Teacher of the Year Questions School Funding

By Anne Mostue

May 31, 2012

Kathleen Turner
Teacher Kathleen Turner at the WGBH studios. (Annie Shreffler/WGBH)

BOSTON — The newly appointed Massachusetts Teacher of the Year is about to spend 12 months traveling the state, making speeches and conducting workshops, in addition to teaching. And she's already voiced concern for the wide variations in funding for public schools from town to town.
Kathleen Turner teaches French at Sharon High School. She said the demographic makeup of her town is always changing.


"There are increasing numbers of students for whom English is a second language. We have students who speak Russian; we have students who speak Asian languages," she said.
Turner, who grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard in 1994, said she'd like to see new funding models for public schools, which currently draw from local budgets.
"I think that there should be some way that property tax not be the primary source of funding for public education," she said. "What if all of the property taxes went into a main pool and then it got redistributed per pupil in the state?"
After writing essays and conducting interviews to win the state award, Turner will move on to the National Teacher of the Year Competition. Those results will be announced next spring. Turner also received a $3,000 grant for classroom initiatives and professional development. 

> > EXTENDED AUDIO: Turner talks with Emily Rooney

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