Weekly NewsBriefs 2/28/22 - 3/6/22

News Clip

 

Bill would allow for-profit training for Alabama teachers, cut certificate time – By Tricia Powell Crain, AL.com

Alabama lawmakers are considering new ways to make it easier to become a teacher with hopes of easing teacher shortages in some areas of the state.

Companion bills in the House and Senate would reduce the amount of time it takes to earn a teaching certificate. They also aim to allow for-profit providers to operate teacher preparation programs. The bills have been approved by House and Senate education committees.

For-profit teacher preparation programs operate in nine states and enroll larger and larger portions of the non-college-based teacher prep programs where they operate. And for-profit teacher prep programs typically cost less than traditional college-based programs.

“There are many of them that have come out in the last couple of years,” Alabama State Superintendent Eric Mackey told AL.com, “and they want to prepare teachers, but some of them don’t meet our minimum requirements. And the law doesn’t really address them right now.”

 

Vermont schools see high turnover of superintendents this year – By Melissa Cooney, WCAX

School administrators have been on the front lines the past two years helping to guide pandemic decision-making for their districts and communities on top of their traditional responsibilities.

Many superintendents and principals are moving on for many different reasons, causing an acute shortage around the region.

The Vermont Superintendents Association says there were 14 superintendent positions open recently, the highest the state has seen since the beginning of the Act 46 era.

“I’ve been a superintendent for 17 years in Vermont and it seemed like it was time to choose my personal life,” said Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union Superintendent Jeanne Collins. The longtime Vermont educator says it’s time to retire, a decision made partly because of evolving retirement legislation and her search for a better work-life balance. “While we’ve always had a 24/7 job, during COVID it really meant 24/7.”

On the other side of the state, North Country Supervisory Union Superintendent John Castle is leaving his district for another opportunity. “After eight years, I think it’s reasonable to have a fresh set of eyes come in and look at things a little differently. I think this is actually healthy for the institutions,” Castle said.

And in the Orange East Supervisory Union, Superintendent Emilie Knisley is stepping down and Oxbow High School will be looking to fill two co-principal positions.

 

Biden urges Americans to consider tutoring, mentoring in schools – By Matt Barnum, Chalkbeat

President Joe Biden has a message to Americans: Consider becoming a tutor or serving as a mentor at your local school.

“The American Rescue Plan gave schools money to hire teachers and help students make up for lost learning,” Biden said during the State of the Union address Tuesday. “I urge every parent to make sure your school does just that. They have the money. We can all play a part: sign up to be a tutor or a mentor.”

The President beseeching citizens to pitch in at schools is an unusual move, but reflects the tumult of the last few years, as the pandemic drove school staffing shortages and students fell behind academically. Children’s “lives and education have been turned upside down,” Biden said.

A number of states and school districts have been working to staff big new tutoring programs meant to help students catch up, paid for with federal COVID relief. At the start of this school year, Oklahoma was searching for 500 math tutors; Chicago was recruiting 850 math and reading tutors; and Dallas was looking for 1,800 tutors. Many planned to have recruits go through significant training, and a national labor shortage has contributed to hiring difficulties, making it unclear if many Americans will respond to Biden’s call or if schools will be equipped to take advantage of them.