Teaching & Learning
October 20, 2014
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) at Texas State University are working closely to ensure that students and staff enjoy the benefits of a safe and orderly learning environment and are reminding all Texans of the need to work together to keep our schools safe and secure.
With a focus on preparedness, school districts are urged to work closely with their community partners to develop robust emergency operations plans for a wide range of possible emergencies, whether natural, human-caused or health-related. All-hazard plans, frequent training and drills and well-executed processes will ensure that Texas school districts can respond effectively and appropriately for any event.
“Regardless of the amount of time and effort spent on emergency preparedness for our schools, the plan is only as good as the ability of students, faculty and staff to execute it,” said Dr. Calder, the executive director of the TxSSC. “When everyone on campus has practiced the plan, they are ready to make effective decisions. With good training, everyone involved will respond in a way that increases positive outcomes.”
During the course of a school year, campuses should ensure that they have conducted monthly drills that include evacuation, reverse evacuation, severe weather, shelter in place and lockdown. In planning drills, each school district should examine the hazards inherent to their region and ensure that their planning and practice drills reflect those risks. All students and staff members should be involved in drills.
“Conducting safety drills helps all our schools prepare for a variety of potential incidents,” said Commissioner of Education Michael Williams. "There should be no doubt that emergency preparedness is taken seriously in every school district and every campus across our state."
To help Texas schools develop collaborative, multi-hazard emergency operations plans (EOPs), the Texas School Safety Center recently introduced its new District EOP sample. It is based upon FEMA’s Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans. The sample tool can be found online at: http://txssc.txstate.edu/tools/emergency-management-toolkit/role-of-districts/multi-hazard-eop.
In part, Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code tasks the TxSSC with key school safety initiatives and mandates. It is the state’s central location for the dissemination of safety and security information, including research, training and technical assistance for K-12 schools and junior colleges. Toward that end, Executive Director Calder identified some of the other services that the center has for Texas schools. “We provide educators, parents, community organizations and stakeholders with an array of evidence-based practices, standards, and tools to strengthen emergency preparedness and create healthy schools and communities,” she said.
Texas Safe Schools Week is held annually in conjunction with the national America's Safe Schools Week. To read the Governor's Safe School Week proclamation, the joint Texas Education Agency-Texas School Safety Center proclamation or to learn more about Texas Safe Schools Week topics, visit the Texas Education Agency website at www.tea.state.tx.us or the Texas School Safety Center website at http://txssc.txstate.edu.
October 1, 2014
Arne Duncan: Schools must give poor and minority students equal access
Months after data collected by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights showed deep disparities between poor and minority students and their more advantaged peers when it comes to educational resources, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is putting school districts and states on notice that the office for civil rights can investigate states, districts, and even schools that aren't doing enough to ensure equal access on everything from high-quality facilities to Advanced Placement courses.
- To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2014/10/arne_duncan_schools_must_give_.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2
- To read letter sent to states, districts and schools from Duncan: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-resourcecomp-201410.pdf
- To access the Civil Rights data: http://ocrdata.ed.gov/
September 29, 2014
Arne Duncan's Summer to-do List: what's done? what's next?
Kids are back in the classrooms, the leaves are starting to change, and the autumn equinox has happened ... so how did U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Company do in terms of tackling their lengthy summer to-do list? And what's up next?
Graduate student requests help with study
A graduate student in the University of Memphis' School of Psychology is asking teachers nationwide to participate in a study of a scale they can use to rate the behaviors of their students. The time commitment would be 15-20 minutes. It would involve reading a brief vignette about a hypothetical child, then completing a rating scale, based on your impressions of this child, and a short questionnaire. You can participate in this study here: https://umcas.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_2rXmLLvGrHNIjIN. If you encounter problems, you can contact the student, Isaac Woods, at email@example.com.
September 23, 2014
Financial aid programs for teachers falling short
Too few prospective teachers are using—or are even aware of—federal loan-forgiveness programs that could ease the financial burden of teacher preparation, a recent report from the centrist think tank Third Way contends. The report says that the current service requirements included in such programs are outdated and not in alignment with current demographics of the workforce. "The available loan forgiveness options are rendered essentially moot for almost half of today's highly mobile Millenial workforce—and perhaps for many others who do not feel they can make a four, five, or 10-year commitment to a job mere months after graduation," the report states.
To review/read the report: http://www.thirdway.org/subjects/143/publications/856
September 16, 2014
Foundering schools that receive federal turnaround dollars under the controversial School Improvement Grant (SIG) program would get some new options for using the money, under draft guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education. The guidance comes after Congress stepped in and decided to revamp the program in response to student-outcome data from the program showing that SIG has a decidedly mixed record on actually improving schools. The congressionally driven changes were ushered in as part of a spending bill that was signed into law by President Barack Obama in January.
To review U. S. Dept. of Education Guidance: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2014-21185.pdf
September 10, 2014
A poll released Monday by the Gallup polling organization found that 7 in 10 respondents were in favor of using more federal money to ensure that high-quality preschool was available for every child in the country. Twenty-eight percent were opposed to the idea. Three percent had no opinion. To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/early_years/2014/09/gallup_poll_finds_70_percent_of_americans_favor_more_federal_funding_for_pre-k.html
To review polling data: http://www.gallup.com/poll/175646/favor-federal-funds-expand-pre-education.aspx
September 8, 2014
Floundering schools that receive federal turnaround dollars under the controversial School Improvement Grant program would get some new options for using the money under draft guidance slated to be published in the federal register on Monday. But they might not be getting quite as much new flexibility as some folks in Congress had hoped. At Congress' insistence, the proposal would permit states to move beyond the Obama administration's prescriptions for school improvement, by partnering with an organization that has a strong track record of fixing low-performing schools, or by cooking up their own turnaround options.
To review the draft guidance: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2014-21185.pdf
September 4, 2014
For-profit vendors hone tools to survey students about teachers
Few measures of teachers' classroom ability inspire as much optimism among researchers — and, maybe, as much unease among educators — as surveys of students. Now, commercial providers, nonprofit organizations, and foundations are working to expand and refine the scope of such surveys in an effort to improve their usefulness to schools and teachers, and potentially lower their costs.
August 27, 2014
For the majority of districts, proposed budgets for the General Fund will show apparent increases in per student spending over amounts for fiscal year 2013 or school year 2012-2013. The proposed increases in spending per student will help a little as school districts move to avoid a repeat of the historic level of class-size waivers that were requested for school years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, and attempt to restore selected programs and services. Why will spending increases seem so inadequate for many if not most school districts? Because when adjusted for inflation, budgeted spending levels in the General Fund for school year 2013-2014 were nearly $2 Billion less than for school year 2008-2009.
August 21, 2014
Obesity, bullying, drug abuse top child health concerns
Obesity, bullying, and drug abuse were ranked the top three child national health concerns in a new nationwide survey. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/2014/08/obesity_bullying_drug_abuse_top_child_health_concerns_in_national_survey.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2
The study overview is at http://mottnpch.org/sites/default/files/documents/081114_top10.pdf
August 8, 2014
The Texas Education Agency today released the 2014 state accountability system ratings for more than 1,200 school districts and charters, and more than 8,500 campuses.
To review state accountability ratings info: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/account/2014/index.html
August 7, 2014
Poverty increasing in suburbs
More Americans are living in poverty in the suburbs than in urban or rural areas, a dramatic demographic shift that has occurred since 2000, a new report by the Brookings Institution finds. It's a finding that won't be a surprise to plenty of suburban superintendents, who've seen that residential change reflected in the enrollment makeup of their schools. To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/2014/07/poverty_has_spread_to_the_suburbs_and_to_suburban_schools.html To read the report: http://www.brookings.edu/research/interactives/2014/concentrated-poverty#/M10420.
Shortage areas for 2014-15 announced
The Texas Education Agency received approval from U.S. Department of Education for the 2014-2015 teacher shortage areas.
The approved shortage areas for the 2014-2015 school year are (1) Bilingual/English as a Second Language; (2) Career and Technical Education; (3) Computer Science; (4) English as a Second Language; (5) Mathematics; (6) Science; and (7) Special Education – Elementary and Secondary Levels. The approved shortage areas allow the administrator the ability to recruit and retain qualified teachers and to help reward teachers for their hard work using the loan forgiveness opportunities. School principals can act on behalf of the commissioner of education to certify that a teacher has met the minimum qualifications required for certain loan forgiveness programs.
