New report on teachers: Culture more important than salary, student demographics

The Education Trust released a new report on keeping good teachers in the classroom. The findings — that culture and work conditions matter a lot — remind me of an interview I did years ago with University of Pennsylvania professor Richard Ingersoll, a national expert on teacher turnover and retention.

According to Ingersoll, 40 percent of new teachers nationwide bolt the profession within five years because of the terrible working conditions. To keep teachers, Georgia has to improve the teaching experience, he said.

Ingersoll said teacher turnover was worst at schools with high numbers of student discipline problems and where teachers have no input into how the school is run. “Teachers feel they are being held accountable for things they don’t control, ” he told me.

While higher pay would help, Ingersoll also said, “Look, I am a former high school teacher. I would still be doing it, even with the low pay. But it was all the other stuff — the discipline problems, the lack of support and the lack of say — that made me leave.”

Here is the official Ed Trust summation of its new report:

Much attention has been paid in recent years to developing meaningful teacher evaluation systems as a strategy to improve public education, and rightly so. But while states and districts implement better ways to identify their strongest educators, too many are giving short shrift to the culture and work environments in schools – particularly in high-poverty and low-performing schools – that make them satisfying and attractive places to work.

A new report released by The Education Trust, “Building and Sustaining Talent: Creating Conditions in High-Poverty Schools That Support Effective Teaching and Learning,” outlines the need to pair efforts to improve outdated, inadequate teacher evaluation systems with the policy and culture changes that must accompany them. The report also highlights common-sense strategies that some school districts employ to help the schools that most need talented teachers attract, nurture and keep them once they are identified.

“Making evaluations more meaningful is a critical step toward improving our schools. But being able to determine who our strongest teachers and principals are doesn’t mean that struggling students will magically get more of them,” said Sarah Almy, director of teacher quality at the Education Trust and co-author of the report. “We have to be intentional about creating the kinds of supportive working environments in our high-poverty and low-performing schools that will make them more attractive to our strongest teachers.”

Despite widespread assumptions that students are the primary cause of teacher dissatisfaction, research shows that the culture of the school – particularly the quality of school leadership and level of staff cohesion – actually matters more to teachers’ job satisfaction and retention, particularly in high-poverty schools, than do the demographics of the students or teacher salaries. When teachers have positive perceptions about their work environment, that translates to better outcomes for students. And as expectations rise across the country for both teachers and students, more supportive working conditions are exactly what hard-working educators say they need to reach those higher standards.

“The Education Trust’s latest report validates what every teacher knows is necessary to strengthen public schools and the teaching profession,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, in a statement. “Building a culture of collaboration and shared responsibility among teachers, principals and administrators; focusing on continuous professional development for teachers; and ensuring teachers have the time, tools and trust they need to improve teaching and learning are essential ingredients to building strong public schools and a quality teaching force.”

Some school districts across the country have recognized the power that lies in improving the conditions for teaching and learning that shape school culture, and they are undertaking promising practices to make those improvements in their most challenging schools. For example:

• To improve its lowest performing schools, Ascension Parish School System in southern Louisiana implemented a comprehensive approach to providing educators with meaningful, ongoing feedback, combined with the support they needed and time allotted during the regular school day to work together and reflect on instructional practice. Once teachers saw that more rigorous performance evaluations were used primarily to improve practice, rather than as a punitive tool, most embraced the new culture of shared learning and responsibility and teacher satisfaction improved, as did student achievement. “We have turned a corner where when you ask teachers to come to these schools, they say it is an honor,” said Jennifer Tuttleton, Ascension Parish’s director of school improvement.

•“Our leaders were not equipped to support teachers,” said Fresno (Calif.) Unified School District’s administrator of leadership development, Julie Severns. So they embarked on a district-wide effort to develop school principals as strong instructional leaders, helping them – and the administrators who supervised them – learn how to recognize effective teaching practices and provide classroom educators with concrete feedback to guide their professional growth. They also focused on building professional learning communities among teachers so that they, too, could become comfortable analyzing data to improve their practice. Edward Gomes, principal of Fresno’s Yosemite Middle School, believes focusing first on developing principals’ instructional leadership helped give these efforts more credibility with teachers, particularly in a time of myriad reforms.

