Friday Five: Education News Every Educator Should Know This Week

Ok, so maybe these articles are a compilation from July 2014 and not just this week, but they’re still worth every second of your time. The articles I’ve chosen reflect events that largely impact literacy education on a national and state level; however, I encourage you to search for news that is relevant to your local community or district. I often search my School Board Minutes and Agendas, local newspapers, NCTE Inbox, and local bulletin boards for local news. Of course social media like Twitter and Facebook are often the quickest ways to learn about current events. Just be careful not to mix up news with opinion! The NCTE Inbox is highly recommended to anyone interested in an easy shot of news and current events in education.  NCTE will send a neatly organized list of top news stories and classroom ideas through email once per week (if you’re a member) or once per month (if you’re not a member) – for free. Sign me up!

5. Walter Dean Myers Dies at 76; Wrote of Black Youth for the Young
NY Times, Felicia R. Lee
July 3, 2014

Myers is a pivotal figure in modern YA literature. I remember using his novel Monster with 8th grade students who did not have a particular love for reading. This novel is written as a script and takes place primarily in a courtroom. My students were able to pull the classroom tables back, set up a mock courtroom, and act out the novel as we read together out loud. It was the one activity all year that seemed to really hook them into reading – all they wanted to do was read and discuss the book!

4. How Student Speech is Protected in Neshaminy’s “R” Word Case
Constitution Daily, Jeffrey Shulman
July 2, 2014

The Neshaminy High School Newspaper editors have refused to print the word “Redskins” in their paper due to personal and professional objection to the derogatory nature of the word even though that is the name of their school’s sports team. This launched an on-going court battle over the constitutional right to free speech in regard to school settings. This article describes the controversy and goes into the legal and constitutional precedent for various court rulings on this issue. Even though the Neshaminy School District is located in Pennsylvania, this article will reach the heartstrings and minds of educators all across the nation.

3. Philadelphia Library Cooks Up Culinary Literacy
The Post and Courier, Kathy Matheson (AP)
July 13, 2014

What a unique way to draw adults into reading! In addition to learning valuable, real-life reading skills (like how to read recipes and nutrition labels), adults in Philadelphia are getting a new invitation to visit their local library. I might even drive the 2 hours to go visit one of these culinary literacy events myself. You can link directly to the Culinary Literacy Center webpage through the Free Library of Philadelphia website.

2. American Students Score Below Average in Financial Literacy
Forbes, Laura Shin
July 10, 2014

This article brought up a raging debate in my mind. As literacy teachers, how broad should we make our definition of literacy? And that’s not even getting into how policy makers, families, administrators, and teachers in other disciplines define literacy. Right now I’m at the NCTE Affiliate Leadership Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and an NCTE representative told us they are also currently discussing the issue of how broad our definition of literacy should be. Financial literacy is typically associated with math… but what is our role as literacy educators (if any) in making sure students are financially literate? Should we be teaching students to read invoices and contracts? I personally enjoy working through the complexities of reality-based-reading with students (the gritty stuff they’ll be stuck deciphering in life – like contracts, advertisements, tax documents and their instructions, and a multitude of other documents we read as adults). This article, while not directly linked to literacy as we know it, is still worth the read!

1. Hachette v. Amazon (video)

Hachette v. Amazon with Sherman Alexie (video)
Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert

This highly controversial issue has been developing for a couple of months now. The 7 minute video posted to Youtube which shows Stephen Colbert lashing out at Amazon for putting shipping holds and other restrictions on his publisher’s books, summarizes the issue in a tongue-in-cheek, sarcastically funny tone. I looked online to see if I could find any articles or news, blogs, really anything to support Amazon’s side of the issue, and it was hard. Even in the news articles it seems like more space and facts are being given to describe Hachette’s side of the controversy. Regardless of which side of this issue you fall onto, it’s worth getting involved and knowing what is happening in the publishing world! It directly affects the books we all have access to on a regular basis.

Friday Five: Education News Every Educator Should Know This Week

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