NY Education

RFP Posted: Assessment of Homeless ...

RFP Posted: Assessment of Homeless Education Programming for McKinney-Vento Grantee Districts

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking proposals to design and conduct a statewide assessment of homeless education programs supported by McKinney-Vento grant funding. The study will focus on promising features of program implementation at the LEA level; outcomes for students experiencing homelessness; and academic and social-emotional program supports and resources provided by NYSEDís Homeless Education current technical assistance vendor, NYS-TEACHS.
News and Notes: New Professional De...

News and Notes: New Professional Development Materials

News and Notes: New Professional Development Materials
Funding Opportunity: 2014-15 Title ...

Funding Opportunity: 2014-15 Title I School Improvement Section 1003(a) - Basic School Improvement Grant Application

Section 1003(a) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires that State Education Agencies allocate funds to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) for Title I Priority and Focus Schools to meet the progress goals in their District Comprehensive Improvement Plan and School Comprehensive Education Plan(s) (DCIP/SCEP) and thereby improve student performance. These funds are to be used to support implementation of school improvement activities identified through the Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness (DTSDE) reviews or a school review with district oversight and included in the DCIP/SCEP.
RFP Posted: Special Education Media...

RFP Posted: Special Education Mediation Technical Assistance Center

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) P-12 Office of Special Education is seeking proposals to provide annual training to approximately 125 individuals who serve as New York State special education mediators, promote the use of special education mediation, provide reimbursement of mediation administrative costs to the Stateís twenty one (21) Community Dispute Resolution Centers (CDRCs) and to collect and report data on the number and type of special education mediation sessions conducted throughout the State. NYSED seeks applicants for mediation training (Part I) with documented experience and expertise in alternative dispute resolution processes in special education and for data collection (Part II) with demonstrated experience in the collection and reporting of statewide data.
RFP Posted: State Performance Plan ...

RFP Posted: State Performance Plan Indicator 8; Parent Survey for Special Education Consumer Satisfaction

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of Special Education is seeking proposals for the distribution, collection and analysis of a parent survey relating to special education.
RFP Posted: Evaluation of Categoric...

RFP Posted: Evaluation of Categorical Bilingual Education Programs

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking proposals to design, develop, and conduct evaluations of all Categorical Bilingual Education Programs funded by New York State and managed by the Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies (OBE-FLS). The selected vendor will design and develop protocols to assess implementation and effectiveness of all programs. Due to the variety of goals and objectives of each program to be evaluated, in addition to protocols that can be used for all programs (demographic data, evaluation elements that are common to all programs, etc.), each program is likely to also require evaluation components that are specific to that programís evaluation (See Attachment C).


Essay on mistakes humanities facult...

Essay on mistakes humanities faculty members make in seeking to be published

Rob Weir considers the mistakes humanities professors make that keep them from having journal submissions accepted.

Essay on how academic entrepreneurs...

Essay on how academic entrepreneurs can get the right feedback

To move projects ahead, you need to get the right advice, writes Kerry Ann Rockquemore.

Higher ed should create an alternat...

Higher ed should create an alternative to ABD status (essay)

Academe shuns the many doctoral students who are ?all but dissertation.? Jill Yesko proposes another way that would help them and institutions alike: the Certificate of Doctoral Completion.

Higher ed should create an alternat...

Higher ed should create an alternative to ABD status (essay)

Academe shuns the many doctoral students who are ?all but dissertation.? Jill Yesko proposes another way that would help them and institutions alike: the Certificate of Doctoral Completion.

Essay on how to deal with conflict ...

Essay on how to deal with conflict when working in academe

An important career skill is knowing when to avoid a disagreement and when to stand your ground, and the dividing line is particularly challenging for those without tenure, writes Nate Kreuter.

Essay on how academics can become e...

Essay on how academics can become entrepreneurs

Kerry Ann Rockquemore explains how academics trying to become entrepreneurs need to think about the services or goods they will deliver.

BBC News Education

Trust told academies need to improv...

Trust told academies need to improve

Ofsted tells an academies trust led by a former government adviser that too many of its schools are not improving fast enough.
School standards £5m funding fears

School standards £5m funding fears

There are fears millions of pounds could be diverted from current schools' improvements programmes to fund a new policy also aimed at raising standards.
Employers prefer 'soft' skills

Employers prefer 'soft' skills

Employers prefer "soft" skills rather than technical knowledge in graduates they are recruiting, a study says.
Adoption films for would-be parents

Adoption films for would-be parents

Videos of children in care are to be made available to people approved for adoption as part of plans to speed up the process.
New student loan model discussed

New student loan model discussed

Ministers and officials have been considering an idea that could bring major changes to England's student loan system, BBC Newsnight learns.
Playgrounds squeezed in places crus...

Playgrounds squeezed in places crush

Many schools are building new classrooms on outside space to accommodate a growing number of pupils.

