Monday, January 5, 2015

FEWER GEORGIANS CHOOSE TEACHING AND JUST WHEN GEORGIA IS RAISING THE STANDARDS TO TEACH

     Supply and Demand is a principal known not only to economists but to people about issues that need to be dealt solved with common sense. When the state of Georgia is looking to raise the standards for those looking to become teachers, it can be seen as a great thing. The flip side to the equation is how do you raise standards when people are running away from becoming members of the teaching profession? In an editorial written by Maureen Downey of the AJC, she compares the criticism of teachers being worse than what what wall street bankers received during the height of the mortgage meltdown mess. Teachers are accountable for much more than politicians and professionals in many fields and are expected to have the answers for problems they have no control over from politicians to moral compass issues students who attend school bring to the table when attending school, "The laundry list of goals we now have imposed on teachers and schools has expanded well beyond teaching math and reading. Beyond creating engaging lessons, their to-do list now includes curing poverty, leveling the playing field and providing a moral compass. And we also would like schools to persuade students to eat more broccoli, watch less TV and floss regularly,"said Downey. Throw in dozens of educational initiatives from Washington, Atlanta and district initiatives and prospective teachers are choosing any profession where going home means enjoying your family and leaving the work for the next work day instead of sitting at home with your laptop doing school business because your district does not give you professional time to get your work done during the day. Downey said the future of prospective teachers will leave many districts short. To find out more, read below.



FEWER GEORGIANS CHOOSE TEACHING

Teaching is tough
By Maureen Downey mdowney@ajc.com
   As an editorial writer, I spent years writing about predatory lending and the resulting subprime mortgage crisis. Those editorials sometimes prompted rebukes from readers, who argued the blame for rampant mortgage fraud fell on uninformed borrowers rather than unscrupulous lenders.    Readers expressed a surprising tolerance toward bankers who earned millions on easy credit policies and tempting teaser rates that targeted riskier borrowers.    When I began writing about education policy, I saw a far different level of accountability demanded of teachers, who earn average starting salaries of $30,000 a year.    The teachers of Elm Street incurred more blame for struggling schools than the wolves of Wall Street for a collapsed economy. The animosity toward teachers is striking, especially given that they work in a low-paid profession that’s now being asked to perform the educational near-equivalent of turning water into wine.    The laundry list of goals we now have imposed on teachers and schools has expanded well beyond teaching math and reading. Beyond creating engaging lessons, their to-do list now includes curing poverty, leveling the playing field and providing a moral compass. And we also would like schools to persuade students to eat more broccoli, watch less TV and floss regularly.    At the same time, we’re rolling out unproven value-added evaluations that measure the effectiveness of teachers on the performance of their students on standardized tests. For those teachers working in disciplines where there are no tests, such as foreign languages or the arts, we are rushing to design alternative yardsticks. Band students, for example, may be judged on how well they know scales. No one has explained how we can distinguish whether a failing grade means the teacher didn’t teach scales, or the student never bothered to practice.    So, it shouldn’t surprise us fewer Georgians are choosing to go into the classroom.    According to a recent AJC story, 12,436 students received teaching certificates for the first time in 2007-08. Two years later, only 8,520 college students earned teaching certificates, and the number hasn’t risen since, says the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.    Some striking facts from the story by AJC reporter Eric Stirgus: State data shows there were 9,259 fewer teachers in Georgia at the end of the 2012-13 school year than four years ago. The number of Georgians working in local government educational services declined 9 percent over the past five years, greater than in any major Georgia industry.    The decrease in people seeking teaching certificates is making it hard for districts to find candidates for the already hard-to-fill slots such as foreign language, special education, math and science. Some South Georgia school administrators told the AJC the decline has led to more substitute teachers and larger class sizes.    The state is now raising the bar to become a teacher. But without raising the respect afforded the profession, we may find fewer people willing to attempt that higher bar.


 
     What do you think? Should Georgia be raising standards for prospective teachers when they cannot fill the available jobs posted each year? Supply and demand suggests that raising standards might not be a great solution right now.