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Kansas Teachers Leaving Due to Budget Cuts, Punitive Policies

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Author: dianeravitch

Emily Richmond at The Atlantic reports on the exodus of teachers from Kansas.

“Frustrated and stymied by massive budget cuts that have trimmed salaries and classroom funding, Kansas teachers are “fleeing across the border” to neighboring states that offer better benefits and a friendlier climate for public education, NPR’s Sam Zeff reported.

To be sure, this is a tough time for the Sunflower State, where funding shortfalls forced a half-dozen districts to shorten their academic calendars, and teacher jobs are being advertised on billboards. But it’s hardly an outlier. Las Vegas, home to the nation’s fifth-largest school district, is undergoing a particularly brutal struggle to recruit, and keep, enough new teachers for the upcoming academic year. (After all, how many superintendents have been reduced to zipline stunts to draw attention to a hiring crisis, as was the case with the Las Vegas district’s Pat Skorkowsky?) And it doesn’t take much to find stories of teacher shortages in Arizona and Indiana, among many others….

“One solution: Residency programs that provide new teachers with intensive mentoring, coaching, and support for their first few years in the profession are gaining in popularity. But an underlying issue is that fewer people are opting to become teachers, and when they do, about half will quit within five years. Indeed, in last year’s Gallup poll, the percentage of people who said they didn’t want their children to become teachers jumped to 43 percent from 33 percent a decade earlier.”

The so-called reform movement has succeeded in making teaching an undesirable profession. Not only are teachers quitting, unable to live on meager salaries, but the number of people who want to be teachers has sharply declined. This fits the agenda of the reformers, who want to replace teachers with computers, encourage the retirement of costly experienced teachers, and turn teaching into a low-wage, high-turnover job rather than a profession.

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