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My New Book Has Made Amazon’s Best Seller List

My new book, Who Will Teach The Children? Recruiting, Retaining & Refreshing Highly Effective Educators , published on September 16th, 2019 is #95 on Amazon’s Best Seller List for Teacher and Student Mentoring. It is available for purchase on Amazon.com

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month

Bullying is no longer an accepted childhood rite of passage. Yet one out of every five children is still reporting being bullied. While bullying intensifies in middle school and at between ages 11-15, elementary school children as young as five are reporting incidents in classrooms, school gyms, lunchrooms, and on the school bus. We need to create awareness among parents, teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and students that bullying is not acceptable. It can lead to depression, dropping out of school and suicide.

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Can Tech Can Fill the Gaping Hole Left by Teacher Exodus?

Can Tech Can Fill the Gaping Hole Left by Teacher Exodus?

By Charles Sosnik, Editor in Chief, Learning Counsel

It’s as if schools are sitting on the deck of the Titanic, playing music as the great ocean liner descends into the murky depths of the North Atlantic. As the band plays on, their music is filled with our day-to-day challenges. We are engulfed in issues like superintendent firings, metal detectors in schools and union negotiations. We talk about student mental health and opioid use in schools. All these issues are important, and the discussions are fueled by our local news organizations who are the first to point out our flaws. But the one thing that isn’t getting enough coverage in the media is much like a massive iceberg on the horizon that threatens the very existence of our public schools – we are losing our teachers and school administrators. The fact is teachers are leaving the profession in record numbers, we have a diminishing talent pool from which to recruit new teachers, and we have no answer to the teacher exodus.

American humorist Mark Twain once said, “There are lies, damn lies and statistics.” But in this case, the numbers don’t lie. In the last eight years, we have seen a 37 percent decrease in the number of college students enrolled in teacher prep programs. Add to that, the fact that many states are losing a quarter of their new teachers after the first year andour new teachers are Millennials with no expectation of long-term employment, and we have a teacher shortage problem. It’s the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the room. Unless we believe technology is a magic bullet that can replace our disappearing teachers, we need to figure this out. If not, in a few years we may be yearning for the good old days of 40-student class sizes.

Here are a few additional facts to add to the mix:

  • Almost half (46 percent) of teachers who graduated from a school of education and accepted employment in a US school district will leave the profession altogether within the first five years.
  • The professional life expectancy of a school principal is three years except in inner-cities, serving in low-income, high-poverty students or in rural areas, where it is 18 months.
  • Schools experiencing periods of high turnover are more likely to hire teachers who are not fully licensed.
  • High-poverty schools are more likely to have vacancies and are more likely to fill positions with first-year or non-credentialed teachers
  • In the past eight years, the number of students enrolled in traditional schools of education in the U.S. has dropped from 609,106 to 337,690
  • In the past eight years, the number of students enrolled in non-traditional teacher preparation has risen from 38,595 to 66,173.
  • By 2025, the number of new teachers needed is expected to be over 300,000 per year, while the expected supply of new teachers is expected to be just over 100,000.
  • In some states, uncertified or unlicensed teachers are in classrooms.
  • The number one reason teachers are leaving is because of a lack of administrative support.
  • We have a growing number of non-traditional students (homeless, poverty, minority) who come from non-traditional families (merged, minority, single parent, two-working parents) and who learn in non-traditional ways (technology).
  • The largest shortages are in Special Education, English as a Second Language (ESL), Science, Math and Technology (STEM)

Can Technology save us?

