Friday, January 30, 2009

Bogus study gets it wrong on teacher retention

A new report says that Louisiana is falling down in efforts to attract and retain high quality teachers. While that conclusion is correct (and you could say the C-minus given the state is overly generous), the report's approach and recommendations are flawed and border on laughable.

As Advocate reporter Will Sentell writes here, the Washington, D.C. based National Council on Teacher Quality ripped Louisiana in a report entitled "What States Can Do to Retain Effective New Teachers."

Unfortunately, the report bears little resemblance to the reality of life in the classroom.

As LFT President Steve Monaghan told Sentell, "he would give Louisiana no better than a 'D minus' for teacher retention but not for the reasons cited by the Washington group."

Apparently, the group's research did not involve asking teachers about their classroom experience. The report centers on issues that have little to do with retaining teachers, and in fact is little more than a regurgitation of familiar right-wing attacks on teachers: take away their tenure, give them merit pay and privatize their retirement system.

These are the things that will keep teachers in the classroom?

Last spring, the LFT surveyed teachers about reasons why they would leave the profession. Not one of the issues mentioned by teachers matched the ones in the NCTQ report.

And nothing in the NCTQ report matched the answers given by real teachers.

Real teachers said they are frustrated by learning conditions in our schools, a lack of resources provided for our teachers, disciplinary problems and a dearth of parental involvement with their children’s education.

The attraction and retention of teachers is a an issue that deserves better than the patently ideological claptrap in the NCTQ report. As the American Federation of Teachers put it in this press release, "We are disappointed that a group calling itself the National Center on Teacher Quality would overlook so many of these crucial elements that make teaching and learning work."

To see what a serious approach to the issue of teacher retention looks like, please click here.

No comments: