The crises of education in Virginia was provoked by the incompetent system of school funding

Around 4000 Virginians organized the protest manifestation to make legislators pay attention to the education funding. Teachers say that their students should study in better conditions than those they have now. As an example, they said about the situation when it’s impossible to hang something on the walls as they are full of roaches. Besides, students have to study computer science without computers. How is it possible?

The scale of issues

The problem is even worse than it can imagine. The level of school funding decreased around 9 per cent since the recession ended and can’t cover schools’ costs. As a result, educational organizations need large investments in different spheres: textbooks, computers, repairing classrooms, etc. Moreover, the financial gap between schools in Virginia’s richer and poorer communities became deeper.

One of the major issues involved in funding for the Public Employees Insurance Agency, the state health insurance plan. The West Virginia Legislature had voted to boost state contributions to the plan by using a percentage of the annual state surplus, but the teachers’ unions were demanding a more reliable financing plan. Health care costs have increased quickly enough that proposed teacher pay increases cannot match teacher payments for health care.

The number of protests is huge and these actions covered the whole country from the teacher walkouts in West Virginia, Arizona, and Oklahoma, to the recently concluded L.A. teachers strike. And this situation takes place in the most developed and the richest state in the world.

The state’s largest educator union acted as the initiator of the action which the main goal is to inform the government about the deplorable state of public education and unbelievable lack of money in this sphere despite the prosperous condition of state’s economy. The members of three main Education Associations joined the march of protest near the capitol. Now this action becomes more and more powerful.

Financial paradox

According to the statistic’s data, Virginia is the 12th richest state in the USA and the best area for business investments. That’s why the number of funds and private investors should be a guarantee of stable development and modernization in public schools.

But the position of the state in the rank of funding and teachers’ payment is 41st and 34th accordingly. It is an absurd situation but the fact is fact. So the motto of that manifestation was “Virginia can do better”.

The rally affected the government to reorganize the structure of budget and increase the level of teachers’ monthly payments of 5 per cent. Maybe this number is not a huge change on the paper but in reality, it will have a serious impact on the situation at all. Moreover, it’s only the first step which will change the situation and in future become the platform for significant changes.

The leaders of this protest manifestation claim that their main goals to remind the government about their duties and to show them that students and teachers are not only charts and graphs but real people with real feelings and rights.

Categories: education school

Arguments for a new field of learning innovation

In response to our post last week’s article, “Learning Innovation: Ph.D. Or Ed.D.” Anthony Pina, deputy director of online teaching and learning at Sullivan University, asks:


I would like to know why learning innovation is not a specialization / concentration within the widely used field of educational and learning sciences. These programs (with their seemingly infinite number of combinations of titles of learning programs, education, teaching, systems, design, technology, sciences, etc.) are already interdisciplinary. It seems that learning innovation could easily fit into the existing field. If there is something that makes innovation much different in learning, I would be very happy about it.

The questions that Pina (Tony) asks for a new interdisciplinary field of innovative learning are good and are exactly what we are interested in here and in our next book (published by Johns Hopkins University Press in spring 2020).

So, what makes innovation different when learning from existing areas?

Despite all the great work being done throughout the higher education sector, in schools of educational, teaching and learning centers and centers for scientific innovation, the conversation about innovation in learning is often fragmented and transient. The work of innovation experts in the field of learning is largely separate from innovation in terms of learning support.

Schools are very good at improving pilots to improve student learning, but little is known about the impact of these pilots and the factors that enable them to move outside the local school context. Universities and universities are highly motivated to look for ways to improve learning outcomes (including reducing early school leaving and graduation time) while addressing cost and accessibility issues. However, they have little systematic framework, methodologies or defined problems to guide their actions.

Institutional efforts to achieve non-incremental student learning progress are often taught by on-campus organizations on campus. These include CTL, academic computing units, and correspondence and online education departments. Those who spend most of their time researching and teaching on issues related to change in higher education and teachers may work mainly in academic departments or in schools.

We believe that there is a discrepancy between practice and the challenge of innovation in learning.

The result is that the liveliest communities of practice and interinstitutional discussions about innovative learning often take place in professional conferences and social networks, rather than in the places proposed by Tony.

These platforms are great for creating networks and sharing best practices. They are not so good at sustainable and critical studies of beliefs, practices, and outcomes.

To take these and many other issues seriously, innovation in learning must move from a professional practice to an academic pursuit of knowledge.

