April 16th, 2012
03:53 PM ET

School denies boy graduation walk

A student misses school to take care of his cancer-stricken mom. The school says he's missed too many days to graduate. WJW video.

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Filed under: At Home • Policy • Voices
April 16th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

My View: Calling all 'teacher leaders'

Courtesy Camille BurkeBy Noah Zeichner, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note:  Noah Zeichner is a National Board-certified teacher at Chief Sealth International School in Seattle, Washington. He currently serves in a hybrid teaching role, dividing his time evenly between teaching social studies and supporting the Center for Teaching Quality's New Millennium Initiative.

Everyone these days seems to be talking about the importance of effective teachers. I often hear people say that there is no more important job in our country than that of an educator. So why isn’t teaching the most pursued profession in our society today?

And for the people who do decide to teach, why are so many early-career teachers leaving the profession? An estimated 46 percent of teachers leave teaching within their first five years in the classroom. In high-poverty schools the turnover rate is even higher. And according to the latest MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, job satisfaction is at its lowest point in more than twenty years.

I am one of the lucky ones. I made it over the five-year hump and am currently in my eighth year of teaching high school social studies and Spanish. While my primary focus has always been my students and their challenges and successes, I can attribute some of my energy for what I hope to be a long career in teaching to what I have done outside the classroom.

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Filed under: Teachers • Voices
April 16th, 2012
06:45 AM ET

When your school bus is a tractor

By Carl Azuz, CNN

(CNN) – If you saw a school parking lot filled with tractors – and the school has already been built – you’d probably have some questions. And that’s exactly what the students at Auburndale High School in Wisconsin were hoping for on their annual “Bring Your Tractor to School” day.

“Students show great pride in their agricultural heritage and their background and where they come from,” said Mark Cournoyer, who teaches agriculture at Auburndale. In a farming community, there’s no shortage of tractors to help them do that; about 30 students were expected to participate.

The tradition is now in its fifth year. It takes the machines on a parade through town, stopping at an elementary school to impress the kids. Then, the heavy-duty procession rolls on to the high school, where the tractors are parked and the message fires up.

According to Jackie Breuch, a junior at Auburndale High and the event’s organizer, “There are a lot of farmers around, so pretty much you know a farmer, friends with a farmer.” So this, first and foremost, is a chance for current and future farmers to promote their trade.

It’s also an opportunity to discuss tractor safety, and as the machines are driven by students, you can imagine their message carrying more weight than the stuff you heard in driver’s ed.

The tractor-shaped cookies sold at lunchtime will pay for more than diesel: Participants are saving for a trip to the Washington Leadership Conference in June or July. In attendance will be the Future Farmers of America.

While that benefit won’t be tangible for a couple months yet, it could help these students – and the rest of us – for decades to come.

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Filed under: High school • Practice • Safety • video