What is News? Learn from the Newseum!

by Bonnie Bracey-Sutton

The Newseum is a treasure chest of resources for teachers. I attended a teacher workshop that was interesting, exciting and which provided many resources to use in understanding the news.

News is the power in Washington DC.without any lessons, but it is imperative to have a handle on what is news.


The city of Washington , DC is all about news.

What is News?

Today, there is constant news that comes from television, radio, the Internet, and other sources. People have access to ways of resourcing news using technology , being able to gather resources in photos,radio, videos, and print. The news is constantly evolving and changing even in a day. We create news with our devices.

To help teachers teach, the Newseum offers many resources. These were shared in a workshop for teachers and many resources are also available on the new Newseum website. The Newseum says that there is more to every story.http://www.newseum.org/


We gathered and selected workshops to be involved in.

An added benefit was that we met teachers from many schools and we networked and shared ideas. But the main ideas we shared were focused on seeing the news , understanding it, and learning how to let students think about how news is gathered. It was fun to do a newsletter on the Civil War. Why? We had to report from the Northern point of view or the Southern point of view , and we had real life examples to look at and see .. just how the news can be slanted , or even wrong. It was fun to see how wrong some of the news was at that time.




We had a workshop to think , decide, talk about what makes the news and what is news today vs. news before all of the digital platforms.

                                                    What a Building!!



The building itself teaches. As you wander around there is so much to see and learn. This video gives you some idea of how immersive and interesting the site itself is.There is a glass elevator that ascends to the television studio and showroom. There is a cafeteria and a gift shop and the usual tourist amenities and you can pre-arrange parking.


The Newseum


We as teachers were involved in various types of lessons to teach us how to use the news, and to teach how to get a perspective on the news.

My choices initially did not use much technology in the lessons, though they were very  interactive. There are digital lessons from the museum and one of the workshops was to learn how to use the new digital platform which is here.


                 This is the Newseum Digital Classroom 


Here you can log in and have access to the digital resources, and get information the process is easy.There are 15 galleries, 15 theaters and lots of gallery space. Then there are the television tours and workshops. So much to see.

Students in the Washington DC Metropolitan area and that includes the whole metropolitan area get to visit the Newseum free of charge. Register for a free visit. For students coming to Washington for a class trip, the Newseum makes it easy to organize a visit. It is worth the trip!!

How Do We Improve the State of Teacher Diversity and Assist with Professional Development?

I am from a generation that was taught with 20 year old books and schools in a sad state of being. We could read, and write and do math but the subjects were limited and access to the best of teachers was not usual. Of course there was no technology, and sadly there was no science. Often science gets shoved to the back of the curriculum map for minority students and teachers.


National Geographic Education , NASA , NOAA and NSF projects have shaped my knowledge. There is a gold mine of resources at Concord.org


Most minority teachers do not have access to exemplary professional development even when it is for free because they don’t know about it or they cannot access and learn using technology. There is always the George Lucas Educational Foundation site, Edutopia.  It’s free. There are online assists, but a lot of the webinars are focused beyond beginners. Autodesk University has a series of webinars, as does ISTE, for teachers to learn how to use the technology. Autodesk Design Academy (http://academy.autodesk.com).

ISTE has a series of PLN’s which help teachers to explore, be involved, learn to innovate, and have mentors for learning.

The White House has initiatives too, http://www.esri.com/connected



It is true that before my time Einstein visited Lincoln University to teach physic but few people know of that mentoring. I know it because my uncle taught at the University in Pennsylvania that he visited , there is a photo on line of Einstein in the classrooms there.

     Internet of Things? Or just plain access and contact?

Today we are talking about technology. Who has it? You really don’t think everyone even in the US has access ? Broadband? Tools and well trained teachers? If you think that you must be dreaming and you may not know how to measure broadband speed.

Professional development is an interesting puzzle. There is a mindset for involving the use of technology. It is called TPACK. You use it for ideational scaffolding and inclusion.http://tpack.org

Here’s the problem. Many teachers in rural , distant, urban, and difficult schools do not have access to technology in meaningful ways and do not have a mentor or technical help that is available to them . So there is fear. There is not a lot of time within the schedule and even though we know that digital pedagogy is important.

