Teacher residency programs: Not a surefire route to higher student achievement

There is a great deal of focus on improving teacher education, but it is still not clear how best to do that. One program that has earned attention is the Boston Teacher Residency Program, which duplicates a medical residency in its approach. Aspiring teachers go through a yearlong apprenticeship under a mentor teacher and also earn a master’s degree.

A new study of the residency program shows the proverbial mixed results: Math teachers in the program were less effective initially than their peers, but eventually were more effective. The English/language arts teachers were no more effective than novice teachers who did not go through the program. The residency program improved the diversity of the teaching corps, and its graduates had less turnover.

Asked to design the ideal teacher training approach, many people would cite facets of the Boston program. Yet, even the director calls these study results “disappointing.” What is the ideal way to train effective teachers and — the big question — how should we determine effectiveness over time?

According to Education Week: (Read the full article as there are a lot of qualifiers to this study.)

Math teachers trained through the Boston Teacher Residency program are, on average, initially less effective at raising student scores in that subject than other novice teachers. But within five years, their instruction in that subject improves rapidly enough to surpass the effectiveness of their colleagues, a new study concludes.  For English/language arts, the residency-trained teachers were no more effective at improving student achievement than other new teachers.

The Boston program did, however, succeed in drawing a more ethnically diverse group of teachers to the profession than is typical; its candidates were more likely to teach the hard-to-fill subjects of math and science, and they were also much more likely than other new teachers to stay in the classroom for at least five years.

Over the long run, the study suggests, the program should have a modest positive impact on student achievement in Boston when longer retention rates are balanced against teachers’ initial weak performance.

Officials at the Boston Plan for Excellence, the nonprofit organization that oversees the residency and that commissioned the study, vowed to use the results to improve their programming.

“I was disappointed,” Jesse Solomon, its executive director, said of the mixed findings. “In my mind, there’s no way we should be doing worse in those first years. We’ll do what we have got do to make sure that first-year result goes away.”

The study’s sample for the effectiveness calculations, performed using a value-added method, was relatively small, but the findings were consistent when examined through several lenses.

“We think this provides reliable evidence on the effectiveness of BTR graduates to date,” said Martin R. West, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and one of four scholars who conducted the study. “The question is whether we can generalize based on those results to BTR graduates who will later have four to five years of experience, much less to graduates of other residency programs and other settings.”

The study, published this week as a working paper by the Cambridge, Mass.-based National Bureau of Economic Research, is the first independent, empirical study of the teacher-residency approach to training.

The Boston Teacher Residency, begun in 2003, was one of the first examples. It has attracted philanthropic support, spawned similar programs in other universities and school districts, and influenced federal teacher-quality policymaking. Residency programs have also been highlighted as promising models by the National Education Association and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Preparation, among others.

The data show that 80 percent of residency teachers stayed through year three, compared with 63 percent of their colleagues, and that 75 percent stayed to year five, compared with 51 percent of new, nonresidents.

Across several different model specifications, the residency teachers performed less well, on average, in their first year on the job than other new teachers, to a degree that the paper characterizes as equivalent to about two months of learning.

“The difference there is not trivial in magnitude. It’s larger than most of the findings in the literature comparing teachers entering through different preparation programs,” Mr. West said.

But by year five, the residents were outperforming other teachers with the same level of experience by nearly the same degree. What’s more, they had improved rapidly enough to best veteran teachers with more than six years of experience.

The study found no differences between the groups of teachers in English/language arts. In general, reading scores seem to be less responsive to differences in instructional quality, as measured by value-added, than math scores.

For Mr. Solomon, the findings show that many of the programs’ goals have been met, but the program has more work to do on the most important one—improved learning outcomes. In its early years, the program had focused on recruitment and retention efforts, but over time has made producing effective teachers a priority, he said.

“We just felt like, look, we can study and measure retention and principal satisfaction ‘till the cows come home, but you want to know how kids are doing,” Mr. Solomon said.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

76 comments Add your comment


December 17th, 2011
9:44 am

Flavor of the day.

