Archives for category: Teacher Shortage

Linda Lyon, for president of the Arizona School Boards Association, writes here about the deepening teacher shortage in her state.

Instead of acting forcefully to improve the working conditions for teachers, the legislature is stuck on devising ways to expand its voucher program. That’s why the Koch brothers elected Governor Ducey, and they expect him to deliver.

She writes:

Anyone wondering where we stand with Arizona’s teacher shortage? After all, last year was probably the most significant year ever for Arizona public school teachers. Some 75,000 of them marched on the state Capitol demanding better pay for themselves and support staff, lower class sizes and more. The result was an additional 9% salary increase added to the 1% Governor Ducey had originally offered for the year. Surely this must have helped us retain quality teachers, right?

Well, not so fast. As the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA) learned in their annual statewide survey of districts, we are a long way from “out of the woods” and aren’t even headed in the right direction.

242EFF29-BFCA-4C0A-B496-C54953BBAD3DThe 211 districts and charters that responded last year reported that 7,453 teacher openings needed to be filled during the school year. As of December 12, 2018, there were still 1,693 vacancies and 3,908 individuals not meeting standard teacher requirements, for a total of 75% of teacher positions vacant or filled by less than fully qualified people.

On top of that, 913 teachers had either abandoned or resigned from their teacher position within the first half of the school year without a candidate pool to replace them. To make matters worse, 76% of these teachers held a standard teacher certificate.

These are alarming statistics, made all the more so considering the strides made in 2018, and the worse status since the 2017–18 report. It showed that as of December 8, 2017, 62.5% of teacher positions were vacant or not meeting standard teacher requirements and 866 teachers had abandoned or resigned within first half of the year, over 80% of whom held a standard teacher certificate.

The salary increase didn’t solve the problem, partly because salary and benefits still aren’t competitive, but also because teacher working conditions (such as high class sizes and the dramatic increase of children dealing with trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences) make it really tough to do the job right. And, oh by the way, allowing our districts to hire uncertified teachers hasn’t done anything to make our teachers feel valued as professionals. As the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kathy Hoffman, told the state House Education Committee yesterday, our teacher shortage is a crisis. To make matters worse, 25% of Arizona teachers are eligible to retire in the next two years.

The geniuses in the legislature thought that lowering teacher qualification standards would attract more teachers. It didn’t.

Cory Booker sent a complicated message at his campaign kickoff in New Orleans at Xavier University, where he was sponsored by charter chain and spoke to students.

He told the audience that the power of the people outweighs the power of money.

This is inspirational indeed. It says that those of us fighting the power of the Walton family, the Sackler family, the Koch brothers, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the DeVos family, Paul Singer, and the many other billionaires attacking our public schools will WIN and the billionaires WILL LOSE.

We–the people–will defeat the powerful.

We will not let them close our public schools with their lies and propaganda. We will not let them turn other American cities into New Orleans.

We want every aspirant for the presidency in 2020–any party–to say where they stand on the issue of the future of public schools, the future of the teaching profession, and the future of collective bargaining.

Thanks, Cory, for reminding us that the power of the people can beat the billionaires and Wall Street, especially those privatizers and hedge funders now supporting your campaign. Itworked for Obama, but it won’t work for you. We know now about the privatization movement.

Tell us where you stand on privatization, the teaching profession, and unions. Or let us guess.

Talk about a hard line! Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform urges LAUSD to fire all the striking teachers!

PeterGreene writes about it here.

Jeanne Allen is a true rightwinger, out there on the edge.

She looks back nostalgically to 1981, when Ronald Reagan broke a strike by the air controllers union by threatening to fire them all if they didn’t return. To work at once.

Her advice to the LAUSD:

In a post-Janus world, teacher unions cannot exist and continue to gain members unless they demonstrate and prove their value. This strike, like others we’re seeing around the country, is a desperate attempt by the union to maintain relevance in a day and age where they can
no longer require teachers to join.

