Attracting and Retaining Qualified Teachers

Posted by on April 30, 2007

[posted from Public Education Network newsblast]


There is no point in turning somersaults to attract talented new teachers if half of them just run out the door — that?s the message of the Summer 2006 issue of American Educator. Nearly half of new teachers have left the profession by the end of five years; in addition, about 13 percent switch schools each year. As schools and districts struggle to fill every classroom with a talented, qualified person, policymakers have proposed a raft of strategies to recruit new teachers — accelerated teacher preparation, housing assistance, signing bonuses, scholarships, etc. These things may help attract new teachers, but they won?t help them stay in the classroom. Why? Former Chicago teacher Leslie Baldacci gives voice to the gritty, discouraging realities that drove her, and many of her colleagues, from their schools. Susan Moore Johnson and her fellow researchers at the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers conclude that poor working conditions, lack of help in learning to teach, and poor treatment are not uncommon — and are driving the high rate of turnover among new teachers. Significantly, Johnson and her colleagues find that when new teachers get the support they need to be successful in the classroom, they stay. Providing that support ought to be at the top of every agenda aimed at assuring a high-quality teacher workforce in the future. Reading specialist Jan Hasbrouck explains why silent reading is not a good use of classroom time for readers who need to become more fluent, and autism researcher Laura Schreibman provides an introduction to autism for educators (and parents) and describes the key characteristics of effective treatments.

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