News for Teachers From the
U.S. Embassy, London
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FEBRUARY 2015
Why Teachers Quit

Burning Bright Without Burning Out
Blog Posted by Justin Minkel
08 February 2018
“It is said that teachers are like candles. They consume themselves to give light to others.” I like the “giving light” bit. The problem is that candles are a nonrenewable resource. Once they’re gone, baby, they’re gone. The metaphor is more accurate than the speaker knew. Pick a moment and day at random and ask a teacher how she’s feeling. Odds are high that the honest answer will be, “Overwhelmed.”

Why Do Teachers Quit? And why do they stay?
Liz Riggs
The Atlantic Oct 18 2013
Approximately 15.7 percent of teachers leave their posts every year, and 40 percent of teachers who pursue undergraduate degrees in teaching never even enter the classroom at all.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Each February, Black History Month honors the struggles and triumphs of millions of American citizens over the most devastating obstacles — slavery, prejudice, poverty — as well as their contributions to the nation’s cultural and political life.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, African Americans make up about 45.0 million of the U.S. population and comprise the second-largest minority group, after Hispanics.

A School District That Was Never Desegregated
Decades after Brown v. Board of Education, a small town in Mississippi has yet to unify its black and white students.
Sharon Lerner
The Atlantic Feb 5 2015, 10:00 AM ET
The wheels of justice have been said to turn slowly. And few things move quickly here in Cleveland, Mississippi, a town of 12,000 people with no movie theater and a quaint commercial district that’s shuttered on Sunday. But when a deadline on a school desegregation suit—originally filed in 1965—came and went last month with opposing sides still unable to agree on a resolution, some locals admitted frustration.

EJ|USA: Race Forward — A New Generation Celebrates Black History
If a single building could ever tell a story of the black urban experience in the United States, it is the Howard Theatre in Washington. In 1910, it became the first performance space built for African Americans in the United States. It hosted famous black musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Otis Redding and Lena Horne. Earlier, after slavery was abolished in 1865, many blacks left the Southern farms on which they had been forced to work and settled in cities like Washington. Although no longer slaves, black people were segregated from white people across the United States by Jim Crow laws — named for a stereotyped minstrel-show character offensive to blacks.

Schools Test Impact of Blending Technology, Longer School Days
Combining the two practices seen as key
By Michelle R. Davis
Education Week February 4, 2015
Students at Grant Beacon Middle School in Denver spend much of the school day in a blended learning scenario, using Chromebooks to access digital curricula and working face to face with their teachers. Students also have a longer school day—an extra hour that allows for more enrichment and electives.

Schools Weigh Access to Students' Social Media Passwords
By Benjamin Herold
Education Week 18 February 2015
State lawmakers and school district officials are again wrestling with questions about schools' authority to access and monitor students' social-media accounts.

TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD

The Embassy have a number of audio and readers guide to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird" produced by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the Big Read program. The audio guide is narrated by Dana Gioia and features David Baker, Robert Duvall, Horton Foote, Charles J. Shields, Curtis Sittenfeld, Elizabeth Spencer, Anne Twomey, and Sandra Day O'Connor.
If you are resident in the UK and would like a copy of the audio and readers guide, please email the Information Resource Center at the U.S. Embassy at: weblond@state.gov with your name and address and we will mail it out to you.

WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH

March is Women's History Month. The National Women's History Month's roots go back to March 8, 1857, when women from New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions. International Women's Day was first observed in 1909, but it wasn't until 1981 that Congress established National Women's History Week to be commemorated the second week of March. In 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month. Every year since, Congress has passed a resolution for Women's History Month.
Useful websites from the Smithonian for Women's History Month:

The National Museum of American History
O Say Can You See, blog features a number of posts that highlight topics in women's history. Women's History blog

Women's History Photos
Smithsonian's Flickr photostream features historic photographs of notable women in American history. Flickr photostream;

Setting the Precedent: Four Women Who Excelled In Business
The National Museum of American History offers an interactive online exhibition that profiles four women who set the precedent for women in the workplace. http://amhistory.si.edu/archives/

Women of Our Time The National Portrait Gallery has an online exhibition that highlights photographs and biographies of famous and influential American women. www.npg.si.edu/cexh/woot/index.HTM

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TEACHERS! The Embassy is planning a teachers' coffee next month; if you would like to be invited please send an email to CultureLondon@state.gov stating your Name, School and your Role. We look forward to meeting you.

Articles/Reports

How to Change Inflexible Teacher Pay Systems
Opt-ins for veteran teachers, up-front funding, and carefully crafted evaluation systems ease the pain, report says
By Fawn Johnson
National Journal 17 February 2015
Teachers give up a lot in their chosen profession, including being paid at market rates for their professionalism. A guaranteed job and paycheck is intended to make up for that. Many school administrators are noting, however, that burgeoning payroll costs can't go on forever. To change the compensation system such that it rewards teachers for improving performance rather than time, they need a carefully phased transition and buy-in from either the teaching community or the public. Ideally, they have buy-in from everyone.

Do More, Add More, Earn More
Teacher Salary Redesign Lessons from 10 First-Mover Districts
By Karen Hawley Miles, Kaitlin Pennington, David Bloom
Center for American Progress Tuesday, February 17, 2015
This report reveals the key policy decisions undertaken by 10 districts that have made it possible to revamp their compensation systems and, at the same time, both keep their systems solvent and achieve district goals. While the specific goals of each district vary, all 10 districts used compensation to attract, retain, and leverage high-performing teachers.

He Transformed the Schools, But…
By Joel Klein
New York Review of Books March 5, 2015
Lessons of Hope: How to Fix Our Schools It’s fair to credit Klein for getting results. In almost every way we can measure, the overall quality of New York’s schools improved under his administration. Some of the new charter schools recorded astonishing gains in test scores among underprivileged children, confounding the much-heard myth that schools can’t do anything to alleviate the educational effects of poverty.

Sustaining the Teaching Profession
By Ronald Thorpe
New England Journal of Public Policy: Vol. 26: Iss. 1, Article 5. Within the United States and across nations, there seems to be consensus that teacher quality is the most important school-based variable in determining how well a child learns. While such an observation hardly sounds like headline news, it is a milestone in the development of teaching as a profession. It suggests where investments should be made if people really are serious about student learning.

If Your Teacher Likes You, You Might Get A Better Grade
NprED February 22, 2015 5:55 AM ET
Anya Kamenetz
A newly published paper suggests that personality similarity affects teachers' estimation of student achievement. That is, how much you are like your teacher contributes to his or her feelings about you — and your abilities.

It’s past time to move beyond No Child Left Behind: Addressing America’s teachers and principals
By Arne Duncan Secretary for Education
February 10th, 2015
For more than a decade, states and schools throughout this country have worked within the narrow confines of the No Child Left Behind law. It’s long past time to move past that law, and replace it with one that expands opportunity, increases flexibility and gives schools and educators more of the resources they need.

Reauthorizing ESEA: What We Know and Where We Should Go with School Improvement by Becki Herman, Brian M. Stecher, Laura S. Hamilton
Rand February 11, 2015
cross the United States, too many schools have persistently failed to improve student achievement over years, and often decades. Some of the more controversial provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) have been aimed at improving such persistently low-performing schools.

Income-based Inequality in Educational Outcomes: Learning from State Longitudinal Data Systems
John P. Papay, Richard J. Murnane, John B. Willett
NBER Working Paper No. 20802 Issued in December 2014
We report results from our long-standing research partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. We make two primary contributions. First, we illustrate the wide range of informative analyses that can be conducted using a state longitudinal data system and the advantages of examining evidence from multiple cohorts of students. Second, we document large income-based gaps in educational attainments, including high-school graduation rates and college-going. Importantly, we show that income-related gaps in both educational credentials and academic skill have narrowed substantially over the past several years in Massachusetts.
Available in hardcopy only. Email your request to weblond@state.gov you must be resident in the UK.

Teachers Newsletteris produced by the Information Resource Center at the United States Embassy in London
Inclusion of any of the items listed above, especially those from sources outside the U.S. Government, should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein or as official U.S. policy.