Commentary: Teachers Also Think American Public Schools Are in Decline


Eighty-two percent of teachers say that the general state of public K-12 education has gotten worse over the past five years. This is according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted in October and November of 2023. That’s not the only shocking statistic from the survey, either, which overall offers a grim statistical map of the fault lines fracturing our education system. However, these trends may offer some insight into how to fix our schools.

First, the teachers. Most teachers (77 percent) find their job frequently stressful, and a large majority (70 percent) say their school is understaffed, which may contribute to the fact that over 80 percent of teachers say they do not have enough time in the work day to complete all necessary tasks.

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Kemp Signs Bill to Increase State Employees, Teachers’ Paid Parental Leave

Brian Kemp Teacher pay

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation doubling annual paid parental leave for state employees and school personnel, including teachers.

Previously, state employees could take three weeks or 120 hours of paid parental leave during a 12-month “rolling” period following a child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. However, House Bill 1010 increases the paid leave to six weeks — or 240 hours.

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Third Arizona Educator in Maricopa County Arrested for Sex Offenses Against Students

Alyssa Todd

An educator in Buckeye was arrested on Wednesday was arrested for having an illegal sexual relationship with a minor student, marking the third arrest of a former Maricopa County teacher for sexual offenses against students.

The Buckeye Police Department (BPD) confirmed the arrest Alyssa Todd, who was employed as a coach and teacher at the Odyssey Institute for Advanced and International Studies (OIAIS) High School when police claim she sexually abused a 15-year-old male student.

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Feds Fund Training Program to Help Teachers with Gay and ‘Queer’ History Lessons

A federally-funded training program set to take place in July will teach middle school teachers about LGBTQ+ history and provide them with strategies to further integrate “queer” content into their classrooms.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is funding a two-week summer program titled “LGBTQ+ histories in the U.S.” that will instruct 30 middle and high school teachers on “expanding historical narratives” and “identifying pedagogical strategies” in their classrooms to better incorporate LGBTQ+ content. The July session is the second iteration of the NEH-funded program, the first having occurred in 2022, with the two activities collectively costing taxpayers nearly $400,000, according to federal grant listings.

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New Report on Connecticut’s Social Studies Standards Details Troubling Effect on Students

The National Association of Scholars’ Civics Alliance coalition released a comprehensive report critiquing Connecticut’s social studies standards, which is the state’s guide for teachers detailing what students should be learning from Pre-K through 12th grade.

The 34-page report, titled “Disowned Yankees: How Connecticut’s Social Studies Standards Shortchange Students,” details how the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) produced the curriculum, the result of implementing the curriculum, as well as “recommendations for how to fix the adoption process and the substance of Connecticut’s social studies instruction, by substantive revision of the Standards.”

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Commentary: Clever Teachers Unions Embed Socialism into Their Contracts

From Boston to Los Angeles, teachers’ unions and their progressive counterparts have quietly devised an unprecedented method to bypass the legislative process by embedding unrelated policy issues deep within the intricate terms of teacher contracts.

This new, covert strategy, hidden in plain sight, allows state and municipal officials to create sweeping policy changes that evade the scrutiny typically associated with customary legislative procedures, which include publicly available draft legislation, committee hearings, amendments and comprehensive floor debates.

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‘I Actually Feel Quite Valued’: Mentorship Program Works to Retain New Teachers

Teacher and Students

Jack Fredericks is investing in new teachers because he wants to help them stay in the classroom for the long haul.

He serves as the program coordinator for the new teacher mentorship program in the West Tallahatchie School District, something he worked with his superintendent to create after researching mentorship as a Teach Plus Mississippi policy fellow. 

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Teachers Across the Country are Quitting Due to Student Violence

All across the country, school teachers are beginning to resign due to a rising fear of violence from students, with many acts largely going unpunished by authorities.

As reported by the New York Post, student behavior has gotten progressively worse after the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic, with fights breaking out more frequently, and some altercations leading to teachers sustaining injuries in the process of trying to break up the fighting.