To read more: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=25769814726
For more information on loan forgiveness: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/loan.aspx
Standard & Poor’s rates charter school outlook as ‘negative’
Standard & Poor’s has issued a new report that extends its “negative” outlook for the charter school sector. Of 214 public charter school ratings done by the agency, 41, or 19 percent, are negative while only 4 — or 2 percent— are positive. Furthermore, it says, funding has not generally “returned to pre-recessionary levels, and some schools are struggling to operate in this “new normal.’” Charter schools in Texas are among those included in the report.
June 19, 2014
Join the GPS Network
The GPS Network is a free, open-to-everyone online professional learning community created and maintained by NEA to connect educators, parents, and stakeholders in public education who want to connect, collaborate, share, and learn.
Using a discussion-group format, it provides searchable data and resources that allow users to know what is important and to share what works for great public schools to support student success. Anyone can become a member, anyone can start or join a discussion group, and anyone can share resources and post questions, ideas, and experiences with other site members.
The NEA’s strength lies in its over 3 million members, its local affiliates, and its state affiliates, all of whom are committed to providing great public schools for every student. The Great Public Schools Network is an online platform designed to empower users to do just that. Get involved with the other great minds in education today at www.gpsnetwork.org.
June 16, 2014
Academic, economic futures linked to family background
A Johns Hopkins University study that tracked almost 800 Baltimore residents from elementary school until they reached adulthood determined that their fates were "substantially determined" by their families' socioeconomic status. Alexander reveals his three decades of research in the book, "The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth and the Transition to Adulthood." He conducted the study with fellow Johns Hopkins University researchers and co-authors Doris Entwisle, a professor of sociology and engineering science, who died in 2013, and Linda S. Olson, an associate research scientist with the Baltimore Education Research Consortium (BERC) and the Center for Social Organization of Schools. Since 1982, the researchers have conducted interviews with students, teachers and parents to chronicle the lives of these 790 study subjects. The interviews began when the students were 1st graders.
To read more: http://goo.gl/UhSNz5
June 10, 2014
New from the NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation has recently launched three new courses:
· Teacher Hiring, Placement, Retention, and Tenure
· Redesigning Our Work: Policies, Practices, Contracts, and Agreements
· Brain and Learning
See http://www.neafoundation.org/pages/courses for more information.
June 2, 2014
Philadelphia tragedy highlights role of school nurses
The death last month of a Philadelphia elementary student who fell ill at a school that did not have a full-time nurse on duty has reignited debate nationwide over the importance of school nursesand the reasons why they are among the first to go when money becomes scarce.
To learn more about the National Association of School Nurses: http://www.nasn.org
May 19, 2014
Rural Schools Increasingly Diverse, Low-Income
The nation's rural schools are growing in enrollment and serving increasing numbers of low-income, minority, and special education students, according to a new report released Monday. "Why Rural Matters," the seventh biennial report by the Rural School and Community Trust, examined education, socioeconomic factors, funding, and policy data from each state during the 2010-11 school year.
May 15, 2014
American schooling will reach a milestone next fall when Anglo students, for the first time, make up fewer than half of all children enrolled in public schools, according to federal projections. Black enrollment, holding fairly steady in recent years, will hover between 16 percent and 17 percent. Hispanic enrollment, meanwhile, will continue to surge, with its share of the K-12 population expected to hit 30 percent within the next decade. And the proportion of Asians and Pacific Islanders in public schools is also expected to be on the uptick, though much less dramatic than the rise for Latinos.
- To read more: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/05/14/31brown-overview.h33.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1
- To review federal projections: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2014/2014051.pdf
- To read the Brown v. Topeka Ruling: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/347/483
May 12, 2014
60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education
The 60th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education is May 17. Use these curriculum resources to supplement your American History, Social Studies, and English Language Arts teaching plans. http://www.nea.org//tools/lessons/brown-vs-board-teaching-resources.html
May 9, 2014
Don't forget TSTA is on Pinterest
We've pinned almost 60 photos, videos, and classroom ideas so far. Follow us at http://www.pinterest.com/TSTANEA/tsta so we can follow you. We are always looking for things to post!
May 6, 2014
It's Teacher Appreciation Week
Put up a vine or download a poster! See http://www.nea.org/teacherday for details, including special deals from NEA Member Benefits.
April 14, 2014
National Teacher Day is May 6
Teacher Appreciation Week will be celebrated May 4-10, with National Teacher Day recognized on Tuesday, May 6. NEA’s 2014 Teacher Day poster, web banners, and buttons are available for downloading. http://www.nea.org/teacherday
April 8, 2014
In June, Humanities Texas will hold three-day professional development institutes for middle school and high school English and social studies teachers. The programs are free to Texas teachers and their schools. Participants will receive a $200 stipend, as well as CPE credit and a wealth of curricular materials. On-campus housing is available to out-of-town teachers at no cost. http://bit.ly/1ktgQju
March 21, 2014
Nation falling short on educational equity
New federal civil rights data show persistent and widespread disparities among disadvantaged students from prekindergarten through high school on key indicators—calling into question whether the national push for educational equity and college and career readiness for all students is working. Minorities and students with limited English proficiency are more likely to be taught by inexperienced teachers, attend a high school with limited math and science offerings, and be disciplined at higher rates than their white peers, according to information from the 2011-12 school year released Friday by the U.S. Department of Education.
To review the civil rights data: http://ocrdata.ed.gov
March 4, 2014
Obama budget pitches Race to Top for equity
A new Race to the Top contest would offer grants to help states and districts create data systems that track characteristics such as teacher and principal experience and effectiveness, academic achievement, and student coursework. It would also give schools resources to bolster school culture, and help students with non-cognitive skills. Teacher equity would be a component of the fund, but it would be separate from the administration's "50-state strategy" to ensure that states give kids in poverty access to as many highly effective teachers as more advantaged kids.
To read more: http://goo.gl/DzXVfx
February 19, 2014
Scrutiny rises on placement of best teachers
The U.S. Department of Education is developing a 50-state strategy that may finally put some teeth into a key part of the No Child Left Behind Act that has been largely ignored for the past 12 years: the inequitable distribution of the nation's best teachers. Central to the federal strategy will be a mix of enforcement and bureaucratic levers to prod states into making sure that poor and minority students are not taught by ineffective and unqualified teachers at higher rates than their peers.
February 5, 2014
Court ruling raises school internet access concerns
Teachers and students count on having relatively broad access to online academic content, but a recent federal court ruling has raised questions about whether the education community could lose some of its ability to tap into the vast library of Internet resources. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia this month has been interpreted as giving commercial Internet providers significantly more power to block content or set conditions on its delivery before it reaches customers, including schools.
To read the ruling: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/marketplacek12/NetNeutralityDecision.pdf
February 3, 2014
FCC to boost broadband funding for k-12, libraries
Federal officials are planning to double support for schools' and libraries' broadband connectivity through the E-rate program, a step that comes amid increasing demands in the education community for faster, more reliable Internet service.
January 21, 2014
NBC news launches Spanish language parent toolkit
NBC News has launched the Spanish-language version of its digital Parent Toolkit, which provides parents with resources to navigate their child’s development in school and have a positive impact on their academic career.
The entire website and mobile app have been translated into Spanish as part of NBC News and Pearson’s commitment to provide the resource to a wide and diverse audience.
The comprehensive Toolkit serves as a one stop shop for parents with accessible resources and information to help them better understand their child’s academic expectations and support their success and personal growth. Using the Toolkit, parents can access grade-by-grade academic benchmarks for Pre-K through 12th grade in Math and English Language Arts, a guide to parent-teacher conferences and school counselor meetings, and tips for ways to encourage their child’s learning outside the classroom. NBC News enlisted academic experts, teachers, and parent advisers from across the country to help shape and guide the content. http://es.ParentToolkit.com
January 17, 2014
Federal spending plan aims to ease ‘Sequester’ pain
The massive spending bill headed for passage in Congress Monday aims to largely restore federal aid for most schools after the biggest cuts to K-12 funding in history, while including a more than $1 billion down payment on the Obama administration’s proposal to ramp up existing early-childhood programs. To read more: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/01/16/18budget.h33.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2. For more information on the spending plan: http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=366721
January 14, 2014
Education laws languish in Congress
Education advocates are fearful that Congress—which triggered the government shutdown late last year and has a historically low approval rating—won't be able to get any of the pending bills across the finish line by December, when this Congress comes to a close. And observers across the political spectrum are highly skeptical that much work will get done by the time President Barack Obama leaves office, three years from now, on laws badly in need of updating.
To read more: http://goo.gl/ADg80s
January 6, 2014
Poll: Americans prefer smaller classes and technology
Americans favor smaller class sizes and technology over education reforms such as vouchers and merit pay for teachers, says a survey released by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Respondents rated three structural status quo reform options—smaller class sizes, increased technology, and accountability—ahead of school choice as a way to improve schools.
