Want Teachers to Motivate Their Students? Teach Them How to Do It

Most teachers intrinsically understand the need to motivate their students, experts say, but teaching on intuition alone can lead to missteps in student engagement.

A study released in May by the Mindset Scholars Network, a collaborative of researchers who study student motivation, found most teacher education programs nationwide do not include explicit training for teachers on the science of how to motivate students.

That’s why some teacher education programs are exploring ways to help teachers learn how to engage their students in deeper ways.

“Everyone has a gut sense of the importance of a student’s relationship with a teacher. … It’s not a scholarly understanding but a human understanding,” said Mayme Hostetter, the president of the Relay Graduate School of Education, one of the few programs nationwide with formal courses for teachers on student motivation.

Full story at edweek.org

What Researchers Wish They Knew About School Finance

From the business world to sports to education, analytics are all the rage, as rapidly evolving technology and data systems unleash a flood of new metrics that decision makers can use in developing strategies and making choices. But even with the smorgasbord of new information, some potentially important indicators remain unavailable.

That’s certainly true in the education finance arena, where policies are still driven, at least in part, by the unknown and by the lack of detailed data on key topics.

“[School] system leaders often seem unaware of the unintended consequences of long-standing spending practices,” Marguerite Roza, the director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University, and Carrie Stewart, managing director of the Afton Partners consulting firm wrote in an article for AASA, the School Superintendents Association. They suggest that digging into school-level-spending data can help in better understanding these patterns.

Full story at Education Week

This Teen Planned A School Shooting. But Did He Break The Law?

It was sunny and cold on Feb. 13, 2018, when 18-year-old Jack Sawyer walked out of Dick’s Sporting Goods in Rutland, Vt., with a brand-new pump-action shotgun and four boxes of ammunition.

The next day, Valentine’s Day, Sawyer took his new gun out for target practice.

Around the same time, about 1,500 miles away in Parkland, Fla., a 19-year-old shot and killed 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Full story at npr.org

2020 Dems Go Big on Public Education

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT and 2020 contender Joe Biden stood alongside American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on Tuesday evening in Houston and outlined the first major policy platform of his campaign – supercharging the federal investment in the country’s public schools in order to level the playing for poor students, students of color and those with disabilities and boost teacher pay, among many other things.

“It’s past time we treat and compensate our educators as the professionals they are, and that we make a commitment that no child’s future will be determined by zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability,” he said.

Biden is in good company with his grand gesture to K-12 education.

Full story at US News

California Teachers Pay For Their Own Substitutes During Extended Sick Leave

A 40-year-old California law requiring public school teachers on extended sick leave to pay for their own substitute teachers is under scrutiny by some state lawmakers after NPR member station KQED reported on the practice.

KQED found that a San Francisco Unified elementary school teacher had to pay the cost of her own substitute — amounting to nearly half of her paycheck — while she underwent extended cancer treatment. Since the story published, more public school teachers have reached out to describe similar hardships.

Unlike many other employees, public school teachers in California don’t pay into the state disability insurance program and can’t draw benefits from it. Under the California Education Code, teachers get 10 sick days a year, after which they receive 100 days of extended sick leave. It’s during this latter period that the cost of a substitute teacher is deducted from their salary.

Full story at NPR

Warren Pledges to Tap Public School Teacher as Education Secretary

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, the Massachusetts Democrat running for president, pledged that if elected, she would tap a public school teacher to be her secretary of education.

“In my administration, the Secretary of Education will be a former public school teacher who is committed to public education,” Warren, herself a former special education teacher, wrote in a campaign email blasted to supporters Monday.

“Let’s get a person with real teaching experience,” she wrote, taking direct aim at current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “A person who understands how low pay, tattered textbooks, and crumbling classrooms hurt students and educators. A person who understands the crushing burden of student debt on students and young professionals and who is committed to actually doing something about it.”

Full story at US News

Girls Best Boys on National Test of Technology and Engineering Skills

EIGHTH-GRADE GIRLS continue to outperform boys on a national test of technology and engineering skills, despite reporting they take fewer classes related to those skills.

Girls scored five points higher than boys on the Technology and Engineering Literacy Assessment, which was given to 15,400 eighth graders from about 600 public and private schools across the country in 2018. Girls also bested boys in nearly all content areas.

“Girls continue to perform better than boys,” Peggy Carr, the associate commissioner of the assessments division at the National Center for Education Statistics, said. “They did that again – improved more than boys and also still outscored boys in this assessment. It’s a really strong finding here.”

Full story at US News

GAO: States Vary Widely in K-12 Students Who Get Special Education Services

THE PERCENTAGE OF K-12 students who receive special education services in states across the U.S. can vary anywhere from 6% to 15% because of wide inconsistencies in how officials determine eligibility criteria and the difficulty in identifying children suspected of having a disability, a new report from the Government Accountability Office shows.

A child eligible for services in one state, for example, might be ineligible in another, and states are having a difficult time evaluating the increasing numbers of students entering the public school system whose first language is not English.

“The GAO’s report reveals how the combination of inconsistent state policies and inadequate federal oversight continues to allow thousands of young people with disabilities to fall through the cracks,” Rep. Bobby Scott, Virginia Democrat and chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, said in a statement.

Full story at US News

Federal Data Show Decreasing Rates of Bullying and Violence in Schools

BULLYING, VIOLENCE, crime and drug use in schools continue to decrease, as they have for much of the last two decades, despite public perception that schools have become less safe over the past 20 years.

New federal data published Wednesday by the Departments of Education and Justice show that 20% of students ages 12 to 18 reported being bullied at school during the 2016-17 school year, the lowest since the federal government began collecting the information in 2005. The percentage of public schools that reported that student bullying occurred at least once a week also decreased, from 29% in the 1999-2000 school year to 12% in the 2015-16 school year.

Moreover, the percentage of students in grades nine through 12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months decreased from 9% in the 2000-01 school year to 6% in 2016-17 school year.

Full story at US News

Confused By Your College Financial Aid Letter? You’re Not Alone

This time last year, McKenna Hensley had a big question on her mind: Where would she go to college? The answer — sort of — was somewhere in her pile of 10 financial aid offers. Each school she’d been admitted to had its own individualized letter, terms and calculations.

“It was very confusing,” the now college freshman remembers.

One letter sticks out in her mind: The school had bolded about $76,000 in the upper-right corner of its offer. She remembers smiling really big and thinking, “I got a lot of money!” But when she looked a little closer, she saw that the big number included loans. Hensley was determined not to borrow. She took the letter and added up all the costs of attending, then subtracted the grants and scholarships and found she was still about $30,000 short.

Full story at npr.org