•While the specifics of each district’s approach are different, both Sacramento City (Calif.) Unified School District and Charlotte-Mecklenberg (N.C.) Public Schools focused on persuading some of their strongest school leaders to take on the challenge of turning around the lowest performing schools in their districts. School leaders were asked to make a minimum three-year commitment, and given more autonomy over school-level decisions, flexibility in developing their own action plans, and the opportunity to build their own leadership teams – in exchange for stronger results. Educators feel proud to work in these schools, because of the team spirit and professionalism that are now part of their cultures. “It’s a badge of honor to work in the Priority Schools,” said Mary Shelton, Sacramento City’s chief accountability officer.

•Boston Public Schools worked to attract and retain strong teachers to some of its lowest performing schools by providing them with opportunities for shared decision making and career growth through formal teacher leadership roles. In collaboration with Teach Plus, an organization created by educators to improve urban students’ access to effective teachers, Boston implemented a model that trains teacher-leaders and empowers them to help drive cooperative instructional improvement within each school. In addition, many of the teacher-leaders selected were already working in the targeted schools. “It’s a collaboration between the teachers and the administrators, rather than the two parts working sepa­rately,” said Megan Struckel, a teacher at one of the turnaround schools. “It’s the way education should be, because we’re all working toward the same thing.”

“When I was a classroom teacher, my colleagues and I wanted and needed strong support from school leadership and from each other,” said Almy. “Now that we have evaluations that let us know who the strongest teachers are, we must create conditions to ensure that the students who are most in need of those teachers are able to get them.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

108 comments Add your comment

I_teach!!

June 29th, 2012
5:36 am

It’s the truth. I am in a building where my input is valued; I am listened to. I’ve worked in buildings where that wasn’t the case-and I left.

We want to be treated like the professionals we keep being told we are…..Morale has never been lower than it is right now…and I know several teachers-excellent ones-who have left over the demands.

If you want the best and the brightest, you need to create an environment that will attract and keep them…so far, Georgia-and most other states, are failing miserably.

Fred ™

June 29th, 2012
5:48 am

Maureen, you “vacation” like my wife does……… turn off the electronic devices and go play dammit, we’ll survive a couple of days.

LOL If you actually DID “take a couple of days off” it would only mean that you didn’t post anything, you would probably spend those days researching or investigating something. I applaud your dedication. Now go have a pina colada or something.

Peter Smagorinsky

June 29th, 2012
5:56 am

This report is consistent with what I know from teachers. I hope that our state politicians and school administrators are paying attention. I’ve given up on Arne Duncan.

seen it all

June 29th, 2012
6:29 am

This is OLD news. Almost every teacher knows this. This is why we try to teach in middle class areas. Few people pick teaching in the ‘hood as one of their first choices. I have heard of teachers who had principals they didn’t like or thought were dictatorial but stayed at that school and gutted it out if they were in an affluent neighborhood. People wait years to get a teaching position at a school in a “good” neighborhood. It is about culture. It transcends money, class size, etc. Think about this: Would you rather be a fourth grade teacher with a class of 29 kids in Suwanee or a fourth grade teacher with a class of 17 kids in SW Atlanta?

mountain man

June 29th, 2012
6:32 am

“Ingersoll said teacher turnover was worst at schools with high numbers of student discipline problems and where teachers have no input into how the school is run. “Teachers feel they are being held accountable for things they don’t control, ” he told me.’

You penchant for telling us the obvious is getting old. But if it is so obvious to all of us out here, why is it not obvious to administrators of schools and politicians? Oh, it is, but fixing it would be difficult. It is so much easier just to blame the teacher.

Truth

June 29th, 2012
6:36 am

Today, I’ll be going to work with the rest of our school’s leadership team to discuss grading policies and set our remediation schedules for the year. I teach at an upper middle class school with a not-too-diverse population. Wouldn’t trade my workplace to go to an urban environment for any amount of $$$$. I know there are plenty of “change the world” teachers out there, but I’m just not one of them.

