Primary class sizes to be cut while more teachers and special needs assistants hired

Smaller primary classes and the recruitment of more resource teachers and special needs assistants (SNAs) are central planks of the €8.9bn education budget for 2021.

Fianna Fáil has held good to its promise to restart the process of reducing the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) in the most overcrowded classrooms in the EU.

It will come via an increase in the allocation of teachers to schools, with one teacher for every 25 pupils next September, down from the current 26:1, and it means an extra 307 primary teacher jobs.

While the average class size in the EU is 20, in Ireland it is 24, with one in five primary pupils taught in a class of 30 or more.

There is also a commitment to 403 special education teachers, a further 87 posts for primary schools at risk of losing a teacher because of falling enrolments, and another 268 teacher jobs, across primary

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Before Baltimore County teachers return to classes, they want to see reopening plan

Baltimore County teachers, concerned about when they’ll return to the classroom, say they’re waiting to see a back to school plan from the district.|| Coronavirus updates | Maryland’s latest numbers | Where to get tested ||Baltimore County teachers will hold a news conference Tuesday evening. Once it’s over, teachers plan to drive over to school board headquarters to send a message to the board that they want answers.“We want a safe and sustained reopening for schools,” Baltimore County Teachers Association President Cindy Sexton said.The teacher’s union said those are two concerns that must be addressed before educators head back to the classroom. That could end up being sometime after the first of the year.“The hope is when it’s safe, if it’s safe before that, we’ll certainly welcome the conversation. If we are still in the throes of this pandemic, then we’re not going to agree that would safe either,” Sexton … Read More

The Teachers’ “Red for Ed” Movement Is Far From Dead

In late February 2018, teachers and support staff shuttered schools in all fifty-five counties of West Virginia. Their strike inspired educators across the country and raised hopes that a long-awaited revival of organized labor finally may have arrived.

That spring, school employees in Oklahoma, Arizona, and beyond walked out to demand increased education funding and better pay. Confounding all expectations, these actions erupted in Republican-dominated (Red) states with weak labor unions, bans on public sector strikes, and electorates that voted for Donald Trump. The “Red for Ed” movement soon spread nationwide, with strikes throughout 2019 paralyzing school districts in Democratic cities such as Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago, and Denver.

How has this Red for Ed movement developed over the two years since West Virginia? Have the walkouts strengthened educator unions and rank-and-file teacher activism? And to what extent has the movement been able to win its demands and effect broader

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Teachers union survey quantifies mental toll from remote learning

Those having the worst time are working on hybrid schedules, with students learning both in-person and from home at the same time, Education Minnesota found.

Union president Denise Specht said in a statement that schools should take any unnecessary tasks off teachers’ plates and stop requiring them to teach students in multiple places at once.

“That arrangement may have seemed like a good idea in August, but it’s not working in October and it may drive out hundreds of teachers by May,” she said.

29% ‘thinking about quitting’

The union said the online survey fielded 9,723 responses between Sept. 23 and Oct. 5. About 83% were teachers, with school nurses, counselors and aides also responding.

Overall, 29%t said they were “thinking about quitting or retiring.”

“Our public schools won’t function if thousands of educators burn out and leave. It’s time to adjust,” Specht said.

However, retirements since May actually are

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Coronavirus impact: Bay Area parents, teachers, students share challenges of virtual learning since start of school

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — It’s been more than a month since public school districts in the Bay Area opted to return to online classes and educators and parents are starting to recognize the negative consequences of virtual learning.

“I am of the point of view that the public health interest of these children is served by getting these schools open,” stated CDC Director, Robert Redfield.

“There is no substitute for being in school like with your students,” added Mark Sanchez, a teacher who serves on the school board in San Francisco.


While everyone acknowledges that in-person learning is best for students, many feel the virus and its potential for spreading have left us helpless, with no other option but to continue with remote learning.

