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Teachers Spending Significant Amounts Out of Pocket to Help Students

This week, the National Center For Education Statistics issued a report on teachers spending their own money to purchase school supplies. The results of the survey were surprising in many ways. The survey found that 94 percent of the teachers in the United States were spending their own money to purchase school supplies and other items for their students.


Of these 94 percent of teachers purchasing items for students, the average expenditure was $479 per year. The study found that 7 percent of teachers spent over $1,000 a year on supplies for students. The average for those teachers who taught in schools where over 75 percent of the students were in poverty was $551 per year.


An interesting fact of the survey was that teachers were paying for more than just traditional school supplies. Some teachers are paying for winter clothing for their students who don’t have coats and boots. Teachers also are often paying for items like cupcakes and treats for the class when a poorer student has a birthday and can’t pay for those items himself or herself.


Back in 2002, the Congress passed legislation allowing teachers to deduct up to $250 off their taxes for out of pocket school supply purchases. When the new tax legislation that was just passed was being considered, some lawmakers tried to remove this exemption. That effort failed. Now, some in Congress want to increase the tax exemption for teachers who purchase their own supplies up to $500 per year. That would be welcome relief for the majority of teachers especially those in high poverty areas.

Bill Gates Donates over $40 Million to Influence State Education

The Associated Press reported that Bill Gates’s charity has donated $44 million to organizations since 2016 in an effort to influence states’ education agendas. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation channeled the funds into research in favor of Gates’s interests, purchased positive media releases and influenced Tennessee’s new education plans. The donations began after the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was enacted in 2015.


ESSA permits states to design the structures for their individual education systems and obtain federal money for adhering to those structures. However, it also called for a convention of standards, which is Common Core for most states. Gates is an outspoken advocate for Common Core and has been pushing for these standards as states formulate their education plans.


The AP story revealed that the head of an advocacy group financed by Gates’s foundation collaborated with a key advisory committee in Tennessee during the development of that state’s new education plan. Further, Gates paid a media outlet to report on ESSA. That media outlet also reported about research that Gates had funded. Common Core opponents argue that Gates’s benevolence is manipulating public education.


Although U.S. school reform is a relatively small part of the Gates Foundation’s philanthropic efforts, the Microsoft co-founder’s organization is the leading financial backer of education reform in America. Since 2001, Gates’s charity has donated over $6 billion toward influencing the American education system. The organization maintains that it is only attempting to help guide states in a transition toward more localized control over education plans.

American Dream Of College Becoming A Nightmare For Many

While graduation day is fast approaching for many students across the nation, instead of excitement at starting a brand new chapter in their lives, many of these students are facing a cruel reality that the years of hard work they paid into school to pave the way for their college future might have been all for naught.


Per information gathered by the Collage Board, the average cost of a year of tuition at a private university has beyond doubled in just the last two decades now running almost $35,000. Public universities are no better, their annual cost has more than tripled to almost $10,000 per year. The reality of these numbers is that the average cost of a year of tuition including fees, room and board at a public university is beyond 80% of the average annual earning wage of a woman in America and just over half of a man’s annual wages in America. This means that the cost of a college education has risen at almost three times as fast as average wages in the nation. What makes this situation all the more difficult is the fact that there is now less and less financial aid available for students. The end result is dashed dreams for many graduates each year who realize there is simply no way for them to attend college.


It seems that there is a disconnect with reality in America. The American dream is to go to school, go to college, secure a career to buy the home with a white picket fence for the family you’ll have. This dream is slowly slipping away from the majority of the youth in this country though, and findings from a study done by Wisconsin Hope Lab show just that. Of all college students they surveyed, over a third of them are insecure and worried about housing and/or food and around 10% of college students experience some sort of homeless state. For students living in poverty, this is their daily reality that is only exacerbated by college and all the debt they must incur in order to attend.


These students, and their education, is an investment in the future of the nation. In order for the country to continue to grow and succeed on a global scale, we have to place education as a priority. For personal stories of students struggling and missing out on college due to financial constraints, check out this Huffington Post article.

Immigrants In Miami Have Trouble Graduating From High School

Immigrants come to Miami to escape violence and have a better life for themselves. However, they often struggle to get their high school diploma. They are told that they are too old to get a high school diploma. They are forced to enroll in an Adult Education Program. Many of these immigrants know very little English, so an adult education program can be challenging for them.


The path to going to college and get a good-paying job can be even more difficult if you are an immigrant. It is estimated that anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 of the teenage immigrants end up in an Adult Education Program. Daisy Gonzolez-Diego stated that the purpose of the program is to help the students earn a high school equivalency.


