Teacher protests over low pay and lack of resources are likely to continue until legislators change the way they view the teaching profession, according to a Virginia Tech educator.  

“We need a stronger sense of respect for the professionals who are educating our children. We need to decide whether teaching is a worthy career or not,” said professor of mathematics education, Anderson Norton.

“If it is, then no teacher in our country should have to work a second or third job to get by,” said Norton. “These are people who have trained for years, beginning in college, and continue professional development throughout their careers.”

Quoting Norton

·         “We get great students in our program (the mathematics education program at Virginia Tech) but fewer of them now, and many leave the profession after beginning their careers as teachers. They are often disillusioned by school conditions, disrespect, testing pressures, and a lack of support.”

·         “Teachers burnout at a terrible rate. Teacher retention is the biggest issue. About a third of teachers leave the professional within 3 years, and almost half leave by the fifth year. School conditions might be an even bigger factor than salaries.”

·         “Improving the school environment, providing school supplies, allowing teachers to make professional decisions about their own classrooms—these are as important as teacher salaries, and they would positively affect students as much as teachers.”

A newly released poll shows Americans overwhelmingly believe teachers don't make enough money. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research says half of those surveyed say they’d support paying higher taxes to give educators a raise.

“We probably need to be paying higher taxes at the state level to fully fund public education,” said Norton.

Anderson Norton’s Professional Background

To secure a live or recorded interview with Norton, contact Bill Foy by email, or by phone at 540-998-0288.

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