Fred ™

June 29th, 2012
6:41 am

You penchant for telling us the obvious is getting old. But if it is so obvious to all of us out here, why is it not obvious to administrators of schools and politicians? Oh, it is, but fixing it would be difficult. It is so much easier just to blame the teacher.

It’s an old teaching technique mountain man. Repetition. When it FINALLY sinks in then maybe some dumb butt will do what needs to be done to fix the problem……

SGA Teacher

June 29th, 2012
6:51 am

And absolutely /nothing/ will come from this report. What will come is more of the same “Teachers need to be more accountable!”

mgdawg

June 29th, 2012
6:53 am

I don’t know if it is because I’m growing up or not, but in most things I don’t mind paying a little more for better service. Whether that is going to chicfila instead of mcdonalds for fast food, going to a gas station that prices are a little more expensive then walmart because there is no insane line with crazy people, or not getting paid as much at a job but having a better work environment. Don’t get me wrong, money matters, and the more money the better. But if you tell me I can make 5k more but have an awful environment, it just isn’t worth it.

another observation

June 29th, 2012
7:17 am

Many teachers have seen fellow colleagues take leave in the middle of the year due to awful work climates. Some administrators saw that as a badge of honor. Georgia truly has to look at its school leadership. Even a classroom with 27 students in SW Atlanta can be a great experience with the right leadership.

[...] New report on teachers: Culture more important than salary, student demographicsAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)The Education Trust released a new report on keeping good teachers in the classroom.  [...]

Maternal Memories: Moms From Hell

June 29th, 2012
7:20 am

And at another little school where I taught … there was a lunatic mother who roamed around the building during the school day, sometimes carrying around her little dog. Sometimes she wore her pajama pants. She never paid attention to her hair, but she did her son’s homework perfectly. Nobody could do their jobs because she’d demand a parent-teacher conversation right then and there.

We’d often find her aimlessly rifling through her son’s locker. Sometimes she’d complain about her husband to you. She repeated all of her stories. I got the husband story one time, two days in a row, nearly word for word. She never knew when to stop talking. You literally had to walk away from her. It was finally time for action.

We agreed that the first teacher to see her walking around the building would e-mail all the other teachers that she was in the building. I learned at lunch one day where everybody hid or what they’d say to her if they got caught out in the open. If you were a fly on the wall when that woman moped into the building you would have thought all the teachers had horrific urinary or bowel afflictions

Not a Stereotypical Urban Problem

June 29th, 2012
7:34 am

@ seen it all

The problems faced in education are not limited to
a particular area of a city,state, or region of the
country. The incident on the bus with youth from
the Greece School District in New York demonstrates
that the problems exist in any community.Proper
conduct is a function of exercising values taught
with accountability of actions and not wealth. The
retention of teachers has been an issue brought up
for many years, but businesses had similar concerns
with productivity and the culture of the workplace in
the 1980’s (U.S. Style of management Vs. Japanese
style of management and concerns with worker
productivity and input in the workplace- Top-Down Vs.
Bottom-Up management style .).

HoneyFern School

June 29th, 2012
7:58 am

An authentic distributed leadership model, where teachers have a say in what happens in the building, is the only way to retain good teachers. This is not news. Teachers are no different than any other employee in this regard; if employers demonstrate that they value the input and ideas of their employees, employees will stay and their production will skyrocket (whatever it is).

Common sense!

mark

June 29th, 2012
7:59 am

With Race to the top, it is me vs the test. If my students do well on the test, I get a bonus. Who cares about the school environment? It is about the money now!! Who cares about other teachers or if the school is making progress? After the bell rings, you shut your door.

Good Mother

June 29th, 2012
7:59 am

Yes, I agree. It’s like this for every profession. We want respect for what we do. We want to be treated fairly. We want some control over our work. What we need in the South is to unionize. Collectively, we make a difference.

