Take steps to end teacher shortages
Each May for Teacher Appreciation Week (May 3-7 this year), I say thank you to my fellow educators for their work.
But after the year we’ve had, just saying thanks isn’t enough.
Before the pandemic, New York faced a teacher shortage.
One-third of educators are at or near retirement age, yet enrollment in the college teacher preparation programs is down 50% since 2009.
There’s about a dozen shortage areas New York schools face, ranging from special education to English as a second language to social studies courses.
Now consider the effects of the pandemic on education.
Burnout is a common term among teachers, students and parents alike.
Working doubly hard to triage academic and social-emotional needs of students while trying to maintain the safest possible environment in the classroom is no easy feat for educators.
As a society, we cannot allow the past year of stress and anxiety to wear our educators out any further or color the perceptions of our students about what a career in education is like.
We have to actively recognize the value of public education to our society. Part of doing so is encouraging young people to consider the rewards of a career in education and supporting early-career educators in particular through things like professional development that helps them overcome early challenges and grow into top-flight teachers.
That may sound simplistic, but it requires hard work to accomplish. Showing our appreciation is worth it.
The writer is president of New York State United Teachers.
Open nursing homes without restrictions
It is time for the commissioner of Health and the governor to reopen nursing homes without restrictions.
Staff, residents and their family members have had the opportunity to get vaccinated.
Now people want to get back to living, especially those fragile members of our society who have been separated for so long from their loved ones and disappointed over and over again with sudden closures. Sanitary conditions are in place; masks are worn.
Closing the homes will not bring back the thousands who perished because the governor did not have the courage to act in a bipartisan way and use the hospital ship and Javits Center for sick people.
These still living residents are basically imprisoned ‘for their own sake.’
They’ve gone without haircuts, dental appointments and eye doctor appointments for more than a year. They’ve missed holidays, birthdays and even funerals of dear friends. Enough! Let us in.
Tubbs would serve Shen district well
I am writing to express my support for Kara Tubbs as a candidate for the Shenendehowa School District Board of Education. When considering who to vote for, I reflect on the candidate’s demonstrated values, real-life experience and ability to translate these into forward-thinking policies that will better our community.
I have known Kara for five years and I believe she is a candidate who will bring these attributes to the BOE.
Kara and I first met with our children during organized hikes at town parks. I have come to know her as a passionate environmental advocate, a caring and energetic mother, and an effective communicator with clear priorities and values. Kara is an active community member in many aspects, including volunteering for the Town Open Space Committee’s annual Bump in the Night Hike, teaching Junior Achievement at her children’s school, and working with CAPTAIN Youth & Family services.
Kara has a background in education administration, budget, and finance and is committed to reviewing Shen’s green initiatives to improve environmental health in a fiscally responsible manner.
I strongly believe Kara Tubbs is an excellent candidate for the Shenendehowa BOE. I encourage you to support her on May 18.
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