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April 8, 2009

On aging teachers and all-girls education

Two new studies I bring to your attention:

1) Just out from the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future. It predicts that more than half the current teachers in American schools will retire in the next decade. The largest teacher retirement wave in history is upon us, it says, with the peak predicted for 2010-2011. Charts with state demographics show Maryland's "upper quartile" for age starting at 53 (thanks to MSTA for correcting my earlier misreading).

2) Western and the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women can find common ground in a report out of UCLA that found graduates of all-girls schools are more academically inclined, more politically engaged and more likely to pursue a career in engineering than their peers at co-ed schools. Western and BLSYW joined with private girls schools in the area to put out a press release on the study. Worth noting, though, that the report was funded by the National Coalition of Girls' Schools.

Posted by Sara Neufeld at 7:28 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Around the Region, Baltimore City, Study, study!


The bit on the National Coalition of Girl Schools is interesting BUT only 6 of the public schools listed have high school students and some of the six do not have 12th grade.

The private girls schools seem to be carrying the banner and Western is just standing in the parade.

Sara, thanks for sharing the useful info, especially the NCTAF study.

One correction, though: the Maryland chart shows that the upper quartile begins at AGE 53, not that 53% of our teachers are in the upper quartile of the age distribution. We certainly have a tough long-term teacher recruitment and retention challenge that we need to address, but it's not quite THAT bad!

Thanks, Dan, for pointing out my mistake. I've fixed it now.

Yes, we are retiring and some of us are NOT recommending people coming in to replace us. One must be VERY committed to the profession to enter teaching now. I know that I would have a hard time beginning to teach now with all of the extra demands on time and energy that NCLB and politics in general. Teaching is not the calling that it was even when I began teaching. Now it is more of a fallback profession and, sad to say, even money does not keep the best of the crop in the profession. I hope that circumstances will encourage a new group of teachers to take up the mantle but I don't see it happening soon.

Teacher retention should be an issue. We spend so much time focusing on the first 2 years of teaching, but what about those who have been around around for 5 to 15 years? We see signing bonuses, bumps up the salary ladder, etc. as a sign of disrespect. Its almost as if someone is saying "after 5 years we dont care, we have you right where we want you." And how many teachers (who dont necessarily want to) move into administration or out of the class room because they need more money. Families grow and needs change. I think we need to look at improving retention across the spectrum, not just in the first few years!

Thank you, Concerned Teacher. I almost neglected that aspect of the retention issue. How about those of us who have been at the top of the salary scale for years and don't get any kind of raise unless it is across the board? You are absolutely correct in saying that, particularly in BCPSS, brand new teachers get all of the attention and perks--money, computers, schedules and the like. Those of us who have been around for a while are treated like excess baggage. In fact, I have had principals tell me that I should retire so that they could hire two teachers to take my place. I know that this sounds petty but I would like to think that experience counts for something even in this day and age.

@ CT & VT

Do teachers have a shelf life? If teaching can be an all consuming profession, I wonder if there is a point were teachers lose their effectiveness? In my narrow personal experiences as a parent, most of my conflicts have come from teachers with 30+ years of "experience".

OTT--Yes, some teachers do have a shelf life. They are the ones who all of us recognize as staying past their prime. However, experience alone doesn't cause the conflict and saying that experience alone causes problems as teachers become inflexible is just as bad as saying that new teachers are ineffective because they haven't had classroom experience. Somewhere there is a balance--often hard to find.

OTT- I agree with what VT said. Some teachers do have a shelf life, just like in any other progession. There are always peole who do lose the desire, but that doesnt mean they have lost the skills. I have 12 years invested in teaching, and I still love each and every day. But even I have been through many issues that would make anyone quit and move on. With the way alot (not all) of teachers get treated, its no wonder they lose that desire. At some point its just not worth it to them, they are beat down by the same system that beats down the students!

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