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October 2015 AASA News

Posted on September 30, 2015

 

More than 1 in 5 U.S. children are (still) living in poverty

September 24
The proportion of American children who live in poverty began rising during the recession, and it continued rising after the recession officially ended. In 2013, the child poverty rate finally fell for the first time since 2006 — a dip that advocates hoped was the beginning of an enduring trend.But the child poverty rate did not fall again. Twenty-two percent of U.S. children — or more than one in five — were still living in poverty in 2014, unchanged from 2013, according to new data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.That’s 15.7 million children living under the poverty line, which in 2014 was $24,008 for a family of four.

Child poverty rate over time

New census data show that the nation’s child poverty rate flat didn’t change between 2013 and 2014, and is still far higher than before the recession. In 2014, the federal poverty line was $24,008 for a family of four.

Minority children were even more likely to be living in poverty, the Annie E. Casey Foundation pointed out. Nearly four in 10 black children and nearly one-third of Latino children live in poverty, compared with 13 percent of white and Asian children.

Emma Brown writes about national education and about people with a stake in schools, including teachers, parents and kids.

How can we stem the tide of teacher shortages?

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Archita Datta MajumdarFriday, September 11, 2015

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How can we stem the tide of teacher shortages?

Just a few years ago, teachers across the country faced a stark future, with many suddenly receiving pink slips in their hands. With the economy looking more dire by the minute, people turned away from the teaching profession to train in other vocations training that would get them better jobs and fast.

My, how the tides have turned. Districts are now reporting a serious dearth of teachers and therefore scrambling to hire more. Schools are hurting most in areas like math, science, foreign language and special education. The growing number of English-language learners has also necessitated the demand for bilingual teachers to bridge the gap in their learning.

Enrollment in teacher preparation programs and the number of credentials issued have been steadily declining since 2008. In California alone, the number of applicants for teaching positions has dropped by 55 percent from 2008 to 2012, while the national drop was around 30 percent from 2010 to 2014.

A bad economy and job uncertainty has led to fewer people viewing teacher education as a good prospect. In the scramble to fill empty slots, school districts have resorted to hiring novices who are still studying for their teaching credentials. They are asking prospective teachers with little classroom experience to join right away, then train on the job. Many are worried this could seriously undermine the quality of the teaching force.

Clearly, qualified candidates are high in demand but few in number. In their struggle to find teachers, schools are increasingly relying on emergency hires — when they fail to find a certified teacher, they hire an unlicensed educator. Many are hired under alternative certification rules, some still training while others hail from the private sector.

These unlicensed teachers are not completely pushed into the deep end for they do receive help from a mentor teacher. They also have to outline a plan for their certification process. Over time, some have become quite successful as teachers. But whether qualified or unlicensed, none will apply if the job security is still in question and low pay is still an issue.

To counter this scenario, the deep cuts in education must be reversed. But then no amount of fund infusion can compete with high-paying jobs in the tech sector. Tech startups have seen a veritable boom in recent times and have absorbed many qualified candidates across disciplines.

Low pay combined with the public perception of the teaching profession has even led to teachers not recommending the profession to their juniors.

In her letter to the editor in Las Vegas Sun, Wendy Gelbart opined that frozen pay and improperly funded health insurance are major deterrents. There is a distinct lack of teaching aids and resources, even basic school supplies in some cases.

When combined with increasingly unrealistic standards of student performance and their relation to teacher performance, these issues are enough to scare away even the bravest. It’s no wonder the nation is going through a teacher shortage. What is needed is a new professional development program that will help teachers upgrade themselves without incurring additional expense or debts as well as ensuring reasonable benefits along with better pay.

Teachers deserve this and more from us. Most of all, teachers deserve more respect, and it’s high time they got it.

