||Quoting from the NEA . . .
A historic turnover is taking place in the teaching profession. While student enrollments are rising rapidly, more than a million veteran teachers are nearing retirement. Experts predict that overall we will need more than 2 million new teachers in the next decade.
This teacher recruitment problem, which has reached crisis proportions in some areas, is most acute in urban and rural schools; for high-need subject areas such as special education, math and science, and for teachers of color.
Wanted: A Teacher Surge at Home
By Jamie McKenzie
We need a teacher surge at home instead of sending more Americans to Iraq to fight an illegal and senseless war that has provoked sectarian violence and a slide into chaos while wasting our national treasury instead of taking care of urgent domestic needs.
Across the land, we are losing teachers because NCLB/Helter-Skelter has seriously damaged schools, children and the working conditions of teachers. In the article that appeared in The Salt Lake Tribune, the emphasis is on issues of respect:
- While many teachers wish they were better paid, the bigger issue for most is respect. Teachers are sick of being saddled with more students, limited resources and matter-of-fact references to ''failing public schools.''
Ignoring the Voice of the American People
As President Bush moves towards increasing troop strength in Iraq, ignoring the voice of the American people in the most recent election, the Baker Study Commission and all that disagree with his failed policies, the nation shakes its head in bewilderment. The fumbling, incompetent continuation of his Iraq policy is shameful, in part because of the tragic loss of life and also because of distorted priorities leaving domestic needs unmet.
To send more troops now is not a "way forward." He is simply trying harder, like the Little Engine That Could. He is digging a deeper hole. More of the same failed strategies - an emphasis on military solutions to what are essentially political and cultural issues. More troops unable to speak the language will be incapable of resolving the sectarian and tribal conflicts destroying peace in the troubled land.
As the adage goes, if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem becomes a nail. The president is simply sending more of the same. Escalating the war now is an insult to the American people and a slap in the face of the democratic principles he claims to be exporting.
||Virtually every large urban school district in the country reports a shortage of qualified mathematics and science teachers, according to a study by Recruiting New Teachers Inc.
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At home we see severe neglect of domestic priorities and needs - such as schools and schooling - as he siphons funds overseas while granting tax cuts to the rich. His "bash the teachers and schools" approach to educational "reform" has hurt teacher morale, led to early retirements and caused serious recruitment problems for the states. No state has met the quality teacher standards built into NCLB.
Teachers are Key
The simple dumb idea behind NCLB/Helter-Skelter is that children will learn better if we test them annually and keep teachers' feet to the fire. The law stresses testing and punishment as the keys to growth.
Instead of improving learning results, the national test results are quite flat. And while the President points to improvements at Grade 9 most of that occurred prior to NCLB. Note article, "Flatline NAEP Scores" at http://www.nochildleft.com/2005/nov05fairtest.html
The law gives lip service to quality teachers but has created conditions that undermine the quality of the teacher work force in ways that are threatening to the nation and its future. We are seeing serious problems with recruitment, morale and retention.
- A climate of fear and punishment reduces morale and undermines the spirit and energy with which teachers must address the challenges facing them every day.
- A climate of fear and punishment leads to the early retirement of skilled teachers who know best how to improve student performance.
- The promoting of factory style textbook programs by the Ed Department along with script-based teaching strategies is insulting to professionals and leads to the early retirement of skilled teachers who know best how to improve student performance.
- The sour working conditions and climate of today's schools discourage potential teachers from applying for teaching jobs and scare them into other professions.
- The emphasis on factory-style standardization robs young children of customized instruction based on craft knowledge.