Today’s education news includes a new report telling us what we already knew (that teacher support programs aren’t generally effective), plus followup on that kid handcuffing story from Alabama and an update on the new, new AP US History standards:

Study: Billions of dollars in annual teacher training is largely a waste Washington Post: A new study of 10,000 teachers found that professional development — the teacher workshops and training that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year — is largely a waste. In the TNTP study, about one-third of teachers — 3 out of 10 — improved over a two-to-three-year period after participating in training while 20 percent got worse, as measured by teacher evaluations. See also WBEZ, Washington Post.

Washington DC swears by teacher coaches – are they the solution to Common Core woes? Hechinger Report: These instructional coaches are tasked with observing teachers’ classes, helping them plan lessons and — particularly for newer teachers — helping them become more comfortable in front of a classroom. In turn, DCPS evaluates coaches, in part, through whether the teachers’ students improve.

Sheriff Defends Officer Shown Handcuffing Child in Video NYT: The county sheriff in Covington on Tuesday defended a school resource officer who was shown on a video restraining an 8-year-old boy with handcuffs last year. See also WashPost.

Obama Admits to Bad Spanish As He Gets Language Learning App Demo NBC News: Von Ahn said there are more people learning a language in the United States through Duolingo than in the whole U.S public school system.

Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders Race Is a Dilemma for Many Democrats Wall Street Journal: 
In July, the American Federation of Teachers became the first union to endorse Mrs. Clinton, with union President Randi Weingarten calling her “a tested leader who shares our values.” But on the union’s Facebook page, several teachers reacted angrily.

New York City Task Force Targets Cheating by Teachers and Principals NYT: This summer, several reports of cheating have come to light. In July, the Education Department announced it was moving to fire the principal of John Dewey High School, a large school in Brooklyn, after a lengthy investigation found that she had allowed students at risk of not graduating to make up credit by simply completing packets of work in classes in which they received no meaningful instruction from teachers. See also ChalkbeatWNYC.

Could one of the nation’s largest school districts go without sports, activities? WashPost: A task force looking to cut as much as $100 million from the budget of one of the nation’s largest school systems has suggested that major savings could come from getting rid of all school sports, limiting extra-curricular activities and increasing class sizes.

The New, New Framework For AP U.S. History NPR: After its 2014 Advanced Placement U.S. history framework became a target of intense criticism, the College Board did something unusual: It agreed to a re-write.

How combat rations got into your kid’s lunchbox PRI: For decades, the research the military has been doing to ensure tasty, affordable, durable and nonperishable meals for its troops has been making its way into the private sector and shaping many of the every day items on our supermarket shelves. Just take the lunch you made for your kid today. The bread, the cheese, the meat, the granola bar, the juice pouch — these are all items engineered in one way or another by the US military.

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at