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Commentary: Teaching Your Child to Read Is the Gateway to All Learning

Father Reading to Son

When my husband and I decided we were going to homeschool, we puzzled over what might be his contribution. Our division of labor as a married couple included me as a stay-at-home mom and him as the primary breadwinner. Nevertheless, we wanted to find a way for him to be involved in the educational aspects of raising our children, despite his being gone all day at work. After giving it some thought, my husband decided on reading to our children at night as part of their bedtime ritual.

As soon as our first born could sit still enough to listen to a story, he began reading to her. As we added more children to the household, the bedtime ritual, already well established with our first, continued with each subsequent child. My husband sat and read his way through all of the books that had captured us as children, while our own children snuggled into their beds, listening attentively.

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Analysis: States Are Gearing Up for a School Choice Showdown in 2024

School choice is going to be a hot-button issue next year as several states are set to propose legislation expanding education options, while others are gearing up to defend against lawsuits claiming voucher programs are unconstitutional and an “existential threat” to public schools.

School choice advocates passed legislation in Nebraska, Florida, Ohio and other states in 2023, with a major victory in Oklahoma as well after the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board approved an application for a Catholic online school in June, the first religious charter school in the country. Several states are looking to follow their lead in 2024 and expand education options for parents, while others have become the target of lawsuits by public education advocates, who argue that voucher programs are unconstitutional.

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Boot Camps Put Ohio Teachers in Real-World Businesses

Ohio plans to spend $500,000 in taxpayer funds to reimburse colleges and universities across the state for K-12 teacher continuing education programs called “Teacher Bootcamps.”

The program puts teachers in local businesses to expose them to in-demand career skills specific communities need. According to Gov. Mike DeWine, that will help teachers better prepare students for a career after graduation.

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Arizona GOP Unveils Ballot Measure Sending School Funds Directly to Teachers

Noting a trend of growing administrative spending and teacher pay lagging those increases, Republican lawmakers want to require school districts to revert more of their allotted state funding directly to educators.

In a Monday announcement, several GOP lawmakers touted the “Teacher Pay Fund” plan they say would deliver K-12 public school teachers an average pay hike of 7% without increasing taxes.

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Librarians Claim Civil Rights Violations over Book Bannings and Firings

Several left-wing librarians, teachers, and other school employees are trying to claim that the removal of inappropriate books from school libraries is a violation of their civil rights.

As reported by ABC News, three librarians who were recently fired have filed workplace discrimination claims with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They all claim that they were discriminated against when they were fired for promoting controversial, far-left material to students, including Critical Race Theory and the LGBTQ agenda.

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Teacher: Anoka-Hennepin Administrators, Teachers Intentionally Deceive Parents

Some administrators and teachers intentionally deceive parents, and those who don’t go along with the district’s political agenda are bullied or threatened, according to an Anoka-Hennepin public school teacher.

Alpha News spoke with that teacher, who asked to be identified by a pseudonym for fear of being retaliated against, in season two of “Trapped!: Chaos in the Classroom.”

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Report: Virginia Ranks ‘Best State for Teachers’

Virginia is 2023’s best state for teachers, according to a study conducted by personal finance website WalletHub.

WalletHub ranked states by 24 weighted metrics in two major categories: Opportunity and competition and academic and work environment. Virginia placed first for the former and eleventh for the latter, but opportunity and competition was weighted more than twice as heavily as academic and work environment because “competitive salaries and job security are integral to a well-balanced personal and professional life,” according to the study.

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‘Grade Grubbing’ Takes Root as Educators Capitulate to Students’ Pleas for Better Scores

More students are asking for better grades than earned — and a vast majority of educators questioned in a recent survey admit they’ve given in to those demands in a trend now dubbed “grade grubbing.” surveyed nearly 300 educators in late August, including high school teachers and professors who work with both undergrads and grad students.

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Judge Bans California School District from Muzzling Teachers on Students’ Gender Transitions

A federal judge best known for overturning California’s decades-old assault-weapons ban in 2021, a decision immediately stayed by the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals but returned to his court for reconsideration by the Supreme Court, is now making waves on schools, free speech and gender identity.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez issued a preliminary injunction that prevents California’s Escondido Union School District from enforcing its gender identity disclosure policy against teachers Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West or taking “adverse employment actions” against them.

