News from the
National Commission on Teaching and
1 Holding onto Teachers That Flee
District Administrator Magazine, January 2004
Full Article: When more
teachers leave the field rather than stay, it poses a big problem. Experts
say that specialized professional development, mentor teachers and formative
assessments for beginning teachers are just some ways districts can
retain more new teachers. The
The biggest hit came in the late 1990s when those leaving the profession outpaced the entrants--primarily due to school conditions, Carroll says. Teachers felt no support from school leaders, had little time to collaborate with colleagues, and faced disruptive students. They also complained of a lack of control in the organization and instruction in school. "Teachers need a stronger voice and a strong principal leader who works with teachers on effective instructional strategies, clear goals, and school environments around teaching and learning, and to end disruptive environments," Carroll says.
Strong teacher preparation is also key to keeping teachers. A teacher from a four-year program is more likely to stay in the profession than those certified in a four-week alternative program. School districts must process resumes for teacher vacancies quickly so qualified candidates are contacted on time. A recent report shows that large urban districts were missing out on qualified math and science teachers because the hiring process was so burdensome, Carroll says.
And mentor teachers,
which are common in
The New York Times,
"Yes, this is a union president who is going to talk about removing teachers who should not be teaching," Ms. Weingarten said in a breakfast speech to the Association for a Better New York. "And I do that without hesitation, because this a union that is not about just keeping people. We are about keeping qualified people."
Ms. Weingarten's proposal calls for expanding an existing peer intervention program for troubled teachers. Under her plan, a teacher in danger of being fired would enter the intervention program for up to 90 days. If the teacher was still ill-equipped to return to the classroom, Ms. Weingarten said, union representatives would counsel the teacher to leave the school system.
If the teacher refused, an existing 90-day grievance and arbitration process would begin. Currently, city officials say they must spend at least two years building a case, with a principal giving the teacher two annual unsatisfactory ratings, to stand any chance of dismissing a teacher through the 90-day arbitration process. In her speech, Ms. Weingarten also said that retaining good teachers was even more critical to the future of the public school system than removing the few bad ones. She cited statistics showing escalating retirements among older teachers and high numbers of resignations among new teachers who leave after one or two years. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/15/education/15teach.html
Excerpt: A compensation
system designed to provide
"The pilot has demonstrated that the focus on student achievement and a teacher's contribution to such achievement can be a major trigger for change— if the initiative also addresses the district factors that shape the school," concludes the Community Training and Assistance Center, a nonprofit organization based in Boston that has been studying the project for four years. The initiative, it says, "can provide a basis for improving the entire school system by tying district activities to core classroom needs."
The two entities that designed the plan and are now overseeing it— the school board and the local teachers' union—see the report as praise for their work. The school board will vote later this month on expanding the pay program; members of the union, an affiliate of the National Education Association, will cast ballots on the measure in early March. If both agree to the idea, the program will be expanded to include all schools in the 72,000-student district. Currently, 13 percent of schools take part in the program, which began in 1999.
Excerpt: States have fashioned wildly different ways of judging whether teachers already in the classroom meet the federal standard of "highly qualified," raising the possibility that teachers in some states will not face the high hurdle that Congress intended. Critics say that many states are giving veteran teachers too easy a pass on whether they know their subjects well enough to teach them effectively, as the No Child Left Behind Act specifies.
"Few states distinguish themselves in terms of the rigor and comprehensiveness" of their evaluation systems, said Ross Wiener, the director of policy for the Education Trust, a Washington- based group that pushes higher achievement for poor and minority students. The Trust released a report last month criticizing states for designing evaluations that depend too much, for instance, on existing licensing or professional-development requirements that may or may not reflect subject knowledge.
State officials, for
their part, have taken advantage of the flexibility offered by the law
while sometimes lamenting the uncertainties that go with it. Still,
it's hard to envision how both
The New York Times,
Excerpt: The deadline looms. Under federal law, by 2006 every classroom must have a highly qualified teacher, and Louis V. Gerstner, the former I.B.M. chairman and an architect of the school standards movement, has a prediction. "We don't have a chance," he said flatly. At least, not unless states follow his commission's advice, he added. For the last year, Mr. Gerstner and a panel of marquee figures in the fields of politics, business and education have been kicking around an intractable problem: how to entice the best and brightest to a profession woefully ill equipped to compete for them.
