Education Week - April 20, 2016 - (Page 10)
Ind. Scholarship Law Aims to Entice Top Students Into Teaching
By Elisha McNeil
Indiana this month became the
latest state to seek to curb persistent teacher shortages by offering
college-tuition dollars to students
who go into teaching.
On April 7, Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican, signed a new law that provides more than $10 million to create
the Next Generation Hoosier Scholarship fund, designed to entice high-performing students into K-12 education.
"This bipartisan initiative encourages our best and brightest
students to consider teaching in
Indiana classrooms as a lifelong
career," Gov. Pence said.
Starting in the fall of 2017, up to
200 college students who commit to
teaching in Indiana for at least five
consecutive years after graduation
can receive up to $7,500 per year (no
more than $30,000 in total) to cover
tuition as they pursue their degrees.
To be eligible, students must have
graduated in the top 20 percent of
their high school classes or scored
in the top 20th percentile on their
ACT or SAT exams. After receiving
the scholarship, the students are
required to maintain a grade point
average of 3.0 or higher.
Students who fail to meet the
terms of the scholarship, including
by not remaining in teaching for
five years, would have to repay all
or some of the money, depending on
the circumstances. Application and
other program details are being
ironed out by the state's Commission for Higher Education.
Indiana is one of a number of
states that have been struggling
with well-publicized teacher shortages, particularly in hard-to-staff
subjects and geographic areas, as
well as declining enrollments in
In Indiana's case, problems in the
new-teacher pipeline appear to be
particularly dramatic. According to
federal data, the number of students
enrolled in teacher-prep programs
in the state dropped from 15,115 in
2009-10 to 7,222 in 2013-14. In the
same period, program completions
dropped from 4,339 to 3,510.
According to the Indiana education department, the state has seen
a drop of more than 30 percent in
new-teacher licensures issued over
the past six years.
Last fall, state Superintendent for
Public Instruction Glenda Ritz created a special commission to develop
recommendations "to systematically
address Indiana's teacher shortage."
In January, the group-known as
the Blue Ribbon Teacher Commission-issued a report urging policymakers (among other initiatives)
to provide for more "professionally
competitive" salary scales for educators, de-emphasize the use of standardized tests in teacher evaluations, and "offset the costs of teacher
preparation" for students, with an
emphasis on teacher-candidates
from underrepresented groups.
recommendations from the commission" and that Ritz would continue to
concentrate on pushing through the
strategies outlined by the group's.
But Indiana lawmakers' move to
focus on providing college-tuition
money to entice students into teaching echoes initiatives put forth recently by other states.
Anytime we receive support from our legislators
in order to support the outstanding profession
of teaching is a positive step for our state."
THOMAS A. OESTREICH
Director of Human Resources, Metropolitan School District of Washington Township
Also in January, Gov. Pence signed
a bill to create a one-year reprieve of
teacher-evaluation consequences tied
to the state's standardized test. But
that initiative appeared to be related
less to teacher-recruitment issues
than to concerns about schools' transition to a new testing regime.
Samantha Hart, a press secretary
for the state department of education,
said in an email that the new scholarship program "was not based on
Last year, Nevada lawmakers
approved a measure to provide
nearly $5 million in scholarships
to students who enroll in teacherpreparation programs, starting with
alternative-route offerings, at select
state colleges. And both Illinois and
Virginia have programs that provide
tuition assistance to students who
commit to teaching in designated
"shortage areas" in the states.
Legislators in South Carolina re-
cently proposed an $8.2 million student-loan-forgiveness program for
would-be teachers who agree to work
in high-needs districts, according to
the Associated Press. California lawmakers are considering a measure
that would reinstate a similar loanforgiveness program that was cut
several years ago because of budget
Other states have smaller, more
targeted loan-forgiveness measures
for teachers on the books.
Skeptics argue that, no matter
how generous, tuition-assistance
programs alone do little to resolve
long-term teacher shortages because
they fail to address structural problems within the profession itself.
But some school recruiters see
them as a step in the right direction.
Thomas A. Oestreich, the human
resources director for the Washington Township in Indianapolis, said
that while much more needs to be
done to support teachers in Indiana,
the scholarship program helps raise
the profession's profile.
"Anytime we receive support from
our legislators in order to support the
outstanding profession of teaching is
a positive step for our state," he said.
"It is my hope that many young people in our high schools will look at the
teaching profession in a positive light,
and this scholarship fund may entice
some of our top high school students
to enter this noble profession."
