Is Making Teaching 'Cool' the Secret to Retaining High Quality Teachers?

Texas continues to have trouble attracting young people to become teachers, and to keep teachers interested in teaching after five or six years. So, will trying to make the profession 'cooler' help?

News Radio 1200 WOAI reports that is the goal of a new program being launchd by the State Board of Education. One create more ways that teachers can advance in their career.

"If there is not an opportunity to advance, it there aren't any heightened levels of accomplishment, it will be hard to convince prosective teachers that there is growth for you in this profession."

Teachers unions have long opposed the concept of creating the rank of 'master teachers' and paying them more. The unions advocate for more pay and better working conditions for all teachers, complaining that 'master teachers' would be graded more on how they do the bidding of school administrators, instead of on factors like coming up with innovative ways to improve classroom performance.

The SBOE says the state needs to tackle the reasons why experienced teachers leave the classroom.

"They leave for working conditions. They also leave for effectiveness, and career progress."

The SBOE pointed out that, for example, tech firms have used new types of offices, new in house 'perks,' and changing traditional employee-employer interactions to make their jobs appealing to Millennials.

Several studies have shown that the state's biggest challenge is in keeping high quality teachers in the classroom after they have been teaching for six or seven years. As many as half of the teachers at any given public schoolhave fewer than seven years experience. Especially in today's strong job market, where teachers, especially math, science, and English as a second language teachers, possess skills which can bring them substantially more money, and frequently heightened professional success, working for private industry.

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