US Govt Dept of Education

Why Educating Girls Matters

Why Educating Girls Matters

Wadley and Secretary Duncan solve a
A Day in Ohio with Secretary Perez ...

A Day in Ohio with Secretary Perez & Secretary Duncan

Cross-posted from the Department of Labor’s Work in Progress blog.
Let?s Read! Let?s Move! Soars to Ne...

Let?s Read! Let?s Move! Soars to New Heights

Soaring to new heights
Ready To Learn Series Gets the Red ...

Ready To Learn Series Gets the Red Carpet Treatment

Cross-posted from the OII blog.
Engineering Education: The U.S. Dep...

Engineering Education: The U.S. Department of Education Releases Innovative Initiatives

The Department of Education (ED) has announced a new round of experimental sites, or ex-sites, to provide flexibility to design programs that serve students better.† The new ex-sites will promote competency-based education (CBE), as well as prior learning assessme
Secretary Duncan Praises Sustainabl...

Secretary Duncan Praises Sustainable Schools and Announces Tour


Mid-Career Teachers Love Their Jobs...

Mid-Career Teachers Love Their Jobs, but Many Can?t Afford to Keep Them

At a time when the debate on education reform has focused on standards and test scores, the report states, few policy makers are talking about upgrading teacher salaries as part of the overhaul. ?One recent study found that a major difference between the education system in the United States and those in other nations with high-performing students is that the United States offers much lower pay to educators.?
'Sharing Is Not a Crime': Why a Col...

'Sharing Is Not a Crime': Why a Colombian Student Faces Prison for Posting Research Online

A South American biologist who found a five-year-old master's degree thesis online, then shared it with fellow graduate students on a Web page, could spend the next eight years in prison for copyright infringement. In a case that pits Internet freedom against intellectual property rights, Diego Gomez is accused of breaking the law even though he used the paper for research, didn't try to sell it, and didn?t claim credit for the work.†But the paper?s author claims Gomez, 26, illegally obtained and distributed his work product, violating copyright laws embedded in a 2006 trade deal Colombia signed with the United States. †† The case against Gomez, who is studying ways to preserve his country's vast, diverse ecosystem, has become a rallying cry for international activists, including recently formed free-Internet advocacy groups in Colombia. ?That?s the thing about copyright law?it†sort of pulls in all sorts of uses of work? that typically weren't subject to legal protection, said Maira Sutton, a global policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a free-Internet advocacy group.
Parents sue Georgia school system i...

Parents sue Georgia school system in gym mat death

Jacquelyn Johnson, center left, wipes a tear while speaking with her husband Kenneth, right, at a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of their son, Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Benjamin Crump, rear left, and fellow lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)The parents of a south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat at school filed a wrongful death lawsuit against local school administrators Monday.

Temple University scraps SAT requir...

Temple University scraps SAT requirement for new students

(Reuters) - Philadelphia's Temple University said on Tuesday it will no longer require prospective students to submit a standardized test score when they apply, joining a small but growing group of schools that believe there are other ways to gauge talent. Temple said it is the first public research university in the United States' Northeast to broaden its admissions policy in this way. Most U.S. schools still rely on students' SAT or ACT test scores when choosing whom to admit. A prospective student's high-school grade point average, class rank or even his or her "grit, self-determination and self-confidence" may all be better predictors of success in higher education, Temple said in its announcement.
Legalizing pot has not spurred use ...

Legalizing pot has not spurred use among U.S. teens: study

File photo of Marijuana plants displayed for saleBy Moriah Costa WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A rise in marijuana use among U.S. teens over the past 20 years has no significant tie to the legalization of marijuana for medical use in many states, according to a new research paper. Comparing surveys of marijuana use by adolescents conducted annually by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found the probability that a high schooler had used pot in the last 30 days was no more than 0.8 percent higher in legal states compared to states that had not approved medical marijuana. "Our results are not consistent with the hypothesis that the legalization of medical marijuana caused an increase in the use of marijuana among high school students," D. Mark Anderson of Montana State University, Daniel Rees of the University of Colorado and Benjamin Hansen of the University of Oregon wrote.

Ontario Teachers likely to buy rest...

Ontario Teachers likely to buy rest of UK's Bristol Airport: source

Bristol airport: Give us the runway insteadCanada's Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is likely to buy the rest of Britain's Bristol Airport in a deal worth up to 250 million pounds ($424.6 million), a source closely monitoring the situation said on Monday. The pension fund, which already owns 49 percent of the regional airport, has the right of first offer for the 50 percent owned by Australian asset manager Macquarie Group . Macquarie, the world's largest infrastructure asset manager, was sounding out buyers for its holding, British newspaper The Sunday Times reported. Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is eyeing the stake as it seeks to expand its infrastructure holdings from $12 billion to around $18 billion.


More university places available th...

More university places available this year for top performing A-level students

Bright teenagers who get better-than-expected A-level results next month are set to have a bigger chance of gaining places at some of the country?s leading universities.

