Father’s Day

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The nation’s first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in the state of Washington. However, it was not until 1972–58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official–that the day honoring fathers became a nationwide holiday in the United States. Here are a few pictures of our staff with their fathers. Happy Father’s Day!


The Importance of Educators Dressing Professionally

Jordan Catapano, a high school English teacher, writes in Teacher Hub that “there is a connection between the way one looks and the way one thinks and acts.”   According to a study published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, the type of clothing and teacher fashion one wears “Influences cognition broadly, impacting the processing style that changes how objects, people, and events are construed.”  Brian Hadfield, a Middle School Teacher, adds “the teacher’s attire can largely impact the students’ opinions and create either a negative or positive type of educational climate.” What is clear, teachers must distinguish themselves from the students they teach.  New teachers may face even greater challenges. So, Professional Educators of Tennessee is offering a few tips to spruce up your education wardrobe.

Assess Your Wardrobe

Professionals need to assess their clothing attire when preparing for their career as an educator.  What was acceptable to wear in college or other jobs may not always be appropriate for an elementary, middle, or high school teacher. Dress to impress, your students, your peers and your administration.  However, you can dress nice and keep your choices economical. Clothing for educators should meet four criteria:

  • Clothing should be appropriate for the classroom. Remember teachers are role models and this must be demonstrated in your clothing choices.
  • Clothing should be affordable.  On a teacher’s budget, the more economical, the better for teachers.
  • Clothing should be washable. Teachers don’t have the time or budget to dry clean.
  • Clothing should be durable. Elementary/Special Education Teachers in particular interact physically with their students.

With these requirements in mind, we’ve assembled our best advice on how to assemble a teacher wardrobe, especially for new teachers starting from scratch. Read more below.

Shop Your Own Closet

Offbeat Home & Life reminds people when you are starting over with your wardrobe or just trying to save a buck here and there, learning to work with your existing wardrobe. That means that the key in creating a wardrobe for every educator is to examine what you already own.  Shopping your own closet will save you money and maximize your wardrobe. This is the critical first step. Develop your own style, just keep it professional.

Keep track of the clothes you own. Some people even write it down. Figure out what clothing items may be missing in order for you to create proper attire for the classroom. What appropriate pieces do you already own, suitable for a young professional in a classroom? Clothing almost never fits perfectly off the rack.  Try on all of your clothes to make sure they fit you properly. For example, there should be no see-through items, low cut dresses or gaping shirts. If clothes do not fit, set them aside in one section of your closet or consider donating them to Goodwill or a similar organization.

A few years ago Forbes had a wonderful article, which is still relevant on tips for shopping your own closet.

  • Before shopping any closet, it needs to be organized for the task. Try on everything and narrow down your choices to things that fit and are in good condition. Donate the rest.
  • Window shop.Next pay attention to what the fashion magazines are showing.. Look for things that are similar to what you already own.
  • Find a good tailor.A good tailor is an essential tool of the champion closet shopper. Some things may just need a nip, a tuck, a narrower leg, or a shorter hem.
  • Try to see old things new ways. You can test drive this a few times before you commit to the tailor.
  • Add a pop of color.
  • Wear old things in new ways.
  • Try new combinations.Mix up suits jackets and pants. Play with contrasts. There’s a reason black and white are perennially in style.
  • Make a shopping list for what you are missing.Make a wish list of things you need or want to replace, and the pieces you wish you had in your closet.
  • Pace yourself.Invest in the best that you can afford.  Less expensive pieces usually look best in black.

Build Your Basic Professional Wardrobe

Our friends at We Are Teachers point out that “dressing for life as a teacher can be difficult.”  They add, at “the elementary level, it’s important to walk the line between looking professional and not caring whether you get paint, glue or yes, even body fluids on your outfit.”  Then point out the obvious: “If your students are older, the challenge becomes to look stylish without attracting unwanted attention or comments from teenage fashionistas.”  All teachers spend a lot of time on their feet and need to be comfortable from the first bell to the last. So, shoes are also very important.  It is worth the money to spend more for a sturdy pair of shoes when you will be on your feet all day.

