Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Charter networks push 2-4 years and out for teachers- that is a career.


 Motoko Rich.  NYTimes.
Studies have shown that on average, teacher turnover diminishes student achievement. Advocates who argue that teaching should become more like medicine or law say that while programs like Teach for America fill a need in the short term, educational leaders should be focused on improving training and working environments so that teachers will invest in long careers.
“To become a master plumber you have to work for five years,” said Ronald Thorpe, president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a nonprofit group that certifies accomplished teachers. “Shouldn’t we have some kind of analog to that with the people we are entrusting our children to?”
Teachers’ unions and others in the traditional education establishment argue that charter schools are driving teachers away with longer hours and school years, as well as higher workplace demands. (At YES Prep, for example, all teachers are assigned a cellphone to answer any student call for homework assistance until 9 p.m.)

These critics also say that schools and students need stability and that a system of serial short timers is not replicable across thousands of school districts nationwide.
“When you stay in a school or community, you build relationships,” said Andrea Giunta, a senior policy analyst for teacher recruitment, retention and diversity at the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers’ union....
HOUSTON — Tyler Dowdy just started his third year of teaching at YES Prep West, a charter school here. He figures now is a good time to explore his next step, including applying for a supervisory position at the school.
Mr. Dowdy is 24 years old, which might make his restlessness seem premature. But then, his principal is 28. Across YES Prep’s 13 schools, teachers have an average of two and a half years of experience.
As tens of millions of pupils across the country begin their school year, charter networks are developing what amounts to a youth cult in which teaching for two to five years is seen as acceptable and, at times, even desirable. Teachers in the nation’s traditional public schools have an average of close to 14 years of experience, and public school leaders and policy makers have long made it a priority to reduce teacher turnover.
But with teachers confronting the overhaul of evaluations and tenure as well as looming changes in pension benefits, the small but rapidly growing charter school movement — with schools that are publicly financed but privately operated — is pushing to redefine the arc of a teaching career.
read the entire article here.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/27/education/at-charter-schools-short-careers-by-choice.html


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