An academic field creates and disseminates knowledge while providing a framework to move forward in this area and train the next generation of professionals and academics. Frameworks that go beyond the theory of disruption and those that are most closely aligned with the mission and culture of higher education need to be developed and tested to guide learning innovation decisions.

We know that there is little agreement on solutions or approaches to the future of higher education. We also believe that it is equally important that there is little consensus on questions, concerns and the definition of approaches to ask questions about the future of higher education.

We hope to change that by further exploring this field. This does not mean that the many existing programs are not useful for this search, but that they should be part of a larger whole.

Innovation in learning differs, therefore, in that the question of how universities and colleges change with regard to student learning is fundamental, and this is crucial to the broader structure of the post-secondary ecosystem.

This is not (or not only) an area where people learn. There are many excellent approaches to understanding this problem. Nor is it a designated area to examine the role of technology in education. There are already many good places to do that, as Tony points out.

However, the innovation researcher needs to make his analysis of the organizational changes related to learning within the historical, cultural, demographic and economic forces that affect colleges and universities.

What we call innovation in learning must be the literature and methods of higher education with those of the science of learning, with technological innovations and the changing understanding of learning analysis, design theories, justice, inclusion and many others.

The learning innovation expert has to master history, economics, political issues and other areas related to the transformation of higher education. This fluency in post-secondary studies with the institution and the post-secondary ecosystem as units of analysis must be complemented by the same experiences in the teaching and learning fellowships and in the areas mentioned above.

The task of learning innovation is applied work. This work is done daily in schools and universities across the country. Each institution serves as an informal laboratory for innovative learning.

The organizations or departments in which this work is performed involve the separation of academic and administrative units. Academics / practitioners of innovation in learning occupy the border area between faculty and staff. Innovation knowledge in learning through practice and theorization. The separation between scholarship and service is blurred.

It may not be necessary to say that one of the great cold wars of higher education is the tension between teachers and administrators, and the latter is often blamed for the high cost of higher education.

We believe it is important to recognize this division and to do our best to close it. Understanding innovation in learning as a critical study of the overall involvement of all in higher education (teachers and administrators) in the education of our students is one approach that we believe can be fruitful.

Identifying innovations such as learning therefore recognizes that campus organizations and learning professionals can maintain their service portfolio at the same time as they take on a role as creators of new knowledge and as creators of courses, programs and programs.

In how many cases does CTL exist as a place to offer programs and services at the same time as directing and publishing original scientific research and launching new graduate programs?

Methods and theories that relate to the design and analysis of learning can be taught at universities that use these theories and techniques in their online programs, and are sometimes taught by the people who do this work, but it is almost never the “home”. “These courses and programs are a campus learning organization.

Innovation in learning requires communities of academic practice that have a range of common research questions, theoretical frameworks and methods, and a research language. It also has to be recognized as an economic production unit. It can only survive and grow with its ability to be renewed and renewed by training new participants in the field.

If we can study innovative innovations, we can teach innovative innovations. Teaching and learning become symbiotic. They are interdependent. And everyone relies on the continuous knowledge generated through the application of the theories and methods to advance learning through new programs and initiatives and associations in our institutions.

If we want to shape the future of higher education, we need to highlight the work that we all do at our own colleges and throughout the university ecosystem.

The practice and learning of innovation in learning seems to be happening everywhere. Learning innovations are presented in all conferences and expert discussions. The challenge is that the learning innovation community exists in a wider range of professional associations and networks.

Those who engage in the practice and study of innovation in the field of learning need to use a wide range of competing academic responsibilities and existing professional communities to seek and learn on the basis of the profession.

Identifying something, such as learning to innovate as something other than the work in the schools that Tony points to in his response, would create a new space for doing that work.

This identity expressly rejects the calcified notions of academic vs. professional, teaching vs. personal, academic vs. academic.

In a field of learning innovation, those who research / teach in areas of promoting student learning through organizational change can more easily identify and connect people with similar roles, challenges and concerns.

An academic field is defined not by the conclusions it defends, but by the questions asked.

But how would you answer Tony’s question? Do you think that people in the post-secondary ecosystem ask questions about learning innovations that are sufficiently different from questions in established occupations and disciplines to justify the beginning of something new?

