TEACHING MATTERS -- March 7, 2013


March 7, 2013|  Sign up to receive Teaching Matters

Code.org video

Over the next 10 years, there will be 1.4 million new jobs available in computer science, but only about 400,000 grads will be qualified for those jobs.


An Organization with a Mission

A new nonprofit has emerged that has a single-minded focus on bringing the teaching of computer coding into America’s K-12 schools. The site's founder, Hadi Partovi, has gathered a virtual who’s who of supporters, including Mark Zuckerberg, Will.i.am, Chris Bosh, and Arne Duncan, to name a few. Read the story. Watch the launch video that was created to inspire the next generation of coders and innovators.


Program Gets Pumped Up

First Lady Michelle Obama is determined  to bring physical activity back to schools. She is calling for school “champions” to encourage all students to be more active and has set the ambitious goal of engaging 50,000 schools in the next five yearsLearn more and sign up your school.

Children running


Principal Fellows Program Announced

In a speech before the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Arne Duncan announced that ED will be starting a Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program similar to the Teaching Ambassador Fellowship that has existed at the Department since 2008. Some principals may be employed for a full year and others will consult with the Department from their schools on a part-time basis. Details for the new program are still being worked out, but the program will begin during the 2013-2014 school year. Read the story in EdWeek (Adams).

a lesson in perimeter and area


A Lesson in Area and Perimeter

In this Teaching Channel video, sixth grade teacher Suney Park demonstrates how to involve students in active learning of Common Core State Standard math.6.G.1. For this lesson, Park asks students to work together to solve an authentic problem and to visualize the meaning of their solution. Watch the video.

Teacher Testifies about Evaluation

"As I began my first year teaching at my first school, I recognized that enthusiasm was the benchmark by which teachers were deemed effective. No longer was the focus on how you taught but how the administration thought you taught."

Testimony of Emanuel F. Harper IV, French teacher at Herron High School (Indianapolis, Ind.), before the U.S. House of Representatives  Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education February 28, 2013.

Quote to Note


MARCH 13-14

How Teachers Can Participate 

The third International Summit on the Teaching Profession takes place in Amsterdam next week. The U.S. is sending a delegation including Under Secretary Martha Kanter, AFT President Randi Weingarten, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, Chris Minnick (of the Counsel of Chief State School Officers) and two other advisors to Arne Duncan. Teachers may participate in the event in a number of ways. They can peruse the materials on this year's theme--evaluating teaching quality, view the opening and closing ceremonies, or read the OECD Report, Teachers for a 21st Century at the summit webpage. On March 13 and 14, educators may Tweet comments to #istp2013.

International Summit on the Teaching Profession

Google Hangout with NBA players and student athletes


Arne Duncan Hangs Out with Students and NBA

Prior to Arne Duncan “schooling” the competition during his third appearance in the NBA Celebrity All Star Game in Houston last month, he sat down with former NBA All Star Allan Houston, current Golden State Warrior Harrison Barnes, and the WNBA’s Maya Moore to speak with five high school student-athletes from across the country during the Department of Education’s first Google Hangout. The discussion centered on the importance of education and how sports can play an important role in maturation on and off the court. Read more and watch the hangout.

Resources from the School Turnaround Learning Community

Supportive School Discipline Webinar Series. This series of archived webinars is designed to increase understanding of school disciplinary practices that push youth out of school, often into the justice system.The webinars provide practical examples of alternative approaches that ensure academic engagement and success for all students while maintaining school safety. View the webinars.

Utilizing the Village: Effective Re-engagement and Recovery Programming in Rural Communities 

Alternatives to Traditional School Discipline: The Multi-Tiered Behavioral Health Prevention Framework

Turnaround Leadership Academy Offers Professional Development. The Turnaround Leadership Academy is a rigorous training program designed to prepare experienced and aspiring principals to lead Massachusetts' highest-need urban and rural schools. The problem-based program is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and sponsored by Teachers21 in partnership with the New York City Leadership Academy. The second session begins in July 2013. Get more information.


U.S. On Track to Meet 2020 Goal

According to a report update released at the third annual “Building a Grad Nation” Summit, the U.S. is on track to meet the national Grad Nation goal of a 90% high school graduation rate by the Class of 2020. The national high school graduation rate has increased 6.5 percentage points since 2001, to 78.2%, with an average growth of 1.25 points each year from 2006 to 2010. As a result of this acceleration, more than 200,000 additional students received diplomas in 2010 than 2006. In large part, the growth was driven by significant improvements in African-American (from 59.2% in 2006 to 66.1% in 2010) and Hispanic (from 61% in 2006 to 71.4% in 2010) graduation rates. Read the report.

