In today's LA Times, there is an interesting article entitled Teachers dropping out too: A study blames working conditions. Higher pay isn't the answer, it says. It poses the interesting question about whether teacher pay is as important as the environment in which a teacher is allowed to teach.
Sound like any schools around here? I wish teachers could more often understand that when parents criticize the school system, they are rarely blaming the teachers. Kind of like Congress, actually. Most folks like their own congressman, and most folks usually like their kid's teacher. The system is the problem.
more after the flip.
The Times piece is based on a study from the Center for Teacher Quality at Cal State Sacramento:
The study also casts doubt on commonly pursued remedies both for the teacher shortage and student achievement in general.
Classroom interruptions, student discipline, increasing demands, insufficient supplies, overcrowding, unnecessary meetings, lack of support — all play a role in burning out teachers.
"They're not just driving teachers crazy; they're driving teachers out of the classrooms," Futernick said.
Stephenson is among the 35% of L.A. Unified teachers who quit within five years, according to school district data.
And as in most other cases, salary wasn't the primary factor.
Teacher retention is a big deal. Consider this:
At high-minority and high-poverty schools, teacher turnover typically runs at 10% annually.
"If this churning is going on, you can be sure you have a dysfunctional school," Futernick said. "As long as we think of these schools as combat zones, we'll never solve the retention problem and we'll never close the achievement gap" between white and Asian students and their black and Latino peers.
Do we have any dysfunctional schools in Knox County? Where are the target schools under NCLB? Is this dysfunction causing more teachers to leave? Surely we can't be like California...right? According to this KNS article, Knox County faces 300 teacher vacancies next year.
Oak Ridge, Maryville, and Alcoa school officials said they don't struggle with teacher retention as Knox County does.
California estimates it wastes $455 million in teacher training because of premature departures. Interesting, isn't it?
"We have a high-school dropout problem," Futernick said, "in large part because we have a teacher dropout problem."
After reading the Times article, I put together a list of factors that might explain why teachers are "dropping out" in Knox County:
- no local control or authority to manage their school
- teachers not viewed as experts
- teachers are saddled with administrative responsibilities and paperwork that take them away from time with students
- there few workplace standards that protect teachers from unnecessary interruptions, paperwork and meetings.
- higher teacher-student ratios.
- lack of student accountability. students unprepared, no materials
- lack of parental involvement.
- lack of parental accountability.
Has anyone ever bothered to survey our teachers anonymously and get at what is really going on?
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