The real STEM crisis in education: “We lose 25,000 math and science teachers each year.”

Richard Ingersoll (UPenn)

Richard Ingersoll (UPenn)

At researcher Richard Ingersoll’s Ivy League university, there’s no undergraduate degree in education.

“Very few undergrads at Penn want to do it,” said the University of Pennsylvania professor of education and sociology who once taught at the University of Georgia. “Most want to do law, medicine, business, or veterinary school.”

A former high school teacher turned academic, Ingersoll has more than a passing interest in whether students choose teaching careers. He is one of the nation’s foremost experts on teacher turnover, and he fears that one-sided accountability measures drive good people out of the profession and deter promising candidates from entering it.

He cites the misinformation on the shortage of math and science teachers. In a given year, the United States produces four times as many new math and science teachers as leave the classroom due to retirements, Ingersoll said.

So, while he applauds President Obama’s plan to add 100,000 new science and math teachers over a decade, Ingersoll said, “We lose 25,000 math and science teachers each year.” Of that number, he said only 7,000 are due to retirement. He does not believe that incentives — performance pay or bonuses — are enough of a carrot to reverse the trend.

As two recent studies suggest, paying teachers bonuses doesn’t appear to lead to higher student achievement. Yes, teachers would love a $1,500 performance bonus for meeting targets, but a new RAND study out of New York and a National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University last year out of Nashville both found that many teachers are already pedaling as fast as they can under new accountability systems and the bonuses appear to have no impact on student achievement.

“We tested the most basic and foundational question related to performance incentives — does bonus pay alone improve student outcomes? — and we found that it does not,” said Matthew Springer, executive director of the National Center on Performance Incentives.

The RAND study was commissioned by New York City, which wanted to find out if $56 million in performance bonuses to school staffs over the last three years improved student performance. The finding: No improvement.

What teachers want most, Ingersoll said, is to be regarded as professionals and valued for their judgment, their intellect and their ability to think on their feet and problem-solve.

On scales of motivation, teachers and nurses are the highest for wanting to do good with their lives rather than earn a lot of money.

As one teacher noted here on the blog, “We not only buy school supplies for students (pencils, paper, etc.), but we also must buy classroom supplies (white board markers, copy paper, etc.). Can you just imagine if employees of Coca-Cola were asked to purchase their own copy paper and pens and paper clips?”

Ingersoll understands the common-sense appeal of merit pay and performance bonuses, and why Obama and U.S. education Secretary Arne Duncan are such proponents. As a young high school teacher, it annoyed him that his colleague in the next classroom read the newspaper all day while he was up until midnight each night preparing lessons. “Yet, he was making more than me because he had been there longer,” he said.

“We all know that some teachers are better than others, and there do seem to be some teachers who are not working very hard. Then, we find out they are all being paid the same,” he said. The problem is that we haven’t devised a good way to fairly and objectively judge the most effective teachers and separate out what a teacher brings to the student performance equation.

Ingersoll hoped that the new science of value-added measures — using student growth as measured by tests to analyze how much a teacher advanced the learning of each individual student — would offer a reliable yardstick. But he is wary now because of the rising doubts of statisticians about the reliability of value-added data and studies showing that a large proportion of teachers who rate highly one year tumble to the bottom the next.

“That raises a real monkey wrench in our belief that a good teacher is a good teacher and a bad teacher is a bad teacher when you have that drop from the top quintile to the bottom in one year,” he said.

(“Some of my fellow professors are very zealous about value-added measures,” added Ingersoll, “until I say ‘What about using it for us in higher education?’ Then, there is ominous silence in the room.” )

Ingersoll sees greater potential in Denver’s performance pay system, crafted by teachers and administrators, that incorporates 10 weights to assess success, such as pursuing professional development, working in a high-needs school, receiving a glowing evaluation and raising test scores.

But Ingersoll said no performance pay system can work if we don’t address the deprofessionalization of teaching, citing his own research that teachers in virtually all states report less of a role in decisions about textbooks, content and grading —all of which are integral to their jobs and for which they ought to be consulted.

