Thursday, May 30, 2013

Good Teachers Should Be Recognized and Rewarded

Throughout the country parents, educators and community leaders are engaged in discussions about ways in which the nation's schools can best educate the next generation to take its place in the workforce and academia, as well as in positions of leadership and responsibility.

Suggestions range from increasing time devoted to specific subjects to adding (or subtracting) time allotted to sports education and the arts, school hours and extracurricular activities. Some professionals promote a particular curriculum while others encourage parents and other community members to become more involved in the students' educational process. The classroom atmosphere, relationship with the staff and even the physical structure of the classroom are subjects for discussion.

One issue for which there is no debate though concerns the importance of successful and concerned educators in the students' school environment. The impression that a strong, dedicated and influential teacher can make on a child's school career is immeasurable. Effective teachers are not only able to present the material in a way that engages and motivates their students, but they can stimulate and inspire the students to strive and achieve.

Throughout the country various initiatives have been created with the goal of recognizing the importance of effective educators as a major factor in providing students with a high quality education. One of these initiatives, the Milken Educator Awards, was co-established by Lowell Milken of the Milken Family Foundation in 1985. Via this award the Milken Family Foundation shares their vision of education as a vehicle that prepares students to succeed in life by providing them with needed knowledge and skills along with a desire to take their place in society.

The Milken Educator Award (MEA) provides public recognition to outstanding educators who teach in kindergarten through the 12th grade. The Award is granted yearly and alternates between elementary teachers and secondary school educators. Award recipients are generally early-to-mid career teachers who receive $25,000 which they can use for any activity that will allow them to further their personal educational goals. This, Lowell Milken believes, will inspire the teachers to continue their high quality work and will allow them to use their award monies to advance their careers, achieve greater successes and stimulate other educators to emulate their accomplishments.

The Milken Family Foundation accepts nominations for the award from a blue-ribbon panel which is appointed by each state's Department of Education. The panel looks for teachers who exhibit exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices as well as by student learning results in the classroom and school, based on standardized testing.

In addition, the panel reviews the teacher's educational accomplishments beyond the classroom such as participation in extra-curricular school events or active involvement in professional or community groups. These activities, the Foundation believes, provide a model of excellence for the profession. The MFF aims to identify educators who offer strong long-range potential for policy and professional leadership, motivate their students and positively impact their colleagues and the community.

Once chosen, the award recipient is presented with the opportunity to join the Milken Educator Network, a select professional community that includes past recipients of the Milken Educators Award, top education officials and education think-tanks. This group continues to impact the nation's education at local, state and national levels by serving as a resource to fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others who shape the future of America's education.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that they should be recognized and rewarded too. It's often a thankless job and more and more parents don't help them one bit.

    Have a terrific day. ☺


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