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WARNER OUTLINES NEW PLAN TO ATTRACT QUALITY TEACHERS: Says Mentoring Is a Key Component to Retention

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"Even when we get strong teachers into these schools, many flee to 'easier' schools as soon as they can obtain a transfer."

At the Milken Family Foundation’s national education conference in Washington, D.C., last month, Virginia Governor Mark Warner (D) outlined a broad new plan to attract and retain the best teachers for Virginia’s students. As part of his Education for a Lifetime initiative, Warner’s seven-point plan would include a Virginia Middle School Teacher Corps, an effective mentoring program, and principals who were proven “turnaround specialists.”

“Unquestionably, we need to do more to attract high-quality teachers,” Warner said. “While recruiting good candidates to become teachers is an important issue, retaining good teachers once they enter the field is equally important.”

In the coming decade, it is estimated that the country will need to fill approximately two million teaching vacancies. In Virginia over the same time frame, more than 33,000 teachers-over 38 percent of the current workforce-will be eligible for retirement. While acknowledging that raising average teacher salaries closer to the national average is an extremely difficult challenge given the state’s current financial situation, Warner pledged to improve the environment for new teachers through mentoring.

Warner’s Teacher Retention Initiative is based on “nationally recognized models that have proven effective in helping new teachers.” The initiative would fund mentoring programs for new teachers in hard-to-staff schools during their first year in the classroom and encourage them to stay in the profession. “Even when we get strong teachers into these schools, many flee to ‘easier’ schools as soon as they can obtain a transfer,” he said.

Another component is the Virginia Middle School Teacher Corps, which would provide the structure and incentives to place up to seventy experienced math teachers per grade in middle schools that have been designated “at-risk” in math. An assignment would last three years. Teachers selected for the program would be “dynamic teachers” with demonstrated success in teaching math in challenging environments.

Recognizing that the principal is the most important person in terms of setting the “tone” for a school, Warner introduced an initiative that would identify up to ten candidates with good skills and experience for “turnaround specialist” training. Training will focus on “successful business and education strategies that have proven effective in ‘turning around’ low-performing organizations.” Each turnaround specialist who completes the program would then serve as a principal in a low-performing school for three years.

Read more about Warner’s Teacher Retention plan at http://www.governor.virginia.gov/Initiatives/Ed4Life/TeacherRetention.htm.

New Alliance Report: Tapping the Potential: Retaining and Developing High-Quality New TeachersOn June 23, the Alliance will release Tapping the Potential: Retaining and Developing High-Quality New Teachers. The report outlines the importance of new-teacher induction in retaining and developing new teachers, including an in-depth analysis of new-teacher induction and case studies from Connecticut, California, Louisiana, and Ohio. Recommendations for federal government action are included in the report.The release event will be held from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 23, in 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building, located at First Street and Constitution Avenue, NE, in Washington, D.C. Space for the event is limited, and RSVPs will be accepted on a “first-come” basis.

Additional information, including presenters, respondents, and RSVP information, is available here.

 

New York City Considering Plan to Pay $10,000 Bonus to City’s Best Math TeachersNew York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering a plan that would pay the city’s best math teachers a $10,000 bonus for working in low-performing schools. The program, which would benefit at least twenty star math teachers, would be paid for with a $1 million grant from City College. Under the proposal, these “master teachers” would teach for two years and would be assigned to four classes. They would also work with new teachers. New teachers who participate in the program would receive $1,000 worth of new supplies.

“The primary purpose of the program is to maximize high school math teacher retention,” Al Posamentier, head of City College’s teacher education program, told the New York Post. “It is our belief that although nice salary raises are essential, the real factor in retaining teachers in the city school system is to provide inexperienced teachers with support from experienced teachers.”

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