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YCQM: December 15, 2013 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: December 15, 2013

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

>>> GOOD MORNING, WE'LL BE TALKING WITH MARTHA ALLEN AS THE LARGEST UNION ANNOUNCES THE AGENDA FOR STUDENT SUCCESS.

>> THE PLANS CALL FOR TEACHERS MORE TIME AND SHOWCASE A NEW COMMUTER EDUCATION PROGRAM IN ONE HIGH SCHOOL. HERE IS A REPORT.

>> Reporter: WHEN IT COMES TO EDUCATION, TEACHERS SAY THEY KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO MOTIVATE STUDENTS. ALSO, WHAT DOESN'T WORK, INCLUDING STANDARDIZED TESTING AND WHAT NEA PRESIDENT SAYS IS PURELY AN EDUCATION SYSTEM.

>> THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE TEACHERS SAY THEY NEED IS MORE TIME.

>> I THINK WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THAT TEACHERS HAVE THE TIME TO DO THEIR PROFESSIONAL WORK DURING THAT DAY, NOT NECESSARILY WITH STUDENTS BUT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THAT NEEDS TO BE PUT INTO THE CLASSROOM IN THE SCHOOL DAY.

>> MEANING RATHER THAN HAVING TEACHERS LUNCHROOM AND PLAYGROUND DUTY, LET THEM MOVE THAT TIME FOR COLLABORATION. THE UNION WANTS TO EXPAND THE ABILITY OF LOCAL SCHOOLS TO COME UP WITH NEW PROGRAMS TO HELP STUDENTS THRIVE AND IN SOME SCHOOLS THAT IS ALREADY HAPPENING.

>> THEY HAVE LAUNCHED A NEW INITIATIVE AN HOUR OF CODE. THE GOAL IS TO WRITE THEIR OWN COMPUTER CODE.

>> THEY WON $10,000 WORTH OF COMPUTER HARDWARE TO GIVE EACH STUDENT IN THE SCHOOL ONE HOUR OF EXPERIENCE WRITING CODE, USING ONLINE TUTORIALS FEATURING MARK ZUCKER BIRD ZUCKERBERG AND ANGRY BIRD.

>> SO TO FIND KIDS THAT FIND IT EXCITING AND WE CAN GET IN TOUCH WITH THOSE KIDS AND SEE WHAT THEIR INTEREST LEVEL IS. IF THEY WANT TO LEARN MORE, WE CAN HOPEFULLY GIVE THEM OUTLETS TO PURSUE THAT STUFF.

>> EXACTLY THE KIND OF PROGRAM THE TEACHERS' UNION WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE OF.

>> THOSE KINDS OF PROGRAMS ARE WORKING WITH BUSINESSES. WE WOULD LIKE TO WORK MORE CLOSELY WITH BUSINESSES TO PROVIDE THOSE OPPORTUNITIES FOR KIDS. HOPEFULLY WE'LL GET MORE COMPUTER PROGRAMS PROGRAMMERS OUT OF THAT.

>> AFTER I WENT THROUGH IT, THIS ENTIRE GENERATION IS DESIGNED AROUND COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY.

>> I HADN'T CONSIDERED IT BEFORE SO RIGHT NOW IT SEEMS FUN, TO BE ABLE TO HAVE THAT CONTROL IN YOUR HANDS AND MAKE PROGRAMS.

>> TEACHING THESE STUDENTS THEY CAN LEARN THE BASICS WHEN IT BECOMES A CREATOR AND INNOVATOR.

>> MARTHA ALLEN JOINS US NOW. IN THAT PIECE.

>> WE SAW ONE EXAMPLE IN NEW WAYS TO GET STUDENTS TO SUCCEED. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS THE UNION IS LOOKING TO CHANGE HOW TEACHERS MAKE STUDENTS SUCCESSFUL?