Beverly Fraud

December 17th, 2011
10:03 am

“There is a great deal of focus on improving teacher education, but it is still not clear how best to do that.”

Maybe we need to focus on improving teaching CONDITIONS. Maybe, just MAYBE if we focus on THAT, we will find that many teachers are QUITE as pathetic as we WANT them to be.

Yes we WANT them to be INeffective, because that’s the path of least resistance, the path that allows us to NOT confront how we as a society aren’t doing what WE need to do.

Beverly Fraud

December 17th, 2011
10:07 am

“A new study of the residency program shows the proverbial mixed results:”

Gee, another effort at “reform” has mixed results?

That’s ok, since it still allows us to engage in America’s favorite new past time, “Blame the Teacher.”


December 17th, 2011
10:16 am

We continue to ignore the fundamental aspects of teacher recruitment and training that would make the most gains in teacher quality: academic qualifications and teacher pay.

The brightest and best college students should be sought and recruited for teacher ed programs. These students currently are attracted to other, higher paying fields, and who can blame them. There is the other prong of improving teacher quality. Pay. Yes, wages make a difference in terms of getting the best candidates into the classrooms. As long as we ignore these two points, there will be few changes.


December 17th, 2011
10:26 am

This is just the latest in a long line of social experiments going back to the 60’s. The results of this latest experiment will be disappointing, as all the others were, because a substantial number of our students are below average in intelligence and no methods of teaching will ever change this. You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Cindy Lutenbacher

December 17th, 2011
10:31 am

I’m dubious of the results of studies of teacher effectiveness that are based on standardized test scores. The scores correlate with socio-economic status and test-prep courses, not with actual learning and not with teacher effectiveness. Teacher mentoring is a good idea, but proving it effective or ineffective with multiple choice tests is a waste of time and money.


December 17th, 2011
11:02 am

Increase pay. The end.

We generally get the teachers we pay for.

Nobody has this complaint about doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc.

Because they are compensated.

Is it really that shocking that low-paying jobs aren’t attracting all our best minds?


December 17th, 2011
11:16 am

Teachers continue to be challenged by having to waste time and energy dealing with un-prepared and un-motivated students. They come to school to socialize, not to learn. Until parents properly prepare their kids, teachers will continue to under perform. I think most teachers want to do their jobs well, but have to spend much of their time chasing down the 10% that don’t want to learn.


December 17th, 2011
11:25 am

For any research to be useful, it needs to be longitudinal in order for it to suggest something. In this case I wonder if the same study was done with traditionally prepared students in their first years of teaching compared to the residency teachers? An excited and highly engaging teacher will improve over time. A dud will be a dud.


December 17th, 2011
11:50 am

“great” teachers have great motivated students…”bad” teachers” have lousy unmotivated students..so simple


December 17th, 2011
12:22 pm

“Read the full article as there are a lot of qualifiers to this study” What this means, folks, is that it isn’t useful except in the most narrowly defined ways.

How ’bout lets talk about the absentee problem mentioned in today’s news?


December 17th, 2011
1:06 pm

BFS mentioned above: “…chasing 10 percent who don’t want to learn.” Sorry, BFS, but as a retired teacher from 34 years of clasrrom experience, there are so many more than the rosy-colored “10 percent” that most of the public sees. Let’s make than percentage more realistic; how about closer to 50 percent of the students who are apathetic, along with 80 percent of their parents.


December 17th, 2011
1:08 pm

Up above…”Let’s make THAT percentage…”


December 17th, 2011
1:44 pm

Why are we so quick to blame the Educators!

They are doing the best they can in a system that is archaic and supervised by bureaucrats or self-serving stakeholders.

Also we are forgetting that PARENTS play a huge role in this mess we call “Education in America”.
Data shows that parents spend less than five minutes a day reinforcing lessons and concepts taught at school.

Additional studies indicate most parents shift the responsibility of educating their kids on to the school systems, rather than they assuming the position of primary stakeholder in their child’s education.

There is no greater advocate in your child’s education than you as the parent!


December 17th, 2011
2:06 pm

The best teachers in my building are discouraged and disillusioned. We need to focus on improving the quality of student behavior and attitude.