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About the Author

Archita Datta MajumdarArchita Datta Majumdar has been writing for various industries for more than 14 years. She has contributed articles to The Economic Times, the leading financial daily of India, and she loves research, business analysis and knowledge management, which paves the way for a steep learning curve.
SCHOOL SAFETY SOLUTIONS ADVANCE—http://www.districtadministration.com/article/school-safety-solutions-advance
Six Must-Haves for a Teacher Effectiveness Technology Platform

Cameron Pipkin Cameron Pipkin
Oct 2, 2015


To achieve real, lasting success in your schools, you need a way to support the development of your staff with anytime, anywhere access to resources. You also need a way to track and analyze your progress. Technology can help with both of these requirements.

We recently described the four keys to successful school improvement, validated by decades of research. The first step in realizing dramatic gains in student achievement is to have a strategic plan, which we wrote about in more detail here. The second step is establishing an educator effectiveness process to carry out your plan, which we explained in our article discussing five proven ways to promote great teaching.

 

The third key to success is having a technology platform that aligns with, scales, and supports your strategic plan and process.

An online platform can deliver lesson plans, instructional videos, and other resources to support teacher growth and development on demand. It can also provide analytics to help you measure progress, assess what is working and what is not, uncover key trends, and make better decisions.

In the past, tracking the progress of school improvement goals has been a difficult, time-consuming task. But advances in technology have made collecting, analyzing, and sharing data automated and instantaneous. District leaders can gather performance data and analyze it across a variety of factors in seconds rather than hours, giving them more time to work on their objectives.

When choosing a technology platform to support your efforts, here are six critical points to consider.

1. The platform must deliver high-quality professional development resources.

To help your teachers become more effective educators, the platform you choose should include a rich variety of high-quality resources, such as professional learning videos, downloadable lesson plans, and study guides.

 

Make sure you evaluate the kinds of supporting materials that accompany these resources as well. For example, does each video segment come with a full transcript, as well as an outline of the concepts being presented, so it is accessible to teachers with different learning styles? Does it include actionable information so that teachers can come to class fully prepared to implement what they’ve learned?

2. It must provide on-demand, 24/7 access.

The platform you choose should be mobile-ready, so teachers can access its resources from nearly any mobile device. That way, they can fulfill their learning goals in the moments between classes, during lunch, after school, or anywhere they find the time to refine their instructional practice.

3. It must provide highly targeted and personalized PD.

Teachers are no different from students: They want lessons personalized to meet their own unique learning needs.

The teacher effectiveness platform you choose should deliver highly personalized content to educators based on their professional interests and learning goals. Teachers also should be able to customize their homepages to display the tools and resources that they find most relevant.

What’s more, the platform should include tools for helping teachers create a personalized PD plan that is right for them.

4. It must facilitate teacher collaboration.

Too often, teaching is a solitary practice. Research shows that teachers are more effective when they are given opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in their grade level, department, or field of study.

The platform you choose should facilitate online collaboration between teachers and within teams and groups, letting you track discussions and share content with teachers and colleagues. It also should recommend peer groups based on a user’s interests, geography, and role in education.

5. It must offer robust administrative tools.

A teacher effectiveness platform should enable administrators to track teachers’ progress toward their professional learning goals with a few simple clicks. Administrators should receive automatic updates on teachers’ activities, simplifying follow-up and accountability.

In addition, administrators should be able to create an online catalog of professional learning resources for their entire school or district, and assign credit value to each of those materials. They should be able to recommend tools and information to teachers quickly and easily—anything from individual videos or lesson plans to lists of resources as part of a larger PD plan.

6. It must be easy to use.

If your teacher effectiveness platform is not simple and intuitive, staff won’t use it. Ideally, it should give all stakeholders a single place to access everything they need, so they don’t have to log in and out of multiple systems.

Edivate, School Improvement Network’s professional learning platform, meets all six of these key criteria, serving as a one-stop shop for managing the entire school improvement process.

With Edivate, teachers can access their professional growth plan, view their classroom observation results, and get resources to help them attain their goals–all in one location. And administrators can see each teacher’s history of professional learning and how that ties into achievement.

Visit us for more information about School Improvement Network and Edivate.

This article was written by School Improvement Network and not by the EdSurge editorial staff.