Report: More Emphasis on Teacher Retention Needed

Teacher attrition is high, and enrollment in teacher preparation programs has fallen about 35 percent over the last five years, according to National Public Radio. But policymakers are taking the wrong approach in dealing with teacher shortages by focusing exclusively on teacher recruitment, according to a new report by the Learning Policy Institute. Instead, the report concludes, school administrators should find ways to retain teachers once they’re employed at their schools. Many teachers move to other professions, go into education administration, or stay home with their families, the report notes.

Education Department Tackles Religious Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is beginning a new effort to track religious discrimination in public schools. ED launched a new website that offers “information about federal laws barring religious discrimination.” The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released guidance on combating “discrimination against Arabs, Sikhs, Muslims, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and South Asian students,” and has an online complaint form for the filing of faith-based grievances available. In addition, the department will begin “collecting more data from schools, including the number of incidents involving faith-based harassment or bullying, offering a lens into the depth and scope of the problem.” Through Equity Assistance Centers, the department also says it will “offer training in combating religious discrimination.”

Colorado Apprenticeship Program Takes Off

Colorado’s innovative apprentice program has made tremendous strides and could soon serve as one of the models for similar programs throughout the country. The new statewide initiative could place as many as 20,000 high school students in apprenticeships by 2027. Colorado companies in information technology, financial and professional services, advanced manufacturing, hospitality, and more have committed to offer juniors and seniors paid, on-the-job learning experiences in high-demand fields beginning next school year. Gov. John Hickenlooper announced that Bloomberg Philanthropies and JPMorgan Chase have committed $9.5 million to the new initiative—CareerWise Colorado—and Denver Public Schools’ CareerConnect.

Teacher Confidence in Classroom Technology Skills Low

Most K–12 teachers use education technology in the classroom on a daily basis, according to a new survey of teachers conducted by the University of Phoenix’s College of Education. However, the survey notes, “only 15 percent of those teachers would give themselves an A in education technology skills.” In addition, more than 40 percent of those surveyed rated themselves “average” or “below average” in ed-tech skills.