Districts Try to Simplify
School Choice Process
or 9th grade can choose among more than 40 schools during the
30-day window this month, according to the Detroit Free Press.
| K-12 PARENTS AND THE PUBLIC | Two major urban areas are trying to
make it easier for parents to choose and enroll their children in schools.
But Los Angeles and Detroit district officials are taking opposite
Los Angeles Unified wants to start a one-stop application for its
specialized schools, such as magnets and dual-language programs. But
the district plans to exclude charter schools.
Detroit only has charter schools and one private campus in its new
application system. No regular district schools are involved.
Districts nationwide are increasingly trying to simplify the way
parents apply for a myriad of public school choices and make the
process more equitable. Single-enrollment systems, especially, have
caught on in districts with many options, such as efforts started in 2012
with Denver and New Orleans. But the results have been mixed and
have resulted in parent complaints, such as in Newark, N.J.
Both Los Angeles and Detroit have neighborhood schools, along with
charters and other options.
The 640,000-student Los Angeles district recently started discussing
a unified-enrollment process to help parents navigate the district's eight
or so specialized programs, as well as its traditional district schools.
Now, if parents want to leave their neighborhood schools, every
program has a different application system. The enrollment process
spreads over eight months, said Jesus Angulo, the director of academic
and counseling services.
The district wants to crunch down the window to about six weeks in
the fall each year as a way to better "support communities and families
so they can make important choices for their sons or daughters," he
District officials in Detroit were initially part of the talks to join the
common-enrollment system, but the 50,000-student school system
decided to stay out for now.
The district has been under state oversight and emergency managers
"Given the state of transition that currently exists in the district, we
elected not to join in the pilot program," said Michelle Zdrodowski, a
Detroit spokeswoman, in a statement.
Meanwhile, Detroit families with children entering kindergarten
How Student-Led Confabs
Could Help Rural Schools
10 | EDUCATION WEEK | April 20, 2016 | www.edweek.org
| RURAL EDUCATION | Eight years ago, the rural Pittsfield, N.H., district
had one of the state's lowest-performing schools. Parent involvement
was low, with fewer than 20 percent showing up for parent-teacher
Then, in 2012, the district received a $2 million grant to focus on
student-centered learning, which gives students more choice over
their learning and also increases the responsibility students have
over their academics. As part of this model, the district adopted
student-led conferences, which put students in charge of relaying
their academic progress to parents.
This model is examined in a recent story by The Hechinger Report,
which suggests that those conferences could help rural schools deal
with such chronic problems as low college-enrollment rates and a lack
of parent participation.
In Pittsfield, officials say the conferences are teaching students
valuable lessons and skills. They must organize the conferences
with school officials, invite their parents through a formal letter, and
prepare a work portfolio. During the conferences, they present their
work to their parents or guardians, as well as their progress toward
District officials say the process is helping students set goals for
their future, and parent participation has increased. Now, 90 percent
of parents attend conferences. A key feature of the process is that
the district accommodates parent schedules, which can be especially
helpful in rural districts where there are few public-transportation
options and work commutes can be lengthy.
Some potential challenges have arisen, however, according to the
story. School officials have seen parents and children disagree about
long-term goals that are brought up during the conferences, such
as attending college out of state. Parents of juniors and seniors also
may start seeing the conferences as "familiar and even rote," after
attending for several years, which means the content may need to
change for older students.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 20, 2016
Education Week - April 20, 2016
Charters Help Alums Stick With College
Cruz’s K-12 Agenda: Pro-School Choice, Anti-Common Core
National Count of Special Education Students Shows Uptick
New Online Tool Expands Access To School Climate Measurements
Table of Contents
News in Brief
Caution Urged on Measuring Social-Emotional Skills
Studies Affirm Role of Emotions In Students’ Transitions
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Needs for ‘Resourcefulness,’ Equity Probed in Maker Ed.
Digital Divide Evolves in Fla. Schools, Study Finds
Ind. Scholarship Law Aims to Entice Top Students Into Teaching
Blogs of the Week
Testing Issues Generate Heat in Legislatures
Sparks Fly as Congress Reviews ESSA Rulemaking Process
MATT GANDAL: Are We Serious About the Goal Of College and Career Readiness for All?
ADAM LAATS & HARVEY SIEGEL: Teaching Evolution Is Not About Changing Beliefs
Q&A With StoryCorps’ Dave Isay
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
CHARLOTTE DANIELSON: It’s Time to Rethink Teacher Evaluation
Education Week - April 20, 2016