This article appeared in the Niagra Gazette:
School leaders struggle to address teacher shortages across New York
NEW YORK: Falls district offers scholarship to help address situation.
By Joe Mahoney
In it Mr. Mahoney writes,
“New York is facing a growing teacher SHORTAGE, and the problem is particularly acute for the math and science subject areas, teachers certified to instruct in bilingual programs and those trained to teach students with disabilities, according to state officials, administrators and representatives of New York State United Teachers.
“The number of young folks going into teacher education PROGRAMS in New York has really plummeted,” said Jamie Dangler, the United University Professions vice president for academics as well as the chairwoman of the union’s teacher education task force.
It’s a SHORTAGE that is being felt from Niagara Falls to Plattsburgh to New York City, creating daunting challengers for administrators charged with ensuring that the educational needs of students are met.
“There is definitely a teacher shortage, particularly in the (grades) 7 to 12 strands, with particular needs for special education and science,” said Mark Laurrie, superintendent for the Niagara Falls City School District.
Dangler, a professor at the State University at Cortland, said the appeal of going into teaching has been harmed by “the turmoil” caused by mandatory testing and suggestions by some politicians outside the realm of education that more stringent PERFORMANCE measures on teachers will improve student performance.
“There has been an attempt from outside of the teaching profession to control and limit teaching and teachers, and that’s backfired because it has made their jobs more difficult,” Dangler said. “This has also imposed unnecessary obstacles to allowing them to do what they are really trained to do — which is to teach students.”
Dedicated teachers want to bring their gifts and talents to students in order to discover the gifts and talents their students possess. A standardized curriculum makes that impossible, forcing everyone, teachers and students into an artificial norm that dehumanizes both.
The only way to change the outcome in education is to change the system of education.
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