'Teachers across the country remain optimistic that the nation’s dropout crisis can be improved, but feel that their input and ideas on finding solutions to the problem are critical to success and often ignored in the national dialogue'.
These findings are part of a new survey supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The report, “Teacher Town Halls: A Summary of Findings and Impact,” is based on responses of over 2,000 teachers in communities across the country who participated in a dozen teacher town halls, organized by local public media stations, who then responded to survey questions. In addition, fifty public media stations collected 1,200 video interviews with teachers discussing how to keep students in school, and published them in a virtual town hall.
Why do kids drop out of school?
Similar themes arose across the US when discussing solutions:
"We don’t have this any place else. If you bring this forum together every so often and give us jobs to do, we will impact the dropout crisis.”
--Town hall participant on value of Town Hall (WHRO Norfolk, VA)
"Thank you and New Mexico PBS for hosting the American Graduate Teacher Town Hall… The opportunity to share ideas and express our perspectives was helpful and important. Ray Suarez did an excellent job, sparking engaging and thoughtful conversation. I hope to continue to participate in making a difference for our families in New Mexico. Once again, thank you very much.”
--Participant from the New Mexico Town Hall talks about experience (Albuquerque, NM)
"For many teachers, it is as if we have been in an ongoing, escalating seriously nasty battle this school year. You and all of your colleagues gave us new life, a vote of confidence, and the emergency resuscitation that many of us who went to Jacksonville so desperately needed.”
–- Middle School Teacher, Hillsborough County on FL teacher Town Hall (WEDU-WUSF FL)
"I left with the feeling that someone is actually listening to us and cares about what we as teachers do each day. It was nice to know that someone … is concerned not only for the students but for those in the trenches doing the work to make our collective future better!"
--Antonio Young, FL Town Hall Participant (WJCT Jacksonville, FL)
"I want to thank you and your team for your invitation to be a part of the WHRO Teacher Town Hall event. I absolutely enjoyed every minute of it. …I found the information useful – and I’m sure that it will help next year as I begin my new job as a graduation coach…”
--Town hall participant on experience (WHRO Norfolk, VA)
"Personally, it helped invigorate my motivation to help students be successful. From a broadcast to the public perspective, this program helps show America that teachers are concerned about student problems and want to help and also need help to make this happen.”
--NY Teacher Town Hall participant (WNET New York, NY)
"I believe we need to promote the importance of becoming lifelong learners in our classes. Students need to know that learning doesn't stop once they graduate high school, but continues for the rest of their lives. “
--NPT Teacher Town Hall participant (NPT Nashville, TN)