California needs to break the district up into 100 different pieces, have much smaller units, and allow for the freedom, flexibility, access and innovation that’s happening in charters. If it weren’t for charter schools, education in L.A. would be at the level of Mississippi. The UTLA sees charters
as such a threat to the status quo that it is willing want to hurt students kids even more to score a victory against charters.

My advice to the district: Hold strong. Replace them all. If they want a dramatic impact on education, fire the union and begin to repair the schools, just like Reagan fired the air traffic controllers.

Peter Greene says that Jeanne Allen makes no pretense of being benign and caring. She despises public schools and teachers unions. She has no mask. She believes in privatizing schools, period.

Peter takes her seriously and wonders where LA would find another 30,000 or so teachers to replace the current force.

That’s very kind of him but the reality is that California is a blue state, a state where union-busting is absurd. A new poll by the ABC local station found that the trachers’ Strike has overwhelming public support (about 2/3 support it) and in,y 15% oppose the teachers.

Ain’t gonna happen, Jeanne!

Here’s an idea: how about giving teachers in LA the same salary as Jeanne Allen and call it a day. They work harder and have jobs of far more social value than hers.

Linda Lyon, recent President of the Arizona SchoolBoards Association, describes the low funding and legislative hostility that has created a teacher shortage in Arizona. The legislature’s answer to the teacher shortage: lower standards to fill empty classroom.

Pay is not the only reason teachers are fleeing classrooms. They also cite inadequate public respect and increased accountability without appropriate support. In Arizona specifically, contributing factors include 25% of our certified teachers being retirement eligible, a grading system for schools that still relies heavily on standardized tests, a GOP-led Legislature that is very pro-school choice if not openly hostile to public district education and their teachers, and the lack of respect for the teaching profession demonstrated by the dumbing down of teacher qualification requirements.

Arizona began this dumbing down in 2017. According to AZCentral.com, since the 2015–2016 school year, “nearly 7,200 teaching certificates have been issued to teachers who aren’t fully trained to lead a classroom. In just three years, the number of Arizona teaching certificates that allow someone to teach full-time without completing formal training has increased by more than 400 percent according to state Department of Education data analyzed by The Arizona Republic. For the 2017–18 school year, that added up to 3,286 certificates issued to untrained teachers and by 47 days into the 2018–2019 school year, 1,404 certificates had been issued to untrained teachers while 3,141 were issue standard certificates.”

That last 1,404 certificates issued for the current school year is probably the most instructive, because this is after the 10 percent raises for teachers the #RedforEd movement garnered in 2018. So, less than one-third of the way into the school year, the state has issued almost half as many certificates to untrained teachers as the entire previous year. In other words, despite the 10% pay increase, Arizona districts are having even more difficulty attracting professional teachers into their classrooms.

Fortune magazine notes that teachers quitting their jobs at a record rate.

What kind of an education system will we have without teachers who are devoted to their profession, without teachers who are professionals?

What kind of a nation will we be?

Are the billionaires hoping to fill classrooms with computers that don’t expect pay or healthcare or pensions?

Frustrated by little pay and better opportunities elsewhere, public school teachers and education employees in the United States are quitting their jobs at the fastest rate on record.

During the first 10 months of the year, public educators, including teachers, community college faculty members, and school psychologists, quit their positions at a rate of 83 per 10,000, Labor Department figures obtained by The Wall Street Journal show. That’s the highest rate since the government started collecting the data in 2001. It’s also nearly double the 48 per 10,000 educators who quit their positions in 2009, the year with the lowest number of departures.

According to the report, teachers are leaving for a variety of reasons. Unemployment is low, which means there are other, potentially more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. Better pay, coupled with tight budgets and, in some cases, little support from communities could also push educators to other positions.

In third quarter, public education workers saw their pay rise 2.2% compared to the prior year. However, that was still below the 3.1% pay hike those who work in the private sector earned, according to the Journal report.

But despite the challenges teachers and other education employees face, they’re still more dedicated to their positions and their students than most. So far this year, American workers left their positions at a rate of 231 per 10,000, or nearly four-times the rate at which teachers left their positions.

Oh, well, there is some consolation in knowing that American workers are leaving their jobs too. This is the sound of a very unhappy nation with a depressed and unhappy workforce.

