Mystery Education Theater 3000

Tag: teacher retention

Article about WCCUSD: "Academic coaches to fill teacher shortage"

This Contra Costa Times article can be read at one level as my school district, WCCUSD, taking a common sense approach to a desperate problem of a shortage of teachers. The coaches themselves are a controversial issue. Having teaching coaches could theoretically be a good thing, but in the past these coaches have often acted as education “commissars” creating more annoyance than enlightenment. It’s good to see them actually being put to useful work.

The text that leapt out at me, though, was this:

“Like other Bay Area school districts, West Contra Costa has struggled to find enough qualified, credentialed teachers, particularly in math and science.”

The conclusion some people will draw from this article is that teachers should be paid more in general. That may be true, but I also think it’s important to break out of the one-size-fits-all salary model for teacher pay. There is an even greater shortage of math and science teachers, so pay them more in bonuses or salary base. This is different from the merit or performance pay ideas that are wrongly being considered as part of the NCLB renewal process by the Bush administration. This would be a pragmatic measure to fill a gap.

Article: Teacher Retention Study

The SF Chronicle had an interesting article about a new report from SF State, A Possible Dream: Retaining California Teachers So All Students Can Learn, based on teacher surveys. I thought the key quote was this:

“Teachers need to be asked to identify features of their work environment that are problematic and need to be addressed,” said the study’s author, Ken Futernick, director of K12 studies at CSU’s Center for Teacher Quality.

What I found interesting was two things that weren’t there:

  • There wasn’t much of an emphasis on more money.
  • There is no bristling by good teachers about the protection of bad teachers.

I’ve always felt that part of the problem with salary negotiations with teachers in resource-constrained situations where there isn’t much to offer is that teachers have little incentive to look at “the big picture” when school districts show no interest in improving conditions for teachers in ways that don’t cost as much money. Hopefully, this article will raise awareness of this issue.

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