December 17th, 2011
2:15 pm

“Jessica Pennington, executive director of the Georgia Truancy Intervention Project, a group that works with students in Atlanta and Fulton County, said she does not think the program could hurt families instead of helping them.

“What’s going on in these families are layers and layers of things that needs to be addressed,” she said. “Fining and locking up parents is not the most effective approach.””

Perhaps the AJC writer could review this and correct it so that it is not contradictory?

And HOW ON EARTH does APS get federal monies when almost half the high school age students are out that much? No wonder APS hasn’t given correct drop-out figures, if they allow this percentage of absentees–they may have no idea if a kid is “out” or “in!” I think it is pretty astounding that APS has had this rule for several years and has apparently not availed itself of the power to enforce it!

Homeschool Mom

December 17th, 2011
2:19 pm

I’m so sick and tired of hearing about the poor, underpaid teachers! They chose the profession knowing the circumstances and the pay grade. Besides, according to the Department of Labor they are the HIGHEST paid state workers! Read about it here: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/dept-labor-public-school-teachers-are-highest-paid-state-workers-compensation-doubles


December 17th, 2011
2:19 pm

Surely the facts presented here were not researched but accepted as provided by… whom??? The first residency program for teachers did not begin in Boston in 2003! Such typical arrogance continues! Georgia had such beginning in 1950s. It was required for all graduates of Georgia Teachers College and who knows which other institutions. If it has since been abadoned here then it obviously was a mistake.

Concerned Citizen

December 17th, 2011
2:55 pm

@Homeschool Mom… Before you start sarcastically referring to the “poor underpaid teachers” please understand the message behind many of the previous posts. Increasing pay and improving working conditions is not primarily about helping the current teachers who “chose the profession knowing the circumstances and the pay grade”, it’s about RECRUITING a higher quality of future teachers. The idea is how do we get BETTER teachers.


December 17th, 2011
3:03 pm

@Homeschool Mom….If teachers are paid so well, then explain to me why we have teachers in my district whose children qualify for PeachCare.

Of course the “news source” you quote is nothing more than a Faux News wannabe.


December 17th, 2011
3:29 pm

@teacher&mom….Faux news??….you lost all credibility when you repeated that left wing chirp….


December 17th, 2011
3:31 pm

I agree that better pay would help with getting teachers into the field. But the working conditions would help too…
If teachers were allowed more freedom, they would be happier and want to stay.
Like I say, challenge is my kid’s favorite day of the week. But they aren’t evaluated by testing, so the teachers are allowed a LOT of freedom within their curriculums. So…we get kids actually learning something rather than going over the same work over and over.

As for this ‘different training’ it might be a way to get people into teaching. And I think we can agree that better training might help teachers in the long run. It doesn’t seem that there is much to this studies’ conclusions other than, well, we’re not sure. But I know APS is doing something similar in the coming year for math teachers. It is something I have considered, but I wouldn’t just go and get a master’s degree in math ed because it seems very expensive for something that won’t pay off. When I can get a higher paying job without it. That’s the big issue, isn’t it?


December 17th, 2011
3:44 pm

@ Homeschool Mom. Your link is to CNS News, a conservative right-wing publication. The quoted average hourly wage for public school teachers is $59.59. Is this national average true for Georgia’s public teachers? Don’t think so.

As the articles states: “[The Bureau of Labor Statistics] defines the number of hours a teacher works by the number of hours the teacher’s employer says the teacher is required to be at the site of the job. BLS used the same methodology to determine the number of hours worked by other salaried employees. Because teachers have extended vacation periods when they are not required to be at school, they tend to work fewer hours, as calculated by BLS,”

So none of the teacher’s work before and after school hours is counted, nor are the unpaid summers when school-related work is performed by the teachers. Misleading, to say the least.

Also, were the job’s “circumstances” of undisciplined students, required canned class lectures, and onerous paperwork really accurately explained to the new teacher taking the job? Bait-and-switch, anyone?


