Tag: Education

Lawmakers, Advocates Discussing Increases to Teachers’ Retirement Benefits to Battle Teacher Shortage

Education leaders cite changes to teachers’ retirement benefits six years ago as a factor in Alabama’s worsening statewide teacher shortage.

Now, they’re asking lawmakers to make adjustments to what’s known as Tier 2 benefits, including allowing retirement after 30 years of service and slightly increasing the benefit amount. Legislators say they’re listening but aren’t convinced retirement changes alone will fix classroom staffing.

“Do I think modifying Tier 2 is going to solve our teacher shortage issues? No,” Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa said this week. “But we do want to make sure we are competitive on benefits.”

Poole is chairman of the House education budget committee.

Evidence of the teacher shortages around the state is plentiful, but concrete numbers are not. A task force set up to study the shortages, the causes and possible solutions hopes to have some recommendations to lawmakers this spring. Last week, BirminghamWatch reported that there recently were more than 1,700 educators in Alabama classrooms who were not certified in the core subjects they were teaching.

“Our superintendents identify the current Tier 2 retirement plan as a contributing issue in the shortage of teachers we are facing today,” Ryan Hollingsworth, executive director of Alabama School Superintendents, said this week. “It is a fact that we have teachers graduating from colleges of education in Alabama but going to work in other states strictly due to our current Tier 2 retirement plan.” Read more.

Alabama’s Teacher Shortages Reach ‘Crisis’ Level

Alabama’s teacher shortages are reaching crisis level, education leaders say.

In the 2017-2018 school year, there were more than 1,700 teachers in grades seven through 12 who were not certified to teach the English, math, social studies, science or special education classes they were assigned, said Ryan Hollingsworth, executive director of School Superintendents of Alabama. Some of those teachers may have a one-year emergency certificates or are “teaching out of field,” meaning they’re certified in other subjects.

“I would call it a crisis that today we’re sending children to schools where 1,700 teachers aren’t certified in the subject they’re teaching,” Hollingsworth told BirminghamWatch recently.

There aren’t enough new teachers in the pipeline, Hollingsworth said. The state’s education colleges recently graduated just more than 500 new educators to teach the core subjects that are being taught by more than 1,700 uncertified teachers.

“We’re seeing fewer people go into education for various reason,” he said. “It’s a crisis.”

Read more.

Doug Jones Plans Summit to Explore HBCU Challenges

By WBHM, 90.3

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones will host the first annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Summit Friday at Lawson State Community College. There, Jones says, educators, administrators, and students will discuss factors that pose the greatest threat to HBCUs, and opportunities ahead, specifically in terms of funding. Read more.

Court Documents Describe Longstanding Turmoil in Hoover’s Trace Crossings Elementary, at least among Teachers and Staff

Court documents and testimony in a federal sexual discrimination lawsuit are now providing an inside, public look at the dysfunction inside Hoover’s Trace Crossings elementary school during the years parents were leaving in droves for private-and home-school opportunities. Those parents’ decisions changed the school’s demographic mix, emptied out the school, and ultimately led district officials to propose geographically rezoning much of the 13,800-student district.

The Hoover school community is not unlike most in buying the idea that if a school has more poor kids, more kids of color, that school is more likely to have low test scores.

“The notion of blaming the kids is unfortunately very, very common,” Dr. James Spillane, Olin Professor of Learning and Organizational Change at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University in Illinois, said in a recent interview. Read more.

Who’s in Charge of Alabama Education?  Governor, Legislator, Education Leaders Disagree Publicly, Spotlight Fault Lines

There is a battle going on in Montgomery over who controls the education of Alabama’s children. Fault lines are becoming increasingly evident.

Tempers flared at last week’s State Board of Education meetings in a display of direct pushback by state education leaders against the Executive and Legislative branches of Alabama’s government.

Typically, education leaders are called to appear before legislators. On last Thursday, the tables were turned. Both the Governor and the chair of the House Education Policy committee were present at Board of Education sessions. The education leaders took full advantage of their home field position, calling both to task over perceived power grabs in recent weeks. Read more.