Keeping Good Teachers

Keeping Good Teachers

Keeping Good Teachers

Keeping Good Teachers


What attracts good teachers and keeps them in the profession? What makes schools better places for students to learn and for teachers to work? These questions are at the heart of Keeping Good Teachers. To answer them, many of the authors in this book have surveyed fellow educators to find out which practices and policies are most beneficial and practical to implement in schools. The book is divided into five sections:
• Part I explores the extent of the teacher shortage and sets the context for studying it.
• Part II concentrates on induction, tackling the issue of how new teachers should be introduced to their profession.
• Part III looks at the issues of compensation, performance-based pay, career paths, national certification, and other ways to reward educators and make them feel valued.
• Part IV describes the role of principals and administrators in sustaining teachers.
• Part V discusses the needs and desires of master teachers. Like its predecessor A Better Beginning: Supporting and Mentoring New Teachers (ASCD 1999), Keeping Good Teachers is dedicated to all those who want to make their profession the best it can be by creating the conditions where good teachers can thrive.


Marge Scherer

Seven years ago when Mel Riddile became principal of J.E.B. Stuart High School in Fairfax County, Virginia, there was-as is not uncommon when new principals take charge of a school-significant teacher turnover. Contributing to the situation, recent retirement system changes were creating a mass exodus of experienced teachers throughout the state. In total, 22 percent of the 130 teaching positions at Stuart were open that year-the equivalent of 28 and one-half full-time spots.

The teacher turnover rate was only one of the challenges that the school faced. Back in 1996, Stuart was the lowest performing high school of 24 in the county and had the worst student attendance rate. It was then, and still is, number one in the county in three risk factors that predict low student achievement: student poverty (54 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch); mobility (family mobility is 30 percent); and a primary language other than English. Of the 1,500 students enrolled, 30 percent are Hispanic, 27 percent white, 20 percent Asian, 12 percent Middle Eastern, and 11 percent black. Seventy percent of Stuart students were born outside the United States, and for two-thirds of them, English is not their native language.

In 2003, Stuart's academic picture is much improved. Today the dropout rate is 2.8 percent, and 97 percent of students graduate. The attendance rate has improved from a little over 90 percent to 96 percent. More than 80 percent of students last year passed all 11 of the state's standardized exit exams . . .

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