December 17th, 2011
3:46 pm

@Homeschool Mom – Just a little math shows that BLS is figuring on an 8-hour day for their numbers, which no teacher that I know of works 8 hour days. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what my benefits package is, but my salary is approximately $27 per hour based on an 8-hour day 190-day contract (again, what teacher works only these hours?) How many of these state jobs that we are being compared to require a college degree (much less a higher degree)? The benefits I have to pay for (insurance premiums, TRS, 403(b), etc have all taken larger percentages of my income every year despite the fact that I have less coverage, and have taken pay cut after pay cut after pay cut. Sure, I may be paid more than the average state worker, but for what I did to get the position I have (skilled professional labor), I should be paid more. The state has a large number of un-skilled or semi-skilled laborers in its workforce to make numbers what they are.


December 17th, 2011
3:47 pm

Too bad there’s no requirement for becoming a parent. But then that would be about as ludicrous as blaming teachers for lack of parental involvement in children’s education.


December 17th, 2011
3:51 pm

@Cw…Lost my credibility? I don’t think so.


December 17th, 2011
3:57 pm

I can teach anything that will sit, stay, and listen – my puppy was trained in less than a week. Parents, train your children so that when they arrive at school they are ready to sit, stay, listen, and LEARN!


December 17th, 2011
4:04 pm

Ga teachers are ranked number 10 in the nation. From IRS….If you think GA has low pay go to Iowa, TN and other states. I made 24,000 more in 2006 in Clayton Co than I did in 2007-2010 in Middle TN and insurance benefits were at least twice as much.


December 17th, 2011
4:13 pm

The College of Education at Georgia State has been doing just such a program with local metro systems. However, as grant money has expired, neither the state nor county systems are offering to fund the program

Tonya C.

December 17th, 2011
4:16 pm


Are you still teaching? Pay is only one of the variables mentioned. And comparing teacher pay to teacher pay is NOT the issue. Comparing teacher pay to private-sector positions that require as much education is. People want these subject experts to teach, but most wouldn’t dare put up with the behavior of the children in these classrooms.

You continually chirp in with the same info, as if that makes the situation better. It doesn’t, it just goes to prove how little educators are actually valued. As the wife of an educator, his pay isn’t the greatest issue he faces. It is out-of-control students and apathetic parents and administration. The other stuff (pay and benefits that are constantly sliced) just make the poo stink worse!

Bright but not on Paper

December 17th, 2011
4:31 pm

I keep hearing we need to attract the “best and brightest.” I agree, but this often refers to evidence on paper. For example, my IQ is well above average, and I can learn and adapt pretty quickly. However, I wasn’t always the best student, and as a result, I’m able to relate to and reach kids who aren’t considered ideal and need extra support. I certainly think denying me the opportunity to teach and reach would be a tragedy had I been barred from entering the profession due to a poor high school transcript (or even my first two years of college). Despite whatever the bureaucrats think, achievement can’t be captured by a universal definition (or scored by a machine).

Another point…I know some math teachers who are highly intelligent and know more about math than I could ever dream to understand. Why is it, though, that students flock to me to help them with the math that my super-intelligent (among the “best and brightest”) co-teachers can’t seem to explain?

HS Public Teacher

December 17th, 2011
5:00 pm

How many years, and how many bad ideas must Georgia education suffer?

All of the politicans come up with education ideas. But, they have no knowledge or experience with education. So, their ideas time and again cost the tax payers big bucks and do little to actually help education in GA.

Why not simply ask the actual classroom teacher? Why not? Aren’t they the ones that do this day in and day out? Shouldn’t THEY be the best to identify what should help?

But, no. The State of Georgia politicans somehow find it benefical to ask little children their opinion about their teachers. However, they do not find value in asking teachers their opinion.

No wonder Georgia education is so very screwed up.

Ed Johnson

December 17th, 2011
5:15 pm

“What is the ideal way to train effective teachers?”

“Train,” huh. Maybe that’s problem: constantly asking the wrong question.

