Momentum grows for open educational resources
After first-ever conference, leaders can tap additional workshops on using OER to support students
SREB continues to build momentum from the first conference of its kind — the Open Educational Resources and Dual Enrollment Conference: Making a Case for Student Success, held in Atlanta in late February — by embarking on more ways to bring education leaders together around this topic.
As we approach two full years of pandemic-related school closures and disruptions, more schools are reporting crisis-level threats to students’ mental health and social and emotional well-being.
Emotions are running high as students are thrown back into social situations after a year or more of isolation. Anxiety and depression are on the rise. More students are dying by suicide, and waitlists of those seeking school-based therapy are long.
Meeting Workforce Demand Won’t Happen With Teacher and Faculty Shortages
States aren’t connecting all the dots between education and workforce development, and it's hurting our economy.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know we’re experiencing record worker shortages in certain careers.
SREB has analyzed data on the economy, labor markets and education, and asked: In what ways is our economy tied to the success of our schools and colleges? How can we improve our economic future through education?
By Stephen Pruitt, SREB President
Across the SREB states, many leaders are realizing the need for action on one of the biggest challenges in education: ensuring every student has a well-prepared teacher in every class, every year, no matter where they live.
I know personally how teachers can impact students’ lives. I started my career as a science teacher in Fayette County, Georgia, and I’m still humbled when former students tell me how I helped them become who they are as adults and find satisfying careers to pursue.
To See Teacher Compensation, Look at More Than Salaries
Teacher Pay Is Increasing. So Is the Cost of Benefits
This spring, the National Education Association released its annual teacher pay analysis a bit earlier than usual. This data is widely used across the nation as the main source for average teacher salaries by state. The headline for 2021: Teacher salaries are going up by an average of 1.5% across the nation, and average spending per pupil is up 5%.
This is fantastic news ─ no bones about it.
It’s also not the whole story.
What do we know about teacher shortages in each state and across the country? How severe are they? What has caused the shortages — and how can leaders help solve them?
SREB joined leaders from EducationCounsel, FutureEd at Georgetown University, and state and local school systems for an online event Nov. 8 to answer these important questions. (See the video of the event at the end of this story.)
Expensive textbooks and other classroom materials can keep students from taking dual enrollment courses if those costs aren’t covered.
The result: A lack of opportunity for many students to get a head start on college.
States, colleges and universities are making headway on this challenge. Some of the pacesetters shared their insights in a webinar led by SREB and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact in October 2021.
Charlotte Dailey joined SREB in 2021 to lead our work on open educational resources. We spoke with Charlotte about why OER matter and why she works in this field.
For those who don’t know, what are open educational resources and why do they matter to the future of education?
Open educational resources are materials that can be accessed freely. They are openly licensed and available to be reused, remixed, revised, retained or redistributed. Materials that are truly OER have few to no restrictions for use in learning.
Good schools depend on excellent teachers, in every classroom. SREB is helping states examine and redesign state policies to elevate the profession and end teacher shortages.
I want my daughter to have the best teachers every school year. What parent doesn’t? Yet in too many schools, the only teachers available are uncertified or brand new, with no experience.
Teacher shortages, therefore, are the type of crisis that “can put an entire society at risk,” said Nicole Smith, the chief economist and research professor at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Governors from three states spoke during a special SREB online event on June 16 of their commitments to improve education and prepare students for a workplace undergoing vast changes from technology and automation.
Governor John Carney of Delaware, Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama, and Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia discussed their priorities for education with SREB President Stephen Pruitt in the final event in SREB’s summer series for policymakers.
As state education budgets suffer during this pandemic, the teaching profession simply cannot absorb the kind of blow it took in the last recession. Teacher salaries dropped substantially then, and today, a decade later, they’re still lower on average than before the Great Recession. Morale has dropped, too, according to surveys, and turnover has risen as budgets and teacher supports decrease. We can’t afford to repeat the same mistakes in this current climate, another recession aggravated by COVID-19.
An occasional series from the Doctoral Scholars Program on postsecondary topics
The multiple pandemics of 2020 have systematically forced us to engage in critical conversations around race, injustice and the pervasive nature of inequalities across all sectors of society. As these dialogues have unfolded, several organizations have stepped forward with statements decrying racism and social injustice on their websites and social media outlets.
It would be wonderful if it were possible to perform a quick, simple screening for every child and identify those who have dyslexia. But screening for characteristics of dyslexia is not the same thing as diagnosing it, and identifying children who may have dyslexia is not as simple as screening them for reading skills.
An occasional series from the Doctoral Scholars Program on postsecondary topics.
As educators continue in the 2020-2021 year during a time of racial unrest, a national presidential election, and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, many are wondering how to adapt their teaching practices in response. The current climate has been traumatic for those who are navigating loss, grief, and profound changes of all sorts. As educators we must respond to this in inclusive ways that support students’ well-being.
An occasional series from the Doctoral Scholars Program on postsecondary topics.
From 2007-2014 I was a full-time doctoral student in social work at the University of Alabama. The program involved writing an annotated bibliography, writing and defending an integrative paper, taking comprehensive exams, and writing and defending a dissertation. My life was consumed with this and travel between my home state of Mississippi and my surrogate city and state, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I made little time for self-care. I would leave Tuscaloosa on a Friday and return either Sunday evening or leave at 5:30 a.m. on Monday morning. I missed my family, friends, and the comforts of my Mississippi Delta home life. My home was my outlet.
In April, my mom called me with the news that my high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Metcalfe, who was rounding out his 42nd year of teaching, had died from COVID-19. I knew him from class, of course, but I also went to school with his son for 13 years and his family attended my grandparent’s church.
He was respected, loved and honored for his excellent teaching. His funeral was an all-day parade of cars through the high school parking lot, where community members waved and shouted condolences to his family. My mom said the cars stretched down the street for miles.
“How can states use education and workforce dollars to turn things around?” SREB President Stephen Pruitt asked during the first of six weekly SREB webinars on how states can help their workforces recover from the impact of COVID-19.
As a former teacher and principal in New Mexico who now works with educators across the country for SREB, I shared many educators’ concerns when the pandemic forced most schools online.
As the new school year starts, however, I’m discovering that some of the digital tools we’ve learned to use while teaching online can provide new ways for teachers to support students’ academic growth.