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Commentary: Almost Everything Is in the Hands of Teachers

Kids, go to school! It’s time to go back. Some will have already started. A ritual that we adults attend every year with a mixture of nostalgia and indifference: nostalgia because we remember the beautiful — or ugly — child we were, and indifference because at least this time the math teacher will not ask us to explain the lesson. However, both feelings can coexist naturally with something deeper and more important: We need the teachers, and we need the teachers to do their best work possible.

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Commentary: The Reason Why Tennessee’s Teachers Are Walking Away Starts in the Classroom

Every morning, Tennessee parents wave goodbye to their kids as they head to school. And every morning, teachers open their doors to receive over a million students. Educators are the lifeblood of our communities. Not only do they teach our children, but they also serve as role models and support systems, pouring their hearts into our kids. But increasingly, Tennessee’s teachers are no longer rewarded by their students with a smile, a “thank you,” or an apple on the desk, but instead with pepper spray and a punch to the gut. And when school boards and local leaders turn the other way, it’s no wonder why so many teachers are forced to walk away from their career and the students they love. 

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Commentary: Students and Teachers Are Ditching Public Schools in Droves

In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education released a report titled, “A Nation at Risk,” which was an important point in the history of American education. The document used dire language, asserting that “the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.”

The report also stated: “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”

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News Outlets Declare Teacher Shortage in Georgia Yet Data Shows Rising Numbers

Georgia’s news outlets from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to Atlanta News First have reported about a shortage of teachers plaguing the state’s education system. Data from the state’s Department of Education paints a different picture. 

Georgia had a total of 123,210 teachers in 2022-23, according to their data. This is an increase of 1,711 teachers from the previous school year when Georgia had 121,499 teachers.

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SPN Poll: Majority of Parents Say Teachers Regularly Stray from Course Curriculum

The vast majority of parents in a new State Policy Network poll say public school teachers regularly deviated from set school curriculum to interject their own personal views and feelings over the past year.

In all, two out of every three parents polled in the survey of 2,014 respondents said teachings strayed from what was supposed to be taught, and 25% said they actually had a problem with a public-school teacher on the issue over the last 12 months.

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Commentary: It’s Time to Acknowledge America’s Education Crisis

The recent Supreme Court ruling regarding college admissions has once again thrust America’s educational system into the spotlight. A major question that has come from this ruling is whether America’s children are being intellectually and academically prepared to even enter or succeed in these colleges and universities. The tragic answer is that America’s public education system is failing to equip our youth with the tools necessary to succeed in higher education and in their future professional lives. We are failing America’s most valuable asset—our children.

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Commentary: Most Teachers Are Not Activists

Historically, unions have done some remarkable work in the private sector. However, union officials in the early 1950s began to capitalize on the many extraordinary powers and immunities that were created by legislatures and the courts. This allowed union bosses to no longer depend on rank-and-file workers’ input or support. Starting in the late 1950s, public-sector unions started to grow, and private-sector unions began to decrease.

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National Labor Union Data Contradicts Pennsylvania Teacher Exodus Claims

Teacher compensation across Pennsylvania grew over the past decade, despite claims from officials that low salaries and high stress scare educators from the state in droves.

The data, gleaned from a recent report from the National Education Association – one of the country’s largest labor unions – found that teachers in Pennsylvania earned an average of $73,072 during the 2021-22 school year – the 11th highest rate in the nation.

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Florida Pays $100 Million to ‘Hometown Heroes’ Who Relocate to State

Florida has provided over $100 million in down payment and closing cost assistance for nearly 7,000 veterans, active-duty service members, nurses, teachers, first responders and law enforcement officers as more Americans continue to relocate to the Sunshine State.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature created the Hometown Heroes Housing Program to help those who serve their country and their communities to be able to afford to live where they serve.