Clearly, the number of vacancies in the coming years is expected to outstrip the number of available new teachers by an untenable amount. What shall we do? Some experts cite the promise of technology to make up the difference. Others believe the roll of teachers will change, but the need for qualified professionals will remain constant. According to LeiLani Cauthen, CEO of the research and publishing firm The Learning Counsel, the roles of teachers may change significantly, but technology will not defer the importance nor the demand for teaching professionals. “There will be more employment needed, not less,” said Cauthen, “but some of the roles will change. The arguments about choice and teacher-to-administrator ratios are based on existing whole-group-by-age-batch and classes, specifically the classroom; they don’t acknowledge the fact that there is a different way to think about all of it now that technology and sophisticated algorithms are on the scene.  There’s more to this discussion, but the top-line rough estimates are that the 3.3 million-or-so K-12 teaching jobs will eventually change roughly as follows:

“Approximately 50 percent of teaching jobs will go into prep and analyticsto provide totally personalized learning pathways. The role will get into the deep use of analytics showing what a student may be missing in the length of time it takes them to complete a task, what quizzes and tests reveal, cross-analysis of their interests and more in order to adjudicate next steps. This moves subject expertise into a “back office” function and can be done from anywhere, untethering this role from place. A portion of this work may be outside support services contracted with schools or districts. Education won’t lose jobs, but it will need to morph some jobs into new functions, disassembling roles and institutional structure, and to reassemble into new roles and a distributed structure.

“Approximately 25 percent will be in traditional lecturing, direct instruction, and a modified all-subject homeroom type classroom, plus labs of all kinds, sports fields and office one-on-one subject-expertise meets.  This role monitors live on-site work in physical schools as scheduled by planners predicting which cohort of students is about to arrive at a needed lecture moment (like Uber schedules you with a driver).

“Approximately 25% will be para-professionalspossibly mixed with fully credentialed teachers doing the following:

  • Online support/chat-window or conference, either employed by a school or by a courseware company contracted with the school or via a student-purchased subscription.
  • Staging for the direct instruction teachers such as gathering the science lab materials needed before instructor and students arrive, plus other small and large group project-based learning duties.
  • Data entry flanking the instructor so that information gets back to the planners to continue to level-up the personalization and next stages for each student.

These three key roles are typically embodied in one classroom teacher right now, modified by school and district-level staff as overlays, but a disaggregation opens new vistas of personalization and leverage of different teacher skill sets.”

Even with the amazing opportunities technology can provide to our students, in our present system of learning it will not alleviate the need for teachers. In fact, according to Cauthen and others, the demand for teaching professionals may increase as we ratchet up the use of education technology. The answer seems to be a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, which might seem humorous if our children’s futures weren’t hanging in the balance.

America, we have a problem.

Franklin Schargel, bestselling author with thirteen books on education including the soon to be published Who Will Teach the Children? Recruiting, Retaining & Refreshing Highly Effective Educators,and more than a hundred academic articles to his credit, believes the problem can be lessened using the tools and human resource practices now employed in the private sector. “The first thing we need to do,” said Schargel, “is to find out why teachers are leaving their jobs and the profession. That starts with an exit interview. Education may be the only industry that doesn’t require an exit interview as employment terminates. In my home district, Albuquerque Public Schools, teachers are allowed to leave their jobs without a word of explanation. No exit interview is conducted and therefore no data is collected to determine why a teacher is leaving. This leaves little opportunity to gain feedback from employees in order to improve aspects of the organization, better retain employees, and reduce turnover.”

When asked why districts across the U.S. are not conducting exit interviews, the number one reason given is the expense of creating and conducting the interviews.  However, according to the Learning Policy Institute, “High teacher turnover—or churn—undermines student achievement and consumes valuable staff time and resources. It also contributes to teacher shortages throughout the country, as roughly 6 of 10 new teachers hired each year are replacing colleagues who left the classroom before retirement. Research shows that urban districts can, on average, spend more than $20,000 on each new hire, including school and district expenses related to separation, recruitment, hiring, and training. These investments don’t pay their full dividend when teachers leave within 1 or 2 years after being hired.”

According to Schargel, the looming teacher shortage is a man-made problem. “Why would anyone want to become a teacher? They are faced with low pay, poor working conditions, low social status, having to pay for their own office supplies, and being held singularly responsible for the failure of young people and the failure of keeping America globally competitive.