>> WHAT WE WANT TO DO -- FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME HERE TODAY -- WE WANT OUR TEACHERS HELP OUR STUDENTS SUCCEED. IN THIS PROGRAM, HOUR OF CODE PROGRAM BUT I THINK WE NEED TO WORK ON GIVING THE TEACHERS THE SUPPORT THEY NEED TO ENSURE STUDENT'S SUCCESS. ONE OF OTHER ONES IN TECHNOLOGY REALM IS PROGRAM OUT OF NEW JERSEY CENTER FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING AND PROGRESSIVE SCIENCE AND MATH INITIATIVE. WE'RE AT THE BEGINNING STAGES TO GET THE PROGRAMS INTO OUR STATE. SUPERVISOR UNION HAS SOME THINGS AND STARTING SOME TRAINING IN OTHER PARTS OF THE STATE. WHAT THAT DOES, IT'S A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO TEACHER, SCIENCE AND MATH. IT USES INTERACTIVE METHODS WITH THE LIGHT BOARD AND LITTLE CLICKERS, KIDS LOVE THOSE. IT'S AN INNOVATIVE WAY TO APPROACH SCIENCE. PHYSICS IS BEING TAUGHT AT AN EARLIER AGE IN HIGH SCHOOL AND OTHER SCIENCES COME AFTER WHICH IS DIFFERENT FROM WHAT WE ALL EXPERIENCED BACK IN THE OLD DAYS.

>> ARE THESE CHANGES GEARED TO THE HIGH SCHOOL AND MIDDLE SCHOOL CROWD OR ELEMENTARY LEVEL?

>> FOR THOSE PROGRAMS, THOSE ARE ACROSS THE BOARD. THEY START WITH HIGH SCHOOL, BECAUSE THEY ARE PART OF THE PROGRAM TRAINING TEACHERS. WE HAVEN'T DONE THAT YET, BUT WE ARE HOPING TO GET TEACHERS CURRENTLY LICENSED TEACHERS THAT MAY BE LICENSED IN PHYSICS. WE DON'T HAVE A LOT OF PHYSICS TEACHERS. IT REALLY LIGHTS UP THE WORLD OF SCIENCE FOR MANY KIDS, GIRLS AND BOYS ALIKE. WE ARE HOPING THAT WILL BE MORE POPULAR.

>> I WOULD LIKE TO GET TO THE SEVEN BULLET POINTS IN THE PLAN. ALSO PART OF THIS IS LOOKING AT GIVING TEACHERS MORE TIME THROUGHOUT THE DAY TO COLLABORATE WITH OTHER TEACHERS. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT LESS TIME IN CAFETERIAS AND STUDY HALLS TO FOCUS ON THE EDUCATION SIDE OF TEACHING. WHAT IS THE PLAN?

>> WELL, I THINK THAT MANY SCHOOLS HAVE A LOT OF TIME FOR TEACHERS FOR PLANNING TIME AND SOME FOR COLLABORATIVE TIME BUT IT DOESN'T SEEM TO BE ENOUGH. AS THE CALL FOR MORE RIGOROUS ASSESSMENTS COMES THROUGH, TEACHERS NEED TIME TO DEVELOP THESE ASSESSMENTS AND ALSO LEARN TO INTERPRET THE DATA AND THEN BE ABLE TO PUT THAT TO USE AND ENSURE STUDENT SUCCESS. IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO DO WITHOUT COLLABORATIVE TIME. SO THE PLAN, WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS MAKE BETTER USE OF THE PLANNING TIME THAT TEACHERS HAVE NOW. SOME TEACHERS ARE FEELING IS THAT TIME IS TAKEN AWAY FROM THEM, EMERGENCY STAFF MEETING OR EMERGENCY PARENT MEETING OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. ONE STEP WOULD BE TO HONOR THAT TIME AND REALIZE THAT IS JUST BECAUSE THE TEACHER IS IN NOT IN FRONT OF A CLASS THAT IMPORTANT WORK IS NOT GOING ON.

>> WHAT ABOUT THE IDEA OF EXTENDING THE SCHOOL DAY OR PERHAPS EXTENDING THE SCHOOL YEAR? SOME FOLKS CRITICIZE THESE IDEAS ABOUT GIVING THE TEACHERS MORE TIME BECAUSE THE SUMMERS ARE FREE -- I WANT TO GET TO THAT, AS WELL. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THOSE CRITICS?

