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One Reply to “Senior Slump”
What I find curious is that few people seem to recognize the importance of economics in respect to the seniority of teachers and educational “reforms.”
Teacher quality in the past left something to be desired because it was close to impossible for urban school districts to hire teachers of any kind (forget credentials or experience). In many cases these “teachers” were just young girls right out of college. (I was one of them.) Once these people were hired, the goal of administration was to keep them at all costs. Principals rarely had time or inclination to observe these rookies but most new teachers received excellent evaluations anyway. Despite all the “outstanding” evaluations, almost 50% of all teachers quit during the first five years. It was much worse in low-performing schools than in the suburbs. As a result of this, many poor children had substitute teachers for months and sometimes even for years. Few people cared.
If this recession continues, school districts, even the worst ones, will be able to hire Yale graduates and dictate the work conditions. Seniority, due process and decent salaries will probably be a thing of the past. Teachers might even be required to sweep the classroom floors again as I did when I first started teaching in the early sixties.
On the other hand, if good times return and women embrace the same opportunities as men, there could be a huge teacher shortage within the next ten years as the baby boomers retire. If that happens, I predict districts will once again beg people to accept classroom positions and will offer them job security, glowing evaluations and job security, benefits and job security. (Don’t know much math? It doesn’t matter since the kids know even less. We’ll make you the coach AND the math teacher for the “low” kids.)
The unions don’t hire, fire or evaluate teachers. The problem is a socio-economic one and that’s how it must be regarded if positive changes are to be made.