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Elementary School Teachers Tie the Knot in Front of Students

Photo Credit: Carlos Avila Gonzalez for The San Francisco Chronicle

Photo Credit: Carlos Avila Gonzalez for The San Francisco Chronicle

It is fairly common for you to hear that teachers devote their whole lives to teaching, students and the schools they work for, but when two teachers decided to have their wedding at the school they teach at, many people where shocked.

The wedding ceremony itself was a complete surprise to the students at Hillcrest Elementary School in Oakland, who heard the sound of the wedding march in June on their last day of school. Students were then shuffled into the schoolyard to see first grade teacher Candace Chang in a wedding dress and the school’s physical education teacher Jesse Inclan for the first time in a suit and tie, and not his typical gym class attire. Read the rest of this entry »

Teachers Allowed to Hit Students in 20 U.S. States

the 20 states allowing student hitting

The 20 States in red currently allow teachers to legally hit their misbehaving children

Most parents recognize that even in the most well-respected and established education institutions, their children will inevitably misbehave, which will subject them to punishment in accordance to the school’s disciplinary guidelines.

In fact, in most instances, parents, teachers and administrative professionals understand and agree that negative reinforcement is sometimes deemed necessary when disciplining a disruptive pupil. Most, however, envision a trip to the principal’s office or a missed after school activity an appropriate punishment.

One thing they probably don’t envision is a child being hit with a belt or wooden paddle as an appropriate punishment for misbehavior. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Good Teaching Quantifiable? Bill Gates Thinks So

Bill-Gates-in-ClassroomEvery aspect of a student’s academic production is assigned a number. Tests get a percentage, papers and essays get letter grades. These letter grades are in turn averaged and become GPAs. Standardized tests place students in percentiles. These numbers become the foremost measure of a student’s abilities.

But how do we quantify a teacher’s abilities? Is the performance of their students enough?

It’s been shown that quality of teaching makes one of the biggest impacts on student performance. That’s why the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is launching a three-year study to determine the components of effective teaching. “Do they work longer hours? Do they break the classroom down more?” Asks Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The study is called Measures of Effective Teaching, and will evaluate 3,000 teachers from across the nation. The project will cost half a billion dollars.

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Arne Duncan Warns America of Teacher Shortage

arne-duncan-teachersIn an interview at NBC’s Education Nation Summit yesterday, Arne Duncan warned that the U.S. may face a shortage of teachers in the next decade. The expected shortfall is due to baby boomers retiring at a higher rate than young teachers are entering the field.

Duncan announced a new campaign that aims to aggressively recruit young people to fill the void. They particularly encourage students to consider becoming math, science, and special education teachers. Duncan also hopes to encourage more men to enter the teaching profession. “If we’re serious about having young men aspire to go to college, we have to put men in their lives,” said Duncan. He pointed out that only 3.5 percent of America’s teachers are black or Hispanic men.

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Teach for America Veterans to Run School

Brick-avon-schoolIn Newark, New Jersey, six teachers produced by Teach for America are now in charge of Brick Avon Academy. Rather than running the school from a centralized principal’s office, they will serve as “teacher-leaders.” The teachers in Newark are part of an emerging trend of teacher-run schools.  They hope to improve schools in the systems that are struggling most. Similar schools have opened in Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit and Denver.

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Treasures 4 Teachers Fills a Need for Arizona Schools

Teachers 4 Treasures

Teachers 4 Treasures

Every year teachers reach into their own pockets to pay for school supplies, arts, crafts and other items that they need to teach their students classroom lessons. Kids can’t learn without the necessary school supplies, like pencils, paper, pens and notebooks. But with recent school layoffs and salary cutbacks, it is getting harder and harder for cash-strapped teachers to dip into their own cash reserves for school supplies.

And in Arizona, the picture is not pretty.

More than half of all K-8 students cannot afford lunch, much less basic educational tools and supplies. On average, the state’s schools budget less than five cents per student daily for supplies.

But Treasures 4 Teachers, a grassroots non-profit organization is determined to change these sobering statistics. Here’s how.

