Teacher Pay Gap Grows

In the 18 years that the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has tracked trends in teacher pay, the gap between teachers and their nonteaching counterparts is the highest it’s ever been: 23.5% in 2021. Since 1996, the inflation-adjusted average weekly pay of teachers has increased only $29. And while teachers do receive benefits, when those are accounted for, the gap falls to 14.2%. “Providing teachers with compensation commensurate with that of other similarly educated professionals is not simply a matter of fairness but is necessary to improve educational outcomes and foster future economic stability of workers, their families, and communities across the U.S.,” writes Sylvia Allegretto, the author of “The Teacher Pay Penalty Has Hit a New High: Trends in Teacher Wages and Compensation Through 2021.” Read the full report at bit.ly/3dcpM3P.

Uplifting Student Voices Through Arts Education

As states have responded to pandemic-related disruptions in learning and as social movements have highlighted educational inequities, it has become clear that including the voices of people directly affected by policy and funding decisions in their communities is vital. That’s a central theme of “Centering Student Voices to Transform Educational Systems,” a new report from the Arts Education Partnership, a national network of more than 100 organizations dedicated to funding arts education. “Uplifting student voice and leadership through arts education instruction can provide students with the transferable skill sets to express, advocate, and have ownership over themselves and their actions,” writes Krystal Johnson, the report’s author. The report highlights three states (North Dakota, Oregon, and Washington) working to elevate student voices in policymaking. Read the full report at bit.ly/3dbrxOC.

Community Schools Need Appropriate Assistance

Community schools, which support students and families with wraparound services, are a popular approach to help move schools forward in the wake of COVID-19. But a Brookings Institution report, “Community Schools Forward: Technical Assistance Needs Assessment,” warns that community schools can only reach their promise if they receive the necessary support. Community school practitioners who were surveyed for the report identified a number of challenges they have faced in recent years: “staffing shortages and absences due to COVID-19, lack of model clarity, difficulties achieving collaborative leadership and overcoming deficit mindsets, barriers to equity, and imperfect data systems and practices.” According to the report, “community schools are strongest when they collaborate and leverage the best thinking from all stakeholders—training and support for community schools should follow this same blueprint.” Read the full report at brook.gs/3LflZiK.

‘Identity-Safe’ Schools Nurture Students

Students are motivated and willing to make an effort in school when they know that educators care about them and believe in them. That central idea leads to effective school-based practices “that educators can use to foster the identity safety that nurtures student achievement, positive attachments to school, and a genuine sense of belonging and membership for each student,” according to “Creating Identity-Safe Schools and Classrooms,” a report from the Learning Policy Institute. Such practices include:

  • Promoting trust and interpersonal connection
  • Creating purposeful communities of care and consistency
  • Creating trusting relationships using restorative practices
  • Promoting understanding, voice, and responsibility
  • Elevating diversity as a resource for learning

Read the full report at bit.ly/3UdKi4z.