>> I THINK SOME OF THOSE CRITICS MIGHT WANT TO ASK TEACHER IF THEY CAN START TO FOLLOW THAT PERSON AROUND AND START AT THE BEGINNING OF THE DAY. I DON'T KNOW ANY TEACHERS THAT DON'T TAKE HOMEWORK WITH THEM. I WAS A TEACHER FOR 30 YEARS. I GET MY KIDS INTO BED AND I START MY WORK. JUST BECAUSE MY CAR IS NOT IN THE PARKING LOT DOESN'T MEAN I'M NOT WORKING. I UNDERSTAND THAT TEACHERS HAVE A LOT OF PREP WORK AND FOLLOW-UP WORK AND ASSESSMENT THAT GOES ON OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT REALLY NEEDS TO BE RESPECTED.

>> WHAT ABOUT EXPANDING THE SCHOOL DAY OR SCHOOL YEAR?

>> I DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT. THE ISSUE WOULD BE, NUMBER ONE, PAY TEACHERS BECAUSE WE'RE NOT CONTRACTED FOR A FULL YEAR. WE ARE CONTRACTED FOR A CERTAIN NUMBER OF DAYS, 180 TO 1 90 DAYS. SO WE'RE NOT PAID A FULL YEAR BUT WE ARE CONTRACTED FOR THOSE DAYS, THERE ARE MANY TEACHERS WORK MORE THAN THOSE DAYS IN ORDER TO DO THEIR JOB. IF IT WAS TO BE EXPANDED, WITH WE KNOW THAT CALENDAR 2.0 HAS MET SOME PULL PI ROADS BUT IT NEEDS TO BE THOUGHT OUT CAREFULLY AND PARENTS NEED TO BE PART OF THIS ALSO. A LOT OF THEM APPRECIATE HAVING THEIR KIDS AT HOME MORE IN THE SUMMER AND THAT NEEDS TO LISTENED TO. AS FAR AS THE LENGTH OF DAY -- ONCE AGAIN, I DON'T SEE A PROBLEM WITH THAT IT NEEDS TO BE DONE IN SUCH A WAY THAT KIDS ARE NOT EXHAUSTED. I WAS AT FLETCHER YESTERDAY. THE TEACHERS WERE THERE AT 7:30. I WAS THERE A AT 7:30 AND KIDS ARE THERE FROM 8:00 TO 3:00 AND THAT IS LONG DAY FOR ELEMENTARY KIDS. I WAS EXHAUSTED. I HAD BEEN OUT OF CLASSROOM FOR FOUR YEARS, MY VISITS ARE QUITE EYE-OPENING. I THINK YOU HAVE TO CRAFT DATE IN SUCH A WAY THAT THE KIDS WOULD BE ABLE TO REGENERATE THEIR ENERGY DURING THE COURSE OF THE DAY. THEY COULDN'T BE TOTAL ACADEMICS THE WHOLE TIME. MORE ARTS AND THOSE KINDS OF PROGRAMS. I KNOW A LOT OF THAT HAS BEEN CUT BACK. I DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT AT ALL.

>> THERE HAVE BEEN SUGGESTIONS AT A NATIONAL LEVEL OF ACTUALLY PUSHING THE START OF THE DAY OF THE CALENDAR. IS THAT SOMETHING THAT WE SHOULD BE LOOKING AT HERE?

>> STARTING THE DAY EARLIER?

>> STARTING THE DAY LATER?

>> IN HIGH SCHOOL FOR SURE. YOU CAN ASK ANY HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER SCHEDULED TO TEACH THE FIRST PERIOD CLASS, IT TAKES A WHILE FOR THOSE KIDS TO WAKE UP. THEIR BIOLOGICAL CLOCKS ARE WHOLE DIFFERENT WAY. I THINK THAT YOUNGER KIDS, THEY ARE UP BRIGHT AND EARLY AND THEY GO TO BED MORE EARLY AND THE OTHER WAY AROUND. IF THAT CAN BE DEALT WITH IN A SCIENTIFICALLY BASED ON FASHION, FINE.

>> WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TEACHER SUPPORTS SPURTS PULLING AWAY FROM CAFETERIA TIME BUT WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OTHER SPURTS?

>> THAT IS SOME OF OUR -- WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ON OTHER SUPPORTS?