Showdown brews as Congress focuses on K-12 spending
Spending-bill negotiations are likely to set up another showdown of sorts. Lawmakers will have to decide whether to steer the entire expected increase for education into funding for big formula programs, favored by advocates—such as Title I grants to districts, which help educate disadvantaged students, and special education—or direct some money to the administration’s prized competitive-grant programs, including Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, and the School Improvement Grant. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/01/02/15budget.h33.html?tkn=PMVFDKXMVQ4fkLS6AqlVWIzOEDgknUMC4A6l&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1
December 13, 2013
Is sequester relief right around the corner?
School districts would get some relief from the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration under an agreement announced Tuesday by a bipartisan pair of House and Senate negotiators. The plan would roll back most of the so-called sequester cuts for the next two years, leaving the door open for federal lawmakers to boost spending on disadvantaged children and students in special education.
November 22, 2013
Tool for communicating on professional issues
NEA’s online Great Public Schools Network is a free tool that aids members in leading the profession. Learn more at http://www.gpsnetwork.org/welcome or register at http://www.gpsnetwork.org/xwiki/bin/view/Registration/DirectLogin?xredirect=%2F.
November 12, 2013
ELLs: No change in reading and math performance
Results from the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, better known as NAEP, or the nation's report card, show that 8th grade English-language learners posted an average score in math that rose by two points since 2011, the last time the test was given, and one point in reading on the exam's 500-point scale, though neither is a statistically significant gain. For 4th grade ELLs, the average math score was exactly the same as two years ago and for reading, it dropped by one point, which was not a statistically significant change.
To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning-the-language/2013/11/ells_and_nations_report_card_n.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS3
To review the NAEP results: http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2013/#/
Disadvantaged students receive less-effective teaching
Students who qualify for federal lunch subsidies receive less effective instruction in school, on average. And that disparity appears to be a function of the schools those students attend, rather than the classes they're assigned, concludes a federally financed studyreleased last week.
To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/teacherbeat/2013/11/disadvantaged_students_receive.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2
To read the report: http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/pdfs/education/effective_teaching_disadvantaged_students.pdf
November 7, 2013
Unequal access to the American dream
For children across the nation, the ability to live out the "American Dream" may be more dependent on their individual zip codes than their national identity, according to the latest Opportunity Index report.
The Index was created by Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan national campaign made up of businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits, civic organizations, and individuals with the mission of improving economic mobility and closing the American opportunity gap.
To see your county report: http://opportunityindex.org/#6.00/37.932/-84.080/ (scroll the map to your county)
To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2013/11/report_details_unequal_access_.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS3
To view the Opportunity Nation website http://www.opportunitynation.org/
November 5, 2013
Educating students about digital citizenship
Students may be able to operate technology tools and navigate resources without a problem, but students don’t always realize that what they post or make public online, and behaviors they exhibit online, tend to stick around. To help students learn about appropriate online behavior and decisions, school leaders are turning to digital citizenship education. http://www.eschoolnews.com/2013/11/06/digital-citizenship-resources-212/?ps=27759-0013000000j05ez-0033000000q5QDP
November 4, 2013
Education cuts hang in balance during federal budget haggling
Education advocates are keeping close tabs on a congressional conference committee charged with coming up with a budget solution in hopes that lawmakers may stop a series of blunt, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration. The cuts, which have already eliminated thousands of Head Start slots and caused some schools near Native American reservations and military bases to lay off staff, are slated to stay in place for a decade unless Congress acts to halt or change them. To read more: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/11/06/11budget.h33.html?tkn=OLTFp5N75MeznHkPGH%2F2Hg1yJSlKSset9Wex&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1
October 30, 2013
Students of color at higher risk of exclusion
A new analysis of the most recent 2009-10 data from the U.S. Education Department's Office of Civil Rights finds minority students are disproportionately excluded through a wide array of disciplinary practices: corporal punishment, suspension, expulsion, and even police referral and arrest. Black students, for example, face triple the risk of white students of being suspended out of school multiple times.
October 16, 2013
October is Bullying Prevention Month
But every month and every day should be committed to bullying prevention. The following is the link for the NEA's bully free website. Please share this valuable resource by putting it on websites, FB pages, Twitter, or texting services. http://www.nea.org/home/neabullyfree.html
October 3, 2013
Tips for increasing parent volunteers
Do you find yourself wanting more help from parent volunteers, but you are either not getting it, or you're not getting the kind of help that would be truly useful to you and your students? Is managing parent volunteers time-consuming or burdensome? You're not alone!
Social Media in schools: battle over First Amendment rights
As social media has become more prevalent, school districts have struggled to find where to draw the disciplinary line — and in many cases, have failed the constitutional litmus test. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Washington has created a manual detailing how districts in the state should handle burgeoning social media trends, particularly when the use occurs outside of school.
September 9, 2013
More and more parents opt children
out of high-stakes tests
The opt-out movement, is small but growing. It has been brewing for several years via word of mouth and social media, especially through Facebook. A “Long Island opt-out info” Facebook page has more than 9,200 members.
September 3, 2013
Schools must maintain IEPs when kids move
Schools have a special responsibility to provide continuity when students with disabilities move from one district to another, federal education officials say.
In a letter to state directors of special education this summer, officials from the U.S. Department of Education clarified that schools have a duty under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to provide comparable services to “highly mobile” students as they move between districts. This group includes kids from military families, those in foster care as well as migrants and children who are homeless, among others who move often, the department said.
August 29, 2013
Hunger a serious problem in schools
Teachers spend $37 a month of their own money buying food for hungry students. That’s $300 a school year or roughly five tanks of gas. “Child hunger is a serious problem that negatively affected my students’ self-esteem, ability to learn, and behavior,” Princess Moss, an elementary school teacher from Virginia and NEA Executive Committee member, says. “I would always keep snacks in my class for students that were hungry and who were having trouble concentrating during instructional time.”
To review the infographic: http://www.nokidhungry.org/back-to-school/
August 26, 2013
Bullying's long shadow
According to a new study published in the August edition of Psychological Science, victims of bullying, including those who go on to bully others, are at increased risk of bad health, poor finances, and unstable relationships, years after bullying occurs. To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/2013/08/bullying
_casts_a_long_shadow.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2. To read the research: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/08/16/0956797613481608.full.
USDOE proposes to end testing under modified standards
This school year would be the last one where states could test students under modified academic achievement standards and have those tests count toward No Child Left Behind accountability rules, according to proposed rules published today in the Federal Register. The department is soliciting comments on the proposed change through Oct. 7. The alternate assessments are sometimes shorthanded as "2 percent tests," instead of their official name, "alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards." Regulations currently allow 2 percent of all students, or about 20 percent of students with disabilities, to take such assessments and be counted as proficient under the No Child Left Behind Act.
To read the regulations: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-08-23/pdf/2013-20665.pdf
August 20, 2013
Teachers find supplies via website
Crowdfunding is a relatively new fund-raising method of pooling smallish donations from a large number of people. More and more teachers are tapping into it to supply their classrooms. Websites such as DonorsChoose.org work like this: A teacher at a public school makes the pitch, it’s vetted by the website, and the request stays on the site for up to four months. Donations go to DonorsChoose.org. If the pitch succeeds, the charity buys the materials and ships them to the classroom; if not, donors can choose a different project, have one chosen for them, or send the teacher they supported a DonorsChoose.org gift card. To read more: http://tbo.com/news/education/hillsborough-teachers-find-supplies-via-website-20130819.
August 15, 2013
As you return to your classrooms...
Check out these amazing photos of students around the world going to school. http://pinterest.com/source/samsam.net
August 13, 2013
Children, poverty, and education
More than one in five U.S. children live in “official” poverty today, with an even higher rate for Black and Hispanic children and for those in families headed by a single parent.
Among the world’s 35 richest countries, the United States ranks second highest in child poverty. A large body of research continues to document the negative effects of poverty on children and their later life outcomes. Children growing up in poverty complete less schooling, work and earn less as adults, are more likely to receive public assistance, and have poorer health. Girls growing up in poverty are more likely to give birth outside of marriage, and boys, to be arrested when they are adults. http://www.ets.org/s/research/pdf/poverty_and_education_report.pdf
July 26, 2013
Waking up sleepy teens
Decades of sleep research have confirmed what parents know: It's hard for teenagers to wake up early. Some high schools have adopted late starts around 8:30 a.m. to improve attendance and performance. But other districts say it's too complicated to shift schedules because of logistics involving buses and after-school activities. About 40 percent of U.S. public high schools open before 8 a.m., according to the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, with just 15 percent starting 8:30 a.m. or later. In districts where early starts are necessary because the same bus does multiple runs for high school, middle school and elementary students, teens often get the early shift.