“According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Predicting the Need for Newly Hired Teachers in the United States, depending on the assumptions made, projections for the number of newly hired public school teachers needed ranges from 1.7 million to 2.7 million to replace those retiring. Since 46 percent of all educators leave the field within five years, that means we need to hire between 2,482,000 and 3,942,000 qualified teaching professionals. We need to conduct ‘stay-in’ interviews to find out why teachers remain in their schools and classrooms.

“It used to be possible to get additional bodies from those females graduating from college. In the past, the main occupations for women were either secretaries, nurses or teachers. Even today, 77 percent of all public-school teachers are female and 56 percent of them are over the age of 40. As work opportunities continue to open to female professionals, the available labor pool of teachers will continue to decline. That makes the current exodus of teachers even more alarming.

“Our K-12 teaching force is aging rapidly and is not being replaced. The proportion of K-12 teachers who are 50 years of age and older has risen from 24 percent to 42 percent. The percentage of teachers in their 30s has dropped from 37 percent to 22 percent. The proportion of teachers in their 40s has also dropped from 44 percent to 26 percent. This creates a lack of mentors for those people who will be entering the field. With the demand for qualified professionals in other industries like data analytics, cyber security and robotics creating six figure starting salaries, it will be difficult getting additional bodies, men or women, into teaching.

“Businesspeople measure their success in two ways — the return on investment and the value added. The fewer dollars they spend while more money generated, the greater their profit. Value added equals how much revenue is added with each step in the process. However, the business community apparently has had a difficult time teaching these concepts to the governors that direct and control their state’s education spend. The present politicians are neither considering return on investment nor value added as they make drastic cuts in education. Apparently their shortsighted, short-term cuts don’t affect their long-term thinking.

“By cutting education today, the long-term effects will not be felt until elected officials are no longer in office. Besides, the next generation of politicians can always blame the problems they face on their predecessors. It’s the ideal win-win situation for today’s politicians and the only losers are the children, their parents and American society. As long as men in government determine the salaries and working conditions of the women in education, teaching will never pay well.”

 

 

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Franklin Cited in National Magazine Article

I am cited in this article.

https://thelearningcounsel.com/article/can-tech-fill-gaping-hole-left-teacher-exodus

Can Tech Fill the Gaping Hole Left by Teacher Exodus?

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Presentation in Santa Fe, NM on October 16, 2019 at the Convention Center

I will be delivering a presentation at the Santa Fe, NM Convention Center for the CloseIt Organization on Wednesday, October 16 from 10:30AM to 11:30AM dealing with my new book, Who Will Teach The Children? Recruiting,Retaining, & Refreshing Highly Effective Educators. Educators are leaving the field almost as quickly as Schools of Education are preparing them. Find out how to slow the educational exodus.

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Reducing Youth Suicide

This is part 2 in a series. In case you missed it, you can read part one here.

 

While there is no single cause of youth suicide, research indicates that depression is the leading cause of youth suicide. What causes young people to seek relief from depression by committing suicide? Young people have fragile personalities and many things can trigger their depression. Those causes include:

  • Bullying – Students who are bullied frequently feel that suicide is the only way to escape the taunting.
  • Being different or being perceived as being different – Students who are gay or made to feel different because they are short or too fat or too skinny or whatever resort to suicide.
  • Breakup of a physical relationship
  • Failure in school
  • Sudden death of a loved one or family member
  • Suicide of a loved one or family member
  • Family breakup by divorce or separation.
  • Copycat suicide –  Copycat suicide frequently occurs because the individual knows or sees  in the media depictions of the original suicide on television and in other media. If you’ve ever been in a school where a student has attempted or been successful in committing suicide, you know how devastating the effects it has on other students, parents, friends of the victim and staff.  Schools report that there are frequently “copycat” attempts after a reported successful attempt.

