Has Teach for America betrayed its mission?

When Wendy Kopp, just out of Princeton, founded Teach for America in 1989, she dreamed of recruiting 500 elite college graduates to teach the nation’s neediest children. “My dear Miss Kopp,” a college advisor told her, “you are quite evidently deranged,” Reuters reports. Kopp pressed on, and this fall Teach for America will send a record 10,000 teachers into classrooms from New York to California. The nonprofit boasts $300 million in assets and collects tens of millions a year in public funds, even at a time of steep cuts to education budgets. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan praises it for having “made teaching cool again.” And TFA veterans have emerged as the most influential leaders of a bipartisan education reform movement. But critics, including a handful of disillusioned alumni, contend that policies promoted by TFA-trained reformers threaten to damage the very schools they once set out to save. They argue, too, that TFA’s relentless push to expand has betrayed its founding ideals…

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Report: Legalized marijuana could generate $100 million annually for Colorado

If marijuana is legalized in Colorado, a new report suggests that it could be a boon for the state, generating nearly $60 million in revenue for the state in the first year of legalization with that figure projected to grow to around $100 million dollars after five year, the Huffington Post reports. According to a new report from the Colorado Center on Law & Policy, the passage of Amendment 64 — the ballot measure that seeks to legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol for adult use — in November will produce hundreds of new jobs, raise millions for the construction of Colorado public schools and raise $60 million annually in combined savings and revenue for Colorado’s budget. By 2017, the report projects that that budget figure could nearly double…

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Some Florida teachers must work an extra hour each day without pay

Some Florida teachers will be made to teach an extra hour each day, with their compensation for that additional hour still in flux, WPLG reports. In March, the state Legislature passed a law requiring the 100 lowest-performing schools on the reading FCAT to provide an extra hour of reading instruction beyond the normal school day. According to WPLG, the state earmarked $30 million to pay teachers for the additional hour. But Karen Aronowitz of United Teachers of Dade maintains this amount is not sufficient. The Palm Beach Post reports that Palm Beach County — the fifth-largest school district in Florida — had anticipated some of its schools being named to the lowest-100 list, and had set aside about $5 million in anticipation of that fact…

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Lego owners, Ontario teachers invest $614 million in ISS

Toymaker Lego’s owners and a Canadian pension fund are to pay 3.72 billion Danish crowns ($614 million) for a 26 percent stake in Danish cleaning group ISS , which will use the money to cut debt, relaunching its IPO plans, Reuters reports. ISS made a failed attempt at an initial public offering last year after which it agreed to a 130 Danish crowns per share cash and share offer from G4S Plc , a deal the British security services group later scrapped. Thursday’s deal was worth 105 crowns per share, said ISS, which has been focused on cutting debt and boosting growth.

“ISS is on track to significantly deleverage ahead of an IPO within a few years,” chairman Ole Andersen said.

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan will invest about 2.605 billion crowns for its stake, while the Danish Kirk Kristiansen family’s holding and investment company, Kirkbi A/S, which controls Lego, will pay 1.116 billion…

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Michigan Legislature approves changes for teachers

Newly hired Michigan public school employees would pay more for their pensions and no longer receive state-provided health coverage in retirement under legislation approved Wednesday and headed to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk, the Associated Press reports. The Republican-controlled state Senate and House approved a measure that officials say would cut more than $15 billion from a $45 billion liability on the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. The reductions include a $130 million contribution by the state toward retirement costs. That funding, along with the 3 percent contributions school employees are required to make, would significantly decrease the retirement system’s shortfall. Also under the bill, new public school hires would get a match of up to 2 percent plus a lump sum upon retirement to pay for health insurance. Retired employees covered by state-provided insurance would pay at least 20 percent of their premiums. Still, the measure does not take another step favored by some in the Republican majority and a centerpiece of previously passed Senate legislation: scrapping pensions for new hires and pushing them into a 401 (k)-style retirement plan…

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Nine useful lists for educators

EducationWorld has a list of five must-follow users to help you get in the pinning groove.

As part of Connected Educator Month (CEM), social media-savvy teachers and education professionals are using Twitter, blogs, and publications to get information out as quickly and easily as possible, and are using lists in many ways.

Browsing CEM’s Twitter, #CE12, the editors at eSchool News have highlighted some of the most popular lists Tweeted, as well as some that may be most helpful to our readers.

From educator-recommended apps designed for specific subsets of 21st century literacies to 14 of the best ed-tech Tweeters, and from the best CEM speaker quotes to the 10 technology commandments for connected learners, these lists are classroom-tested and educator-approved.

Have a list you consult or know of a list that’s popular among peers? Be sure to provide your links and recommendations in the comment section!

[In no particular order]

1.The New York Times’ “Tips from 33 educators we admire”

To celebrate CEM, the NYT asked every educator who has written a guest post for their publication to detail “one important thing you’ve learned from someone in your personal learning network” and “what one person, group, or organization would you recommend every educator add to his or her PLN?” The list provides more than 100 people, organizations, sites, and other resources readers can learn from, as well as shared insights on how to learn from them.


2.Fractus Learning’s “The top 5 podcasts for ed-tech fanatics”

Adam Heckler, a twenty-something who works in ed-tech where he advises K12 schools on how they can better integrate technology into their environment, says he has a long commute to work and likes to use those 45 to 50 minutes to listen to some innovative and helpful ed-tech podcasts. From ISTE to EdReach, topics range from flipped learning to ELA, and much more. Heckler also has many more quick-hitting lists and discussions that can be found here.


3.Educational Technology and Mobile Learning’s “Top 14 educational technology tweeters to follow”

Knowing who to follow on Twitter can be invaluable for educators—a fact that Educational Technology and Mobile Learning also realizes. In this list, these ed-tech Tweeters are among the most prominent in the field and their tweets can save time and energy. One of the Tweeters listed, Tom Whitby–a professor of education, founder of #edchat, the education PLN Ning, and the Linkedin group ‘Technology-using Professors’–is one of the main Tweeters on CEM and has provided many of these lists as well.



Watch: In 1995, class of 5th graders predicted internet’s future

A cute, humorous and largely accurate 1995 video made by a class of Helena, Montana, 5th graders attempts to predict what the internet will be used for by the time they get to college (roughly 2003). And you know what? They pretty much got everything right, the Sideshow reports. Yes, even in 1995, 5th graders knew that the modern-day internet was destined to be dominated by cats.

“Hey, why should I be on the internet?” asks one of the Ray Bjork Elementary School students in the video.

“Well, by the time I’m in college, the internet will be our telephone, television, shopping center, and workplace.”

“And it’s already got more stuff on it than you could possibly imagine.”

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Back to school – and new common standards?

Democracy is like herding cats – and so is education reform. As America’s public schools consider new common standards in subjects such as math and language arts, it’s time to act on these standards while the cats are all in the same room, the Christian Science Monitor reports. So far, 47 states have signed on to the “common core state standards” launched in 2009 by the National Governors Association. The standards would ensure uniformity in what’s taught in every classroom and what’s expected of every student nationwide. Each grade level would work toward the same goals, instead of experiencing educational chaos – thousands of different goals and curricula. But even an extraordinary commitment such as this – which also has the backing of the two main teachers unions as well as Republicans and Democrats from Main St. to Pennsylvania Ave. – can disappear when the chalk hits the chalkboard. It can face resistance, indifference, or simply fall beneath other priorities…

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