TEACHING MATTERS Newsletter--December 5, 2011


Teaching Matters

ED's bi-weekly newsletter celebrating teachers and teaching.

December 5, 2011  |  Sign up to receive Teaching Matters

Jason Choung Keeps the Beat in Philly

Keeping the Beat in Philly (on a Shoestring Budget)

In this video, Philadelphia music teacher Jay Choung shares how he uses music to cultivate positive school experiences for his students in tough environments--and how he does it on a budget of $100 a year!  Read up on how the American Jobs Act proposes to help teachers like Jay.

Top 5 Teacher Quotes

Wisdom from Teachers (Heard by ED)

5. On teachers' unique methods of play: "My favorite thing to do is call the parent when [a student does something remarkably well]. I say, "hi, this is Mr. ________ from ________ high school… I have your son in my law class.”  You can hear the person suck and hold their breath; you can audibly hear it. “I just want to let you know that your son did a fantastic job in class today and then give details. You can hear [the parent literally] exhale in relief" (Boston, MA).
4.  On the importance of reading and writing: "The power of literacy is often underestimated. Reading is the simplest way we can empower the oppressed or disadvantaged to help themselves" (Caiwrigh on ED blog).
3.  On why it is important for teachers to help students use a new language in a meaningful context and to focus on communication, more than grammar: “We all knew how to say 'flush a toilet' before we knew what a verb was” (Spanish teacher from Texas).
2.  On teacher evaluation: "Teachers want to know their impact on student learning. We want to see data, aligned to our curriculum, about the progress our students are making. We want good information that leads to opportunities to improve our practice" (Memphis, TN).
1.  Explaining why it does not make sense to continue to compensate teachers as if they are nuns: “Teachers shouldn’t be seen as doing ‘the Lord’s work’. We should be seen as doing the work that’s needed to preserve democratic, American society" (Denver, CO).
teacher town hall November 2011

“Pay As You Go” Proposal on Student Loan Debt

President Obama’s “Pay as You Go” proposal to make college more affordable is the top story in the October 2011 edition of School Days, the U.S. Department of Education’s monthly video journal. Continue reading
Read Arne Duncan's Nov. 30 speech to the higher education community about the spiraling cost of higher education, "Our Students Deserve No Less."

Arne Asks Nation to Thank Teachers

Over Thanksgiving Week, Arne Duncan recorded a message for the Teaching Channel asking students to thank their parents, our troops, and their teachers. 
The Secretary also encouraged Americans to thank a teacher on Nov. 25 as part of the “National Day of Listening” organized by the StoryCorps oral history project. On this day — the day after Thanksgiving – Americans of all ages were invited to talk with or about a favorite teacher.

Darlene McCampbell and Arne Duncan

Hard Facts about Teacher Education

average GPAs by major
Education majors tend to earn higher grade point averages than students in other fields. 
NOTE: data from the University of Missouri - Columbia.  SOURCE: Cory Koedel, “Grading Standards in Education Departments at Universities,” Education Policy Analysis Archives 19 (2011).

More Than 40% of Low-Income Schools Don't Get a Fair Share of State and Local Funds

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education documents that schools serving low-income students are being shortchanged because school districts across the country are inequitably distributing their state and local funds.

Overcoming Challenges in Racine, Wisconsin

Read Teaching  Ambassador Fellow Leah Lechleiter-Luke's article about students at Walden middle and high schools banding together to solve huge facilities challenges, including having no room for a cafeteria and too little insulation to keep warm. Read about plans in the American Jobs Act to fix schools in need of repair.
Walden students join forces to overcome facilities challenges
Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, MD

Inclusive Culture Leads to Gains at Diverse Maryland School

Students with disabilities at Wilde Lake are not treated like slow learners, but are treated as equal partners in education with the same expectations for success as their peers.

For Education Wonks Only

Interested in which states have applied for ESEA Flexibility (waivers) as of November 14, 2011?  Here they are, along with links to the plans they submitted. 
Colorado [PDF, 65MB], Florida [PDF, 81MB], Georgia [PDF, 36MB], Indiana [PDF, 50MB], Kentucky [PDF, 25MB], Massachusetts [PDF, 18MB], Minnesota [PDF, 812KB], New Jersey [PDF, 63MB], New Mexico [PDF, 63MB], Oklahoma [PDF, 46MB] and Tennessee [PDF, 52MB].
Arrow right

Teaching Ambassadors Recommend Reading

  • From Madonna Ramp: "How I Have Been Positively Impacted by School."  Read Madonna's own inspiring story of how cross country coach Mike Woolsey "created a culture of excellence that changed" the course of her life.
  • From Laurie CalvertTransforming Teacher Work, (published in November by Advance Illinois in collaboration with the American Institutes for Research). This insightful report draws from the experience and best thinking of teachers across the state to propose specific strategies to greatly elevate the profession and break both the myth of the "teacher-as-hero" and the stereotype of the "lone wolf."