Briefing: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers
10:00 am – 11:30 am EDT Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room 1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
The Alliance for Excellent Education and the New Teacher Center Invite You to Attend a Briefing
Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers
Thursday, July 17, 2014
10:00 – 11:30 a.m. (ET)
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
Andrea Giunta, Senior Policy Analyst, National Education Association
Mariana Haynes, PhD, Senior Fellow, Alliance for Excellent Education
Terry Holliday, PhD, Commissioner of Education, Kentucky Department of Education
Richard Ingersoll, PhD, Professor of Education and Sociology, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania
Ellen Moir, Executive Director, New Teacher Center
Please join the Alliance for Excellent Education and the New Teacher Center for a discussion about meaningful support for the growing number of beginning teachers who are less likely to stay in teaching. Longstanding concerns remain about students’ access to effective teaching as states gear up to implement rigorous college- and career-ready standards. What policies and practices can redress the unevenness in teaching quality within and among U.S. schools, particularly those serving students of color and low-income students?
Panelists will highlight current trends in the teaching workforce, the research on induction programs, and a systems approach to creating supportive teaching and learning conditions. In conjunction with the event, the Alliance released a new report—On the Path to Equity: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers—that examines research on teacher turnover and performance and the implications for designing induction supports and professional learning as part of a coherent teacher development system.
Video for this event will be available at http://all4ed.org/webinars-events/ approximately 1–2 business days from the date of the event.
Mariana Haynes: Good morning. My name is Mariana Haynes. I am the Senior Fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education. This is a nonprofit Washington organization. We are committed to looking at education policy and advocacy. And this briefing is hosted by the Alliance and New Teacher Center. I want to thank Ellen Moir very much for a great collaboration on the work both to put this on and in the release of a new report which is in your packets called, “On the Path to Equity: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers.” And a special thanks to the MetLife Foundation for its generous support of this event.
So the brief focuses on these chronic disparities in students’ access to effective teaching in the United States and this has become a growing concern both for the public and for policymakers. So the brief includes recommendations and also, it has an analyses of state-by-state attrition costs that were contributed by Dr. Ingersoll and we’re delighted that Richard can join us today to talk about that. Based on the research by Richard, these are best estimates of available data on attrition cost and they show that about 230,000 or so teachers leave teaching in an academic year costing the nation between $1 billion and $2 billion.
Now what we know and what we’re going to hear about today is that the price tag for recruitment and replacement seriously underestimates the cumulative cost of eroding the caliber and the stability of the teacher workforce, particularly in underperforming schools serving the neediest students. At many schools, particularly those in areas of concentrated poverty serving low-income and minority students, turn over half of their teaching staff every five years.
The good news, and this is on a national level, there are multiple initiatives that are underway to enable teachers to help all students achieve these new, rigorous Common Core state standards, and this includes developing standards for beginning teachers, strengthening clinical preparation, and developing strategies to address the developmental needs of teachers throughout their career. And to add, it’s also increasingly important that we differentiate roles for teachers throughout their career. For the record, the Alliance strongly supports the use of a validated teacher performance assessment such as the edTPA for initial licensure as well as for program approval, as well as the new accreditation policies that were released last year for both traditional and alternate preparation programs by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
Now this event focuses on beginning teachers and a systems approach to creating positive teaching and learning conditions in schools. I’m delighted that we are joined by a really esteemed group of researchers and teacher educators to help us understand the underlying issues related to school staffing and retention and to identify some of the promising programs and policies needed to build a high class teaching profession.
Today’s guests include Dr. Richard Ingersoll. He is Professor of Education and Sociology in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania; Ellen Moir, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the New Teacher Center; Dr. Terry Holliday, Kentucky Commissioner of Education and President of the Board of the Council of Chief State School Officers; and Andrea Giunta. She is a Senior Policy Analyst for the National Education Association. Together, they bring a wealth of expertise on the key factors that are essential to developing professional learning systems and effective instruction at scale and they are committed to the work of ensuring that all students have highly effective teachers capable of helping them reach their full potential.
Before we begin, I just want to frame the context for today’s discussions. As states implement new standards, the debate persists about whether states have the capacity to produce an educator workforce with the training and skills needed to ensure that students achieve the learning outcomes essential for succeeding both in school and beyond. I just want to note the 2013 round of the Teaching and Learning International Survey known as TALIS. Now this was released last month and there is webinar on the all4ed website with an archived video of a webinar with Andre Schleicher. He’s from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, which also administers the Program for International Student Assessment known as PISA.
TALIS captures how teachers and school leaders in 34 countries, including the United States, view their working conditions and learning environments. This was the first year that American teachers participated in this survey and TALIS highlights the shortcomings in the level of support and the quality of professional learning that U.S. teachers receive. Findings indicate that American teachers work harder and under more challenging conditions than the teachers elsewhere in the industrialized world. Even though they participate in more professional learning, they report that it has less impact on their instructional practice. U.S. teachers receive fewer opportunities to collaborate, to receive feedback from their peers, and two-thirds feel that their profession is not valued by society. The other thing that OECD did was to pull in its PISA results for individual countries and found that this factor, this perception of whether a teacher is valued, is strongly linked with student achievement.
Finally, the issue of equity in educational opportunity is closely tied to how a system responds to creating optimal conditions for teaching and learning within schools. We know that the highest performing systems in the world are those that allocate resources more equitably to both advantaged and disadvantaged schools. In the United States, this has not been the general case and as a result, economic disadvantage has a significant impact on student achievement. If the dominant teacher development policies and practices remain unchanged, then the promise of rigorous standards and equal educational opportunity will continue to go unfulfilled. Addressing the disparities in teaching quality within and across schools is our primary challenge and it will require thinking beyond the individual teacher and addressing differences in schools as places for teaching and learning.
So with that, let’s begin. Thank you for your indulgence for those remarks. I’m delighted to introduce Richard Ingersoll from the University of Pennsylvania. His research on school management and organization, teacher turnover, and their professional status is nationally recognized. He’s received numerous awards and was nationally elected as a fellow of the American Research Association.
So Richard, would you start us off? Provide a context for why induction is important, the data on attrition, and changes in the teaching workforce.
Richard Ingersoll: Thank you and good morning, everybody. Let’s see here. Well, as Mariana said, I do research on teachers and the teaching occupation. I’m a former high school teacher and I’ve been doing this for quite a while. She asked me if I might start off the briefing this morning providing a little bit of data on the national context on sort of beginning teachers and the problems of it and the importance of induction, support, mentoring, orientation for beginning teachers. So I’m gonna give a little overview here and first, I just want to do a very quick word on the data I’m using. It’s a very, very large survey of teachers done across the nation every few years by the Census Bureau and the Department of Education called the Schools and Staffing Survey.
What do these data tell us? First, sort of backing up and providing the background here, teaching occupation, elementary and secondary teachers, is the largest occupation in the nation by far. So for instance, there’s over twice as many teachers as nurses, which is one of the other large occupations. It’s interesting. We keep hearing about technology, it’s gonna make it more efficient like farming. A farmer can produce 100 times more than he could 100 years ago. Not true. It’s what’s called a labor-dependent industry. We still seem to need to have that teacher in front of students for good or bad, and as a result, there’s a lot of them.
