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President Joe Biden calls on the nation to 'lower the temperature' on politics; Utah governor calls for unity following Trump assassination attempt; Civil rights groups sound the alarm on Project 2025; New England braces for 'above-normal' hurricane season.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Teacher Appreciation Week: ND talks center around perks, perception

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Wednesday, May 8, 2024   

It's Teacher Appreciation Week, and in North Dakota, the tone is a little different this year - with deeper conversations about the need to keep educators in the field. Factors like teacher pay have been a rallying cry for labor groups as states like North Dakota struggle with educator shortages in some districts.

Jenny Bladow, director of teacher education, College of Education & Human Development at the University of North Dakota, and member of North Dakota's Task Force for Teacher Retention and Recruitment, said a statewide recruitment task force that she sits on is discussing other solutions, too. Talks about student loan forgiveness have opened the door to a list of potential perks.

"What if you were a teacher at a school, and instead of just having loan forgiveness options, what if you could have mortgage assistance? What if you could have childcare assistance?" she said.

Bladow admitted these preliminary talks still have to cross paths with the need to secure state funding. The task force meets again in June and is required to submit formal recommendations later this year. Meanwhile, the union North Dakota United points out new rankings reveal the state has fallen to 37th in the nation for the average teacher salary.

The state was last in year-over-year percentage increases for teacher salaries. Bladow said compensation is important, but not the primary reason teachers enter the profession. In choosing this job, she thinks community members need to reward them with moral support, too. Bladow feels that's lacking these days.

"We need to elevate the profession again, to a point where teachers are leaders in the community. They're the keepers of knowledge, right? And their job is to give all this knowledge, and all these skills and resources, to their students," she explained.

Bladow, who led classrooms before entering the academic arena, said parents can help set the tone by trusting the expertise of teachers. She suggests the dominance of social media in everyday life has prompted some parents to go out of their way to "critique" their child's teacher.

Disclosure: North Dakota United contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Education, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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"I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin," wrote Former President Donald Trump on social media. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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