“The whole accountability regime tends to be a top-down thing that hasn’t included teachers. It violates basic management principles — you can’t hold employees responsible for things that they don’t have any control over or don’t have the tools to do,” he said.

“If you give people autonomy and tools and don’t hold them accountable, then you get corruption,” said Ingersoll. “If you hold them accountable and don’t give them autonomy and tools, then you drive employees out — the best ones first.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get School blog

84 comments Add your comment

thomas

July 22nd, 2011
2:12 pm

Why don’t we have more of these common sense people in charge of our education system?

catlady

July 22nd, 2011
2:16 pm

My younger daughter would be a great high school science/math teacher. However, she has no interest in the disrespect teachers incur, both from their supervisors, the students, and the parents. Too bad she could probably never find a teaching situation that would allow her to excite her students about math and physics, but provide the perogatives a professional expects/requires. Math/science people have other options where they WILL be treated professionally.

X - science teacher

July 22nd, 2011
2:16 pm

Yup….he’s got that right. I’ve moved on even though I loved teaching science. Can’t stomach it any longer after watching my engineer husband being treated like a professional. He can’t believe the stories I would come home with. And now ….out of teaching and won’t go back.

Teacher Reader

July 22nd, 2011
2:27 pm

Smart young people don’t want to become teachers, because they realize that teachers have a great deal of responsibility without any authority or ability to make changes that would positively effect the quality of education that the children in front of them receive. I don’t blame them, it’s why I left teaching, and won’t go back under the current circumstances of teachers being held accountable for all learning and administrators, students, and parents are accountable for little or nothing.

Scott

July 22nd, 2011
2:32 pm

Good, sensible article. I concur. We lose good teachers due to mismanagement and a ridiculous work environment, where good people are held accountable for things beyond their control despite their best efforts. And it does unfortunately lead to corruption. Because no one is holding the administrators, parents, and students accountable to do their part.

Jerry Eads

July 22nd, 2011
2:45 pm

Well done, Maureen. Now, can you imagine what will happen with the radical increase in AYP “failures”?

no mas

July 22nd, 2011
2:45 pm

My daughter, a college senior, has wanted to be an elementary grades teacher since she was 5. She has worked for after-school programs where she (on her own) brought in materials for science and art lessons, so I believe she would be a good one.

However, she has not taken any education courses in college, instead majoring in counseling psychology and sociology. Her plan is to immediately go into Montessori training when she graduates, and enter the teaching profession that way – she says she doesn’t want to have to contend with the documentation and disrespect she has seen teachers have to put up with in public school. She has had a chance to observe private school teachers at length and has seen the difference in how they are treated – as professionals.

Digger

July 22nd, 2011
2:48 pm

If you’re dumb, then you’re REALLY gonna be dumb in Math. That translates to frustration and then behavioral problems.Certain elements of our population are over-represented in this category. No decent Math/Science teacher will put up with the disrespect that follows.

Active in Cherokee

July 22nd, 2011
2:51 pm

Thank you for sharing the article – Dr. Ingersoll’s quotes and research make perfect sense (seems funny how sometimes we spend millions of dollars on studies to simply support common sense ideas). I especially like the final two quotes concerning accountability vs corruption. Best of luck to all of the teachers starting pre-planning next week in Cherokee and other systems/schools on a similar calendar.

tim

July 22nd, 2011
3:07 pm

Years ago, teachers taught and students learned. Teachers didn’t leave and 98% of students passed.

It wasn’t broke…..so who’s the idiot who tried to fix it????

Jordan Kohanim

July 22nd, 2011
3:18 pm

Passed on by a colleague and follows the same lines: http://www.salon.com/news/david_sirota/2011/07/18/tony_wagner_finland

“Not the highest paid, but the most highly esteemed. Only one out of every 10 people who apply to become teachers will ultimately make it to the classroom. The consequence has been that Finland’s performance on international assessments, called PISA, have consistently outranked every other western country, and really there are only a handful of eastern countries that are educating with the same results.”