>> ONE OF THE THINGS WE WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE WITH AND HAVE MORE UNIFORM ACROSS THE STATE IS OUR MENTOR PROGRAM. WE HAVE -- THEY HAVE A GREAT MENTORING PROGRAM FOR NEW TEACHERS. IF IT IS DONE PROPERLY AND PROPERLY TRAINED MENTORS HELPING THEM OUT WITH GREAT SUPPORT FOR IF GETTING PEOPLE INTO THE PROFESSION AND WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE. WE HAVE FOLKS LEAVE THE PROFESSION WITHIN FIVE YEARS BECAUSE THEY DON'T FEEL SUPPORTED. LOWER PAY AND THE HOURS AND ALL, IF YOU DON'T GET SUPPORT WITHIN THE SCHOOL. THAT WOULD BE THE IN THE FORM OF A MENTOR WHO WOULD HELP TO CHECK ON YOUR LESSON PLANS TO SEE HOW YOUR CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT SKILLS ARE GOING AND COME IN AND WORK WITH YOU. YOU WOULD HAVE A CHANCE TO OBSERVE VETERAN TEACHERS SO YOU CAN PICK UP SOME HANDY CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT SKILLS. THAT WOULD BE GREAT. SOME PROGRAMS ARE WONDERFUL IN THE STATE. SOME ARE NOT AS GOOD. THAT IS SOME OF THE THINGS WE WOULD LIKE TO DO. WE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MENTOR STANDARDS FOR THE TEACHER PROGRAM.

>> IT SOUNDS LIKE MOST OF THESE IDEAS WOULD TAKE PLACE DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR DURING THE PROFESSIONAL PERIOD DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS?

>> WE HAVE OTHER THINGS IN MIND FOR TRAININGS THAT MIGHT OCCUR DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS. TEACHERS TAKE COURSES FOR RECERTIFICATION, THEY TAKE COURSES IN THE SUMMER AND GOING AFTER A DEGREE AND THEY USE THE SUMMER MONTHS TO DO THAT. YOU CAN TAKE COURSES AT NIGHT IF THEY ARE LIVING NEAR A UNIVERSITY BUT OTHERS HAVE TO DO IT DURING THE SUMMER. WE ARE ALSO HOPING, I AM PUTTING THIS ALTOGETHER -- BUT WE WANTED TO TALK ABOUT EVALUATION ALSO. AS I MENTIONED EARLIER BEFORE WE STARTED, WE HAVE A TASK FORCE, VERMONT TASK FORCE ON TEACHER EFFECTIVENESS. THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR THREE YEARS. WE HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH THE AGENCY ON EDUCATION ON THIS. WE HAVE NINE OF US THAT ARE PUTTING TOGETHER A MODEL TEACHER EVALUATION SYSTEM THAT DISTRICTS MAY OR MAY NOT CHOOSE TO USE. IT'S BASED ON GUIDELINES THAT THE STATED BOARD OF ED APPROVED IN 2012. WITHIN OUR MODEL DOCUMENT WE HAVE INCLUDED OR INCLUDING SOMETHING CALLED STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVE. THIS ISN'T AN OBJECTIVE FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL STUDENT. IT MIGHT BE FOR INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS WITHIN ONE CLASS. IT'S A WAY TO MEASURE STUDENT GROWTH IN ANY SUBJECT AREA. THAT IS WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO PULL AWAY FROM, TIMING EVALUATION EVALUATION ACHIEVEMENT TEST SCORES BECAUSE PEOPLE THAT TEACH THE SUBJECTS THAT ARE TESTED IN ACHIEVEMENT TESTS MAYBE 15% OF THE TEACHERS BECAUSE IT'S JUST ENGLISH AND LANGUAGE ARTICLES AND MATH. WE'VE GOT ALL THE OTHER TEACHERS IN EDUCATING THESE KIDS. STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVES IS A NEW THING, BUT IT TIES THE COMMON COURSE STANDARDS, TIES ACTION PLANS. IT WOULD TIE ASSESSMENTS ALL TOGETHER AND HELP TEACHERS TO PUT ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT INITIATIVES INTO ONE BUCKET AND BE ABLE TO FOCUS ON STUDENT SUCCESS AND GROWTH BY USING THIS AND RELATIVELY COMPLICATED SYSTEM. IT'S BEEN TESTED AROUND THE COUNTRY. THEY ARE HOPING IT BE IN SEVERAL YEARS WE'LL HAVE A LOT OF TEACHERS TRAINED TO HELP OTHER TEACHERS.