But the interesting finding here is that the size of the teaching force has been going up dramatically faster than the size of the student population in this country. We call it ballooning. It’s been going up two and a half times the rate. So this is a trend line from the late 1980s up to 2012 and the dark solid line is the increase in the number of teachers and the dotted line is the increase in the number of students, and you can see the dark line is going up faster than the dotted line, two and a half times the rate, and after ’08 and the recession, the dark line leveled off a little. In fact, the hiring of teachers stopped and there was some layoffs, but that was actually just a small blip in this huge increase.
Now the ballooning of the teaching force raises very large questions, has very big implications. Amongst other things, how are we gonna pay for it? And I’ve gone into that and we have a whole study of this, but today, the implication I want to draw out for our present discussion is that with this increase in the size of the teaching force and this massive amount of hiring, this results in a second trend which we call greening, that is teaching force has huge, huge numbers of beginners and the ratio of veterans to beginners is dramatically changed, and I’m gonna try to illustrate that with these next couple of slides.
This is what we call the distribution of teaching experience. Horizontal axis is the number of years of classroom experience you have. The vertical axis is the number of teachers, and you can see the highest point, the most frequent teacher, was about a 15-year veteran. This was in the late-1980s. That makes sense. The most common teacher was a 15-year veteran in the late-1980s and there was a few that had fewer experience and a few that had more experience.
Let’s flash forward 20 years, the green line. We can now see that the highest point is a first-year teacher. The modal, the most common teacher in 2008 was a first-year teacher. The numbers of first-year teachers went from something like 50,000 or 60,000 to 120,000, if I can read that correctly. I’m not quite sure. So a huge increase and we call it greening. Now this has implications, too. Is having young teachers, there’s maybe good things about this, there’s maybe bad things.
However, after ’08, this leveled off a little because of declining hiring, increase in layoffs, and so that’s the red line. The red line shows us that in 2012, the most common teacher, the highest one, was someone in their fifth year, but nevertheless, just sort of notice the area under the lines how much it’s increased towards the left from that black line. In other words, we have an increasingly green beginning the largest occupation in the nation, the largest chunk of it now are beginners. Maybe they’re first year, maybe they’re fifth year.
And so the result of this is we have this kind of what we call greening teaching force, which brings us to the third trend. There’s not only been an increase flow of teachers into this gigantic occupation, there’s been an increased flow outward, a growing instability. Teaching has always had very, very high attrition rates amongst beginners and you might have heard this data point. We generated it a decade ago and we’ve now more recently made it more exact that between 40 and 50 percent of those who come into teaching are gone within five years, and then it levels off. Those who make it through their fifth or sixth year have lower quit rates after that. It’s a relatively high turnover occupation certainly compared to traditional professions and the turnover rates are particularly high amongst beginners, but that has actually increased in recent years.
There was always a lot of instability amongst beginners in this occupation. That has increased and I’m illustrating that in this next slide. These are sort of annual rates of leaving the occupation of first-year teachers over a 20-year period. So you can see the top bar, in the late-1980s, about 10 percent of first-year teachers did not do a second year. They got out. And it’s gone up slightly, so you can see in ’08-’09, those are our most recent data, it’s up to 13 percent, so that’s maybe a more moderate, less dramatic trend, than some of those earlier slides I showed you.
But remember now, it’s a slightly higher percentage of a much, much larger number. So in ’08-’09, it was something like 6,000 first-year teachers quit after one year. Now it’s up to 26,000 quitting after one year, so there’s been this big increase in the instability of these beginning teachers.
Now of course not all of this turnover and this attrition is bad by any means. No one’s gonna argue that. There’s some people who we’d like them to leave. They’re not very good teachers and of course we always want some fresh, new blood coming in, and these kinds of the pros and cons of employee turnover is something long recognized in corporate and business sector. And so there’s some positives to it but there’s also some real negatives to it, again something long recognized in corporate sector, very little recognized until recently in the educational sector. High levels of employee turnover and quitting are not cost free.
We have a little data here on why. This is the reasons these first-year teachers quit gave in ’08-’09: School staffing action. That’s the top bar, so those are people terminated, school closings, reorganizations, et cetera; family or personal, that’s about a third. I left because I wanted to raise babies, care for elderly folks, had health concerns, spouse moved to another state. Those are sort of part of life. Forty percent, just under forty percent, to pursue another job, and then the highest one of all and this is alarming, so we have increasing rates of attrition from the largest chunk of the largest occupation, beginners in teaching, and almost half are saying it’s because they’re dissatisfied. That’s not a good sign. Those aren’t good reasons to be quitting.
Now I won’t go into it in detail now, but in your report in your brochure, your blue brochure, here’s the brochure and here’s the report, we actually quantified the cost of this leaving of teachers attrition and broke it down state by state and we provided under estimates and you can see they’re very large ticket items. It’s not cost free. So not all attrition is bad, but on the other hand, high levels are not cost free, and that’s a table where we simply tried to say to each state, “Here’s generally what you’re paying,” and we provided a low and a high estimate.
So hence, given this context, increase in the teaching force, increase in the number of beginners, growing instability of beginners, it’s not surprising then that we have a huge increase in the interest in this subject of induction, which is a key theme for this conference, this meeting, this briefing, induction. What can we do to support, provide mentors for these beginning teachers? And I’ve done a lot of research on this and I want to show a few things. This is a trend line showing percentages of beginning teachers and got some form of induction or support over this 20-year period, early ’90s to 2012, and you can see it’s been going up, although it went down percentage-wise since the recession hit, 91 to 85 percent. But this is a reform whose time has come. There’s been a real growth here.
Again, though, although the 85 percent is down a little, the numbers are much higher because this is a much larger occupation with a far larger number of beginners. So there was something like 60,000 beginning teachers in the early ’90s that got induction. Now it’s up to 180,000 getting induction. That’s a sobering thought there because induction is not cost free. In other words, the demand and the need for this support has gone up both numerically and because of the growing instability.
So what does this induction entail? Just what do these beginning teachers get? Well, it varies. Again, this is national picture and so this varies by school and district. These are the kinds of supports. The first one, the most common one, is face time with an administrator. “You might think you get to talk to the principal? Isn’t that sort of common sense?” Well, no. I’m a former high school teacher. I don’t think the principal ever had a discussion with me. And not ad hoc but some kind of where the boss sits down with the new teachers and talks to them and walks through issues.
Having a mentor. That’s the next most common one. Having a veteran teacher assigned to you to provide, to help you sort of learn the ropes, so to speak. When I was a schoolteacher, I’d never even heard of the word induction. It was the old sink or swim model. You get the job, the principal gives you the keys to the classroom, gives you a pat on the back, and that’s it. You sink or you swim.
Beginner seminars, collaboration with colleagues, on down to the least common one is reduced course load. By the way, that’s quite common in higher ed is it’s very typical for a first-year professor to get a reduction in course load, teach one less course. It’s not common at all in high school or elementary schools.
