Teaching Turmoil

Education should be seen as an investment, says Javier Lopez, director of strategic partnerships in the College of Education.

Illustration of teachers ranging small to larger in front of a chalkboard by Richard Mia

“The current crisis in our education system is rooted in the fact that many of our political leaders talk about education as an expense and not as an investment. This has had many adverse impacts over the years, including very low salaries and what I call the de-professionalization of teacher education: Teachers feel they’re micromanaged, forced to focus on standardized tests, and unable to teach as they see fit.

“To change the narrative of education from expenditure to investment, we need to start electing leaders who understand the value and importance that education plays in the future success of our children and our country. We also need innovative, grassroots solutions to attract, incentivize, and empower teachers in communities where they live. We are currently developing a teachers-in-residence program, here in the College of Education. We believe the program will help address the shortage while diversifying the teacher workforce, since we will be offering the program in communities where diversity is much larger, like in Reading and Allentown, Pa. The program will allow teachers with emergency permits who are already teaching in the classroom to become certified in 15 months—a huge benefit for many of them who can’t afford to walk away from their teaching positions to get certified.

“As we continue building and strengthening our relationships with administrators and parents, we’re showing them that our commitment to their communities, schools, and their children’s success is just as important to us as it is to them. By being equally invested, we can start building trust and confidence. This is a win-win for everyone.”