Shock slump in English A-level cand...

Shock slump in English A-level candidates blamed on GCSE marking crisis

The number of pupils taking English at A-level has slumped this summer, with experts pinning the blame on the crisis over marking GCSE exams in the subject two years ago.

Universities resort to cold calling...

Universities resort to cold calling ex-students

Universities targeted more than nine million of their former students with cold calls and spam emails over the past year as they increasingly adopt US-style tactics to raise funds.

Universities resort to cold calling...

Universities resort to cold calling ex-students

Universities targeted more than nine million of their former students with cold calls and spam emails over the past year as they increasingly adopt US-style tactics to raise funds.

Universities resort to cold calling...

Universities resort to cold calling ex-students to raise funds

Universities targeted more than nine million of their former students with cold calls and spam emails over the past year as they increasingly adopt US-style tactics to raise funds.

College for dyslexic pupils uses fl...

College for dyslexic pupils uses flashcard system to teach literacy

The traditional scene played out every year on GCSE results day is of girls leaping into the air clutching a brace of certificates revealing untold A* passes. Invariably the school featured has produced a record pass rate. There are schools, though, whose lesser achievements arguably merit more celebration. Take Maple Hayes Hall in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

Education Week

Common Core May Persist, Even in Op...

Common Core May Persist, Even in Opposition States

Despite heated resistance and high-profile bills, states' academic guidelines may still look a lot like the Common Core State Standards.
The Teachers' Unions Must Embrace t...

The Teachers' Unions Must Embrace the Future

Rather than stall progress, the NEA and the AFT should help schools transition from relics of the past to institutions of the future, writes Leslie C. Francis.
Michigan to hold hearing on new sta...

Michigan to hold hearing on new standardized test

US sports body settles head injury ...

US sports body settles head injury suit, to change

Woman Appeals Ruling on Texas Affir...

Woman Appeals Ruling on Texas Affirmative Action

Attorneys for a woman is renewing her appeal of a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the use of race in University of Texas undergraduate admissions.
BESE votes to join lawsuit challeng...

BESE votes to join lawsuit challenging Jindal


The Role of Campus Leadership in En...

The Role of Campus Leadership in Ensuring IT Accessibility

“Everyone should have an opportunity to participate in higher education.”

With those words, Michael K. Young, President of the University of Washington, opens a new video from his institution’s AccessComputing Project, IT Accessibility: What Campus Leaders Have to Say. Developed with support from the National Science Foundation, this video presents university presidents, chief information officers, and other higher education leaders who stress the importance to higher education of accessibility for persons with disabilities, and of having campus technology environments that support it.

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The Game is Changing. What Will Be ...

The Game is Changing. What Will Be Expected of You?

“When we were doing our studies for the National Academies, the typical first response of university presidents or CFOs or provosts was to say: ‘I understand things are changing very rapidly, but I'll ask my CIO to take care of it. The CIO usually can.’ We would then ask: ‘Suppose you wake up in the morning and come in to your office and nothing works anymore. You can't access e-mail. All of your course systems have collapsed. Who fixes the problem?’ They begin to scratch their heads, and pretty soon it's like the five phases of grief. They start off with denial and anger, move through bargaining and depression, and finally reach acceptance.” — James J. Duderstadt, Change and the Research University

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The Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012

The Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012

EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues, 2012

The EDUCAUSE annual publication of top IT issues has long resonated as a yearly snapshot of the most pressing issues for IT leaders in higher education. At the top of list for 2012:

  1. Updating IT professionals’ skills and roles to accommodate emerging technologies and changing IT management and service delivery models
  2. Supporting the trends toward IT consumerization and bring-your-own device
  3. Developing an institution-wide cloud strategy


Below are the EDUCAUSE Review article summarizing the IT Issues Panel's findings for 2012 and accompanying resources.

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Tune In June 5 -- Rolling Out a BYO...

Tune In June 5 -- Rolling Out a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program

This free hour-long session, “Rolling Out a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program,” will offer ideas, sample policy statements and guidelines, and lessons learned for campuses interested in implementing a BYOD strategy for mobile devices on campus.

Those unable to attend may wish to visit the archives after the event or browse related resources.

Interact on Twitter at #EDULive.

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Get Involved with EDUCAUSE -- Volun...

Get Involved with EDUCAUSE -- Volunteer Submissions Are Due June 1

As someone who has a vested interest in higher education IT, you are part of a dynamic and close-knit community where we share new ideas, network with peers, and work toward the common good of the profession.

EDUCAUSE provides opportunities to be an active member by volunteering in a variety of roles, either short- or long-term, throughout the year. These opportunities include:

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Is Agile the Future of Project Mana...

Is Agile the Future of Project Management?