A basic wardrobe for professionals is included at the Lifehacker website.  While it seems a little much for a classroom teacher, it certainly is basic for a school administrator. A Pinterest blog “How to Dress Like a Teacher” is a great visual for female teachers.  Pinterest and numerous other blogs are a great source for teacher ideas in general, including proper attire. Many teachers include ideas on Pinterest on apparel they find online and some even upload their own daily outfits.  For men check out Guide To Become A Well-Dressed Teacher.  Teacher blogs are incredibly useful resources where real-life teachers post the outfits they wear to work. Trendy Tales of a Teacher and Teachers Have Lives Too are popular blogs with young female teachers.

So, whether you are building a wardrobe from the clothes already in your closet or needing to shop in a hurry these tips will help and inspire you.

Secondhand Clothes

Thanks to new websites and apps, you can hunt for secondhand fashion from your phone—or, if you prefer there are brick-and-mortar options, too.

A few of the online apps are Wallapop, Refashioner, Poshmark, Asos Marketplace, Tradesy and Vinted.  The sites all have shipping terms, refund info, security precautions, contingency planning for pieces that don’t show up and deadlines for when purchased items must be shipped by a seller—just in case you’re a little wary of the world of online thrifting. A popular secondhand shop that specializes in trendy clothing is Plato’s Closet.

Don’t forget the retail stores such as TJMaxx, Marshalls or Ross to purchase affordable clothing. Even your local Goodwill may have professional options.

You should check out the benefits offered by Professional Educators of Tennessee on a regular basis, as they change and we are constantly adding to our list.  Many stores offer discounts to teachers with an employee ID. The following are just some retailers that give Clothing/Accessories savings to teachers nationwide:

  • Blue Nile Jewelry
  • Carhartt
  • Claire’s
  • Coco Reef Swimwear
  • Crocs
  • Hartstrings Children’s Apparel
  • JCPenney
  • Kohl’s
  • Naturalizer Shoes
  • Target
  • The Walking Company

Clothes Swap

A clothing swap is a where people, in this case teachers, exchange their valued but no longer used clothing for clothing they will use. Clothing swaps are considered not only a good way to refill one’s wardrobe, but also are considered an act of environmentalism. Online clothes swapping has also become popular, with websites offering an environmentally friendly and frugal alternative to shopping or second-hand shops. Once you begin teaching, organize a seasonal clothing swap with your fellow teachers. Have everyone bring clothing and accessories that they no longer want to one teacher’s home. Group the items by type and size, then allow each teacher that donated items to “shop” from the donated goods. Any remaining clothing can be brought to the teacher’s lounge for those that were unable to attend the swap or donated to a local charity like Goodwill.

Find a Dry Cleaner and a Tailor

If you do purchase dry clean only clothing, by all means use a drycleaner.  This can not only save you money in the long but is one of your best clothing investments. Good quality clothes are expensive and need to last as long as possible. That will only happen if the clothes are cleaned correctly every time after they are worn. When you find that reliable cleaner, you have found your best clothing care partner.

Tailoring is another way to make your wardrobe more professional. One of the best ways to look more professional is to wear clothes that fit properly.  If Khakis or black pants are your go to item, make sure they fit properly. Ask around to find a good tailor. If you have a friend or relative who sews, even better.  While, good tailoring is worth paying more for, and bad tailoring is a waste of money entirely.

One last thing, what is acceptable to wear on snowy day in Michigan will be completely different than what the teacher from South Florida may wear. You do have to fit in logically and culturally, so take cues from the best dressed educators in your district. Become that teacher who everyone else wants to emulate.

Anything we missed?   What is considered as “Dressing professionally” for you? Feel free to offer ideas or suggestions or your favorite link for teacher style or fashion.

Are You Called to Teach?

Teaching is indeed an imposing, self-sacrificing, but also a magnanimous calling. There is no other profession, except perhaps the clergy, that can change lives like a public-school teacher.


Source: Called to Teach?

What Students Can Do to Avoid Summer Melt

Source: What Students Can Do to Avoid Summer Melt

The Third Education Revolution

it’s clear a third wave in the evolution of education is needed to compete in a new economy in which learning can never end.

Previous shifts in how people work have typically been accompanied in the United States by an expansion in the amount of education required by employers to get a good job. In the early 1900s, the “high-school movement” turned secondary schools into a nationwide system for mass education that provided training for life instead of small-scale institutions designed to prepare a select group of students for college. In 1910, just 9 percent of American youths earned a high-school diploma; by 1935, 40 percent did.

