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Kentuckians at National 'Meeting of the Minds' on Education

Districts nationally lose more than $7 billion a year because of teacher turnover. (Ilmicrofono Oggiono/Flickr)
Districts nationally lose more than $7 billion a year because of teacher turnover. (Ilmicrofono Oggiono/Flickr)
July 5, 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Teachers, administrators and other voices in education from Kentucky and other states are working together to confront some of the top issues facing public education. More than 100 Kentuckians are at the National Education Association's Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly in Boston, which ends today.

Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association, is attending the conference and said two of the topics on which educators have focused are racial and social justice.

"Children are not born with prejudice; that's learned," she said. "And so, we as educators want to be the champions of racial and social justice, in our public schools and our in communities, so that we can educate others of some of the effects of some of the injustices that are going on in our country today."

Educators are debating factors that limit educational opportunities for women, communities of color and LGBTQ individuals, and want to develop solutions. They're also discussing policies on charter schools, and ways that districts can best implement the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Winkler said another important matter is the inability of many districts to retain new teachers. At the conference, they're looking at ways to offer support through mentors.

"A lot of times, once they get into the profession, it's a different kind of reality than what they think teaching is," Winkler said. "Teaching is not an easy job, and it's not for everyone. So, we're trying to put an emphasis on supporting new educators as much as possible to keep them in the profession because we need good teachers, all over the country and in Kentucky."

According to the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, school districts nationally lose more than $7 billion a year because of teacher turnover. Nearly 8,000 educators from every state are on hand at the NEA conference.

Conference information is online at ra.nea.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - KY