teachers react to RESPECT vision: 1: "I'd love to work in this school!" 2: "Me too. Let's go start it somewhere." 3: "I'll drive." (Teachers in N.J.)
4. "I left Microsoft last summer to become a teacher. I should finish my teaching degree and be fully certified this summer. There is no greater calling, no more fulfilling vocation, than teaching. If you have been considering a career change, then do it... now. The kids need you." (John, on ED blog.)
3. "We need good teachers to stay as teachers, not move to administration.” (Teacher in Va.)
2. “I need time to be with other teachers and grow professionally.” (Teacher in Colo.)
1. On lock-step teacher salary scales: “People are asking for a Master’s [degree] salary without having Master’s skills.” (Teacher in N.J.)
teacher listening to panel

TEACH: Shaping the Future of the Profession

Almost two million teachers are set to retire in the next ten years. Filling those two million jobs with a talented new generation of teachers is among the goals of the revamped TEACH.org, which was officially kicked off last week by Microsoft’s Partners in Learning division. Read more.

Teaching Ambassadors Recommend Reading

  • From Steve Owens: The Mindful Teacher (2009) by Elizabeth MacDonald and Dennis Shirley. Against a policy backdrop of reductionist accountability run amok, this book quietly restores a measure of sanity and balance. This book could not have arrived at a better time for educators feeling under siege. Read Steve Owens' full review.
  • From Greg Mullenholz: A Hope in the Unseen - An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League (1998) by Ron Suskind. It should have seemed a celebrated notion that Cedric Jennings, a senior at Ballou high school in Washington, D.C. during the mid-1990’s, would be among the 80 of 1,300 students in his school with a B or higher average and one of the very few to attend college, at Brown University nonetheless! However, as Suskind points out in this Pulitzer Prize winning book, Cedric may have been lied to all along. Despite his top status among his classmates, he is under-prepared and unprepared for the realities of rigorous, high expectations that a university like Brown has for its students. Secretary Duncan has said frequently that we need to stop lying to our students, to stop celebrating accomplishment according to low-bar standards, and to ensure that we are providing the rigorous education our students so desperately need. Cedric’s story is both upsetting and inspiring and it speaks to the much-needed reforms that have taken place in D.C. and across the nation since he was a student.