by Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
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It’s probably no surprise to CTA members that stress levels of teachers are up these days. Half of all teachers say they’re under greater stress several days per week, compared with a third of teachers in 1985, according to a new MetLife survey. The news is disappointing but not surprising, says NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, who links higher teacher stress with lower school funding occurring during the same time period.
Informal style and sloppiness from texting and social media is having a not so gr8 influence on teen writing assignments, say teachers in a recent study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. Sixty-eight percent of 2,500 middle and high school teachers surveyed say students are taking “shortcuts” in writing due to texting and the Internet. However, 78 percent of teachers credit the Net and social media for bringing out “personal expression” among students.
Isaac Newton pondered an apple falling and discovered gravity. Today, curiosity is still the most valuable trait for success in a science classroom, says a survey of scientists, students and their parents in the Philadelphia School District. While student curiosity is stimulated from a hands-on approach to learning, notes the study, this presents a challenge for educators lacking microscopes, beakers and other science supplies in financially strapped districts.
There’s little to justify the rapidly expanding growth of virtual schools. In the 2010-11 school year, only 23.6 percent of virtual schools made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), compared with 52 percent for traditional schools, report the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) and the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. Profits, rather than student outcomes, are the main driver behind the rapid growth of virtual schools, notes the study.
The economy may be improving, but families are making college choices driven by “fears” of tuition hikes and job losses, says loan giant Sallie Mae. Maybe that’s because tuition at public four-year colleges is up 27 percent beyond overall inflation over the past five years. (Yikes!) The good news? Eighty-five percent of parents view college as an investment in their child’s future. NOTE: Need help with tuition? CTA offers numerous scholarships for members and their families. Check out cta.org/scholarships!
A new national survey shows once again that the public has a deep trust in our public schools, and that a majority of people feel unreliable standardized test scores should not be used to evaluate teachers, according to the annual Phi Delta Kappa Gallup Poll of 1,001 Americans about attitudes about public schools. The survey found that parents feel public schools are safe, support increasing mental health services in schools instead of hiring more security guards, and reject arming teachers and administrators.
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