>> IS THIS A TEST OR CURRICULUM OR A PLAN THAT WOULD BE ACROSS THE BOARD? HOW MUCH LOCAL CONTROL WOULD STILL BE INVOLVED IN SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

>> THIS ISN'T A CURRICULUM AT ALL. IT'S A WAY FOR TEACHERS TO TAKE ALL OF THE DATA THAT THEY USE WORKING WITH STUDENTS AND BE ABLE TO PUT IT INTO ONE FOCUSED DOCUMENT.

>> EACH SCHOOL WOULD DETERMINE HOW THEY WILL DO THIS?

>> YES. IT WOULD BE DONE IN GROUPS OF TEACHERS. IT'S NOT THE AN INDIVIDUAL TEACHER'S JOB. THEY WOULD WORK TOGETHER OR MATH TEACHERS WOULD WORK TOGETHER AND COME UP WITH AN OBJECTIVE, YOU WANT ACCOMPLISHED IN A CERTAIN TIME FRAME. IN THIS CLASS I WANT MY STUDENTS TO KNOW ALL THESE THINGS. THEN WHAT YOU DO IS LOOKING AT YOUR STUDENT BODY AND PUT IT TOGETHER OVER THE COURSE OF THE FIRST SEVERAL WEEKS OF SCHOOL BECAUSE YOU NEED TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR STUDENTS, WHERE THEY COME FROM AND WHERE DO YOU THINK THEY WILL BE ABLE TO GO. TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION SOCIAL ISSUES, BEHAVIORAL ISSUES AND ACADEMIC A ISSUES AND MOVE IT FORWARD THAT WAY. IT'S KIND OF A BIG DEAL BUT BRAND-NEW FOR OUR STATE. I AM HOPING WE CAN GIVE PROPER SUPPORT AND TRAINING TO OUR TEACHERS.

>> LET'S TAL NATALIE: Hi! I'm Natalie. NATHAN: And I'm Nathan. NATALIE: And we're here to answer questions... about Vermont Health Connect. NATHAN: Like this one from Anne in Craftsbury Commons. NATALIE: She asks: "I'm worried I can't afford health coverage. Is there help available?" NATHAN: Yup. And, it turns out a lot of folks who use... Vermont Health Connect are eligible for financial help... lowering their monthly costs. NATALIE: It worked for us. NATHAN: Just take the time. You can do it online... in person or over the phone. NATALIE: Vermont Health Connect. It's health coverage for Vermonters... NATHAN: By Vermonters! NATHAN: It's freezing out here. NATALIE: Yep, can we go in now?

>>> THANKS FOR JOINING US AGAIN. WE ARE TALKING TO MARTHA ALLEN THIS MORNING. LET'S TALK ABOUT THE INITIATIVE TO RECRUIT NEW TEACHERS. THERE IS A NEED -- ONE REPORT IS SAYING WE'RE LOOKING OVER THE NEXT DECADE WE MAY BE LOSING HALF OF OUR TEACHERS BECAUSE WE HAVE SUCH AN OLDER POPULATION OF TEACHERS. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING TO GET NEW BLOOD?

>> WE REFER TO THEM AS EXPERIENCED -- YES, WE HAVE QUITE AN EXPERIENCED TEACHING POPULATION. THEY WILL BE RETIRING OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS. IT'S IMPORTANT TO US TO KEEP OUR SCHOOLS AS VIBRANT AS THEY ARE RIGHT NOW. WE ARE SOME OF THE BEST IN THE NATION AND WE WANT TO KEEP IT THAT WAY. RIGHT NOW, IF YOU ARE BRIGHT AND PROMISING STUDENT IN COLLEGE AND YOU REALLY WOULD LIKE TO GO INTO TEACHING AND YOU LOOK WHAT THE STARTING SALARY MIGHT BE AND LOOK AT THE PRIVATE SECTOR, YOU WOULD SAY IF I HAVE A YOUNG FAMILY OR PLAN ON, THAT I NEED TO MAKE MORE MONEY TO MAKE ENDS MEET. ONE OF THE THINGS WE HOPE TO DO IS WORK TO INCREASE STARTING SALARIES. ANOTHER WEAR TO HELP WITH EXPENSES FOR NEW TEACHERS WOULD BE TO GIVE THEM SOME KIND OF A LOAN FORGIVENESS. EVERYBODY KNOWS HOW EXPENSIVE COLLEGE IS THESE DAYS. THAT WOULD BE AN INCENTIVE FOR SOMEBODY THAT WOULD LIKE TO TEACH AND IN ORDER TO HELP ENDS MEET.