GwinnettParentz

June 29th, 2012
8:06 am

There are two notable constants in education which are particularly pertinent to any discussion of working conditions: the supply of teachers always exceeds the number of available teaching positions; and many in the profession choose to pretend otherwise.

Meanwhile, the public is at best uneasy about the product delivered by our K-12 public school system—and has been for decades now.

So why has so little education reform occurred?

NTLB

June 29th, 2012
8:22 am

Both Boston Public Schools and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools are charter school systems. Fulton County Schools, which is now charter , is emulating this style of building strong leaders. Nonetheless, the nepotism and favoritism ensues. I guess somethings will never change.

Lee

June 29th, 2012
8:27 am

Bottom line, your job satisfaction is heavily dependent upon your direct supervision. I once worked for one of the best managers I ever had. He move on up the ladder and was replaced by a space cadet. This lady drove me up the wall. Within a few weeks, she turned a job I loved into one that I dreaded Monday morning. Luckily, she didn’t last long.

TeachinDekalb

June 29th, 2012
8:52 am

The culture at our school was great. We had a purpose, we all pulled together. Then, it became painfully clear that all the sayings and catch phrases about putting the kids first and striving to the best, etc…were just empty, meaningless little delusions we all shared. They don’t put the kids first, they don’t really care about the quality of the teaching or the parents’ satisfaction, or anything else. The administrators in this county couldn’t tell you, and couldn’t care less which teachers have the highest CRCT scores, the highest parent and student satisfaction, who the best and most effective teachers are. They don’t know and frankly don’t care. If you think being a really good teacher who knows what they are doing, and works hard at it matters to anyone except your students and parents, it doesn’t. They don’t even know who you are.

Ron F.

June 29th, 2012
9:00 am

“the supply of teachers always exceeds the number of available teaching positions; and many in the profession choose to pretend otherwise.”

Look at the openings still available on http://www.teachgeorgia.org and tell me if that’s true. We don’t have enough special education, math, or science teachers to fill them all. We get to this point when teaching is devalued and negative attitudes toward education drive away both potential new teachers and veterans. I think you’ll see in the next five years that the number of vacancies will continue to grow while the pool of interested candidates shrinks. Then what?

had enough

June 29th, 2012
9:02 am

With a dictator like Ed Heatley in CCPS, a pleasant working enviroment will not be realized anytime soon. Correction: if you are a Kappa or Delta you have a better chance of being happy in this dismal culture.

Why is he only promoting people less than 40 years old to admin positions? Age discrimination. Since when does an online advanced degree make you competent?

NW GA Math/Science Teacher

June 29th, 2012
9:04 am

Spot On! This report echoes so much I’ve been saying. To spike the flamers a bit – I am quite successful so far – extremely high test results and very high marks on the new teacher evaluation model (value added). However, the culture problem above is exactly what I’ve experienced for the past three years at two different not-so-good (or terrible) high schools.

10 year vet

June 29th, 2012
9:05 am

Old news. I guess it’s hard for elected officials to tell their constituents they need to raise their children better.

LeeH1

June 29th, 2012
9:25 am

It’s about time that the nation woke up to the fact that teachers are the problem! They are paid to much for too little work, and they are unionized! We need to lower the pay and working conditions of teachers, so they will learn what it means to work for an honest day’s wage. The Tea Party and I don’t buy this crap about how good teachers are- they are simply hired to ram reading, writing and arithmetic into kids, which is not hard to do. They are paid way to much for doing this.

NONPC

June 29th, 2012
10:30 am

You penchant for telling us the obvious is getting old. But if it is so obvious to all of us out here, why is it not obvious to administrators of schools and politicians? Oh, it is, but fixing it would be difficult.

Not just difficult… impossible. To fix it, one would have to point out what is TRULY wrong… the culture of the kids and their families. That would be politically incorrect, and would (in many cases) brand one a “racist”. So instead of blaming the source of the problem, the teachers get blamed,or funding gets blamed, or “poverty” gets blamed. So we get new teachers, increase funding and wage a “War on Poverty” for 50 years, and nothing whatsoever changes because we didn’t address the root cause.

