Saturday, November 19, 2005

Trapped Teachers

EdWonks weighs in on an issue I have long felt impacts teacher morale.

This was posted on The Education Wonks blog site today.

If Congress wanted to do something useful for teachers, maybe it could pass a law that would permit teachers who are currently shackled to their jobs by outmoded seniority rules escape from school districts that have toxic work-environments and transfer their seniority to districts that are dedicated to fostering a culture of educational excellence and high employee morale.

For a long time now I have noticed how trapped educators are by the archaic salary schedules. Once a teacher gets about 7 or 8 years under their belt, they are trapped for life in their current school district with few if any options. Due to their higher salary they are stuck with few if any school districts able to afford hiring them as a veteran teacher. This too leads to morale issues as teachers begin to feel trapped.

We used to hire a few veterans now and then until health insurance, utility costs and rising fuel costs compounded by dwindling state revenue came to be. As it stands now - teachers are stuck.

This is the trade off the unions accepted when they fought for pay that is exclusively seniority based.

2 Comments:

At Thursday, November 24, 2005, Anonymous Paul said...

I agree that one problem in our current education system is that the pay system rewards not getting fired rather than being an excellent teacher. Teacher complain about not being paid enough, but take the job anyway. Instead of standing up as an individual and saying "I'm a good teacher pay me more," they hide behind a union which limits high performers (who leave the profession) and protects the mediocre who should be encourage to find another line of work.

Rich folks send their kids to private schools because they expect the people they hire to do a good job, else get fired. Teachers are just another service provider, like their lawyer and their physician. Note that in countries with national health care plans, there are still private doctors for the rich.

I wonder why you don't see nationalized legal plans or lawyer's unions?

 
At Sunday, August 23, 2009, Blogger Toby said...

Teachers are confined and trapped inside the public school districts. Even if a teacher likes where they are, after 5 years they can’t move to another district or state without loosing years of experience, accrued benefits, or the ability to be valued for their past accomplishments. I am this teacher. I found that staying within the same district confined my ability to learn and grow as a teacher. Demographics, district paradigms and district culture constructed my practice as a teacher. But I found that my grasp of all possible educational pedagogies were limited. By moving to new districts I could learn new practices, cultures, i.e., pedagogies. I am on my fourth district. I have lost almost 10 years of my professional experience to a district offering me only 5 years of experience. Some districts offer more years of service but most opt for the teacher with less experience because of the cost of my years of experience. A principal, off the record, has told me that his school could hire two teachers for what it would cost to hire me. My motivation for teaching and learning is based on my personal experiences. Without these experiences I doubt I could provide my students all the possible avenues of success that I would have acquired staying at the same school site for my entire career. Good teachers don’t have to move around but think what they could learn by moving around. Enculturated teachers are important, but a narrow base of experience means a teacher can’t reach as many students as possible. I must learn so that I can teach. Current research clearly shows test scores go up when students are taught by a teacher with more than 5 years experience.

 

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