Congress urged to expand opportunities for African-American boys
Nationwide, statistics show that African-American boys tend to have poorer educational outcomes than their white peers. An Education Week report found such students are disproportionately affected by school discipline policies, effectively funneling them into "school-to-prison pipelines."
To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/2013/07/congress_urged_to_expand_opportunities_for_african_american_boys.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2
To read the report: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/01/10/16policies.h32.html?intc=EW-QC13-TOC
July 24, 2013
The impact of sequestration
As Congress shifts into budget season, education advocates are getting ready to renew their push to fight the across-the-board cuts to federal K-12 programs, better known inside the Beltway as "sequestration." But to make their case, education organizations will likely have to hand lawmakers examples of how the cuts are actually hurting school districts. The sequestration cuts—which were put in place in 2011 to force a long-term budget agreement—are hitting most school districts at the start of this coming school year. While some Head Start early-childhood programs have had to make painful choices, sequestration's impact on K-12 education is very uneven around the country. And, the fallout from the cuts—which trimmed roughly 5 percent from federal K-12 funding overall—is often hard to illustrate or quantify, even for seasoned number-crunchers.
July 9, 2013
Legislation aims to boost funding for biliteracy programs
States seeking to grant special recognition to their multilingual high school graduates would get a big boost from the federal government under new legislation introduced by a California congresswoman. U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley, a Democrat, introduced the Biliteracy Education Seal and Teaching (BEST) Act late last month, a measure that would create grants in the U.S. Department of Education to help states that want to establish "seal of biliteracy" programs that support and recognize students who demonstrate proficiency in English and at least one other language. The Foundation High School Program in Texas includes a performance acknowledgement for students who demonstrate bilingual/biliteracy fluency.
To read the proposed legislation: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning-the-language/brownleys%20biliteracy%20bill%20HR.pdf
July 8, 2013
Teacher of the Year addresses fellow educators at NEA
Washington science teacher says, "It is time for us to recognize that public education is succeeding," the Washington science teacher said. http://bit.ly/1a6RmHy
June 24, 2013
Obesity Is a disease, rules American Medical Association
The American Medical Association announced Tuesday afternoon that it now considers obesity a disease, a decision with professional ramifications for pediatricians and policy ramifications in a number of areas. The AMA's House of Delegates, its legislative and policymaking body, made the decision at its annual meeting in Chicago. At the very least, it's a symbolic step toward changing what many view as a self-imposed condition. But it also stands to influence research, insurance, treatment, and, of course, politics. The real meat of the AMA decision is that it means doctors (including pediatricians) will ostensibly be obligated to push their patients harder on weight control. Obesity estimates for children are around 17%.
To read the AMA Announcement: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/news/news/2013/2013-06-18-new-ama-policies-annual-meeting.page
June 11, 2013
Rival proposals show uncertain path to NCLB/ESEA rewrite
Lawmakers in Congress recently introduced three separate pieces of legislation to rewrite the long-stalled Elementary and Secondary Education Act—but none of the measures have bipartisan backing, meaning that there will almost certainly not be a reauthorization this year. All three bills—like the administration's series of waivers under the No Child Left Behind Act—would move away from "adequate yearly progress," the key yardstick at the center of the 11-year-old federal school accountability law. But the similarities largely end there.
To read more: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/06/12/35esea.h32.html?tkn=PVNF%2BAkr9Tz%2FlnlIYIHLPo39sg7V8VAyrXYG&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2
To read more about the Senate Democrats version: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2013/06/embargoed_do_not_publish.html
To read more about the Senate Republicans version: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2013/06/alexander_senate_rep_NCLB.html
To read more about the House Republicans version: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2013/06/kline_and_house_GOP_NCLB.html
June 4, 2013
How would the new NCLB reauthorization bill affect school climate?
The political experts at Education Week give bipartisan reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act slim odds of passing this year. (Roughly speaking, none, with a margin of error of +/-0.) But Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and his fellow Democrats have a new NCLB reauthorization bill, and it would do a lot with school climate. The first major change is that it would no longer be called No Child Left Behind. It's called the Strengthening America's Schools Act. SASA would be a big leap forward in collecting data on school climate.
To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/2013/06/new_nclb_reauthorization_bill_and_school_climate.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2
To read the bill language: http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/ESEA%20Bill%20Text%206.4.13.pdf
June 3, 2013
Disability definitions revised in psychiatric manual
The psychiatry profession's newly revised reference manual on mental disorders changes the definition and classification for many disabilities commonly seen in schools, but those changes are unlikely to have an immediate impact on services for students with disabilities. The reason: schools are guided primarily by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which offers its own definitions for disabilities, such as ADHD, specific learning disorder and autism spectrum disorder, that can trigger the provision of special education services. Special educators do agree that the changes, 14 years in the making, require parent and school-level educator awareness and eventually may result in students' receiving different labels that encapsulate the areas where they need extra help.
May 20, 2013
Anti-Defamation League hosts online diversity professional development
Making Diversity Count is a new online professional development program for middle and high school educators. Teachers can access this diversity training course on their own schedule to gain the skills and resources needed to create inclusive, respectful classrooms. The fee is $140 with discounts offered to groups.
To access the FAQ: http://archive.adl.org/education/mdc/for_educators.asp
To access course registration and descriptor: https://adlregistration.embanet.com
May 17, 2013
ADHD most prevalent mental health disorder of children
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder leads the list of mental health issues in the first-ever report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention intended to monitor the mental health of youth ages 3-17. The report, which uses information compiled from several different monitoring sources, found that about 8 percent of the youth in this population had ever been diagnosed with ADHD, as reported by their parents. The next most-frequent mental health disorder was "behavior or conduct problems" at 3.5 percent, and anxiety at 3 percent. The report found that 13 percent to 20 percent of children living in the United States experience a mental disorder in a given year (the varying percentages are because of the different sources of information,) and the disorders appear to be growing more prevalent. Mental health treatment has an estimated annual cost of $247 billion, which includes the cost of special education, use of the juvenile justice system, and decreased productivity.
May 15, 2013
A guide for schools on how to use data
A pair of national school organizations have released a guide meant to help teachers and administrators conquer an important yet often confusing task: how to make wise use of the reams of educational data flowing through the K-12 system. The American Association of School Administrators and the Consortium for School Networking, along with Gartner, Inc., a tech research and advisory company, say the guide, "Closing the Gap Professional Development Toolkit," will provide a "step-by-step curriculum and cadre of professional-development resources" to help district and school leaders train employees on how to use data.
To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2013/05/a_guide_for_school_administrat.html
To access the resource list: http://turningdataintoaction.org/resourcelist?type=46
May 14, 2013
UIL may restrict contact in football practices
High school football coaches in Texas could soon be facing restrictions on the amount of full contact allowed in practices per week, assuming the University Interscholastic League medical advisory committee has its way. Last month, the UIL committee unanimously recommended limiting high school teams to 90 minutes of full-contact, game-speed practices per week during the regular season and the playoffs. Such practices would be defined as those that include tackling and blocking to the ground.
Nearly 2 of 3 children exposed to violence, crime, and abuse
The evidence is mounting that children's exposure to violence, crime, and abuse can have serious consequences on their development, lead to the development of problem behaviors, and cause physical and mental health problems. Despite the consequences, a large portion of American children are exposed to violence and assaults: New research shows about 2 out of 5 children are physically assaulted in a given year and 1 in 10 are injured in an assault. In addition, nearly 11 percent of teenage girls ages 14 to 17 are sexually assaulted or abused.
To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rulesforengagement/2013/05/nearly_2_of_3_children_exposed_to_violence_crime_and_abuse.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2
To read the report: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213411003140
May 7, 2013
Secretary Arne Duncan on Teacher Appreciation Week
Great teaching can change a child’s life. That kind of teaching is a remarkable combination of things: art, science, inspiration, talent, gift, and — always — incredibly hard work. It requires relationship building, subject expertise and a deep understanding of the craft. Our celebrated athletes and performers have nothing on our best teachers. But, in honoring teachers, I think Teacher Appreciation Week needs an update. Don’t get me wrong — teachers have earned every bagel breakfast, celebratory bulletin board, gift card and thank-you note. Given the importance of their work and the challenges they face, teachers absolutely deserve every form of appreciation their communities can muster.