So there’s a wide range of different kind s of supports given from very thin induction packages up to maybe the Lexus or the Mercedes, and we actually did a little study where we tried to figure out does how much induction a first-year teacher get have any bearing on whether they stick around, and I’ll just quickly breeze through this, but the top line is the old sink or swim, you get nothing, and after one year, 40 percent have either moved to another school or left teaching, all the way down to the Lexus at the bottom where you get all six of those supports from the prior page, and then it’s down to 18 percent and those leaving the occupation, the dark red, is in the single digits. So in other words, it does help with retention. It works but it’s sort of you get what you pay for. The thinner induction support much less.
But that’s just one outcome. Does providing support, which costs money, for beginning teachers have any impact on the retention of beginners, and yes, it does, the data tell us. But what about other stuff? I should mention here the two most important supports are a mentor and common planning time with other teachers. Those are the two best ones.
But let me go on. We did a recent review of all the solid, empirical data-driven studies out there on the effects of induction to see what does the data really tell us in a very frank way? And it turns out there’s generally very, very strong support that providing induction and mentoring for beginning teachers, it helps the retention of beginning teachers, it helps their classroom practices, and the bottom line, and we have a randomized control study on this and it’s linked to improved student achievement. So the data are generally supportive of this reform. There’s lots of support for it.
So let me just wrap up here in my last 30 seconds. What’s the larger context here for this? Okay, a vastly, rapidly-growing teaching occupation, far more beginners in it. Those beginners are staying for less amounts of time, so there’s instability issues. All the more important for this, an expense, need to pay for this reform, which has been a growth reform but it turns out there’s a wide variety of things offered under this umbrella term induction, and the data generally tells us that it does work but you kind of get what you pay for and the sort of more comprehensive model, the better.
So that’s it for me and I left a couple of copies of various reports out on the table out front and if you want copies of anything else, you can go to my web page, and also, I believe there’s a copy of these slides in your brochure. Thank you.
Mariana Haynes: Great. Thank you so much, Richard. So I am delighted to introduce Ellen Moir from the New Teachers Center. She’s the founder and chief executive officer of the New Teachers Center. Ellen founded NTC in 1998. She’s been at this a very long time to scale high quality teacher induction services.
Ellen, one of the things I just want to note is recently, again, through the TALIS findings, it’s pretty clear that many teachers are serving on average about 30 percent of students who are low income, and obviously this is much higher in a lot of areas. So what organizational supports contribute to the stability and effectiveness of beginning teachers.
Did you want to come here or you want to –
Ellen Moir: I’ll stay here. It’s great, thank you. Much more comfortable.
Mariana Haynes: _____ a pointer.
Ellen Moir: Oh, yeah, thanks. It’s a pleasure to be here, and I want to thank Mariana and the Alliance for the invitation. I need to take Richard on the road with me because there’s nothing more compelling than this data that he’s showing, right? New teachers are in the majority and they’re leaving in droves, and guess what? The most underserved communities in America and the most underserved kids in the country keep getting left behind, right, so there’s this vicious cycle of new teachers coming and going continually in the hardest to staff schools in the country. So I want to build from there and share with you something that is a belief that I know we all hold, that every child in America, regardless of their zip code, deserves the best teacher.
My talk today, I’d like to pick up on what does a quality induction program mean and how are we moving to a systems approach as opposed to one-on-one mentoring? So this is important. It is about equity and it’s about showing and sharing with you the kind of growth we’ve had in our thinking over the years about new teacher development and new teacher induction.
So first of all, teacher effectiveness is the most important aspect of improving student learning, right, and it trumps everything else. So as I think about this, low-income schools that keep getting new teachers are abandoned, kids are abandoned in these schools year after year, and I want to highlight that point one more time because there’s no way in heck that I would ever have left my son, our son, be in a school with a leaky bucket of teachers, never. And I want us as Americans and as adults to stand up for every child and ensure that since we know that teacher effectiveness is so important that we make sure that every child gets it.
Now the problem, and Richard highlighted this, new teachers come in and they want to do the best job possible, but they’re given the toughest assignment, in the toughest schools, in the sink or swim method, and they decide to leave. Isn’t that smart of them? These are smart teachers. They’re like, “I didn’t go to college and study hard to be in this kind of situation where I have no help.” Now I want to point out to you, don’t be disguised or don’t go down a path of thinking, “Oh, it’s not a problem. I’m giving the new teacher a mentor.” Here a mentor, there a mentor, everywhere a mentor. If they’re not rigorously selected, and carefully trained, and given time to mentor, they’re not useful.
So one day along the way, I had this thought that teachers are made, not born, despite what anyone will tell you, and that our job is to figure out how to make them, how to develop teachers. We’re not good at it. We do one size fits all professional development that teachers hate and we wonder why it doesn’t stick. So as I thought about this notion that teachers are made, I wanted to build a comprehensive induction program that modeled the mindsets that we believe are critical for actually developing teachers, and not only the mindsets but the implementation of these programs to highlight what it looks like in practice.
So as I’ve thought about our program, I want to share with you a little bit about what it looks like. I won’t take too long but I want you to understand what we’re talking about. So we’re looking at working within a school district, the toughest school districts in America, to build a comprehensive induction program that ultimately will impact the system. We want to be built to last so that new teachers and experienced teachers don’t become jaded and cynical that this too shall pass. So in building out these models and working closely with superintendents, and teacher unions, and the leaders in school districts, we’re advocating that expert teachers be released on a full-time basis to mentor a caseload of new teachers. We don’t want this expert teacher to have four jobs. We want them to have one job. We want them to wrap their arms around 15 brand new teachers and be in their classrooms with them on a weekly basis to be providing rich feedback, and diagnostic support, and actually giving the new teachers the kinds of feedback that actually helps them move from good, to very good, to excellent.
And as Richard said, every once in a while, you find a new teacher, and you scratch your head, and you wonder how did this person ever get here? So we don’t want to keep every new teacher and I want to be clear and state that up front, but we want to give every new teacher this kind of comprehensive approach where someone is in your classroom – not just someone – an expert teacher who has been rigorously selected is in your classroom every week.
Now I once was a classroom teacher, a long, long time ago. I had no one in my class except when it was time for an evaluation. I was doing a dog and pony show and everyone told me, “Just do a lesson that you’ve already done before so that you know how. You’ll be safe.” That’s not the kind of teacher we’re trying to develop today. We want inquiring, rigorous, robust, thoughtful teachers who care deeply about their students. They know their content but they’re also capable of caring and building the kind of differentiated learning.
Now that’s the other point I want to make. Our mentors are differentiating their support for new teachers based on their new teachers’ needs. It’s not just one size fits all. This is another key point. New teachers get on the path to excellence early. These expert teachers, for the first time in their career, are being elevated and valued for their knowledge and reinvigorated as they develop the capabilities to observe, and give feedback, and really help move the needle on student learning. These expert teachers are in a pipeline, if they want, for leadership roles or to continue teaching in a more rigorous way.
