Thursday, March 26, 2009

Part 5: What is happening to teaching jobs

For Part 5, the final in our series on teaching jobs, I was hoping to have more information about the billions going to protect teaching jobs but I guess that is going to have to wait for a few months once we see what really happens.

But in the mean time, there is a great interview with the Secretary of Education speaking frankly with the Ed Week Editorial staff. They ask great questions and they get real answers. From the teaching side of things Secretary Duncan "gets it" as evidenced by the following ideas he puts forth:

  1. He understands that some states are saying they are going to move the stimulus money to paying off debt and he basically said that they will be sacrificing the opportunity for the big bucks if they do. The states that drive innovation will get A LOT more money. It is in the states best interest to use the money right
  2. He wants to fundamentally change the staus quo. He knows this an historic, once in a lifetime opportunity to spend a gob of money (my word not his)
  3. Data systems must be put in place to track students back to teachers and track teachers back to their teacher preparation program so that we can use the data to improve education
  4. Talent matters tremendously
  5. Need best teachers to take on the toughest assignments through incentives
  6. Need to understand economic realities and pay math and science teachers more
  7. For the small numbers of states that get it right, they will get the huge dollars available to take their reforms to scale – it will go to the states that do the hard work, demonstrate local courage and challenge the status quo. Let me just say that I love that line
  8. We need new teams of adults if students are failing. I love this – not just blaming teachers but all the adults from the DOE on down that are involved in education. And he does support rewarding great teachers and moving poor teachers out of the classroom
  9. Big believer in alternative certification. Here he reiterates what we have been saying in this series on teaching jobs - there is lots of great talent who just happened to not graduate with an ed degree and we need them in the classroom. Because of the huge numbers of baby boomers retiring from teaching, what we do in the next 4-6 years will determine what happens in the next 30 years. We need to do more now to make sure we have the talent far into the future

For all that are following the teacher employment – this is the money quote. Even if there is a blip in teacher hiring now, because the pipeline into teaching has dried up and because outflows are dramatically increasing, we will be in trouble if we don’t do something now. Secretary Duncan wants more paths to teaching, wants to build more competition in teacher preparation and then hold all the routes accountable for results.

Since he mentioned the 2010 budget details will come out in April, I imagine we will see money put behind these thoughts. And that is good news for what will happen to teaching jobs.

Series on What is Happening to Teaching
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

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