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Nebraska must retain teachers

The medical community has long found providing rural students with scholarships and other incentives to return to their home towns or similar regions that are experiencing a shortage of trained professionals to be successful.

The educational community is facing the same crisis – and applying the same tactic to recruit and retain qualified educators.

There's been a 50% decrease of college students planning to head into education, about 3,000 today as compared to 7,000 a decade ago. And, nearly a third of those leave the profession within three years.

According to the Nebraska Department of Education 2018-19 teacher vacancy report, 302 positions were unfilled with fully qualified personnel, with 36 of those left vacant.

Funding for public schools is one of the main items to be affected by any changes that result from the ongoing debate over property taxes in Nebraska.

Keeping dedicated, qualified educators in the classroom must be a priority in any legitimate debate.

- McCook Daily Gazette


Colleges wise to educate on alcohol

Instruction is resuming on campuses in Nebraska, and it's important for schools to help students develop a responsible understanding of alcohol use.

Colleges and universities commendably put a spotlight on alcohol issues. Creighton University, for example, requires all first-year students to take an online session with information about its alcohol and sexual misconduct policies, alcohol use and abuse, illegal substance use and dating violence.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha provides parents with information about alcohol-related discussions and explains its alcohol policies to students. Omaha police regularly patrol the campus and, as needed, issue tickets for minors in possession.

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The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has made a concerted effort to address alcohol issues, providing students with a wide range of information. A UNL task force in 2016 developed a set of strategies for a stepped-up effort.

Alcohol use has been a challenge for universities worldwide for centuries. Each new academic year brings a new opportunity to understand and address it.

- Omaha World-Herald


Teach kids dangers of vaping

About a week ago, the first death linked to a vaping device was reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death comes amid an investigation into reports of more than 200 cases of significant lung illnesses related to vaping.

"E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products," Robert Redfield, the CDC’s director, said recently.

That's a message that ought to be communicated loudly and clearly to people, young people especially.

It's clear more kids are vaping, and we need to show them why this is harmful. Regulatory authorities should crack down on the marketing of vaping products to young people — and punishing those who already have crossed the line.

Policymakers at the federal, state and local levels devote the resources to further study the impact of this growing practice on the entire population. They also should legislate where warranted, but first ensure they do no harm.

Adults are better suited to making informed decisions about these things. Kids are not. By all reasonable means, we should protect them.

- Quad-City (Iowa) Times

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