Last year, hundreds of teachers in the Tar Heel state of North Carolina marched their way towards the state capital in Raleigh to protest against poor teaching conditions, low wages, and a plethora of issues constantly faced by the state's public school educators each year. The turnout was so great that majority of local education agencies were forced to shut down schools due to the amount of teachers "taking off" for that day. It is a very well known fact that teachers, not only in NC but throughout the nation, are not very well compensated for their duties, which in many cases extend beyond the call of duty. Making your voice heard throughout the state and, perhaps the nation, is one way of getting the attention of the state legislator. Coincidentally, a bill have been in the works before the rally of 2018 to raise teacher pay, and lo and behold, just about every educator received a pay raise starting August 2018. But is it really the end of it? Teachers have been among the lowest paid group of licensed professionals for decades. The compensation recently received doesn't really match the cost of living needed to live in costly areas such as The Triangle, The Triad and the Queen City metro areas. The State Superintendent is urging educators to postpone the rally possibly due to the stresses of the "testing month" of May. Hit 'em where it hurts. If you want to be heard, rally at a time that is critical. Parents that are not employed as educators are against the rally as well and are faced with a financial burden of providing child care for their young school-aged children. This is definitely not the end. School class sizes must be reduced, and standardized testing should not be the main factor that determines student achievement.
You send your child to a public school expecting a positive and nurturing environment as well as to receive a quality education by quality teachers. You, as a parent do not know everything that transpires in the classroom but are confident that your child is safe and secure. Some districts are aiming to improve the quality of its school by attempting to lower the suspensions of its students.
Below is an excerpt from a news paper article regarding the local education agency that is striving to reduce suspensions, but in turn, has since increase them districtwide.
The following is written by Greg Childress of The Herald Sun
DURHAM, NC - Principals at Durham Public Schools handed down 42 percent more short-term suspensions during the 2016-17 school year than they did the previous year. At some schools suspensions more than doubled.
The number of short-term suspensions, those lasting fewer than 10 days, increased for all but six of the school district’s 23 middle and high schools. Meanwhile 17 of 30 elementary schools saw increases. In all, 34 of 53 schools saw more suspensions.
But it was in the high schools where the increases were most dramatic.
If you are reading this, chances are, you have already graduated from high school or on your way to that milestone in your life. For those of us who have already completed that portion of our life, you have experienced the traditional type of learning environment that most people have experience throughout the the 20th century. For the better part of the 1900s, education has not evolved much until the latter part of the century. Textbooks have been the main resource of information for students and a source of reference for most educators for decades. Even chalk boards are still being used in many 21st century classrooms; but the only replacement for such antique items are whiteboards. Standardized testing for all students has been the only way students were tested for competency and schools were tested for accountability. It wasn't until recently, around the 1990's or so, that computers have been placed in the schools, via computer labs. A very small percentage of schools nationwide have computers available to students on a 1:1 ratio. Many schools today only have access to computer labs where the ratio is approximately 25:1. All-in-all, public education today has not evolved by a long shot. Many parents are not familiar with the high-tech educational software available for their children to utilized and many are still stuck in the traditional type of learning that they are very much used to.
Adaptation is key in this ever-evolving society we live in. Large businesses are becoming more hi-tech. The need for a blue collar workforce is rapidly diminishing due to the automation. A highly technologically skilled workforce is needed to operate high tech equipment used in many industries. The jobs that are available today require a different set of skills that were unheard of as little as twenty years ago. Students of today need to tap into these skills, and it is primarily up to the school systems to help them reach their potential. Every student is different, therefore, schools should not be a one-size-fits-all type of environment.
About a week ago, North Carolina Governor McCrory signed the $22.3 billion state budget which involves a pay increase for teachers across the state. This means that the average teacher salary will be approximately $50,186 and around $55,000 within the next three years. This seems like an attempt to attract and retain teachers across NC in order to keep them from leaving for other state agencies. Many teachers in NC are resigning and seeking teaching job in other states, such as South Carolina, Texas, and especially Virginia Although this is a major step to compensate great professionals in a noble profession, the State of NC has a long ways to go to play catch up with the other states across the union.
You may already know that the placement of a multitude of school age students in a classroom, of which each student may vary by race, ethnicity, gender, mental level, physical attributes, socio-economic status, etc. But did you know that each student's style of learning also vary in many ways? Have you yet identified how your student learns his or her lesson in the classroom? It is extremely viable that you identify this attribute as early as elementary so that you can make adaptations each time your student progresses to the next grade. Listed below are four types of learning.
From the moment we opened our eyes we saw the world as a venturous place. Since we began to crawl discovered new things, learned new ideas, learned about people, found new places. Some of our parents even taught us to be creative with simple things like drawing, painting, etc. Once we all became of age and attended grade school, many of us blossomed in the realm of creativity. Outside of the four walls of our homes, we ventured into unfamiliar territory we call schools. During the earlier years of grade school, some of us were fortunate enough to hone in on our artistic skills and develop our niche in the world of business at a very young age. As for the rest of the us, we can still zero in on our goal as being creative and self sufficient entrepreneurs. Various courses in statewide curriculums enable students to discover their true talent and develop their expertise. Some students find creativity in course such as life skills, band, orchestra, art, chorus, physical education and even core courses such as language arts, science, social studies and mathematics. So if you haven't found your niche during the earlier stages of childhood, there is still time for the latter part of your life.
A measure to reduce the emphasis Virginia high schools put on standardized testing is advancing through the General Assembly.
State Sen. John Miller's bill aimed at requiring the state Board of Education to stress critical thinking over standardized testing was approved Wednesday by a House committee, The Virginian-Pilot reports.
The legislation sailed through the Senate on unanimous vote. On Wednesday a House committee approved it 19 to 3.
The bill also directs education officials to emphasize internships and technical training, something for which Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has been a vocal advocate.
Published at 5:47 AM EST on Feb 18, 2016
Copyright Associated Press