The Kansas State Department of Education has money to burn (but not on tezchers’ Salaries), so it burned $270,000 to hire three inexperinced temporary teachers from TFA. The three will be gone in two years or so, meaning this was a very unwise expenditure.

Mercedes Schneider explains the folly here.

The real winner in this bad deal is TFA and its recruiter.

Note to state education departments: Don’t do stuff that makes you look foolish.

Steven Singer reviews the latest Phi Delta Kappa poll of public opinion about public schools and finds that public support is at an all-time high, with one exception: Though people admire and respect teachers, they don’t want their children to grow up to be a teacher. They understand that teachers are underpaid and undervalued.

He writes:

According to the 50th annual PDK Poll of attitudes about public schools, Americans trust and support teachers, but don’t want their own children to join a profession they see as underpaid and undervalued.

In almost every other way, they support public schools and the educators who work there.

When it comes to increasing school funding, increasing teacher salary, allowing teachers to strike, and an abundance of other issues, the poll found a majority of people unequivocally in favor of endeavors meant to bolster learning.

In fact, support for education and educators has never been so high in half a century.

“Two-thirds of Americans say teachers are underpaid, and an overwhelming 78% of public school parents say they would support teachers in their community if they went on strike for more pay,” according to PDK’s Website.

I posted a strong endorsement of Kelda Roys. She is a candidate in the Democratic candidate for Governor of Wisconsin. The leading candidate in the race is Tony Evers, who is currently State Superintendent of Education. Some people think that he would be a strong supporter of education. But, in fact, he has made teachers’ lives worse during his tenure in office. Teachers are deeply demoralized by the combination of Governor Walker and State Chief Evers’ policies.

Read what Tim Slekar wrote about Tony Evers’ record on education. It is very bad, almost as bad as Scott Walker.

From dean of education at Edgewood College and strong public education advocate Tim Slekar.

“Tony Evers has “name recognition.” He can beat Walker. Except…

I know that’s the “theory.” But on his own issue—education—there are serious problems. For me specifically (as dean of a school of education) his Leadership Group’s dismantling and deregulating of teaching licenses because of a refusal to understand the cause of the “teacher shortage” tells me that using sound research to make policy decisions will take a back seat to neoliberal market solutions that actually cause more damage.

Teachers are leaving the profession in droves. Making it easier to enter our classrooms as a “teacher” does nothing to stop the exodus. It actually adds to it by further demoralizing the teachers that are still teaching. And that’s the real reason teachers are leaving. They are demoralized.

Excessive testing, educator effectiveness bunk, continued accountability (reform word for teachers are to blame for the achievement gap), expansion of non-public charter schools, and a top down system that denies teachers professional autonomy. And a Broad Academy Fellow (Privatization) as second in command. These are all issues DPI have significant control over but for some reason remain silent or worse supportive of.

And the candidate to take on Walker will not win without the support of the teaching profession. Assuming teachers will support Tony is rejecting their moral compass. They know Walker is horrible but they are also quite aware of the fact that DPI has left them hanging.

Give me a candidate that understands “demoralization.” That candidate will fire up education voters.”

Tim Slekar is supporting Kelda Roys for the Democratic nomination for Governor. I hope you will too!

Michael DesHotels, an experienced educator in Louisiana, explains here why the Rand study concluded that the Obama-Duncan teacher evaluation program flopped.

Gates wasted $575 million. The federal and state governments wasted billions. Thousands of teachers lost their careers and reputations. Another reformer disaster.

Unfortunately, the Obama education department had convinced most of the country to implement the same defective evaluation system at the same time before we could see the results of the study. So just like implementation of Common Core, which was also pushed upon school systems by the Gates Foundation, an expensive and time consuming teacher evaluation system was implemented without knowing if it would work. All that money and effort just drove a lot of good teachers out of the profession without improving student learning.

