Saturday, October 25, 2014
Rotten Silicon?: Teacher Bashing Equals Teacher Flight
It seems so many of the words written about education today are written by people who believe in demeaning the profession and bashing its teachers. If you follow the Rhee school of thought, perhaps, you blame teachers for poverty in America. And, if this be the case, you may be entirely thankful that generous Silicon millionaires will pause in their mansions to write checks to fund tenure suits to help solve these persistent issues of poverty.
But if to the contrary, you care about the experience of the people educating America's youth, you may feel differently. Teacher attrition rates and illness rates are already on the dramatic upswing. I have read that enrollment in teacher programs is dramatically down. The average experience of teachers now seems to be between one and five years--whereas in the past there were many more career teachers. With the way things are going and the recent attempts to further demean all teachers by removing tenure in the name of a few who never deserved it, few self-respecting persons will survive a career in the classroom, especially given our current test-based system of accountability. And, I suspect, as usual that the children who suffer the most will be those who could profit the most from experienced teachers, the poor, the language deficient and those with special needs. Teachers will flee settings with high-needs students in the name of higher salaries AND job security. Looking on the bright side from the vantage point of some "reformers," inexperienced teachers are cheap, especially since they won't come close to hitting retirement age.