Gartner predicts that by the end of 2012, agile development methods will be used on 80 percent of all software development projects. Project Management Institute’s research shows that agile project management tripled from December 2008 to May 2011, and can help decrease product defects, improve team productivity, and increase business value.

Read the latest article release on agile project management from the Project Management Institute.

To help you apply project management processes at your organization, EDUCAUSE members have access to a selection of professional development resources:

read more


A Teacher's Supply List: A Rug, a L...

A Teacher's Supply List: A Rug, a Lamp, and a Plant


I asked a group of elementary and secondary students this question: "What should teachers be doing right now to get ready for the first day of school?"

Their answers may surprise you as much as they surprised me. These are just a few of the responses from students:

? Make the classroom feel like home. It should be very welcoming when I walk in.

? The room should be attractive and inviting.

? Don't put out so much stuff. It's too hard to concentrate when the room is packed with stuff.

The overwhelming feeling conveyed during our conversation was that a teacher at any grade level must create a cozy, attractive, warm and inviting atmosphere for students.

I thought back to my own teaching days and remembered three things that helped me achieve that kind of environment. I always made sure I had a rug, a lamp and a plant. These three tangible objects made such a difference!

If you don't believe me, then go try it yourself. The effect will amaze you. The warm glow of a lamp completely changes the feel of the room. A rug conveys the softness of home. A green plant feels inviting while making the room more pleasing to the eye.

I realize that asking students instead of the teachers what teachers should be doing now to prepare for the first day of school might seen like a backward approach. Were the answers what you expected?

Maybe all of us who teach should listen. After all, the classroom should belong to the students too, right?
My Doctoral Thesis

My Doctoral Thesis

I've been following the problems of Dr. Terrence Carter in Connecticut with some interest. It seems that the Dr., one of Arne Duncan's Chicago superstars, might not have an actual PhD. Not even a super-easy PhD, but a PhD he just bought. Faked the whole thing. And he's not remotely alone in this.

How can somebody do that, I wondered. Seriously, how do you do that?

Turns out the answer is, "Very easily." Googling "get PhD online" turns up a ton of paid placements. Walden, Trident, Capella -- they are all jostling for the top of the google heap. But these still require the performance of some nominal classwork. That would be just tooooo haaaaardd. I want to be a school superintendent next week. Can I do better?

Sure can. Just halfway down the second page of results, I found these guys.

They are not particularly subtle or sneaky. "BUY A PHD" says the opening headline. "We are waiting for your order to buy a PhD from us." But let them explain further.

Although quite demanding, people would still prefer to reach for greater heights in terms of academic qualifications.  This is the reason why a doctorate is being offered to maximize the potential of an individual.  Being called a doctor even if you are not a medical doctor by degree is such music in the ears.  To buy a doctorate degree gives a level of competency.  Since it is the highest possible academic degree, you can explore a lot of opportunities if you have credentials that would prove a doctorate degree.

"To buy a doctorate degree gives a level of competency." Well, there you have it. Don't waste your time in classes. It's the degree itself that magically confers prowess on the person. Don't laugh too hard unless you can tell me that you don't know people with "real" doctorates that think the same way.

You can see why a place like this might appeal to someone like Dr. Terrence Carter.

If you buy a PhD you will achieve promotions at your workplace without having to write complex projects and attending classes that will ruin your family or work life.

Yeah, projects and classes that take time just suck.

They do require that you provide some information about work history and prior education (if any). And while the doctorate is their marquee degree-for-sale, these folks offer everything all the way from Associate Degrees up to Honorary Doctorates.

Prices? A Doctorate will run you $250. You can have a professorship for $290. The top-of-the-line honorary doctorate runs $400, while the associate's is a mere $150. You can also indicate how you got the degree -- online, part time, whatevs. This will "make your documents better."

You can get lots of fine extras. A transcript is $100 (don't forget to indicate what grades you want on it). You can also get up to three letters of recommendation from your professors (boy, do I wish I could see some of those professors' names), and graduation caps, gown and hood. If you're in a real hurry, you can opt for four day delivery by FedEx or DHL.

If you doubt the awesomeness, they do have a page of testimonials:

I am a teenage mom and after giving birth to my daughter, i never had time studying in college. I have wanted to become an accountant and land a stable job to support my child. When i got my diploma at expreesuniversitydegree.com oppertuinities for me flooded. My dilemma now is what job i should choose ?? Mommy Tine

It has always been my dream to earn a degree in Doctorate. I have searched for many sites only at expressuinversitydegree i become satisfied. the service is perfect, the degrees are accredited, and the documents are delivered on time. Sally Girbauch, Ph.D

I have enjoyed my previliges being a doctor ! I get the best sit in the plane, I get discounts in restrurants, I get the best promo in my travels. My Ph.D is such as wonder. Dr. Morgan Elenor, Ph.D  in Social Science

Are you beginning to suspect that we have some copywriters for whom English is not a primary language? And no -- no school superintendents offer testimonials.

