News for Teachers From the
U.S. Embassy, London
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 At the Embassy winners of the Since 9/11 - Skills Competition, pictured with the Ambassador

At the Embassy, winners of the Since 9/11 - Skills Competition, pictured with the Ambassador [U.S. Embassy photo]
For a list of the winners visit the Since 9/11 website.

In fall 2015, about 50.1 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools. Of these, 35.2 million will be in prekindergarten through grade 8 and 14.9 million will be in grades 9 through 12. An additional 4.9 million students are expected to attend private schools. The fall 2015 public school enrollment is expected to be slightly higher than the 50.0 million enrolled in fall 2014.
Public school systems will employ about 3.1 million full-time-equivalent (FTE) teachers in fall 2015, such that the number of pupils per FTE teacher—that is, the pupil/teacher ratio—will be 16.0. This ratio is the same as the 2000 ratio. A projected 0.4 million FTE teachers will be working in private schools this fall, resulting in an estimated pupil/teacher ratio of 12.5, which is lower than the 2000 ratio of 14.5.
Current expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools are projected to be $634 billion for the 2015–16 school year. These expenditures include such items as salaries for school personnel, benefits, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs. The current expenditure per student is projected at $12,605 for the 2015–16 school year.
About 3.3 million students are expected to graduate from high school in 2015–16, including 3.0 million students from public high schools and about 0.3 million students from private high schools.


Inspiring a Generation to Create: Critical Components of Creativity in Children
Author Helen Hadani, Ph.D.
What is certain is that creativity is increasingly recognized as a key to success in our rapidly changing world. It allows us to recognize needs, to see challenges in new light and to problem-solve with fresh approaches.

Center for Childhood Creativity (CCC)- a research and advisory organization, works with a wide range of clients and partners committed to the development of creativity. The CCC offers a full range of technical assistance, curriculum development and research-backed advising to schools, museums and other non-profits, as well as companies that directly influence children’s development.

Turnaround arts
Using the arts to create success in struggling schools
Turnaround Arts currently works in 49 schools in 27 districts and 14 states and the District of Columbia. Turnaround Arts works in a cohort of the lowest performing 5% of America’s elementary and middle schools. A 3-year program evaluation of the Turnaround Arts pilot schools found significant improvement in academic achievement, reduction in disciplinary referrals and increases in attendance, among other findings. Turnaround Arts is a public-private partnership led by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with the White House, U.S. Department of Education, and several private foundations.

Turnaround Arts Initiative Final Evaluation Report
President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
January 2015
This final evaluation report provides a description and analysis of program impacts in the pilot cohort of Turnaround Arts schools at the end of their second year, including summaries of: 1) the theory of action and program pillars, 2) the evaluation design and research questions, 3) program operation and implementation in the arts, and 4) outcomes and trends in school reform indicators and student achievement data.

The first and largest open marketplace where teachers share, sell, and buy original educational resources. That means immediate access to a world of expertise and more time to focus on students and teaching.

A Sharing Economy Where Teachers Win
New York Times September 5, 2015
By Natasha Singer
At a time when many politicians, technology executives and philanthropists are pushing novel digital tools for education, many teachers are also seeking old-school offline techniques that other teachers have perfected over the years in their classrooms. That has positioned TeachersPayTeachers as a kind of Etsy for education.

State-funded scholarships that pay for students to attend private school rather than public school.
Private schools must meet minimum standards established by legislatures in order to accept voucher recipients. Legislatures also set parameters for student eligibility that typically target subgroups of students. These can be low-income students that meet a specified income threshold, students attending chronically low performing schools, students with disabilities, or students in military families or foster care.
The first publicly funded voucher program was passed in 1990 in Wisconsin targeting students from low income households in the Milwaukee School District. Now thirteen states and the District of Columbia provide state-funded school vouchers to qualifying students.
More on school vouchers from the National Conference of State Legislatures

Vouchers multiply even without public support More states allow public funding for students to attend private and religious schools, but are these plans in line with state constitutional provisions?
By Julie Underwood
Phi Delta Kappan September 2015
Public funding of private K-12 schooling through vouchers continues to be a contentious issue across the U.S.