>> ONLY IF THEY STAY HERE IN VERMONT?

>> WE WOULD HAVE TO WORK ON THAT. THIS WILL TAKE TIME TO PUT TOGETHER. IT WOULD BE UPON US TO STAY IN VERMONT FOR A CERTAIN NUMBER OF YEARS. THEY DO THIS IN THE MEDICAL FIELD WHERE A DOCTOR, STAY IN PRACTICE THEY GET THEIR LOANS FORGIVEN AFTER WORKING "X" NUMBER YEARS. ONE MORE THING WE WOULD LIKE TO WORK ON IS WAY TO HAVE -- RIGHT NOW STUDENT TEACHERS COMING IN FOR SIX WEEKS OR SO, IT DEPENDS ON THE PROGRAM THAT KIDS ARE IN, IT'S NOT ENOUGH TIME. WE REALLY DON'T GET A REAL TASTE WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A TEACHER. WE WOULD ENCOURAGE PROGRAM WHERE YOU WOULD BE AN INTERN FOR A YEAR AND PERHAPS BEING PAID ON THE FIRST LEVEL OF THE SALARY SCALE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF A TEACHER BUT BE ABLE TO CO-TEACH AND LEARN THE ROPES. SO AFTER ONE YEAR YOU WOULD HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE UNDER YOUR BELTED. HAVE A MENTOR AND THE SUPPORTED YOU NEED AND HOPEFULLY, WOULD YOU WANT TO STAY IN THE PROFESSION.

>> WOULD THAT NEGATE THE NEED FOR TEACHING DEGREE, YOU TALK ABOUT RECRUITING THE BEST AND PRIVATE BUT YOU DON'T GO TO COLLEGE FOR TEACHING AND COME OUT, TSA OBVIOUSLY TEACHERS OF AMERICA TAKES A LOT OF THEM -- IS THAT ONE OF THE POSSIBLE TOOLS?

>> THAT IS NOT THE POSSIBLE TOOL I WOULD PREFER TO USE. COUPLE OF THINGS. THEY PAY A WHOLE BUNCH OF MONEY TO THOSE PEOPLE. THEY PROMISE TO STAY IN WHEN THE TEACHING PROFESSION FOR A LENGTH OF TIME. IF YOU INTERVIEW A LOT OF THEM, IT'S A REALLY TOUGH ROAD. IT'S NOTHING THEY WANT TO DO AS CAREER. IT LOOKS GOOD ON A RESUME, SORT OF A LIKE THE PEACE CORPS. THERE ARE SOME TEACHERS IN THAT PROGRAM THAT DO IT. A FORMER STUDENT OF MINE IS TEACHING IN TEXAS AND WENT THROUGH THE PROGRAM. BUT I THINK THERE AN AWFUL LOT TO THE JOB AND NEEDS A LOT OF TRAINING AND LOT OF EARLY CHILD DEVELOPMENT, ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT. YOU NEED TO KNOW A LOT BEFORE YOU CAN MEET ALL THE NEEDS THAT ARE IN THE INDIVIDUAL CLASSROOM.

>> SO THE SALARY ASPECT, WHAT CHANGES DO YOU ENVISION? I KNOW THEY HAVE STARTED TO MOVE UP WAGES. HERE IN THE COUNTY, MANY OF THE AVERAGE SALARIES ARE IN THE $60,000 TO $70,000 RANGE, THAT MAY BE MISLEADING?

>> AS THE BIT MISLEADING. YOU DO HAVE VETERANS WHO ARE MAKING A LITTLE BIT MORE MONEY THAN OTHERS. THE COUNTY HAS BROADER TAX BASE AND ABLE TO START SALARIES A LITTLE HIGHER. IT WOULD BE GREAT IF NOTHING IS PROHIBITING SCHOOL BOARDS FROM INCREASING THOSE SALARIES AND NOTHING IN FRANKLIN NORTHEAST, SUPERINTENDENT JANE NICHOLS HAS WORKED ON IMPROVING SALARIES TO ATTRACT FOLKS. I THINK WE NEED TO KEEP HAMMERING AWAY AT IT. THIS IS A PROFESSION THAT SOME PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND. WE ARE A PUBLIC SERVICE IN A WAY. IT'S NOT A PRIVATE DOCTOR'S OFFICE OR A LAWYER'S OFFICE BUT WE TEACH THE POTENTIAL DOCTORS AND TEACH THE POTENTIAL LAWYERS. WE REALLY NEED TO HAVE BRIGHT PEOPLE IN THE SCHOOLS TO HELP OUR KIDS TO BE SUCCESSFUL.

