News for Teachers From the
U.S. Embassy, London
flag graphic
OCTOBER 2014
CHARTER SCHOOLS

Charter schools are publicly funded elementary or secondary schools that have been freed from some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools, giving the them more freedom to experiment and innovate in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each charter school's charter. If charter schools fail to meet academic standards or to maintain financial viability the charter authorizer may shut down the school.
Nationwide, about 2.5 million public school students were enrolled in charter schools last school year, up from 789,000 a decade earlier
The State with the largest growth in Charter Schools last year was California with 104 new schools. It also closed 39 schools.
There are eight states in which the establishment of charter schools is illegal, they are: Alabama, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia

The Health of the Public Charter School Movement:
A State-By-State Analysis
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools October 2014
The first ever state-by-state rankings of public charter school systems, with Washington D.C. and Louisiana claiming the top two position.

Are Charter Schools Working? A Review of the Evidence
By Julian Betts,Y. Emily Tang
CRPE Reinventing Public Education
Are charter schools working? That is, are students in charter schools learning as much or more than their counterparts in district-run public schools? While public and political debates rage about the charter sector’s efficacy, it is crucial to systematically consider the most rigorous studies to understand how in fact charter schools are serving students across the nation.

The Battle for New York Schools: Eva Moskowitz vs. Mayor Bill de Blasio
By Daniel Bergner
New York Times SEPT. 3, 2014 Evo Moskowitz founded her first Success Academy, a kindergarten and first grade in Harlem, in 2006 and has swiftly created the largest charter group in the city. In 2013, on the state exams that gauge proficiency in math and English, Success Academy schools far outscored not only the city’s regular public schools but also its most highly regarded charters, networks like Achievement First, KIPP (the Knowledge Is Power Program) and Uncommon Schools.

Charter Schools and Disabilities
Charter schools are designed to offer choice and opportunity for students within the public school system. Many of these schools are highly desirable for parents of students with disabilities because of the special curriculum, individualized instruction, and inclusive approach of teaching all students, including those with learning disabilities (LD).However there is a long-running criticism that charters don't serve enough of those students with disabilities.

Special Education Charters Renew Inclusion Debate
By Arianna Prothero
Education Week September 17, 2014
Parents go to great lengths to meet the special and often demanding needs of children with disabilities. In Diana Diaz-Harrison's case, that meant opening a charter school in Phoenix for her son, who has autism—and for other students like him—when she felt his needs weren't being met in regular district-run schools.

Charter Schools and Students with Learning Disabilities
National Center for Learning Disabilities 2010
Today charter schools are being viewed as a critical piece of this nation’s federal education reform agenda. Converting persistently low-performing traditional public schools into charter schools is a key component of the school improvement strategy.

National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools
More than 2 million students are served in 6,000 charter schools around the country, but a continuing concern has been whether the rapid growth in this sector is leaving students with disabilities behind. The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, a new nonprofit based in New York, hopes to break down the barriers that may stand in the way of charter schools enrolling and effectively educating students with disabilities.

DEEPER LEARNING

Deeper learning is an umbrella term for the skills and knowledge that students must possess to succeed in the 21st cenutry jobs and civic life. At its heart is a set of competencies students must master in order to develop a keen understanding of academic content and apply their knowledge to problems in the classroom and on the job.

Hewlett Foundation's "deeper learning" school networks
Each school in these networks endeavors to instill a set of skills that will prepare students to navigate a future that will be dramtically different from today. While students in these schools gain a solid grounding of academic content, they also are expected to solve complex problems, think creatively, communicate effectively, present their work publicly and be independent learners.
William and Flroa Hewlet Foundation on Deeper learning
http://www.hewlett.org/programs/education/deeper-learning/what-deeper-learning

The Shape of Deeper Learning:
Strategies, Structures, and Cultures in Deeper Learning Network High Schools
Report #1 Findings From the Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes
Authors: Mette Huberman, Catherine Bitter, Jennifer Anthony and Jennifer O'Day
American Institutes for Research Sept. 2014
In the past few years, a movement for “deeper learning” has emerged on the United States’ educational scene, based on decades of development work by educators, support from the philanthropic community, and the interest and engagement of national and local policymakers. This is the first in a series of three research reports on the strategies, opportunities, and outcomes of a set of high schools explicitly organized to promote deeper learning among their students.

