News for Teachers From the
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Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Thursday in November and traditionally marks the beginning of the holiday season in America. The origins of Thanksgiving can be traced back to 1621, when the Pilgrims invited the Native Americans to a feast to celebrate a successful harvest. The local tribe had taught the Pilgrims how to fish and grow crops after a failed harvest the year before. Americans traditionally eat Turkey at Thanksgiving. Other traditions include American football games, parades and the Presidential reprieve – one turkey gets pardoned by the President! Thanksgiving day is followed by Black Friday – the biggest shopping day of the holiday season.
For more information on Thanksgiving, please visit: LibraryofCongress/classroommaterials/thanksgiving
Each year the President releases a Thanksgiving proclamation:


Public Schools
Kindergarten— ages 5-6 A group or class that is part of a public school program and is taught during the year preceding first grade.
Elementary- ages 5 - 10 grades: kindergarten-5th
Middle School— ages 11 - 13 grades:6th - 8th
High School— ages 14 - 18 grades: 9th - 12th

In school year 2012–13, there were 98,454 public schools in the United States, including 92,375 traditional public schools and 6,079 charter schools.
Can find out more data on U.S. Education in the Condition of education

Charter School
—A school providing free public elementary and/or secondary education to eligible students under a specific charter granted by the state legislature or other appropriate authority, and designated by such authority to be a charter school. The first charter school in the United States opened in Minnesota in 1992.
Charter schools receive waivers from public school districts in exchange for promising better academic results. Charters are usually given three to five years to demonstrate academic achievement, during which time officials monitor students’ academic performance. If academic performance lags behind comparable public schools, then the charter is pulled and the school is closed.
There are 8 States that are without a Charter Law AL,KY,MT,NE,ND,SD,VT and WV.

Urban Charter Schools Report
Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO)
March 2015
The study aimed to illuminate the position and performance of charter schools in major US cities, with aggregate and region-specific analyses.
“One of our largest research efforts to date, this study targets our focus on charter schools in urban areas because these are communities where students have faced significant education challenges and are in great need of effective approaches to achieve academic success," said Dr. Margaret Raymond, director of CREDO at Stanford University.

Where Charter Schools Outperform
New York Times 22 November 2015
Charter schools are controversial. But are they good for education? Rigorous research suggests that the answer is yes for an important, underserved group: low-income, nonwhite students in urban areas. These children tend to do better if enrolled in charter schools instead of traditional public schools. There are exceptions, of course.

Rally calls for more charter schools ; Parents, teachers back governor's call to ease limits
Jeremy C Fox
The Boston Globe 19 November 2015
Hundreds of parents, educators, and students marched across Boston Common Wednesday morning and rallied near the State House to demand that legislators ease limits on the number of charter schools.

Contributes to an Improving Charter Schools Sector
Dept of Education September 28, 2015
The U.S. Department of Education announced today new grants totaling more than $157 million through its Charter Schools Program (CSP), which funds the creation and expansion of public charter schools across the nation.

Charter Schools USA
Charter Schools USA (CSUSA), a nationally recognized leader in education management. CSUSA is the first education management company in the nation to receive accreditation through AdvancEd. This designation assures that all schools opened and operated under CSUSA's model will be accredited in the first year of operation. CSUSA manages 76 schools in seven states, serving nearly 65,000+ students.

Magnet School

A special school or program designed to attract students of different racial/ethnic backgrounds for the purpose of reducing, preventing, or eliminating racial isolation (50 percent or more minority enrollment); and/or to provide an academic or social focus on a particular theme (e.g., science/mathematics, performing arts, gifted/talented, or foreign language). They use state, district, or Common Core standards in all subject areas, however, they are taught within the overall theme of the school.
Unlike charter schools or private schools, a magnet school is part of the local public school system.
Magnet schools first came into being in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a tool to further academic desegregation in large urban school districts. Magnets were intended to attract students from across different school zones.
For more information on Magnet Schools

The academic pull of a magnet school; Choosing and applying to the themed campuses can be confusing
Los Angeles Times 10 October 2015
The stakes are high for families across Los Angeles later this fall. Applications are being accepted for a spot in one of 210 magnet programs in L.A. public schools; the deadline is Nov. 13. Choosing and applying to magnet schools can be confusing. Experts and parents help explain L.A. Unified's magnet process.


Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
By 2020, a dozen states or more will increase by at least 100 percent the number of children from low-income families reading proficiently at the end of third grade.

Early Reading Proficiency in the United States
January 2014
This report provides an update on how fourth graders are faring in reading across the nation and in each state. According to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data, 80 percent of low-income fourth graders and 66 percent of all fourth graders are not proficient in reading.


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Application deadline: 12 pm, 20 January 2015 (
Following on from a successful four years the Sutton Trust, in partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission, are pleased to announce opening of applications for the 2016 Sutton Trust 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 provide other benefits to participants, such as covering costs for all residential events, accommodation and travel.
58 students from the 2014 programme have recently started at 39 prestigious US universities and will receive over $14 million of financial support throughout their degrees.
The Fulbright Commission will be hosting a webinar about the programme on Wednesday 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 now:
Download a poster from


The new ESEA will help America's high achievers, but only if states rise to the challenge
Brandon Wright
Thomas Fordham Institue November 23, 2015
The ESEA reauthorization conferees delivered some good news for America’s high-achieving students last week. Absent further amending, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will include a necessary and long-overdue section provision that allows states to use computer-adaptive tests to assess students on content above their current grade level The fight over K-12 education appears headed back to the states
By Lyndsey Layton
Washinton Post November 20, 2015
With Congress poised to pass a law that would shift power over K-12 public school policy from the federal government back to the states, the debate about improving schools is shifting from Washington to the 50 state capitals.

Deeper Learning and Equity: Two New Resources
Education Week November 6, 2015 2:17 PM
A year and a half ago, in a post to this blog, Jal Mehta made the memorable assertion that "deeper learning has a race problem." Judging by who attends its conferences and teaches and studies at its exemplary schools, he notes, the deeper learning movement is "much more white [and, he adds later, more secular, and progressive, and trusting of teachers] than the nation as a whole." And as a result, it has been slow to recognize and respond to those who worry that its preferred policies and teaching methods could backfire for all but the most privileged of students.

What School Proposals Failed on the Ballot?
AtlanticNOV 4, 2015
Kentucky was the first state to adopt the Common Core, but with a new Republican governor elected Tuesday—who opposes the standards for English language arts and math—that pioneering legacy could be upended. Indeed, while the 2016 presidential race has dominated the campaign news lately, state and local election results this week could have significant implications for education policy and funding, from Mississippi to Indianapolis, Indiana, and Jefferson County, Colorado.

Study Confirms Long-Held Assumptions About Testing in Schools BY Tribune News Service | October 28, 2015
By Denisa R. Superville
Students across the nation are taking tests that are redundant, misaligned with college- and career-ready standards, and often don't address students' mastery of specific content, according to a long-awaited report that provides the first in-depth look at testing in the nation's largest urban school districts.

How Much School Funding Is Enough?
BY Mattie Quinn
Governing October 27, 2015
Nearly every state has faced legal battles over school funding. In November, the political battle moves to Mississippi, where voters face two competing (and confusing) ballot questions on the issue.

Fostering School Success with Standards for Nonacademic Skills
October 30,2015 Center for American Progress
Danielle Ewen and LeighAnn M. Smith
States around the country are establishing continuity across the standards that scaffold a child’s early learning experience and K-12 school career, which could improve school readiness and set more children on the path to academic success.

Weak Markets, Strong Teachers: Recession at Career Start and Teacher Effectiveness
Markus Nagler, Marc Piopiunik, Martin R. West
National Bureau of Economic Research July 2015
How do alternative job opportunities affect teacher quality? We provide the first causal evidence on this question by exploiting business cycle conditions at career start as a source of exogenous variation in the outside options of potential teachers. Unlike prior research, we directly assess teacher quality with value-added measures of impacts on student test scores, using administrative data on 33,000 teachers in Florida public schools.

Schools are able to hire stronger teachers when economy is weak, study finds
By Emma Brown
Washington Post July 28 2015
A weak economy appears to have at least one upside: Schools are able to hire more effective teachers, according to new research.

Nationwide Test Shows Dip in Students’ Math Abilities
New York Times October 28, 2015
Education officials said that the first-time decline in math scores was unexpected, but that it could be related to changes ushered in by the Common Core standards, which have been adopted by more than 40 states. For example, some of the fourth-grade math questions on data analysis, statistics and geometry are not part of that grade’s guidelines under the Common Core and so might not have been covered in class.

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.