“There is no domestic testing except a very quiet auditing program to test demographic samples of kids; not for accountability, not for public consumption, and not for comparison across schools. The fascinating thing is that because they have created such a high level of professionalism, they can trust their teachers. Their motto is “Trust Through Professionalism.” The difference between the highest performing school in Finland and the lowest performing school in Finland is less than four percent, and that’s without any testing at all.”

SallyB

July 22nd, 2011
3:19 pm

It’s not just Math/Science.

Several years ago , we at our middle school were so excited when an AJC reporter decided she wanted to teach [ Language Arts ] and was assigned to our school.
She was a lovely person and enthusiastic and tireless teacher and colleague. However, she only lasted ’til Christmas .

The teachers on her team tried to help keep her afloat, but said she was just overwhelmed with the disrespect from both students and administration, by all the busy paperwork, as well as the expectation by the system that if a student was not achieving, it was her fault.

Would any off you advise your child to enter the lottery of the teaching profession [public school ..K-12.. ] today?

FCM

July 22nd, 2011
3:21 pm

“Smart young people don’t want to become teachers, because they realize that teachers have a great deal of responsibility without any authority or ability to make changes that would positively effect the quality of education that the children in front of them receive.”

AMEN

Observation

July 22nd, 2011
3:23 pm

This general disrespect for public school teachers, the “deprofessionalization of teaching,” can readily be seen by reading the blogs of the last week or so here on “Get Schooled.” As I’ve read their posts, it’s seemed that all teachers (not just those of the APS) were fair game for some who seem to have had REALLY bad experiences in school…many of them apparently still in school. It became painful to read, esp. when some educators were riled enough to try to reason in long replying posts.

So far, THIS thread has been supportive of educators, but I am just waiting for the first nasty jerk who has a bad job without security or retirement possibilities to start the mud-bath.

Atlanta mom

July 22nd, 2011
3:25 pm

tim,
Years ago women didn’t have a lot of choice in terms of a career. Most women did not go to college, and those that did went into education (not all, but lots.) We now have many more women in college, and they can be anything they want to be. And they want to be respected.

catlady

July 22nd, 2011
3:28 pm

tim, I am not sure when your years ago was, but when I was young (1950s) one of the differences was behavior problems were handled. If children were out of control, they were removed from school. Kids were given the opportunity to show they could “cut it” academically, and if they were too “low,” they went to special schools or they stayed home and learned whatever their parents could teach them. Teachers were respected as professionals.

What has happened in the intervening years is that the work of schools has expanded by the hundreds of “missions.” Teachers cannot teach because they are trying to fulfill all these other expectations.

DexterJenkins

July 22nd, 2011
3:29 pm

Our problem is you have always had to put an adult in front of those kids…if they are qualified or not. Now people need work and our attitude of putting “anyone who will take the job” has caught up to us. I have always laughed at people who want to fire teachers. Let them find others who will do it. And don’t tell me “They only work blah blah blah for XXXXX a year.” No one wanted to pay teachers more when the economy was great.

atlmom

July 22nd, 2011
3:30 pm

it’s the micromanaging that doesn’t work! evaluating teachers on how they may have ‘increased the knowledge’ of these particular students? wow, anyone who knows anything about stats will tell you how flawed that is.
in addition – you can’t force kids to learn. okay – there are some – a very tiny tiny number – of teachers who can, but most can’t. you can’t force kids to do much of anything, especially when the parents don’t care…

Atlanta mom

July 22nd, 2011
3:32 pm

We all know who the good teachers are. The students, the parents, the teachers and the principals all know who they are. They are not necessarily the “easy A” or the friendliest. Seems to me there should be a bonus each year that is distributed based on “goodness”. Maybe a committee (principal, lead teacher, throw in a few other folks)determines who gets what. Yes, it you get on the wrong side of some folks, you don’t get the bonus. Same as the real world. You get on the wrong side of folks, you go somewhere else to work, same as the real world.

atlmom

July 22nd, 2011
3:35 pm

all true comments above!
there is a HUGE difference between the US and finland. part of the issues here is that we are a LARGE country. we have a VERY diverse population.
and we can’t be mandating education from our federal govt. it doesn’t work.
it would be nice to have federal standards. then leave the states/localities to figure out how to do it. don’t give out money on the federal level (makes NO sense). and give out ideas and standards,and maybe some ideas for how – but let teachers do the how. LESS micromanaging…it doesn’t work (did i say that already?).

