Edujobs and recalling laid off teachers aside, the emphasis in education reform these days is on teacher quality. Research clearly shows how important good teaching and great teachers are to student success. So how many teachers need to be fired and replaced before the American education system recovers and can compete globally again?
How Many Teachers Does It Take?
Researchers from Dartmouth decided to find out. They constructed simulation based on everything known about what makes great teachers great. And they ran the numbers.
And The Magic Number?
Just about everyone.
Turns out 80% of teachers need to be fired at some point in their first two years on the job in order to ensure no child is being left in a classroom with an ineffective instructor.
And it gets worse.
Building the Perfect Teacher
With all that we known about what makes a teacher good at what he/she does, no one knows how to teach teachers to be great educators.
The ability to teach, it seems, is as mysterious in orgin as reaching the perfect pitch, painting a masterpiece, or having impossibly symmetrical facial features.
Teachers are born and honed, but they can’t be made out of a pig’s ear.
Which leaves us with the problem of convincing people with an ability to go into the profession, and once in, persuade them to stay. Half of all new teachers quit on their own during their first five years on the job.
Some reformers see Race to the Top as the way to foster real reform and allow smaller success stories access to funds and an audience eager to learn about what they’ve done to improve student success.
But Race to the Top winners haven’t been chosen yet. And when they are, it will take time for the winning states to implement their plans, gather results and analyze data. Given the country’s current mood, time is not something they are likely to get.
What Do You Think?
Are 80% of teachers really incompetent? Can great teachers actually be spotted out of the gate? What would the profession look like if 8 out of 10 teachers expected to be fired in their first two years on the job? What sorts of teachers would the profession attract? Best and brightest, like law or medical school? Or would teaching positions become harder to fill?
photo credit: More Pink Slips by msbhaven