Categories: innovation

Virginia students learn on trailers, while the state offers substantial tax cuts on Amazon

Last week, when the freezing rain fell on Virginia, a student wearing only a light red sweater ran fifty feet from his modular trailer in the parking lot to the warmth of McLean High School in Fairfax County. ,

Overcrowded, more than 22,000 Fairfax County students receive training in cheap plywood trailers, often with visible signs of green mold parked next to the baseball fields next to the school. McClean High School.

These followers, the poor school funding in general, the low salary of the teachers and now the huge tax concessions that the state grants for the extraction of Amazon, led on Monday, the beginning of the last, to the strike of teachers a series of pedagogic strikes in the United States.

In Fairfax County, the third-richest district in the United States, there are more than 800 supporters acting as temporary classrooms, as the school district can not afford to build new classrooms.

“Our employees often say that Fairfax County Public Schools is the largest dealer of supporters on the East Coast of the United States,” joked Ryan McElveen, board member. “We own 820 trailers, more than any other company on the entire East Coast.”

Throughout Virginia, school districts have thousands of low-cost devotees who pose a risk to health and safety. Trailers often have low heating, their plywood construction makes them susceptible to mold, and in some schools, students have even reported accidental falls in their floors.

To reach the caravans, students often have to walk out of the schools to the nearby parking lots; They often come cold and wet to class and sometimes even get sick.

“In this era of school shootings, having our kids in caravans, open to the public without the security we have for the buildings, it’s dangerous, anyone can come in anytime, it’s not safe and it is not good.” , Learning environment, “said Rachna Sizemore, whose autistic son was forced to move to a school almost half an hour away due to overcrowded schools in Northern Virginia.

Located just a few miles from the moldy supporters of McLean High School, the proposed location is at the new Amazon headquarters in Crystal City, Virginia, directly across from the Lincoln Memorial’s Potomac River. Amazon’s influx of new residents in Northern Virginia is likely to increase only the RV parks outside the schools in Northern Virginia.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam proposes to increase education funding by $ 269 million. He has, however, almost threefold ($ 750 million) proposed to lure Amazon to the north of Virginia. The offer was made to secure the “HQ2” of Amazon, the technology company’s second headquarters, located between Virginia and a controversial second location in Long Island City, New York.

Teachers reject this and are now participating in the first nationwide strikes of teachers in the history of Virginia.

Inspired by a wave of #redforEd strikes that plagued the nation, Virginia teachers, who earn $ 9,000 less than the national average, ask Northam to reject tax cuts and instead invest the money to eliminate the caravan parks from so many schools in Virginia

“Like education deficits in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Los Angeles, Virginia would need to invest $ 1 billion to return to its funding levels before the recession,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. , Virginia “is ready to favor corporate tax credits over Amazon in public schools,” he said. “That is not right.”

In a statement, Gov. Alena Yarmosky’s spokesperson said, “Governor Northam knows that the salaries of teachers in Virginia are below the national average, so their proposed budget includes the highest salary increase in one year, just one year in 15 years.”

She said the budget proposed by the governor “describes significant investments in Virginia’s K-12 education system.”

Many argue that building new schools could create more jobs than bringing Amazon.

“Not only are we creating more jobs in the construction industry, but more classrooms mean more teachers, a lower teacher ratio per student and better schools are attractive to all,” said Lee Carter, a construction worker in a democratic socialist state. Representative from Northern Virginia.

The union leaders of teachers and their allies hope that the public support generated by the strike will make Northam brave on education spending.

The Virginia strike comes a week after the Weingarten union has reached a tentative agreement to end a historic strike in Los Angeles against the headmaster of the Democrats. As the previous strikes turned against the republican governments in Oklahoma and West Virginia, teachers are now turning more and more to democratic authorities like Northam in an increasingly democratic state like Virginia.

Currently, the Republicans control the House of Delegates of Virginia with only one vote and the Senate of Virginia with two votes. With the state legislature elections scheduled for this fall, many teachers hope they can press Northam to defend the teachers.

“Teachers have long been disempowered in this condition,” Carter said. “In Richmond, there is a lawmaker who decides,” Do we spend money or spend money in our schools to help with these massive political contributions? “And again and again these dollars go to the donors, but now that changes.”

Back in the trailer of the infested school system in Northern Virginia, many parents expect something to change.

“The other day I went through a construction site and my son saw a trailer, pointed to the trailer and said,” Mom, I see your school “and said,” No, honey, it’s a trailer, “said the school’s teacher, Fairfax County, Carla Okouchi “It’s heartbreaking that every child sees this structure as a school.”

Categories: students