Jordan Kohanim

July 22nd, 2011
3:43 pm

Observation,
Well said ;)

Ashley

July 22nd, 2011
3:51 pm

With NASA laying off many of their employees some of whom are well-versed in science and math the problem could be solved if it were not for two things , the paultry pay and the lack of respect that goes with the job of teaching. Unfortunately my expertise is history and no one cares about that.

Lee

July 22nd, 2011
3:57 pm

“He cites the misinformation on the shortage of math and science teachers. In a given year, the United States produces four times as many new math and science teachers as leave the classroom due to retirements, Ingersoll said. “We lose 25,000 math and science teachers each year.” Of that number, he said only 7,000 are due to retirement.”

So, if the US produces 4*7000=28000 math and science teachers and lose 25000 each year, it sounds to me like we are gaining 3000 each year.

How many TOTAL do we need because I’m not seeing the crisis with these numbers?

A Conservative Voice

July 22nd, 2011
4:02 pm

The USDOE has ruined our educational system with their ridiculous programs which have been crammed down our throats like obamacare. Folks, States Rights is the only answer……it’s the only thing that’s gonna work. OK, go ahead…….. :)

still love to teach...

July 22nd, 2011
4:03 pm

Wow! Can someone send this to the powers that be? This is stated so simply and makes perfect sense, but would anyone listen or act without years of data and research?

Ow!

July 22nd, 2011
4:06 pm

Here are some words for consideration:

Double. A hard-core STEM type will likely earn double what a teacher makes.

Half. That non-teaching job that they go to? Half as hard as being a teacher, almost certainly with fewer hours to work than first year teachers do.

Professional. In the above, unnamed STEM job that isn’t teaching, even novices will be nurtured and treated with respect. As they gain experience, they will be treated, and compensated, like respected professionals.

And one number to consider: 44. As of this writing, that’s how many mathematics openings there are posted at TeachGeorgia.org. School starts in what, 2 or 3 weeks?

So, the current math/science teacher shortage? Get used to it. It was here 10 years ago, and it will be prevalent 10 years from now.
The intersection of people who

have the STEM content knowledge
AND
can master the classroom management
AND
will accept the administration abuse
AND
will settle for lousy pay

will continue to be a very small set.

Butler9

July 22nd, 2011
4:09 pm

I’ve made similar comments to this effect, but I’ve been visiting friends in Hungary since April and have had the privilege to visit several public secondary school classes. During these visits I have also had the satisfaction of seeing students respectully get to their feet upon the teacher’s entrance into the classroom.

Some things never get old.

Former Middle School Teacher

July 22nd, 2011
4:12 pm

@A Conservative Voice; the South lost the Civil War the states rights issued died along with the Confederacy. Secondly, Obamacare as you call it has nothing to do with education.

DeKalb parent

July 22nd, 2011
4:14 pm

Isn’t the use of scripted teaching materials like America’s Choice products the perfect example of “deprofessionalism?” These seem to suppress all creativity and I can’t imagine a teacher being forced to use them will become an inspired teacher. And this translates into bored students.

Centrist

July 22nd, 2011
4:29 pm

We have inefficient/expensive top heavy administrations that grind out more administrative work for teachers who have less autonomy, and we have teacher unions who protect the lazy and unqualified. Students are not punished enough for being disrespectful, and coddling uninvolved parents gum up the works. The good teachers we see are islands in the churning sea of mediocrity.

Wondering

July 22nd, 2011
4:43 pm

I wanted to teach Math and coach. I graduated and realized that even with a coaching supplement I would make more than twice as much as a computer programmer. Multiply that over a 30+ year career and I didn’t see much of a choice, and yes, I could do the math.

