Sheratt argues that baby-boomer retirements and a growing focus on the importance of teacher quality mean states and districts must do more to improve the teaching field, including improving HR practices.
Here are a few key takeaways:
Teaching must both be and be perceived to be an exciting career for college students with many other options – including in law, business, and other high-paying fields that are aggressively recruiting the next generation of talent.
How to do this? Better pay, paid professional development, targeted marketing that highlights the strengths of the profession.
I’ve written before about the importance of improving teacher pay.
And that is very important. Governor Beshear has made a commitment to at least giving Kentucky teachers a well-deserved raise.
It’s also important to increase the respect afforded teachers. Paid professional development is a part of that. A marketing campaign highlighting the amazing things teachers do every day can help, too.
But, it’s frustrating to hear again and again about how important teacher quality is and not to hear about realistic, focused plans to improve compensation and the professional environment for teachers.
States can make investments in improving pay and support for teachers, but they choose not to. While many states have changed teacher evaluation and added some use of test scores to evaluate teachers, those same states have not placed a similar focus on improving pay.
While 2% for Kentucky teachers this year is a good start, it’s not the move toward winning the “talent war” Kentucky or other states need.
Choosing investments in schools, including better pay and support for teachers, is critical to improving education outcomes. It requires difficult choices and the prioritization of education over other budget items. That means leadership. The lack of which will mean we’ll continue reading stories about America’s struggling education system for years to come.
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