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In Their Own Words: Rural, Board-Certified Teachers Sound Off

It's a simple, three-minute video featuring four rural National Board Certified teachers, but their messages are clear.

An entry posted Tuesday on Homeroom, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education, features short interviews with rural educators on the challenges they face every day. Four teachers who hail from Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, and Wisconsin filmed the video while visiting Washington for a White House celebration of their accomplishment—earning board certification, the teaching profession's highest credential.

The teachers talked about problems common in rural schools. The first, April Gosselink, from Central Iowa Christian School in Grinnell, Iowa, discusses a lack of technology, and how teachers must take it upon themselves to find the funding they need. The second, Marjorie Manuel from Bastrop High School in Bastrop, La., talks about the challenge of teacher retention; her school has had at least five teachers quit this school year.

"It's easy to just go to another county and get probably one half more than what you're earning right now," she says. "Sometimes, the only thing that is making you stick to this job and to this county is loyalty."

The third, Marta Yedinak from Waupun High School in Waupun, Wisc., describes a lack of funding, and how rural schools' elective courses are the first to go when cuts are made. The final teacher interviewed, Jenny Lovering from Columbia Falls High in Columbia Falls, Mont., explains how students must leave their communities for higher education, and she sees it as her job to prepare them to succeed at the next level so they can come back and help their hometowns.

The blog entry also promotes the department's "Plan to Reform Teacher Education," which is supposed to keep the public informed about efforts to elevate the teaching profession.

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