Interesting news in the New York Times. This article details how the baby boomer generation of teachers is going to retire and take large numbers of teachers out of the pool. Aggravating this situation are the large numbers of rookie teachers who leave the profession within 5 years. According to the chart given, 50% of the teachers in Washington State are 50 and over.
From the article:
"Over the next four years, more than a third of the nation’s 3.2 million teachers could retire, depriving classrooms of experienced instructors and straining taxpayer-financed retirement systems, according to a new report."
“The traditional teaching career is collapsing at both ends,” the report says. “Beginners are being driven away” by low pay and frustrating working conditions, and “accomplished veterans who still have much to contribute are being separated from their schools by obsolete retirement systems” that encourage teachers to move from paycheck to pension when they are still in their mid-50s, the report says.
To ease the exodus, the report says, policy makers should restructure schools and modify state retirement policies so that thousands of the best veteran teachers can stay on in the classroom to mentor inexperienced teachers. Reorganizing schools around what the report calls learning teams, a model already in place in some schools in Boston, could ease the strain on pension systems, raise student achievement and help young teachers survive their first, often traumatic years in the classroom, it says."
This issue seems to reflect the thinking behind merit pay for teachers by both the Obama administration and the Gates Foundation. I really like the idea of having more experienced teachers stay on to mentor less experienced teachers. The state of New Mexico has a whole tiered system. I haven't read the whole thing but the point is that one state is already trying it.
I don't think it's a "the sky is falling" situation but clearly, something needs to change in how we create, keep and support good teachers.