The following is a list of recent resources for those focused on the professional improvement of teachers, principals, and other educational leaders.

ACT NOW to Help Restore School Leadership Funding  As you may know, the U.S. Congress is working to determine FY 2020 funding levels for federal education programs, including many that can be used to support school leadership. Your U.S. Senators are currently deciding their priorities for the FY 2020 spending bill. Tell your senators: prioritize school leadership funding.

Bill could help address teacher shortage, increase diversity  A bill that would provide more flexible requirements to enter teacher preparation programs could lead to a more diverse workforce and help address the state’s teacher shortage, local officials said.  House Bill 1621, authored by Rep. Alex Ybarra, R-Quincy, of the 13th Legislative District which covers part of Yakima County, would provide more flexibility to colleges and universities to admit education students by making adjustments to the basic skills assessment requirements.

Part 1: Building a Comprehensive Path Toward Being a Professional Educator  With micro-credentials becoming more pervasive in states and districts across the U.S., it’s important to understand how they are used in effective and meaningful ways. That’s why we’ve partnered with educational experts at the American Institutes for Research to author a new guide designed to help school and district administrators better understand how they can leverage micro-credentials to redefine career pathways for educators.  Read part one of the three-part series for a primer on the importance of redefining career pathways to attract and retain high-quality educators.

Teachers Are Paid Less Than Similar Professionals. See the Breakdown by State  In the last two decades, the average weekly wages of public school teachers, adjusted for inflation, have decreased, while the weekly wages of other college graduates have risen.  That’s according to an analysis by Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank supported partially by teachers’ unions. The teacher weekly wage penalty reached a record 21.4 percent in 2018.  Teachers do get better benefits than other college-educated workers—but even after factoring those into the analysis, the total teacher compensation penalty was 13.1 percent in 2018.

New Story: Parents of Diverse Learners Champion Differentiated Instruction for All Students  The ISBE Storyteller team recently posted a new peer-to-peer learning resource focusing on the phenomenal parent-teacher collaboration for special education at Waters Elementary in City of Chicago SD 299.  Read the story and view available resources. Please feel free to submit comments or reach out to the Waters team for more information.  Storytellers at ISBE identify, produce, and share stories of effective, replicable practices positively impacting schools across Illinois to inspire educators to engage in statewide peer-to-peer learning with the goal of better serving our students. Does your school or district have a story to share? Submit your story idea. 

ISBE Teacher Shortage Recap  The Illinois State Board of Education this week hosted a conversation on possible solutions to the state’s teacher shortage. They discussed the highlights on Statewide.

Moving PD From Seat-time to Demonstrated Competency Using Micro-credentials  Micro-credentials are a digital form of certification that indicate when a person has demonstrated competency in a specific skill set. As a progress tracking and signaling system, micro-credentials are gaining traction in education since they offer a promising approach to personalized, competency-based professional learning.  Read this micro-credentials essentials guide, produced by Getting Smart in partnership with BloomBoard, to learn more about:

  • Problems that micro-credentials solve
  • Benefits of competency-based recognition for educators
  • Steps to earning a micro-credential
  • Best practices that acknowledge that not all badges are created equally

Democratic lawmakers support Lamont’s plan to have cities and towns pay for teachers’ pensions  Democratic lawmakers found common ground with Gov. Ned Lamont Tuesday on a controversial plan to have cities and towns share in the cost of public school teachers’ pensions.  Local leaders immediately criticized the idea, saying it would cost municipalities a combined $73 million a year and would lead to property tax increases across the state.

Preparing Leaders to Make a Difference for Students and Schools  Recognizing that school leaders play a critical role in school performance, states and districts are rethinking how they prepare principals. Join a webinar on Thursday, May 16, at 12 p.m. ET, to hear lessons learned for preparing principals and school leaders from New Leaders. The webinar will cover findings from a recent study that examined the effectiveness of principals prepared by New Leaders and identified competencies of aspiring school leaders that predicted better outcomes.

Hard Lessons On The Teacher Shortage  One important avenue for addressing the current teacher shortage, especially in hard to staff areas like special education, could be finding ways to support paraprofessionals and other school personnel aspiring to earn their teaching license.