This is an important report from the Ed Trust (pdf).
I was pleasantly surprised by two or three things in the Ed Trust report, but there were two or three things that were notable in their absence.
They shifted the subject from assigning stronger teachers to poor schools to, “assigning poor and minority students to stronger teachers.”
They accurately wrote, “We often talk about damage done by the lack of stability in low-income and minority students’ homes, but we rarely examine the effect of instability in their school lives.” They also concluded that “high turnover in one or more schools in a district that continues year after year is a signal that something is wrong with the district’s leadership.”
The Ed Trust overlooked the most important factors in recruiting and retaining teachers, and it did not investigate the causes of the collective failure of leadership.
More pay would help, but the bigger factors involve work conditions and there are reasons for why they are so dysfunctional. The lack of professional autonomy made worse in schools that are under the gun due to NCLB must be addressed. How do you recruit accomplished teachers to a school where they are stuck with nonstop test prep? Even bigger, until we address the violence and chronic disorder in high poverty schools and the subsequent cycle of disrespect for adults and students alike, we won’t retain talent.
We often discuss effective teacher and orderly schools as a “chicken or egg issue,” but it is both. No matter how much we invest in new talent, we need the costly investments needed to create an orderly and respectful climate in schools with a critical mass of poor and (more importantly) traumatized kids.
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