One lawyer who worked with a teen who had been denied entry into a high school stated that it is unethical to do this to students. Tatyana Kleyn is a professor at the City College of New York. She agrees that this practice is unethical. She stated that the Adult Education Programs are not a substitute for the high school experience. She believes that it is a watered-down version of the high school experience.


Carlos Rios is the principal of Miami Jackson Senior High School. He stated that it can be difficult for immigrants to make up the credits that they need for graduation. Not everyone has a bad experience in the adult education program.


Franscisca and Lucia Rondom came to Jackson High School when they were 16 and 17-years-old. They did not have a good experience there because they were bullied. They decided to attend an adult education program. They also worked at a local grocery store.

Most Teachers Purchase Their Own School Supplies

The average teacher spent nearly $500 on school supplies during the 2014 to 2015 school year. Seven percent of teachers spend more than $1,000 on school supplies. Teachers spend more money when they work in a high-poverty school than in a wealthier school. Fifty percent of public schools are eligible for the free lunch program. This is a sign that the school is in a high-poverty area.


Teachers around the country are going on strike. They are complaining about the low pay. They are also complaining about the condition of the schools. The average teacher in America earns $56,000 per year. This is a 1.3 percent drop from 2010. Teachers are allowed to deduct their expenses from their taxes.


Randi Weingarten is the president of the American Federation of Teachers. She stated that the teacher walkout should not be necessary. The teacher spending issue should have been addressed a long time ago. She also stated that no other job requires that an employee buy their own supplies for their job.


The teacher’s strike in Arizona was a success. The governor signed a bill that would increase teacher pay by 20 percent. This was one of the biggest teacher strikes in history. In North Carolina, thousands of teachers in Raleigh will rally. They are trying to get more funding from the government. They are also rallying to get a pay increase.


The Education Department took samples from all 50 states including Washington D.C. They surveyed principals, teachers and other people who work in the educational field.

States Uses Initiatives To Get More Of Their Residents Back To College

Policymakers determined to reach older students in the bid to lure them to attain their degrees.

When Laren Blount a 32-year-old, from Southern, Mississippi and a mother of two received a call from a man who acclaimed that her college credit is enough to be awarded a degree, she was in doubt. She stated that she almost hanged up the call as she thought it was only a scam.

However, her doubts were cleared when the man mentioned her prior courses and dates of enrollment. She later understood that it was part of the state’s initiative and efforts to channel millions of adult Americans to complete their college degrees.

The policy is focused on those who have enough credits or few more credits to earn a degree, in the like of Laren who a few years back had enrolled in some nursing prerequisites at her local community college.

The major relapse that the policymakers are facing is how to find them and get them to continue.

Old students are sometimes untraceable or can be difficult to track down. Others are confronted by bureaucratic and financial constraints to re-enroll. Still, yet, others are discouraged by the academic requirements which only favor young adults of 18 to 22 years old students although it is not a major criterion.

Currently, the states are utilizing every possible tool to track them down and lure them, from tuition discounts to direct-mailing. However, these efforts are turning to be difficult considering the outcome of the strategies used.

According to the according to the U.S. Census, there are over 25 million adults with some college credits, but no degree, out of more than 35 million adults. The efforts to reach these dropouts by some states such as Tennessee, Indiana, Mississippi and others have shown that the students graduating from U.S. high school are not enough to cater for the college graduates needs of the nation.

A Proof That Education Is The Best Life Expectancy Predictor

A new research has revealed that the level of education someone has is a better life predictor than his income and/or standard of living. An increase in income and improved standards of living used to be the factors responsible for a healthy life.

Lutz and Kebede tried to carry out a research in order to find out which predicting determinant was more crucial to an improved health and life expectancy so that the policy-makers would know how to allocate funds or which sector needed more funding. In order to carry out this finding, Lutz and Kebede plotted a graph of an income vs life expectancy at birth. Then another graph was plotted again. This time, it was based on education and life expectancy at birth. And the curve that was derived this time was much more linear. This proved that education was a much better life expectancy predictor.

Subsequently, these researchers were able to clarify that better education leads to improved standards and better choices for health-related lifestyles and/or behaviors.

In recent times, the relationship between education and better health choices are becoming visible because there has been a shift in the health challenges of people. More lifestyle-related diseases are now increasing, meaning that income is not a factor while lack of education and information is a responsible factor. Nevertheless, with time, people would understand the link and/or relationship between education and better health choices. Thus, life expectancy would become even more obvious.

Again, there is a call or advocacy for improving education in order to eradicate poverty, and also to support economic growth and development. Once this is done, the relationship between education and health development would be built. In addition, life expectancy would be increased.

So, based on the graphs and theories postulated by Lutz and Kebede, as well as other researchers who have undertaken this research finding in the past, it is safe to say that education, and not income is the much better predictor of life expectancy.

