A Message from Marlene
I just finished reading a blog written by James E. Ford, the 2015 North Carolina State Teacher of the Year. The blog, titled, “Teacher Appreciation Week Not Enough” very frankly speaks to the fact that while we Americans say teachers are important, our actions say something entirely different. From the pressure of reforms which focus on accountability through standardized testing to the continued inequity in salaries he sees many of his colleagues leaving the profession. He predicts a far reaching teacher shortage, based on the fact that nationwide teacher prep programs have declined in enrollment by 35% over the last five years.
I loved being a teacher. I specifically loved being a teacher in a Lutheran School. But, I also know that I was way undervalued in a crass commercial sense. I did and still do feel a call to the education ministry of the church, however, I do believe that if the faith-based schools are going to continue, we need to seriously look at how we improve salaries and benefits.
A colleague recently lost a teacher to the public school system. This young teacher, newly married, wishing to buy a house, saddled with school debts felt she simply could not turn down the chance to double her salary in one move. It appears that the days when Lutheran teachers were paid in produce to offset their salaries are simply over! And while in some cases public school teachers are paid better, they too are now faced with prescribed teaching methods and testing requirements which suck the joy and creativity out of teaching. One of the comments written after the blog was from a mother of a son just graduating high school. She commented that he always wanted to be a teacher and even though he would have been great, she did her best to dissuade him as teachers are underpaid and unappreciated. What a sad situation!
One of the direct quotes from the Ford’s blog is, “Our nation’s teachers are the infrastructure of this republic. Like water pipelines, roads and bridges their purpose is that of the common good.” If we truly believe that statement, it’s about time we start advocating for our teachers wherever they are—in public, private, or faith-based schools.
We’ll resume monthly newsletters in August. Enjoy the summer!! And if you’re a teacher on summer break I wish for you peace and rejuvenation. Thank you for all you do!!
The Lester R. Bayer Award for Excellence in Urban Education
We are now seeking nominations for the 2017 Lester R. Bayer Award for Excellence in Urban Education. The award which was established in honor of Dr. Bayer, one of the founders of the Center for Urban Education Ministries, recognizes those highly successful in operating innovative and effective urban education programs. Churches, schools and social service agencies involved in education are eligible to apply. Nominations are due at the CUEM office no later than October 31, 2016 and should include:
- Organization name, address, phone number and website.
- Name and contact information for organization’s director or leader.
- A one page statement describing the work of the organization or program.
- A one page statement outlining why the organization should receive the Bayer Award
- Letters of support for the nomination are encouraged.
Looking to Next Semester
CUEM will be hosting our next blended learning training experience in New York from November 2-4, 2016. Any schools interested in pursuing this opportunity should contact Marlene Lund at 212-870-1105 in order to explore possibilities.
And finally…a little humor