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Group Re-Introduces Bill to Help Teachers, First Responders Buy Homes

A bipartisan group will try again to pass a bill to help teachers and first-responders buy homes in the communities they serve.

U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., reintroduced the Homes for Every Local Protector Educator and Responder (HELPER) Act. The bill would create a first-time homebuyer loan program under the Federal Housing Administration for teachers and first responders who have served at least four years.

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Highly Rated Detroit Public Schools Teachers Struggle Teaching Students

Just 5% of Michigan students are rated “proficient” in a district with 99% of teachers rated “highly effective” or “effective.”

The classification of students for Detroit public schools comes from the latest national testing referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card.” The classification of their teachers is provided to the Michigan Department of Education by The Center for Educational Performance and Information.

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Appeals Court Guts Religious Accommodations for Teachers That SCOTUS May Soon Strengthen: Lawyers

A week before the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could force employers to more freely grant religious accommodations, a federal appeals court determined that calling all students by their last names for the sake of religious conscience was a fireable offense.

A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this month that Indiana’s Brownsburg Community Schools Corp. had a “legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason” for firing music teacher John Kluge: He caused “emotional harm” and disrupted the learning environment by not addressing transgender students by preferred names and pronouns.

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Proposal Uses Pennsylvania Rainy Day Fund To Pay Down Unfunded Pension Liability

A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to use the state’s Rainy Day Fund to pay down the state’s unfunded pension liabilities that total more than $60 billion.

State Representative Joe Ciresi (D-Royersford) is asking colleagues to cosponsor a bill to move $670 million from the fund to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) and $330 million to the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS). A memorandum describing his legislation avers it could save local real-estate taxpayers $2.1 billion over the next 20 years. 

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House Education Administration Committee Passes Bill That Would Arm Teachers

The Tennessee House Education Administration Committee has passed a bill out of the committee that allows those teachers who wish to carry a firearm, to do so, provided their District Superintendent signs off, and they meet prescribed requirements. Current law allows teachers who have served as law enforcement agents, to carry firearms. This bill, HB1202,  would expand those eligible.

The vote passed, after nearly an hour of discussion, by a vote of 12-6. In opposition were three Republicans and three Democrats:

Representative Charlie Baum (R – Murfreesboro)
Representative John Gillespie (R-Memphis)
Representative Mark White (R-Memphis)
Representative Harold Love (D-Nashville)
Representative Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis)
Representative Sam McKenzie (D-Knoxville)
Representative Kirk Heston voted present.

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Nashville Public Education Foundation Recognizes Nashville ‘Teacherpreneurs’

Recognizing that some of the most innovative classroom ideas come from teachers, Nashville Public Education Foundation (NPEF) created the Teacherpreneur program as a means to annually award seed money to implement, or scale, the best ideas from teachers. This year’s winner is Dr. Jennifer Love from East Nashville Magnet High School. Her concept beat out 11 other finalists to take home the top prize. 

Love’s idea is to incorporate a social-emotional learning curriculum for student athletics in an effort to provide increased access to mental health support for high school students. As a first prize winner, she earns a $10,000 cash prize and some additional funding to help her implement her concept as a pilot program. 

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Nashville Public School Teacher Signals Intent to Ignore State Law

Last week, despite being a legal requirement since late summer, a Nashville elementary school teacher posted on the social media outlet TikTok her intent to ignore Tennessee state law. She tells viewers, “We were finally told that we must log all of our books into a system, so that, I guess, parents, or the public, or whoever can view it, um, to make complaints.”

In her eyes, the request is stupid, and asking teachers to do it is degrading. She tells her viewers she’s not going to comply, “I don’t need someone from the state or the district, or whoever to micromanage me in my classroom. And if it’s coming to that point, I’m almost like, maybe this isn’t for me now, and maybe I should get out.”

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TDOE Releases Annual Educator Survey Revealing Growing Teacher Dissatisfaction

The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) and Tennessee Education Research Alliance (TERA) released on Friday key findings and responses from the 2022 Tennessee Educator Survey (TES). Survey results reveal that in every category measured, teachers are more dissatisfied this year than last year.

In 2021, 91 percent of teachers reported being generally satisfied. In 2022, that number has declined to 87 percent.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools Set to Hold Taxpayer-Funded, Out-of-State Summer Retreat

In June, Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) principals are heading north to Louisville, Kentucky for a summer retreat, or as the Nashville school district likes to call it, Principal Splash. MNPS spokesman Sean Braisted tells The Tennessee Star that, “Principal Splash is an opportunity for tier-based and cluster-based planning and professional learning that also allows for peer bonding.”

While in Louisville, they’ll be put up by the district at the Galt House Hotel. As participants of the Splash, Braisted says, “Principals with Academies programs will stay two nights, and one night for remaining principals.” He goes on to tell The Star, “Group transportation will be provided by the district, and we are anticipating approximately 180 staff altogether. Transportation and meals are provided for MNPS personnel, but spouses are allowed to join and stay in the hotel if they so choose.”

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Nation’s Highest-Paid Teachers Are Shutting Down Schools to Demand Higher Pay

Teachers of a Massachusetts school district are striking for a second day over higher pay, according to Boston 25 News.

Woburn Public School District canceled classes for a second day on Tuesday as teachers continue to strike for a 14.75% raise, an increase in salary for paraprofessionals and smaller class sizes, according to Boston 25 News. Massachusetts‘ teachers are among the highest paid teachers in the country, averaging more than $88,000 for a full time salary, according to World Population Review.

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Commentary: ‘Restorative Justice’ Endangers Students and Teachers

As millions of children settle into an uninterrupted academic term, widespread classroom disorder is undermining efforts to reintroduce students to in-person learning.

This increased disorder corresponds with an increase in district-approved “restorative justice” programs, which address classroom dysfunction through nonpunitive measures. Though these programs have existed for decades, they are gaining momentum nationwide.

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Ohio Could Lead in Creating Teacher Compact

An Ohio senator said she believes continuing a national trend she’s championed for more than two years can help soften what education leaders say is a teacher shortage in the state.

Sen. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, spent the better part of the past four years reducing licensing issues and getting state compacts passed that allow doctors, nurses, physical therapists and other skilled professionals to get an Ohio license easier if one is held in another state.

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Audit: Arizona Public School District Endangered Students, Couldn’t Pay Teachers

A western Arizona public school district was found by state auditors to have put children on dangerous buses, run illegitimate nonprofits for decades, and misappropriated funds to the point where teachers’ pay couldn’t be fulfilled.

According to the results of an investigation by the auditor general, Hyder Elementary School District #16 in Southwest Arizona failed basic protocols in four areas, “putting public monies, sensitive computerized data, and student safety at risk.” 

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Commentary: Teachers Don’t Want to Tell Parents What’s Going on in Classrooms

Do parents have the right to know what their children are being taught in public school?

Parents say yes; teachers say no.

Of course, it’s not quite that simple. The description of the latter party can be tweaked to “teachers unions” — although you don’t hear many individual teachers bucking the union line — but the dichotomy remains: parents want to know what’s going on in their kids’ classrooms, and teachers, administrators, and their union bosses would rather not tell them.

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CDC Pressures Teachers to Increase ‘LGBTQ Inclusivity’ in Classroom Instruction

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been forcing teachers across the country to follow certain guidelines demonstrating their commitment to “LGBTQ inclusivity” in their classroom instructions.

As reported by Breitbart, the CDC-issued “assessment tool” asks teachers numerous questions about school employees and their loyalty to the concept of “queer theory,” and forcing sexual education teachers to use gender-neutral language, forbidding them from using terms such as “boy” and “girl.”

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Florida School Board Meeting Reveals ‘Everyday’ Violence, Chaos in Schools as Teachers Flee

Dozens of teachers have fled a Florida school district amid startling reports of ongoing student violence and chaos there, a contentious school board meeting revealed this week.

Brevard County’s lengthy school board meeting on Thursday revealed what one teacher called “an everyday basis” of violent and disruptive behavior from students in the district’s schools. 

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