Common Core Connections

NATIONAL EDUCATOR SURVEY: TEACHERS NOT YET READY FOR THE COMMON CORE. Recent data collected from a survey of teachers show that while teachers say that implementing common standards will help them to improve their teaching, the majority feel only moderately prepared to teach the standards to their students. They report that they are notably less ready in the case of certain student groups, such as English-language learners and students with disabilities. Few reported that their textbooks and curricular materials are sufficiently aligned with the common standards. Download A National Survey of Teacher Perspectives on the Common Core (produced by EPE Research Center).

 5 BIG IDEAS FOR IMPLEMENTING THE COMMON CORE. On Edutopia, Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins take a look at five big ideas for implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Their five-part series clears up misunderstandings and offers recommendations for designing a coherent curriculum and assessment system for realizing the standards' promise. Read more.

HAPPY TALES FROM A COMMON CORE CLASSROOM. Read this interesting article by high school teacher Lyn Cannaday about how years of mandates and testing have eroded the rich content of her intermediate (non-honors, non-AP) classes, putting students on "entirely different reading paths." Cannaday describes how the CCSS are returning the good literature and the joy to her classroom.  

Duncan and Sebelius Read Across America


America’s Middle Class Promise Starts Early

In this piece from the Huffington Post, Secretaries Duncan and Sebelius discuss how to achieve the President's objective of restoring the promise that people who work hard and shoulder their responsibilities should be part of a thriving middle class. Read how they link closing the opportunity gap to a new plan that will deliver high-quality preschool for every American child and improve services to children from birth through age three.


Did You Know?

ED joins Google+ and Arne Hangs Out

 ED’s Google+ page is now live, and 7,616 people have already added it into their circles. Based on the initial response, it appears that the page is on track to become an important communication tool for ED. Visit it here. During the NBA All Star Weekend, for instance, ED used the Google+ page to stream the first-ever Google+ Hangout with Arne. Watch it here. ED’s Facebook page, which has been active for a longer period of time, has 13,681 followers. 

question mark

Chart from NSF data


Gender Bias Improving (but not in Computer Science)

National and collegiate efforts to increase the number of women graduating with STEM-related degrees has seen great success in fields like biology and chemistry, but the fight isn’t over yet. In the field of computer science, the number of women receiving degrees dramatically dropped between 1984 and 2006. Leaders in the field are trying to figure out how to make male-heavy programming courses more appealing to women so that both the market and the learners benefit.

The New Math

sticky notepad

Teachers' Notes

ED DATA 3.0 LAUNCHED. The Department recently launched version 3.0 of ED Data Express, an interactive website aimed at making accurate and timely K-12 education data available to educators and the public. The site consolidates relevant data collected from several sources and provides tools that allow users to explore data and create individualized reports.   

• THE CASE FOR TEACHER VOICE IN POLICY MAKING. Educators for Excellence leaders Ama Nyamekye and Sydney Morris argue that teachers should be "agents of change" in schools and discuss how to increase teachers' voices in policy discussions. Read more.

• THE NEW NORMAL: COLLEGE DEGREES. In this 3-minute video from NBC News, Catherine Rampell of the New York Times discusses why more employers are requiring college degrees for even the most basic jobs.

FIELD TRIP TO DC? If you are planning to visit the nation's capital within the next eight months, you might want to take advantage of free professional development offered by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  Learn more.

open book

Recommended Reading

• CAN STUDENT-DRIVEN LEARNING HAPPEN UNDER COMMON CORE? Middle school math and science teacher Marsha Ratzel argues, "There is hope that rote learning and teacher-driven classrooms will not be necessary in order for students to pass the test." Read her article (from Mind/Shift).

• COUNSELORS TAKE CORE ACTION. Implementing the Common Core State Standards: The Role of the School Counselor (developed by Achieve, NAESP, NASSP, and College Summit) presents a terrific action brief highlighting what the new state standards mean for schools, teachers, and students. The brief includes astute observations, including a primer on the standards, a case for action, a description of "12 Schoolwide Instructional Shifts" taking place now, and guidance for school counselors to support these shifts. The companion pieces for Secondary and  Elementary school leaders also are worth reading.

HOOKED ON READING. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel reminds us all of the importance of childhood reading on the anniversary of Read Across America Day, which took place March 1. Read his article in EdWeek.

What are you reading, Maureen McLaughlin?

Top 5 Teacher Quotes

Wisdom from educators heard by ED

On February 26, Arne Duncan sent this question via Twitter: Teachers, what was your biggest challenge during your first year of teaching? Here is a sampling of responses. Read the rest on Storify.

5. "As a new teacher I needed mentorship, coaching, and feedback from effective instructional leaders.'” (Barry Bosacker)

4. "Resources. As a Business Ed major I was hired to teach computer courses...I had a lab full of computers that did not work." (Nina Packer)

3. "Learning to navigate school culture as well as create engaging activities for my students. Lots of late nights." (Phillip Cook)

2. "Discipline and getting the class under control. (Aya)

1. "New #teachers need support and for their voices to be heard and valued!" (Liam Goldrick)

Digital Learning Day