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Education Department Clarifies Requirements for Offering Single-Sex Classes

December 11, 2014 Comments off

Education Department Clarifies Requirements for Offering Single-Sex Classes
Source: U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released guidance today for K-12 schools that offer or want to offer single-sex classes.

In response to numerous inquiries about the legality of single-sex classes, OCR issued guidance that charts a path for schools on how they can provide boys-only or girls-only instruction while remaining in compliance with civil rights laws.

“As we receive increasing inquiries about single-sex offerings we want to be clear what federal law allows: Protect civil rights and promote achievement,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights. “It is our hope that this guidance will give schools, students and parents the tools they need to ensure compliance with the Title IX regulations on single-sex classes.”

To offer single-sex classes or extracurricular activities, schools must:

  • Identify an important objective that they seek to achieve by offering a single-sex class (such as improving academic achievement);
  • Demonstrate that the single-sex nature of the class is substantially related to achieving that objective;
  • Ensure that enrollment in the single-sex class is completely voluntary (through an opt-in, rather than an opt-out, process);
  • Offer a substantially equal coed class in the same subject;
  • Offer single-sex classes evenhandedly to male and female students;
  • Conduct periodic evaluations at least every two years to ensure that the classes continue to comply with Title IX;
  • Avoid relying on gender stereotypes;
  • Provide equitable access to single-sex classes to students with disabilities and English language learners and,
  • Avoid discriminating against faculty members based on gender when assigning educators to single-sex classrooms.

The guidance document is presented in a convenient question-and-answer format, offering common scenarios aimed at assisting schools and educators in designing single-sex programs that comply with Title IX.

Moving Teacher Preparation into the Future

December 9, 2014 Comments off

Moving Teacher Preparation into the Future
Source: Brookings Institution

New teachers are essential to K-12 education. They allow the system to grow as the number of students grows, and they replace teachers retiring or taking other jobs. In light of the size of the K-12 sector, it’s not surprising that preparing new teachers is big business. Currently more than 2,000 teacher preparation programs graduate more than 200,000 students a year, which generates billions of dollars in tuition and fees for higher education institutions.

Preparing new teachers also is a business that is rarely informed by research and evidence. In 2010, the National Research Council released its congressionally mandated review of research on teacher preparation. It reported that “there is little firm empirical evidence to support conclusions about the effectiveness of specific approaches to teacher preparation,” and, further on, “the evidence base supports conclusions about the characteristics it is valuable for teachers to have, but not conclusions about how teacher preparation programs can most effectively develop those characteristics.” That there is no evidence base about how best to prepare people to teach is concerning.
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Ninth-Graders’ Mathematics Coursetaking, Motivations, and Educational Plans

December 5, 2014 Comments off

Ninth-Graders’ Mathematics Coursetaking, Motivations, and Educational Plans
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

This Statistics in Brief uses data from NCES’ High School Longitudinal Study (HSLS:2009) to examine what motivates high school students to take mathematics, and how those motivations vary depending on students’ plans for the year after high school. For students who have the same after-high-school plans, the report also examines how students from different socio-economic backgrounds compare in terms of their mathematics coursetaking and their motivations for coursetaking.

Smart money: What teachers make, how long it takes and what it buys them

December 5, 2014 Comments off

Smart money: What teachers make, how long it takes and what it buys them
Source: National Council on Teacher Quality

What teachers are paid matters. Many factors play a role in making the decision to become a teacher, but for many people compensation heavily influences the decision not only to enter the profession but also whether to stay in it and when to leave. For teachers, knowing where salaries start and end isn’t enough; they must also understand the path they will take from starting salary to the top of the scale.

Teacher Pay Penalty

December 2, 2014 Comments off

Teacher Pay Penalty
Source: Economic Policy Institute

There is an increased emphasis in building a quality teacher workforce but little attention paid to the pay penalty teachers face for working in their profession.

The figure below shows that teachers earn less than other similar non-teacher college-educated workers. Teachers working in the public sector who are represented by a union earn 13.2 percent less than other comparable college graduates. The pay gap is largest for private sector teachers without union representation (-32.1 percent). Separate analyses by gender are also presented given that the overwhelming majority of teachers are women (around 72 percent)—here female teachers were only compared to female non-teacher college-educated workers, and male teachers were only compared to male non-teacher college-educated workers. Compared to female teachers, the teacher pay penalty is worse for male teachers for each of the four teacher groups. In general, teacher pay disadvantages are mitigated if teachers are employed in the public sector—and more so if they have union representation.

Enhancing EU Education Policy: Building a Framework to Help Young People of Migrant Background Succeed

November 28, 2014 Comments off

Enhancing EU Education Policy: Building a Framework to Help Young People of Migrant Background Succeed
Source: Migration Policy Institute

While many countries in Europe have high-quality, well-established education systems, socioeconomically disadvantaged communities across the continent suffer from inequality of access and lower-quality education. Children from these groups, including children with a migrant background—those who are immigrants themselves or have immigrant parents—tend to underperform in the classroom compared with their native peers. Children from a migrant background (defined here as from countries outside the European Union) have particular educational needs that mainstream education policy does not always meet, including overcoming language barriers and discrimination. Recognizing the importance of education in allowing countries to realize their potential, the European Commission has developed a series of goals in the form of the Education and Training Strategy (ET 2020) to help Member States reduce school dropout and increase rates of tertiary education completion.

Level Up Learning: A National Survey on Teaching with Digital Games

November 26, 2014 Comments off

Level Up Learning: A National Survey on Teaching with Digital Games
Source: Joan Ganz Cooney Center

Digital games have the potential to transform K-12 education as we know it. But what has been the real experience among teachers who use games in the classroom? In 2013, the Games and Learning Publishing Council conducted a national survey among nearly 700 K-8 teachers. The report reveals key findings from the survey, and looks at how often and why teachers use games in the classroom, as well as issues they encounter in their efforts to implement digital games into their practice.

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