American Teacher Pay Compared -- THE TEACHERS EDITION - June 23, 2016

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

June 23, 2016  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

ED Offers Guidance on How to Support Youth in Foster Care

Research shows that children who change schools frequently make less academic progress than their peers and fall farther behind with each school change. Youth in the foster care system are particularly vulnerable to these types of changes. Today ED and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released guidance to states, school districts and child welfare agencies on how to support children in foster care under ESSA. ED is also releasing a letter from Secretary King to states and districts stressing the importance and utility of stakeholder engagement as they plan to transition to the ESSA. 

Jess Blog photo


As the principal of Mott Haven Academy in the Bronx, New York, Jessica Nauiokas works to prevent her students, many of whom are involved in the child welfare system, from falling through the cracks. In this entry on our Homeroom blog, Nauiokas, a Principal Ambassador Fellow, tells the story of one student at her school, who despite moving addresses nine times in six years, has thrived as a result of tireless work in partnership with city agencies to make sure she gets what she needs.


American Teacher Pay Compared

A fascinating new graph compares teachers in the United States and around the world to similarly educated individuals. No big surprises: in most industrialized countries, relative teacher pay is higher than it is in the United States. But a look at the extent to which U.S. salaries would need to increase to match relative salaries in a variety of other countries looks fascinating. Can you guess what country pays its teachers the best? (Startz, Brookings).

Homeless Children

Homeless Students Struggle to Get By

"More than 1 million public school students in the United States have no room to call their own, no desk to do their homework, no bed to rely on at night," Anya Kamenetz reports on NPR. And while a federal law is meant to give homeless youth the same access to school as anyone else, most youth and liaisons to them say that isn't happening. Learn more about challenges homeless youth face from a new report by Civic Enterprises and how some of them are doing. 

Dinosaur Maker

National Week of Making Celebrated

The White House and a number of federal agencies are participating in the National Week of Making this week. The “makers” initiative reimagines “shop class” for the 21st century and gives students the types of hands-on STEM learning experiences that spark interest in science and technology careers. On Friday, Secretary King announced 10 winners in the $200,000 Career and Technical Education (CTE) Makeover Challenge. The announcement coincides with the National Maker Faire that features makers from across the country who will be the next generation of tinkerers and dreamers to bring new ideas to our nation.  

The School District With 100 Percent Organic Lunches


California's Sausalito Marin City School District will become the nation's first 100-percent organic and non-GMO school district in the country when school doors open in August. The program draws largely on local fresh foods and "disrupts the cycle of unhealthy, prepackaged, heat-and-serve meals that dominate school kitchens," says a chef. They'll also use a garden and nutrition curriculum that teaches students about where their food comes from, how it's grown, and why it's good for them (EcoWatch). While we're talking about lunch, check out this Japanese school's approach to lunch, where the 45-minute lunch period is considered an educational period, just like math or reading. 

Redesigned Classrooms Better Serve Trauma-Affected Kids

The bright colors on the walls at many elementary schools can actually be a trigger for traumatized or autistic students, say some experts. That's why the redesigned classrooms at one Massachusetts school are using a "walk in the woods" theme with rich browns and yellows. Other schools are also moving away from "the institutional style of schools that we saw maybe 50 years ago with a big square brick building and long corridors" (Taylor, Good). 

Eighth Grader's Hilarious Graduation Speech Goes Viral


Illinois eighth grader Jack Aiello got a standing ovation -- and an Internet following -- from his spot-on impressions of presidential candidates during his eighth grade graduation speech earlier this month. The speech marries impersonations with lessons learned during his time at Thomas Middle School. After going viral, Aiello has appeared on major morning news shows and even drew praise from some of the candidates he imitated (Silverberg, Daily Herald). 

Teens Like Science, Not Science Class

While teens report being interested in subjects like biology, physics, and engineering, they tend not to enjoy those classes in school. What accounts for the difference? A study reflecting the thoughts of some 1,500 teenagers suggests they take issue with the way their science classes are taught: they prefer hands-on experiences like field trips and experiments, while their classes are often discussion- or textbook-based (Zubrzycki, Education Week). 


Charter Schools Mark 25 Years; EdWeek Explores Two Models

Twenty-five years ago this month, Minnesota passed the nation's first charter school law. Since then, the charter school movement has expanded exponentially and taken many different shapes. Today about 5 percent of the nation's public school students attend charter schools, and they range from schools like Minnesota's teacher-led Avalon School to California's Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, both of which are featured in this Education Week video

Five Questions to Promote Success in High-Poverty Schools

Teachers at high-performing, high-poverty schools should ask themselves a set of questions to ensure they are fully focused on maximizing student, professional, and system-level learning. Too often, these schools rely on a "pedagogy of poverty" that overuses teacher-controlled discussions and decision-making, say turnaround experts and authors William Parrett and Kathleen Budge, as they propose a roadmap for a different alternative (Edutopia). 


Kids Weigh in on Value of Diversity

There remain 15,000 highly segregated schools in this country, 62 years after Brown v. Board. Some New York students who studied the topic of segregation weigh in about what that means and how they've experienced diversity and the lack thereof in their schools (WNYC).

Resources to Use

What We Heard from Educators This Week


5. "Differentiated professional development promotes growth and learning just as differentiated instruction promotes student growth" (Teacher, California).

4. "I remember being a new teacher and being shocked at how much PD I went to that we later decided to drop or ignore" (Teacher, Texas).

3. "PD is largely mindset and buy-in. Positive adult culture and professionalism in schools is an amplifier for teacher growth and development" (Teacher, Louisiana). 

2. "If students are only incentivized by grades, where does that leave a love of learning? There are no grades for lifelong learners" (Teacher, New York).

1. "It's hard to prepare students for jobs that don't yet exist using a model that prepared students for employers who have been dead for 100 years" (Principal, Alabama).