FHSU professor included in 'panel of experts' in nationwide study

Dr. Adam Holden, chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Fort Hays State University, was consulted in a recent analysis of 2014's best and worst states for teachers by WalletHub, an online financial resource site.

The article, "2014's Best and Worst States for Teachers," analyzed and ranked the 50 states in 18 different metrics, ranging from public school spending per student to teacher job openings per capita.

Holden was asked to give his opinion on teacher-related issues, including: the biggest challenges teachers face, how local officials can make their states more attractive to teachers, and whether unions are beneficial to students and teachers. He also offered tips for new teachers.

The greatest challenge teachers face, according to Holden, is meeting the needs of all students. He gave the example of an "educationally diverse classroom."

"The modern classroom brings with it a level of complexity that can be genuinely nerve-wracking," he told WalletHub.

"Today's students are more educationally diverse than ever before, and therefore adequately meeting the needs of those who have special needs, those who are digital natives, those who are gifted, and even those who are simply unmotivated."

He also told WalletHub that, in addition to teaching, teachers must be able to multi-task in order to complete the "seemingly endless pile of critical paperwork" and required testing.

In response to the question, "How can local officials make their state more attractive to the best teachers?" Holden said the best way for states to become more attractive to the best teachers is to foster an environment that is "positive, collaborative and appreciative of the efforts of all."

Holden said that the concept of unions is beneficial to both students and teachers, but he also told WalletHub that even though the concept is "undeniably good," the process can be badly executed.

"When this mission is carried out at the expense of what is in the best interest of the institution as a whole, it actually becomes a detriment," said Holden. He said that the quality of the leadership largely ensures the "positive potential of a union."

Holden encourages new teachers looking for a place to settle to "do their homework" and research both the district and individual school before accepting a teaching job. "Find out about the key goals for the district, the professional opportunities afforded teachers and the historical track record -- it will help you a lot!"

WalletHub was launched by Evolution Finance in 2012 as a "one-stop destination for all the tools and information consumers and small business owners need to make better financial decisions and save money." WalletHub provides consumers with financial news and data in conjunction with a social media platform to rate and review financial products or services.

The full article is available online at wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-states-for-teachers/7159/.

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