Teachers | St. Louis Public Radio

Teachers

Iris Jackson became a teacher in St. Louis Public Schools through the St. Louis Teacher Residency Program. She was a long-time substitute and reading tutor before getting certified through the residency program.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The teaching corps of St. Louis Public Schools is becoming older and whiter. And that concerns Superintendent Kelvin Adams.

Adams has asked the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for more flexibility and pathways to getting quality educators into classrooms. It’s something state education officials said is worth serious consideration.

Brionna Taylor high-fives one of her second-graders at Bryan Hill Elementary School in St. Louis' College Hill neighborhood.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Low pay is the top reason teachers leave the classroom, a new survey of Missouri public school educators found.

The state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education asked 6,000 teachers, principals and administrators what makes them keep teaching and what makes them quit. The results were shared at Tuesday’s State Board of Education meeting.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

The union representing St. Louis Public Schools educators says half its members are being underpaid in violation of its contract.

American Federation of Teachers Local 420 will take their grievance against the district to an arbitrator beginning Tuesday. It’s seeking more than $10 million worth of salary increases and back pay for nearly 1,000 teachers and support staff.

Iris Jackson works with first-graders at Patrick Henry Downtown Academy in St. Louis on a reading comprehension assignment in November. Jackson is a member of a new teacher residency program that's trying to reduce teacher turnover.
File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s education oversight board wants to better understand why one in seven public-school teachers in the state quit every school year.

The State Board of Education discussed teacher pay and retention at its January meeting Tuesday. It was the first gathering for education commissioner Margie Vandeven since being removed from the post by then-Gov. Eric Greitens in December 2017 and then hired back last year.

LA Johnson | NPR

Like many states, Illinois is facing a teacher shortage.

The Illinois State Board of Education estimates more than 2,000 positions remained vacant during the 2016-17 school year, including teaching, administrative and support staff.

Earlier this month, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a slew of legislation intended to alleviate the state’s teacher shortage. But some teachers and union leaders doubt the measures are enough.

SLPS science teachers Ninfa Matiase, LaJuana Stidmon and Jeremy Resmann practice an experiment Aug. 3, 2016 during training provided by the National Math and Science Initiative.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Within five years of being in a St. Louis Public Schools classroom, nearly half of teachers leave the district.

Now SLPS is considering adopting the St. Louis Teacher Residency Program in an effort to retain new teachers. Recruits would spend a full school year embedded in a classroom shadowing an experienced teacher while also earning their teaching certificate.

Maplewood Richmond Heights teacher Otto Schultejans received a painting from a challenging student with the Beatles' lyric "nothing's going to change my world." It became "her way of saying ‘yeah, you actually did change my world.’”
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

It can be a parade of baked goods into classrooms the week before winter break. Gift cards tend to stack up on teachers’ desks. But sometimes, a gift overwhelms a teacher — and it’s kept for decades.

In the final days before winter break, teachers and students will wrap up the fall semester and dash home to celebrate the holidays. Before that, many students will present to their favorite teachers gifts, large and small; hand-made and store-bought; expensive and not-so-much.

Special education teacher Tiffany Andrews teaches a fourth grader about possessive nouns on Oct. 17, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s a limited pool of people certified to teach special education in the St. Louis metro area, putting districts from St. Charles County to the Metro East in intense competition for qualified candidates.

Even more well-off schools feel the impact of the shortage, but schools with higher needs and less money often have the most trouble filling positions.

Ashley Lock peers out of the window during a district bus tour for new teachers at Ladue Horton Watkins High School, where she'll teach history.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

As children and teens across the St. Louis area enjoy their last few days of freedom before school resumes, districts are putting teachers — old and new — to work.

It’s an especially busy time for new hires, who have to deal with several days of paperwork, learn technology and navigate unfamiliar schools.

School Illustration
File | Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Officials in Metro East K-12 school districts say they have teacher shortages in some subject areas. But new teacher licensing rules that went into effect July 1 may help.

File photo | U.S. Department of Education

A report released Wednesday singles out Missouri for being the only state in the nation that requires science and social studies teachers to pass tests in all of the subject matters in which they are certified.

Karen Apricot | Flickr

Retired teachers in Missouri are learning a hard but simple math lesson: Longer life spans plus smaller investment returns equal no cost-of-living raise in their pensions for next year.

In dollars-and-cents terms, that means that the board of the state’s Public School Retirement System has voted that if inflation falls below 2 percent for 2016, which appears all but certain, school retirees will get no raise in their pensions.

Professors Stefan Bradley (L) and Kimberly Norwood (M) joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh in studio today. Marcia Chatelain (R), is pictured here in a file photo from 2015, and joined the show by phone.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The police shooting death of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, which happened two years ago today, sparked a plethora of conversations about race, policing, protest, and social justice in the United States. One of the places these conversations have taken place is in institutions of higher education.

teacher in classroom
Provided| U.S. Department of Education

St. Louis Public School teachers should be getting a little extra money just in time for the holidays.  But their long-term salary trajectory remains unknown.

American Federation of Teachers Local 420 members voted Thursday night to accept the district’s latest offer: a one-time lump sum in next Friday’s paychecks and an across-the-board two percent raise next school year. Teachers will receive an extra $1,400 next Friday; aides and clerical staff will receive $1,100.

teacher in classroom
Provided| U.S. Department of Education

Missouri needs to strike a balance between making sure that all teachers are prepared to enter the classroom and that minorities and women are treated fairly by tests that certify them to teach.

