Published Online: April 17, 2012
Published in Print: April 18, 2012, as Blogs of the Week

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| NEWS | TEACHING NOW

Lottery Winners Teach a Rich Lesson

Talk about merit pay: A trio of educators from a Maryland school district—suspected to be in the Baltimore area—have claimed a share of the recent $656 million Mega Millions jackpot. The winners have chosen to remain anonymous, but they have been identified as a special education teacher, an elementary teacher, and an administrator. Together, they bought one of three winning tickets for the record-breaking jackpot.

And here's the interesting part: According to lottery officials, the three have said that, despite their newfound wealth, they are committed to remaining in their current careers. A Baltimore Sun editorial points out that this says something about the nature of teaching.

"How revealing is this?" the editorial asks. "It's often said that only an idiot would go into teaching to make a lot of money. Those who do are motivated by something other than financial reward, and $35 million—the after-tax share going to each—doesn't change that, or at least so it appears."

As the Sun also notes, the educators' decision comes, pointedly, at a time when public school teachers often are being characterized as unmotivated and self-interested.

—Anthony Rebora


| NEWS | LEARNING THE LANGUAGE

Project on Common Standards and English-Learners Goes Live

The team of English-language-learner experts assembled by Stanford University education professor Kenji Hakuta to create resources for teaching the common-core standards to ELLs launched its Understanding Language website last week.

The Understanding Language initiative has multiple aims: to help teachers and administrators fully appreciate the central role of language in the more-rigorous new standards that have been adopted by all but four states, and to provide resources to educators to make sure that they are equipped to deliver the type of instruction that ELLs will need to fully access the more-demanding content.

Hakuta and his colleagues—who include researchers who were involved in writing the standards, as well as ELL experts—launched the site with the publication of 13 papers that examine a variety of issues related to language and literacy in the content areas of the common-core standards, as well as the Next Generation Science Standards. Short videos with authors of the papers are also presented.

There's a lot here to spend time poring over, and, in the project's next phase, the team will publish practical guides for educators to draw on. Those guides will offer "exemplars" of language-rich practices in the content areas.

—Lesli A. Maxwell

Vol. 31, Issue 28, Page 12

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