 

Recognizing the Signs of Depression

Students bring many of their problems into school. For some, they do not haven’t any other place or adults to turn to. School counselors, teachers and parents need to recognize the symptoms of depression in order to deal with it.

 

SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION

  • Feeling sad, empty, tired or numb
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless
  • Feeling angry or moody, excessive crying
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Avoiding friends; feeling alone when with friends
  • Loss of interest in things that used to be fun
  • Eating less or more than usual
  • Recurring headaches, backaches or stomachaches
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Thinking about, planning or attempting suicide.
  • Abrupt changes in behavior? such as mood swings, crying spells
  • Changes in school performance
  • Giving away treasured belongings
  • Suicidal threats
  • Risk taking behaviors: slashing, drinking and driving, games of risk such as racing with a train.

In dealing with depression, research indicates that depressed students need to share their thoughts with people they trust and respect including counselors, teachers and friends. Schools might consider the establishment of a peer helper system. It is important for these individuals be trained in listening skills, and various responses on what to do in problematic situations.

 

Warning Signs of Suicide

Suicide is preventable with young people – it just requires recognition and resources. Most schools have a written protocol for dealing with students who show signs of suicidal behavior. Unfortunately, many educators and parents do not know the signs of potential suicides nor have they been trained in how to address the problem. Like many of the other social ills that schools are forced to deal with, suicide is something that require schools to be proactive about.

Suicide is preventable but only if parents and educators know the warning signs. The list below lists the most prevalent warning signs of youth suicide. The list is not all-inclusive but should assist educators in identifying the most common warning signs. Not all youngsters who exhibit these signs will commit suicide. However, the greater the number of warning signs, the greater the likelihood of suicide predictors. Youth are most at risk of attempting suicide are those who:

  • Made previous suicide attempts
  • Talks about committing suicide
  • Feels that “it is all my fault”
  • Exhibit anger
  • Signs of serious depression, moodiness, hopelessness, withdrawal
  • Is a loner.
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Changes in the sleeping or eating habits of the student.
  • Cries often.
  • Chronic or sudden truancy
  • Gives away possessions
  • Recent suicide of a loved one or family member
  • Preoccupied with death and dying
  • Loses interest in their personal appearance
  • Turmoil within family (divorce, remarriage, separation, merging of two families)
  • Have a family history of suicide
  • Have had a recent stressful event or loss in their lives
  • Have easy access to lethal methods, especially guns
  • Show signs of changes in eating and sleeping habits.
  • Exhibit rebellious behavior or running away.
  • Have difficulty concentrating or decline in quality of schoolwork
  • Loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities
  • Gives verbal hints, such as “I won’t be a problem for you much longer,” or “Nothing matters.”
  • Conflicts around sexual orientation
  • Experienced a romantic break-up
  • Accessibility of firearms
  • Increased pressure to perform, achieve, be responsible
  • Taking unnecessary risks

The greater the number of warning signs, the greater the risk.

Schools need to proactively deal with suicide. If a student indicates that they are considering suicide, then schools must take the statement seriously.

Some of the material for this article has been drawn from Creating Safe Schools: A Guide For School Leaders, Teachers, Counselors and Parents (2014) by Franklin P. Schargel © School Success Network Press

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Understanding The Causes of Youth Suicide

This is part one of a series on the causes and prevention of teenage suicide. Part II will appear next week, Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for 10 to 24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after unintended accidents. In June 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that teenage suicide had replaced homicide as the second leading cause of teenage death. Almost as many teens die from suicide as the fourth through the tenth leading causes of death combined. It’s also thought that at least 25 attempts are made for every completed teen suicide.

Why would children so young, with a full life ahead of them, attempt suicide? This series of articles will provide the background, the warning signs, and what schools, parents and students can do.

How Serious is the Problem?

