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