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Table of Contents

    Issue Theme
  • The Big One

    Teaching about climate change

    By Bill Bigelow

    The environmental crisis requires a profound social and curricular rethinking.

  • Cover Story
  • Free A Pedagogy for Ecology

    By Ann Pelo

    Helping students build an ecological identity and a conscious connection to place opens them to a broader bond with the earth.

  • The Wonder of Nature

    By Bob Peterson

    A review of The Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, The Sense of Wonder, and A Sand County Almanac.

  • Rethinking Lunchtime

    Making lunch an integral part of education

    By Michael Stone

    Lunch is too important to be thought of as the ritual pit stop between classroom and playground.

  • Educating Heather

    First-person narratives bring climate change closer to home

    By Lauren G. McClanahan

    First-person narratives about climate change bridge the gap for students between theory and reality.

  • Teachable Moments Not Just for Kids

    By Susan Naimark

    When parents avoid connecting, they model for children how not to talk about race and racism.

  • Beat It! Defeat It! Racist Cookies

    Promoting activism in teacher education

    By Bree Picower

    How racist cookies spurred a teacher and her education students to take action.

  • "Bait and Switch"

    New report pushes voucher fans to fast-talk around problems

    By Barbara Miner

    Voucher advocates are fast-talking their way around a new report that cast doubts on the value of the program.

  • America's Army Invades Our Classrooms

    The military’s stealth recruitment of children

    The Army's new high-tech strategy for winning recruits.

  • Teaching for Joy and Justice

    By Linda Christensen

    An excerpt from Christensen's new book, Teaching for Joy and Justice: Re-imagining the Language Arts Classroom.

  • Boycott!

    Los Angeles Teachers Say NO to More Testing

    By Sarah Knopp

    Los Angeles teachers take on LAUSD's mandated tests.

  • Connected to the Community

    An effective model for preparing and retaining teachers

    By Marianne Smith, Jan Osborn

    A look inside I-Teach, an effective model for preparing and retaining teachers.

  • Izzit Capitalist Propaganda?

    By Julie Knutson

    DVDs from Izzit.org follow a familiar free-market script.

  • "It Was So Much Fun! I Died of Massive Blood Loss!"

    The problem with Civil War reenactments for children

    By Karen Park Koenig

    A mock battle highlights the line between role-playing and re-enactment.

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Connected to the Community

An effective model for preparing and retaining teachers
Connected to the Community

In 1996, California reduced class sizes in an attempt to improve reading and mathematics performance. One unanticipated consequence was the hiring of scores of novice teachers unprepared for the challenges of teaching, especially in low-income schools, and more likely to quickly leave the profession. The convergence of increased need, the retirement of record numbers of veteran teachers, and an inability to retain new teachers created a crisis.

The economic costs of teacher turnover are staggering, with the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (2007) estimated costs to schools and districts at more than $7 billion nationally.

Costs to student achievement are not as easily quantified. What is known is that novice teachers are less effective and that high-need schools serving low-income communities of color employ a disproportionate number. With little understanding of the sociocultural context and norms of low-income schools and communities, novice teachers, as noted by University of California-Davis researcher Barbara Merino (2007), are "more vulnerable to holding negative expectations for students who are English learners, or who are from a different race or class."

With data indicating that half of the nation's African American and Latino children are concentrated in segregated, high-poverty schools?schools with low achievement and high drop-out rates?employing and retaining the "right" teachers is paramount.

In Orange County, a community generally associated with palm-lined boulevards, coastal mansions, and Disneyland, students of color make up the majority of the county's public school enrollment and are segregated in low-income neighborhood schools and districts. Spanish, Vietnamese, and Cambodian are common languages in the schools, yet teachers remain predominantly monolingual and white.

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