Instead of “train,” how about, well, education? Education, as in Deming’s Point 13 for the Transformation of Management (here, aka Administration) …

“13. Encourage education and self-improvement for everyone. … [T]here is no shortage of good [teachers]. Shortage exists at the high levels of [administration]. … “[Administration] must go through new learning. … [Teachers] require in their careers, more than money, ever-broadening opportunities to add something to society, materially and otherwise.”

Deming, W. Edwards (2011-11-09). Out of the Crisis. MIT Press. Kindle Edition.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

December 17th, 2011
5:18 pm


The correlation between SAT Verbal scores and reading skills is much higher than the correlation between SAT Verbal scores and SES status. Likewise, the correlation between SAT Quantitative scores and math skills is much higher than the correlation between these scores and SES status.

In other words, higher SAT Verbal and Quantitative scores are much more highly indicative of greater skills in these areas than of greater material affluence. Kids don’t receive high or low scores because they’re affluent or “poor,” respectively. They earn scores based upon relative performance, not relative affluence.


I have some info for you. Please e-mail me at: craigspinks@aol.com.

Another Math Teacher

December 17th, 2011
5:45 pm


‘ “[The Bureau of Labor Statistics] defines the number of hours a teacher works by the number of hours the teacher’s employer says the teacher is required to be at the site of the job.” ‘

Since I work remotely and have no hours on site that are required….do I make infinity per hour?


December 17th, 2011
5:54 pm

I wish that we spent less time speaking in terms of the “best and brightest” being attracted to the field of teaching due to compensatory issues. There are crummy professionals in every working domain. Let’s not drink the kool-aid that is often espoused as fact.


December 17th, 2011
6:00 pm

What great mind would tolerate today’s teaching environment? At any price?


December 17th, 2011
6:11 pm

Since the schools in the midst of the great neighborhoods have all the greatest teachers, why not find out where they went to college?

Test scores in East Cobb County are awesome. The public schools here are nothing like those failure schools and bad teachers in those loser neighborhoods everybody always wants to talk about. So, the teachers in East Cobb County are awesome and we should ask them. Or go ask the teachers in Alpharetta.

Go Raiders!


December 17th, 2011
6:35 pm

Always another government program to fixed a failed government program. When will the citizens wake up and learn?

Only the free market, completely devoid of government interference, manipulation, regulation, taxation, and the like can ever deliver a quality education at a reasonable and affordable price to everyone who needs it. Continuing to support this failed system is just condemning yet another generation of chidren.

These are your kids. Why would you ever turn them over to what is essentially a prison/brainwashing system? Doesn’t their future mean enough to you to do what is right and to work towards the dismantling of the government run system of “education?”

seen it all

December 17th, 2011
6:46 pm

Digger had it right at the very beginning- “Flavor of the day.” Colleges of education as always have some scheme that supposedly makes their graduates better than everybody else. But it doesn’t necessarily produce better teachers. When I went to college in the early 2000’s studying middle grades education, my college made the students in its’ program study as a cohort. They claimed that if the same group of students took the same classes, it would make us better teachers. They also made everybody make weekly visits local schools to observe and listen to principals at those schools talk. Then they made us do a year long internship. The first semester was mini student teaching in the schools for 10 hours a week. The second semester was full time for 16 weeks.

Did all of this nonsense make us better prepared when we grauduated? Heck, no. I just learned that when I got my first teaching job I’d better be ready to be freaking drill sergeant, screaming like R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket, the first day out of the gate. “Why are you talking in my line!!!!!” That’s what all of this internship got me.

Teachers develop and grow in the real world, with their own classes. I grew teaching my students, with the support of my colleagues and administrators. This was real collaborative and mentoring from veteran teachers. It was not part of some made of “new teacher mentoring program.” It was talking, sharing, and friendship with my fellow teachers. NOT A MADE UP PROGRAM.