This expansion of high schools was the first wave in a century-long broadening of education in the United States in response to the changing needs of the economy. The high-school movement was “truly path breaking,” wrote Claudia Goldin, a Harvard University economist, in a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. “No other country underwent the transformation to virtually universal public secondary education” so early and so quickly. “Without the rapid rise of the high school,” Goldin argued, “America could not have put the GI Bill of Rights … into immediate action after 1944 for American youth would not yet have graduated high school.”

The second wave in expanding education for a changing workforce occurred in the 1960s with the “college-for-all” movement. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Higher Education Act, which bolstered federal aid for higher education. Meanwhile, states built community college campuses and widened the mission of state teachers’ colleges by adding a bevy of programs in all academic fields. Between 1970 and 2016, enrollment in higher education more than doubled from 8.5 million to 20.5 million students.

Now a third wave in education and training has arrived, argue economists, educators, and workforce-development officials. The level of preparation that worked in the first two waves—adding more time to education early in life—does not seem sufficient in the 21st-century economy. Instead the third wave is likely to be marked by continual training throughout a person’s lifetime—to keep current in a career, to learn how to complement rising levels of automation, and to gain skills for new work. Workers will likely consume this lifelong learning in short spurts when they need it, rather than in lengthy blocks of time as they do now when it often takes months or years to complete certificates and degrees.

With this third wave will come a shift in how workers perceive retraining, said Brent Parton, deputy director of the Center on Education and Skills at the think tank New America. “We tend to think of retraining now as something that follows a traumatic event—a job loss, for instance,” said Parton, who served as a policy advisor in the U.S. Department of Labor during the Obama administration. “We’re entering a stage where retraining will be the day-to-day world that people live in. It will be part of their daily life and a much quieter set of traditions compared with now.”

One big worry, however, is that the arrival of lifelong education will only exacerbate the economic divide that already exists in the United States. Education levels in the U.S. are closely tied to income. Simply put: Rich kids are far more likely to graduate from college than are their poor and working-class peers. There’s no reason not to believe that trend won’t continue in this third wave of lifelong learning. It is likely to help workers who already have high levels of education get the training they need rather than assist underemployed or unemployed workers who need to upskill to keep a job or get a new one.

Two simultaneous forces in the job market are driving this push toward lifelong learning. The first is automation and the widening divide between the lifetime earnings of high-school and college graduates. While experts predict that few occupations will ever be totally automated, most jobs are likely in the future to have many of their basic activities performed by a computer. In its report, McKinsey estimated that in about 60 percent of occupations, at least one-third of activities could be automated by 2030. “The shift could be on a scale not seen since the transition of the labor force out of agriculture in the early 1900s in the United States and Europe,” the report warned.

The second is the emergence of the gig economy, which is reshaping the traditional employer-employee relationship as more contractors and freelancers fill roles once reserved for full-time workers making good salaries. While the term “the gig economy” conjures up images of popular apps for temporary work, such as Uber and Task Rabbit, the army of professional white-collar freelancers is larger than that encompassing the services we can request on our smartphones. In a 2016 study, two economists, Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger, found that all net employment growth in the United States since 2005 appears to have come from what they termed “alternative work”—that is, contract and freelance work, which has ballooned by more than 50 percent over the last decade.

Both trends in the job market have the potential to upend the current federal workforce-training system that is largely run by the government and depends on solid projections about future jobs with traditional employers. Automation adds “much more uncertainty about what jobs are in high demand,” said Harry Holzer, a professor at Georgetown University and former chief economist for the Labor Department. “What might look like a job or skills in high demand today, might not be by the time someone is done training for a new job.”

What’s more, federal retraining programs deliver funds through local workforce boards, which operate one-stop centers where job seekers go for help largely to prepare for full-time work, not to become independent contractors or entrepreneurs. If more people are employed as freelancers in the future, workforce-development officials worry that it might be difficult for some workers to know when they need a new set of skills to remain employed.

One role traditional employers have always played is in the professional development of their workers. On a yearly basis, usually through annual performance reviews, employers would advise employees about the skills needed to keep their job or to receive promotion. In many cases, employers would suggest training programs and pay for them. But freelancers get no such guidance nor help on finding or paying for continuing education.

Policy officials maintain that the realities of the modern workplace demand that government-run job-training programs in the future play a different role. Rather than focus on routine skills that can be replaced by technology, job training needs to target key skills that complement technology, such as problem solving, teamwork, and communication.