Over my career I met many people that made similar choices. Even if I was disrepected on the job, the money was better and I could change jobs at will. My bosses either treated me right or I moved on to the next job.

I respect teachers for what they do, and I believe this article points to a major issue with our system. Another is the insistence by some to have purely objective measures for teachers. This rarely works in industry, but my teaching friends used to demand it because they believed the administration was out to get them. Now that they have an objective (but false) measure, they are certain our elected officials are out to get them.

MB

July 22nd, 2011
4:43 pm

Here’s a story about a teacher who has a 100% pass rate on AP Calc and is leaving her job because she’s only making $38K – after 13 years in the classroom. http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/07/20/why.quit.teacher/index.html?is_LR=1

(Warning: reading the comments may make you crazy. Obviously some of those folks slept through critical reading – or maybe just listened enough to pass the CRCT. And since we have to spend so much time on test prep, prepare for the demise of critical thinking as evidenced in some of the posts…)

dc

July 22nd, 2011
4:47 pm

As a young high school teacher, it annoyed him that his colleague in the next classroom read the newspaper all day while he was up until midnight each night preparing lessons. “Yet, he was making more than me because he had been there longer,” he said………

That’s what drove my wife out of teaching (a professional hire, with degree from Tech and many years in business/technology). Each semester, her classes would fill up with students whose parents asked that they be moved into her class… and the bad teachers got lighter workload, while making more money. That is one of the top 3 dis-incentives for keeping good teachers, and must be solved.

A Conservative Voice

July 22nd, 2011
4:48 pm

@Former Middle School Teacher

July 22nd, 2011
4:12 pm
@A Conservative Voice; the South lost the Civil War the states rights issued died along with the Confederacy. Secondly, Obamacare as you call it has nothing to do with education.

Didn’t say it did, but it was crammed down our throats. And you’re wrong, States Rights will be an issue again……

Wondering

July 22nd, 2011
4:49 pm

I don’t buy the ‘blame it on the union’ crap. I have managed union shops and due process shops with dozens of professionals. It was easy to get rid of the non-performers. It was also easy to identify them.

The real issue is when management doesn’t do the job because they are not competent to manage. They may have been good in staff positions but now they’re Peter Principled. The good employees leave because they can and they don’t feel appreciated. The bad employees stay because they can’t find another job anyway. Productivity goes down because there’s no one competent left to do the work.

Sorry I can’t stay longer but I need to finish writing my staff reviews and I like to keep my weekends free. ;) .

atlmom

July 22nd, 2011
4:53 pm

yes, hungary, finland, all sorts of countries are doing well in the education department (people from all over the world still come here, for the time being, for college, though).
ALL of those countries have a well defined population, and there’s also a reason they are not the superpowers (today, at least).
They have a homogeneous population. They have a homogeneous culture. they have homogeneous ideals and mores. We in the US do not. We have vastly different cultures all over the country. THAT is why state’s rights makes A LOT of sense. Each state has a VERY different population (i mean, you can *say* that north carolina and GA are the ’same’ because we are both in the south, but we are VERY different states, with very different cultures, actually).
So – unless you want a china like education system – and government – we ARE NOT like another country in the world. And so our education system can’t be compared to others (same with any other ’system’ we have, health care, how we deal with child care, how we deal with oh, almost ANYTHING).

MB

July 22nd, 2011
4:58 pm

Several illusions here to “going elsewhere.” Unfortunately, in education that may be harder than in other jobs. If you’re in a smaller town, there will be fewer opportunities to move. (Quite possibly you will be in the only middle or high school.) In our larger metro system, for example, you may only apply for a transfer after two years at a school. If your principal needs you – even if you are miserable – they can effectively blackball you and you won’t be able to move. No win situation, and another one of the reasons almost half of teachers leave within 5 years…

Do you notice how many people have already – directly or indirectly – referenced poor administrators? MAJOR problem – and I don’t see how in the world this new evaluation system is going to work in some schools where administration is weak, weak, weak…

atlmom

July 22nd, 2011
5:00 pm

and therein lies the problem – or much of it – is salary. double the salaries of the teachers. and fire 1/2 the administrators. simple. easy peasy.

