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Teachers want to partner with policymakers to help students

Ed Source – Ama Nyamekye

“As California lawmakers settle in for a new legislative session, we want to share policy ideas for how they can best support teachers, students and education equity. As a teacher-founded nonprofit, Educators 4 Excellence works to ensure that classroom teachers are included in the policy discussions that affect their students and their profession. Our Los Angeles chapter worked with more than 50 public school teacher-leaders from across the city to identify five ways our teachers want to partner with policymakers to make meaningful changes for students.”(more)

3 Big Problems in How Schools Hire Teachers — and What Research Says About How to Solve Them

The 74 Million – Matt Barnum

“Every year, 15 percent of teachers quit, either switching schools or leaving the profession entirely, often to retire. That, in turn, means that each year, schools get a new slate of teachers to replace those who leave. Often, though, the subsequent hiring process represents a missed opportunity for increasing the quality and diversity of the teaching staff. Several recent studies suggest that many principals, schools and districts have considerable room to improve the outcomes of this annual cycle.”(more)

Early Education is a Disaster in U.S., Study Finds

WTXL – Christine Souders

“Early childhood education in the U.S. is a disaster, and policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia do little to address the low wages and economic insecurity among teachers and the lack of affordable, high-quality services for children. Those are the findings at the heart of a new report released Thursday by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley – the first comprehensive state-by-state analysis of early education employment conditions and policies…“Absent change, our nation will remain unable to deliver on the promise of developmental and learning opportunities for all children,” wrote Marcy Whitebook, director of the Berkley center and one of the study’s authors.”(more)

What If America’s Teachers Made More Money?

The Atlantic – Alia Wong

“As districts in certain parts of the country battle staffing shortages and schools nationwide seek to overcome a general sense of dissatisfaction among faculty, several states are considering proposals to pay their public-school teachers more money. The average public-school teacher salary in the United States in the 2012-13 academic year was $56,000, versus roughly $69,000 for nurses and $83,000 for programmers. Experts say raising that threshold could help improve the profession’s lackluster reputation and encourage more high-achieving college students to pursue the career—especially in less-than-desirable schools and districts. The ultimate goal, of course, is to improve the quality of kids’ education: A recent report from the OECD found that students are more likely to be low-performers if they attend schools that struggle with shortages and low teacher morale.”(more)

Detroit teachers sue district over shoddy school conditions

CBS News – AP

“The Detroit teachers’ union has filed a lawsuit against the district calling for it to repair “deplorable” conditions and remove the state-appointed emergency manager…Teachers claim the health of Detroit’s 46,000 students is in danger…At Spain Elementary School, some kindergartners wore their coats in class when CBS News visited at the beginning of January. In several rooms, it was just too cold for 5-year-olds. School counselor Lekia Wilson led CBS News on a tour, when we noticed a smell. “You can smell the mold through the hallway,” Wilson said. An entire section of the school is closed off, including the gym. It’s been ripped up for a year. “You’re seeing the result of rain coming right into the school,” Wilson explained. Water leaking from the roof warped the wood floor, and now the smell of mildew fills the air…The state took over financial management of Detroit Public Schools in 2009. The district is still $515 million in debt.”(more)

Making Teaching Cool Again: How Schools Must Adapt To Recruit Millennial Talent

Forbes – Jonathan Cetel

“As an executive director of a non-profit focused on education policy, I often reflect on my teaching experience, and I am convinced that a major overhaul is needed to recruit and retain great teachers. Fundamentally, the profession is not geared toward meeting the needs of millennial talent…In a landmark 2010 McKinsey & Co study, we learned that nearly half of all new teachers come from the bottom third of high school graduates (based on SAT scores) and we are losing teachers quickly. Annually, 13% of teachers leave the classroom and nearly 50% leave after five years. I believe there are three major problems that need to be addressed…The good news is that policymakers are finally catching up to the research and recognizing that teachers are the most important asset in any school. We are starting to see some innovative practices being implemented in districts and states across the country.”(more)