Jerry Eads

December 17th, 2011
7:01 pm

Well, first, we’re using “value-added” based on nothing but changes in test scores (sorry, it can’t be done from tests built only to provide pass rates), for which we have NO evidence at all that such changes mean anything whatsoever for the long term quality of either teachers or students. We pretty much know that it takes three to seven years for a teacher to even begin to get decent at what he or she does no matter how good the preparation. We keep referring to our low-bid tests as THE benchmark for “student achievement” when we in fact know nothing of the sort. Even the SAT, which can easily be argued to be one of the best made and researched tests in the world, does a TERRIBLE job of predicting even what it’s supposed to, which is first year success in college. And we pretend that our low-bid rush to market minimum competency tests based on “standards” that may not even remotely represent adequate curricular developement (absolutely essential for decent tests) actually mean something worthwhile, in the face of absolutely no evidence that they mean anything.

Just as there seems to be no successful mechanism for one-size-fits-all accountability, it’s highly likely there’s no one-size-fits-all for teacher preparation. Do we need to do better with both? No doubt. But while decent mass-testing requires enormous resources (perhaps to be realized with the current consortia), teacher preparation may happen (perhaps with urging) from the bottom up, even though based on the best evidence we have, not from a one-size-fits-all top down developed by folks who, perhaps with good reason, aren’t in a classroom.

Apprenticeship/mentoring/whatever you want to call it today may well be a very reasonable approach to help beginning teachers learn how to teach well, but it seems quite unlikely we’ll learn such from quick-turnaround slam-bam meaningless bubble testing. Being a superb teacher for students may not even mean that he or she will be superb at helping a new teacher. Those may well be two VERY different skill sets.


December 17th, 2011
7:23 pm

Tonya C…..I actually work with new teachers…through two differnt universities and tutor in Cobb. I taught 33 years in GA and 4 years in TN and I will say the kids in TN were bette rbehaved, but $1000 a month for benefits is still a lot GA teacher retirement is wonderful.Metro Atlanta kids are more worldly…not always a good thing. TN kids had more issues with parents involved in Meth as that is raging in TN. I loved my career here and always taught in mostly poor schools. I was fortunate till the last two years to work with wonderful administrators and teachers who all put kids first.


December 17th, 2011
7:28 pm

As to the topic..I think great teachers have a gift others do not. You can watch them and just see the difference from day one. You can “train” all you want but being able to teach is a gift. I feel blessed to have helped some and to see some of the wonderful people coming along. I am not sure you can teach somone to teach who does not have the gift from God.


December 17th, 2011
7:53 pm

Studies actually reveal that some teachers do seem to possess an inherit gift for the job. They’re born with a knack for the craft. About a year ago Finland and Korea, respectively, were recognized as having the highest achieving math students in the world. The report emphasized that in Korea teachers were hired only from the top 10% of university graduates; in Finland, it was the top 5%. Naturally, these teachers must be paid wages that are competitive with what they might have been making in engineering and other science and math-related professions. Just interesting!