Top Teachers In US Get Oppertunity To Meet At White House

Some of the top teachers in the United States were given a rare opportunity recently to meet with the President of the United States. This meeting followed a contentious meeting with Betsy DeVos, Secretary Of Education, and served to give these educators an opportunity to stress the importance of kindness and empathy.


The winners of the state Teachers of the Year were treated to a day at the Whitehouse. They were able to discuss things with Betsy DeVos as well as Alexander Acosta, Labor Secretary. The President took the time to make brief remarks in order to honor these outstanding educators as well as take the time for a few photo ops with the four finalists for Teacher of the Year, the nationwide award.


Many teachers discussed that the meeting with DeVos was disappointing, her responses to many of their important questions were less than stellar. She even sparred with one teacher when confronted with the effects of school choice, which is the focal point of DeVos entire agenda. DeVos ended the meeting by discussing how displeased she was with the Arizona teachers who were on strike stating that adults should discuss their disagreements, not walk out and disrupt the lives and education of children. This statement angered many of those who were in attendance who believe that her actions have not been in the best interest of the children and their education.


The top finalists who had a moment with Trump did what they could to express their concerns. One teacher from Washington state brought 45 letters from her students including a letter from a student from Rwanda who described their hostile experience in the US the past few years as well as her hope for a positive immigration and refugee community in the future. The teachers who had the chance to speak with President Trump hope that their words and these letters will help him realize that his words carry a lot of weight and he can lead the country in a better direction with a better attitude as well as more thought out words in the future. For more information, click here.


Arizona Teacher Walk Outs End In New Education Budget

After roughly a week of teachers walking out and demanding better funding for education, it looks as though classrooms will be back in working order soon. The governor of Arizona signed a bill that will increase the amount of money given to both teachers and schools in the first step of pay raises.


A massive movement was underway for about a week in the state of Arizona. Teachers wearing red and carrying signs reading #RedForEd walked out of their classrooms which led to the closure of many Arizona schools. These teachers wasted no time and headed straight for the capitol where the streets of Phoenix looked like a red sea in their push to urge lawmakers to add funding to their budgets after numerous years of fiscal cutbacks.


Governor Doug Ducey (R) signed legislation that at first did not meet all the demands that the teachers were requesting. While some teachers pushed to continue to keep schools closed until all demands were met, union leaders urged teachers to return to work and spend their time preparing for the same battle for the following year. A rep for the largest teachers union in the state, Arizona Education Association, noted that teachers weren’t thrilled with the legislation but they did see it as a starting point. It is also believed that the legislature is full of promises that won’t be upheld by the government. For their part, they noted that the teachers would have their eye on the November election. While the bill did not reduce classroom sizes, it gives teachers a 9 percent pay raise, halfway towards the goal of a 20 percent overall hike they requested. The legislation also doles out money to school districts and allows them the discretion to choose where it goes. It also raises the states spending on schools by an additional $200 million each year.


It is important to note that what has happened in Arizona is not a unique situation. Similar walk outs have occurred in Oklahoma, Kentucky and West Virginia. It was a planned event that followed the model of the West Virgina walk out which was successful in their negotiations. For more details and information, head to the Huffington Post.

Arizona State Legislature Approves 20% Raise for Striking Teachers

The Arizona Senate has passed legislation approving a budget plan that provides significant raises for school teachers who have been on strike for six days.

The measure, which was signed by Governor Doug Ducey just before dawn, will see teachers receive 9 percent raises in the fall, along with additional 5 percent raises in school years 2019 and 2020. This, in addition to a 1 percent raise approved last year, means Arizona teachers will see a cumulative 20 percent raise in their salaries between fiscal years 2018 and 2021. It is estimated that the plan would cost around $300 million this coming year alone.

The organizers of the strike had called for the resumption of classes on Thursday if the budget plan passed and was signed by the governor. As the process dragged through the night, however, many of the state’s larger school districts announced that their school will remain closed. Many striking teachers remained on State Legislature grounds through the night, with many holding a candlelight vigil in the State Capitol courtyard, and others occupying the House and Senate galleries during the debates.

In the wake of the passage of the new budget plan, the Phoenix-based Scottsdale school district, one of the largest in the state, announced that their schools would resume operation on Friday. It is expected that other districts will follow suit.

Arizona teachers, among the lowest paid in the country, began striking on April 26 after a vote saw nearly 45,000 teachers endorse the action. Demands included salary raises for teachers, a return to pre-Great Recession education funding statewide, a decrease of student-teacher ratio and raises for support staff such as guidance counselors. Since the start of the year, many similar actions had played out in many states such as West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Colorado.