At the same time, training must occur more regularly and less episodically than it does now in order to keep pace with the increasing churn of jobs. Already colleges are responding to this need by expanding noncredit programs; such courses can be up and running more quickly than credit-based programs can, and they take much less time to complete than do full-fledged degrees and certificates.

But those noncredit programs are small compared to degree programs, and most higher-education institutions still operate with a mentality that it’s not their job to train people for a job, economists say. “What worries me,” Holzer said, “is that the system today is not great at providing training to workers who need it, and the demand is only going to grow in the future with more workers, in more occupations.”

The classic image of job retraining in the U.S. remains that of laid-off blue-collar factory workers learning new skills. But if greater numbers of white-collar workers with college degrees tap into the federal job-training system in the future, it risks collapse trying to take into account their training needs as it is also starved for money. (Federal training dollars have been slashed by 22 percent since 2009, and in his second budget this year, President Trump proposed further cuts.)

Increased funds for federal job-training programs will only come when white-collar workers use the benefits in addition to laid-off blue-collar workers. “It needs to be seen as a benefit for everyone,” said Josh Copus, the chief operating officer of the National Association of Workforce Boards. “If the more advantaged [white-collar workers] don’t use career centers, we’re never going to expand the social capital and networks of those who do use them.”

Experts agree that to adequately serve an increasingly diverse set of workers and industries, the current patchwork of federal training efforts needs reform. An important first step was taken in 2014 when Congress replaced the 1990s-era Workforce Investment Act with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Among other things, the new law emphasized “career pathways,” which offer workers a sequence of educational opportunities and credentials that they can earn as they work in progressively more advanced jobs. For example, instead of training to become a nurse, workers could first pursue certificates as nursing aides.

If training and education become a lifelong pursuit, the big question is how to pay for it.

But further reforms are needed for the third wave of education and lifelong learning, so that training isn’t seen as something that happens only when there is a shock to the economy, such as a recession or a massive factory layoff. One idea that has been suggested by economists and workforce-training officials: “work sharing,” which allows employees to retrain while they’re still employed. Work sharing is a program in place in more than 25 states in which employers reduce their workers’ hours and pay and the states make up some of the lost wages. Right now, it’s typically used as an incentive in an economic slowdown to keep skilled workers employed, but it can also provide workers the flexibility to improve their skills while in a job.

If training and education become a lifelong pursuit, the big question is how to pay for it. Many people enter the workforce already in debt from college. Student debt has doubled since 2009 to $1.3 trillion. Given these circumstances, few people have money for further training. In response, some states offer Lifelong Learning Accounts, a 401(k)-like plan that allows employers and employees to contribute to an account for retraining purposes.

Michael Horn, a higher-education consultant who has written extensively on the future of training, recently suggested similar plans that he dubbed “renewable learning funds.” They would be paid for by an alternative form of financial aid called income-share agreements. Such agreements provide students money to cover college costs, and, in exchange, students agree to pay back a percentage of their future income rather than take on a fixed amount of debt.

“Continual education is not just about paying for tuition,” Horn said. “Training carries an opportunity cost in terms of lost wages, and so we need to figure out how to support some of their living expenses, too.”

Faced with a skills gap, employers are increasingly working with community colleges to provide workers with both the academic education needed to succeed in today’s workforce and the specific hands-on skills to get a job in their companies.

In the long race between education and increasing technology in the workforce, education has historically always won, according to Goldin, the Harvard economist. In other words, for much of the 20th century, simply having a college degree and, even better, an advanced degree, was seen as a key advantage in the job market. But it’s unclear whether that dynamic will remain true in a job market undergoing massive changes. A college degree will certainly remain a differentiator in the future, but not just any degree, argues Alssid, the vice president of workforce development at the Community College of Rhode Island.

“While we don’t know what skills will be required for the human-centric jobs of the future [such as health care, management consultants, and financial planners],” said Alssid, who has spent more than two decades in the workforce-development field, “we do know that these jobs will require a highly adaptable workforce that can think critically, creatively, and work collaboratively to find solutions to rapidly developing, complex problems.”

Such skills, often referred to as “soft skills,” are typically seen in liberal-arts graduates, but those individuals often lack the technical skills employers want. Alssid said a hybrid of liberal-arts and technical education is what is most needed in training programs to allow workers to better navigate the ambiguity of the future job market. That’s the goal of his school’s partnership with Infosys—to introduce liberal-arts students to technical fields that they might not have previously considered, while other programs will introduce the flexibility of the liberal arts to technical workers.

