Teachers and those who appreciate their significance in the world will celebrate the 20th anniversary of World Teachers Day on Oct. 5. This day is devoted to appreciating, assessing, and improving the educators of the world. I cannot overemphasize the importance of providing time to look at and address the issues facing both teachers, and students. Setting aside a day to celebrate this important profession was put together partly because of many societies’ views on teachers and the lack of respect all too many educators receive.
Here in America there are 3.7 million full-time elementary and secondary teachers. Close to 75 percent of these teachers are female. Most Americans are aware of the great importance of teachers in shaping the future generation. However, some asked why we need a World Teachers Day, why we don’t celebrate on a country-by-country basis. UNESCO – the organization supporting the Oct. 5 celebration explains that teachers are producing global citizens, so they are global teachers who need to situate their advances on a global level. World Teachers Day is a wonderful opportunity to rethink national issues facing teachers from an international perspective, to benchmark progress made by national teachers in a global context.
According to a Gallup poll conducted last year, respect for teachers in America varies widely depending on how well the local public school system is perceived. Midwest and western states ranked the highest in saying teachers in their communities were well-respected. In fact, Minnesota ranked among the top 10 states with 83 percent of respondents saying teachers were admired or esteemed. While a clear majority of residents from each state in the union perceive that teachers in their local areas are thought highly of, Gallup’s research indicates that, overall, teachers don’t feel they get much respect at work. This fact saddens me, and I hope that along with my Education Committee colleagues in the Senate we can work to change this reality.
I can personally attest to having the utmost admiration for the educators in Minnesota. In fact, we have a lot to be proud when it comes to education. Minnesota ranks seventh in terms of state funding per pupil, and we’ve led the nation nine consecutive years for having the highest composite ACT scores. In 2014 Minnesota students scored an average of 23, compared to the national average of 21. Celebrating World Teacher Day can help make a difference by generating awareness about teacher issues and ensuring that teacher respect is part of the natural order of things. Take the opportunity on Oct. 5 to discuss, compare, learn, argue, share and improve the world around us.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. I encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 651-296-6820.