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

Grosvenor Square: An American History

Deb MacLean speaking at the Benjamin Franklin house Deb MacLean of the U.S. Embassy gave an interesting talk to school pupils at the Benjamin Franklin house. On U.S. historical Connections with Grosvenor Square, on how a small area can reflect the importance of the U.S.-UK Special Relationship. Deb covered the American Revolution as well as the U.S. presence on the Square during the second world war.
You can find out more on the talk by going to the U.S. Embassy's Special Relationship Magagine at: http://www.usembassy.org.uk
If you would like Deb to come to give a talk at your school then email the embassy on weblond@state.gov

Charter Schools

Since 1991, forty-three states and the District of Columbia have allowed for the existence and operation of these independent public schools of choice. Today, some 6,700 of them serve nearly three million students, almost 6 percent of U.S. public school enrollment. They are the fastest-growing school choice option in the country and already educate more than half as many children as attend private schools, which have been around for ages.
Opening a Charter School process starts when a group of teachers or educators comes together and applies to the local board of education. This authorized institution and applicants sign a contract with a logic of renting. According to most of states’ Charter School laws and regulations, educational skills that students must gain in a determined time are specified in initial contract and this contract renewed considering if contract articles are fulfilled when duration is finished. The similarity between Charter and public schools is that they are both publicly funded. The similarity between private and charter schools, are uncrowded classes, innovation goal, flexible curriculum, considering desires of trainees and performance-based system.

Charter schools at (almost) a quarter-century: Looking back, looking ahead
Chester E. Finn, Jr. Bruno V. Manno
Thomas Fordham Institute June 24, 2015
he first quarter-century of chartering has taught us much about what should happen in the second. It’s slightly embarrassing to acknowledge, with the benefit of hindsight, that putting a charter sign on a school building actually reveals surprisingly little—mostly just that it’s a “school of choice” with some freedom to be different.

Restoring Shanker’s Vision for Charter Schools
By Richard D. Kahlenberg, Halley Potter
American Federation of Teachers
In 1988, education reformer and American Federation of Teachers president Albert Shanker proposed a new kind of public school—“charter schools”—which would allow teachers to experiment with innovative approaches to educating students.

Charter Schools Innovate To Tackle Teacher Preparation
By Michael B. Horn
Education Next June 8th 2015
The United States faces significant, well-publicized challenges in effectively training teachers and, once in the field, supporting them with relevant, useful professional development. These challenges are only likely to grow in the years ahead as the teaching practice changes monumentally with the rise of blended learning.

No Child Left Behind law

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who believed that "full educational opportunity" should be "our first national goal."
In 2002, with bipartisan support, Congress reauthorized ESEA and President George W. Bush signed the law, giving it a new name: No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
More information can be found on the Dept. of Education website http://www.ed.gov/

Everyone wants a new education law, but debate will feature disagreements
By Emma Brown
Washington Post July 7
Here are three key issues you can expect to see discussed in the coming days:
Accountability: Who should decide how to define and fix “failing” schools?
Equity: How much should the federal government do to ensure that all children are getting the resources they need?
Title I portability: Should federal Title I dollars follow poor children wherever they enroll, or should they be used in schools with the greatest concentration of poverty?

Outlook: It's Education Week, Finally
By Fawn Johnson
National Journal 5 July 2015
Both the House and the Senate will vote on major changes to the nation's law governing public schools, and the double-bill floor debates alone are a victory for educators and advocates. Their requests to update the 15-year-old No Child Left Behind law have been repeatedly overshadowed by more pressing congressional priorities—trade, fiscal cliffs, highway trust-fund expirations, and plain old electioneering.

Teacher Quality & Retention Program (TQRP) from the Thrugood Marsahll College Fund (TMCF)
TMCF focuses on recruiting male aspiring teachers and STEM or Education majors to address the shortage of National Board Certified Teachers who are African American males, as well as the shortage of qualified science and math teachers in high-need urban and rural schools. Since 2009, TQRP has evolved into a TMCF signature program and currently boasts over 125 active Program Fellows and even more successful TQRP Alumni. The TQRP approach is unique in that it provides financial resources, training and mentoring to aspiring and new teachers from their pre-service years, all the way through their critical first three years of teaching. TQRP Fellows have the opportunity to collaborate with master teachers and TMCF staff
http://tmcf.org/our-programs/k-12-education/teacher-quality-retention-program

Schools of Opportunity
Is a pilot project, which is highlighting schools that are creating healthy environments for students, teachers and staff. Seventeen schools were named as inaugural winners in initiative to identify and recognize public high schools that seek to close opportunity gaps through practices “that build on students’ strengths” — not by inundating them with tests.
http://opportunitygap.org/

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Articles/Reports

Summer Learning Day: Stopping the Summer Slide
Rand June 19, 2015
The average student loses so much of what was initially learned that upon returning in the fall, he or she is—in terms of academic gains—one month behind where he or she left off in the spring. And research suggests that this learning loss is both disproportionate and cumulative: Low-income students lose ground in reading, while their higher income peers often gain.

Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) June 2015
Nearly 1 in 6 Low-Income Children Receive Summer Meals
During July 2014, the Summer Nutrition Programs served nearly 3.2 million children, an increase of 215,000 (7.3 percent) from 2013.

Online Summer Learning
Using Online Education & Resources to Get Ahead
Summer school can fill numerous educational niches, from giving high school students a head start as they prepare for college, to helping current college students stay on track to graduate in four years. According to data from the Evergreen Education Group, 30 states have fully online high schools that served an estimated 315,000 students in 2013-2014, while another 26 state virtual schools served more than 740,000 students.

Too Many Kids
Morgan Jerkins
The Atlantic Jul 1, 2015
School districts are packing more and more students into classrooms—and that’s pushing teachers out.

Early Education Gaps by Social Class and Race Start U.S. Children Out on Unequal Footing.
Emma Garcia and Elaine Weiss
Economic Policy InstituteJune 17, 2105
Understanding disparities in school readiness among America’s children when they begin kindergarten is critically important, now more than ever. In today’s 21st century global economy, we expect the great majority of our children to complete high school ready to enter college or begin a career, and assume their civic responsibilities.

Fixing Urban Schools Without Fixing Poverty Is Possible
Conor Friedersdorf
Atlantic Magazine Jul 3, 2015
That’s the argument of Dr. Pamela Cantor, who believes there are tools we’re failing to give students that would help them overcome the stress that’s holding them back.

School Choice Supercharged In Nev. Statute: Parents Given Broad Control Over State Per-Pupil Dollars
Arianna Prothero
Education Week Jun 10, 2015
A broad new law will give parents near-total control over how state education dollars in Nevada are spent on their children, through education savings accounts.

100 Percent Is Overrated
People labeled “smart” at a young age don’t deal well with being wrong. Life grows stagnant.
James Hamblin
Atlantic Magazine Jun 30, 2015
When people perform well (academically or otherwise) at early ages and are labeled smart or gifted, they become less likely to challenge themselves. They become less likely to make mistakes, because they stay in their comfortable comfort zone and stop growing.

How Some Disadvantaged Students Beat the Odds and Succeed in School
by Maria Stephens
Education Policy Center 30 Jun 2015
In 20 countries—including the United States—the odds of being academically resilient were at least 78 percent higher for disadvantaged students who aspired to go to graduate school than for those who did not think they would complete college.

The Hidden Half: School Employees Who Don't Teach
Matt Richmond
Thomas Fordham Institute August 12, 2014
The number of non-teaching staff in the United States (those employed by school systems but not serving as classroom teachers) has grown by 130 percent since 1970.


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