More than a century has passed since the universal high-school movement took off in the United States and 50 years since the college-for-all movement began. Those first two waves of education helped the U.S. build the world’s most successful economy. Now it’s clear a third wave in the evolution of education is needed to compete in a new economy in which learning can never end.

This article is part of the “What Makes a Worker?” project, which is supported by a grant from Lumina Foundation.


  • JEFFREY SELINGO is a contributing editor to The Atlantic and the author of There Is Life After College.

This article first appeared in The Atlantic on March 22, 2018.  It is a great read.  You can find the original here:  https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/03/the-third-education-revolution/556091/

We Don’t Tell You WHO to Vote For!

JC's Blurb 17

Our commitment to our members is simple. We are completely funded by the dues of our members. Our members are educators from the state of Tennessee. No other teachers’ association in this state is as well-respected in the legislature as Professional Educators of Tennessee for what we stand for, and how we go about our business on your behalf.

When we take your message to policymakers, understand this: we fight for public schools, because we understand the historical and philosophical basis of why public education exists. If public education is to continue to be successful, it will take all the policymakers and stakeholders working together. And we want to be your voice in Tennessee.

We encourage you to register to vote. We encourage you to vote. We encourage you to campaign for the candidates that reflect your values or beliefs. What we will not do is tell you who to vote for in this or any other election. A strong public education system is a key to our democracy, a foundation to build our economy, and the means by which we can help all Tennessee children achieve their dreams.


Why I Honor Memorial Day

“Courage, of all national qualities, is the most precarious; because it is exerted only at intervals, and by a few in every nation” wrote David Hume. It takes courage to risk life and limb for our state and country. Norman Schwarzkopf said “It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”

It is fitting then, that we set aside a day to remember those who have given their lives in service for our country. The least we can do as a nation is to honor these heroes. These brave few who became legends meeting their end on a battlefield, fighting our nation’s enemies.

According to the book Roster of Soldiers and Patriots of the American Revolution Buried in Tennessee, there are about 4,500 veterans of the American Revolution interred in Tennessee.

One is my 4th great-grandfather, Colonel James Taylor, who is buried at Centenary Baptist Church in Blount County, Tennessee. Fortunately, he was able to come home and raise a family. A privilege that was denied to many.

The first casualty of the American Revolution was Crispus Attucks. He was killed during the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770. Attucks was believed to be the son of a slave and a Native American woman. As hostilities intensified between the colonists and British soldiers, the British confronted a group of unruly colonists by opening fire and killing five men including Attucks, who was the first to die. In his 1964 book Why We Can’t Wait, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. praised Attucks for his part in American history. It is worth noting that Attucks was displayed with the others at Faneuil Hall, where it lay in state. The men were then entombed in a common sepulcher. There was no segregation for Patriots.

Traditionally, Americans observed Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials of our fallen war heroes. In recent years, it has become more of a party celebrating the launch of summer, thus losing the original purpose and meaning. I think we must remind ourselves to honor those courageous men and women who have served and then given their lives for the cause of freedom. Freedom cannot guarantee a meaningful life, merely the possibility of having one. To keep that possibility, we need to embrace and strengthen freedom. It was Thomas Jefferson who reminded us: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

We need to take a minute to THANK those veterans who gave their lives so we Americans can enjoy our liberty. Life is so precious. No doubt those who made the ultimate sacrifice had their hopes and dreams as well for our country. We should also ask our politicians to remember those veterans who made it back and ensure that they get the benefits they were promised, and the highest quality medical care available—including mental health.

Thomas Smith wrote one of the best tributes to those who died for our nation: “This country has not seen and probably will never know the true level of sacrifice of our veterans. As a civilian I owe an unpayable debt to all our military. Going forward let’s not send our servicemen and women off to war or conflict zones unless it is overwhelmingly justifiable and on moral high ground. The men of WWII were the greatest generation, perhaps Korea the forgotten, Vietnam the trampled, Cold War unsung and Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan vets underestimated. Every generation has proved itself to be worthy to stand up to the precedent of the greatest generation. Going back to the Revolution American soldiers have been the best in the world. Let’s all take a remembrance for all veterans who served or are serving, peace time or wartime and gone or still with us. God Bless America and All Veterans.” I remember their sacrifice. George Patton added: “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” That is why I honor Memorial Day.


JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Follow him on Twitter @jcbowman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the association are properly cited.

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