Teacher shortage ‘costing millions in supply staff

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Teachers’ union leaders are warning that teacher shortages are costing schools hundreds of millions of pounds in temporary supply staff.

The National Union of Teachers says schools in England spent £733m last year on supply teacher agencies.

The union says it is wasting money intended for children’s education.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is launching a TV recruitment campaign to attract a “new generation of passionate and gifted teachers”.

Head teachers have been reporting deepening problems with getting enough staff.

The Department for Education has launched a television advertising campaign to encourage more applications, saying that 35,000 trainee teachers need to be recruited every year.

Cash incentives

There are particular problems in finding teachers in subjects such as physics, and the government is offering increasingly generous bursaries.

A physics graduate with a good degree can claim up to £30,000 tax free for entering teaching.

Image copyright DFE

Image caption A TV advert is being launched to attract more people into teaching

“Great teachers are at the heart of our drive to extend opportunity to every single child,” says Mrs Morgan.

“That is why we are

Seattle’s new elementaries would be among state’s biggest most expensive

This month, Washington state’s two largest school districts are each asking voters for hundreds of millions of dollars to build, repair and upgrade schools.

Measures on Tuesday’s ballot in Seattle and Tacoma would each fund dozens of construction projects over the next decade, with both districts focusing on rebuilding old elementary schools.

But while Tacoma officials are requesting about $30 million for each of the eight elementaries in their proposal, Seattle is seeking about $42 million apiece for the six it wants to build.

The considerable cost differences illustrate how widely school-construction spending varies in Washington — and how Seattle Public Schools spends far more than other school districts in the state.

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Magical Transformation to Digital is not Magic

Magical. That was the word that came to mind after a visit last week to Huntsville, Alabama to check in on the amazing transformation from print to digital learning that has occurred there just since the start of school. Today is Digital Learning Day, which highlights success stories in digital learning. Huntsville is one of them. Educators from all over the country have been flocking there since last fall, when word of the district’s 1:1 Learning Initiative began to get out. “We’re the largest school district in the world that is all digital,” Superintendent Casey Wardynski shared with reporters. “The whole world is looking at Huntsville right now.”

Watch a great video on the deployment

And well they should. A year after he was hired the Huntsville school board approved Wardynski’s plan to purchase digital curricula instead of textbooks and laptops, netbooks, and iPads for students and teachers. Computer networks were set up in schools and WiFi installed on school buses and in public areas of the city. Today, after extensive training, teachers can engage their students using interactive texts, videos, animations, and other tools. Digital assessments help identify strengths and weaknesses and personalize lessons for each student. Students can learn anytime, anywhere.

As we toured two campuses

Teachers flip for ‘flipped learning’ class model

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — When Timmy Nguyen comes to his pre-calculus class, he’s already learned the day’s lesson — he watched it on a short online video prepared by his teacher for homework.

So without a lecture to listen to, he and his classmates at Segerstrom Fundamental High School spend class time doing practice problems in small groups, taking quizzes, explaining the concept to other students, reciting equation formulas in a loud chorus, and making their own videos while teacher Crystal Kirch buzzes from desk to desk to help pupils who are having trouble.

It’s a technology-driven teaching method known as “flipped learning” because it flips the time-honored model of classroom lecture and exercises for homework — the lecture becomes homework and class time is for practice.

“It was hard to get used to,” said Nguyen, an 11th-grader. “I was like ‘why do I have to watch these videos, this is so dumb.’ But then I stopped complaining and I learned the material quicker. My grade went from a D to an A.”

Flipped learning apparently is catching on in schools across the nation as a younger, more tech-savvy generation of teachers is moving into classrooms. Although the number of “flipped” teachers

Gates Foundation study We’ve figured out what makes a good teacher

Even as most of the nation’s 15,000 public school districts roll out new systems to evaluate teachers, many are still struggling with a central question: What’s the best way to identify an effective educator?

After a three-year, $45 million research project, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation believes it has some answers.

The most reliable way to evaluate teachers is to use a three-pronged approach built on student test scores, classroom observations by multiple reviewers and teacher evaluations from students themselves, the foundation found.

“We identified groups of teachers who caused students to learn more,” said Thomas J. Kane, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and principal investigator of the Gates study, also known as the Measures of Effective Teaching project.

The findings released Tuesday involved an analysis of about 3,000 teachers and their students in Charlotte; Dallas; Denver; Memphis; New York; Pittsburgh; and Hillsborough County, Fla., which includes Tampa. Researchers were drawn from the Educational Testing Service and several universities, including Harvard, Stanford and the University of Virginia.

The large-scale study is the first to demonstrate that it is possible to identify great teaching, the foundation said.

Researchers videotaped 3,000 participating teachers and experts analyzed their classroom performance. They also ranked the