Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Thursday, February 25, 2021

DCPS creates problems, then wonders why there are problems.

One-sixth of DCPS teachers leave from year to year. Where there are many reasons teachers leave, the lion's share of why they do has to fall on the shoulders of the district. Bad leadership and bad policies have led to this exodus.   

The Times Union recently reported on a JPEF study about teacher recruitment and retention. If the article seems familiar, it's because a variation of it comes out every three to four years.  

From the Times Union, 

In an analysis of three years of data from the school district, Jacksonville Public Education Fund revealed that Duval County's teacher retention rate is about 84 percent year-to-year across the entire district and about 75 percent year-to-year in the average school. The district said these numbers are on pace with national statistics… 

…Jacksonville Public Education Fund's research also showed that higher-performing schools with lower grades have teachers with less experience and schools with more students that are eligible for free and reduced lunch experience less teacher retention than schools with fewer students eligible for free and reduced lunch. 

The article had more to do with recruiting minority males to the district, a worthwhile endeavor, but I thought these two passages pertained most to DCPS’s ongoing issues.  

First, I am blown away that it is only 1 in 6 that leaves annually, but who wants to bet that number is about to go up.   

Then schools with teachers with less experience don’t do as well, um, well duh. This isn’t an indictment of young teachers either. They just don’t know what they don’t know, plus we often overwhelm them with extra tasks and, if we are honest, some of the hardest classes. We bind their hands and feet and throw them into the deep end. It's no wonder that many leave shortly after arriving. 

Younger teachers usually go where the jobs are, and the jobs are often at the economically disadvantaged schools, where gains are slow and small.  

So does the district assist them with academic and behavioral supports, make their classes smaller, take tasks off their plates? Nope, nope and nope, they are treated the same as ten-year veterans for the most part.  

It gets worse, though, because the district actively recruits teachers through Teach for America, spending thousands of dollars on each, and they know the vast majority won’t stay past their two-year commitment. Heck, the last stat I saw said about one in six; imagine that they do not even finish that commitment. The district is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a program that does the opposite of what we know our most vulnerable children need, which exacerbates the turnover rate. How does that make any sense? The answer is it does not.  

When teachers leave, there is no exit interview to find out why and I believe the district does not want to know. They do not want to hear about bullies masquerading as administrators, the soul-crushing workloads, and the lack of support. No, because if they knew definitively about those things, they might feel obligated to do something. 

Some good news and bad news. The good news is these problems are solvable; the bad news is that we don’t have a district interested in doing so. 

1 comment:

  1. I think the other problem is the Teacher Certification process. Good teachers on a 3 year temporary certificate can not pass all the requirements in those 3 years and are forced out. Because I think the certification process is too strict. President Obama could not even teach a class about politics in Florida public schools because I don't think he could pass all the certification requirements.

    An English teacher needs to pass a math test? A math teacher needs to pass a English Grammar test?

    Even good teachers with Masters Degrees can not pass the essay test. If a person graduates from a Florida University, why do they need to take any other test than the subject area test for the subject that they want to teach? If a person wants to be an English teacher, then they should only need to have a University Degree and take and pass the English grammar subject area test only.

    In World War II, the United States needed airplane pilots. The requirement was that a piloted needed a College degree. However, the United States still could not get enough pilots. So, the United States adjusted the requirement to a Two Year Degree. Still, the United States could not get enough pilots, so the United States adjusted the requirement to a High School Diploma. Then the United States had enough pilots for the war. Many of those High School Diploma pilots perform very, very well.

    I am not asking that the State of Florida hire teachers with only a High School Diploma, but I am asking the State of Florida to stop making a English Grammar Teacher to take and pass a math test.