Issues facing students, schools and the teaching profession are being addressed this week at the National Education Association’s Annual Meeting in Boston. Kathy Vetter, President of the Wyoming Education Association, has joined close to 8,000 educators from every state to exchange ideas about how to improve education.
Vetter said educators from Wyoming are paying special attention to what’s happening with the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, which is replacing No Child Left Behind. She said she’s optimistic about the power ESSA gives states to set education policy.
The growing teacher shortage affecting the nation is also on Vetter’s radar. Because Wyoming has offered competitive salaries in the past, the state has felt fewer impacts from the shortage. But what she's heard from educators in other states has Vetter concerned about cuts to education made by the Wyoming legislature.
“If we don’t get our funding correct we could see the same kind of crisis that the states around us are seeing in trying to recruit and retain educators,” said Vetter.
And with the downturn in the state’s economy, Vetter said she is also paying special attention to conversations about social justice, and exchanging ideas with educators from other states about how to best support students impacted by poverty.
“In Wyoming, we are seeing more and more students that don’t have the financial stability at home. And that truly affects how students do in schools because if their basic needs are not being met, it’s very difficult for them to learn when they are worried about shelter and food,” said Vetter.
The National Education Association is having its 155th Annual Meeting June 25 - July 5.