May 3, 2013
Rethinking learning disorders
For most people, learning to read, write, add, or subtract seems straightforward and elementary. But as both a professor of special education and a scientist who studies learning in children with neurodevelopmental issues, I know that, acquiring these essential academic skills is indeed a complicated and effortful endeavor for some and that the problems they and their families experience are often just as complicated.
May 2, 2013
Students getting shortchanged
More than a decade of research on teacher characteristics shows that, on almost every quality measure you can think of, schools with large populations of low-income, minority, and low-achieving students get shortchanged. They have fewer experienced teachers, fewer teachers teaching within their field, and teachers who show greater variations in effectiveness, including more of the worst performers. A new paper indicates that these patterns may be more entrenched than we knew: Even within schools, this kind of "systematic matching" of teachers to students appears to occur, likely the product of both principal and teacher decisions.
To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/teacherbeat/2013/05/within_schools_novice_teachers_paired_with_struggling_students.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2; to read the report: http://www.asanet.org/journals/soe/Apr13SOEFeature.pdf.
May 1, 2013
Florida 'Parent Trigger' law fails—again
The so-called "parent trigger" law died again today in Florida, as it did last year, on a 20-20 vote in the state Senate.
"I have not heard from one parent who supports this bill," state Sen. Nancy Detert, a Republican, told an Orlando Sentinel reporter. She voted against it for the second time, telling the newspaper: "In two years, not one parent has ever called me." In fact, a number of parent groups—including the Florida PTA—actively opposed the bill, which would have let parents initiate the overhaul of a struggling school through a petition.
StudentsFirst (Michelle Rhee): Not all students first
A 2011 Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) study says, "The majority of LGBT students are faced with many obstacles in school affecting their academic performance and personal well-being. Results indicated that 8 out of 10 LGBT students (81.9%) experienced harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, three fifths (63.5%) felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and nearly a third (29.8%) skipped a day of school in the past month because of safety concerns."(Kosciw) In addition to GLSEN's research we know that LGBT students are at risk of suicide. We have heard countless stories about students who died by suicide after being suspected of being gay. Some of these students were, bullied at school, disowned by their families and kicked out of their homes.
April 29, 2013
Humanities Texas to sponsor free professional development
In June, Humanities Texas will hold free professional development institutes for teachers in Austin (June 10-13), Houston (June 11-14), El Paso (June 17-20), and San Antonio (June 18-21), examining American wars from the colonial era through the twentieth century. To apply for the institute: http://www.humanitiestexas.org/education/teacher-institutes/application; for more information about Humanities Texas: http://www.humanitiestexas.org.
April 25, 2013
CSCOPE: sign up to serve
Interested in serving on a review committee to examine CSCOPE social studies material? The deadline is Monday, April 29. http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=25769804296
April 16, 2013
Florida unions sue over test-score-based evaluations
The National Education Association, on behalf of three affiliates of its Florida chapter and seven teachers, sued the state education department this morning, contending that the formula used to assess some teachers violates their constitutional rights. The groups seek an injunction against a recent state law that outlines teacher-evaluation procedures, and against three districts’ specific implementation policies. If granted, it would essentially throw out evaluation results from the 2011-12 year, and for future years until a new system can be devised.
To read the filed complaint: http://www.meyerbrookslaw.com/documents/Cook%20vs%20Bennett/Complaint.pdf
April 11, 2013
Texas devalues Pre-K programs
Texas is one of just eight states to cut funding for pre-Kindergarten programs even though policymakers around the country showed their support for pre-kindergarten programs in their 2012-13 state budgets. An analysis conducted by the Education Commission of the States (ECS) found that the majority of state policymakers around the country have spared pre-K funding from the chopping block, and in about half of the states, increased funding—many substantially. Despite funding increases elsewhere, Texas reduced its funding for Pre-K programs and services by 3.1%, a cut of over $22 million from the 2011-12 school year.
To read more: http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/01/06/90/10690.pdf
April 10, 2013
African American males with disabilities suspended more often
A new report from the University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project has found that one in three African American males with disabilities in secondary schools were suspended at least once in 2009-2010. This sobering data is in stark contrast to the 17% of white males with disabilities, and 22% of Latino males with disabilities who were suspended. Using data collected from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, Out of School & Off Track: The Overuse of Suspensions in American Middle and High Schools calls into question civil rights issues that address the fairness and effectiveness of discipline practices implemented in every school across the nation.
To read the report: http://civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/resources/projects/center-for-civil-rights-remedies/school-to-prison-folder/federal-reports/out-of-school-and-off-track-the-overuse-of-suspensions-in-american-middle-and-high-schools
April 4, 2013
New data: 11 percent of students have ADHD diagnosis
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that 11 percent of school-age kids in the U.S.—and one in five boys in high school—have received a medical diagnosis of ADHD. The rate, based on the newspaper's analysis of new data from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reflects a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 41 percent increase in diagnoses in the last 10 years. The data in the article, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is based on self-reporting by parents rather than medical records
To read the original article from the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/health/more-diagnoses-of-hyperactivity-causing-concern.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0
April 3, 2013
What Will New Evaluation Systems Cost?
The cost of new teacher-evaluation systems is likely to vary based on how states and districts choose to establish student-growth measures for all teachers, according to an analysis from a researcher at the Value-Added Research Center, a research evaluation firm and contractor located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Wisconsin Center for Education Research. The analysis compares three different ways of creating these growth measures, something nearly all states are facing because "value added" measures, based on math and reading standardized tests, only cover a fraction of the teaching population.
March 26, 2013
Teachers share Texas resources via iTunes U
Teachers in Texas now have access to a free online library of materials that are all tied directly — by other teachers — to the requirements of the state public school curriculum. There’s one catch: The only way to get the full benefit is to use an iPhone or iPad.
March 25, 2013
Blind, severely disabled boy forced to take standardized test
There are many distressing stories about high-stakes standardized tests, but this may be the most hideous. This involves the issue of who must take state standardized tests, and whether parents have a right to opt out their children from the testing. In Florida, opting out is extremely hard to do. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/03/23/blind-severely-disabled-boy-forced-to-take-standardized-test
March 22, 2013
English-Learner achievement mixed in big city schools
The experiences of English-language learners in some of the nation's largest school systems vary widely when it comes to who teaches them, what types of language instruction programs are available to them, and how well schools do in supporting their progress toward becoming proficient in English. In what may be the most comprehensive data collection to date on ELLs in urban school systems, the Council of the Great City Schools undertook an extensive survey of its member districts to capture a more complete picture of who these students are, how schools support them, and how they are performing. The full report is titled, "English-Language Learners in America's Great City Schools: Demographics, Achievement, and Staffing." The survey was done last year, when the Council had 65 members. It now has 67 members.
To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning-the-language/2013/03/english-learner_achievement_mixed_in_big_city_schoo.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2. To read the report: http://www.cgcs.org/cms/lib/DC00001581/Centricity/Domain/87/ELL%20Survey%20Report%202013.pdf
March 21, 2013
Health officials: 1 In 50 school kids may have autism
A government survey of parents says 1 in 50 U.S. schoolchildren has autism, surpassing another federal estimate for the disorder. Health officials say the new number doesn't mean autism is occurring more often. But it does suggest that doctors are diagnosing autism more frequently, especially in children with milder problems.
To read more: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=174796826
To read the report: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr065.pdf
March 20, 2013
Report looks to increase physical activity levels for children
This report identifies interventions that can help kids be more active in schools, preschools and childcare centers, community, family and home, and primary care locations. According to the report, schools, where more than 95 percent of students spend six to seven hours a day, offer a practical opportunity to increase physical activity among youth.
To read the report: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/midcourse/pag-mid-course-report-final.pdf
March 19, 2013
Suspended futures: impact of school suspensions
Some call suspension a "schoolhouse-to-jailhouse pipeline" because suspensions correlate with strong likelihood for dropping out, needing public assistance, and involvement in the criminal justice system. That's a factor in recent attempts to curb school suspensions in some states.
March 18, 2013
Waiting for recovery: U.S. public schools continue to lose jobs
Since the peak in local public school employment in July 2008, about 361,000 jobs in the sector have been eliminated, roughly half of the 725,000 government jobs lost overall in the same period, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show. The losses are continuing, with 4,500 local government education jobs shed in the first two months of this year compared with 412,000 private-sector jobs created.
March 6, 2013
Louisiana judge strikes down teacher-tenure law
A Louisiana judge yesterday struck down a 2012 law overhauling teacher tenure and pay in the Pelican State, declaring it unconstitutional for taking on too many reforms in the scope of one measure. The law, Act 1, was signed last April. It required districts to tether teacher pay to new evaluation systems beginning in January of this year, required layoffs to be based on performance rather than seniority, and granted tenure only to teachers identified as "effective" on their evaluations for five years in a six-year period.
