Education Opinion

Beyond the Revolving Door

By Ronald Thorpe — October 04, 2012 2 min read

In my last two posts I spoke of teaching’s revolving door. However, it would be a mistake to ignore the many promising developments in our education system that are moving towards a new, more sustainable model of teaching as a profession that promotes expertise and effectiveness across the career-span. In the United States, we are moving beyond our traditional “egg carton” school structures that isolated teachers and limited professional collaboration. Teachers today are working more collegially to share and develop their knowledge and expertise.

Examples of distributive leadership and teacher leadership in schools are more plentiful than ever before, but they are still the exception and not the rule in the U.S. They offer concrete exemplars of schools as professional communities led by both administrators and teachers working together to create conditions to sustain school improvement. We have innovative initiatives such as teacher led schools and expanded teacher leadership roles.

Teachers are raising their voices to help shape policy makers and inform school decision-making. The more than 97,000 National Board Certified Teachers are helping to lead the way in many of these important developments, but there is much work to do in establishing better preparation, better career ladders, new leadership roles, and a more vibrant profession.

PSA and teacher recruitment campaigns are a piece of the puzzle as well, as my colleague Dan Brown notes in his recent blog. However, absent more structural reforms in the profession, they run the risk of simply helping the revolving door spin faster. Two days out from the UNESCO summit I hope that we can talk about 1) strengthening quality and effectiveness across the career span; 2) stanching the outflow of early career teachers through the revolving door; while 3) building a global profession that can meet the challenges of teaching and learning in the 21st century with commitment, expertise, and impact.


Linda Darling-Hammond and Robert Rothman, eds., Teacher and Leader Effectiveness in High-Performing Education Systems (Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education and Stanford, CA: Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, 2011).

Ingersoll, R., Merrill L. (2010). Who is teaching our children? Educational Leadership, 67 (8), 14-20.

Ingersoll, R., (2012) Beginning teacher induction: What the data tell us. Phi Delta Kappa. Retrieved from //www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/05/16/kappan_ingersoll.h31.html?print=1

The opinions expressed in Global Studies: Live From Paris on World Teachers’ Day are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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