Now the piece on the right is we think if you do all of this, at the end of the day, you’re going to get improved student learning. If you’re in a toxic school with an administrator who’s not supportive in a district that doesn’t know what it’s doing, you’re going to have teachers fleeing. So it’s critical that we not only work with new teachers and mentors but that we situation the work in schools and we work closely with principals. If I had to tell you a career ah-ha, it sounds odd, but it’s so ingrained in my mind that principals are the most important ingredient in improving student learning in schools as they partner with teachers to build out these kinds of opportunities.
Now as we’ve worked and we’re thinking about the system, it has seemed to us that we’re missing a piece, that if the teaching and learning conditions are so important for keeping teachers, then let’s better understand what the impact is and then how we can take the data from our surveys and ultimately translate that into improved practices by leaders and colleagues in schools and districts. So we have now, since 2009, been administering the Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning survey, and we have 1.2 million educators across the nation that have taken this survey.
Now this is about voice, teacher voice, leader voice, listening to our colleagues, giving and empowering them to ultimately share their insights and then translate those insights into improved teaching and learning conditions. So we have been working then across the country and we’ve had 18 statewide surveys as well as partnering with governors and working in 9 states. So what are we doing? We’re administering this statewide survey that’s valid and reliable and we’re simultaneously capturing student voice. The data is made public and is on our website and on the website in different states. You can disaggregate the data by school, by district, by school. You can really hone in and look at this data carefully to really understand student learning as well.
And then finally, and the data, as states are using this survey every two years and in the off year, they’re busily trying to improve the conditions in their schools as you’ll hear Commissioner Holliday speak about shortly. I’m gonna move quickly to just say obviously there’s a link. The better the conditions, the more positive the conditions, the better student learning, so teaching conditions are student learning conditions. They’re interchangeable. They’re the same and we need to up our game in improving the conditions to be able to ultimately keep effective teachers.
So as we’ve looked at this data, and we have quite a bit of data, and I’ve looked to some of you in the audience and I’ve already been talking with Richard, we’d love you to engage with us in studying some of this data. But what we have found as we’ve looked across the states are some similarities. Now one thing I want to say to you, we’re looking at nine different conditions from time, and resources, instructional practices, work with the leaders, on and on, and I want to highlight three things that I’ve really been thinking a lot about. One is instructional practices. Are we changing instructional practices in the work that we’re doing? If we’re not, I wonder why we’re doing it.
When this survey’s been administered across the nine states, what we’re finding is 44 percent to 75 percent of all the teachers surveyed either agree or agree strongly that the state assessment data is available in time to impact instructional practices. Only 44 to 75 percent say the data’s available. If the data is not available, how are we ever going to improve teacher practice and student learning?
Second, on terms of professional development, the question is is the professional development differentiated to meet the needs of individual teachers? Now that makes sense, doesn’t it, that we would personalize and individual our professional development? 40 to 68 percent agree or strongly agree. That’s very low, overall.
And finally, time, right? Are efforts being made in our school districts and across these nine states to ultimately help teachers and get rid of some of the menial paperwork that teachers are involved in doing? And only 39 to 68 percent agree or strongly agree.
So I think these areas around instructional practice and around building out retention capabilities is hugely important. Very quickly let me just say that across all the states, we’ve been looking at are you assigned a mentor? Is the new teacher in the school assigned a mentor? Now I want to be mindful and say, again, it doesn’t mean just because they’re assigned a mentor that it’s quality mentoring. Is there regular communication with your principals, which is another area that Richard talked about is important. Do the teachers have access to professional learning communities? And finally, is there common planning time? And as you look across, you can see the various levels.
So I’m just gonna pick on one state for one second. I’m gonna look at do we have a mentor? Are your teachers assigned a mentor? So in the state of Oregon, it looks like only – what is that, 75 percent? Can one of you holler it out for me? About 60 percent say have a mentor. That’s very low, really, when you think about the total number of new teachers that we have and teachers in general across everything. Now look at for new teachers when they say do you have a mentor?
Look at Oregon. So are we improving teacher practice on the far side, the far right side? 72 percent say that they’re improving practice. That looks good but I want to tell you that is not good but that is really this data here is from the prior slide and it’s 75 percent of 60, right, 60 percent of teachers are getting a mentor and of that lot, 75 percent are saying that it’s changing their practice which means really only 45 percent is changing practice. I say this to you because in the end of the day, we’re investing a lot of money in mentoring light, the kind of thing that Richard’s talking about, a stipend, one period release, a lot of low-quality investment in mentoring that isn’t really changing practice or making a difference in student learning.
So let me just quickly go through two policy recommendations and I see my time is up. I believe that we should be requiring comprehensive new induction programs for new teachers everywhere in America and successful completion of induction program that provides embedded coaching and feedback by well-trained, carefully selected, exemplary mentors that ultimately is part of a systems approach to equity and student learning. And my next request for policymakers is to embed the analysis of teaching and learning conditions in school improvement processes at the state, district, and school level.
I used to think I was whining as a teacher when I talked about lousy conditions. Now I think I’m advocating on behalf of every child in this country that we up our game and improve conditions so that we can keep new teachers and all teachers longer, get them better faster, and have a powerful impact on student learning. Thank you.
Mariana Haynes: Thank you, Ellen, and just to say, the TELL study results are accessible, right?
Ellen Moir: Yes. I’m sorry, thank you, on the website and also you’ll see the link in the document, as well. You can look at all the data you want and we would welcome – Ann Maddock has been leading all of our policy work and our TELL survey work, so you can connect with her afterward also to talk more about TELL.
Mariana Haynes: Great. So we’re seguing to learn about Kentucky’s use of the survey and Dr. Terry Holliday, you’re gonna lead us through a conversation about that, correct? Just to remind you, he is the Kentucky Commissioner of Education and he’s also the president of the board of the Council of Chief State School Officers. I’ve learned a few things about your board participation both as overseers of the Baldrige Performance, which I didn’t realize is an advisory group to the Commerce Department, very interesting, and he’s also a member of the National Assessment Governing Board that provides oversight for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. And we’re delighted that you are with us and can speak about the real use of the TELL data in Kentucky.
Terry Holliday: Thanks for the invitation. For better or worse, state education agencies over the last five years have more influence and impact on teacher classrooms probably than any point in history. Why? Well, if we look at No Child Left Behind waivers, if we look at Common Core standards, and if we look at the new push from the secretary, which really is no push from the secretary, on equitable distribution plans on teachers, you will see that the state education agency is probably having major impact. So teacher turnover is a concern, but I tell you what’s a big concern for the Council of Chief State School Officers is the turnover of state chiefs.
The average tenure is about two and a half years, folks, so you got time to go in and wham and get a law passed and move on, so you got two choices as a state chief. You can kind of go 3Cs, communication, collaboration, creativity, or you can go the 2Cs, confrontational and combative.
