Teaching Matters Newsletter - May 31, 2012


May 31, 2012  |  Sign up to receive Teaching Matters

Rayna Aylward with students

Lessons from the Trenches

After shadowing Julian Hipkins III at Capitol City Charter Upper School for a day, Rayna Aylward, a Special Assistant in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, learns first-hand the meaning of student engagement. She admires one teacher's ability to meaningfully engage his students in their learning and reflects on the lesson's lasting impact. Read more.

Eight More States Receive NCLB Waivers

On Tuesday, Secretary Duncan announced that eight more states (Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island) have been approved for flexibility from key provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). This addition brings the total number of states that have received waivers to 19. Read the ED blog post. Read more about NCLB flexibility

One Teacher's Museum Classroom

Stepping into Keil Hileman's classroom at Monticello Trails Middle school in Shawnee, Kan., feels like stepping into a wing of a Smithsonian Museum, according to Patrick Kerr, an ED official who had the opportunity to visit this classroom during Teacher Appreciation Week. Kerr reflects on the amazing talent of teachers to connect with students and the need to inspire the next generation of teachers to join the force in light of the baby boomers retiring in the near future. Read more. Watch Keil Hileman's interview on Education Nation.
Teacher sitting in his classroom

Teacher Appreciation Week Wrap-Up

During Teacher Appreciation Week, the Department of Education celebrated and recognized teachers in a number of ways. Check out these post-celebratory reflections:

official signing document at LMC conference

A Shared Vision of Teaching

Last week’s Labor Management Collaboration (LMC) Conference brought together a number of key educational leaders who often are at odds with one another.  At the opening plenary session leaders from eight organizations signed a vision document for Transforming the Teaching Profession. The leaders included heads of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Council of the Great City Schools, the American Association of School Administrators, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, National School Boards Association, and the U.S. Department of Education. Mark Miller, from the Washington Post, moderated the event and described it as “an educational version of The Godfather, when the 8 families come together to make peace.” Randi Weingarten of the AFT said, “This is part of our real work, the preparation and continued development of teachers—if we want our kids to succeed.” Watch a video of the LMC Conference. Read the related ED blog post.

RESPECT in the News

  • Eighty-four Teaching Fellows from South Carolina universities visited the Department of Education and shared their pre-service perspectives on the RESPECT Project and teacher preparation. Read the ED Week blog post.  
  • Did you know that 16 Teacher Ambassadors are helping to change education? In this post on the Teachers Ignite site, Anne Ostholthoff highlights the important role these teachers have in bringing teacher voice to the Department's vision for transforming the teaching profession.  

New Race to the Top District Competition Focuses on the Classroom

Secretary Duncan announced a new $400 million Race to the Top competition last week aimed squarely at the classroom level with a focus on the relationship between teachers and students. The new competition asks districts “to show us how they can personalize and individualize education for a set of students in their schools,” Duncan noted. “We need to take classroom learning beyond a one-size-fits-all model and bring it into the 21st century.” Read the ED.gov blog post. The proposed competition is available for comment until June 8, 2012.  Read more about and comment on the proposal. Read the related NY Times article.
Education sign above graduates' heads

The New Math

Women in Education

  • 75% of US school teachers are female, according to Forbes.  
  • A 2011 study indicates that 24% of superintendents are women , up from 13% in 1992.
  • In a 2009 study, female elementary and middle school teachers earned over 14% less than similarly-employed men.
  • A 2007 study by the American Council of Education found that women were 38% of all chief academic officers, 50% of all central senior academic affairs officers, and 36% of all academic deans.
  • According to the Condition of Education 2011, in the fall of 2008, 2 million more women were enrolled in higher education than men. Sixty-two percent of all associate degrees, 57% of all bachelor’s degrees, 60% of all master’s degrees, and 50% of all doctoral degrees were held by women.

teacher and student at chalkboard

Teachers@ED: Tate Gould

As a former National Board Certified Teacher, Tate Gould connects his previous experience facilitating student discovery of multiple ways to solve mathematical proofs with his current work helping states to implement education reform through Race to the Top grants.  Read more.

Teachers' Notes

  • Stay informed! In addition to receiving Teaching Matters, Secretary Arne Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education invite you to join thousands of educators, parents and community members who are staying connected with the Department. Choose to receive resources related specifically to your interests, such as elementary & secondary education, higher education, civil rights, and many more! Please sign up here or visit www.ed.gov/emailupdates to update your preferences. 
  • Watch the latest School Days broadcast, which highlights the Green Ribbon Schools award and the call for Congressional action to avoid potential high student loan interest rates.
  • Check out this new Center for Instruction resource that aids in dropout prevention by providing a tool and process for supporting students who are at risk of dropping out of school with both school-wide strategies and targeted interventions. It also supports broader school improvement efforts, including the implementation of School Improvement Grants (SIG), by facilitating the use of data to identify students in need of support or intervention.

Top 5 Teacher Quotes

Wisdom from teachers heard by ED

5.  On the need for state and federal policy makers to shadow teachers: "One day in the classroom will help others to understand that teaching is not just providing a book and assigning work. It is being able to make instant changes to plans you have worked on for days but find that it is not working. It is making a decision to allow John to get away with not doing his work today because you know that he is under stressful conditions at home. It is stopping your language arts lesson to allow students to observe the breaking out of a butterfly. It is preparing a goodie bag for a homeless child and making him feel special without making him feel like someone who is more needy than others.'” (Aimee on ED blog)
TOY speaking
4. “The perception of what teachers do is catching up to what teachers [actually] do.” (Wash.)
3. “We all have a teacher we can name who made a difference.” (NEA President Dennis Van Roekel) 
2. After having a discussion with fellow teachers about transforming the teaching profession: “The ideal that teaching could be a respected profession is energizing." (Middletown, Va.)
1. “You have to be called to teach. The work is hard, continuous, and we’re not paid enough.” (Memphis, Tenn.)

Teaching Ambassadors Recommend Reading