Teacher Turnover Costs Billions, While Interest in Teaching Falls -- THE TEACHERS EDITION -- April 28, 2016

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

April 28, 2016  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

King Meets with Teachers of Undocumented Students


U.S. Department of Education Secretary John King met with teachers of undocumented youth last week to hear their stories and concerns about how to best support this segment of the population. ED created a resource guide -- including financial aid and scholarship information, tips for schools and teachers, and legal guidelines -- to help support these students at all levels of the education system. A recent report out of Georgetown Law reports that there are some 770,000 undocumented students in the United States, and that they encounter barriers in their public schools

Alice Dominguez


Many students were on high school English teacher Alice Dominguez's mind as she spoke with Secretary King and other educators at the Tea with Teachers last week. Among them was Wildin David Guillen Acosta, an undocumented youth who attended school in her Durham, N.C., school district until he was taken into custody by immigration officials. In this entry on our Homeroom blog, she reflects on how talking with other teachers left her feeling inspired and supported, knowing that others are pushing for the same kind of change.  

Teacher Turnover Costs Billions, As Interest in Teaching Falls

Nearly half of all new teachers will leave their classrooms within five years -- a move that will cost districts some $2.2 billion per year to replace them. Among the top reasons are a lack of autonomy and student misbehavior (Phillips, NPR). Meanwhile, a nationwide survey of college freshmen revealed that the number who intend to major in teaching has reached its lowest point in 45 years (Flannery, NEAToday). ED's proposal for states and districts to make teaching the best job in the world sounds more and more urgent to this writer. 

Virtual Reality Helping Preservice Teachers Get Ready


The University of Virginia's Curry School of Education is using virtual classrooms of unruly students to help teachers get ready for classroom management challenges. Experts say the program allows teachers to experiment with different techniques and get real-time feedback without impacting real students (Will, Education Week). 


teacher appreciation week

May 2 – 6 – Teacher Appreciation Week

May 3 – Teacher of the Year Ceremony.  Watch live as President Obama announces the Teacher of the Year.

May 4 – Teacher Call-a-Thon. Submit the name of a teacher you want ED to call and say thanks

Follow #ThankATeacher on social media and ENJOY THE LOVE!
Tell the world about your amazing students and colleagues with #WhyITeach. (Selfies with your students, parents and colleagues are always fun).

What Classroom Walkthroughs Should Really Be Looking For

Classroom walkthroughs are pretty popular tools for teacher evaluation, but often they are more about compliance than professional growth. Education Week blogger Peter DeWitt shares eight things that should be looked at on classroom walkthroughs. They include comparing teacher talk and student talk; one researcher found that teachers ask about 200 questions per day, while students ask only two questions per week. 

Parents’ Perceptions of Academic Achievement Not in Line with Performance Realities

A survey of public school parents found that 90 percent thought their children were performing on or above grade level in math and reading. Yet the reality is very different. About half of white students are on grade level in math and reading by fourth grade; the percentages are lower for African-Americans and Hispanics. The solution, according to Bibb Hubbard, who founded Learning Heroes, which commissioned the survey, might be in building better relationships between teachers and parents (Kamenetz, NPR). 


Helping Students Learn From Failures

Many students think failing is bad. It doesn't have to be. College professor Manu Kapur shares how teachers can use students' mistakes to help their interest levels spike, instead of leading them to feel badly about themselves. He suggests that students learn more from failed attempts than they do simply from being told facts. Singapore has adopted Kapur's productive failure instructional method and will track data to examine its results (SchwartzKQED Mind/Shift).

The Nine Stubborn Elephants in American Classrooms

Many of the things we do in schools are merely attempts to do "the wrong thing right" rather than "the right thing," according to former teacher Will Richardson. Now a top speaker on education innovation, Richardson names nine "elephants in the classroom" that we know don't work yet we continue to do anyway. On the list are our commitment to "teaching content" even though most students will forget most of it anyway and the fact that most students are bored or disengaged in school (Huffington Post).  


Thousands Of Schools Will Celebrate Character Day 

Thousands of schools worldwide are planning for Character Day, an annual celebration of who we are and who we want to be in the world and how to develop character strengths like resilience, grit, empathy, and kindness -- all rooted in evidence-based research. Principals and teachers can draw from an online hub of free resources and lesson plans and an online conversation with leading experts on character education. Watch The Science of Character (8 mins) andThe Adaptable Mind to get a better sense of what types of films will be shown on Character Day, held September 22, and register before school is out.

A Tale of Two School Fundraisers: Hot Dogs vs. Gold Coins

Stories about how different American schools are from one another take many forms: they highlight achievement gaps, resource gaps, opportunity gaps, and more. New York City's School-Stories.org took a different approach, covering two very different school fundraisers. At one, a teacher in Queens sold $1 hot dogs and drinks out of her classroom to fund a field trip. At another school, not too far away, raffle tickets were sold for an online auction that sought to raise $275,000 for things like extracurriculars and extended library hours. Meanwhile, NPR recently examined school funding, looking at a district that spends less than $10,000 per student each year as compared to another that spends almost $30,000 per student.

Class Trips Snag Nation's Hottest Tickets to 'Hamilton,' Cuba


Thirteen-hundred students scored the hottest Broadway ticket in town when their classes went to see "Hamilton" earlier this month. They're the first of 20,000 New York City high school students who will get tickets for which others are paying thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, a group of Maryland elementary schoolers took a first-of-its-kind trip to Cuba, where they attended classes, played baseball, and danced with classmates from the country where travel restrictions have recently loosened (Fertig, NPR; St. George, Washington Post). 

Resources to Use

  • What Can Be Learned about DLLs. A year and a half after researchers convened for a National Research Summit on the Early Care and Education of Dual Language Learners (DLLs), they have released five papers that focused on new directions in research, policy, and practice relative to young DLLs. The papers are now accessible, as are shorter briefs tailored to various audiences including administrators, policymakers, “policy thinkers,” and a specific set for parents available in seven different languages.
  • Readiness Roadmap. A new survey by our partners at Learning Heroes asked parents to share their hopes, expectations and concerns when it comes to raising their kids. The findings? Being a parent comes with big dreams and common concerns. Check out the Readiness Roadmap for top-notch resources designed to support parents based on their top priorities. Start here!  

What We Heard from Educators This Week


Teachers from 27 states spent last weekend in New Orleans as part of Teach to Lead, a summit designed to empower teachers to bring their leadership ideas to life. Below are some things we heard there. You've got one month to submit your idea to the next summit this summer in Minneapolis.

5. "What do you do with an idea? You change the world" (Teacher, Texas).
4. "There is a misconception in society that teachers aren't leaders. Teaching is leading" (Teacher, Alabama).

3. "Teacher leaders are not just rabble-rousers; they are the key to moving the profession forward" (Teacher, Pennsylvania). 

2. "People talk about nurturing the whole child. As leaders, we need to nurture our teachers and think about the whole adult as well" (Administrator, Louisiana).

1. "As teacher leaders, we're responsible for taking back our profession and we have the power to influence colleagues" (Teacher, Louisiana).