To read the law struck down in Louisiana: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=793654&n=HB974%20Act%201
February 25, 2013
Sequestration: 10 frequently asked questions
Almost as soon as President Barack Obama was re-elected, the coming fiscal cliff took center stage. Lawmakers and the Obama administration are supposed to solve the problem in a planned "lame-duck" session of Congress, which starts today.
That means we can expect to hear the words "entitlements", "revenue", "loopholes", and "sequestration" a whole lot for the next couple months. What does it all mean for you, as a teacher/principal/superintendent/policy person?
Here's a breakdown of frequently asked questions:
To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/11/fiscal_cliff_cheat_sheet_what_.html
To read about its impact on Texas: http://www.harkin.senate.gov/documents/pdf/500ff3554f9ba.pdf (scroll to the listig of states and select Texas)
February 22, 2013
Attendance data ‘scrubbing’ tempts low-ranked schools
A former superintendent went to prison in Texas for conspiring to remove low-performing students from classrooms to boost average test scores. Principals in Oklahoma and Missouri are out of their jobs after attendance-related scandals. In Ohio, a recent state audit uncovered nine districts that withdrew students retroactively or improperly reported they were attending alternative programs. In one instance, Auditor Dave Yost said, a district ignored state rules “because [it] didn’t like them.
February 20, 2013
Commission: agenda to education equity
A federally appointed education equity commission is proposing a five-pronged agenda for states and the federal government to help the 22 percent of children living in poverty and eliminate what the commission calls a "staggering" achievement gap. Three years in the making, the new report released today stems from a 2010 congressional directive to the U.S. Department of Education, which created the Equity and Excellence Commission. Read more here: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2013/02/_the_commission_proposes_a.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2. Read the full report here: http://www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/eec/equity-excellence-commission-report.pdf.
February 14, 2013
White House gives outline of Early-Childhood Plan
President Barack Obama used his State of the Union speech to make a big splash on early-childhood education, calling for expanding access to preschool programs to just about every child in the country. But he gave almost no details on the plan in his Tuesday address, including how Congress would pay for it in a tight budget year. To read more: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2013/02/white_house_provides_outline_o.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2
February 1, 2013
Charter schools that start bad stay bad, study finds
Charter schools that start out doing poorly aren’t likely to improve, and charters that are successful from the beginning most often stay that way, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford University. The report, done by Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) and funded by the Robertson Foundation, also found that charter management organizations on average do not do a “dramatically better” job than traditional public schools or charter schools that are individually managed.
To read the report: http://credo.stanford.edu/pdfs/CGAR%20Growth%20Executive%20Summary.pdf
January 28, 2013
ACLU says it's time to end corporal punishment
A 125-page report from 2008 by the ACLU and Human Rights Watch stated that Texas and Mississippi children from three to 19 years old are “routinely physically punished for minor infractions such as chewing gum, talking back to a teacher, or violating the dress code, as well as for more serious transgressions such as fighting.” Even though it's 2013, corporal punishment is allowed in public schools across Texas and throughout the country, especially in the South. Texas is one of 19 states that still allows teachers to spank students.
Read more: http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/01/23/spanking-kids-in-schools-allowed-nineteen-states
Read the report: http://www.aclu.org/human-rights-racial-justice/violent-education-corporal-punishment-children-us-public-schools
January 25, 2013
State finance lawsuits roil K-12 funding landscape
As state budgets slowly recover from several years of economic contraction and stagnation, significant court battles continue to play a related yet distinct role in K-12 policy, even in states where the highest courts have already delivered rulings on the subject.
January 24, 2013
What to do with numbers
Anticipating the avalanche of data soon to be inundating educators, school and district leaders, and state program staff, folks at the National Forum on Education Statistics put out a guide. In the state program brief, they offer a question-driven approach for data-informed decision-making built on questions such as: "What do I want to know? What data might be relevant? How will I access the relevant data? What skills and tools do I need to analyze the data? What do the data tell me? What are my conclusions? What will I do? What effects did my actions have? What are the next steps?”
To read the report, click here: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2013/2013801.pdf
January 22, 2013
Plan now for Read Across America!
SmileMakers is for the first time the Official Seuss Store for NEA's Read Across America 2013. Celebrate in style with over 100 Seuss products available for purchase online at www.smilemakers.com/NEASeussStore.html. When you use the promo code NEAMB, you will receive 20% off, plus free shipping with any order $25 or more. A percentage of the profits from Read Across America sales will be donated to benefit the NEA's literacy program.
January 18, 2013
Education laws await renewal in Congress
The new, still-divided Congress that took office this month faces a lengthy list of education policy legislation that is either overdue for renewal or will be soon, in a political landscape that remains consumed with fiscal issues. But it's tough to say whether there will be much action on all that outdated legislation—including the No Child Left Behind Act, which has awaited reauthorization since 2007. The cast of characters in Washington is virtually unchanged since before the 2012 elections—which left President Barack Obama in the White House, Democrats in control of the Senate, and Republicans in control of the House of Representatives. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/01/16/17congress.h32.html?tkn=VUTFs1d73TCHMK3dlXZlM7ibTWuFIV7aYSK1&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1
January 15, 2013
Gallup: student engagement drops with each grade
With every year that passes between 5th and 12th grade, the number of students who are engaged in school declines steadily, according to the Gallup Student Poll, released last month. To read the report, go to http://thegallupblog.gallup.com.
NEA Foundation funds educator-driven action research project
Joni Acuff of the University of North Texas in Denton was awarded a $2,000 Learning & Leadership Grant from the NEA Foundation to work with educators at a middle school in Columbus, Ohio on a participatory action research project. Data obtained from the research supported analysis of the relationship between curriculum and school success, and conclusions informed a revised curriculum, as well as a potential curriculum model to be used in other schools in Columbus.
“With these grants, we are helping educators to innovate in their classrooms and to build their expertise so students can increase their academic achievement,” said Harriet Sanford, president and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “Our support enables students and educators to engage in a wide variety of innovative work.”
The NEA Foundation funds and supports public educator solutions to improve student performance with two categories of grants: Student Achievement Grants for initiatives to improve academic achievement, and Learning & Leadership Grants for high-quality professional development activities. The Foundation awards about 150 of these grants every year. On average, each grant impacts the learning of about 200 students.
The 2013 deadlines for applications are Feb. 1, June 1, and Oct. 15. Application forms and an instructional video on how to apply can be found at www.neafoundation.org.
December 17, 2012
Dealing with loss
Here are a few resources you may need today, as students return to school for the first time since the Sandy Hook tragedy.
- NEA Health Information Network's crisis guide; see sections on "How parents and other caring adults can help," http://bit.ly/W6qBvM; "How teachers can help," http://bit.ly/12q2qIB; "Being responsive during a crisis," http://bit.ly/U0EVnb
- NEA Today's article "Lessons on loss: how a school community heals after a student dies" http://www.nea.org/home/38144.htm
- "A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope," from the National Association of School Psychologists. http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/terror_general.aspx
- "Talking to Children About Violence," National Association of School Psychologists http://www.nasponline.org/resources/handouts/revisedPDFs/talkingviolence.pdf
- "Listen, Protect and Connect: Psychological First Aid for Teachers and Schools," http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/PFA_SchoolCrisis.pdf
- "Brave teachers and heavy hearts," a blog by former NEA Exec. Dir. John Wilson http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/john_wilson_unleashed/2012/12/brave_teachers_and_heavy_hearts.html
- CNN coverage, including where to send donations http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/15/us/iyw-help-for-victims-of-sandy-hook-shooting/index.html
No-Name-Calling Week, January 21-25, 2013
No Name-Calling Week is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities.
For more information: http://www.nonamecallingweek.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/home.html
To download resources: http://www.nonamecallingweek.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/resources/index.html
Data on vocabulary achievement shows gaps
A new analysis of federal data that provide a deeper and more systematic look into students’ ability to understand the meaning of words in context than was previously available from “the nation’s report card” finds stark achievement gaps in vocabulary across racial and ethnic groups, as well as income levels. According to the report, vocabulary results for 4th and 8th grade students in Texas were not significantly different from the national results.
