"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Retiring Teachers and Brazen Fools

For those who have embraced the TFA/KIPP teacher "education" model, which promises an endless stream of well-intentioned temps "trained" over a 4-week period in 19th Century teaching techniques, there is a new report out by NCTAF that may present reasons to pause if you have not been entirely convinced by the anti-teacher education deformers. From the NYTimes:

Over the next four years, more than a third of the nation’s 3.2 million teachers could retire, depriving classrooms of experienced instructors and straining taxpayer-financed retirement systems, according to a new report.

The problem is aggravated by high attrition among rookie teachers, with one of every three new teachers leaving the profession within five years, a loss of talent that costs school districts millions in recruiting and training expenses, says the report, by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, a nonprofit research advocacy group.

“The traditional teaching career is collapsing at both ends,” the report says. “Beginners are being driven away” by low pay and frustrating working conditions, and “accomplished veterans who still have much to contribute are being separated from their schools by obsolete retirement systems” that encourage teachers to move from paycheck to pension when they are still in their mid-50s, the report says. . . .

Now with the Dunc's $5 billion ready to hand out to those states willing to embrace the cheap teacher-temp model with its prominent pay-per-score features, you can bet that those teachers who have retirement plans will be eager to get out with their retirements while the getting is good. And those who want to teach, rather than become parrots in testing work camps, will forego the Business Roundtable's opportunity to oversee the stupidification of American children. And the unacknowledged loss of America's best teachers from the testing chain gangs that were formed when Bush came to town will continue, leaving those whose love of the teaching script offers the clearest proof for their lack of fitness to teach. Meanwhile, the poorest children will continue to suffer as the neoliberal reform agenda continues to distract from the problem of poverty that the oligarchs will not address.

But the Dunc has his own preferred solution that you will hear much more of in the coming months as more and more teachers jump ship and more and more benefits and collective bargaining agreements become null and void. It involves the corporate preparation of teachers to teach in the corporate welfare charter schools that the Oligarchy envisions for urban America. At the head of this pack of self-aggrandizing profiteers is, of course, the for-profit, American College of Education, owned by Texas snake oil salesman, Randy Best's Higher Ed Holdings. It will be a teacher preparation devoid of democratic philosophies, history, sociology or developmental issues but, rather, one based on classroom discipline and the gathering and analyzing of test score data.


  1. Now is the time to memorialize teachers of the past, so we can always remember what real teaching was all about. Today I would like to remember my grandmother, Luella Robinson, who was a great teacher.

    Simply put, this woman loved children. This large piece of her nature was what made her the kind of teacher she was. She was respected by her co-workers and principals. She was adored by her students and their families.

    Mrs. Robinson taught kindergarten and first grade for most of her career. Late in life she taught special ed. Her patience was infinite, her kindness was gold.

    She despised corporal punishment and threats. Mrs. Robinson shared her effective child discipline technique with all who would listen. "When a child misbehaves, you just stand in front of them and take them by the shoulders and stoop down to their eye level and talk to them."

    Her students were lucky, lucky kids.

  2. Anonymous5:53 PM

    I will salute a great teacher as well.

    My mother, Ruth Racheter, was an innovative, creative teacher ("Instant Shakespeare", etc etc etc etc).

    She would be stifled and discouraged by NCLB.

    Unlike many teachers today, she would have
    fought back!