There is some faith-based leaping involved here. The site would like all your credit card information, plus a piece of id (including a scanned copy). I suppose when you are buying fake credentials online, you must always consider the possibility that you are dealing with a university run by a Nigerian prince.

It's tempting. A doctorate would give me such clout and importance, and I, too, want the previlige of discounts at restrurants. But even at these prices, I can't really afford it. maybe a Kickstarter launch is in order, to con my loyal readers into making my dream come true. Maybe I should ask for some career advice from Dr. Terrence Carter, who appears to have plenty of free time in his future.

Cross-posted from Curmudgucation.
NC Republican Leaders Announce Budg...

NC Republican Leaders Announce Budget Details

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) ? North Carolina House and Senate Republicans unveiled the details of a $21.25 billion budget Tuesday that gives an average 7 percent raise for teachers now among the lowest paid nationally and preserves teacher assistant positions but cuts Medicaid reimbursement for health care providers by 1 percent.

House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger added details to the compromise budget plan and said votes are expected by week's end. The compromise comes after weeks of impasse and prodding from Gov. Pat McCrory to draft a budget with limited teacher pay raises that avoids big cuts to Medicaid and other areas of education. The new fiscal year began July 1.

The details come days after legislative staffers reported income tax revenue for 2014 is expected to fall $205 million short of earlier projections because the wages of North Carolina workers haven't grown as fast as forecast.

Democrats criticized Republicans who control the Legislature for income tax cuts last year now projected to cost $680 million in 2014.

The compromise budget plan will require up-or-down votes from lawmakers, without changes.

"Why are we rushing this through when we have all these questions?" asked Rep. Larry Hall, D-Durham. "All this bad information has been presented and then these same people are now saying 'Hey just take our word for it. We're going to cut a deal we're going to force you to vote for it."

Berger said the shortfall was accounted for in the budget and said press coverage of it had blown its impact out of proportion.

Teachers in their first four years of experience would see their pay increase from $30,800 to $33,000. In their fifth to 11th years of employment teachers would get double-digit percentage raises. Teacher pay would level off at $50,000 a year after 25 years of experience.

Berger said there would be no change in the dollar amount allotted to employ teaching assistants. The Senate had proposed eliminating money for local school districts to hire 7,400 teaching assistants in all second- and third-grade classrooms. Funding for other education-related positions also would be eliminated. But about $65 million for teacher assistants that lawmakers said local school administrators have been shifting to fund teaching positions will be formally transferred to help pay for teacher raises.

"Should the local school districts determine that they need to move it back into TA allotment, they have the full flexibility to do that," Tillis said.

Medicaid eligibility will stay the same. The Senate had proposed eliminating Medicaid eligibility for more than 15,000 people. The program serves poor people and people with disabilities.

The state spends $3.5 billion annually to treat 1.7 million Medicaid recipients. Efforts to revamp the program to hold down costs were removed from the budget to be tackled later.

There are Medicaid cuts in the budget, including a 1 percent cut in provider reimbursement, said chief House budget writer Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake.

The budget also puts $186 million into a reserve for Medicaid cost increases and includes $700 million in a savings reserve to cope with a program that has had almost annual overruns for several years, Tillis said.

"We're seeing lower and lower shortfalls, but we have to be prepared for that so the promises we're making in this budget continue to be fulfilled," he said.

McCrory spokesman, Josh Ellis, said in a statement, "there are several major issues that are being worked on, including Medicaid eligibility, to hopefully avoid a veto."

The budget also:

? Maintains funding for the public university system.

? Gives most state employees a $1,000 raise and five extra vacation days.

? Increases pay for Highway Patrol troopers by at least 5 percent.

? Creates a $10 million grant program to replace a 25 percent tax film credit, in line with a Senate passed a bill passed earlier in the session. The tax credit expires at the end of this year. Last year, $61 million was spent on the credit, according to the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

? Adds about $800,000 for vouchers for students to attend private or religious schools if the program survives legal challenges and is able to start distributing money this academic year.


Associated Press Writer Emery P. Dalesio contributed to this story.
The Mindful Classroom

The Mindful Classroom

Before you read this article, open up a new tab: Calm.com

Feel free to take a five-minute meditation to center your thoughts and come back to this article more fully into the present.

Students all around the world now stretch in downward dog in a more mindful classroom, one that sheds away the hectic bell schedule frenzy that behavior psychologists say leads to anxiety.


In both the public and private sector, schools have found adding mindfulness techniques into the curriculum to benefit student's overall well-being (with the side benefit of increased student creative productivity). One such technique? The sun salutation of yoga.

Yoga studio owner Roberta McGinley says that yoga teaches students to control one's breath and students "can use their breath to control any anger that might arise... breath creates that sense of calm."

And in the emotional roller coaster that is childhood, techniques to help smooth out this ride should be made readily available.

