Responding to Jerry Becker's post dt. Feb 4, 2013 10:17 PM (the original appears below my signature for ready reference):
This is rather a frightening story for any teacher (prospective or current). > > ... if the growing incidence of false allegations is > the "elephant in the room" that no one wants to talk > about, it's not the only problem. > Other frustrations for teachers include low social > status, relatively low salary levels, the lack of merit > pay and a sense of failure, he said. > How is the teacher even to TRY to teach devotedly if his/ her first problem is to worry about possible false allegations of 'improper conduct' (the "elephant in the room")? Teaching so as to enable children to learn effectively is complex enough an issue!
Not to mention all the 'other frustrations' to which the article draws our attention: - -- low social status; - -- relatively low salary levels; - -- lack of merit pay; - -- a sense of failure.
Why should any reasonably bright and ambitious young person even bother to enter such a field?
Another issue, not mentioned in the article, is that the field of education is continuingly beset by unthinking calls to "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!" - which carries the implication that every teacher who joins a union is a member of this infamous 'Education Mafia'.
We observe that the people making these calls attacking the so-called 'Education Mafia' do not, when discussing political issues and problems, issue strident calls to "PUT THE POLITICAL MAFIA IN JAIL!" - which would carry the implication that practically ALL politicians (belonging to the 'left' and to the 'right') should be put in jail.
Likewise, they do not shout "PUT THE BUSINESS MAFIA IN JAIL!" - which would imply that practically every businessperson should be put in jail.
The story should even more frighten parents (assuming that they're at all interested in ensuring an effective education for their children).
When bright and devoted young people do not opt in sufficient numbers for the teaching profession as the career of choice, then you will soon have only third-rate teachers available to teach your children!
I observe that the article has usefully drawn our attention to a sizable number of issues that should be of real concern to all genuinely interested in/involved with education - but it has not suggested any practical means of resolving such issues.
I suggest that it is high time that all stakeholders in the education system should get together to discuss the issues of concern (*EFFECTIVELY* - with the intention of actually resolving them, or, at least of moving towards real resolution).
The conventional modes available to discuss the complex issues confronting us are not effective - as is seen by the ineffectiveness of practically all discussions and debates on these complex issues.
Almost every discussion in any forum(*) gets derailed by issues that are rarely if ever placed in proper context.
(*Here at Math-teach; at practically each and every forum conducted using the conventional model of discussion. For instance, here at Math-teach we have the call to "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!"
(Likewise, at other fora using the conventional mode of debate, the real issues of concern are rarely if ever addressed or resolved effectively).
Remarkably enough, there DO exist effective means to discuss the complex issues we need to resolve.
If stakeholders in 'education' are actually interested in *effectively* resolving the complex issues most usefully brought to our attention by this article "Too many teachers are quitting, experts warn", some effective means of discussing such complex issues are described in outline at the attachments with the post at http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=2419536 ).
GSC ("Still Shoveling!") Jerry Becker posted Feb 4, 2013 10:17 PM: > > ******************************* > From The Montreal Gazette, Friday, February 1, 2013. > . See > http://www.canada.com/mobile/iphone/story.html?id=7907 > 873 > ******************************* > Too many teachers are quitting, experts warn > > By Janet Bagnall > > False allegations of misconduct are one element in a > toxic brew of > problems driving an extraordinary number of teachers > out of the > education field, say educational experts. > > "Across North America, nearly half of all new > teachers leave the > field within five years," said Jon G. Bradley, > associate professor of > education at McGill University. In Alberta, one of > the few provinces > to collect data, the figure is 40 per cent within > five years. Figures > for Quebec were not available, but believed to be > similar to the > North American average. > > The education field is in crisis, said Bradley. "It's > almost as > though we're doing everything in our power to > discourage these fully > trained, committed people from making teaching a > career," he said. > But if the growing incidence of false allegations is > the "elephant in > the room" that no one wants to talk about, it's not > the only problem. > Other frustrations for teachers include low social > status, relatively > low salary levels, the lack of merit pay and a sense > of failure, he > said. > > "Any other profession that had that kind of turnover > would look at > working conditions, would look at salaries and other > things > surrounding the teaching environment," said Joel > Westheimer, > university research chair and professor at the > University of Ottawa's > faculty of education. "Instead, in education, we > bring up talk about > testing teachers and linking their pay to the > students' performance. > I mean, can you imagine Microsoft suffering a crisis > because there > were not enough programmers going into the profession > and leaving > after the first five years? Would (the company's) > response be to > increase salaries, recruit better people, change > working conditions > so that they could work in different places, have > free soda and free > lunches? Or would it test them?" > > Bradley said teachers have been left defenceless in > the face of > unfair pressures and accusations. "We're all worried > about bullying > in schools, but what about parents bullying teachers? > What about > principals bullying teachers? It's not a > collaborative workplace. We > live these lies (in schools), that everybody loves > children and > therefore we all have to be nice people." But schools > are not nice > places, said Bradley. "Learning is hard work," he > said. Students are > pushed and challenged and they don't always want to > be. > > Parents, teachers and school administrators ideally > should all be > working together with a clear understanding that > "when we turn our > children over to a school, we do so on the > understanding that they're > doing the best job they can with the resources they > have," said > Bradley. Instead, teachers, especially male teachers, > are left alone > to confront sometimes fantastic allegations. > > It is now standard practice to warn teachers to never > touch students. > British music teachers were told in 2010 by their > union not even to > reposition pupils' hands on an instrument. When the > British education > secretary complained that this directive played to a > "culture of fear > among adults and children," the union refused to > change it, saying > careers had been ruined by false allegations. > > The tragedy, said Westheimer, is that at the same > time as the first > false allegations came out, in the 1980s, so did > research showing > that children learn better when they feel cared for > by their > teachers. A U.S. study from 1986 found that in > classes where a > teacher touched students when congratulating them on > results or > behaviour, students' disruptive behaviour dropped by > 60 per cent. > > Bradley, who has been in education for nearly 45 > years, worries that > with no "exit interviews" for departing teachers, no > one is gathering > information on why the field is hemorrhaging its > newest recruits. > > "It's not just one thing you can fix," he said. "It's > a whole series. > It's an attitudinal view of the place of school and > the role of > teachers in our society. And I don't think we're > prepared to engage > that. That's what scares me." > -------------------------------- > PHOTO SIDEBAR: Frustrations for teachers include low > social status, > relatively low salary levels, the lack of merit pay > and a sense of > failure, says Jon G. Bradley, associate professor of > education at > McGill University. Photographed by: Marie-France > Coallier, The Gazette > -------------------------------- > firstname.lastname@example.org > ************************************************ > -- > Jerry P. Becker > Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction > Southern Illinois University > 625 Wham Drive > Mail Code 4610 > Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 > Phone: (618) 453- to which4241 [O] > (618) 457-8903 [H] > Fax: (618) 453-4244 > E-mail: email@example.com