Class Notes: The Power of Good Teachers and Other Education News

Each week, TIME's Kayla Webley fills you in on the goings on in the education world, everything from pre-K to higher ed.

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The Long-Term Impact of Good Teachers
A new study from economists at Harvard and Columbia found that teacher quality might be even more important than we think. After following 2.5 million students for 20 years, the researchers concluded those students who received help from teachers to raise their scores on standardized tests were not only more academically successful, but also had lower teen pregnancy rates, higher college enrollment and larger adult earnings. Indeed, according to the New York Times, the study estimates replacing a poor teacher with an average one would raise a single classroom’s lifetime earnings by about $266,000. Read more here.

George W. Bush on No Child Left Behind
The man who rarely speaks to the media gave an exclusive interview to TIME’s education columnist, Andrew Rotherham, on his landmark education law, No Child Left Behind. In the interview he discusses the law and its legacy, criticized both parties for trying to walk away from its hard-nosed accountability efforts and called on President Obama to resist “the temptation to take the easy path.” Read the full interview here. And, while you’re at it, read my magazine story on the law, available online to subscribers here, or read other perspectives on the law from various education leaders and insiders here.

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Sesame Street to Teach STEM
Sesame Street has decided to put a cheery and kid-accessible spin on a pretty serious group of subjects collectively known as STEM: science, technology, engineering and math. In an effort to spark interest in these fields early on, Sesame Street has created 26 new shows that incorporate various STEM aspects, particularly science. Episodes labelled “Let’s Find Out!” will introduce preschoolers to key scientific skills such as devising experiments to solve problems and using critical thinking to understand complex topics. Read more on TIME’s Healthland blog here.

Race to the Top, One Year Later
Reports from the Department of Education show that one year after 12 states were awarded a portion of the $4.3 billion Race to the Top prize, only three states are on track to meet their goals and implement their plans. The reports showed while they are not there yet, six states are headed in the right direction, but New York, Florida and Hawaii have “significant issues.” Read more here.

Missouri Introduces Version of Controversial Immigration Bill
Following in the footsteps of those in Alabama and Arizona, a Missouri legislator has introduced a bill that would require schools to check the immigration status of their students. When a similar law took effect in Alabama Hispanics left the state in droves, pulling their students out of schools, until the U.S. Department of Justice stepped in. Read more here.

Colleges’ Slow Push to Open Campuses Overseas
According to a survey released Thursday, colleges are slowing their once booming growth abroad and also shifting planned campuses more from the Middle East to Asia. The study from a private British research group, the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, found that while the United Arab Emirates still had the most branches of U.S.-based colleges and universities, the greatest growth is in China and Singapore. Read more here.

Kayla Webley is a Staff Writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @kaylawebley, on Facebook or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.