To read the report: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/main2011/2013452.pdf
Arne Duncan lays out agenda
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who says he plans to serve in the Obama Cabinet for the "long haul," has begun sketching out his priorities for the next four years. They include using competitive levers to improve teacher and principal quality and holding the line on initiatives he started during the president's first term. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/12/05/13department_ep.h32.html?tkn=MPZFXd3GdnuTyAfrHZKCwwz5poLCYWcx8Vbs&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1
Childhood adversity effects are long-lasting
The stress of a spelling bee or a challenging science project can enhance a student's focus and promote learning. But the stress of a dysfunctional or unstable home life can poison a child's cognitive ability for a lifetime, according to new research. While educators and psychologists have said for decades that the effects of poverty interfere with students' academic achievement, new evidence from cognitive and neuroscience is showing exactly how adversity in childhood damages students' long-term learning and health.
Using school engagement to help prevent teen suicide
As increasing attention has been paid to the issue of school-related bullying, growing attention, too, has come to the relationship between bullying and suicide. We're doing more to address bullying with our nation's youths, but we're not yet doing enough to address the problem of child and adolescent suicide. Millions of 10- to 24-year-olds will attempt suicide this year. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third-leading cause of death among young people in that age range. Genevieve LaFleur and Scott Poland of the Violence and Suicide Prevention Office at NOVA Southeastern University share insight into how schools can better address this issue.
Studies link student boredom to stress
One glance and any teacher knows the score: That student, halfway down the row, staring blankly at his tapping pen, fidgeting, sneaking glances at the wall clock roughly every 30 seconds, is practically screaming, "I'm bored!" While boredom is a perennial student complaint, emerging research shows it is more than students not feeling entertained, but rather a "flavor of stress" that can interfere with their ability to learn and even their health. An international group of researchers argues in Perspectives on Psychological Science that the experience of boredom directly connects to a student's inability to focus attention. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/10/10/07boredom_ep.h32.html?tkn=TVCCSnN8gYVu80OnAU%2FFTia4XSNVUXhm6gOp&cmp=clp-sb-ascd
National School Lunch Week begins Oct. 15
“School Lunch – What’s Cooking?” celebrates the positive changes that have been made in school lunch programs across the country. During NSLW, you can showcase your accomplishments and educate your community about the importance of healthy school lunches. Wednesday, Oct. 17, is National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day, an opportunity for children and their parents to share lunch and for parents to experience the positive changes in school lunch. During this week, please take time to say THANK YOU to our food service professionals for their hard work in helping students be successful learners.
- To read more about National School Lunch Week: http://www.schoolnutrition.org/Level2_NSLW2012.aspx?id=16976
- To read more about National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day: http://www.myhealthyschool.com/lunchday
U. S. Dept. of Ed releases new Section 504 resource
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that school districts provide a free appropriate public education to qualified students in their jurisdictions who have a major physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. The U. S. Department has released Disability Rights Reinforcement Guide, a compilation of guidance and data on key issues such as free appropriate public education, discipline, post-secondary, and technology.
To read more about Section 504: http://nichcy.org/laws/section504#info
To download the guide, click here: http://www2.ed.gov/documents/news/section-504.pdf
GROW award for student leaders
The new GROW award recognizes middle and high school student leaders who demonstrate excellence in their pursuits inside and outside the classroom. http://www.texasagriculture.gov/NewsEvents/GROWAward.aspx
SAT participation climbs
Over the past five years, Texas has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of Hispanic and African-American public school students taking the SAT, a sign that more Texans are considering enrolling in college. New data released Sept. 24 by the College Board shows the number of Hispanic test takers in Texas public schools increased by 65 percent between the 2007-2008 school year and last school year. http://www.tea.state.tx.us/news_release.aspx?id=2147509049
National Hispanic Heritage Month
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. http://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/about
Evaluating English Language Learners for special needs
Accurately identifying ELL students who also need special education services has long been a problem for educators. Historically, English-learners were overrepresented in special education, but litigation and civil rights complaints have, in more recent years, led to an equally troubling problem with identifying too few ELLs with legitimate special education needs, or not providing services to them in a timely manner.
Charter applications for schools launched since 2001 are now available for public review on the agency’s website.
- Each new pool of charter applications is known as a generation; typically, there is one applicant pool per year.
- Data can be sorted by charter holder, generation, education service center region, or application status.
- Student specific information has been redacted or blacked out, and copyright or proprietary material is not posted. Copyrighted material may be reviewed by any requestor at the Texas Education Agency headquarters at 1701 N. Congress Ave. in Austin.
The applications for charter schools that were awarded a state contract are posted for Generations 7 (2001) through 15 (2010). Beginning with Generation 16 (2011), any submitted charter application, whether the entity was granted a charter by the State Board of Education or not, is posted. All applications for Generation 17, which are now under review and will be considered for approval by the board in November, are also posted.
Arne Duncan on impact of reforms as kids go back to school
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says some of the changes and challenges that children could notice as they start the new school year include: a more well-rounded curriculum with less focus on a single test; higher academic standards and more difficult classwork; and continued cuts to extracurricular and other activities because of the tough economy.
Finding the middle ground on bullying
The one common thread from the many perspectives on school bullying is that advocates on all sides care deeply about kids. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is determined to protect students' Constitutional rights and their rights to an education in a safe school environment. But those rights hold an inherent tension that at times collides.
Guidance to help school bus drivers combat bullying
Almost 10 percent of bullying related to schools occurs on school buses, yet many drivers don't feel equipped to handle bullying incidents on their buses. Training materials developed by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students provide guidance on how bus drivers can effectively respond to and prevent bullying.
To access the free materials, visit: http://safesupportiveschools.ed.gov/index.php?id=01
How to encourage women to consider STEM majors
A leading female in the sciences says colleges, professionals, and parents all play important roles.
Special educators' use of restraints, seclusion topic of U. S. Senate hearing
Educators’ use of restraints, seclusion, and alternative strategies for managing disruptive student behaviors were the focus of a first-of-its-kind hearing before the Senate education committee.
Alarms sounded as federal education cuts loom
A pair of new reports raise dire warnings about the impact on school districts and federal education programs from the sweeping, across-the-board spending cuts set to hit all federal agencies in early January if Congress doesn't act to head them off. The reports, from the American Association of School Administrators and the National Education Association, take a close look at the threat posed by what's known as sequestration, the automatic budget cuts that loom as a result of the deal last August to raise the federal debt ceiling.
Brighter futures predicted for undocumented youths
With more than 1.3 million undocumented young people now eligible to seek relief from deportation and gain work permits and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down much of Arizona’s immigration law, some educators and advocates hope that more college and career opportunities will open up for youths who were brought illegally to the United States as children.
Wave of poverty flows through schools
Many things correlate with poverty: crime, drugs, gangs, broken families, poor schools and poor academic achievement, and a certain collection of “attitudes.” To read more: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/07/09/36stranahan.h31.html?tkn=WXMFgzn5vk57sy7OL%2Bn23VxzFQK9dpGivRLN&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2
Culture change needed to attract, keep teachers in struggling schools
A report released by The Education Trust emphasizes the need for policy and culture changes in the public education sector, and not just updated teacher evaluation systems.
Harassment is not an LOL matter
In today's high-tech world, it is easier than ever for people to stay connected. Any time, any place, we can share information instantly with friends, family, and coworkers living in the next city or across the globe. However, while this enhanced connectivity has transformed business and education, made communication faster and easier, and helped promote sharing and learning, it can also be a human resource professional's worst nightmare. The more opportunities colleagues have to communicate, the greater chance there is of someone (accidentally or purposefully) crossing the line.
Flipping and expanding Bloom’s Taxonomy
As one of the foundational pieces of current educational thinking, Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning is worth reviewing as an introduction to how and why it should be flipped for the 21st century learner.
Three simple steps to do-it-yourself professional development
Today, every teacher needs to be in charge of his or her own professional development, if for no other reason than district budgets require everyone to be so much more creative. However, there needs to be a balance between the formal and informal.
College affordability and transparency list
Here you will find information about tuition and net prices at postsecondary institutions. The site highlights institutions with high and low tuition and fees as well as high and low net prices (the price of attendance minus grant and scholarship aid). It also shows institutions where tuition and fees and net prices are increasing at the highest rates.
Texas reports test results for 2012 ... and 2016
On June 8, the Texas Education Agency released the scores from five of those tests. In addition, agency officials also jumped in the DeLorean time machine and reported what the proficiency rates would be in 2016, if students' STAAR performance remained flat from 2012 to 2016, when the phase-in of the final, tougher passing requirements is slated to finish. The disparities are pretty dramatic. To review score summaries go to http://www.tea.state.tx.us/staar/rpt/sum/yr12/
New tests put states on hot seat as scores plunge
As states, including Texas, begin to demand more rigor on their high-stakes tests — and the tests evolve to incorporate revised academic standards — many officials are gambling that an initial wave of lower scores will give way to greater student achievement in the future.
