Take a big room in Manhattan with more than 100 people, all of them fired up about education. Add some dramatic lighting and booming PA announcements, and you've got last week's New York Times Schools for Tomorrow conference. And everybody there, from university presidents to ed tech startups, was talking about how higher education is changing.

Here are some of the themes and ideas that stole the show.


With classes starting at Murray State University and in schools across the region, it's an exciting time but can also be a time for worry. Test anxiety is relatively common, says Dr. Michael Bordieri of the MSU Department of Psychology, affecting about 20% of students from elementary age to medical students. On Sounds Good, Kate Lochte speaks with Dr. Bordieri on strategies for dealing with test anxiety.

Part of our ongoing series of conversations with thinkers and activists on education issues

In a year in which we're exploring great teaching, it's a good time to talk with Ken Bain. He's a longtime historian, scholar and academic who has studied and explored teaching for decades, most notably in his 2004 book, What the Best College Teachers Do.

When we began our 50 Great Teachers series, we set out to find great teachers and tell their stories. But we'll also be exploring over the coming year questions about what it means for a teacher to be great, and how he or she gets that way.

To get us started, we gathered an expert round table of educators who've also done a lot of thinking about teaching. Combined, these teachers are drawing on over 150 years of classroom experience:


A group of Louisville teachers are planning to file a class-action lawsuit against the governor and leaders in the Kentucky General Assembly, claiming they violated the state's contract with teachers by deliberately underfunding teachers' retirement fund by billions of dollars.

The President of Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education says the state needs to do a better job recruiting and training good teachers.

Bob King says students majoring in elementary school education at Kentucky colleges often have the lowest ACT scores and highest need for remedial courses.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has pledged to improve teacher salaries over the next several years. Haslam said at a news conference yesterday that by the time he leaves office he wants teacher salaries to have grown more than in any other state.

The Republican governor is up for re-election for a second four-year term next year. Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman joined Haslam and said the administration will review national state-by-state salary data to see that Tennessee's are just as competitive.

Wikimedia Commons

The Tennessee Board of Education’s decision last month to change how teachers are paid has led to a social media push to remove Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman.  The Tennessean reports two Facebook pages and a Change dot org petition with hundreds of signatures are calling for Huffman's ouster.  He does have support from Governor Bill Haslam, the state education board chairman and outside education advocates. At issue is a change to the minimum teacher salary schedule, a reduction in salary increase steps and an elimination of incentives for post-baccalaureate training.  Lydia Logan is the managing director of the national education advocacy

Kentucky's primary and secondary educators can voice their opinions about their working conditions until March 29 in the state’s second Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning survey. The TELL survey gathers information from teachers, counselors, principals and administrators about school leadership, community support, professional development and other issues. The online survey is voluntary and confidential, but schools that have a response rate of 50 percent of higher will be entered into a drawing for $1,000.

The largest teachers union in the state is quietly on board with allowing educators to carry a weapon to class, at least as a last resort. The Tennessee Education Association is supporting a bill under consideration by the state legislature.