|News for Teachers From the
U.S. Embassy, London
|The National Parks: “America’s Best Idea” for Authentic Learning|
U.S. National Parks have been described by the novelist Wallace Stegner as "America's Best Idea". Nearly 100 years since Congress set aside places for public use, ranging from the soul-stirring Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields to the grandeur of Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Yosemite, are outdoor classrooms that can inspire and engage a generation of students in ways that no other experience, in or out of the classroom, can. Find out more on the U.S. National Parks here.
Remarks of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the release of the 2012 Program for International Stud
ent Assessment (PISA)
The Threat of Educational Stagnation and Complacency
December 3, 2013
In a number of important respects, the United States has made educational progress since the 2009 PISA.Our high school graduation rate has risen to its highest rate in more than 30 years. Nationwide, 700,000 fewer students are attending high school dropout factories—high schools that fail to keep 60 percent of a ninth grade class three years later.
U.S. Achievement Stalls as Other Nations Make Gains
By Liana Heitin
Education Week December 3, 2013
Massachusetts, long a top-performing U.S. state, demonstrated especially strong performance on the global stage: It scored better than the average for leading industrialized nations in all subjects. Mitchell D. Chester, the education commissioner for Massachusetts, said the new PISA data “helped reinforce that our students are performing among some of the better-performing nations in the world, and it also made clear to me that we shouldn’t be complacent.”
American Schools vs. the World: Expensive, Unequal, Bad at Math
What the latest results of an international test tell us about the state of education in the United States
The Atlantic Dec 3 2013
The U.S. education system is mediocre compared to the rest of the world, according to an international ranking of OECD countries.
Fifteen percent of the American score variation is explained by socio-economic differences between students. Less than 10 percent of score variation in Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, and Norway is due to socio-economic differences.
American 15-Year-Olds Lag, Mainly in Math, on International Standardized Tests
By Motoko Rich
December 3, 2013 New York Times
Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the liberal Economic Policy Institute and a fellow at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, said he put little stock in the PISA results. He said educators and academics should “stop hyperventilating” about international test rankings, particularly given that students are already graduating from college at higher rates than can be absorbed by the labor market.
2013 Holiday Season
To commemorate this time of year, the U.S. Census Bureau presents holiday-related facts and figures from its collection of statistics.
Facts for features
The U.S. Embassy Kids Newsletter
Holiday Edition which includes: games and puzzles, with U.S. traditions at Christmas and a look at the Jewish Festival of Light "Hanukkah".
Seeing the Toll, Schools Revise Zero Tolerance
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ
December 2, 2013 New York Times
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Faced with mounting evidence that get-tough policies in schools are leading to arrest records, low academic achievement and high dropout rates that especially affect minority students, cities and school districts around the country are rethinking their approach to minor offenses.
Troubled school improves without relying on suspensions
by Natalie Wexler
Greater Education November 26, 2013
Four years ago, Stanton Elementary School in Anacostia was the lowest-performing elementary school in the District and in danger of being closed. But partly thanks to an innovative alternative to suspensions, Stanton is now on the rise.
Climate Change: Implementing School Discipline Practices That Create a Positive School Climate
By Jessica Cardichon, Martens Roc
Sep 19, 2013 Alliance for Excellent Education
Middle and high school students subjected to harsh school discipline policies and practices such as suspensions and expulsions are more likely to disengage from the classroom and course work, and increases their chances of dropping out, according to this new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education.
Latest on the Embassy's Education blog
First satellite ever developed by high school students
Students from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia launched the first ever communications satellite built by high school students. After seven years of construction, the satellite has been sent into space and is believed to be orbiting the earth. The students designed, built, and tested the cube-shaped satellite, which weighs just under a kilo. The satellite lets students and amateur radio users send and receive messages from around the world.
Native American code talkers honored
Native American code talkers, who worked during World Wars I and II, have been recognized with the highest honor given by Congress. 216 code talkers and their family members were bestowed with the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony in Washington on November 20th 2013.
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Climate Change: Providing Equitable Access to a Rigorous and Engaging Curriculum
By Jessica Cardichon, Martens Roc
Nov 21, 2013 Alliance for Excellent Education
This report examines how implementing rigorous and engaging curriculum aligned with college- and career-ready standards fosters positive school climates in which students are motivated to succeed, achievement gaps narrow, and learning and outcomes improve.
Japan's Cutthroat School System: A Cautionary Tale for the U.S.
A new book shows how fixating on testing and achievement can backfire.
The Atlantic Nov 22 2013
"No Child Left Behind." "Race to the Top." The names suggest mobility, progress, moving on up and not falling back. The goal of education, according to these national education initiatives with their standards and testing, is forward motion and competitive advantage, progress and success, both in an unabashedly economic context.
Closing the Expectations Gap
Achieve Annual Report 20 November 2013
Achieve conducts an annual policy survey that asks all 50 states and the District of Columbia whether they have adopted standards, graduation requirements, assessments and accountability systems aligned to the expectations of two- and four-year colleges and employers. The national survey of state education leaders has measured the same areas of reform each year since the National Governors Association and Achieve co-sponsored the National Education Summit in 2005.
Why geniuses don’t need gifted education
By Jay Mathews
December 1st 2013 Washington Post
If high IQ scores are not reliable indicators of genius, what are? Advocates of gifted children hope schools can be designed to turn intellectual promise into world-changing creativity.
Getting Real About High School
Millions of young people will never attend four-year colleges. America must do more to equip them to secure good jobs and live fulfilling lives.
Wilson Quarterly Summer 2013
Particularly strong in New Orleans, the “college-for-all” movement has swept the nation over the past decade, with education reformers in different cities embracing the notion that sending more low-income students to and through college should be America’s primary antipoverty strategy.
Visual Thinking Strategies=Creative and Critical Thinking
By Mary Moeller, Kay Cutler, Dave Fiedler, and Lisa Weier
Phi Delta Kappan November 2013
The synergy that occurs between creativity and critical thinking allows powerful learning to occur. Visual thinking strategies strengthen students' communication and critical thinking skills, including creativity.
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Early Childhood Development: the Promise, the Problem, and the Path Forward
By: Tamar Atinc and Emily Gustafsson-Wright
Brookings November 25, 2013
Research shows that there are large gains to be had from investing in early childhood development. For example, estimates place the gains from the elimination of malnutrition at 1 to 2 percentage points of gross domestic product (GDP) annually (World Bank, 2006).
Actions School Districts Can Take to Help Principals Better Lead Schools
Rand November 14, 2013
States and school districts can play an important role in helping principals be more successful and guide their schools more effectively by undertaking actions in four key areas: placement in the school, evaluation, autonomy, and resources. according to a new RAND report.