Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sabrina Laine on qualified teachers

The Examiner's Sabrina Laine pens an open letter to Mayor Fenty about the issue she feels is the most important with regard to turning the District's public school system around: quality teachers.

1 comment:

jamesformanjr said...

I think Laine is exactly right regarding the importance of teacher quality. It is clearly the most powerful schooling factor influencing student achievement, and any reform that fails to address the issue will not have a lasting impact.

In addition to recruitment are issues of training and retention, which I'm sure Laine will address if future parts of this column.

I think money is clearly a big factor for both recruitment and retention. I teach at Georgetown Law School, and every year I teach 8-10 students who are former TFAers and loved teaching. But they came to law school because as soon as they graduate, they could get jobs making 3-4x their teaching salary.

Other reforms that seem worth considering include: investing in high-quality teacher mentoring programs, well-designed merit pay systems, and even smaller classes. Laine says that small classes are less important than quality teachers, and I agree, but the 2 might be related. Some teachers will find the job more rewarding and stay longer if the classes are smaller.

For more of my thoughts on these issues, see http://extracredit.wordpress.com/