teachers

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Who says teaching doesn't pay? 

Probably not Libbi Sparks. The Independence high school teacher recently cashed in a career's worth of math lessons to the tune of $30,000. 

Sparks teaches math at William Chrisman High School in Independence, Missouri, and has nearly three decades of experience teaching in public schools.

She's taught everything from middle school pre-algebra to dual-credit Calculus II. In 2012, she earned prestigious National Board certification. 

In other words, she knows what she is doing. 

www.fundforteachers.org

Fund for Teachers provides local educators the money to gain unique experiences from around the world and bring them back to their students, and school communities. On this edition of Up To Date, guest host Danie Alexander talks with a panel about the process and results of this program. 

Guests:

Cybrarian 77 / Flickr--CC

A very contentious ballot issue in Missouri has been suddenly abandoned by its backers.

Amendment 3 would drastically change the way teachers are evaluated and retained.

The constitutional amendment would require districts to base the majority of an educator’s evaluation on student achievement. Teacher pay and retention would be largely based on that data. Amendment 3 would also cut into teacher tenure.

US Department of Education / Flickr, Creative Commons

Recent studies from the Center for American Progress and the National Education Association point to what some are calling a diversity gap in American schools. While student populations are growing more and more racially diverse, the teaching pool isn't changing at a pace that reflects that reality.

Major changes to teacher employment laws in Kansas will soon be taking effect, eliminating from state law what many people know as “tenure.”

That means administrators will be able to be fire teachers more easily, and it could be several years before we know the full effects of the changes. Under the old rules, Kansas teachers who had been with a district fewer than three years were on probationary status, and could be let go without a reason.

Kansas National Education Association

A controversial move by Kansas lawmakers has teachers up in arms all over the state.  Steve Kraske talks with Kansas State Rep. John Bradford, who supported the change in the law, and Mark Desetti of the Kansas National Education Association.  They'll discuss how it will now be easier to fire teachers by eliminating their due-process rights and how supporters say that will improve education.  They also look at how this affects job security for teachers as well as their ability to criticize administrators when called for.

Guests:

A joint Missouri House/Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday on whether the state's teacher tenure system is working.

Among those testifying was Mark Van Zandt, General Counsel for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). He says tenured teachers can be held accountable under the current system.

"There are procedures in place, if a teacher is not meeting the standards that are expected of them, in terms of instruction," Van Zandt said. "There can be consequences."

Cybrarian77/Flickr-CC

For some, stepping in front of 30 kids to talk about math or English would be a nightmare. For teachers, it’s just another day at work.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we talk with teachers Caitlin Rowe, Ashley Martinez, Jacque Flowers, who have just finished their first year in the classroom, about what they’ve learned, surprises they encountered and what keeps them coming back.

Legislation pre-filed in the Missouri House would allow teachers to carry firearms in their classrooms.