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As the race to expand STEM education enters its next lap, here are three ways to recruit and train more teachers

The Hechinger Report – Talia Milgrom-Elcott

“As a first-year teacher at Antheil Elementary School in Ewing, New Jersey, one of Linda Hoffman’s favorite moments is when her third grade students have an “aha” moment. Even at a young age, Linda’s students relish the thrill of solving a math or science problem and coming to a creative, exciting solution. For Linda, the “aha” moment is familiar — she herself experienced it last year when she was a student at Rider University’s TEACH first class program. After a career in market research, Hoffman heard the calling to teach after volunteering in her own children’s school. She says Rider’s program — which trains people from unconventional backgrounds for teaching science, technology, engineering, and math — taught her a lot more than how to teach math. I learned how to teach thinking,” she says. Just as Linda and her students have their “aha” moments in learning math and science, America needs to have a collective “aha” moment for figuring out how to get more qualified teachers in science, technology, engineering and math into our classrooms.”(more)

Testing College Readiness

Education Next – Ira Nichols-Barrer, Kate Place, Erin Dillon and Brian P. Gill

“The state of Massachusetts introduced a system of standardized testing in its public schools three years before the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 mandated such practices for all 50 states. Although the tests have evolved over time, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) has been in place ever since. But after Massachusetts adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010, its education leaders faced a decision: whether to stick with MCAS, which it had already revised to align with the Common Core, or switch to a “next-generation” test that was specifically designed for the Common Core—and to assess students’ readiness for college. More than 40 other states have signed on to Common Core, and many face similar decisions about their student assessment systems.”(more)

Language Learning in the UK: Let’s Make Sure We’re Not Lost for Words

The Huffington Post – Vicky Gough

“Released today, this year’s Language Trends Survey – from the British Council and Education Development Trust – sees teachers expressing ‘deep concerns’ about the current state of languages in schools in England. While there does appear to be some good progress in primary schools – including welcome investment in specialist language expertise – things are proving more challenging at secondary level. The exams system, in particular, is flagged as a major concern and the uptake of languages remains low compared to other subjects – last year, for example, the number of pupils taking a languages GCSE was around half the number of those taking one in maths.”(more)

How Should States Design School Rating Systems? A Conversation with an Expert

Education Next – Chad Aldeman

“Under the newly enacted Every Student Succeeds Act, all states will be responsible for designing their own statewide accountability systems. Although there are some federal parameters on what and how measures must be included in those systems, states have considerable latitude in how they go about creating accountability systems that work for them. In order to learn more about what states should think about in this process, I reached out to Christy Hovanetz, a Senior Policy Fellow for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Dr. Hovanetz served as the Assistant Commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Education and Assistant Deputy Commissioner at the Florida Department of Education. Since leaving public service, Dr. Hovanetz has worked with a number of states on their accountability systems, and has established herself as one of the nation’s leading experts on school rating systems. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.”(more)

How Meaningful Feedback for Teachers and Students Improves Relationships

KQED News Mind/Shift – Katrina Schwartz

“The 2014 National Teacher of the Year, Sean McComb, works at a pretty average-looking high school. Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts isn’t a school with extra funding or special dispensation to try something totally different. Students sit at desks, they rotate through periods and, in many ways, the school hasn’t revolutionized what it looks like to attend school. But, even within this traditional-looking environment, McComb is continually trying new things in his classroom. This year he’s challenging himself to do a better job of letting students follow their own unique learning path by tailoring how he teaches to the individual. In this Teaching Channel video, McComb leads a class period where he’s trying to give individual students feedback as they work and not only after they’ve turned in their assignments. He demonstrates how he tries to hold back from giving them the answers, instead guiding them with questions, making sure they are aware of and are using resources, and crucially allowing them the time and space to think through what he’s asking and arrive at a solution on their own.”(more)