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High teacher turnover helps fuel educators’ march on statehouses

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And that decline has been steady since the recession began in 2007, causing some state legislators to pay new attention to their education budgets.

“In 2010, in the middle of a massive economic recession, all state governments were deep in the red,” said John Ahlquist, a University of California San Diego professor who specializes in labor movements. “Cuts were going to be made. The question was: Who was going to absorb the cuts?”

Times have changed, Ahlquist said, and the country is now close to full employment. However, expectations of public sector employees have stayed the same and they have seen no wage increases to compensate them. State education budgets throughout the country have steadily decreased since 2008, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

That leaves teachers to continue to suffer financially and professionally. Meanwhile, experts add that state oversight of schools is growing and teachers say their pay is increasingly tied to state testing performance.

“We’re seeing teachers reaching the end of their rope,” said Ben Yoder, a music educator in Indiana, where teacher pay has seen the steepest decline since 2000. “When you cut off and starve public education, make it difficult for teachers to do their job and make it a demoralizing, de-professionalized career, you start to see teachers at state capitols.”

Teachers across the country cited accountability pressures, a lack of administrative support, and a dissatisfaction with the career and working conditions to be the reason many of them have decided to quit.

And prospective teachers have taken notice, as the number of new teachers continues to dwindle.

“It’s hard to become a teacher because there’s no money to help you get through school so you’ll have to take on loans, you’re going to earn less and — if you come in without the training — you’re not likely to survive,” said Darling-Hammond.

 Students march around the state Capitol on the fourth day of protests over school funding, on April 5, 2018 in Oklahoma City. Sue Ogrocki / AP

That might be one reason why the number of people pursuing the teaching profession has plummeted. Enrollment in teacher preparation programs nationwide dropped 39 percent between 2010 and 2014 — from more than 680,000 people for the 2010-11 academic year to fewer than 420,000 for the 2014-15 academic year.

Interest in Teach for America dwindled in recent years as well, as their application pool fell from 57,000 in 2013 to 37,000 in 2016. That then caused the program to shrink overall, dropping from 5,800 Teach for America educators in 2014 to 3,500 in 2017.

“It’s not a lifestyle a professional would want,” said Geraldine Bender, the president of the Mississippi chapter of American Federation of Teachers. “A lot of teachers will get a second job because they have children they have to take care of. On this salary, you can’t get ahead, you can’t make financial plans.”

There’s a critical teacher shortage in the Mississippi Delta, one of the poorest regions in the nation, but education leaders say that the entire state faces high turnover and low retention, as well as shrinking recruiting classes.

The Mississippi Department of Education found that more than a quarter of its school districts suffer from a critical teacher shortage. To try to rectify the situation, the state has attempted to circumvent teacher licensing or lower standards.

A recent proposal in the statehouse would have allowed teaching candidates who only scored an 18 on the ACT, which has a max score of 36, and earned a 2.75 GPA in the subject area they want to teach. That bill died in committee.

Some states’ unwillingness to pay for an academically proven workforce has their teachers running for the border.

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“If we had better teacher pay, we would have a better chance of keeping teachers in Mississippi,” said Joyce Helmick, president of the Mississippi Education Association. “Right now, they can go across the state line, they can teach in Tennessee and get paid $5,000 to $10,000 more. In Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, they get paid more.”

“Mississippi is not that big across, so you can live in the center and drive a distance to get paid more money,” she added.

And there’s data to support the idea that the prospect of a pay increase helps keep teachers in classrooms. According to the Learning Policy Institute study, districts where teachers could expect to one day earn around $78,000 had a turnover rate that was 31 percent lower than those districts where salaries maxed out at less than $60,000.

Dr. Laura Hamack serves as the superintendent of Brown County Schools in Indiana, a district where she started her teaching career 22 years ago. She said that the supportive culture surrounding education that buoyed her as a young educator has largely disappeared and left teachers “really beat up.”

