TREND Spring 2020 - Page 28

Bureaucrats keep piling on more requirements of educators with barely a nod of appreciation. Fewer occupations have undergone more changes than those in public education. Three critical issues often cited by our educators for leaving our profession are school culture, student discipline, and teacher salaries. Addressing improvements in these areas continues to be the focus of our advocacy efforts at the state legislature. The National School Climate Center notes that “empirical research has shown that when school members feel safe, valued, cared for, engaged, and respected, learning measurably increases, and staff satisfaction and retention are enhanced.” Bad school culture is a barrier to student learning and quality teaching. Business leaders have long recognized the connection between employee working conditions and productivity. Establishing positive working conditions for school staff improves the learning conditions for students. Quality instruction cannot be provided if staff morale is low, the staff does not feel supported by school administration and/or the staff turnover is high. Teacher recruitment and retention is a critical role in any school or district. Factors such as teacher-administrator relationships, collegiality, job expectations, and participation in decision-making are among the most important reasons whether or not teachers choose to stay at their school or in the profession. Lack of student discipline, inadequate administrative support, and lack of respect are all frequently cited reasons as to why teachers leave the profession - almost as much as salary and working conditions. We continue to place children with serious and chronic behavior issues into regular classrooms, where the teacher is already overwhelmed with other students who also have behavior problems. Instruction time