Providing Opportunities for Deeper Learning
Report #2 Findings From the Study of Deeper Learning: Opportunities and Outcomes
American Institutes for Research September 2014
Did students who attended deeper learning network schools have more opportunities to engage in deeper learning than would likely have been the case had they not attended the network schools? This question addresses a fundamental assumption that underpins the deeper learning initiative: that a well implemented approach to deeper learning can result in greater opportunities for students to develop deeper learning competencies. This analysis includes 11 pairs of matched deeper learning network and comparison schools in California and New York.

The Deeper Learning Network: Overview
The Alliance for Excellence in Eduation August 2014
A national “Deeper Learning Network” of more than 500 schools in forty-one states is serving as a source of innovation and tools for delivering the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of deeper learning. Composed of ten school networks—a mix of charter and traditional public schools—the Deeper Learning Network collectively serves more than 227,000 students, most of which are low-income minority students.

Time for Deeper Learning: Lessons from Five High Schools
National Center on Time and Learning Spring 2013
Through a series of case studies the report, Time for Deeper Learning: Lessons from Five High Schools, explores how schools invest one of their most fundamental resources – time with students – to meet their goals for student learning. The report describes five deeper learning priorities that drive and shape learning time across the featured schools. These five priorities then work in concert to generate a high-quality and highly-relevant educational experience for students.

SCHOOL STANDARDS

The Common Core standards in U.S. schools are the standards, used by states to measure student progress, which vary widely – with the gap between states with the highest and lowest standards amounting to several grade levels.

How a national moratorium on standardized testing could work
By Valerie Strauss
Washington Post October 14
The “test reform movement” has grown around the country, with tens of thousands of parents opting their children out of mandated standardized tests, teachers are starting to raise their voices and refusing to administer them, students are leading protests for sanity in school accountability.

Politics Threaten Efforts to Improve K-12 Education
By Max Marchitello
Center for American Progress September 26, 2014
Beginning in 2010, more than 40 states adopted the Common Core State Standards. In the years immediately following their adoption, educators, parents, and policymakers familiar with the standards strongly supported them.

The Cognitive Science Behind the Common Core By Max Marchitello and Megan Wilhelm
Center for American Progress September 26, 2014
Educators, content specialists, and other experts wrote the standards with the goal of preparing all students for college and careers. With that goal in mind, the developers first wrote the standards for high school and worked backward down to kindergarten, ensuring that the standards scaffold smoothly from one grade to the next and lead to college and career readiness. This structure creates a logical progression through the standards, helping educators teach their students stack-able knowledge and skills as they move through school

International Benchmarking: State and National Education Performance Standards
Gary Phillips
American Institute for Research Sept 2014
Proficiency standards used by states to measure student progress vary widely – with the gap between states with the highest and lowest standards amounting to as much as three to four grade levels, finds a new study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

Debunking Three Assessment Myths
Commentary
Education Week September 17, 2014
Educators are not happy that assessment demands are intruding on day-to-day teaching and learning, but there are a few practical and constructive strategies that can help them (and their students) cope with this new reality.

—Subscriptions—

This alert is only sent to individuals who have explicitly registered on our listserv. You can unsubscribe at anytime by completing the form at: london.usembassy.gov/teachers.html

ARTICLES/REPORTS

The Plot Against Public Education
How millionaires and billionaires are ruining our schools.
By Bob Herbert
Politico October 06, 2014
Bill Gates had an idea. He was passionate about it, absolutely sure he had a winner. His idea? America’s high schools were too big. When a multibillionaire gets an idea, just about everybody leans in to listen. And when that idea has to do with matters of important public policy and the billionaire is willing to back it up with hard cash, public officials tend to reach for the money with one hand and their marching orders with the other.

Projections of Education Statistics to 2022
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics
A milestone is expected to be reached this fall when minorities outnumber whites among the nation’s public school students for the first time, U.S. Department of Education projections show. This is due largely to fast growth in the number of Hispanic and Asian school-age children born in the U.S., according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

U.S. high school dropout rate reaches record low, driven by improvements among Hispanics, blacks
Richard Fry
Pew Research October 1, 2014
More U.S. high school students are staying in school, according to newly released data from the Census Bureau, as the national dropout rate reached a record low last year. Just 7% of the nation’s 18-to-24 year olds had dropped out of high school, continuing a steady decline in the nation’s dropout rate since 2000, when 12% of youth were dropouts.

Why Girls Tend to Get Better Grades Than Boys Do
Enrico Gnaulati
Atlantic Magazine Sep 18 2014
New research shows that girls are ahead in every subject, including math and science. Do today's grading methods skew in their favor?
Arguably, boys’ less developed conscientiousness leaves them at a disadvantage in school settings where grades heavily weight good organizational skills alongside demonstrations of acquired knowledge.

