Teacher Prep Regulations Released -- THE TEACHERS EDITION -- October 20, 2016

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

October 20, 2016  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

Department Releases Long Awaited Teacher Prep Regulations

Teacher Regs

Last week, the Department released new regulations addressing several aspects of teacher preparation programs. The regulations aim to bring transparency to the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs, provide programs with ongoing feedback to help them improve continuously, and respond to educators across the country who do not feel ready to enter the classroom after graduation. The new guidance is part of the Obama administration’s efforts to elevate the teaching profession, and to improve the education of all students. Other initiatives include Teach to Lead, the Teacher Incentive Fund, and the Best Job in the World program.


In his blog on Homeroom, Nate Bowling, the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year and one of four finalists for 2016 National Teacher of the Year, reflects on his early career missteps and what he has learned after 11 years of teachingHe highlights ways pre-service teachers and new teachers can find their stride sooner, and ultimately, keep them in the classroom longer.


Nate Bowling

Well-Rounded and Civic Education Go Hand-in-Hand

Yesterday, Secretary King spoke about the importance of civic education as part of a well-rounded education, in order to prepare our children for being active and educated citizens. He shared research about the positive impacts on students that learn about our democracy and receive effective civics education. iCivics and the National Council of Social Studies penned an op-ed about the urgency for teaching civic education throughout all subjects, with more examples of how ESSA funds can be used.  

POTUS speaks in D.C.

Obama Touts Legacy on Education

Amid a sea of students clicking once-in-a-lifetime photos on their cell phones, President Obama delivered the last education speech of his administration at Washington, D.C.’s Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, where he announced that the nation’s high school graduation rate reached a record level of 83.2% in 2015, a continuation of an upward trend and improvement across all ethnic groups. Secretary King praised teachers, students and local and state education leaders, even as he admitted decreasing test scores on national math and reading tests are still a real concern (Matos and Brown, Washington Post). 

read at the barber

Read More at the Barber: It Pays to Get a Haircut 

In cities around the country like Ypsilanti — a working-class town just outside Ann Arbor,  Houston, Dubuque (Ia.); and Columbus (Ohio), the barbershop literacy program is giving kids a discount if they read a book aloud to their barber. Teachers say it’s making a difference for students, and barbers recognize the benefits too, echoing that not only are they seeing improved reading and comprehension but also an increase in the bottom line (Guerra, nprED).

girls and stem academy

Bringing STEM and Athletics to Girls

Two all-girls schools in the Los Angeles, Calif., area, seek to boost girls in areas where males traditionally lead: STEM and athletics.  The Girls Academic Leadership Academy is characterized by diversity as well as an attention to STEM activities such as flight simulation and maker spaces. The Girls Athletic Leadership School, a charter in the San Fernando Valley, also serves a high-need population and emphasizes health, wellness, and athletics (Yap, The Atlantic).

pencil's history

From Found Graphite to Pencil Lead 

Fifth-graders from Green Acres Elementary (Lebanon, Ore.) reached out to NPR Education to find out how pencil lead is made. Their journey goes back to the mid-16th century when shepherds used graphite to mark sheep and follows a path to a factory in New Jersey. Today, most students use No. 2 pencils. See more about “the sketchy history of pencil lead.”

Better Balance in Hiring of Counselors and Police Officers


Attn: highlights the shocking number of school police officers versus the alarmingly low number of counselors in schools. The video shares the skills and strategies that counselors use to deescalate situations with students. The group also points out the long-term impact on students when arrested. 

French, Spanish or Coding? 

While some schools have allowed students to substitute coding for their foreign language requirement, most educators agree that coding should be part of the curriculum, but not as a replacement for learning Spanish, French or another foreign language. Research shows that bilingualism benefits cognitive development, yet employers today value computer science skills more than the ability to speak another language—that’s why some lawmakers have introduced bills to remove schools' foreign language requirement. Most schools, however, are striving to deliver a well-rounded education (Galvin, U.S. News & World Report).   

Paonia high school rural

Creative Solutions Water the AP Desert in Rural Schools

Rural schools often lack the resources, particularly qualified teachers, to offer AP classes. But tiny Paonia High School (Paonia, Colo.) offers several more AP classes thanks to the Colorado Education Initiative, a program which funds new approaches to increasing numbers and diversity of students in AP classes. The school “teamed up with two nearby schools, rearranging bell schedules and setting up videoconference classrooms to more than triple their collective AP offerings.” This creative thinking has made a big difference for the students at Paonia, who know that AP classes will prepare them for college (Schimel and Todd, High Country News). The story is part of the "Small towns, big change" project through the Solutions Journalism Network.

Building Teacher Networks in Rural Communities

Another example of creative ways that rural schools have coped with the lack of opportunities brought about by isolation can be found in one group’s experience in building a teacher network from scratch in rural areas of AlaskaIdahoOregon, and Washington state. Find out more about how some rural educators created their own local teacher networks (Parsley, ShankerInstitute.org).

statue of liberty

Bearing Witness to the Immigrant Experience

Set against a backdrop of the Statue of Liberty and its inscription welcoming newcomers, poetry of the immigrant experience is a potentially powerful classroom maneuver. Teachers looking for ways to highlight experiences of immigrants to America  will find this blog post useful. Teaching this poetry “highlights the human aspect of immigration often occluded by political rhetoric, and it engages youth voice.” Specific ideas range from conducting a poet study (resources are provided) to hosting a poetry competition (Burnett, Edutopia).

Alabama museum of natural history

Students Become Museum Educators

Imagine walking through a museum with a Bluetooth-enabled device in hand. Your device lights up whenever you near a specific exhibit and provides you with enhanced information about the exhibit. But who created that information? Answer: Sixth-grade students from Brookwood Middle School (Tuscaloosa County, Ala). Students spent a couple of weeks researching the content and writing the enrichment material for the Alabama Museum of Natural History. Brookwood principal Daniel Bray noted that the approach mirrors the students’ future work experience -- “they had collaborative teams…very reflective of how things will be in the future in the workplace,” he noted (Edwards, abc3340.com).

Student Outlook on Teachers of Color

Teachers of color

A recent study uncovered that most students, regardless of race, look favorably on teachers of color surprising researchers. This information is contrary to recent findings that teachers of all races look less favorably on students of color. Researchers’ next steps are to dig into preservice teachers’ multicultural beliefs and self-awareness to see how it affects their effectiveness in the classroom. (Kamenetz, NPR)

Controlling the Factors of Stress for Teachers

It should not have surprised The Atlantic writer, Timothy D. Walker, that American teachers are stressed, burned out, and dissatisfied with their jobs. It may be because he teachers in Finland, but Walker points out that the amount of new initiatives teachers must learn and implement (on a seemly constant basis) make it hard for teachers to feel like they are masters of their profession leading to job dissatisfaction. He shares recommendations for district and school leaders for combatting these issues and keeping great teachers in the classroom. 

Resources to Use

What We Heard from Educators This Week

john king in detroit

We asked teachers to reflect on the best parts of their preparation programs.

5. “Getting to be in the classroom from Day 1!” Teacher, Michigan

4. “The best part was going to classrooms and watching both effective and ineffective teachers at work.” Teacher, Texas

3. “Learning to see teaching as social justice.” Teacher, Maryland

2. “The preparation I had gave me an extensive background in literature, so I feel confident teaching just about any kind of book.” Teacher, Washington

1. “Having a mentor who let me fall on my face. Gently.” Teacher, California