Some people cling to the tests as the anchor for finding out what our students know. Sadly in the places where the technology is limited there is a problem that few speak about and that is that the technology that is available is needed to give the tests, so teachers have to release the technology for testing. Certainly most of them will not complain.

Punya Mishra​ has a solution for the professional development. He got funding to link a University to teachers working in schools of need and they work through the summer to be involved, learn, create, innovate and share their learning as they earn a Master’s degree. Publications and lessons are shared. It is one of several ideas to change the skills of teachers working in places of need.

BPDA and LISTA too champion students and teachers. These organization help. They have chapters and mentors who make a difference. I mentioned NSF. There are projects that help to integrate new practices and ideas called CyberLearning.

They ask these questions.

  • How can cyberlearning help empower the next generation of diverse learners?
  • How can we create innovative technologies that draw upon sound theories of learning through productive collaborations among researchers, designers, learners, and formal and informal educators?
  • How can we foster an inclusive design community that balances real world problems and settings with promising cyberlearning approaches?
  • How can we integrate contributions from multiple research projects for broader impact (e.g., combining our theories or combining our tools into a common infrastructure)?
  • Approximately 150 leading researchers along with students, educators, designers, industry experts, and other stakeholders will work together for two days at Cyberlearning 2016 to accelerate the community’s collective work and impact. Here is the call for participation.


The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education
Albert Shanker Institute
Teacher Diversity in the U.S. is an area of concern. The teacher work force has gotten less ethnically and racially diverse and more female, a development which has had an adverse effect on students, particularly on males of color. It is an impediment to the broader goals of equity and social harmony. ASI is working to better understand teacher labor market trends and identify promising interventions aimed at increased teacher diversity in K-12 education.

This report shows that nationally, progress toward greater diversity is being made, but it is quite modest compared to the need for more minority teachers. In the nine cities studied—Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.—the picture is much more bleak, and there are only a few pockets of progress, surrounded by serious setbacks.
You can download the report at the link above.

There is a report that many are looking at the OECD report? what say you about that? http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/students-computers-and-learning_9789264239555-en#page8

Researchers remind us of this work

Ed Tech researchers would remind them about the field of Media effect research and the classic articles from Kozma and Clark.

Teacher Tales of Salary, Data / Cold Hard Facts/ Are Teachers Over or Under Paid? Read and Have Your Say!!

You probably know where I am going with this blog on teacher pay.Liz

In the private sector, people with SAT and GRE scores comparable to those of education majorsearn less than teachers do. Does that mean teachers are overpaid? Or that public schools should pay more to attract top applicants who tend to go into higher-paying professions?


Outside groups enriched my teaching and my resources

Prodessional development is key!


If you saw this New York TImes piece, you probably had to reflect a bit on how teachers get compensation.

WASHINGTON — During her first six years of teaching in this city’s struggling schools, Tiffany Johnson got a series of small raises that brought her annual salary to $63,000, from about $50,000. This year, her seventh, Ms. Johnson earns $87,000.

I taught for 30 years and my compensation was so small, I won’t post it. But I will say that my rewards were from outside the system and I am highly qualifed. The first thing I learned in working the country, was NOT to talk about teacher salaries. No matter how great an idea I was pushing, I learned that this is hot button stuff.

First the article then some information.

In Washington, Large Rewards in Teacher Pay


In a new system to retain young talent, about 476 teachers received sizable bonuses this year, with 235 of them getting unusually large pay raises. Interesting article.


You will note that this blogger wrote this piece back in the fall to give a perspective on teaching and salaries.

By Andrew Otis, The Writer’s Network


Pay for teachers in the United States varies widely. The median or mean teacher salary in the U.S. varies per whichever source you decide to use. The two most reputable sources for teacher salary estimates are the US Census and the American Federation of Teachers, a US teachers union that represents most of the educators in America.