  • In the next 24 hours 1,439 teens will attempt suicide. As many as 250,000 adolescents made a serious yet unsuccessful effort to kill themselves last year.
  • The fastest-growing group completing suicide is children between the ages of 10 and 14.
  • Every 90 minutes a teenager or young adult is successful in killing himself or herself.
  • The suicide rate in the past 25 years has been decreasing, yet the rate for those between 15 and 24 has tripled. The adolescent suicide rate is nearly 33 percent higher than that of the overall population.
  • The ratio of male to female suicides is four to one. However, young women attempt suicide nine times more frequently. Guns are the most common means of suicide among males. Since males use firearms, there is a 78-90 percent chance of male fatality. Pills (poisoning) are the most commonly used method of suicide for females.
  • Half of all children who have made one suicide attempt will make another, sometimes as many as two per year until they succeed.
  • According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, seventy-five percent of all suicides give some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member.
  • Suicide among lesbian, gay and bisexual (LBG) young people is comparatively higher than among the general population.
  • According to a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics (Pediatrics), gay and bisexual teens are 20 percent more likely to attempt suicide in politically conservative areas than in ”supportive” environments.  Rolling Stone reported on a rash of teen suicides – nine in two years, four of them gay-related in the Minnesota school district.

The risk of suicide increases dramatically when kids and teens have access to firearms at home, and nearly 60 percent of all suicides in the United States are committed with a gun. That’s why any gun in a home should be unloaded, locked, and kept out of the reach of children and teens. Suicide rates differ between boys and girls. Girls think about and attempt suicide about twice as often as boys and tend to attempt suicide by overdosing on drugs or cutting themselves. Yet boys die by suicide about four times as often girls, perhaps because they tend to use more lethal methods, such as firearms, hanging, or jumping from heights.

  • In 1996, more teenagers and young adults died of suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia and influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.
  • In 1996, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among college students, the second-leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 24 years, and the fourth leading cause of death among those aged 10 to 14 years.
  • From 1980 to 1996, the rate of suicide among African-American males aged 15 to 19 years increased by 105 percent.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, four percent of the United States population, estimated at 1.3 million adults, attempted suicide in one year, and 1.1 million had made plans or had suicidal thoughts.
  • In the next 24 hours, 1,439 teens will attempt suicide. As many as 250,000 adolescents made a serious yet unsuccessful effort to kill themselves in 2018.
  • The fastest-growing group successfully completing a suicide attempt is children between the ages of 10 and 14.
  • The suicide rate in the past 25 years has been decreasing, yet the rate for those between 15 and 24 has tripled. The adolescent suicide rate is nearly 33 percent higher than that of the overall population.
  • Half of all children who have made one suicide attempt will make another, sometimes as many as two per year until they succeed.
  • According to a study published in Pediatrics, gay and bisexual teens are 20 percent more likely to attempt suicide in politically conservative areas than in ”supportive” environments.
  • The risk of suicide increases dramatically when kids and teens have access to firearms at home, and nearly 60 percent of all suicides in the United States are committed with a gun. That’s why any gun in a home should be unloaded, locked, and kept out of the reach of children and teens.
  • Overdose using over-the-counter, prescription and non-prescription medicine is also a very common method for both attempting and completing suicide. It’s important to monitor carefully all medications in your home. Also be aware that teens will “trade” different prescription medications at school and carry them (or store them) in their locker or backpack.

In part-two of this series, we’ll explore the reasons for these alarming suicide rates, and what you can do to help prevent suicide tragedies at school as well as home.

This article was published by Learning Counsel.

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Preventing School Violence

No one can predict when or where school violence will take place, but we know it will. For those of you who are concerned with school safety, this FBI documentary explores the issue of school shootings and what schools, parents, and law enforcement can do to help prevent these attacks.

https://www.fbi.gov/video-repository/echoes-of-columbine-2019a.mp4/view

 

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National Dropout Prevention Conference – October 5-8, Denver CO

I will be delivering two workshops at the National Dropout Prevention’s National Conference to be held at the Gaylord Resort in Denver, CO on October 5-8.

