Keeping Quality Teachers Teaching

Illustration: Rob Dunleavy

For years schools in the United States have faced a teacher shortage, especially in areas such as special education, bilingual education, math and science. There has also been an alarming failure on the part of school districts to retain teachers – up to 50% of new teachers leave after five years. Moreover, studies have shown an inequitable distribution of veteran and newer teachers in districts, often reinforcing other institutional inequities based on race and class.

The impacts of the above problems are profound and unequal.

The solutions are complicated and are rooted in fundamental problems that face our public schools: inadequate and unequal funding, lack of planning and collaboration time for teachers, large class size and difficult working conditions, faulty mentoring and evaluation systems, archaic salary systems, inadequate preservice and in-service professional development, and so on.

With the financial assistance of the Ford Foundation, Rethinking Schools presents here a collection of articles from past issues of our magazine that address these complicated issues.

You can download the complete Keeping Quality Teachers Teaching
Report (3.1 MB) in PDF format.

Individual Articles:

Teaching's Revolving Door
by Barbara Miner
An overview of the crisis in teacher retention, along with an examination of some programs that are being used to address the issue. Teacher residency programs are looked at in some detail.
Rethinking Schools, Winter 2008-09, Vol. 23. 2

Reinventing Schools That Keep Teachers in Teaching
by Deborah Meier

Educator and writer reflects on her experience in what it takes for a school to keep quality teachers.
Rethinking Schools, Summer 2009, Vol. 23.4

Connected to the Community
by Marianne Smith and Jan Osborn

An effective model for preparing and retaining teachers.
Rethinking Schools, Summer 2009, Vol. 23.4

The Debate Over Differentiated Pay: The Devil is In the Details
by Barbara Miner

A nuanced examination of the multiple aspects of this issue, with particular attention paid to the perspective of teacher union leaders who are experimenting with this reform.
Rethinking Schools, Fall 2009, Vol. 24.1

Cincinnati's Teacher Union Tackles Quality
by Barbara Miner
A career ladder program that improves teacher quality.
Rethinking Schools, Winter 2005-06, Vol. 20.2

The Hows and Whys of Peer Mentoring
by Marc Osten and Eric Gidseg
Practical nuts-and-bolts information on how the authors structured and maintained a peer mentoring program in their school.
Rethinking Schools, Summer 1998, Vol. 12.4

Teachers as Learners: How Peer Mentoring Can Improve Teaching
by Marc Osten and Eric Gidseg

Two teachers describe how evaluations by their fellow teachers gave them a valuable new perspective on their teaching practice.
Rethinking Schools, Summer 1998, Vol. 12.4

Teachers Teaching Teachers
by Linda Christensen

In Portland, teachers work together to create teacher-centered professional development.
Rethinking Schools, Winter 2005-06, Vol. 20.2

Conversations on Quality: An Interview
with Gloria Ladson-Billings

by Wayne Au
Rethinking Schools, Winter 2005-06, Vol. 20.2

Summer Camp for Teachers
by S.J. Childs

An innovative professional professional development project expands the literature canon and creates multicultural curriculum in Portland, Oregon.
Rethinking Schools, Fall 2001, Vol. 16.1

Transforming Teaching (.pdf download)
by Bob Peterson

Milwaukee's teacher councils provide important lessons on district wide school reform.
Rethinking Schools, Fall 1998, Vol.13.1

Teachers Evaluating Teachers
by Barbara Miner

A look at one of the first peer review programs initiated by a local teachers union.
Rethinking Schools, Spring 1992, Vol. 6.3

Milwaukee: A Case Study
by Curtis Lawrence

A look at this Midwestern urban district shows both the promises and challenges of sustaining a movement for multicultural, anti-racist education.
Rethinking Schools, Fall 2000, Vol. 15.1

When Small is Beautiful: An Interview with Hector Calderón
by Catherine Capellaro

Rethinking Schools, Summer 2005, Vol. 19.4

Bargaining for Better Schools
by Diana Porter

One union works for meaningful small school reform.
Rethinking Schools, Summer 2005, Vol. 19.4

Creating Democratic Schools
by Deborah Meier

A democratic school culture is the best professional development.
Rethinking Schools, Summer 2005, Vol. 19.4