by Julie Dodd
JEA Mentoring Committee co-chair

The big news in education is that Congress passed a bill and President Obama signed it that provides $10 billion to help  save the jobs of 160,000 teachers.

Obama signs bill to provide funds for teacher salaries. Photo from Education Week

I’m wondering how many of our journalism mentees may have their jobs saved by this funding.

One of the few sad parts of working with the JEA Mentoring Program is learning of our mentees losing their jobs due to budget cuts or censorship conflicts with their administrators. For now, I’ll focus on those who have been pink slipped for financial reasons.

At the JEA/NSPA conventions, I’ve met several of the more than 110 mentees who have been involved in our program. Those teachers are energetic, purposeful and working hard to be prepared journalism teachers. They are just the kind of new teacher we want in the classroom.

But then we learn that some have been notified at the end of the school year that they won’t have their jobs next year. Some have been moved to another school in the district to save their jobs — but they won’t be teaching journalism or advising student media.

And as important as this bill’s passage is, the bill passed after the start of school in many states and just before the start of school in other states. Some of those eager new teachers just couldn’t wait to see if they have been rehired into their old jobs. Some have gotten jobs in other school districts. But they won’t be teaching journalism. And, worse, some may have taken jobs outside of teaching — because they needed a job and/or because they just couldn’t live with the uncertainty of pink slips.

Were any of your mentees pink slipped? If so, what has happened to them? Did they get their journalism advising positions back? Are they teaching in another subject area or another school district? Did they leave teaching? [We have reports from some of you about your mentees who were financial cuts, but we’d appreciate your commenting on the blog to let us share the information about our mentees.Thanks.]