So you kind of choose which one of those philosophies you wanta go. Well, I’ve been lucky. In everywhere I’ve ever worked, I was a classroom teacher, I was a high school principal, I was a central office person helping teachers. I’ve been lucky to work in a lot of great places where the collaboration, and the communication, and the creativity was teacher philosophy of the state agency or my classroom. So in Kentucky, what we decided early upfront on my very first meetings was with the teacher associations and I convinced them that I was a teacher first, and I’ll be a teacher last, and we’ve gotta work together on this stuff, ’cause the next five years are gonna be real interesting, and they turned out to be pretty interesting as we’ve all known.
And one of the things that was critical was the teacher voice. We needed teacher voice to develop parts of the system, so let’s kind of talk about parts of the system. I could get into teacher prep and you can’t be combative there ’cause they’ll just close the door and do what they’ve always done. And faculty senates are a joyful experience. I’ve been there.
So how do you make sure they see themselves as collaborative in this process to improve teacher prep? And so we’ve had wonderful experiences of teacher prep programs like University of Louisville and our Professional Standards Board created more opportunities for candidates to get into actual urban settings, ’cause that’s our problem, urban schools or rural schools who can’t attract high quality teachers and can’t keep them, so get them in there earlier in clinical experience.
And so then I’ve worked with the Commission on Accreditation of Education Preparation Programs and that was kind of the same push. How can we get more clinical experience so these new kids understand working conditions in an urban setting? So teacher prep is critical.
And then the first two years in Kentucky, the first year teacher internship program, they don’t get certification until the end of their first year, so how can we improve that experience? Some of the numbers that we get back from the TELL survey tell us that everybody’s supposed to have a mentor. If I believe my numbers, only 82 percent of the new teachers said that they had a mentor. Well, what happened to the other 18 percent? They had a mentor assigned. They just didn’t know it.
So where is that? We provided by school so that the school would know what their teachers are saying. Then we provided it back to the teacher prep program so they would know where their kids are placed and the service areas that they’re serving what those new teachers are saying about their first-year experience.
Then through first year until you end your career, what is the professional development? So again, feedback from teachers on the TELL survey informs the teacher preparation programs. At first year, what do you with you had more of in coming into teaching? “I don’t have a clue how to differentiate instruction.” And guess what? In an urban setting, the range of kids in a high school English 1 class, non-readers to college level readers, so how do you differentiate instruction? How do you work on achievement gaps? How do you serve gifted and talented children?
And heaven forbid that I’ve got all of a sudden a class that has special needs students in it and I never quite paid attention in that class in college. I wish I had paid attention to what that professor said
So we give that thing back to teacher prep and it helps inform them and it helps them partner with the district to provide additional support and coaching, and eventually the teacher prep score card. How are your teachers doing in their first, second, and third year? In the third year, it’s more school impacting the teacher performance than the teacher preparation. Then we look at the teacher effectiveness. Our communication and collaboration with teachers, they actually built our effectiveness system that was required by waivers. We’re still battling a little bit with that with the department but I think we’ll win out at the end of the day because I’m more focused on growth rather than counting test scores.
So we’re focused on growth, and professional development, and learning for those teachers, and that collaboration is beginning to pay off. We roll it out full scale this year in one of the few states that I think we haven’t had a lot of push back. And I think the most critical piece is if you’re going to eliminate this turnover churn, how do you improve the working conditions of teachers day in and day out and how do you help them become better teachers? Because if they get a little bit of success with kids, they’re going to stay? That’s all a teacher wants to do is see a light bulb come on every once in a while.
In the working conditions survey, almost 90 percent of our teachers respond, so when I take that to the general assembly and say, “Look, teachers told us they don’t have adequate bandwidth in instructional technology devices,” they gave us $8 million during a difficult budget year because 90 percent of my teachers said, “Hey, we need help with this.” That’s a tremendous voice. I didn’t have to say much at all. I just put the data out there for them and said, “You need me to have some of these teachers call you so they can clarify what they need?”
And then the other issue is time. We’re still in trouble with time. The TALIS survey showed us, the U.S., we’ve got the wrong model. We don’t provide our teachers time to collaborate and work together like the lesson plan approach in some of the Asian countries, so we’ve gotta do that.
And finally, we’re working real hard on the rest of the system, which is pathways, career pathways, because if you’re gonna have a teacher, expert teacher, out of the classroom, the only way they can go out of the classroom in most cases is to head toward the administration piece, but what if they don’t want to go that way? What if they want to stay on this _____ focus? So we need career pathway levels that, hey, you’re gonna be a mentor, then you might be an instructional coach, then you might be the chief curriculum officer in your school. We gotta have these pathways defined and we’ve gotta provide adequate entry level salaries and adequate salary bumps for our teachers who take on leadership roles.
So the system is critical to have all the pieces and the foundation of the system for us, from teacher prep, to pre-service, in-service, and improving schools and districts, has been the working conditions survey.
Mariana Haynes: So Andrea, thank you for waiting patiently, and I want to introduce Andrea. She’s a senior policy analyst from the National Education Association and she works in the Teacher Quality Department, correct, focusing on policies related to teacher recruitment, retention, and diversity, and you work closely with your organization, Human and Civil Rights. Is that correct?
Andrea Giunta: Yes.
Mariana Haynes: And is this the same as Priority Schools and Minority Community Outreach Programs? It’s all one department within NEA?
Andrea Giunta: Three different departments.
Mariana Haynes: Three different departments, so you’re busy. Would you give us a lens on your organization’s perspective on how to provide more equitable access and how would you insert equity into broader reforms?
Andrea Giunta: Thank you, Mariana, and the Alliance for inviting me, and my esteemed colleagues. I think that would be a great advantage to travel to different school districts and states with my colleagues. The four of us I think could convince directors, superintendents, policymakers, that we need to focus on teacher quality, teacher induction, teacher retention, and we’d see wonderful benefit and improvement in student learning. I’ve very inspired to be with you this morning. Thank you.
Teacher quality does matter. We have an entire department at the NEA devoted to teacher quality and the various aspects of teacher quality. As you can see by the slide, students with strong teachers three years in a row in their education gain so much higher in their learning, in their achievement.
So in theory, if you have a strong teacher year after year, that can make up for many disadvantages that a student may come to the classroom with, and therefore supporting teachers, especially beginning teachers, nurturing them, counseling them, being there with them maybe even on a daily basis let alone a weekly basis, having a qualified and trained carefully selected mentor by their side as they begin their career not only will improve their practice and their own inquiry into their practice, doing things better, doing things more efficiently, it will also in the end result improve their quality and keep them in the classroom for a longer amount of time and perhaps inspire them to become a mentor themselves and continuing that quality, that cycle of quality, that we like to see, and that teachers tell us, as Terry Holliday suggested, that we need to have multiple pathways for teachers because they do want to stay close to the classroom.
Many teachers do not want to choose to go on to be administrators. They want to stay close and contribute to the quality of teaching and learning in their schools and individual classrooms.
However, I’d like to round out the discussion this morning with an added piece that I intend to use this wonderful policy brief, “On the Path to Equity,” in my work at the NEA, however we do need to include in that induction of new teachers culturally responsive teaching and we need to have clear standards in every school district of what that is for every teacher to know, honor, and respond to the strengths of the home culture of students of color and any student who is in the classroom. This is not to say that just because a student has a teacher of color that that person is automatically ready and knowledgeable to respond to the various cultures presented in his or her classroom. There is training, there is learning, and there is practice involved in culturally responsive teaching.
