Investing in Teachers, Boosting Students

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Ilya ZeldinETIN's guest blogger for today is Ilya Zeldin, Founder & CEO of is the creator of Ed Tech Skills Platform for Teachers and was named runner up in the Most Likely to Succeed Category for the 2018 Innovation Showcase during the Education Business Forum this month. Zeldin is a new member of the 2018 ETIN Board of Directors.


President Obama called the improvement of America’s education system, “our generation’s Sputnik moment,” calling for a boosted investment in education and innovation. The system improves when student outcomes improve, and the quality of teachers in our education system is the single most important aspect that affects that outcome. Today, over 3 million K-12 teachers are directly impacting how 55 million students navigate an instrumental period in their lives—one of uncertainty, growth, and change. Unfortunately, not every teacher is fully prepared to optimize their interactions with students.

The exponential surge of technological advancements in education creates more opportunities for success than ever before. However, not every teacher can be expected to keep up with the rapid evolution of the classroom. It’s a skills gap problem. School districts underutilize their investments in technology because teachers are not adequately prepared to apply it to their lessons.

 The skills gap is systemic. Typical professional learning (PL) technologies for educators emphasize new gadgets and tools, but fail to demonstrate how to effectively integrate them in the classroom. Moreover, school districts rely on a one-size-fits-all approach to PL because they cannot pinpoint which teachers need what kind of development. Teachers are asked to differentiate learning for their students, but they don’t get the same personalized approach when it comes to their own learning needs.

Every professional must constantly hone their skills and learn new ones to keep up with the times. But for teachers, there’s more at stake. A Harvard study showed that even an average teacher can improve a student’s lifetime earnings by $250,000 compared to a mediocre teacher. Imagine if all teachers were great teachers. Improving and personalizing the professional development of educators makes that goal possible. Our “Sputnik moment” is here. An investment in teachers is an investment in students and an investment in the future.



Donelle Donelle Blubaugh is the Education Programs Manager at the Education Technology Industry Network (ETIN) of SIIA. Contact Donelle for information about ETIN’s Vision K-20 survey, U.S. K-12 Market survey, Innovation Showcase program or Diversity Initiative.