Teachers Column

May 02, 1990 2 min read

School-district and teacher-union officials in Fairfax County, Va., forged an agreement last week on a plan to set up an advisory board, comprising mainly of teachers, to guide the district’s continuing-education programs for teachers.

Slated to begin operation on July 1, the board will be made up of 12 appointed administrators and 16 teachers elected by their peers. Its charge is to identify the district’s continuing-education needs, make recommendations on the design and evaluation of programs to meet those needs, and review or propose any changes in the timetable of training activities for the 9,000 teachers employed by the district.

“Within the general heading of what we call teacher professionalism, this is certainly a natural evolution,” said Edward W. Carr, the district’s assistant superintendent for personnel services.

Richard Willis, the executive director of the Fairfax Education Association, said the idea is based on Florida’s “teacher education center councils,” which are required in every district in that state to make recommendations on teacher in-service programs.

He said the union, which is the local affiliate of the National Education Association, first proposed the concept to school officials in 1986. The idea was overshadowed at the time, however, by negotiations over the district’s highly publicized performance-based pay plan for teachers. Discussions on the proposal for the continuing-education board began anew last November.

“This will bring practitioners’ perspectives to bear on the design, offering, and evaluation” of continuing-education programs, Mr. Willis said.

Elections for the teacher representatives on the board are scheduled for late May.

The number of Tennessee teachers who quit their jobs more than doubled between 1985 to 1987, despite legislation designed in part to try to retain teachers, a state report has found.

The Comprehensive Education Reform Act of 1984, which included a career ladder for teachers, set as a goal reducing by 50 percent the number of teachers who quit because of “job dissatisfaction.”

The state has no mechanism for determining why teachers quit, according to Glen McKay, assistant director of the performance audit division of the state comptroller’s office, which conducted the study.

But the study, which grouped teachers by years of experience, found that the number who quit in all experience levels doubled during the period studied.

In 1985, 1,228 teachers resigned; 2,105 teachers quit in 1986, and 3,383 did so in 1987. The numbers represent between 3 percent and 7 percent of the total teaching corps in those years.

--dv & ab

A version of this article appeared in the May 02, 1990 edition of Education Week as Teachers Column