The new teacher evaluation system sponsored by the Gates Foundation and the Obama Race to the Top grants included basing teacher evaluations on student test scores and intensive observation of teachers using a strict rubric for teaching methods. The end result would supposedly identify the highly effective teachers as well as the ineffective ones. Then, teachers could be fired or awarded merit pay based upon their ranking in the evaluation system. Some reformers had theorized that such a system would dramatically improve student academic performance. There was even a theory that low performing students could be brought up to grade level performance by being exposed to highly effective teachers for only three successive years. It was believed that socioeconomic factors affecting student performance could be ignored by just fixing the teachers. These theories have now been proven wrong. Scapegoating teachers for problems of society just does not work, but it does drive good teachers out of the profession, and discourages bright young persons from entering the profession. Result: a serious teacher shortage.

Louisiana went whole hog on VAM (basing teacher evaluations on student test scores) and highly structured teacher observation because we were told that there were findings that proved that any student could be converted into a high academic achiever after only three years of instruction by highly effective teachers. This theory developed by Hanushek and others unfortunately was not scaleable (didn’t work) even though now our entire teacher evaluation system has been revised to supposedly identify highly effective as well as ineffective teachers. Louisiana law now bases teacher job security and even merit pay on highly dubious student performance measures. It turns out that VAM scores for each teacher are extremely unstable (and dangerously irrelevant) from year to year. It turns out that very little of a teacher’s VAM score depends on her/his performance in the classroom. Socioeconomic factors and noise in the highly imprecise VAM formulas routinely outweigh the actual performance of the teacher. In addition, teachers teaching untested subjects have a major advantage over teachers of tested subjects in winning merit pay and job security.

Here is an interesting fact about Louisiana teacher evaluation reform: Did you know that the new teacher evaluation rubric was actually designed by a person (Rayne Martin) who had never taught or evaluated teachers. Before coming to the Louisiana Education Department, Martin had worked for the Housing Authority in Chicago. She had never received teacher training or evaluation training. This is typical of most of the education “deform” we have been subjected to in the last 13 years. Unfortunately, here in Louisiana, we are still stuck with VAM and the new observation matrix for the evaluation of teachers that was developed by a non-teacher who has long left Louisiana.

So what did the Rand study find in its nationwide evaluation of VAM and the accompanying high stakes evaluation of teachers? Basically it has made no difference whatsoever in student performance nationwide. Zero results! After all that money and after the gnashing of teeth by so many thousands of teachers. We have produced however a growing teacher shortage, probably because all those potentially “highly effective” teachers found that they could make more money in jobs that did not use a form of torture to rate their performance….

Read it all!

State Supreme Court Judge Debra J. Young ruled that Success Academy can’t certify its own teachers. The chain, New York City’s largest, has very high teacher turnover and wanted to bypass the normal standards and certification process to ease its teacher shortage. It gained the approval of the State University of New York charter committee, which consists of four businessmen appointed by pro-charter Governor Andrew Cuomo. The New York State Department of Education and the New York State United Teachers sued to block the lowered standards.

Judge Young rejected Success Academy and the SUNY charter committee.

“The judge’s ruling upends the plans of the city’s largest charter school network, Success Academy, and wipes out a legislative victory that New York’s charter sector thought it had won — though the decision will likely not be the end of the legal battle.

“The regulations, approved by the State University of New York in October 2017, were designed to give charter schools more discretion over how they hired teachers. They eliminated the requirement that teachers earn master’s degrees and allowed charter schools authorized by SUNY to certify their teachers with as little as a month of classroom instruction and 40 hours of practice teaching.

“Some charter networks argued their existing in-house training programs are more useful to new teachers than the training required for certification under state law.

“But the rule was quickly challenged by the State Education Department and the state teachers union, which filed separate lawsuits that were joined in April. They argued that SUNY overstepped its authority and charged that the rule change would lead to children being taught by inexperienced and unqualified teachers…

The ruling was issued Tuesday by State Supreme Court Judge Debra J. Young, who wrote that the new certification programs were illegal because they fell below the minimum requirements issued by the state….

“The state’s top education officials — Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa — have long seemed offended by the new regulations. On a panel last year, Elia said, “I could go into a fast food restaurant and get more training than that.””

SUNY plans to appeal.