In her fourth-grade classroom, Christina Howard introduced a singing bowl on the first day and students spent the first minute of every class sitting in silent meditation to consciously let go of any stress they had before entering the classroom and arrive more fully present for the lesson that day. Over time, students adapted to this ritual and looked forward to this quick moment of letting go.

During her breaks, Ms. Howard would practice yoga and students passing by would ask her to teach them how to float the body into poses like headstand. So, Ms. Howard kicked her lesson up a notch. She brought yoga teacher Carla Ricciardone to introduce the students to the practice of yoga, which teaches the body to physically let go through a series of poses (called asanas).

Not long after students spread word of stretching into downward dog and standing tall in mountain pose in Ms. Howard's class, the class then decided to put together a yoga fundraiser. Students from all classes were invited to join in. $700 later, students had raised enough money to send the whole class on a field trip to Nature's Classroom, where students soaked up an immersive study of the environment.

On the other side of the United States, Vlad Moskovski works with schools in the San Francisco Bay Area to build what he calls compassionate leaders.

I sat down to chat with Vlad, founder of Compassionate Leaders, to talk about what techniques he uses in the classroom. We discussed something I've also used in my classroom: the power of using writing to center the mind.

Writing kinesthetically slows the brain down and allows us to smooth out our rapid thinking.

Tim Ferriss agrees that writing allows one to think more clearly because the active process of writing forces the mind to slow down and concretize the many thoughts that can fly around in our heads like fireworks.

Much like what Ms. Howard did with her students, teachers can also use the first minutes of class time as a time to journal and write out one's thoughts. Getting the thoughts out of the head and onto paper can be an easy way for students to let go of any emotions that can stifle the ability to learn something new.

For students with a lot of trauma in life, writing can be extremely cathartic. For all students, writing can help push the creative level in the brain to a whole new maximum.

Of course, writing, yoga and meditation can only help build a more mindful classroom when it becomes habitual. After 10,000 hours of practice (a la Malcolm Gladwell), we can only imagine their creative potential in leadership.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on building a more mindful classroom, so please leave your comment below to enter the conversation.
Myth of the Month: Anything Would B...

Myth of the Month: Anything Would Be Better Than Common Core

If you're not worried by the direction of recent political opposition to the Common Core State Standards, you should be. Politicians who have worked themselves into a lather about the Common Core are fostering the myth that good standards are by definition nothing like Common Core. This myth is breeding a host of rash and ill-informed actions whose consequences could reach well beyond the standards themselves. When politicians use schools to advance their ideological or political ends, children suffer.

Few of these crusading politicians have much specific to say about the content or quality of the Common Core State Standards, which have received high praise from education experts across the country. Instead, the Common Core has become the whipping boy for everything they revile: federal control! Communism! Corporate tyranny! The "gay agenda"! The list goes on. As a result, "anything but Common Core" has become the guiding vision for education in some states and a rallying cry for anti-Core-ites, which is turning state policymaking into a theater of the absurd.

Take South Carolina, for example. After the legislature and Governor Nikki Haley joined forces to repeal the Common Core standards, State Superintendent Mick Zais proudly proclaimed that those writing the new standards are "not even going to have a copy of Common Core State Standards in the room." Instead, those writers will have to base their work on the state's 2007 standards, which the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute roundly criticized for weak content and lack of rigor. When ideology is at stake, quality is apparently beside the point.

Politicians in other states are taking similar measures. Oklahoma's new law repealing the Common Core Standards actually specifies that the new standards must not resemble Common Core. It is not entirely clear what part of Common Core the state's hapless standards-writers will have to avoid. Algebra? Using addition or subtraction to solve problems? Critical thinking? Applying mathematics to real-world situations?

North Carolina legislators were working on similar language in their repeal bill, until cooler heads prevailed. The bill Governor McCrory signed in late-July expressly allows the standards writers to adopt the best parts of Common Core. In saner times, that would go without saying.

Some states have gone even farther in their anti-Common Core hysteria, actually passing laws that tie the hands of state and local decision-makers. For example, the state legislature in Texas, which never adopted the standards in the first place, made it illegal for school districts to use the Common Core Standards. Anxious educators in the state wondered whether they could legally teach, say, fractions or other topics that appear in the Common Core. In response, the Texas Attorney General recently had to specify that content such as 2+2=4 is still fair game. You can't make this stuff up.

Such political contortions are already hurting schools and children. They are throwing schools into chaos as teachers prepare for a new academic year, and they are squandering millions of dollars and years of effort devoted to preparing for the higher expectations of the Common Core. Even worse, the state standards that replace Common Core could become as twisted as the political motivations that spawned them.

It is hard to fathom the politicians' confidence that new state standards would be better than Common Core. Before Common Core, most states' standards were vague or not very challenging, and students performed poorly. Those who now rage against common standards barely raised an eyebrow. It seems that where we once took two steps forward, we're now taking two steps back.