Memphis Makes the Nation’s Most Ambitious Effort to Fix Failed Schools
What happens in Memphis will reveal the power -- and limits -- of education reform. by John Buntin
Governing October 2014
The practice of states taking over struggling urban schools isn’t new. New Jersey moved first, in 1989; Kentucky followed its example the following year. During the mid-1990s, states seized control of urban school districts more than a dozen times, including high-profile interventions in Baltimore, Chicago and Cleveland.

How poverty stunts a growing brain
By Erin Amato
Wilson Quarterly Summer 2014
If poverty literally changes the structure of the brain, how can impoverished kids ever catch up to their peers?
In 2013, President Obama placed the issue of nationwide pre-kindergarten programs formally on the agenda when he proposed to fund them through a new cigarette tax. While the plan fell short due to lack of support, New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, revived his plan.

Race and Education: Are U.S. Schools becoming resegregated?
Reed Karim
CQ Researcher, Sep. 5, 2014

"American public education underwent a profound transformation in the second half of the 20th century. Spurred by the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that separate schools for black and white students are “inherently unequal,” schools were integrated to a degree unknown in the nation's history. But in the 1980s a more conservative high court limited the impact of desegregation orders, and judges began releasing many school districts from court-ordered desegregation plans. Critics say the resulting changes have led to resegregation in schools that threatens to limit the educational opportunities of poorer, minority students and undermines racial understanding. But other analysts say the problem is overstated or that claims of resegregation unfairly imply that minority children cannot achieve academically unless they are in the same classroom with white students. The debate surrounding school integration and equal access to quality education is likely to play an important role in shaping the future of American society."
Available in hardcopy only. Email your request to weblond@state.gov you must be resident in the UK to receive a copy.

The Persistence of Unaligned K–12 and Higher Education Systems:
Why Have Statewide Alignment Efforts Been Ineffective?
Laura W. Perna, Michael Armijo,
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, September 2014

"High rates of academic remediation among college students suggest that many states have still not aligned high school and college curricular standards and assessments to ensure college readiness. One structure created by many states that is designed to improve this alignment is the P–20 Council. To understand why the lack of alignment persists despite the creation of this, and other, structures, this article draws on data collected through case studies of P–20 councils in ten states to explore these councils’ origins, implementation, and outcomes. Analyses pay particular attention to the ways that state leaders contribute to these stages of the policy process. The analyses also point to situational characteristics that have limited the effects of P–20 councils on P–20 policy reform."
Available in hardcopy only. Email your request to weblond@state.gov you must be resident in the UK to receive a copy.

Tomorrow’s Skilled Workforce Requires Investing in Young Children Today:
The Importance of Early Childhood Development Tamar Manuelyan Atinc and Emily Gustafsson-Wright
Brookings September 22, 2014
The case for investing in children from the start is compelling. But it is not always well understood by the public, nor is it a priority for policymakers.

Ending Teacher Tenure Would Have Little Impact on its Own
By: Matthew M. Chingos
Brookings September 18, 2014
Tenure for public school teachers is increasingly under attack, with the Vergara v. California judge ruling in June that “both students and teachers are unfairly, unnecessarily and for no legally cognizable reason…disadvantaged by the current Permanent Employment Statute.”

Gains in Teacher Quality
By Dan Goldhaber and Joe Walch
Education Next Winter 2014
The quality of the teacher workforce in the United States is of considerable concern to education stakeholders and policymakers. Numerous studies show that student academic success depends in no small part on access to high-quality teachers. Many pundits point to the fact that in the United States, teachers tend not to be drawn from the top of the academic-performance distribution, as is the case in countries with higher student achievement, such as Finland, Korea, and Singapore.

Tech Advances Fuel LMS Identity Crisis
Big questions are facing schools about how learning management systems (LMS) should best fit into the larger ed-tech ecosystem
By Benjamin Herold
Education Week October 1, 2014
In theory, an LMS could be this magical platform that could show you exactly what's happening with every student in your classroom." "But in many schools, there is still this big human lift that is happening."

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

To mark the UK Black History month, staff at the U.S. Embassy have been writing about their favoite African-American icon on the Embassy's Education Magagine . Find out about: Madame C.J. Walker, Benjamin Banneker and Oprah Winfrey.


***********


Teachers Newsletter is 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.

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.