"For the cost of 15 B-2 bombers, we can give three million teachers real incentives to raise student achievement and stay in the classroom," reads the press release for Mr. Gerstner's teaching commission. It calls for an overall spending increase of $30 billion to raise teacher pay - not necessarily a scientific number, but something to get the debate started. "For long-term national security, well-educated workers - and not just weapons and bombers - are crucial," the release continues.
As Mr. Gerstner will happily admit, the commission's report is largely a compendium of proposals that have made the educational rounds for years. It proposes higher pay for teachers who work in needy urban areas, who teach understaffed subjects like science and math, and who manage to push up students' scores. There is also a demand for more stringent certification standards, a challenge to university presidents to herd honor students toward teaching, and a potentially dicey insistence that principals, not union contracts, decide who works for them.
Mr. Gerstner closes the report in very large, very bright type promising that "the commission will not measure its success by its recommendations, but through its ability to mobilize key stakeholders, and through subsequent changes in policies and practices nationwide."
Excerpt: Several of
The school district is primarily interested in the program because it provides teachers trained in specific subjects, Associate Superintendent George Ann Rice said. "They are recruiting subject-matter experts that have the heart to be a teacher and want to work at at-risk schools," Rice said. Most of Teach For America's recruits did not major in education, but their expertise in areas such as English, math and science better qualify them to address some of the proficiency needs of the district's at-risk students, Rice said. The school district is meeting with Teach For America officials this week to work out logistics, but Rice said the partnership all depends on whether the organization raises enough money.
Excerpt: Many states and local school districts are underreporting the number of schools failing to teach children to read and do mathematics at their grade level as required by the 2-year-old No Child Left Behind Act, fearful of ultimately losing control over poorly performing schools. ducation Secretary Rod Paige says the problem of districts and states "playing games" to avoid accountability for poor teaching and learning in their schools is not yet "under control" and is anticipated with "any big change like this."
"In fact, there's a level of expectation that there will be those that will push the envelope and try to game the system," Mr. Paige said in an interview with The Washington Times, two years after President Bush's education-reform law took effect. So far, more than half the states have reported a combined 2,513 fewer low-performing schools than they did last year, according to data from initial state reports issued Friday by Education Week. Some states did report a rise in the number of low-performing schools over last year, and some have yet to report.
"The idea is not to be on any list that a school needs improvement," said Rob Weil, director of education issues for the American Federation of Teachers, the nation's second-largest teachers union. But Mr. Weil said because standards are stiffening, the number of low-performing schools should be going up, not down, in the second year of the 12-year duration of the law.
Excerpt: Gov. Jeb Bush used the success of a project at
In 2001, only 14 percent of the students at Carver were reading at or above grade level. But with the help of teachers who volunteered and worked overtime even on Saturdays, students prospered. In 2003, 29 percent of Carver's students were reading at or above their grade level. Schools usually stop teaching reading after sixth grade, said Carver Principal Marilyn Doyle-Patterson. In the program Bush wants the Legislature to fund, reading coaches would teach middle-school instructors how to teach reading along with their other subjects. History teachers, for example, would teach reading strategies along with history.
The details of the plan
have not been worked out by the state Department of Education, Bush
said, but he wants schools to adopt ''best practices'' such as those
at Carver, where teachers have built up a network of mentors to work
with low-performing students. The reading-coach program is part of a
proposed $21 million boost in ''Just Read Florida,'' bringing Bush's
favorite education project to $46.4 million if it gets legislative approval
in the session that starts in March. ''
US Department of Education,
Excerpt: U.S. Secretary
of Education Rod Paige announced that a national initiative will be
launched to help improve students' reading achievement. The new
The contract is the
result of a competitive bid process. The national center will include
three regional centers that will be operated by
Technical assistance will be provided through a range of learning opportunities, including: national and regional conferences, institutes and seminars; training and professional development; on-site, telephone and e-mail consultations; new materials; and links to national reading experts.
President Bush launched the Reading First initiative to improve all children’s reading achievement. Studies show that when children fail to learn how to read during their early school years, every aspect of school success is affected. Academic achievement can be enhanced through early diagnosis and intervention. Reading First was designed around an extensive knowledge base of the essential skills children must have to learn to read. The program reflects the findings of an extensive congressionally mandated review of scientifically based research on how students learn to read, completed by the National Reading Panel in 2000.
Illinois State Board of Education