There may be even bigger problems on the horizon. Legislators and governors are setting a very dangerous precedent when they meddle with education standards for ideological reasons. If an unfounded grudge against Common Core can spawn so much bad policy, then who knows what else is possible? The last thing we need is career politicians seizing control over what our children learn.

Politicians will always be politicians, but education should be off limits to their ideological posturing. Let them find another stage for their political morality plays.
The Global Search for Education: C...

The Global Search for Education: Champions! Champions! Champions!


"Our teachers will often tell us that their students talk about us, "Meryl and Charlie," as friends; it's as if we are present in their everyday lives. What an incredible opportunity this relationship gives us to reach these kids." -- Meryl Davis

They are world famous Olympic and Paralympic Champions, including Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Sue Bird, Elana Meyers, Josh Sweeney, Curt Tomasevicz, David Oliver, April Holmes and Erin Hamlin. They are led by 2010 Olympic bobsled gold medalist Steve Mesler and Dr. Leigh Mesler Parise. They are the first and only in-school program to connect athletic champions with students in high-need schools on an ongoing basis. They build strong relationships and inspire students to believe, to persevere and to always dream BIG. Does the concept give you goose bumps?

Classroom Champions was recently announced as a winner of Google's Giving Through Glass competition. If you don't know what this awesome Google initiative is all about, I suggest you Google it fast!

What can Classroom Champions teach us about mentoring? Today in the Global Search for Education, I have invited 4 Champions from the world of sports and our classrooms to reveal their 12 Lessons From The Champions of Classroom Champions. It is my pleasure to welcome the 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist for Bobsled and Founder of Classroom Champions, Steve Mesler; Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist, Ice Dancing and the 2014 Dancing with the Stars Champion, Meryl Davis; Grade 8 teacher at St Joseph Catholic School in Ontario, Jenn Nalon; and School Principal from Waller, Texas, Todd Nesloney.


"My students, in a tiny town in Texas, were able to connect with, and learn from, an Olympic athlete because of the power of technology." -- Todd Nesloney

12 Lessons From The Champions of Classroom Champions:

Meryl Davis, warm us up!

1. Get personal and make a difference.

When speaking with students, it's easy to preach ideas and ideals: have a goal, work hard, and never give up. Pointing a child in the "right direction" isn't always enough to manifest true interest. My ice-dancing partner, Charlie White, and I have found that telling our personal stories and sharing our own struggles seem to generate more positive responses from our students. We love getting emails from our teachers about how a child was positively impacted by hearing our stories. Furthermore, we've been told that sharing our challenges increases tolerance and acceptance within the classroom towards students who may be facing similar problems.

2. The cool kids.

Over the course of our two school years with Classroom Champions, Charlie and I have realized how our roles so drastically differ from that of a teacher. When we began creating videos and speaking with our students, I think we felt as though we were stepping into these classrooms to actually teach a lesson each month. As time went on, however, we realized that our students saw us more as friends than teachers. The beauty of this dynamic is that our students can relate to us and allow us to lead by example. Our teachers will often tell us that their students talk about us, "Meryl and Charlie," as friends; it's as if we are present in their everyday lives. What an incredible opportunity this relationship gives us to reach these kids and, at the same time, gives our teachers an opportunity to use us as a learning tool.

3. Common ground.

Each school year, we dedicate a video lesson to "community". We focus on the importance of community and the role our students can play in their communities. The classroom itself, as we say, is an important and relevant "community" for our students. Being kind, supporting others and asking for help when needed, for example, are ideals that can be difficult to integrate into these classrooms. Having monthly video lessons to share and mutual "friends" in the athlete mentors seems to encourage additional camaraderie and a sense of community within the classroom.

Jenn Nalon, keep us moving!

4. It takes a village to raise a child.

And the child is proud and thankful for every member of his/her village. In the program, students are encouraged and cheered on by their teacher, community, athlete mentor, Steve (Mesler) and all members of the CC team, not to mention the entire CC teacher team via our Ning site. Our students are flourishing as they take great pride in sharing their success with our entire team and have been invited to continue sharing with their athlete mentor, as they enter high school. We celebrate DREAMing BIG!

5. Network with people who share the same passion.

The amount I learn from my CC friends far exceeds what I ever thought was possible in an online forum setting. My desire to learn with and from my CC peers, who come from different geographical regions, provinces, states and countries with various mandates, is a daily occurrence. We also take pride in each other and keep contact across North America via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Ning. Our shared passion keeps learning alive in an electrifying way. Our village has grown but our need to be in contact is evident too. We can't wait until we get together again next year when the fire within strengthens.

6. Relationships and goal setting are the keys to every success.

I have learned through student success that these two qualities are key to each day. We have built so many valuable relationships and expressed our concern and excitement for each other's success. The relationships strengthen and the goals get larger.