Read the rest of this entry »

House Passes Bill to Save Teachers

save-the-teachers-bill-passesStudents may be looking forward to slightly smaller classes than previously feared this fall. In a special session that interrupted the summer recess, the House of Representatives passed a $26 billion bill this afternoon. The bill will save an estimated 160,000 public jobs, particularly teachers and emergency-response workers. The bill will be signed into the law this evening by President Obama.

Although the bill should not add to the national deficit, Republican leaders declared it fiscally irresponsible. It has also been criticized as pandering to teachers unions. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fl, called the bill a “transparent handout to the teachers union” financed by “sham accounting gimmicks.” Read the rest of this entry »

Senate Creates New Bill to Save Teaching Jobs [UPDATED]

Congress-creates-new-teachers-billUPDATE: House Passes Bill to Save Teachers. (8/10/10 5:00 PM)

UPDATE: The Senate passed the $26 billion bill to keep states from cutting an estimated 300,000 public service jobs, including teachers. (8/5/10 1:55 PM)

Twenty-two billion dollars for domestic spending, including educational funds, were cut from the war funding bill passed by the House on July 27th. But a new bill with $10 billion to save educator jobs was created by the senate yesterday, along with $16 billion for Federal Medical Assistance Percentages. The bill is expected to be passed by the senate today, and then will go to the House for approval. Nancy Pelosi stated that she will interrupt the House’s summer recess to vote on the bill.

Many states are rejoicing over the unanticipated funds. “This amendment will allow Washington state to avoid layoffs, service cuts or tax increases and it will make sure our children don’t walk through the schoolhouse door this September to larger class sizes and fewer subjects,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who introduced the measure. Although Maine’s two Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, voted to move the legislation forward, most members of the GOP are against the bill. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., fears the funding will create a “permanent need for future state bailouts.”
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Kindergarten Teachers Worth $320,000 per Year

kingergarten-teachers-worth-320000-dollarsKindergarten teachers often provide a child’s first taste of school, and a good teacher can impact a child in extremely positive ways. But this positive influence has been thought to dissipate by middle school, a “fade out” that’s manifest in test scores. But test scores don’t indicate adult success.

Harvard economist Raj Chetty set about to find other means of assessing the long-term effects of a good kindergarten experience. “We don’t really care about test scores. We care about adult outcomes,” he explained. He presented his findings on Tuesday, which focused on students who had participated in an experiment in Tennessee. Conducted in the 1980s, the young adults are now in their 30s. The experiment provided excellent data because the students were from widely varying backgrounds were randomly assigned to kindergarten classes, allowing for a good randomized sample.

By high school, students who received excellent kindergarten instruction performed about as well on standardized exams as students with average or poor kindergarten experiences. But the lives lead by the young adults who participated in the experiment as children revealed a different story. Students who had shown academic improvements due to good kindergarten teachers were more likely to go to college, were less likely to become single parents, and were more likely to be saving for retirement. They also out-earned their peers.

Although the researchers do not claim to have uncovered the direct causal relationship, it’s easy to hypothesize that learning skills like discipline and patience at a young age are key to success later. For every percentile above average a child improved on tests during their kindergarten year, they can expect to earn an additional $100.00 at the age of 27. By extension, Chetty and his colleagues estimated that a great kindergarten should be worth $320,000 a year.

Via the New York Times.

Read Also:

Preschoolers Take Entrance Exam for Kindergarten

Obama Doesn’t Really Support Kindergarten Sex Ed

LearnBoost Helps Teachers Manage Classes Online

learnboost-gradebookLearnBoost is an online grading platform that teachers can access from anywhere. They are currently developing a “freemium” model that will be offering its basic services for free to financially strained schools and a premium version for those willing to pay. The service will allow teachers to organize grading, attendance, schedules and lesson plans all in one place. The online grade book will also allow teachers to import from Google calendar. TechCrunch reports that the start-up’s software will even allow teachers to collaborate with parents around grades.

So far, LearnBoost has raised $975,000 in seed funds. They are developing an application for teachers based on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, which aims to be real-time. LearnBoost may useful not only in the classroom, but also at a broader educational level. LearnBoost will face competition from Engrade and MyGradebook. Blackboard is also partnering with several booksellers to create a digital course-management system aimed at professors.

Read Also:

Targeting Teachers to Sell E-Textbook

Double-Check Grades Before the End of School Year


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