News for Teachers From the
U.S. Embassy, London
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NOVEMBER 2014

Sutton Trust US Programme for State School Students

Application Deadline: 27 January 2015

Following on from a successful three years of the Sutton Trust US Programme, the Sutton Trust along with the Fulbright Commission are pleased to announce opening of applications for the 2015 US Programme. Successful students will take part in a unique opportunity to get a taste of US culture and higher education first hand and receive personalised support if they decide to apply for their undergraduate studies at an American university.

The Sutton Trust will also provide other benefits to participants, such as covering costs for all residential events, accommodation and travel. This is intended to give bright, non-privileged state school students interested in attending a US university, a preview of life on a US campus and support in making high quality undergraduate applications to the US.
For more information on the program and how to apply go to the Sutton Trust website at: http://www.suttontrust.com/programmes/us-programme/
The Fulbright Commission will also be hosting a webinar about the programme on Tuesday, 2 December (4 pm - 5 pm).
Be sure to tune in for more information about study in the US and the programme as well as US programme application tips! Sign up for the webinar: http://stapplicantwebinar2015.eventbrite.co.uk/.

TEACH FOR AMERICA

Teach for America (TFA) began in 1990 as an alternative teacher preparatin and placement orgaization. Today its mission has shifted to building a movement to eliminate educational inequity by selecting and preparing the country's most promising leaders.
Teach For America corps members and alumni are helping lead an educational revolution in low-income communities across the country.
The impact of TFA is hotly debated. Admirers see the program as a way to grow the supply of outstanding graduates. Critics, however, see the program as a diversion from truly beneficial policies or even as a harmful dalliance int the lives of low-income students who most need a highly trained, highly skilled, and stable teacher workforce.

Teach For America: A Return to the Evidence
National Education Policy Center January 2014
Vasquez Heilig, J. & Jez, S.J. (2014)
Instead of trying to understand whether or not TFA teachers are as good as non-TFA teachers (a question that cannot be answered unless we first identify which TFA and non-TFA teachers we’re asking about), we propose a shift in thinking about the impact of TFA. We should be trying to dramatically improve the quality of teaching. It is time to shift our focus from a program of mixed impact that, even if the benefits actually matched the rhetoric, would not move the needle on America’s educational quality due to the fact that only 0.002% of all teachers in the United States are Teach For America placements.

Troops to Teachers
Troops to Teachers is a U.S. Department of Defense program that helps eligible military personnel begin a new career as teachers in public schools where their skills, knowledge and experience are most needed. To find out more

Veterans Report for Duty with The Mission Continues
Nick Zevely
November 11, 2014
Rachel McNeill, a United States Army veteran, had recently taken charge of a team of veterans in the Boston area committed to serving their community while supporting one another. Their focus on serving youth in schools led her to Mather Elementary School this fall.

TECHNOLOGY

Literacy instruction in the brave new world of technology
Michael C. McKenna
Phi Delta Kappan November 2014
Technology integration into language arts instruction has been slow and tentative, even as information technologies have evolved with frightening speed. Today’s teachers need to be aware of several extant and unchanging realities: Technology is now indispensable to literacy development; reading with technology requires new skills and strategies; technology can support struggling students; technology can transform writing; technology offers a means of motivating students; and waiting for research is a losing strategy.

Office of Educational Technology (OET)
OET is part of the Office of the Secretary of Education and as such works in collaboration and partnership with all other ED offices relating to effective use of technology to support learning. OET is also the primary office for outreach to the developer community.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)
FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester New Hampshire, a public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills. Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving is on the fourth Thursday in November which this year falls on the 27th. In the U.S. Thanksgiving is a time for tradition and sharing, Thanksgiving began as a fest of thanks in the early days of the British colonies in America.
The legacy of thanks and the feast have survived the centuries, as the event became a national holiday 151 years ago (Oct. 3, 1863) when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday.
If you'd like to find out more on this most American of holidays, you can take a look at our pamphlet, which you can download here.
Here are some more useful sites on Thanksgiving:
American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving
Harvest Ceremony Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth
Do American Indians celebrate Thanksgiving?

