News for Teachers From the
U.S. Embassy, London
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JANUARY 2016
TEACH STRONG

TeachStrong is a diverse group of education organizations which have come together to prioritize modernizing and elevating the teaching profession.
The TeachStrong campaign brings together teachers unions, teacher voice organizations, and education reform, civil rights, and education policy leaders to make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy issue of 2016.
http://teachstrong.org/

HOME SCHOOLING

In 1980, home schooling was illegal in 30 states,it was not until 1993 that all 50 states made the practice lawful and in recent years, the practice of home schooling has taken off.
Homeschooled students are school-age children (ages 5–17) in a grade equivalent to at least kindergarten and not higher than 12th grade who receive instruction at home instead of at a public or private school either all or most of the time.
Approximately 3 percent of the school-age population was homeschooled in the 2011–12 school year. Among children who were homeschooled, a higher percentage were White (83 percent) than Black (5 percent), Hispanic (7 percent), or Asian or Pacific Islander (2 percent).
Parents gave a number of different reasons for homeschooling their children. In the 2011–12 school year, 91 percent of homeschooled students had parents who said that a concern about the environment of other schools was an important reason for homeschooling their child, which was a higher percentage than other reasons listed, more information.

State Homeschool Policies: A patchwork of provisions Micah Ann Wixom
Homeschooling policies vary widely from one state to the next and families’ homeschooling experiences will likely be very different depending on where they live.

Our Kids Don’t Belong in School
By Bridget Samburg
Boston Magazine September 2015
More and more of Boston’s smartest families are opting out of the education system to homeschool.Is this the new model for creating elite kids?

Number of home-schooled students increases in the District
Washington Post October 10, 2015
By Michael Alison Chandler
…In a city known for its ever-growing array of school choices, small but growing numbers of parents are opting to chart their own course. The number of registered home-schooling families grew by a third over the past two years to nearly 400 this fall, up from about 290 in the 2013-2014 school year.

QUALITY COUNTS 2016

Quality Counts is Education Week's annual report on state-level efforts to improve public education.
The full Quality Counts 2016 report, including in-depth reporting on new directions in school accountability, a retrospective look at highlights and milestones from the past 20 years, and an original analysis of national and state achievement trends:
www.edweek.org/go/qc16.
State Highlights Reports for the 50 states and the District of Columbia featuring detailed, statespecific data and our comprehensive “State of the States” grades for educational performance: www.edweek.org/go/qc16shr.
Interactive map and report card for delving into Quality Counts’ signature grading rubric: www.edweek.org/go/qc16map.
Interactive Grading Calculator that lets users try their hand at grading by assigning different weights for the importance of various outcomes: www.edweek.org/go/qc16calculate.

Quality Counts 2016: Do US schools make the grade?
Massachusetts remains at the top as the majority stay in the middle of the pack
By Erin McIntyre
Education Drive January 8, 2016
With No Child Left Behind officially in the rearview and the new Every Student Succeeds Act set to take effect in the fall, U.S. schools find themselves "at a crossroads,” the overview to Education Week’s Quality Counts 2016 report states.

MARTIN LUTHER KING

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who is remembered in the United States on the third Monday of January each year, is perhaps best known as America’s chief spokesman for nonviolent activism as a result of his leadership role in the U.S. civil rights movement.
Find out what Americans do on MLK Day by clicking here.

Presidential Proclamation -- Martin Luther King Jr., Federal Holiday, 2016 (Whitehouse.gov)
Washington DC, Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial
The many faces of King in America’s cities (ShareAmerica)
The life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. (ShareAmerica)


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ARTICLES

Letting students sink doesn’t teach them to swim
By Jay Mathews Columnist
Washington Post January 10, 2016
Replacing F’s with passing grades for little work, one troubling explanation for our rising high school graduation rates, also is not good.

The Teaching Profession in 2015
By Ross Brenneman
Education Week December 30, 2015
This year's edition looks at teaching largely through a student lens, because ultimately, how students perform in life after school comes to shape the teaching profession; schools are often a mirror for the communities surrounding them.

Differing Effects from Diverse Charter Schools
Uneven Student Selection and Achievement Growth in Los Angeles
Hyo Jeong Shin, Bruce Fuller, Luke Dauter
Institute of Human Development, University of California, Berkeley December 2015
After tracking 66,000 students over four years, 2007-2011, we find that TPS campuses that converted to charter status (conversions) attracted more experienced and consistently credentialed teachers, and served relatively advantaged families, compared with newly created charter schools (start-ups). Charter schools overall attracted pupils achieving at higher levels as they began a grade cycle (at baseline), relative to students attending traditional schools.

Students at charters start off higher academically, but some also learn faster, study finds
By Howard Blume
LA Times -December 21, 2015
Sudents who enter Los Angeles charter schools are more academically advanced than their peers in traditional public schools, according to a study released Monday by researchers at UC Berkeley.

Public Schools Struggle With Teaching Islam Around the Country
By Tribune News Service | December 21, 2015
By Matt Pearce
A teacher's printout explained why calligraphy was religiously significant to Muslims. The assignment asked students to re-create the complex strokes for the Shahada, the Islamic statement of faith, "to give you an idea of the artistic complexity of the calligraphy."

Meet Three Charter Schools Successfully Serving Students with Disabilities
15 Dec 2015 InformED Blog
by Zena Rudo
While 43 states have charter schools, a higher percentage of students with disabilities enroll in traditional public schools (12 percent) than in charter schools (10 percent).

No Child left Behind Is Gone, But Will It Be Back?
Melissa Tooley
New America 17 December 2015
For years, there has been talk of leaving the 2002 “No Child Left Behind” law—the first real attempt by the federal government to hold schools accountable for helping all students learn—behind.

The Case for Correctional Education in U.S. Prisons Rand January 2016
Inmates who participate in any kind of educational program behind bars—from remedial math to vocational auto shop to college-level courses—are up to 43 percent less likely to reoffend and return to prison

Salvaging Education in Rural America
Rachel Martin
The Atlantic Jan 5, 2016
Rural towns struggle with widespread poverty, limited opportunity, and low college-attendance rates. What role do schools play in improving the quality of life?

Data dive: Surprising statistics on four-day schools
Kevin Richert
Idaho News November 16, 2015
Four-day school districts proliferated during the recession: True.


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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.