Ten years ago, she said, her rural school district in Indiana would receive more than 200 applications for an open position. Now teaching posts at her schools remain empty indefinitely as people leave the career field and young people aren’t inspired by the job prospects.

“It sounds cliché, but [teachers are] fundamentally helping the next generation learn to read,” Hamack said. “Their responsibility is huge, so I do really worry that they will become so disconnected from their mission that they walk away from the profession. I’m really quite concerned about that.”

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Afghanistan: Youngsters protest online against order telling girls not to go to school | World News

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Afghan girls and boys have joined a social media protest against a decision by the Taliban to prevent young females going to school.

Putting their own safety at risk, many have created makeshift banners to make their points, opposing an edict by the Taliban government that female middle and high school students should not return to school for the time being, while boys of the same age can resume their studies this weekend.

It comes as the interim mayor of Kabul is telling female city authority employees to stay home, with only those whose jobs cannot be done by men allowed to work.

Banner reads: "What is our crime that we are prevented from education?"
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Banner reads: ‘What is our crime that we are prevented from education?’

The moves are further evidence the Taliban, which overran Kabul last month, is enforcing its harsh interpretation of Islam despite initial promises that it would be tolerant and inclusive.

Among the slogans on the banners displayed by the youngsters are statements like: “What is our crime that we are prevented from education?” and “I won’t go to school without my sister. I support my sister. We are equal.”

Sky News has blurred the faces of some of those protesting, as there are fears they could be at risk in a country that appears to be clamping down on the right of expression.

Banner reads: "You took our holy land, so don't take our education from us"
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Banner reads: ‘You took our holy land, so don’t take our education from us’

On Sunday, just over a dozen women staged a protest outside the new ministry, holding up placards calling for the right of women to participate in public life.

The protest lasted for about 10 minutes before a short verbal confrontation occurred with a man and the women got into cars and left, as members of the Taliban watched from nearby cars.

Kabul’s new interim mayor, Hamdullah Namony, told his first news conference that, pending a further decision, most of the 1,000 or so female city authority employees would be required to stay home.

He said exceptions would only be made for women who could not be replaced by men, including some in the design and engineering departments and the attendants of public toilets for women.

The Taliban flags are seen on a street in Kabul, Afghanistan
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The mayor of Kabul has told many female employees of the city authorities to stay home

Mr Namony added: “There are some areas that men can’t do it, we have to ask our female staff to fulfil their duties, there is no alternative for it.”

During its previous rule between the mid 1990s and 2001, the Taliban had forbidden girls and women from schools, jobs and public life.

In recent days, Taliban officials told female university students that classes would take place in gender-segregated settings, and they must abide by a strict Islamic dress code.

Banner reads: "We won't go to schools, until our sisters are allowed to go to school"
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Banner reads: ‘We won’t go to schools, until our sisters are allowed to go to school’

Under the previous US-backed administration, before it was deposed by the Taliban in August, men and women had sat alongside each other in universities, for the most part.

On Friday, the Taliban shut down the ministry for women’s affairs, replacing it with a government department responsible for the “propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice”, with the job of enforcing Islamic law.

Amid deteriorating conditions for ordinary Afghans, many of whom previously relied on international aid, witnesses said an explosion targeted a Taliban vehicle in the provincial city of Jalalabad, the second such deadly blast in as many days in an area where Islamic State militants are said to dominate.

Banner reads: "I don’t go to school without my sister. I support my sister. #We are equal"
Image:
Banner reads: ‘I don’t go to school without my sister. I support my sister. #We are equal’

The Taliban and IS extremists are enemies and battled each other before the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last month.

Initial reports said five people were killed, with a child among the two civilians said to have died. The Taliban were not immediately available for comment.

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Boris Johnson tells world leaders he is growing ‘increasingly frustrated’ at their efforts to tackle climate change | Politics News

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Boris Johnson has criticised other world leaders over their efforts to tackle climate change, telling them he is growing “increasingly frustrated” that their commitments are “nowhere near enough”.

