Archive for the ‘Teachers’ Category

In a video message, Secretary Arne Duncan discusses how the department is committed to fixing No Child Left Behind and doing it in a bipartisan way. Duncan also talks about recruiting “the next generation of great talent” into the teaching profession and the TEACH.gov website.

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NSSEA is partnering with the Kids In Need Foundation (KINF) for the 2010 School Equipment Show next month in Phoenix, AZ. The Kids in Need Foundation supports a national network of 25 Resource Centers that benefit needy students by allowing teachers from low-income schools to “shop” for school supplies free of charge. Resource Center merchandise is provided by monetary and in-kind donations from generous businesses and individuals.

This year, the School Equipment Show donation will benefit Treasures 4 Teachers, located in Tempe, AZ. In July of 2010, a storm hit Tempe, AZ and left the center without a building or the supplies needed to continue its mission.

To participate, complete a Donation Form and email or fax it to Lesley Walton at 937.296.1215 by Friday, November 12.

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Economists might have said that the “Great Recession” officially ended last year. But school district budgets are not expected to regain their pre-recession (2008) funding levels until late in the decade, according to a new report.

Across the country, school districts are still making deep cuts in their budgets by laying off teachers, cutting instructional programs, and eliminating student activities, the Center for Public Education concluded in their report.

Just how bad is it you ask? In 2010, every state—with the exception of Montana and North Dakota—faced budget shortfalls totaling $200 billion, or about 30 percent of state budgeted general expenditures—the largest gap on record. This is very significant since most districts receive nearly half of its funding from state budgets.

The report cited that for the 2011 school year, 33 states, including the District of Columbia, cut essential K-12 funding areas to help balance the budget. On average cuts were made to:

  • General funds to districts
  • Funding for books and classroom supplies
  • Programs for gifted and talented
  • Pre-K and after-school programs
  • Funds for teacher preparation and training
  • Aid for school construction
  • Allocations for administration staff
  • Aid targeted to charter schools

“Some districts have managed to trim personnel costs while minimizing teacher layoffs by instituting furlough days, freezing salaries and reducing health and retirement costs,” the report states. “But the financial handwriting is on the wall: In upcoming years, more cuts will be necessary.”

Sources: The Center for Public Education and Education Week

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The Hechinger Report, a non-profit news organization that focuses on producing in-depth education journalism, recently asked several education experts whether we should try to reform education while in the midst of a recession.

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American students are losing ground in education attainment compared to countries from Korea to Estonia. In a recent edition of @Brookings, a weekly podcast by the Brookings Institute, expert Grover “Russ” Whitehurst poses provocative solutions for students from kindergarten through college.

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According to reports from the Associated Press, the $23 billion payout to save thousands of teaching positions failed yesterday. Some fear that because of upcoming elections, the bill might be dead for good since many politicians do not want to appear to be over spending.

Maureen Dinnen, a retired teacher and school board member in Broward County, FL, told the Associated Press that 800 teacher jobs are in jeopardy there.

“I think to myself, the future of our schools, that’s just as important as the auto industry or the financial interests,” Dinnen told AP. “That’s our lifeblood for the future.”

Read the entire article.

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Lessons for Sale

By Emily Raij, Maupin House

A New York Times article raises some interesting questions about teachers selling lessons they created online:

  • Does profiting from these materials undermine the free exchange of ideas so popular in the education community, or are teachers finally just getting the recognition (and some extra financial compensation) they deserve?
  • Since many teachers pay out of pocket for resources, classroom supplies, and other materials for their students, should they be able to fund some of these expenses by selling lessons they created?
  • If buying lessons online saves teachers some valuable time and prevents them from having to “reinvent the wheel,” is that justification enough for the sales?
  • Do students also benefit from this greater variety of material?
  • Should schools share in some of those profits, or are the lessons solely the property of the teacher who created them?

 Teachers probably don’t set out to make money off of their materials. In fact, by offering lessons on popular websites, more teachers now have access to helpful tools that save them time and energy and prevent them from having to “reinvent the wheel.” That seems to contribute even more to the free exchange of ideas so popular in the education community rather than undermine it. An added bonus is that teachers, who we all know often pay out of pocket for supplies and resources, can now fund some of these expenses by selling lessons. This means they’ll continue to make purchases that benefit their students. In addition, they’re getting some recognition and financial compensation that they deserve.

There remains the issue of whose property the lessons are. I personally believe that any materials a teacher creates for her students are her intellectual property. Schools benefit enough from having these enterprising, hardworking teachers without having to take a cut of the profits from their own often underpaid and undervalued educators—educators who can’t necessarily rely on their financially strapped schools to get the funds they need for materials. And you know who benefits even more? The students! They have teachers who not only make quality lessons but can now buy other lessons that are classroom proven from a variety of sources.

So how does this affect us, the school materials suppliers? Certainly these teachers represent some competition to our businesses. But don’t they also represent potential new authors, content creators, and consultants that can help us put out better products? Aren’t they giving us new ideas for how to sell content—flexibly, electronically, in smaller chunks. These are educators who know what they and their fellow teachers are looking for—and what works in the classroom. Finding and selling what works sounds like the business model we’re all striving for. If you’re interested in connecting with these teachers and seeing what’s available online, visit Teachers Pay Teachers, We Are Teachers, or do a search for subject-specific lessons and materials.

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