Realistic Educator

June 29th, 2012
10:40 am

I watched the culture of a strong traditional high school get destroyed in Atlanta. A certain dictatorial superintendent was determined to put forth an agenda whereby small schools were the order of the day. So all of her policies undermined this high school. She even allowed two other Middle/High Schools to be built within the same district. A landmark elementary school was torn down in a historic neighborhood. The high school was an extremely strong school with a tradition of excellence that had been piloted by a principal turned Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. The jealous and vindictive former superintendent even had this man’s name removed from the high school’s auditorium. She started transferring out the strongest teachers who also happened to be the most vocal ones. She replaced a strong principal with a weak guy from some place in far off Virginia. The school’s academic achievements were whittled down to almost nothing. Then the band program collapsed, the football team became 0 and 10 each season. When a celebrated teacher garnered a National Stock Market Championship for the school, she got transferred too. Once the weakling principal resigned because of his ineptitude, she brought in a friend’s grown up child as the new principal and he only wanted to change the school’s song so that every tradition of the school was destroyed. The high school was on the brink of collapse. The last of the stongest teachers started retiring in record numbers. But then, a miracle happened. Hundreds of alumni came out and said No. Enough is enough. This is our school and our community and we won’t let you do this. Now he’s gone and a former strong principal is back. He promises to restore order and discipline, bring back strong academic achievement, community and alumni involvement and a strong program in the arts. The teachers, alumni and community are onboard. He’s a little more humble now but that streak of arrogance is still there. And, that is just what Frederick Douglass High School needs; strong leadership, discipline and teachers who are supported. Perhaps the culture that nurtured students and teachers and built one of the strongest predominately Black high schools in America will return. Leadership and culture are everything!
But, it still didn’t keep me in APS…still too much corruption for my taste.

another observation

June 29th, 2012
10:49 am

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/teachers-say-theyre-being-bullied-principal/nPhws/
Interesting article about teachers being bullied in Decatur on wsbtv. It describes what many of us have shared before. I hope more reports can be done to shame those administrators who abuse their staff and create hostile work climates.

another observation

June 29th, 2012
10:52 am

School culture is the skeleton in the closet that undermines test scores.

Realistic Educator

June 29th, 2012
11:08 am

@LeeH1…my decision to start teaching was not based on money. The year before I started, teachers in Georgia, including Atlanta, were making less than the garbage men who worked for the city. A study was done and it was found that for their education and training, teachers were not being paid enough. You didn’t have to have a high school diploma, and definitely not a college degree, to be a garbage man. Most of my friends opted to work for MARTA or the Post Office which paid so much better at the time. I finished my Masters in Education, studied 450+ standards/objectives that I was supposed to know, read all of the textbooks available for my subject areas from the school system and passed the Teachers test with an A…they hired me. I was overjoyed. I wanted to make a difference. Over the next decades, the salaries started going up so that teachers were making something comparable to others with similar training. Still, my students would come back and tell me about the salaries they were getting straight out of college..much higher than mine. My relatives in technology were making $20,000 to $50,000 more than me. I got another degree so that I could move up $5,000. We didn’t have any means of getting promortions unless you tried for the miniscule number of positions in administration. And, once you got to the top of your salary scale, you could only depend on cost of living raises. I got to the top and I didn’t get a raise for the last 5 years..instead the furloughs have doubled each year for the past few.
But, something else happened. Republicans got back in the White House and launched an assault on teachers under the guise of “No Child Left Behind.” It became our fault that children weren’t learning. Bad, ineffective teachers became the cry. Teachers, Democrats and Unions now were forming some kind of axis of evil against the American people. We became villians almost overnight. People wanted us to crawl and beg and work for minimum wage…to once again make less than garbage workers when handling the most precious cargo in the world…the minds of our babies, the future of America.
I am not too good at groveling and neither are most teachers. In other words, ain’t gonna happen. Your anger is misplaced. You need to go back and re-examine the policies of your Tea Party brethren that outsourced American jobs so that they could make millions of dollars and then act like they actually cared about the Middle class. The Republicans wrecked the economy so bad that. poor President Obama had to work like a slave just to keep the economy afloat. Please review your Economics and your History for homework now. Thanks.

