Tuesday, August 18, 2009

By Sarah Fine -- Why I Left Teaching Behind - washingtonpost.com

Thanks to great teacher Christopher Greenslate for finding this piece:

By Sarah Fine -- Why I Left Teaching Behind - washingtonpost.com

Ms. Fine reports feeling "undervalued" as a teacher by the administration in her inner city school, friends, and American society. It seems the charter school she worked for sought to improve education without much input from the teachers. This hierarchical style of educational reform seems destined to fail.

More and more research seems to imply that children with less educated parents need more physical time in school to close the achievement gap. Some charter schools have figured this out and shown powerful results. The problem arises when schools, like Sarah Fine's, try to extend the school day and school year without increasing teacher compensation, reducing teacher pay to around 10$ an hour. No wonder charter schools have such a high rate of turnover.

The Obama administration has embraced (see the New Yorker abstract) the charter school model as practiced by the KIPP and Green Dot schools. I only hope they don't try to make these changes on the cheap, forcing more good teachers out of the profession. In this sense, perhaps Ms. Fine shows insight in her feelings about the value American society puts on education, learning, and teaching.

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