MB

July 22nd, 2011
5:00 pm

On the same page with the CNN article on the AP Calc teacher leaving? An article on the average salary of a WalMart manager http://tinyurl.com/WMmanagesalary (avg. about $179k, salary and bonus, if you’re interested only in the bottom line.)

atlmom

July 22nd, 2011
5:02 pm

MB: but one could move to a private school. or leave teaching. if one is proficient in math/science one could easily train for a new career in STEM. there’s a shortage in industry as well.

Butler9

July 22nd, 2011
5:12 pm

Maybe, ‘atlmom’, but shouldn’t respect for teachers be universal — cutting across all ethnic and economic divisions? At one time in this country’s history we sought and adopted the best that every assimilating culture had to offer. That’s what made us great. Today, on the other hand, we allow our standards to be lowered to the worst that each has to offer. That shift in attitude has led to our decline into mediocrity.

It’s painful to witness.

atlmom

July 22nd, 2011
5:17 pm

butler: oh, I’m in total and complete agreement with you. We teach our children to listen to the teacher. period. they are an adult, and they are their teacher, and that is that. there is no ‘oh, no dear, you poor thing, the teacher wasn’t nice to you today?’ not in my house.
I totally and completely agree with you. Part of the issue, in my opinion is that we don’t pay the teachers much. we actually encourage the teachers not to teach, partially because we pay administrators so much. so people would prefer those jobs given the salaries (i almost wrote: the best and brightest go there, but judging from the comments here, that isn’t the case).
It’s a terrible issue. i mean, seriously – some people only teach and put their 20 years in – then get a crazy generous pension for however many years afterwards. it’s really absurd…if you would just pay teachers most of that money then you’d be better off…but we don’t.
And again, if you paid more, you’d get better teachers, but only for so long. we hear about the horrible conditions teachers endure. and one would only endure that for so long before going back to industry, from what i understand. if we let teachers teach – they would be happier, and they would do a better job.
It’s such a mess.
and, the education system is just a symptom of a whole lot of other things in our society. but it’s glaring.

Miss the Magnet

July 22nd, 2011
5:40 pm

One question comes to mind, why does there even need to be an undergraduate in education particularly for high school level math and science teachers. Having very good content knowledge with more confidence on the material, how to extend the classroom standards into day to day life/current research and applications is invaluable in instilling the classroom with a positive atmosphere. The nuts and bolts of pedagogy can be taught after there is real content knowledge. The problem with the weakest teachers in math in science is that they know pedagogy but only have a weak understanding of the content they are asked to teach. They do not stretch themselves and consequently their students to go beyond the minimum.
As for the bonus pay incentives. The study was looking at student test outcomes ( again a standard not without some very obvious problems in terms of reliable indicators) but how does bonus pay for math and science help KEEP teachers in the classroom. Teacher retention is a serious problem and math and science teachers arguably have skill sets that are more marketable outside the classroom than a history or English teacher.
I think all teachers need to be treated with greater respect.

mountain man

July 22nd, 2011
5:41 pm

If a young person asked my advice about pursuing a teaching career, I would say don’t do it. I once thought about becoming a science teacher but decided I could not take the administative nightmares. Accountability with no authority! You have to get your students to learn the material, but you can’t make them even show up for class. If they are disruptive, you send them to the principal’s office, and he/she sends them right back to your classroom. I di end up teaching adult education for a while and loved it and was told I was a good teacher, but I will never teach in a public school setting.

Respect2

July 22nd, 2011
5:42 pm

Absolutely true–bonuses do not work!!! However, when an individual in Georgia holds several Masters degrees and/or a Specialist or doctorate–respect and being treated as a professional is key. Why are teachers still signing-in when they attend meetings? Can you imagine this occurring in the world of business? Why are teachers held responsible, according to No Child Left Behind, as to the attendance of a child. Isn’t that the responsibility of parents.? And, please don’t get me started on the subject of parents…where are they? They only visit the school when their child is failing or going into some form of suspension. RESPECT!!! That is what will keep educators in the classroom with a salary that is equivalent to the real world. and their high level education. Respect Our Educators!!!