G-Ptz

June 29th, 2012
11:11 am

@Ron F:

You’re always one to dependably deliver the union’s talking points, eh Ron?

But if teachers are as thin on the ground as you imply—then why are layoffs ever necessary? And why do we have to listen to the endless self-pity of teachers whose positions are cut by overburdened districts?

In industries with actual human resource shortages candidates simply move on to their next opportunity, don’t they Ron?

And they also much prefer free markets over competition-free monopolies—as free markets pay a premium when talent shortages arise. But that’s not the union position, is it? Nor will it ever be. They know better than to believe their (your) own rhetoric …

Hillbilly D

June 29th, 2012
11:46 am

Bottom line, your job satisfaction is heavily dependent upon your direct supervision

That’s one of the wisest things I’ve seen posted in quite a while. It doesn’t matter what you do or how much you love doing it, if your immediate boss is a horse’s butt, you’re going to be miserable.

Jack

June 29th, 2012
11:49 am

“poor President Obama had to work like a slave…”. The word work and Obama shouldn’t be in the same sentence. All he’s ever done has been to pander to weakness. Topic: culture is key. Teachers can’t teach children that don’t want to learn.

GFY

June 29th, 2012
11:51 am

This is why private school teachers accept less pay than their public school counterparts…..

GFY

June 29th, 2012
11:54 am

Obtuse Educator:

Work for minumum wage? Try working more than 40 weeks before you come with your hat in hand for more money. Looks like all the money poured into the sewer of DCSS was a waste….with exception of Lakeside and Chamblee (maybe Dunwoody) the results are about the same as with no formal education.

More realistic edukator

June 29th, 2012
12:04 pm

@unRealisticEducator:

No Child Left Behind was largely written by Ted Kennedy—which you may recall was a leading Democrat senator at the time. That’s him smiling broadly behind President Bush, along with other Democrat notables, in the signing ceremony photo.

So stop trying to rewrite history, please.

And the voters in liberal Wisconsin just delivered a verdict at the ballot box last month, in part regarding whether they think teachers are “underpaid” for their NINE MONTHS of work. Despite the big money spent by the unions, and all the union goons flown into the state to intimidate lawmakers, your side lost.

Georgia Association of Educators members by the way helped finance that union debacle.

Should you have become a garbageman/garbagewoman when you had the chance? My opinion aside—if you had, you might have a LEGITIMATE reason to whine today!

More realistic edukator

June 29th, 2012
12:06 pm

@Ron F:

You’re always one to dependably deliver the union’s talking points, eh Ron?

But if teachers are as thin on the ground as you imply—then why are layoffs ever necessary? And why do we have to listen to the endless self-pity of teachers whose positions are cut by overburdened districts?

In industries with actual human resource shortages candidates simply move on to their next opportunity, don’t they Ron?

And they also much prefer free markets over competition-free monopolies—as free markets pay a premium when talent shortages arise. But that’s not the union position, is it? Nor will it ever be. They know better than to believe their (your) own rhetoric …

Democratic Supporter

June 29th, 2012
12:11 pm

Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton Counties have excellent schools systems.

Prof

June 29th, 2012
12:13 pm

@ Realistic Educator. It seems pretty obvious that LeeH1 is a troll who’s trying to push all the buttons. The giveaway is the comment that all teachers are unionized…that’s been rebutted on this blog time and again.

Don’t feed the troll.

Atlanta Mom

June 29th, 2012
12:20 pm

” 40 percent of new teachers nationwide bolt the profession within five years because of the terrible working conditions.”
The same holds true in public accounting. Any other professions?

Hillbilly D

June 29th, 2012
12:26 pm

Atlanta Mom

I haven’t seen any figures on that but my gut-feeling would be it’s true of a lot of professions/jobs. Especially if it’s a person’s first full time job, people often decide a job is not for them, for whatever reason, and go on to something else.

We don't have a Union

June 29th, 2012
12:55 pm

For the last time, there are no teachers unions in Ga.