The first workshop is entitled Creating Safe Schools. That workshop is on Sunday, October 6 @ 2:15PM.

Who Will Teach The Children? Recruiting, Retaining and Refreshing Highly Effective Educators and is based on my new book. That workshop will be held on October  7, Monday at @ 1:15PM.

For further details. Go to www.dropoutprevention.org

Hope to see you there.

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Cell Use Contracts Reduce Bullying

The beginning of the school year brings lots of new things – new clothes, new friends, new schools to attend and new incidents of bullying.

The Washington Post reported (July 16, 2019) that a report filed by the National Center for Education Statistics, that online bullying and texting is the rise among middle and high school students. So, even though incidents of bullying remained steady, in the 2016-2017 school year, there was a 3.5 percent jump in those who were bullied or by text or online. That was a jump of 15 percent from the 2014-2015 school year.

How do researchers account for the increase in bullying?

According to  techcrunch.com, the average age for a child getting their first smartphone is now 10.3 years. Tablets have surged from 26% to 55% usage as kids’ device of choice during car rides. Smartphones trail at 45% (up from 39% in 2012). I have been in restaurants, like many of you, where children, some very young, were using their cellphones and not engaged in any conversation with the adults at the table. Eighty-eight percent (88) of 13-17-year-olds have access to cellphones. Ninety-one (91) percent have access to computers, tablets or cellphones.

More parents are sending their young children to elementary school with a smartphone. The Washington Post reported (October 8, 2019)  that the percentage of third-graders who had their own cellphones had “more than doubled from 19 percent in 2013 to 45 percent in 2017 About 50 percent of fourth-graders and 70 percent of fifth graders went to school with a phone in 2017.” Parents believe that giving a child a phone is a safety issue. But research indicates that a child with a phone increases the likelihood that the child will either become a victim of bullying or a bully themselves. As the number of children obtaining a cellphone at earlier and earlier ages, the likelihood of bullying increases unless parents and schools take a responsibility to teach young children the responsibility of having a cellphone.

Who gets bullied?

Anyone perceived as being different – too tall, too short, too poor, too rich, too good looking, not good looking enough, too fat, too skinny, being the wrong gender, race or grade level, Bullying leads to depression (the leading cause of suicide) and lower academic achievement. The Washington Post reported that high school campuses in Virginia with more reports of bullying reported lower passing scores on Virginia’s standardized tests. Boys are more bullied in person, while girls are more frequently bullied by text or online. More white students, 17 percent reported being bullied on line, compared with 12 percent of other races.

Where in a school does bullying take place?

Forty-two percent say it happens in classrooms. Forty-three percent say it happens in a hallway or stairwell.

What can parents do?

  • Your children do not own their cellphone. You do. You always have a right to look at the cellphone. If your child says you don’t explain who pays the bill and stop paying for it. Develop a cellphone use contract with the child outlining their responsibilities. Have them do chores in order to reimburse you for the privilege of having a phone. Include the right to check the phone to check for bullying, cyberbullying, or sexting.
  • Ban the use of cellphones at dinnertime. Dinnertime should be family time. Establish a “no electronics policy” at dinnertime including for adults. Discuss the events of the day, politics anything to reestablish family discussions.
  • Take away the cellphone at night. Encourage your child to read. Bedtime should not be the time for texting or calling.
  • Limit use while doing homework. After homework, is completed to your satisfaction, your child can make phone calls.

What can schools do?

Schools have a responsibility to children and parents but have a larger responsibility to educate. And while parents cite “safety” as a reason for giving their child a phone, there are sufficient phones in school that can be used in cases of emergency.  Develop with parents and faculty a phone use contract. Based on the age appropriateness of the children allow their input. After the contract is developed, uniform enforcement by staff, teachers and the administration, is essential. Violation of the contract voids the contract with the abuser. Carrying a cellphone isn’t a right – it’s a responsibility. Part of the educational process is the teaching of responsibility.

 

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