Dear Commons Community,
The NY Times has an op-ed piece today submitted by Dave Eggers and Nínive Clements Calegari, founders of the 826 National tutoring centers and producers of the documentary “American Teacher.” They make the case for the need to improve teachers salaries if our country wants to make a change in its schools. I commented on this issue last year. They cite findings from a McKinsey study in September 2010 including a comparison of the treatment of teachers here and in the three countries that perform best on standardized tests: Finland, Singapore and South Korea.
“Turns out these countries have an entirely different approach to the profession. First, the governments in these countries recruit top graduates to the profession. (We don’t.) In Finland and Singapore they pay for training. (We don’t.) In terms of purchasing power, South Korea pays teachers on average 250 percent of what we do. “
Eggers and Calegari conclude:
“In the next 10 years, over half of the nation’s nearly 3.2 million public school teachers will become eligible for retirement. Who will replace them? How do we attract and keep the best minds in the profession?
People talk about accountability, measurements, tenure, test scores and pay for performance. These questions are worthy of debate, but are secondary to recruiting and training teachers and treating them fairly. There is no silver bullet that will fix every last school in America, but until we solve the problem of teacher turnover, we don’t have a chance.”