Happy Teacher Appreciation Day

We all have them — those special teachers from school that we’ll always remember. It might be the teacher that taught you how to read, or the one that mentored you in choosing which college to attend. Whoever it may be -– teachers affect the lives of our students every day. We know, and research even shows, that teachers have the biggest impact on student learning.

Over the next eight years, the United States will need to recruit nearly 3 million new teachers due to teacher turnover, retirement, and increased student enrollment. However, this task will be nearly impossible if we don’t start to treat teachers like the professionals they are. As we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation day today, there are three major approaches we need to take to successfully recruit and retain our teachers:

  • We need to give teachers the same opportunities for advancement and better pay that other professionals enjoy.
  • We need to offer higher salaries to compete with other professions for adults who have strong math and science backgrounds.
  • We need to pay teachers more when we ask them to take on harder jobs.

It’s imperative that we have an effective teacher in every classroom and to do this we need to start appreciating our teachers more than one day a year. Take some time today to use the comments section of the blog to tell me about your favorite teacher.

We’re Still at Risk

This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark education report A Nation at Risk and education analysts are offering their own perspective on where America is in regards to education. I wrote about the Secretary of Education yesterday and wanted to mention one other issue from her remarks today.

She said:

Many of the actions that A Nation at Risk recommended in 1983 continue to be largely ignored: raising standards, making coursework more rigorous, and using classroom time more effectively. These proposals were not unreasonable then, and they’re not unreasonable now.

Our campaign has put together our own analysis of the last 25 years and we’ve concluded similar results with respect to common, rigorous standards, expanding time for learning, and teacher compensation.

The Christian Science Monitor and Seattle Times also agree.

Waiting another 25 years before we act to solve this crisis is unacceptable:

  • We cannot afford to fail in our mission to provide students with a world-class education.
  • We cannot afford to graduate millions of high school seniors who lack skills in reading and math that they should have learned in middle school.
  • We especially cannot afford to continue slipping farther and farther behind the other nations of the world.

Our students deserve better, and our nation’s economic security is at greater risk now than ever before.

May 2008 by Roy Romer