Reviving teaching with 'Professional Capital'
Without a strong and relentless focus on what we call "professional capital," U.S. policymakers will continue to miss lessons from other countries about how they produce teacher fulfillment and effectiveness, and to misread warning signs here at home as well. The truth about the more successful countries, such as Finland, Singapore, and Canada, is that they develop the whole profession to the point where students encounter good teachers one after another. They attract and develop the professional capital of all their teachers, in all schools, day after day, year after year.
2012 approved tests for assessment of Limited English Proficient students
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has completed the annual review of approved tests for use during the 2012–13 school year in the identification of students of limited English proficiency as well as entry/exit from bilingual education and special language programs, in accordance with 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §89.1225(d) relating to Testing and Classification of Students.
The 2012–2013 List of Approved Tests for Assessment of LEP Students can be accessed from the TEA webpage at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=4098.
Outside advocacy groups target local school board elections
The support provided by outside advocacy groups gives an example of how a new breed of national education groups, known for devoting money and organizational might to political campaigns and lobbying at the state level, also extends its reach into local school board elections. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/05/23/32adv-local.h31.html?tk
Chronic absenteeism undermines over 5 million students
Between 5 million and 7.5 million students miss a month of school every year. High absenteeism is the best single predictor of whether a student will drop out of school -- a choice that can severely limit the individual's life earnings and career potential.
NEA member named 2012 National Teacher of the Year
Rebecca Mieliwocki was named the 2012 National Teacher of the Year by The Council of Chief State School Officers today. Mieliwocki is an English teacher at Burbank Middle School in Burbank, Californiawho was recognized for her unconventional teaching practices and her deep commitment to helping students succeed. President Barack Obama honored her and all of the State Teachers of the Year at a White House ceremony on April 24. http://www.nea.org/home/51684.htm
Special education survey: service delivery models
NEA is collecting information from both general and special education members about changes (if any) in how students with disabilities are being provided special education instruction and services. This information will be useful as we prepare for the upcoming reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Please take a few moments to complete our brief survey at https://vovici.com/wsb.dll/s/c2dg4ef62.
Alone in the classroom: why teachers are too isolated
Educators spend most of their time distanced from their colleagues. Instead of forcing them to compete with each other, we should help them find new ways to work together.
'Teacher churning' shortchanges public schools
"Teacher churning" is a remarkable instability among school personnel that makes it nearly impossible to build a professional community or develop long-term relationships with students. It happens when teachers are treated like interchangeable parts who can be moved around cavalierly to plug a hole in a school schedule. It happens when administrators repeatedly order teachers to switch to a different grade, teach a different subject, or move to a different school.
Arts involvement narrows student achievement gap
A National Endowment for the Arts study finds disadvantaged students do better academically if they are intensely involved in the arts.
Become a Healthy Schools Champion today
Champions are individuals that motivate students and staff toward healthier school environments nationwide. As members of the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program, Champions consistently find ways to implement program and policy changes that support good nutrition and physical activity in school.
Looking for STAAR information?
Here are quick links to some of the most popular test information items: testing calendar, frequently asked questions document, TAKS vs STAAR comparison, test security procedures, and released test questions, which are at the bottom of the main STAAR resources page. You can find additional information in the STAAR media toolkit. http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/staar
Children at high risk for obesity are least likely to have recess
Children who live in cities, reside in the southeast United States or attend schools with a high percentage of students from lower-income families are least likely to have recess. The same is also true for children who attend schools with a high percentage of American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic Black and/or Hispanic students.
Make sure your vote counts
Register to vote and find out about new and restrictive voting laws that are threatening to keep as many as 5 million voters from casting a ballot this November.
Scholarships available for teachers in high-need schools
Valuable scholarships to offset the cost of professional development are currently available to teachers in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio through the NBPTS. The scholarship funds will help offset fees for National Board Certification in science, the most prestigious credential in the teaching profession.
Follow Bryan for instructional news
In addition to TSTA's regular twitter account at http://twitter.com/txstateteachers, TSTA Teaching and Learning Specialist Bryan Weatherford is now tweeting on instructional issues at https://twitter.com/TeacherChat.
The U.S. Department of Education released a national conversation focused on a proposal called RESPECT, which stands for Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching. The plan reflects the spirit of NEA's 3-Point Plan to improve the profession, read NEA's press release at http://www.nea.org/home/50805.htm.
Students standing up to bullying and hate
It takes courage to stand up to a bully or challenge hate speech. On K-12 and college campuses across the country, students and educators are coming together as "upstanders" to change their communities for the better. Their stories of everyday heroism are highlighted in a compelling new documentary.
What do you know about your school district?
Are you looking for information about your school district? Do you know how much money your district reported in its General Fund Balance? TEA has all that information and more in a series of reports.
The Teacher Retirement System of Texas has added twitter to its social media presence.
Celebrating Title IX
Federal legislation requires schools which receive public funding to provide equal athletic (and educational) opportunities to males and females. Although it passed more than 40 years ago, high school girls still receive 1.3 million less athletic opportunities than high school boys, according to the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport. In 2010-11, roughly 4.5 million boys participated in high school sports, while just under 3.2 million girls did the same, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Long-term English-language learners at greater risk
Students repeatedly classified as English-Language learners (ELL) are much more likely to drop out of school than those who are reclassified as English Proficient in earlier grades. According to a study by the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing at UCLA, ELL students who are reclassified as English Proficient are similar to non-English Language Learners in their achievement levels and dropout rates.
The value of a veteran teacher
Some reformers say that highly effective veteran teachers are vital to schools. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in August that great veteran teachers should be rewarded.
2010-11 AEIS reports posted
The Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) pulls together a wide range of information on the performance of students in each school and district in Texas annually. Data may be accessed by district, county, Education Service Center (ESC), or individual campuses.
Scholarships for national board certification
Teachers who want to get their national board certification may be eligible for scholarships. Scroll to Nationwide or Texas. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
Collective teacher leadership
Years of research have shown that the best predictor of student achievement is an effective teacher in the classroom. As state and federal accountability standards have increased so, too, has the need for teachers to take on differing types of leadership roles.
The end of bullying begins with you!
Take a stand, speak out, and take action to create safe, inclusive schools.
Which states get No Child Left Behind waivers?
This peer review guidebook reveals the judges' instructions for evaluating the states' waiver plans.
A video showcase of great teaching
Teaching Channel, a new non-profit focused on professional development, is a video showcase—on the web and television—of great teaching in America’s public schools.
Why aren't more U.S. students bilingual?
The documentary "Speaking in Tongues" follows four kids from diverse backgrounds on their journey to learn a language other than English. It challenges viewers to rethink the skills Americans need to succeed in the 21st century and is a valuable tool for expanding language programs in public schools.
Increase your awareness of childhood obesity
Over 23 million children and teenagers in the U.S. are obese or overweight. Obesity rates have soared among all age groups in this country and is a particularly serious problem for children. In Texas, it is estimated that almost one-third of our high school students are either overweight or obese.
Bully Free: It Starts with Me
"Bully Free: It Starts with Me" is a groundbreaking NEA initiative to identify caring adults in schools and communities who will pledge to help bullied students. The adults will agree to listen carefully to the student and take action to stop the bullying. NEA will provide adults the resources they need to provide solace and support, ask the right questions and take the appropriate actions.
Apply for an NEA Foundation grant
The NEA Foundation has a video that provides a guided tour and detailed instruction of the online application for its popular Learning & Leadership Grants and Student Achievement Grants. The deadlines for these grants -- which provide $2,000 for implementing proposals from individuals for Learning & Leadership Grants and $5,000 for team proposals for both -- are Feb. 1, June 1, and Oct. 15. For more information, to apply online, or to watch the video, visit the NEA Foundation Grant website.
The NEA Academy website is devoted to supporting the professional development of teachers and education support professionals. The site features web-based lessons, classroom tips, and professional development courses, including the popular classroom management course "I Can Do It" as well as the NEA Teacher Toolkit and career information.
Are you a first-year teacher?
Get a great start on your new career with our links and resources for first year teachers!
Teachers in Transition
The Texas Workforce Commission and a statewide network of Workforce Solutions offices will assist all teachers in their efforts to find work. This site offers information to help you better navigate the workforce system including filing for unemployment insurance, registering to look for work, finding a new job and knowing where to go to get additional help if needed.
K-12 Teaching & Learning Center
Check out the resources at the K-12 Teaching & Learning Center.