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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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‘We dread the nights’: Life under Israeli bombardment as Gazans live through the ‘madness’ again | UK News

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Laila Barhoum, a humanitarian worker and human rights advocate in Gaza, describes her feelings of “dread” and “injustice” as the region is pounded by Israeli air strikes.

In Gaza, we always joke about the fact we shouldn’t ask “What worse can happen?” as it seems that we are always proven wrong.

But our worse this time came unexpectedly with innocent people losing their lives.

Laila Barhoum
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Laila says Palestinians have been ‘failed and forgotten for decades’

Last week, we were preparing for Eid, buying chocolate, children getting new clothes and mothers cooking Eid cookies.

This would have contributed to making happy memories. Memories that are now replaced with images of destruction, fear and death.

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Building in Gaza collapses after airstrike

The fact that what is happening is happening again because we had been failed by the international community makes it even worse. Knowing that hundreds of innocent people who lost their lives this time and many times before could have been alive now, celebrating Eid with us.

Every day we dread the nights, as with them comes the worst targeting and airstrikes, when we hear the numbers of people killed rising. When we see women and children running, screaming, and houses and buildings turning into dust.

I look around me at my nieces while thinking they live an occupation that I was born under. That I am moving toward my 40s while they are marking their first years, yet we are both suffering from the same injustice.

People inspect the remains of a destroyed building in Gaza City
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People inspect the remains of a destroyed building in Gaza City

Thinking that you are trying to make the world a better place for them because it wasn’t made better for you makes you feel sad and frustrated.

No one feels safe in Gaza, and no place is safe in Gaza.

There are no shelters, no places away from any air strikes. And this is a feeling you carry with you all day long, while you are trying to make sense of what you are going through.

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We have been failed and forgotten for decades, which is why we live through this madness again.

The lives of generations of young people and children are shaped by loss, fear and injustice.

These are the lost generations, who only saw what a normal life looks like through a screen. These are the generations who wait for the sun to rise every night so they can breathe.

Israel says it only attacks targets containing Gaza militant groups – who have been launching hundreds of rockets at Israel. It says it makes strenuous efforts to avoid civilian casualties such as giving people advance warning and chance to evacuate.

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Inside the Iron Dome: How Israel’s missile defence shield is battling Hamas rocket attacks | World News

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From the moment a giant, green radar detects rocket fire blasting out of Gaza towards Israel, it is only a matter of seconds before an Israeli defence missile shoots up to intercept.

The radar, at a secure site in southern Israel, relays the information to what the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) call a “battle management centre”.

In reality, it’s a beige-coloured, small metal cabin on the other side of the square-shaped compound.

The iron dome has blocked almost 90% of Hamas airstrikes since the violence began eight days ago
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In a 24-hour operation, soldiers monitor incoming airstrikes and intercept them before they cause serious loss of life or damage

Everything here is mobile – to be able to move in relation to the threat.

A number of military personnel – some aged between just 18 and 21 – in the cabin then calculate the trajectory of the rocket, the anticipated impact point and which air defence missile launcher to use to fire back.

It’s a job that needs manning 24 hours a day.

Launcher selected, a single operator is able to fire multiple missiles against multiple Hamas rockets at the same time.

The missiles are guided onto their targets and either smash directly into the incoming rocket or explode near to it, with the shrapnel rendering the incoming fire redundant.

Major Kifr – we were not allowed to use his full name for security reasons – is in charge of the 947 Iron Dome Battalion.

He and his team have been busy since the conflict with Hamas started eight days ago.

The rate of rocket fire, launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants is unprecedented.

But the officer says his unit and the many others that comprise Israel’s Iron Dome air defence shield are more than up to the task.

“We have been trained for this situation,” he told Sky News.

He said the shield – which has blocked about 90% of the incoming rocket fire – could handle an even heavier tempo of attack if necessary.

It is the main reason why, despite more than 3,000 rockets being fired in their direction, Israel has only suffered a relatively low number of fatalities.

“We are very proud of our mission,” Major Kifr said. “We do not distinguish between Arabs, Jews or anyone. We protect everyone.”

His troops are not immune to the threat posed by the incoming fire though.

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As Sky News was at the site, a siren sounded warning of rocket fire.

Military personnel moved into a concrete shelter to wait until the threat was over – a common scene across the country these days.

As we stepped back outside, small clouds of white smoke could be seen in the air – evidence of successful interceptions by a different air defence unit.

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COVID-19: Disneyland Paris to reopen but no hugs from Mickey Mouse – as Netherlands sex workers return amid lockdown easing across world | World News

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Disneyland Paris has announced the date it will reopen and sex workers in the Netherlands will return this week, as several countries ease COVID restrictions.

Having been closed since last October, Disney’s amusement park in the French capital will welcome visitors back from 17 June.

A statement said the site’s reopening would be accompanied by “appropriate health and safety measures” – with hugs from the likes of Mickey Mouse and other mascots suspended.

It will also limit the number of visitors, with those over six being asked to wear masks.

Sex workers can welcome clients again from this week
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Sex workers in the Netherlands can welcome clients again from this week

Meanwhile, Netherlands health minister Hugo de Jonge revealed a series of measures to relax coronavirus rules.

Parks, zoos, gyms and outdoor swimming pools will reopen on Wednesday, after the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations eased pressure on hospitals, the minister said.

And sex workers will be allowed to resume five months after being ordered to pause operations in mid-December.

They had protested in Amsterdam in March, saying they were being discriminated against as the authorities allowed other “contact businesses” including hairdressers and masseurs to reopen.

Public libraries will reopen on Thursday and further steps, including reopening museums and allowing indoor service at restaurants, are expected over the next three weeks, Mr de Jonge added.

“This a responsible step at this moment, but we have to stay very careful,” he said of the broader relaxation.

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“We see a significant contribution from vaccinations. But we’re not there yet.”

COVID infections in the Netherlands have dropped by more than a quarter this month, after climbing to their highest levels of the year in April.

Another city to be easing measures is Dubai, where hotels in the regional tourism hub will be allowed to operate at full capacity and concerts and sports events will be able to welcome crowds and participants who have been vaccinated.

The United Arab Emirates ranks highly globally for coronavirus testing and vaccination rates, which has allowed for capacities for restaurants and entertainment venues to also be increased.

Authorities in Sri Lanka have announced shops and public transport can reopen, easing a three-day travel restriction imposed across the country.

Sri Lankans had been from banned from leaving their homes since Thursday night to try to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Authorities said though that those restrictions would now be imposed for five hours overnight for the next two weeks.

And in Turkey, the interior ministry has said a full lockdown that had ordered people to stay home to fight infections would be shifting to a less-restrictive program.

This will still involve curfews on weeknights and weekends from 1 June, which authorities said was part of a “gradual normalisation”.

Shopping malls can reopen – and while some businesses will remain closed, including gyms and cafes, restaurants will be able to offer takeaway in addition to delivery. Preschools will resume in-person education but upper grades will continue remote learning.

People in Turkey can also return to their workplaces but must stay at home from 9pm to 5am on weekdays.

However, other parts of the world have been tightening restrictions.

Hong Kong authorities say quarantine rules for arrivals from countries like Singapore, Japan and Malaysia would become tightened from Friday amid a surge in coronavirus infections.

And Trinidad and Tobago has declared a state of emergency, also citing a sharp increase in cases.

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