Friday, June 30, 2017

Educational voices discuss classroom challenges in Ohio

By Mary Kuhlman
Ohio News Connection

Teachers, administrators and other voices in education from Ohio and other states are working together this week to confront some of the top issues facing public education.

President of the Ohio Education Association, Becky Higgins, is among the 300-some Ohioans at the National Education Association's Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly in Boston. Thursday's focus will be on the issue of racial and social justice.

Higgins said districts are seeing an increasingly diverse student body, which can pose a challenge to teachers.

"They address subjects like poverty, kids coming from homes where they don't get the support they need and opportunities that are being denied students because of their race," Higgins explained.

Educators are debating factors that limit educational opportunities for communities of color, LGBTQ individuals and females. Then they plan to develop solutions.

Other matters that will be discussed during the annual meeting include how districts can best implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, and policy on charter schools.

Higgins said another important matter is the inability to retain new teachers. She explained that educators at the conference are looking at ways to offer support through mentors.

"By having friends who can come and help them in the classroom as they're developing their lessons," she said. "And we know we need to engage with those new educators and build relationships so that they can be successful - and, in turn, that will make their students successful."

According to the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, nationally teacher turnover costs districts more than $7 billion a year.

Nearly 8,000 educators from every state are on hand at the conference, which runs through July 5.


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