PHOENIX -- If the ongoing political debates about education funding have not convinced you, a new study might: Arizona is the sixth-worst place in the nation to be a teacher.The report by WalletHub says the average starting salary for teachers, listed as $31,874 for 2012-13 school year by the National Education Association, is the 44th lowest of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. And that ranking comes even after accounting for the lower cost of living here than many other places.It's also not great for those who stay in the profession, the study says, with median salaries for all Arizona teachers at No. 48, also measured against the cost of living.The pupil-to-teacher ratio, listed at 21.3 according to the National Center for Education Statistics, is worse than anywhere but Utah and California. It compared with a national average of 16.7.And WalletHub cites NEA figures showing that Arizona spends only about $1,250 per state resident on education. Only Idaho comes in lower.About the only thing in the WalletHub rankings that kept Arizona from being lower than 46th overall is that there's probably good job security here.
FRANKFORD, Del. (AP) — American schools are scrambling to provide services to the large number of children and teenagers who crossed the border alone in recent months.
Unaccompanied minors who made up the summer spike at the border have moved to communities of all sizes, in nearly every state, Federal data indicates, to live with a relative and await immigration decisions. The Supreme Court has ruled that schools have an obligation to educate all students regardless of their immigration status, so schools have become a safe haven for many of the tens of thousands of these young people mostly from central America living in limbo.
Delaware's rural Sussex County has long attracted immigrants, partly because of work in chicken factories, and soybean and corn fields. The district's population is more than one-quarter Hispanic, and for years has offered an early learning program for non-English speakers.
Still, officials were caught off guard by about 70 new students mostly from Guatemala — part of the wave crossing the border — enrolling last year, mostly at Sussex Central High School. The Indian River School District over the summer break quickly put together special classes for those needing extra English help.
On a recent school day, a group of these mostly Spanish-speaking teenage boys with styled spiky hair and high-top sneakers enthusiastically pecked away on hand-held tablets at the G.W. Carver Education Center, pausing to alert the teacher when stumped.
"If you don't know what you're supposed to write on the line, look at my examples, OK?" Lori Ott, their English language teacher, told one.
The students are eager but face barriers. Some can barely read or write in their native language.
The district's goal is to get them assimilated — and eventually into a regular high school. There, they can earn a diploma, even if that means participating in adult education programs and going to school until they are 21.
"They just crave it, and they will come and ask questions," Ott said. "How do you say this? And, how do you say that? They just participate and you can't say enough about them."
Donald Hattier, a school board member, said advance warning would have helped with planning. The federal government, he said, "just dropped this on us." He wonders what's next.
"The kids are still coming across the border. This problem has not been solved," Hattier said.
Educators in Delaware and elsewhere say many of these students, who fled poverty and violence, have years-long gaps in schooling. For teenagers, learning in English can prove more difficult than for younger students. They also may be living with relatives or others they didn't know, and the workings of an American school can be confusing.
Others experienced trauma, either in their home country or while crossing the border, and may need mental health help.
"It's a new culture and they already feel that they are alone. ... Some of them don't have their parents here," said English language instructor Alina Miron at Broadmoor High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The school has about a dozen of these students enrolled
In districts like hers, the influx means hiring new English language instructors.
Two foundations donated money to the Oakland Unified School District in California to help fund a person to connect about 150 unaccompanied students with legal and social services; many didn't have legal representation at immigration hearings.
"We feel that we have moral obligation to serve these students as long as they are in the United States," said Troy Flint, a district spokesman. "Until their fate is decided, we're responsible for ensuring they get an education and we embrace that opportunity."
In Louisiana, the Broadmoor principal, Shalonda Simoneaux, said attending high school and learning English is a motivating factor for teenagers who want "want to blend in."
"Whatever is being said, whatever is going on, they are really learning more from listening from other teenagers, even more so than from the teachers because it's high school," Simoneaux said.
For cash-strapped districts, providing for these students' needs can be arduous, particularly if they arrive after student headcounts are taken to determine school funding.
In Miami, the school board voted to seek federal help after 300 foreign-born students, many from Honduras and traveling alone, enrolled toward the end of the last school year.
Margie McHugh, director of the nonprofit Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration, says it's critical that children allowed to stay are integrated into American life and educated.
Indian River School District officials say that's their plan.
"We do have a very open heart and an open mind and any student who comes in our system, we're going to give the most appropriate services that we can," said the Delaware district's superintendent, Susan Bunting.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The penalty for using an ATM that is not affiliated with your bank rose 5 percent over the past year.
The average fee for using an out-of-network ATM climbed to a new high of $4.35 per transaction, according to a survey released Monday by Bankrate.com. That figure includes $2.77 that banks charge non-customers and $1.58 that banks levy against their own customers for using an outside ATM.
Overdraft fees also surged, rising on average over the past 12 months to $32.74. That's the 16th consecutive record high, the firm said.
Checking account fees have been increasing as lenders adjust to federal banking laws and regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis. Among the changes: limits on when banks can charge overdraft fees on ATM and debit card transactions and a reduction in the fees that banks charge merchants for each customer who uses credit or debit cards for their purchases.
Lenders have responded by hiking overdraft and ATM fees, as well as increasing how much money customers must maintain in the bank to avoid checking account fees.
"I expect fees to continue increasing in years to come, but at a modest pace consistent with what we saw this year, just as was the case prior to the onset of these regulations," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com.
Using another bank's ATM will usually lead to two fees. One is charged by your lender; the other is charged by the owner of the ATM. That's the fee that's risen most consistently and at a faster rate, McBride said.
All told, the average fee for using an out-of-network ATM has vaulted 23 percent over the past five years. It has notched a new high for eight years in a row, according to Bankrate.
The firm surveyed the 10 largest banks and thrifts in 25 large U.S. markets.
The average ATM fees vary across the markets in Bankrate's survey. Phoenix had the highest average fee for users of ATMs outside their bank's network at $4.96 per transaction. Cincinnati had the lowest average at $3.75.
Philadelphia had the highest average overdraft fee at $35.80. San Francisco had the lowest at $26.74.
The largest U.S. banks all offered free checking with no strings attached until 2009, when the share of all noninterest checking accounts that were free peaked at 76 percent, according to Bankrate. It's now at 38 percent; that's unchanged from last year and only slightly lower than 39 percent in 2012.
Even so, consumers looking for checking accounts without monthly fees have plenty of options. Many credit unions, smaller community banks and online banks offer no-strings checking accounts.
Many banks that do charge a monthly fee will often waive it if the accountholder has their paycheck deposited directly into the account.
Not all bank fees rose this year. The average monthly service fee for a noninterest checking account fell 5 percent to $5.26 over the past 12 months, Bankrate said.
Despite the increased fees, there are ways savvy bank customers can avoid them altogether.
Use your bank's website to find fee-free ATMs or, if available, get cash back at the register when using a debit card to shop.
Avoiding overdrafts is a matter of keeping tabs on your available checking account balance, something that's easier than ever with mobile banking apps.
You can also sign up for email or text alerts if your balance gets below a certain level.