#ThankATeacher … and a State Policymaker?

K-12

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    This spring, teacher walkouts in states across the country have dominated our news feeds. A Google search for “RedForEd” pulls nearly a quarter of a million hits. In less than three months, thousands of teachers have swarmed state capitol buildings, calling for higher pay and more funding for their schools and students. Other issues facing teachers — such as large class sizes, potentially burdensome testing requirements and limited time for instructional planning and peer-to-peer mentoring — have also been elevated at marches and protests.

    Research is clear that dissatisfaction in the teaching profession contributes to turnover and attrition, and exacerbates already present teacher shortages. But this research is nothing new to state policymakers. And the good news is leaders across the country — even in states experiencing strikes and walkouts — are working hard to elevate the teaching profession and improve the teaching experience. State leaders are rethinking everything from teacher preparation to development and advancement, and are improving their systems in the hopes of recruiting, supporting, recognizing and retaining excellent teachers. For example, within the past year:

    Despite headlines to the contrary, policymakers have not given up on teachers or their students. This week, #ThankATeacher who is working tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of students, and maybe even #ThankAPolicymaker who is working tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of teachers.

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    Policy Analyst at Education Commission of the States | saragon@ecs.org

    As a policy analyst, Stephanie focuses most of her efforts on state policies that impact teachers. Prior to joining Education Commission of the States, Stephanie was a student at the University of Denver’s Institute for Public Policy Studies and worked at the university’s law school in a project manager and faculty support role. Stephanie earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a master’s degree in public policy/education policy from the University of Denver.

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