Monthly Archives: September 2012

Some Thoughts about the Chicago Teachers’ Strike

There are enough smart people expressing their strong views about the causes and effects of the Chicago strike that I hesitate to clutter the blogosphere with additional commentary.  But I do want to share a few thoughts:

1) My sense is that the strike was symptomatic of a deep problem in American education, which I would summarize as the demise of trust brought on by the accountability movement that may have run amok.  For a slightly longer discussion, see my Education Week commentary, due out in next week’s edition and available online probably by Monday or Tuesday.  It was written before the strike began, and will appear after the strike was settled; nevertheless, I think the issues I discuss there are relevant – not just to Chicago but to the ongoing debate about evaluation and accountability.

2) With somewhat uncanny coincidence, just as the strike was ending, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching was convening a group of education policy cognoscenti for a two-day conversation about teacher evaluation.  In Tony Bryk’s opening to the conference he presented some fascinating data, drawn from the work of Richard Ingersoll and colleagues at Penn and included in recent reports of National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF).  It seems that the modal number of years teachers remain in their jobs dropped from 15 in 1987-88 to 1 in 2007-08.  That’s the national statistic; here in D.C., for example, that translates to meaning that roughly 10 percent of teachers leave teaching after one year on the job and that fewer than 5 percent have more than five or six years of experience.  For more on this issue, see the NCTAF report, “Who Will Teach? Experience Matters.”

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