Monday, June 1, 2009

Stop the Madness

Birmingham, Alabama took a very strange step last week. They decided to continue to hire teachers from the Philippines even though Baldwin County used this same route a few years ago and it didn’t work out so hot. And they are recruiting overseas in spite of the fact that so many people in this country have lost their jobs.

People wonder why we education reformers get so irate. But here we have an excellent example of maintaining the status quo just because that is what you have done in the past in spite of evidence telling you not to go down this path again. Baldwin County hired 12 teachers from the Philippines through Avenida International Consultants in 2007, and only three of those teachers remain today. That's a stunning 25 percent retention rate, yet Birmingham is ready to hire teachers through that same recruitment agency.

In the nine states where ABCTE operates, we have a teacher retention rate of 85 percent after three years. Additionally, 95 percent of principals rated American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence teachers to be as effective, or more effective, than their peers.

It seems insane that Alabama schools would go down a path that already failed them once when there are more viable options that can help them fill their math and science positions with people here in the United States that need jobs today. But maybe the administrators just like going on junkets to the Philippines with education dollars instead of dedicating them to the students.

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