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franklin county times

Alabama focuses on promoting teaching profession 



By Susie Hovater Malone
Lifestyles Columnist

Teacher shortage is a growing concern among public education and government officials in the United States. Research shows the teacher shortage is being made increasingly worse as policymakers without a background in education are creating policies that are leading to teacher resignation, as well as failing to provide benefits to students and taking away safe spaces for students.

Other factors contributing to the shortage include a lack of respect or proper support, better pay, teacher burnout, school funding, insufficient teacher training, equitable education, cultural representation within the curriculum and more flexibility.

The reasons vary why the education workforce is losing professionals. Several states and the federal government have taken efforts to recruit and retain teachers, notably through loan repayment programs, such as AMSTEP, and other methods.
 In Alabama, the governor signed a budget that would increase teacher salaries as much as 21% based on experience.

The state launched a recruitment web site, WeTeachAlabama.com, along with a series of changes that include expanding the expedited process of getting a teaching and increased pay for rural teachers.

Organizations such as Delta Kappa Gamma International promote professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. DKG gives scholarships to aid women educators in pursuing graduate study and to grant fellowships to non-member women educators.

DKG also initiates, encourages, supports and honors high school students who have interest in the education profession. 
 The Alabama Education Association organized the Future Teachers of Alabama (FTA) in 2000 as a means of attracting the best and the brightest students into the field of education. It is an organization of middle and high school students who are interested in exploring education as a career.

More than 900 FTA students attended the 2023 FTA State Conference in Birmingham. There are more than 1300 student members in almost 100 chapters statewide. At this conference, students participated in breakout sessions on topics including financial literacy, financial aid, scholarship applications, social media, careers in education and professional dress, as well as other important areas.

The Alabama State Department of Education and the Alabama Education Association (AEA) have formed a partnership dedicated to encouraging Alabama’s students to pursue a career in teaching. 
 FTA and TEACH Alabama have started the “Grow Our Own” initiative to provide Alabama’s local school systems with additional opportunities to focus on activities that promote teaching as a career, highlight the importance of America’s educators and encourage students to strongly consider the field of education as a career choice.

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