“It’s going ok, but I miss my friends for real life,” said 4-year-old Marion, sitting on her mother’s

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Lakewood elementary school teachers deliver books to kids during remote learning

First grade teachers Nicole Andregg and Patricia Birch found a way to stay connected to their students.

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — This year, the school year is unprecedented, and different on so many levels for everyone, including teachers.

Two first-grade teachers, from Hayes Elementary School in Lakewood, found a way to bridge the gap and connect with kids, through reading.

When their students started the school year off remotely, Nicole Andregg and Patricia Birch knew many of their students didn’t have what they needed.

“We also knew that a lot of kids don’t have books in their hands all the time. So we thought, ‘why don’t we just start a bookmobile?’ We can deliver books to children and say hi to them. And they’ll get to see our faces and have a little special treat from us,” Patricia said.

“They’re just smiling and beaming and we are, too,” Nicole echoed.


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West Orange District Prepares Teachers for Hybrid Reopening

WEST ORANGE, NJ — As the West Orange Public School (WOPS) District begins its countdown towards a Nov. 9 hybrid reopening, WOPS Superintendent Dr. Scott Cascone explained that the district is now preparing staff for their students’ return to brick and mortar classrooms. At the same time, the district’s autistic students started on Monday, Oct. 12 with a staggered reintroduction for other special needs populations between next week and Nov. 9.

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Eveny de Mendez added that when in-person classes begin the week of Nov. 9, the students will be broken in different cohorts–two at the elementary schools and four at the middle schools and high school.

She continued that in order to prepare for the incoming cohorts, the district is planning  professional development (PD) sessions centering around instructional strategies for teaching both in-person and remotely.

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Highland Park Community Foundation Honors Highland Park High School Teachers with 2020 HPCF Golden Apple Award

The Highland Park Community Foundation (HPCF) has recognized three well-deserving Highland Park High School teachers with 2020 HPCF Golden Apple Awards. This year’s honorees are Josh Chodoroff, HPHS Band Director; Nairy Hagopian, Spanish Teacher; and Katrina Tolemy, Special Education Essentials Teacher.

“The Highland Park Community Foundation is privileged to honor Josh, Nairy, and Katrina as the HPCF’s 2020 Golden Apple Recipients,” said Sara Sher, HPCF Golden Apple selection committee chair. “We want to recognize these exemplary teachers for the valuable work they do every day on behalf of the children in our community. The Highland Park Community Foundation celebrates these extraordinary individuals for their positive impact and their teaching in both the classroom and the virtual world.”



To recognize outstanding teachers in the Highland Park School systems, in 2010, the Highland Park Community Foundation worked with a local family foundation to launch the annual HPCF Golden Apple Award. The HPCF

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Teachers Do Not Feel Prepared For Virtual Learning

As students across the country returned to school this fall, many questions hung in the air. Would school be able to open for in-person instruction? Would schools starting the year with virtual learning meet with more success than they did back in the spring? Would anarchic or substandard return-to-school plans change parent attitudes about public schools and parents’ openness to outside schooling options? How will teachers be affected?

We have a glimpse at the answer to the first question. Some schools have been able to open in-person, while others have either remained virtual or pursued some kind of hybrid plan. As to the second, it will be some time before we

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Read a Minneapolis teacher’s poignant, honest obituary

Not so for Kelly Norden, whose death announcement starts off stating simply that Norden, “age 42, took her own life on October 3.” 

Norden, who’d worked as a special education teacher at Edison High School, is survived by her husband, Jason, two step-sons, and both of her parents. She went to Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park and Augsburg College, and had started working at Edison, where she specialized in autism, in 2005. 

“Everyone loved Kelly and remember her as a fierce advocate for students and a gifted teacher,” reads the obituary. “Kelly struggled with mental health concerns for much of her adult life and worked hard to be healthy and live life fully. The year 2020, brought an overabundance of challenges that shook Kelly’s world and she fought to win the battle.”

Norden was a “good listener” and “absolutely stylish,” and known for her appreciation for mochas and

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