August 27, 2007

"Like a Bucket with Holes"- America's Teacher Shortage

As schools across the country open their doors, many districts are struggling to find and hire quality teachers. An article in today's New York Times highlights the issues.

“The problem is not mainly with retirement,” said Thomas G. Carroll, the president of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. “Our teacher preparation system can accommodate the retirement rate. The problem is that our schools are like a bucket with holes in the bottom, and we keep pouring in teachers.”

Studies have shown that a third of all new teachers leave the profession after just three years, and that after five years almost half are gone. Turnover rates are even higher in urban districts. The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future found last June that teacher turnover costs the nation $7 billion annually.

What should states, districts, and schools do to curb the problem? In my opinion, quality induction systems are key.