That balance was a main topic of discussion Tuesday at a joint meeting in Columbia between the state Board of Education, which represents interests of K-12 school districts, and the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, which governs public colleges and universities in the state.

teacher with two young children
U.S. Department of Education

Wednesday on “St. Louis on the Air,” we learned about a St. Louis Science Center program that helps teens learn science, technology, engineering and math skills. Ahead of that segment, we asked listeners about memorable STEM experiments, classes and learning moments. Here’s what they told us. (Responses have been edited for length and clarity.)

Home Visit Program Connects Teachers, Parents

Jan 15, 2015
Teachers Kimberly Merrill, far left, and Catherine Moore, Home Works executive director Karen Kalish, and principal Cameron Coleman discuss the Home Works teacher home visit program with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Jan. 15, 2015.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Positive relationships between teachers, students and parents lead to success. That’s the idea behind Home Works’ teacher home visit program.

Teachers in the Home Works program attend two training session, then work in pairs to go to two home visits each year for each student. Twenty seven St. Louis-area schools are following the program: three early childhood centers, 17 elementary schools, six middle schools and two high schools, program founder Karen Kalish told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday.

Vashon High School freshman Rochelle Mason joined other students in a walk-out over substitute teachers and quality resources.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

About 100 students from St. Louis' Vashon High School walked out of classes Friday morning to demand more full-time teachers and better textbooks.

The students also were upset about certain school policies and the hiring of a new principal.

Vashon has been under scrutiny after it earned only 28 percent of available points on the most recent report card from the state.

Substitute teachers 

Update: Metro East Teachers Union Sets Strike Date

Sep 5, 2014
knittymarie | Flickr

Updated at 1:50 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6.

Highland Education Association (HEA), the teachers union for Highland Community Unit School District # 5 in the Metro East, has set a strike date for Thursday, Sept. 11.

The union set the strike date following Friday's mandatory contract negotiation scheduled by a federal mediator. The mediator has scheduled another negotiation session for Monday.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A joint Missouri House/Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday on whether the state's teacher tenure system is working.

Among those testifying was Mark Van Zandt, General Counsel for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).  He says tenured teachers can be held accountable under the current system.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 14, 2013 - Missouri is moving ahead with developing a system to evaluate how well teachers are doing their jobs, but parents and others interested in public schools shouldn’t count on seeing the results.

Instead, education officials say, the results will be used only by schools and districts to help make their teachers better. And another system being developed by the state is designed to help ensure that would-be teachers have what it takes to succeed before they even get their certification.

via Flickr | frankjuarez

A group of educators is suing the state of Missouri over a proposed constitutional amendment requiring tenure for public school teachers be based on performance, not seniority.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 18, 2013 - A bill that would bring big changes to how Missouri teachers are evaluated – and how those evaluations could affect their jobs – lost big in the Missouri House last week, but those who favored the changes aren’t giving up yet.

The legislation – House bill 631 – had sailed through committee to the House floor, but when it came up for a vote last Wednesday, opposition from teachers unions, some school districts and others resulted in a lopsided defeat, 102-55.

Mo. House Communications

The sponsor of a bill that would allow Missouri teachers to be armed in classrooms says if passed, it won't lead to "people running around with guns drawn, acting like Rambo."

The proposal by State Representative Mike Kelley (R, Lamar) is just one of several aimed at protecting school kids in the wake of last week’s mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  Kelley says there’s a lot of misconception out there about his bill.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 17, 2012 - When Tim Fitch, the chief of the St. Louis County police department, talks about arming teachers and other school personnel, he is concentrating on the critical minutes between the time a determined shooter bursts into a school and the time that trained law enforcement personnel can arrive.

Jane Cunningham official website

A long-time St. Louis County lawmaker is leaving office this year because her Senate district was moved to the Kansas City area.  Republican Jane Cunningham of Chesterfield has spent eight years in the Missouri House and four in the Senate, making a name for herself as an outspoken social conservative. 

During her last visit to the Capitol as an elected official last week, she sat down with St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin to talk about her record in office and where she goes from here.

Education reform & Proposition C

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 18, 2012 - The teachers of Chicago seem to be winding down their strike, and voices on all sides have been using "best interests of the kids" to claim moral high ground. Even though everyone should be going back to school this week, the rest of us should wake up to this refrain for the next time around. Because the minute adults start talking about "the best interests of the kids," I start thinking, "Whose kids are we talking about?"

The intractable issues that led to the teachers' strike in Chicago are being argued about in states and school districts across the country.

The past decade has been a time of enormous ferment in education policy, with numerous new ideas and approaches being promoted by everyone from conservative think tanks to the well-heeled Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Obama administration officials.

(web/Edwardsville School District)

Teachers in the Edwardsville, Ill. School District have voted to reject the district's last contract offer, setting the stage for a possible strike.

The contract rejection allows the EEA to file an official notice of intent to strike with the state's Educational Labor Relations Board.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 9, 2012 - When she was working for the state of Missouri, trying to keep student testing results honest, Sherri Sampson came upon some pretty egregious examples of cheating:

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