KevinWalsh: The Four Ignored Elephants of Quality in the Classroom and Teacher Retention

21 Jul

The following was originally published in Kevin’s blog,

I was reminded of Winnie the Pooh and his hallucinogenic-trip, envisioning heffalumps and woozles, the other day…

My priest was giving me an update on contract talks with his elementary teachers. “I tell them, ‘You only work 3/4 of the day and 3/4 of the year, why should you expect full-pay anyway?'”

I wanted to say “Yeah, Padre, and you only work three hours on Sundays and get free clothing, room and board.” But then I’d have to escort him to the confessional right afterwards for absolution of the sin of sarcasm.

I gave up my calling last summer and quit public school teaching after 25 years. That was never my plan; I was going to go 40 years. It wasn’t “kids today,” parental apathy or even standardized testing. Frankly, we were going broke. After my state and city imposed four years of pay-cuts — including a 9 percent six-month retroactive cut mid-year — I knew that my second and third jobs were pulling me away from my family and my mortgage.

Now I’m in a second career, away from my calling, hoping to retire in another 25 years, and continuing to believe that someday the general public will also notice a few of these elephants that I’ve been seeing in my classroom since college.

Elephant #1: Unlike Their Bosses, Teachers Cannot Move Laterally

“Schools should operate more like businesses.”

Schools-of-Choice makes the competitive market work for districts”

Few of my friends realize that once a teacher in Michigan is in a district for five years, that teacher is more-or-less a captive. After five years, if the same teacher wants to be a “teacher-of-choice” and shop her services to the highest bidder she is stopped by collusion from every district in the state. More…

via KevinWalsh: The Four Ignored Elephants of Quality in the Classroom and Teacher Retention.


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