N. GA Teacher

December 17th, 2011
8:06 pm

A couple of items implicitly stick out like sore thumbs in these discussions. I am (and have been for thirty years) a public school teacher. First, more money will not bring more of the the “best and brightest” into teaching! Most teachers WERE the brightest kids in their classes! They idolized their teachers and wanted to be like them. They were brought up “right” by their parents to respect authority, to work hard, and to value education. What they perhaps are NOT are the kids whose upbringing heavily emphasized a dollar-based quality of life. Let’s say that school districts offered the best grads from the best universities (highest ACTS, grades, GREs, Harvard, Stanford, Vanderbilt, ec. whatever- the kids who normally apply to med school, law school, etc.) salaries comparable or even greater than those paid similarly-educated people in the private market, such as accountants, engineers, physical therapists, and (in the case of teachers with specialists and Ph.D.s), lawyers or doctors. These highly-motivated, smart, super-competitive people (who for years have been in the AP classes, college honors classes, etc. and also for the most part came from upper middle to upper-class background) show up for work, and are placed into a classroom where shockingly they are faced with a majority of young people who are NOT motivated, NOT competitive, and often not mannerly or outright rude, destructive and disruptive. When these teachers attempt to discipline students they are met with hostility from not only these students but the parents as well, and, to their further shock, told by administrators that the bad behavior is THEIR fault for not “engaging” the students. Now, just how many of these “best and brightest” will stick around (assuming they are not fired for “insubordination” or any other reason)? No, those who apply for MONEY ONLY will become quickly disillusioned and leave!! Ask ANY veteran teacher, and they will tell you that the best teachers enter the profession because they want to help others, who are often the “less fortunate”. Good teachers have to be flexible, understanding of various cultures, extremely humble, local politics-savvy, controlled and discreet in what they say and do (we could be fired for just one wrong word). The same kind of well-meaning people go into social work, nursing, and other human care-intensive fields. If you read these blogs for a month or so, you will realize that teachers are NOT “whining” when they criticize working conditions because of MONEY, but only because they desire to be accorded the respect due any other professional. THAT SAID, any veteran teacher will ALSO tell you that yes, teachers DO deserve more money. More money will KEEP good teachers in the classroom instead of fleeing to private industry, which some teachers (business info systems, construction, health sciences, etc.) can. The other “sore thumb” is the opinion of many that private schools are so much better. Really? How about we switch schools for one day: all the Marist, Woodward Academy, St. Pius, Westminster teachers will come to APS schools, and we public teachers will venture to the privates! The privates do not necessarily have better teachers, facilities, or administrators. HOWEVER, they do have the TRUMP CARD, which is that they can filter who comes in and who gets to stay. In other words, out go the academic and behavior “problems”. With this goes the need for hiring experts in “classroom management” because you now have a rather ideal motivated, well-behaved, learning- or emotionally disabled-free group. (Kind of like what public schools seemed like in the 50s-70s, strangely!!). Ergo, private schools do not usually require teachers to be “certified” because subject matter knowledge is now more important than the ability to keep 30 kids from running amok. That said, the private school teachers I know are fine, dedicated teachers. Let’s just not equate our teaching situations!

mountain man

December 17th, 2011
8:13 pm

We don’t need teacher “residencies”. How about better training for students and parents? Better yet, how about Administrator “residencies”? Maybe then they could learn how to improve discipline at schools by growing a pair and not letting parents run all over them with “my little Johnnie is an angel”, except he is a gang menber. Maybe they can improve truancy (I was glad to see they SAY they will start enforcing a 2009 law requiring fines and jail time for parents of truants – bout time).

mountain man

December 17th, 2011
8:15 pm

Besides, how effective are these “residencies” with the turnover percentages in teachers. Who in their right mind would want to be a teacher in inner-city areas?


December 17th, 2011
8:40 pm

@Jerry Eads – well said!

Beverly Fraud

December 17th, 2011
9:06 pm

@N Ga Teacher,

I would suggest breaking your words into paragraphs; visually speaking, it makes all the difference.

“Now, just how many of these “best and brightest” will stick around (assuming they are not fired for “insubordination” or any other reason)?”

Great point; and here’s a dirty little secret we don’t want to talk about. This paper will lament how few “ineffective teachers” are terminated. And the percentage is indeed low.

But what isn’t talked is how many EFFECTIVE teachers are terminated, for trying to ADVOCATE for the best interests of students.

The AJC is right in that we let ineffective teachers stay; but maybe the REAL story is how often EFFECTIVE teachers are driven out, due to administrative retaliation.

Where is THAT story, AJC?


December 17th, 2011
9:15 pm

Read N. Ga Teachers post and you have a synopsis of the problem, “most teachers were the best and brightest in their class” Now there are some great teachers and as oldtimer points out it is largely a gift that is hard if not impossible to teach. But there is no objective measure saying most teachers were the best in their class, indeed the very number of teachers required, makes that statistically impossible. As a matter of fact the number required means it is close to statistically impossible to have most teachers even above average. My niece is currently in Tucker middle school and she is a solid student mostly A’s but not in a gifted program and she is grading papers for her Math teacher, in class and recording other students grades. This teacher recently sent out a multiple choice take home assignment that had 3 questions with no correct answers. Of course that was unusual, mainly because the teacher doesn’t usually assign homework due to the fact many kids can’t finish it. There are many problems with education, politics, administration, bad parents etc. But the current curriculum required to become a teacher can be completed by someone that is well below average in their academic achievment.