"Compensate them with the ability to see their impact with quality metrics, compensate them with strong relationships, and compensate them with feedback that will make them better at the things they care about." -- Steve Mesler

Todd Nesloney, go for it!

7. Perseverance.

I don't think I ever truly grasped the concept of that word, perseverance, before taking part in Classroom Champions. My students had Paralympic athlete Joshua Sweeney as our athlete. There are very few people in my life that I now admire as much as Josh. Lessons that he was able to express to my students through the trials he has been through are irreplaceable. There were several times through our Classroom Champions lessons where I had kids in tears because they were so emotionally moved.

8. Believe.

Classroom Champions taught me, and my students, about the power that lies in believing in yourself and believing that no matter where you come from you can be successful and you can make a difference with goals, hard work, and determination. When Josh visited our school and spoke to the 700 pre-K to 5th graders, you could have heard a pin drop. He shared his life story and spoke to each of those kids' hearts. Every child left that day feeling like they mattered.

9. Power of Connecting.

Even though my students learned through recorded videos of Josh, every student felt like he had made the video especially for them. They connected to him, bonded with him, and learned so much. When we did our Google Hangout with Josh, my kids were just enamored and had a million questions for him. My students, in a tiny town in Texas, were able to connect with, and learn from, an Olympic athlete because of the power of technology.


"It takes a village to raise a child. And the child is proud and thankful for every member of his/her village." -- Jenn Nalon

Steve Mesler, bring home the Gold!

10. A question is the most powerful weapon we all possess.

Whether you're trying to understand someone's point of view, trying to figure out a complex problem, or wanting someone to volunteer for an initiative, the single greatest weapon you have in your arsenal is a question. As we've built Classroom Champions into the international NGO it's become, I've learned that if you don't ask questions, you'll never succeed. I've learned that, in general, people want to help; they want to answer questions - it's how we're built. Remember that and you can accomplish more than you think.

11. Relationships make the world go round.

The first thing we do at Classroom Champions is look to foster a relationship between Olympian and student. If kids feel connected to their athlete, if they feel like they can depend on them, they begin to trust them and good things happen. In building relationships, you have to remember to be consistent in your words and your actions.

12. Crack the volunteering code and change the world.

People are busy these days. Olympians, Paralympians, and teachers are just as busy and overwhelmed as the rest of the world. How do you engage busy people to volunteer to make a difference? It's the same as paying someone with cash - reward their effort with compensation. The only difference? Compensate them with the ability to see their impact with quality metrics, compensate them with strong relationships, and compensate them with feedback that will make them better at the things they care about.

For more information: http://www.classroomchampions.org/


Top row l to r: Steve Mesler, Todd Nesloney, C. M. Rubin

Bottom row l to r: Meryl Davis, Charlie White, Jenn Nalon

All photos are courtesy of Classroom Champions.

Join me and globally renowned thought leaders including Sir Michael Barber (UK), Dr. Michael Block (U.S.), Dr. Leon Botstein (U.S.), Professor Clay Christensen (U.S.), Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (U.S.), Dr. MadhavChavan (India), Professor Michael Fullan (Canada), Professor Howard Gardner (U.S.), Professor Andy Hargreaves (U.S.), Professor Yvonne Hellman (The Netherlands), Professor Kristin Helstad (Norway), Jean Hendrickson (U.S.), Professor Rose Hipkins (New Zealand), Professor Cornelia Hoogland (Canada), Honourable Jeff Johnson (Canada), Mme. Chantal Kaufmann (Belgium), Dr. EijaKauppinen (Finland), State Secretary TapioKosunen (Finland), Professor Dominique Lafontaine (Belgium), Professor Hugh Lauder (UK), Professor Ben Levin (Canada), Lord Ken Macdonald (UK), Professor Barry McGaw (Australia), Shiv Nadar (India), Professor R. Natarajan (India), Dr. Pak Tee Ng (Singapore), Dr. Denise Pope (US), Sridhar Rajagopalan (India), Dr. Diane Ravitch (U.S.), Richard Wilson Riley (U.S.), Sir Ken Robinson (UK), Professor PasiSahlberg (Finland), Professor Manabu Sato (Japan), Andreas Schleicher (PISA, OECD), Dr. Anthony Seldon (UK), Dr. David Shaffer (U.S.), Dr. Kirsten Sivesind (Norway), Chancellor Stephen Spahn (U.S.), Yves Theze (LyceeFrancais U.S.), Professor Charles Ungerleider (Canada), Professor Tony Wagner (U.S.), Sir David Watson (UK), Professor Dylan Wiliam (UK), Dr. Mark Wormald (UK), Professor Theo Wubbels (The Netherlands), Professor Michael Young (UK), and Professor Minxuan Zhang (China) as they explore the big picture education questions that all nations face today.
The Global Search for Education Community Page

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, "The Global Search for Education" and "How Will We Read?" She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, is the publisher of CMRubinWorld, and is a Disruptor Foundation Fellow.


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