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AM News: Obama Geeks Out, First Lady Freaks Out

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Obama Meets Scientists, One Age 6 NYT: More than a hundred students displayed their projects and inventions at what President Obama, who has been promoting the STEM subjects, called one of his favorite events.

Obama Unleashes His Inner Geek (Again) at White House Science Fair NBC News:  Science education went to the head of the class at the White House on Tuesday, with President Barack Obama announcing a $35 million competition for teacher training programs — and checking out an all-star lineup of science fair projects.

Obama Promotes Science, Math Education as Economic Need Bloomberg: In conjunction with the event, Obama announced a $35 million Department of Education competition program to help reach his goal of training 100,000 new teachers. The administration also plans to expand the Americorps volunteer program to provide...

First Lady Responds To School Meal Critics AP: First lady Michelle Obama is striking back at House Republicans who are trying to weaken healthier school meal standards, saying any effort to roll back the guidelines is "unacceptable."

First Lady Rebuts Effort to Weaken School-Lunch Rules NYT: Pushing back against a measure pending in the Republican-controlled House, Michelle Obama met with school officials who attested to the success of the new standards.

5 Things to Know About the National Spelling Bee ABC: Vocab and Taylor Swift: 5 things to know about this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee.

What it’s like to win the National Spelling Bee Vox: The National Spelling Bee is a bizarre ritual. Every spring, hundreds of middle-school students cram into a hotel ballroom and attempt to spell obscure words that few human beings have ever uttered — or will ever utter — in the course of their lifetimes.

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Like Seattle, Boston Pushes For Universal Pre-K Seattle Public Radio: Marcie Sillman talks to WBUR reporter David Scharfenberg about Boston's efforts to expand its preschool system. Here in Seattle, the City Council is considering a property tax levy to fund universal pre-k.

Academic Progress in Boston's Schools in Jeopardy, Report Finds District Dossier: In an external review commissioned by the Boston district, the Council of the Great City Schools finds discord and disorganization that threaten the school system's long record of progress.

Kicked out of school: Disparities are a looming crisis for all districts MinnPost: Last week, a group of classroom teachers took the highly unusual step of showing up at a regular meeting of the St. Paul School Board to plead for changes to the district’s policies regarding discipline and the mainstreaming of many special education students.

Principals can collect lesson plans but can’t say what goes in them, arbitrator rules ChalkBeat: The arbitrator, Deborah Gaines, sided with the union in ruling that teachers have authority over the content of their lesson plans. But she did not bar administrators from ever collecting the lesson plans, as the union had requested.

Federal Teacher-Prep Grants Emphasize STEM, Common Core TeacherBeat: The U.S. Department of Education wants new grants to improve STEM teaching and new teachers' fluency with the Common Core State Standards.

Colorado Law Helps Remedial College Students Be Successful NPR: Each year, 1.7 million students are told they're not ready for college. States are mobilizing to fix the remedial system. Colorado's efforts to help students are showing promising results.

The Common Core FAQ NPR: It's not just Louis C.K. and Stephen Colbert who are confused about the Common Core. Get the facts here.

Finns beat U.S. with low-tech take on school Politico: Finnish students and teachers didn’t need laptops and iPads to get to the top of international education rankings, said Krista Kiuru, minister of education and science at the Finnish Parliament. And officials say they aren’t interested in using them to stay there.

Temporary portable classrooms get sustainable makeover NewsHour: When you think of a school, you might imagine something that looks like this. But many students actually spend a lot of time in buildings that look like this, this, and this.

 

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Finland's educational system is in slow decline, relatively speaking (the Finns don't want to compare themselves to other countries, but that doesn't mean that others, such as stock investors and international employers, won't do so, to the Finns' benefit or detriment), but Finland was right to focus on teacher training and teacher trust first, instead of America's new, counterproductive teacher appraisal systems that are driving young people away from the teaching profession (I used a Finnish teacher contract as a model for that of One World School, which is still an ongoing project). Teachers and technology should both be classified as learning resources (that's where they are both referred to in our course descriptions), but teachers are the more important and more valuable, especially at the primary level and with young children, which is where Finnish education remains the model for the rest of the world.

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