Thursday, September 23, 2010

Keeping Great Teachers in the Classroom

See all posts re evaluating teachers.

September 22, 2010
Keeping Great Teachers in the Classroom
By Steve Owens

Teacher Leaders Network According to the United States Education Department, the country will need 1.6 million new teachers in the next five years. Yet a recent report by the nonprofit National Commission on Teaching and America's Future reports that “approximately a third of America’s new teachers leave teaching sometime during their first three years of teaching; almost half leave during the first five years. In many cases, keeping our schools supplied with qualified teachers is comparable to trying to fill a bucket with a huge hole in the bottom.”

With two-year alternative programs like Teach for America only able to fill part of the gap, the role of teacher retention in solving our massive recruitment task becomes a key question.

A new book by Katy Farber, Why Great Teachers Quit: And How We Might Stop the Exodus (Corwin), speaks powerfully to causes and cures for teacher attrition. It’s a book that is very much of the moment in contributing to the national education policy conversation. Farber wonders: What if we shrink the recruitment problem by stopping the hemorrhage?

In a recent speech in Arkansas, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said much the same thing:

"The Asia Society recently held an international symposium on teacher quality and they found that high-performing countries put much more energy into recruiting, preparing, and supporting good teachers—rather than on the back end by reducing attrition or firing weak teachers."...

[San Diego Education Report has long advocated
the recruitment and retention of good teachers as opposed to firing poor teachers.

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