However, a lot of times, teachers of the same ethnic, racial background of the same students that they teach can recognize those strengths and those qualities that students bring to the classroom and be able to capitalize upon them. Therefore, it’s incumbent upon us in the systems development, and we’re talking about an induction program. We must include culturally responsive teaching in that development, that nurturing, that professional growth. We’re looking at a professional growth system of growing and retaining quality teachers.
Students do better academically. They have role models. All students deserve to have quality, confident role models in the classroom no matter what color or racial background they are or they come from. And so you will see many school districts across the nation now choosing to incorporate culturally responsive teaching practices and I’d like to see that a standard part of induction programs across the nation.
And as you’ve heard, as Ellen so eloquently talked about, students who receive these highly qualified, knowledgeable, dedicated, nurtured teachers are not the students who are in schools that most definitely need them the most, and those are in our urban areas and in our rural poor areas. They don’t stay. Either they don’t stay in the profession or they move to a different school in the school district where there are better supports, where there are better working conditions. Because if you have a person who is highly qualified, they’re gonna talk about, “I need more of this, more of that, to deliver quality instruction,” and so they’re going to find that environment.
And that’s why the NEA has a long partner with the New Teacher Center, long-time partner and friend. We look at working conditions. It has a great impact on teaching and learning and we will continue to advocate for our members of all background to deliver that quality instruction and demand those environments in which students receive the very best.
So in looking at not only delivering culturally responsive curriculum and teaching methods, we want to look at attracting and retaining diverse individuals into our workforce, and you can see from this graph that you look at the kids going into college and to university overall and then choosing to go into education, you’ll see a great difference among different racial and ethnic groups. The fact of the matter is, as Dr. Ingersoll’s research shows, we’ve done a great job at recruiting. The problem is we don’t retain teachers of color, and so how do we recruit minority students to college, to university, and then of course have them choose to go into education to serve our students, and then on top of that, what systemic things do we need to do to keep them in our school districts to continue to deliver quality instruction to our students? It’s a quite complex and challenging situation to address, however I have confidence that we can and that we will do so.
Oops, I think I went backwards. Sorry about that. There we go. So this is to say that teacher diversity is important, that it is a strength of our nation, and that having a better reflection of our society in the classroom, that students are in many states the majority minority population and the teaching workforce should reflect that. It’s good for all of us as a nation and the NEA is dedicated to collaborate with all of the stakeholders in achieving that parity in our school systems across the United States. Teachers historically have little or no authority over significant elements of our profession and we’re working hard to change that.
Too many people in those positions of authority have no idea about teacher complexities, challenges, and the rewards of teaching, and so we and my organization, the NEA, really have not demanded responsibility for transforming and leading the profession. And I think that if you follow many of the reports in the news and in the nation, you’ll be seeing that our president and vice president are standing firm in teacher quality and leading the profession and working with our stakeholders in addressing teacher quality and systemic change so that all children across the country will benefit.
And so we, of course, advocate for recruiting and supporting teachers of color to become teachers. We believe that we should establish clear and universal standards of what cultural competency is in a school district. We need to strengthen the professional development for teachers in high poverty, high minority schools, and this absolutely encompasses a comprehensive induction program. We should provide sufficient resources and support for schools and districts to achieve parity and in creating union district agreements and compacts to address sustainable hiring practices, the distribution of teachers, and comprehensive professional growth systems that develop all teachers, that will keep the in the classroom.
A good example of that is right here in the Metro area, the Montgomery County Public Schools has a comprehensive induction program. They developed a professional growth system with the teachers’ association. They interview and have standards for their mentors. Mentors are hired. They have a focused job of mentoring, and after three years, they either choose to go back to teaching in the classroom, or another leadership position in the school district, or at a school building supporting the delivery of quality instruction. School districts and teachers’ associations can do great things when they work together and they deserve to have the supports and the resources in order to do so, but first we need to have a collaborative relationship and as Terry Holliday has demonstrated through his work, and his life, and his career, it is possible.
Great things can be done when we work together, and so I’d like to close with saying that in addressing comprehensive induction programs systemically should be the common practice across the country, not the uncommon practice, and I look forward to working with our local and state affiliates and building those relationships to make that happen.
Mariana Haynes: Thank you. Andrea, thank you very much for those remarks and bringing the question up around the diversity, and to that, I’m going to ask Richard to weigh in a little bit on some clarification because we do hear about these shortages. The national data shows a significant number of school districts report shortages not just in terms of the low percentages of minority teachers but in terms of specific areas like math and science. In your research, can you shed some light on what we know about that? Are there regional and state differences and why does it seem that we’re still not making as much progress as we’d like to in those particular areas?
Richard Ingersoll: Yeah, these are both big national concerns that you’ve heard about and we’ve talked about some, that we have this math/science teacher shortage. In turns out every president since Eisenhower almost has given speeches about the math/science teacher shortage. Somehow we haven’t solved it yet. So President Obama has his 100K in 10. He wants to recruit 100,000 math/science teachers in 10 years, and this is a case where the data could really help because it’s a wrong diagnosis and unfortunately, the data indicate that that solution will not do it.
Believe it or not, it turns out in this country we produce more than enough qualified math/science teachers. Yes, we do. We spend a lot of time quantifying this. But we have this problem of turnover that we’ve all been discussing this morning. Math/science teachers quit. So recruitment along just won’t do it. We have to have retention.
Just to give you an example, so President Obama’s initiative, 100,000 new math/science teachers in 10 years, in a decade, but the data show we lose over 25,000 math/science teachers every year of which retirement’s only a small piece. The majority of it’s dissatisfaction. We need recruitment, but we also need retention. That’s very important. Otherwise, we’ll have the next president will give a speech and the next one after that, et cetera.
Let’s go on to the minority teacher shortage and picking up on Andrea’s comments. So this argument, it’s out there, and presidents make it, the heads of the Department of Education, that America is getting more diverse, the teaching force isn’t, and there’s sort of a lament here. Arne Duncan’s argument, we’re getting a decreasingly diverse teaching force. The teaching force doesn’t look like America.
Again, a little bit of data could go a long ways here. Yes, it is true we do not have parity, and Andrea mentioned that. That is the percentage of students who are minority is greater than the number of teachers who are minority, but there’s actually a huge unheralded victory here. There’s been over 100 percent increase in minority teachers over the last couple of decades. The numbers of minority teachers have gone up faster than the growth of minority students and far faster than the number of non-minority teachers. There’s actually been an unheralded victory. Two-thirds of the states have minority teacher recruitment efforts, and so they ought to be given credit. It’s actually worked.
But there’s a huge but here. There’s a huge but. It’s the turnover problem. Minority teachers quit at distinctly higher rates than non-minority teachers. Why? Because they’re often recruited into these hard-to-staff schools which often have less than attractive working conditions. Salary is not the main issue. In fact, the largest correlate, _____ use statistical language, the largest factor correlated with the relatively high minority teacher quit rates is lack of discretion and autonomy and leeway in my classroom. Most of these urban school districts have this increasingly standardized scripted curriculum, a lot of testing, and it sort of shrinks. “My kids are different. Give me some leeway. Don’t just order me what to do. Let’s not have quite so much scripting and standardization.” That’s interesting.
