Magazine article Techniques

Addressing Teacher Retention and Quality

Magazine article Techniques

Addressing Teacher Retention and Quality

Article excerpt

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS HIGHLIGHTED TEACHER RECRUITMENT as a top priority for improving K-12 education. In October, during his speech from Columbia Teachers College, Education Secretary Arne Duncan noted the impending exodus of hundreds of thousands of baby boomers from the teaching profession over the next decade. The U.S. Department of Education projects that up to 1 million new teaching positions will need to be filled within the next five years--a daunting statistic.

The Secretary's speech focused not only on the retention issue, but linked it to improving the way that teachers are educated in the nation's teacher colleges. He called on colleges of education to "dramatically change how they prepare the next generation of teachers so that they are ready to prepare their future students for success in college and careers."

Part of the secretary's message focused on mastering subject matter content. He also emphasized the importance of field-based experiences. In short, he said that teacher colleges need to improve so that teachers can help students meet the needs of the new economy. The Secretary's words and actions are a signal that while teaching credentials and qualifications will remain important, a new emphasis will also be placed on teacher performance.

The quality of teachers will depend significantly on recruitment efforts. Teacher recruitment was a priority of ACTE's recent Teacher Quality Task Force. One overarching concern of the task force was a huge lack of supply in the pool of available career and technical education (CTE) teachers. The Task Force noted that not enough CTE teachers are available to even have one or two candidates for a job opening in many cases, making issues of quality difficult to address.

The Task Force noted a number of major issues impacting the CTE teacher shortage, including the decline in the number and size of university CTE teacher education programs, ineffective or non-existent recruitment, challenging educational work environments, and a lack of respect for CTE teachers. A number of recommendations were offered by the Task Force to address teacher quality and retention issues:

* Create a system of reciprocity for teaching certificates across state lines.

* Re-examine licensing requirements to ensure they are not a barrier. …

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