To improve teacher retention, making teaching a better job

July 26, 2010 •

In this blog post for LearnMoreMN,
founding partner Joe Graba
describes this country’s decades-long effort at improving schools. While well intentioned, he says, there is a problem at a more root level preventing serious improvement.

Joe is a former teacher, state union leader, and executive in K-12 and higher education systems.

One major indicator that there is a problem is the near-50 percent attrition rate of teachers in their first five years. Citing the research of Penn professor Richard Ingersoll, Graba describes how aspects of school culture and behavior change when teachers are afforded significant control over the learning program and management of school—wondering if this is a way to improve teacher retention.

If teachers and students are the key players in schools (as research suggests), finding ways to attract and retain the best teachers for a full career should be a top priority. This can be achieved Graba argues by improving the quality and appeal of the job—putting teachers in charge of their profession and their schools. If doctors, lawyers, and accountants can form their own professional practices, why not teachers?

Image: Citizens League