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USA Today Reporters Spend a Day With 'Disrespected' Teachers

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Teachers "feel misunderstood, unheard, and, above all, disrespected," according to a story in USA Today on Thursday that was  based on reporting by 15 teams of journalists across the country who spent a single day with them last month.

"That disrespect comes from many sources," says the story, "America's Teachers: A Day in the Life," including "parents who are uninvolved or too involved; government mandates that dictate how, and to what measures, teachers must teach; state school budgets that have never recovered from Great Recession cuts, leading to inadequately prepared teachers and inadequately supplied classrooms."

The 15 teams of journalists were from the USA Today Network, which is a brand that publisher Gannett Co. has applied for several years to its chain of more than 100 U.S. newspapers, including the flagship national paper.

The report, written by Rick Hampson from reporting by him and 17 others, covers much of the front page plus two full inside pages of snapshots of teachers on Monday, Sept. 17, from the prayer that Racine, Wis., substitute teacher Edward Lawson says when he pulls into the parking lot at his school to when Deerfield, Mont., teacher Traci Manseau arrives home, 30 miles from her school, and has papers to correct and an online course session to take.

"This year, for the first time since pollsters started asking a half-century ago, a majority of Americans said they would not want their child to become a teacher," the report states. "Yet teachers everywhere say that if only the American people—the parent, the voter, the politician, the philanthropist—really understood schools and teachers, they'd join their cause."

USA Today's report joins the list of major media organizations that have recently focused on "the plight of the underpaid teacher," as Education Week's Madeline Will wrote last month. The New York Times Magazine, Time magazine, and the Guardian all published features along that line.

USA Today's piece makes a good use of its network of local papers and reporters for a look at one day in the life of the nation's teachers. If you aren't staying at a business hotel today and getting your giveaway copy, check it out online.

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