Wake up, Florida!

 

Years of so-called “reform” are driving out teachers and principals. Can you have good education of you can’t hold on to successful teachers?

 

The Orlando Sentinel reports on the crisis level exodus from teaching:

 

Noah David Lein has always loved teaching.

 

And if you believe the state of Florida, the honors English teacher at Winter Springs High School is precisely the kind of instructor we want in our classrooms.

 

He sparks kids’ curiosity and was among only 4 percent of the region’s teachers to receive the “Best and Brightest” bonus for “highly effective” teachers last year.

 

Lein still loves opening students’ minds and introducing them to complex thoughts.
But not in Florida.

 

Not in a state that continually beats teachers down.

 

So next week, when the school year ends, Lein plans to walk out of the classroom for the last time … and in to a career in sales.

 

It wasn’t an easy decision. To put it bluntly, Lein said: “I kind of threw up in my mouth at the thought of abandoning the profession I always wanted.”

 

But Florida politicians keep pushing good teachers away.

 

With a lack of respect. With obsessing about standardized testing over learning. And with cruddy salaries.

 

Lein, 32, said he started working in 2007 with a salary of $37,000. Nine years later, he makes $40,300 for his family of three — and started working weekends at a catering company to make ends meet.

 

“I’ve spent my last ounce of energy to make a difference to my students, but it isn’t making a difference to me and my family,”he said. “I’m exhausted, I’m bitter, and I’m grasping for something to be hopeful and positive about.”

 

If you care about public education, Lein’s loss should depress you.

 

But it should disturb you even more to know that he’s not alone. Rather, he’s part of a trend — of Florida teachers leaving the profession they once loved.

 

The exodus is so intense that state records show that 40 percent of new teachers leave within five years after they start.

 

Florida’s attrition rate for new teachers is 15-20 percent higher than the national average, depending on the year….

 

Scott Maxwell has an idea for the Florida legislature: Instead of talking to one another, instead of convening work groups and task forces, they should start listening to teachers, “the people who actually teach for a living.” Ask teachers why they are leaving in droves. Ask them what it would take to get them to stay or to return.

 

Good advice. Common sense. Will the Florida legislators listen?