NONPC

June 29th, 2012
1:53 pm

“I haven’t seen any figures on that but my gut-feeling would be it’s true of a lot of professions/jobs. ”

Absolutely. In fact, that is true of MOST jobs, professional or not. Most people want a friendly, supportive environment for the place that they spend 40+ hours a week for years on end. It matters not if you are a sanitation worker, home builder, doctor or teacher.

All GAE members are union

June 29th, 2012
1:55 pm

@Prof @We:

Problem is … the National Education Association insists on its own website that it IS A UNION.

And all members of the Georgia Association of Educators are REQUIRED to belong to the NEA and pay an extra $168 yearly directly to them to fund the union’s leftist Democrat politics …

ref: http://www.nea.org/home/18469.htm
ref: http://goo.gl/rtJIZ
ref: http://goo.gl/bNdPt

Ole Guy

June 29th, 2012
1:56 pm

Remember the movie Animal House? Facd with a “load of crap”, the guys all started “faux coughing”…BULL (cough) SH _ _!

Culture is more important than salary? BULL (cough) SH _ _! If you teachers actually had control over your professions, you wouldn’t have this issue to consider…YOU’D HAVE BOTH.

Ed Johnson

June 29th, 2012
1:57 pm

The amazing thing is that anybody would think school culture is less important than salary and student demographics and such.

But then business culture has invaded and pretty much subsumed school culture. Damage done to teaching and learning in public education has been unavoidable yet predictable.

HS Math Teacher

June 29th, 2012
2:02 pm

This is a good topic & story. Why? BECAUSE IT’S STARTING TO GET NEARER TO THE REASON WHY SO MANY OF US TEACHERS WHO TEACH IN HIGH POVERTY AREAS ARE ABOUT TO FLIP!

HS Math Teacher

June 29th, 2012
2:14 pm

I accidentally hit some key combination that posted my diatribe prematurely. Hmm. Reminds me when I was 15…. nevermind that. It is true that having good working conditions is more important than the money we make (assuming it’s within a reasonable range). I applaud Maureen (love that name) on putting forth this blog topic. Others above have raked her over the coals in that this is something that we’ve all been talking about for years; however, it’s good to see that the people who have an audience know this as well.

Just one more beef: PLEASE DO A TOPIC ABOUT THE IDIOCY OF TRYING TO STUFF THE COMMON CORE DOWN EVERY STUDENT’S THROAT. This adds to our frustration. When socially promoted students, who would have graded out as non-college prep years ago, realize that they WON’T/CAN’T learn how to analyze logarithmic functions, or write equations for all conics that are not origin-centered, or to prove that two double-angle trigonometric identities (like cosine) are the same, then they want to ACT THE FOOL. Others sleep, and when awoken, they respond…”What’s the use?” We’re trying to pound a square peg into an undersized round hole, and these people who have foisted this upon us need to try it not for one week……have them try it for six months!!! They’ll be begging for relief!!!

@We don't have a Union 12:55 pm

June 29th, 2012
2:16 pm

I believe these 2 organizations would disagree with you…

MACE. A Teacher’s Union | TheTeachersAdvocate.Com
South’s Toughest Teacher’s Union! MACE. Don’t Dare Teach Without It.
http://www.theteachersadvocate.com/

Georgia Federation of Teachers
About the AFT
Learn more about the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which was founded in 1916 to represent the economic, social and professional interests of classroom teachers and is an affiliated international union of the AFL-CIO.
http://ga.aft.org/index.cfm?action=cat&categoryID=4651bda0-3be6-49f9-b7b3-7ee2c2da570e

All GAE members are union

June 29th, 2012
2:35 pm

@We: Well, here’s what the National Education Association says about that on its own website …

“You’re in the largest professional union in the United States. Knowing what that means can make your job and your paycheck better.”

Nothing uncertain about THAT, wouldn’t you agree? But here are those links again if you still need to educate yourself:

ref: http://www.nea.org/home/18469.htm
ref: http://goo.gl/rtJIZ
ref: http://goo.gl/bNdPt