Speaking during a meeting at the United Nations in New York, the prime minister said the gap between what has been promised by industrialised nations and what they have so far delivered remains “vast”.

Co-hosting a discussion on the issue at the UN General Assembly, Mr Johnson urged fellow leaders to renew their efforts to meet a key financing pledge to help developing nations.

The PM wants to get countries to commit to giving $100bn (£73bn) a year in support to developing nations to cut their carbon emissions and shield themselves against climate change.

But he earlier told reporters there was only a “six out of 10” chance of this target being met before the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November – which he then said will be “a turning point for the world” and “the moment when we have to grow up and take our responsibilities”.

He told Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby: “We have been here before, we have all heard lots of positive noises, let’s see where we get to.

“We are not counting our chickens.”

However, Joe Biden’s climate envoy sounded upbeat when questioned by Sky News.

“I think we’re going to get it done by COP and the US will do its part,” John Kerry said.

Asked if the US president will announce more money this week, he replied: “I’m not hoping… I’m telling you to stay tuned into the president’s speech and we’ll see where we are.”

Chairing the climate discussion on Monday, Mr Johnson noted that “everyone nods and we all agree that something must be done”.

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Kerry ‘confident’ of $100bn climate target

“Yet I confess I’m increasingly frustrated that the ‘something’ to which many of you have committed is nowhere near enough,” he continued.

“It is the biggest economies in the world that are causing the problem, while the smallest suffer the worst consequences.

“And while progress is being made all over the world, the gulf between what has been promised, what is actually being delivered, and what needs to happen… it remains vast.

“Too many major economies – some represented here today, some absent – are lagging too far behind.”

And the PM warned countries there would be consequences if the financing target is not met, saying: “If you say that the lives of their children are not worth the hassle of reducing domestic coal consumption, will they vote with you in fora such as this?

“Will they work with you, borrow from you, stand with you if you tell the world that you don’t care whether their land and their people slip below the waves?

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“To be merely a bystander is to be complicit in their fate – yet that is exactly what you will be if you fail to act this year.”

Ahead of the UN meeting, Downing Street said developed countries had “collectively failed” to meet the target.

Figures released last week by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that $79.6bn was mobilised in 2019, more than $20bn off the target.

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 6.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.

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Serbians block roads in Kosovo in protest over license plate restrictions | World News

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Protesters have blocked roads in northern Kosovo after authorities stopped cars with Serbian plates from entering the country.

Police in Jarinje, Kosovo are forcing drivers from Serbia to remove or hide license plates and use temporary registration details that are valid for 60 days and cost €5 (£4.30).

Serbia, which lost control of Kosovo in 1999, does not recognise Kosovo and has stopped cars with Kosovo license plates from entering the country.

Kosovo's special force deployed armoured vehicles as hundreds blocked the roads in Jarinje, Kosovo
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Kosovo’s special force deployed armoured vehicles as hundreds blocked the roads in Jarinje, Kosovo

Almost 50,000 Serbs who live in the north of Kosovo and share a border with Serbia, refuse to recognise Pristina’s authorities and as restrictions came into force on Monday, cars and trucks blocked roads in protest.

Police in Kosovo deployed riot gear and armoured vehicles as the blockades built up and Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, said the move was not taken to harm drivers but was a retaliation measure against Belgrade.

“Today there is nothing illegal or discriminatory,” Mr Kurti said in parliament.

“Just as yesterday, today and tomorrow, Serb citizens will move freely and safely.”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the situation is very “serious and difficult”.

“When you are dealing with people who are not responsible, it is difficult to find a solution,” Mr Vucic said.

Drivers waved a Serbian flag as they protested against the government ban on entry of vehicles with Serbian license plates
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Drivers waved a Serbian flag as they protested against the government ban on entry of vehicles with Serbian license plates

The two countries began talks in 2013, mediated by the European Union, to resolve the issues, but little progress has been made.

Kosovo is recognised by around 110 countries, including the United States, Britain and most western countries, but Russia, Serbia’s traditional ally, does not recognise it.

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