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Articles/Reports

The Myth of Chinese Super Schools Diane Ravitch
New York Review of Books November 20, 2014
If the West is concerned about being overtaken by China, then the best solution is “to avoid becoming China.”
The United States is already ensnared in the testing obsession that has trapped China. It is not too late to escape. Parents and educators across the nation are up in arms about the amount of instructional time now devoted to test preparation and testing. Yong Zhao offers wise counsel. We should break our addiction to standardized testing before we sacrifice the cultural values that have made our nation a home to innovation, creativity, originality, and invention.

The War on Teacher Tenure
Haley Sweetland Edwards / Cupertino, Calif.
Time Magazine Oct. 30, 2014
It seemed crazy to Welch that teachers in California receive tenure–permanent employment status designed to protect them from unfair dismissal–after less than two years on the job and that principals are often required to lay off the least experienced teachers first, no matter which ones are the best. It seemed even crazier to him that in some districts it takes years and tens of thousands of dollars to fire a teacher who isn’t doing a good job.

What it really means to be a public school educator today
By Valerie Strauss
Washington Post November 12 2014
There was a big furor among educators around the country recently when Time magazine ran a cover that said, “Rotten Apples: It is nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher.” The cover, accompanied by a story that was somewhat more nuanced, sparked a mountain of response, including a post by Nancy F. Chewning, assistant principal of William Byrd High School in Roanoke, Va. on her blog, Leading by Example.

U.S. to Focus on Equity in Assigning of Teachers
By Motoko Richnov
New York Times November 10, 2014
The Education Department will send each state data collected by the department’s Office for Civil Rights showing rates of teacher experience, certification, absenteeism and salary by school as well as student access to taxpayer-funded preschool and advanced courses in math and science.

New Yorkers Approve $2 Billion in School Spending
The bond referendum provides money for more space, better security and new high-tech gadgets. by Liz Farmer
Govering November 4, 2014
New Yorkers have approved spending a historic $2 billion to try to bring its overcrowded and outdated public classrooms into the 21st Century with more space, better security and new gadgets for teachers like iPads and interactive whiteboards.

Most States Still Funding Schools Less Than Before the Recession
By Michael Leachman and Chris Mai
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities October 16, 2014
States are providing less per-pupil funding for kindergarten through 12th grade than they did seven years ago often far less.

What Happens When A School Pays Teachers $125,000 A Year
Higher teacher salaries may help students do better in school, according to a study by Mathmatica Policy Research. The Equity Project (TEP) Charter School in New York City pays its teachers $125,000 a year, plus bonuses.

The Equity Project Charter School:Impacts on Student Achievement
Mathmatica Policy Research October 2014
The Equity Project (TEP) charter school, located in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood, TEP enrolled its first 5th-grade class during the 2009–2010 school year,and in 2013 that class graduated from TEP’s 8th grade. By the 2012–2013 school year, TEP’s four grades enrolled about 480 students. This report describes TEP’s instructional and personnel strategies, examines the characteristics and attrition rates of TEP students, and measures TEP’s impacts on students’ achievement during the school’s first four years of operation.

Leading from the Front of the Classroom:
A Roadmap for Teacher Leadership that Works
The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program 2014
In this paper, Leading Educators and the Aspen Institute propose a roadmap to empower teachers to lead from the front of the classroom. This paper outlines key phases that system administrators will need to consider as they build teacher leadership systems that address their highest priorities. For each phase, we offer a narrative description, high-impact action steps, common missteps, and discussion questions for further exploration.

Charter-School Holdouts: States That Prohibit Them, and Why
By Colleen Jaskot
Education Week October 27, 2014
While most states allow charters, Alabama, Kentucky, Nebraska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia still do not. The reasons why vary, but they do have some things in common. Most are heavily Republican and have been equally resistant to other school-choice efforts, such as taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools. Also among their common traits is their largely rural populations, with less demand for new schools.


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.