Differences in terminology between the US and UK school systems:
Public school: Type of school in the US is state-funded
Grade: used in the US both to describe a mark earned or year in school, grades are from K-12
Report card: Document given to each student by the school, listing his/her marks (grades) at the end of a quarter, semester or year
Transcript: An official document produced by the school listing the classes completed by the student, his/her marks (grades), GPA (grade point average), class rank and/or academic honours
High school diploma: Certificate awarded upon completion of high school, rather than a particular qualification as in the UK
Grade Point Average: A numerical average of the final grades US students receive for their classes.
Admissions tests: The SAT (pronounced S-A-T) and ACT are US university admissions exams. Though the exact terminology varies by state, "end-of-course" exams are standardised exams set by the state at the end of a particular year of school. These exams are somewhat akin to the UK SATs, GCSEs and A levels. However, they are offered on a state-by-state basis and may not have any bearing on your child's GPA
Thanks to the Fulbright Commission UK for the information


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25-26 September – the largest US university fair in the UK!
This event provides students, parents and advisors with the unique opportunity to meet representatives from over 180 American universities and educational service providers in London.
Date: Friday, 25 September 2015 (4:30 pm – 7:30 pm) & Saturday, 26 September 2015 (10:30 am – 3:00 pm)
Venue: ILEC Conference Centre: 47 Lillie Road, London, SW6 1UD
For more information on the event visit the Fulbright Commission.


In the U.S. Black History Month is in February chosen because the birthdays of two influential figures - Abraham Lincoln, US president and Frederick Douglas - fell in February. Frederick Douglass- the nineteenth-century African-American abolitionist who escaped from slavery and then risked his own freedom by becoming an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher.
We have pamphlets on "Stories of African-American Achievement" and a Rosa Parks poster. If you'd like the pamphlet or poster and you are resident in the UK, then email the IRC with your request at:
Benjamin Banneker
If you don't know who Benjamin Banneker is you can read all about this fascinating African-American from the 16th Century on the Embassy's Education blog.


New Orleans: An Unfinished Story
Arne Duncan is U.S. Secretary of Education
The story of rebirth in New Orleans’ schools since Hurricane Katrina is one of nationally historic significance – but as is true of the city’s recovery, it is a profoundly unfinished story.

Assessing the Nation’s Most Ambitious Education Reforms in Memphis, Tennessee
by John Buntin
Governing September 2015
As states around the country embrace Tennessee’s turnaround model, the experience of one Memphis high school shows policymakers about its potential and perils.

Exploring the Education Workforce: New Roles for an Expanding Learning Ecosystem
Knowledge Works August 2015
The report helps education stakeholders imagine what kinds of educator roles might contribute to flexible and rigorous learning ecosystems that enable both learners and the adults supporting them to thrive.

A new casualty of high-stakes testing: student teachers
By Valerie Strauss
Washington Post August 30 2015
Teacher education programs around the country are beginning to feel the impact of testing standards, as master teachers pull back from their traditional role as trainers. Many of them feel that the pressures of “teaching to the test” mean they no longer have time to manage new teachers in their classrooms.

The Future Belongs to TEM, Not STEM
American Institutes for Research 14 Aug 2015
by Mark Schneider
In the realm of “be careful of what you wish for” lies the clamor for increasing the country’s number of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) graduates. But with careers for millennials stalling on the launch pad, does the push for STEM really make sense? Is STEM a sure path to high wages?

“Teaching Is About Relationships”
By Bill Gates
The blog of Bill Gates August 16, 2015
If you ever start feeling glum about the possibility of improving America’s schools, spend a little time with an amazing teacher.

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.

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.