Charter vs. Public

 Charter school teachers generally have lower starting salaries than do public school teachers on average. According to the American Federation of Teachers, the average starting salary of charter school teachers in 2006 and 2007 was lower than public school teachers. Starting charter school teachers earned an average of $34,817 for their beginning salaries. In comparison, average starting salaries for public school teachers was $41,106 during this same period.

Census.gov Estimates

According to Census.gov, the US census website, the average pay for classroom teachers in 2009 was $52,900. The PDF for this data was created in 2011.

Teacher pay has increased dramatically over time. Census.gov has evaluated teacher pay and found that it has increased on average from $23,587 in 1985, $37,264 in 1995, $45,884 in 2005 and $52,900 in 2009. So, not accounting for inflation, classroom teacher pay has almost doubled in 25 years. Meanwhile, salaries for principals and administrators have almost tripled in some cases. Superintendents who made on average $56,954 in 1985 now make $155,634 on average as of 2009.

American Federation of Teachers

The American Federation of Teachers, a teachers union that represents many teachers throughout the US, posted its own teacher salary estimates in 2007. The American Federation of Teachers estimates that after “15 years of relative stagnation” in teacher pay, teacher salaries have been on the rise during the first half of the last decade. The mean teacher salary, according to the American Federation of Teachers during 2006 to 2007 was $51,009. Salaries have generally remained frozen during the current financial recession.

High Paying State and Low Paying States

Teacher pay, as mentioned earlier, varies a lot depending on which state you teach in. California ranks number 1 in teacher pay with an average pay of $63,640. South Dakota ranks number 50 in average teacher pay with an abysmal $35,378.

High School vs Middle School vs. Elementary School Pay

The data on average teacher salary comparisons between high school teachers, middle school teachers and elementary school teachers is spotty at best. One website, payscale.com, estimates that high school teachers have the highest salaries of the three on average, followed by middle school teachers and finally elementary school teachers. According to them, high school teachers are paid an average $43,386, middle school teachers $41,762 and elementary school teachers $40,060. These data are significantly lower than those reported by the American Federation of Teachers or the US census, so take the results with a grain of salt. The most important pattern to understand here is that high school teachers have the highest salaries on average, followed by middle school teachers and finally elementary school teachers. However, the pay differences are not terribly significant on the whole.

Another report on teacher salary with recognition of variables around pay by region. here

The profession is notorious for losing thousands of its brightest young teachers within a few years, which many experts attribute to low starting salaries and a traditional step-raise structure that rewards years of service and academic degrees rather than success in the classroom. They don’t talk about the politics of place, the ideational scaffolding within a system, and the fact that teachers who move to another state may find that they are not eligible to teach in another state. So they go.

Another discussion will take you to the point where you are told that anyone can teach and that retirees from other walks of life are better teachers.

Tom Carroll at the Wireless Workshop talked about how there are many artisanal teachers , when what we need is a process to create, support and inform teachers to be the best they can be. Here is some of his groups work.
Who Will Teach? Experience Matters (January 2010): Full Report
Between 2004 and 2008, 300,000 veteran teachers left the workforce for retirement. Baby Boom teachers who made lifelong commitments to education are retiring, and in many cases are taking their hard-earned wisdom with them. Why can’t we just recruit our way out of this challenge? Because the rate at which new teachers leave has been increasing steadily over the last 15 years.
For other “Who Will Teach?” Resources click here.

The Next Generation of Learning Teams (October 2009):
Phi Delta Kappan cover story by Tom Carroll.

Learning Teams: Creating What’s Next (April 2009): Full Report
Snapshot of State-by-State Demographics of the Teaching Workforce: Report Appendix
According to new NCTAF research, and a national survey of teachers and principals, the nation stands to lose half of its teachers to retirement over the next decade. The report finds that over 50 percent of the nation’s principals and teachers are Baby Boomers. To avoid a potential school staffing crisis, NCTAF recommends the concept of Cross-Generational Learning Teams, in which experienced veterans could stay in teaching longer by working with new teachers, providing mentoring, coaching and instructional assistance that will help to improve student performance and reduce attrition rates for new teachers.

Interesting Infographic on what the public thinks.

And what do you think?