In other words, minority teachers have distinctly higher quit rates than do non-minority teachers, and what’s the reason? It’s not salaries. It’s not student discipline. Those are issues. It’s not lack of professional development. It’s lack of autonomy in the classroom. That’s a reform that does not cost money. That’s a management issue.
So I hate to say this, all these wonderful minority teacher recruitment efforts, we found out in the ’90s, Ford Foundation put $60 million into this. They’ve been successful in spite of the fact of these high quit rates. The data tell us we will not close the parity gap, it will not work until we add that word retention, recruitment and retention. That’s just the simple story the data tell, so sorry to be a little long winded there.
Mariana Haynes: No, this is great. Does anyone else have a comment? One of the things I wanted to focus on and maybe we can integrate these two points in terms of the district’s role. I think there’s some real important points that Richard raised around the autonomy versus prescriptive accountability, tension. So the question would be so what is the role of districts to improve retention and equity in consideration of these factors since we know that within districts, there’s lots of variation across their schools. So anyone want to comment, Ellen, Andrea, Terry?
Ellen Moir: I’ll take a stab _____. So obviously we all think that districts have a major role in building out the kind of culture that engages teachers. I mean look, under the No Child Left Behind period, underserved schools, underserved teachers, underserved kids, were on a pacing guide and script. Today, as we’re trying to build out Common Core, we have a group of teachers in America who’ve never designed a lesson. There’s a huge issue for us. It’s not exactly a part of what you’re talking about but I think that most people that get into teaching like Terry’s 3Cs. Creativity is part of it, right? Collaboration, and creativity, and communication. And so I think that for a young teacher to come into a school and particularly a young teacher of color and to have no autonomy, and to be so scripted, and tightly focused is tough.
And the last sentence I’m gonna make is we had a study group from Scotland coming to visit, a group of really talented teachers from Scotland who wanted to build on induction and it was during the No Child Left Behind period. And afterwards, we were debriefing their visit and they were saying things that, I just perked my ears up, “I feel so sorry for the teachers that your mentors are working with and I feel really sorry for your mentors.” I’m thinking, “Wait a minute. We have comprehensive induction. What are they talking about?”
And I said, “What do you mean?” And they said, “Your mentors know how to teach. Your mentors know what rigorous, high quality teaching looks like, but they’re also being restricted by the pacing guides and the scripted curriculum.”
So I think it’s encouraging to here overall that our minority recruitment has had some benefit, but the truth of the matter and I’ll say it again, those that are leaving because of the conditions are smart.
Terry Holliday: The key for districts is retention because of the cost savings, but you get into struggles with principals hiring the right people and then supporting the teachers. So I’m kind of with the rest of the panel that the leadership in the building is critical because why can’t I go to my large urban, and go to a high poverty school, and see a principal that’s making unbelievable progress with kids, and look at their working conditions survey, and see very positive results, look at their retention rate and it’s very high, almost equal to the school that’s low poverty on the other side of town?
But then I can go to a school that looks just like that, high turnover rate, haven’t been able to move, it’s the parent’s fault, it’s the teacher’s fault, it’s everybody’s fault except leadership. So I think it is critical that we get leadership. Now I will say this. I think too often the system creates the leaders that we have and the system, if you look at the system of what we’re pushing in ed reform, compare that to other nations that are basically kicking our butt in pizza, they don’t use the same reform initiatives. So I think we may need to look within about the education reform system and nowhere in that reform system do I see a real mandate to address retention or working conditions. That’s usually a choice that you make, not a mandate.
So we’ve got a great opportunity coming up. As states, we’re going to have to reproduce our teacher equitable distribution plans. We’re going to get data this fall, OCR data, and right with you, we need to look at the diversity and the OCR data is going to tell me what I already know, what our strategic data projects already told me. My numbers in Kentucky look just like California and every state in this nation looks just like California. So what are we going to do with it? Are we gonna attack issues on the tenure issue which really doesn’t have anything to do with the distribution, or are we going to do something systemic to really reform the system and will the department allow us? Will the civil rights groups allow us and will states and districts be creative?
Because I can’t go and tell Jefferson County, Kentucky; Louisville, Kentucky, “You have a great one out there. Create union district agreements to address these things?” Now how can I create the conditions for them to be creative and innovative, or are we just gonna have another checklist mentality? I got 99.8 percent highly qualified teachers right now. 99.8 percent.
Ellen Moir: You’re done.
Terry Holliday: I’m done. So I think it’s critical for the system level, the state and the nation, to really enable districts to be real creative.
Ellen Moir: Well, thank you, Terry. I’d just like to say that addressing teacher voice at the building level, the decisions made building wide, and also in the classroom as far as choosing what works best for children in advancing their learning, really comes from those collaborative practices that hopefully are enhanced by an agreement made with school districts and the teachers’ association, however that comes down to how things play out in individual sites. And so teachers continue to advocate for having a voice and addressing those working conditions not only the conditions in which they work but also the conditions around decisions choosing instructional materials.
It’s very important, and those types of agreements we can have on paper, but actually demonstrating those behaviors and the belief that having a collaborative relationship with the association and actually walking the talk is so important. And I don’t think that you can put that down on paper and actually deliver it. It has to be demonstrated and acted upon.
Mariana Haynes: Thank you. So I want to open it up for questions. Do you have questions? Do you want to stand at the mic and tell us who you are and what your affiliation is?
Arthur McKee: Sure. I’m Arthur McKee at the National Council on Teacher Quality. I do work on looking at teacher preparation programs. I’m curious of the panel what aspects or what components of teacher preparation – I know it’s a bit earlier in the process, but I’d be curious to get the panel’s reaction. What components of teacher preparation would help us overcome this retention issue that Richard’s been talking about?
Mariana Haynes: Okay, Richard?
Richard Ingersoll: Well, it’s a good question, and in fact we’re just finishing a whole study does the amounts, and depths, and breadths of pre-employment education and preparation have any bearing on teacher retention? And it turns out yes, but it depends on the component. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t really matter whether you have an education degree or an arts and science degree in terms of retention. It doesn’t really matter whether you went through an alternative route or a traditional route. It doesn’t really matter whether you went to a very prestigious competitive college and one not. Those might be important things but they don’t have a bearing in our statistical analyses on retention.
What does? Well, some of that pedagogical stuff which is often derided, so to me as a former teacher, it’s kind of a no-brainer. How much practice and student teaching you’ve had beforehand has a huge bearing on your durability as a teacher. It’s a big factor. Whether you got feedback on your teaching. Whether you were able to observe others teach. Aspects of not just learning the subject but how to teach, the methods part, which is often again derided nationally. Teacher education is under attack. All those things, to answer your question, are strongly correlated in the analyses with a likelihood of retention.