MB

July 22nd, 2011
6:17 pm

I meant allusion – but guess it’s also illusion in a way…

@atlmom – granted one with math/science might likely work elsewhere, but recruitment and retention of STEM teachers is the issue, right? And private schools are often much less attractive in salary and (especially) benefits, particularly private schools other than the very elite.

And as for administrators, many of them are either burned out or never intended to spend any more time than the minimum in the classroom anyway. Effectiveness varies WIDELY. Case in point:

My nephew taught middle school science for two years. Great feedback in year one; moved to a different grade in year 2. No observations entire first semester of year 2; assume no problems, correct?. Second semester of year 2, as budget cuts approached, admin came in his classroom twice in quick succession. Principal sent him a message on a Friday near lunch to come to his office between classes. Told him he had until 4pm to turn in his resignation or his file would show a non-renewal, which was a “negative.” (They were cutting one subject teacher at each grade level, but a resignation would mean they didn’t have unemployment claims.)

When he went back at 4 to resign (he rescinded that on Monday after getting other information), the principal told him he should have used more worksheets in his classes (rather than the hands-on activities he’d done).

Nephew took a year off, thinking he’d never teach again. (Planning to go to PA school.) Then he met a girl….and realized he needed to have a real salary and save some money for PA degree. So he went back to teaching middle school science. In his new school (also Title 1), his admin has already had people from county office come in to see what he’s doing with his classes with technology. (Second is a much larger school system, too.)

Luckily, he went back (if only for a few more years). Many don’t – and often it’s because of these &*%_* administrators who will keep the sorry teachers who don’t make waves…

Peaches Tee

July 22nd, 2011
6:35 pm

This article has many valid points, and many of you know what this is all about. There are many factors involve in the success of a teacher. What makes a great teacher? One administrator may consider a teacher good, but another adminstrator may see problems with the teacher. One year a teacher may have a great class, test scores are good, and the next year she may have a class that’s not up to par. Are we going to expect the same results from the previous year? Is it fair to base the pay on those results? Do we accuse the teacher who taught them the year before? These are some of the issues that will occur with performance pay. It seems that some adminstrators have teachers they like better than others.

One of the fairest ways to have performance pay is to test the students the very first day they step into a classroom. Have the results back within a reasonable period. Allow teachers to teach according to the strengths and weaknesses of the students, which is meeting each students need individually. Test them near the end of the school year and look at growth. Then, we need to documents which students have had conflicts within the year, such as death of love one, sickness, divorce etc. Doesn’t that make sense? There too many issues teachers have to deal.

Georgia Coach

July 22nd, 2011
6:45 pm

Now we have switched to administrator bashing. Guess what. Many teachers who are held accountable for poor performance immediately begin pointing fingers at their evaluators. Some teachers refuse to accept responsibility for their own performance and work habits and refuse to improve. These individuals need to be removed.

Georgia will be creating a teacher induction program in the next few years. If properly implemented this has the potential to improve working conditions, and in turn, student achievement.

Struggling Teacher

July 22nd, 2011
7:46 pm

The single most important profession in the United States and look how it’s treated! This is so wrong! Poor teachers should certainly be aided or terminated, but as a rule it’s not the poor teachers who are leaving teaching so readily. The ones who stay are the ones who endure the buffets and blows of all those who blame the classroom teacher for everything. This is ridiculous. Is anyone anywhere listening? or is it simply going to be true that nobody on the outside of education really cares? It’s time for teachers to stand up for themselves and their students and not kow-tow to anymore ridiculous mandates! We who teach still believe we can make a difference. We need to be allowed to do just that!

98%???

July 22nd, 2011
7:51 pm

@ tim,

where and when? I don’t think there has ever been a time in this country when 98% of students passed… Too many politicians think like you and come up with the NCLB.