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Report Outlines Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Teachers

To attract and keep the best educators, the teaching profession must evolve to offer a "staged" career trajectory, where teachers can move up in the profession without switching to administrative roles, according to a new report from Pearson's Research and Innovation Network and the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY).

The report, "Creating Sustainable Teacher Career Pathways: A 21st Century Imperative," describes recent initiatives at the local, state, and national level that promote teacher career advancement and provides a state-by-state analysis of current and proposed approaches for promoting teacher leadership.

According to the report, nearly half of the nation's teachers plan to retire over the next decade, so it's imperative to attract talented young people to the profession. Members of Generation Y (those born between 1977 and 1995) expect workplace flexibility, collaborative work environments, and differentiated roles and compensation systems. To attract and retain these new teachers, the profession needs to change to accommodate their expectations.

The report's recommendations for the state and national levels include:

  • Advocating for federal and state legislation and grant programs that support new school staffing structures and leadership roles for teachers;
  • Implementing state-level guidelines for standards-based assessment and teacher evaluation systems that create the groundwork for differentiated career paths and compensation systems; and
  • Developing and disseminating model teacher career continuums with input from excellent teachers as well as other stakeholders in the design, implementation, communication, and refinement of the model.

The report's recommendations for the local level include:

  • Reexamining district human resource policies to see if they are recruiting teachers who are high academic achievers;
  • Taking advantage of technology in extending the reach of highly effective teachers; and
  • Rethinking the one teacher/one classroom organization of schools to facilitate new staffing structures that differentiate roles of teachers and extend the reach of highly effective teachers.

"Teaching has been called the flat profession — one in which the main opportunity for career advancement is for teachers to leave the classroom to enter administration," said Katherine Bassett, executive director and CEO of NNSTOY, in a prepared statement. "By establishing true career continuums for teachers, we can create the conditions that will further student learning and increase the effectiveness of all teachers while increasing teacher retention."

The complete report, "Creating Sustainable Teacher Career Pathways: A 21st Century Imperative," can be found at researchnetwork.pearson.com/teacherpathways.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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