Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Study Documents the Negative Effects of Teacher Turnover

Researchers Matthew Ronfeldt from the University of Michigan, Susanna Loeb from Stanford, and Jim Wyckoff from the University of Virginia just published a study that by implication calls into question the fire and hire strategy of school improvement. Locally, when Michelle Rhee stated in 2008 that efforts to build a culture focused on improving teaching and learning take to long and cost too much, that she wanted rather to focus on firing and hiring her way to school improvement in DC, she was committing the District to years of churn and instability. Turnover in DC has been sky high since 2009. According to the findings of this new study, the net effect of such a strategy is probably negative. Read the Ed Week Story Here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The New Crisis in DCPS and Elsewhere: Test-Prep Pressures Driving the Best Teachers Out of Teaching

One of the least discussed effects of the current corporate ed reform culture that ignores the knowledge of educators, insisting instead on production quotas, is that the drive to get test scores up by any means is causing the best and most conscientious teachers to re-think their careers. Teacher and principal turnover is at an all-time high. In a preemptive move, parents at one DCPS school have started to interview teachers to uncover and document the corrosive culture behind teacher dissatisfaction. They want to stave off the imminent departure of some of the best this spring. To the parents it seems to be the most thoughtful, skillful, and independent among teachers that have had it with the pressures to do the wrong things. Meanwhile, ED Week blogger Nancy Flanagan invited a public school teacher from Florida to explain why she was thinking of going to teach in a private school. Her story feels very relevant.