And it’s interesting, ’cause we looked at math/science teachers, and what’s happened is particularly science teachers have gotten less of those things. We’ve beefed up the subject matter preparation of science teachers and that can be a wonderful thing to do, but we’ve beefed down – that’s the wrong term. I mean 40 percent of first-year science teachers have never had a single day of practice teaching. Their first day in the classroom with the students, this is usually middle or high school, is their first day with kids, and so they had very high – I wish had the data in front of me. Something like 20 or 30 percent of science teachers are gone after one year and the strongest factor in the statistical analyses is they didn’t have any student teaching ahead of time. It seems like a no-brainer.
Twenty percent of the new teachers in this country across the board have never had any practice or student teaching before the first day they sit in a classroom. Now as a former teacher, I find that nuts. So yes, there are factors that are highly related and I can even send you this. We’re just finishing up this report where we’ve tried to answer this question which has been out there is what bearing does pre-service preparation have?
Mariana Haynes: We would love to have that. We can link that also on the archived video page. That would be great. Yes?
Terry Holliday: In Kentucky, the internship program requires a mentor at the school level and the principal and a college mentor on the panel that supports a first-year teacher. Great in theory, horrible in practice at some of the institutions because principals do a poor job of assigning mentors. As you say, a lot of first-year teachers don’t even know they have a mentor.
Then the college mentor that they assign is a retired somebody that doesn’t connect the university preparation courses with the reality of the classroom. So if they could do one thing, and I’m on the Professional Standards Board pushing this issue, it’s when you assign a university mentor to these teachers, for heaven’s sakes makes sure it’s somebody that’s teaching methods classes that gets into the real world and does action research with these new teachers to help them develop new models of diagnosing, prescribing, and intervening for kids who can’t read. That would be the No. 1 thing, and then I’ve probably got 50 pages on the Commission on _____ and Educator Prep that we navigated for two years to try to put the clinical prep earlier in the preparation program.
Mariana Haynes: Great. Ellen, did you want to get in there?
Ellen Moir: Yeah, prior to starting the New Teacher Center, I directed teacher education at UC Santa Cruz and I really agree with what both Richard and Terry are saying. I’ll just add a couple of other things. So a lot of times we find new teachers in the toughest schools and they’ve never student taught or had experience in those schools, so I think the teacher prep programs could enhance this transition and create a bridge by having their students work with talented teachers in the toughest schools, so that would be one. More practice. As I think about this, practice, practice, practice, practice, before you actually get the key to your own classroom.
And then the third area is all around dispositions and really helping candidates early on and maybe it goes into selection as well, right, but have the disposition, the habits of mind around continuous improvement, continually getting better, moving from good, to very good, to excellent, never thinking you’re done, right, but be at the end of learning. And the only way you can be at the edge of learning is if you keep getting this kind of rich feedback. Oftentimes, to Terry’s point, pre-service candidates are either paired with master teachers or clinical faculty that really probably shouldn’t be in those roles, so really trying to up the game on who’s helping the pre-service candidate to get the rich feedback that Richard’s talking about as well, is important.
Mariana Haynes: We may have time for one more question. That’s about it. Anybody? Yeah, go ahead.
Lincoln Boyd: Good afternoon, guys. My name’s Lincoln Boyd and I’m interning with D.C. Public Schools this summer in their Office of Planning and Post-Secondary Readiness. My question is kind of directed towards Mr. Ingersoll. Could you speak to how the large number of accredited teaching programs affects ballooning and the quality of these new incoming teachers?
Richard Ingersoll: Well, we are an unusual nation in that we have a very, very large number of teacher education colleges, departments, schools, what have you. So I was doing an international comparative study a few years ago of some Asian nations and the U.S. and I was struck – I mean I forget. Maybe someone knows. We have something like 1,200 – I forget.
Arthur: It’s almost 1,800 _____ _____.
Richard Ingersoll: Yes. Thank you, Arthur. So in China, which has many times the number of students – I forget what it is – has less than half or maybe a third, so it’s an historical thing. When we made the public school system, we had to upscale in a big way and so very large numbers, widely dispersed, we called them normal schools, for the most part, were built across the whole nation. And they were easy entry, easy exit, and it was to get this large, relatively low paid teaching force. So we kind of inherited that legacy but we’re unusual compared to the rest of the world, and I think of course Arthur’s involved with this. There’s a very mixed quality from very good to terrible and that’s a problem to be dealt with.
Now you’re asking what connection does that have to the ballooning. Well, yes, it’s part of it in the sense that there’s sufficient supply out there, but the ballooning is actually employed people. So there’s a demand there. Districts and schools have been hiring faster than the rate of student increase, and why that is a big question. No one fully knows yet. I mean just incidentally, the private sector has ballooned its teaching force faster than the public sector even though there’s actually been a decrease in the number of students in private schools in this country. Private schools have actually lost some market share over the last couple of decades.
So yes, the supply is there because of this large number of teacher prep institutions, but really it’s we don’t know quite what drives it. Schools and districts have been hiring teachers at a tremendous rate and – I’m digressing here. It’s unsustainable. It simply will not be affordable for this to continue. It leveled off some with the recession. The question is will it pick up again now as the economy picks up, and yeah, it’s a ticking time bomb.
Mariana Haynes: Any final comments? We’ve just got a minute or so.
Ellen Moir: I would just add when we think about who we’re losing, this whole retention piece and who we’re losing, we’re losing the best and the brightest. I really want to highlight that. I saw it as a director of teacher ed. It was inevitably the most talented prospective teachers that felt that they were a fraud, that they weren’t good enough, they were hard on themselves, so attrition is hugely important for us and I’m gonna say one last sentence. Recruitment without retention is just a waste of money.
Mariana Haynes: Final comments, Terry, Andrea? That’s it, huh?
Andrea Giunta: Well, I think that investing in a comprehensive induction program is the best investment that a school district can make. Not only does it produce a higher quality but you’re going to retain that quality, and so as a former teacher and as a representative of teachers, our profession we believe is the most important in the nation, and we do need to have a continually strong qualified, bright, curious workforce in that we develop this approach to growth, continual growth. It starts in teacher preparation in which you begin and I’s a continual process. A lot of people use that term life-long learner and it’s been overused, but it really is the heart and soul of a teacher. You’re continuing to develop.
The problem is we need to have systems. We need to invest in systems that support that process, that you just don’t get in, and get a set of keys, and there you go, that you just don’t go to school, and you get a lot of books, and you do really well, and you pass all the tests, and there you go. You don’t get past probation, and get your contract signed, and just stay ahead, and follow the curriculum, and make sure you’re on Page 14 on Tuesday, and there you go. It doesn’t work like that. It’s a continual process of development, and growth, and it needs to be honored and supported.
Mariana Haynes: Please join me in thanking our panelists today. [Applause] And many thanks to all of you for joining us today. This will be archived, so please feel free. It’s all free to access, download, and share as you will. Thank you very much.
[End of Audio]
Welcome to the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Action Academy, an online learning community of education advocates. We invite you to create an account, expand your knowledge on the most pressing issues in education, and communicate with others who share your interests in education reform.
or register for Action Academy below: