Funding Education’s Future? Let’s Improve Every Teacher

What will happen next for education? With a new president, what will our divided government be able to accomplish? The K-12 workforce has been hoping for lots of improvements and perhaps they will see some of them. The Biden agenda includes:

“Increasing funding for teacher mentoring, leadership and professional development. The funds would also be used to help teachers earn additional certification in high demand areas, such as special education or bilingual education.

Helping teachers reduce their own student loan obligations by strengthening the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

Doubling the number of psychologists, counselors nurses and social workers in our nation’s schools.

Increasing the number of students in community schools — those that offer a range of services to children and their families, not just educational ones — by another 300,000 students and families.

Providing “full funding” for special education, compared to the 14% the federal government currently provides.

As for early education, as part of a massive $775 billion proposal for supporting caregivers at all levels, he is proposing:

Providing all 3- and 4-year-olds with access to high-quality preschool.

Offering tax credits of $8000 per child (and $16,000 for two or more children) for low- and middle-income families to pay for child care.

Expanding after-school, weekend and summer child care.

Increasing support for child care and other “wraparound” services at community colleges to help parents seeking to improve their skills.

Creating a new child care construction tax credit to encourage businesses to build child care facilities at places of work.”

Edsource, downloaded Nov. 8, 2020

These proposals are important for all readers to see. Some of these proposals address long-standing funding issues, such as special education, that is now down to 14% of Federal support. Some of these proposals look at ways that schools and early learning centers and even afterschools could use more help. And some of them focus on teacher learning.

For me, teacher learning is the missing improvement in education. We constantly under-fund, or under-coordinate the roll out of a coordinated funding program for teacher learning. If we had taught the project method, or Bloom’s taxonomy, or the direct instruction method, or even Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences to all teachers and deployed a coordinated in-service and pre-service roll out of those methodologies, our teaching force would be twice as good as it is now.

Whatever gets funded, let’s work on helping the entire force benefit from it.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

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