>> GOING BACK ON THAT, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WAYS THAT YOU FOLKS WOULD LIKE TO SEE STUDENT SUCCESS IMPROVED. VERMONT HAS THE HIGHEST IF NOT THE HIGHEST GRADUATION RATED IN THE COUNTRY, 91.5%.

>> YES, THANK YOU FOR SAYING THAT. THERE IS SOMETHING TO BE SAID FOR THAT. WE HAVE A HIGH PERCENTAGE, BUT I THINK IT IS GREAT THAT WE HAVE THAT. WE'RE MIGHTY PROUD OF THAT. I WANT IT TO CONTINUE. I WANT TO US UNDERSTAND THAT OUR SCHOOLS ARE REALLY GREAT ECONOMIC DRIVER FOR OUR COMMUNITIES AND WE NEED TO KEEP THEM AS HIGH CALIBER AS POSSIBLE TO ENSURE THIS GRADUATION RATES. THAT IS ANOTHER TOPIC FOR ANOTHER DAY FOR HIGHER ED TO KEEP THE KIDS IN THE CLASS AND THAT WILL BE ANOTHER COST.

>> THE TREASURY HAS POINTED OUT THAT TEACHER PENSION FUNDS WILL BE HURT. IS THAT WHERE YOU ARE FOCUSED AS WELL BECAUSE THAT IS UNDERFUNDED I BELIEVE.

>> 65% IS THE FIGURE?

>> THEY ARE WORKING HARD TO FUND THE PENSION. MORE CHALLENGING ISSUE IS FUNDING THE RETIREES HEALTHCARE. WE HAVE A GROUP OF PEOPLE FROM VERMONT WORKING WITH THE TREASURY. THEY HAVE BEEN REALLY GREAT AND TRYING TO COME UP WITH A SOLUTION. SHE IS JUST REALLY WORKING HARD TO MAKE IT WORK. AS THE CHALLENGE. TEACHERS HAVE BEEN PAYING INTO THEIR PENSION SYSTEM OVER TIME IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS THEY HAVE AGREED TO PAY MORE, A HIGHER PERCENTAGE. THEY ARE DOING THEIR PART. THEY ARE REALLY HOPING THERE CAN BE A WAY THE STATE CAN FUND OR F ITS PROMISES TO OUR TEACHERS.

>> PENSIONS HAVE BEEN GOING WAIT OF THE DINOSAUR IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR. WHY IS IT SMART MOVE TO OFFER THOSE TO NEW TEACHERS THAT COME IN BUT NOT NECESSARILY THAT HAVE BEEN IN THE SYSTEM.

>> IF YOU WANT TO HAVE OUR ECONOMY THRIVING, PEOPLE HAVE TO HAVE MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS. MORE PENSIONS THAT ARE TAKEN AWAY, ITS NATIONAL PROBLEM. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A BIG PROBLEM IN OUR COUNTRY IF WE HAVE PEOPLE THAT DON'T GET PENSIONS THAT WERE PROMISED TO THEM. TEACHERS GO INTO TEACHING NOT TO EARN A LOT OF MONEY. THEY WANT TO MAKE A REASONABLE LIVING. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WOULD INDUCE THEM TO WORK THERE IS HELP BENEFITS AND KNOWING THAT THERE IS A PENSION SYSTEM DOWN THE ROAD. IT'S SOMETHING THAT I THINK WE SHOULD LOOK AT AGAIN. WE SHOULD HONOR AND DON'T TAKE PENSIONS AWAY FROM THE TEACHERS. LET'S WORK ON GIVING PENSIONS TO OTHER PEOPLE. THAT IS A BETTER ANSWER.

>> MARTHA ALLEN, THANKS FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING. I'M SURE WE'LL BE HAVING THIS DISCUSSION WILL CONTINUE.

>> THANKS FOR WATCHING AT HOME. SEE YOU SOON EVERYBODY.

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