Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

To Improve Teaching, Support Educators

January 11, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

“[T]raining teachers may be cash cows for some schools of education,” write Linda Katz and Andrew Belton in their recent Commentary (“Averting a Human-Capital Train Wreck,” Dec. 8, 2010). Well, and why not? Are we really supposed to believe that the American K-12 education system would improve if these schools operated at a loss, or if they tweaked their admissions criteria? I, for one, do not; and I do not think the state has any business interfering (at the admissions level, anyway) with the market realities of supply and demand.

As for the idea that we can improve the quality (however measured) or retention of schoolteachers by making education-school admission more exclusive, this seems a classic case of wagging the dog by the tail. Were our nation’s elementary, middle, and high schools generally healthy and rewarding places to work, we would probably be spared the ill effects—“some real, many imagined”—of school teachers’ having earned, on balance, lower grade point averages and test scores in high school and college than doctors and engineers.

Look at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy report that Ms. Katz and Mr. Belton cite, and you’ll see that 50 percent of teacher turnover is due to dissatisfaction with the job. “Even the most skilled teachers cannot fulfill their potential in the poor environments in which many teachers work today,” the report states.

If there really is a human-capital train wreck in the offing, states (and philanthropists) might want to look at what they can do to guarantee teachers some of the dignity and autonomy that similarly well-educated white-collar workers in other fields take for granted.

Joshua Roth

Arlington, Mass.

A version of this article appeared in the January 12, 2011 edition of Education Week as To Improve Teaching, Support Educators

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
Strategies for Incorporating SEL into Curriculum
Empower students to thrive. Learn how to integrate powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into the classroom.
Content provided by Be GLAD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 12, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 29, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 8, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read