News for Teachers From the
U.S. Embassy, London
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MAY 2015

The Common Core, is a set of college- and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Today, 43 states have voluntarily adopted and are working to implement the standards, which are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to take credit bearing introductory courses in two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.

Common Core Critics Are Loud But Losing
The nationwide pushback against the education standards hasn't been very successful.
by Alan Greenblatt
Governing April 2015
Common Core has become a toxic brand, the most contentious issue on the education landscape, reviled by partisans at both ends of the political spectrum.

National Board Certification and Teacher Effectiveness:
Evidence from Washington
James Cowan and Dan Goldhaber
Center for Education Data & Research February 11, 2015
We study the effectiveness of teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in Washington State, which has one of the largest populations of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in the nation.

Why my students’ AP scores matter. And why they don’t
Ray Salazar
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards May 13, 2015
I fight the obsession with testing and over-testing in our classrooms. Yet, given the choice, I choose to teach AP English Language every chance I get. After months of intense writing and thinking, over sixty of my students take their AP test this morning. This is the sixth time I’ve taught this class. And each year, I value this course—and the experience of teaching it—more and more.

For more on the Common Core visit the website of the official home of the State Standards. Hosted and maintained by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center)

Under Common Core, Students Learn Words by Learning About the World
By Liana Heitin
Education week May 13, 2015
The idea is that by hearing academic words in one context again and again, students will attach deeper meaning to them and be able to use them in other contexts. Center City started embedding vocabulary instruction within topics, using the Core Knowledge curriculum, at the beginning of last year.


Women in STEM
White House
Supporting women STEM students and researchers is not only an essential part of America’s strategy to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world; it is also important to women themselves. Women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than those in non-STEM occupations and experience a smaller wage gap relative to men. And STEM careers offer women the opportunity to engage in some of the most exciting realms of discovery and technological innovation. Increasing opportunities for women in these fields is an important step towards realizing greater economic success and equality for women across the board.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education
Dept.of Education
America must provide students with a strong education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to prepare them to succeed in the global economy. Scientists and engineers create many of the innovations that drive our Nation’s competitiveness, yet many American students are unprepared in math and science, particularly students from underrepresented groups, and the nation’s STEM workforce needs are not being met.

The STEM Mentoring Café is a speed-mentoring program aimed at inspiring underrepresented individuals in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by meeting federal role models and engaging in conversations about STEM careers. Only a quarter of the STEM workforce is female, even though females make up over half of workers overall. Girls overwhelmingly say they are interested in STEM at young ages, but as they progress past middle school it is all too common for girls to opt out of STEM classes, choose not to major in STEM, and decide not to pursue STEM careers. Putting role models who look like them and can share insights into why STEM matters is a critical turning point to showing girls that STEM careers are achievable. Middle school is commonly identified as a turning point where interest in STEM changes - focusing on reaching middle school students is a way to gain exposure at that critical age.

Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering
National Science Foundation
Provides statistical information about the participation of these three groups in science and engineering education and employment.

The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF) was established in 1999 to increase the number of high-quality high school science and mathematics teachers with the ultimate goal of improving STEM education in the United States. KSTF currently operates three programs that build national capacity for improving STEM teaching, leading and learning: Teaching Fellows, Senior Fellows, and Research & Evaluation.
Their mission is to improve STEM education by developing talented, early-career teachers into teacher leaders. Through their Teaching Fellows, Senior Fellows and Research & Evaluation programs, working to improve STEM education by:
· Developing outstanding secondary science and mathematics teachers,
· Being a catalyst for Fellows to become leaders in the teaching profession,
· Generating and sharing crucial knowledge to help build the teaching profession and improve STEM education, and
· Building and sustaining a national professional network that strengthens the STEM teaching profession.

Techbridge launched in 2000 as a program to expand the academic and career options for girls in science, technology, and engineering. Since it's founding, they have worked with over 4,000 girls in grades 5-12 through in after-school and summer programs. Believing every girl needs personal and consistent support to succeed, and to that aim have created resources for educators, families, and role models who make up the support network.

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Public schools are universal: They are available to everyone. are funded and controlled by three levels of government: The United States Department of Education on the federal level, state-level departments of education and by the school district at the local level. Each school district sets the curricula, funding and employment for schools within their boundaries, with direction from the state. Educational standards and standardized testing decisions are also made by the state.
Magnet schools are free public schools that can be highly competitive and highly selective. They're renowned for their special programs and high academic standards. They may specialize in a particular area, such as science or the arts. Are subject to the regulations and guidelines of the public school administration. They exist side-by-side with traditional schools and some magnet programs even operate within traditional school buildings --- a “school within a school.” Most magnet schools use a lottery system to accept students or accept students on a first come first serve basis. However, about a third of magnet schools have a competitive admissions process.
Charter schools began appearing in the early 1990s. They are independently operated public schools started by parents, teachers, community organizations, and for-profit companies. These schools receive tax dollars, but the sponsoring group may also come up with private funding. They are not bound by many of the same regulations as traditional public schools. Admissions is open to all students and usually conducted by lottery. Because the purpose of a charter school is to offer an alternative option for education to everybody; they admit students solely on the basis of availability.


Let the Kids Learn Through Play
Sunday New York Times Magazine 16, 2015
In many schools, formal education now starts at age 4 or 5. Without this early start, the thinking goes, kids risk falling behind in crucial subjects such as reading and math, and may never catch up.

Despite Challenges, Most K-12 Teachers Would Recommend the Profession
Standardized testing and policies originating from those outside the profession were cited by teachers as their greatest professional frustrations.
By John K. Waters
The Journal May 4th 2015
"It's important to keep in mind that K-12 is a different place from what it was 10 years ago, in terms of leadership opportunities for teachers," Roggeman said. "It used to be that you were either a teacher or an administrator. But today, savvy district leaders are recognizing that you've got to tap into the talent pool of your teachers for creative problem solving."

From Large Urban to Small Rural Schools: An Empirical Study of National Board Certification and Teaching Effectiveness
Final Report The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is a professional organization that provides national certification to teachers who apply for and meet the Board’s standards of performance for “accomplished” educators.

Washington’s Education Stalemate
Why improving our schools looks hopeless on Capitol Hill.
by Peter Harkness
Governing May 2015
Fifty years ago, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act expanding the federal role in education was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. Six years ago, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, armed with a bucketload of cash from the Obama administration’s economic stimulus program, leveraged that money to jump-start the reform effort called Race to the Top.

National Board Partners with MS Dept. of Education to Boost Early Literacy Instruction

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.