In response to my last post, a friend asked me how I can possibly say that the National Education Association (NEA) facilitated the impending teacher shortage. First, to address the teacher shortage, there are plenty of statistics to support it and it will get continually worse as the babyboomers retire. In 2007, 49% of all teachers were over the age of 50.
To clarify, I never labeled the NEA as the ’cause’ of the teacher shortage, but a group that ‘facilitated’ some of the causes of the shortage. As to how they facilitated it, I have a simple response.
Over the past few decades the NEA has taken an aggressive stance on how poorly educators are paid. This stance has never relented and has always been a centerpiece of their message; even at this hour. Now, I’m not disagreeing with why the NEA began with this message decades ago and championed it for years. However, I am disagreeing with the NEA being less than honest with the great gains that compensation plans for educators have made.
I believe the NEA’s powerful and ever-present message that emphasizes the weakness of compensation plans and professional opportunities for teachers has deterred the best and brightest young Americans from joining the teaching ranks over the past two decades.
As a personal example, in 1994, when I graduated from Johns Hopkins University, I enrolled in the school’s Masters of Art in Teaching program. My goal was to be a teacher. There was not a person in my life, including past teachers, that encouraged me. In fact, many of them outright told me I’d never make it financially on a teacher’s compensation plan.
I have several friends who encountered the very same onslaught of discouragement and deterrence. Those people who influenced me at such a young age really knew nothing about teaching and their compensation except to know about what the NEA lobbyist messages portrayed through so many different mouthpieces; the media, politicians, union representatives, etc.
If I knew then what I know today, it is likely I’d have become a teacher/public educator. What I know today is that I’d be making over 6 figures ($100,000+) because I would have aspired to be an administrator. I would also have 17 years toward a fantastic retirement plan nobody enlightened me to when I was thinking about teaching. If I didn’t become an administrator, I would have had a good teacher’s salary and the ability to significantly augment my income through coaching and athletic summer camps. I could have easily made a good life.
I don’t regret not becoming a teacher because I found another pathway in education through private endeavors (though being so close to retirement isn’t in that equation.) But, I do know friends who left the idea of an education career behind and headed to Wall Street, medical school, law school, etc. What a shame and waste of teaching and education talent.
In one clean statement, I believe the NEA has convinced America that teachers are starving and there is absolutely no pathway to prosperity through a teaching career; therefore, young Americans over the past two decades have kept away from the profession. This has contributed to a very real teacher shortage.
Posted in Teacher Recruitment | Tagged accountability, classroom, compensation, education, instructional, k-12, k12, NEA, no child left behind, policies, retention, retirement, salaries, school, school districts, school executives, shortage, talent, teacher shortage, teachers, union | 7 Comments »
To put it very simply, I am very concerned about the amount of debt young adults are taking on in order to get a college degree. This post explains why financing a college degree may be a horrible financial decision.
An article put out by the Associted Press last week, highlighted the case of a student in Oklahoma who decided to become a welder instead of pursuing a four year college degree. Here is an excerpt that gives the gist of the article:
[Kate Hodges] has a 3.5 grade-point-average, a college savings account and a family tree teeming with advanced degrees. But in June, Hodges is headed to the Tulsa Welding School in Oklahoma, where she hopes to earn an associate’s degree in welding technology in seven months.
“They fought me so hard,” she said, referring to disappointed family members. “They still think I’m going to college.”
This article came out just as I finished reading a blog post at diyubook.com by Anya Kamenetz. She reports an analysis of her friend in a post titled, “Are For-Profits peddling Subprime Education?” This post helps explain why college for all may be exactly what sets up the Millenials for a life that begins with financial ruin:
My friend argued forcefully that this situation is highly reminiscent of the mortgage crisis: that these colleges are peddling yet another false promise of the American Dream, in this case, the college diploma part of the dream, not the homeownership part, to those who are truly not qualified to take advantage of it. That their graduates and especially their non-graduates will have a very hard time pulling in salaries commensurate with their debt. Yet unlike the hapless homeowners, they can’t go into foreclosure or walk away from their debt under any circumstances, and so they’ll be stuck all their lives.
In the following video interview, Anya also provides an excellent summary of the analogy between the cost of higher education and the cost of healthcare and the runaway financial debacle caused by the real estate bubble bursting:
So, is Miss Kate Hodges from Oklahoma really making a bad decision? I think not. I bet she is incredibly smart with a very bright future doing something she wants to do and on her terms. Passion still matters!
Posted in College, Transition to Post K-12, Vocations | Tagged Higher Education | Leave a Comment »
To make it short and sweet, Wisconsin is getting all the attention while Idaho has already gone and done it.
From the Associated Press and on Edweek.org:
The Idaho Senate passed legislation Thursday to eliminate tenure for new teachers and restrict collective bargaining, while also voting on a separate bill to introduce merit pay.
Both measures passed on 20-15 votes, with eight Republicans breaking GOP ranks and joining Democrats in opposition to the legislation during a five-hour marathon session.
The bills are among three pieces of legislation that make up public schools chief Tom Luna’s plan to overhaul the K-12 education system. The plan was unveiled in January and has so far dominated the 2011 session, with the Idaho Senate serving as an initial battleground.
Idaho Senate Passes Contentious School Reform Bills.
Many people were not happy, and a teacher showed up at the state Superintendent Tom Luna’s 71 year-old mother’s house to express dismay. Someone also vandalized Luna’s truck with spray paint and slashed tires. It’s getting intense out there!
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »
The debacle in Wisconsin this past week provides a perfect platform to study how education has become a ‘hot mess’ in the United States. Over the last 15 years I’ve developed many theories on ways to improve education in the United States. My head has been spinning this past week with an overload of thoughts like, “See, this is what happens when….” I can fill in the blank with a dozen different thoughts. So, over the next couple weeks, I’m not going to focus on the exact issues in Wisconsin, like collective bargaining rights. But, on the solutions that should be brought to the table.
These are the top issues I’ll focus on:
- How to undo the National Education Association (NEA)’s facilitation of a teacher shortage and the belief that teachers are grossly under-compensated.
- How the Wisconsin situation offers the perfect storm for the emergence of e-learning solutions and online education in K-12.
- How school districts can counter the Federal government’s gain of control over local school district behavior and action by attacking contradicting policies and behaviors.
- How to recruit and maintain top level talent, such as those that would otherwise be doctors or attorneys, to the education field.
Please subscribe and offer as many comments as you wish. What else would you want me to address in this series?
Posted in College, Large, technology, Ugly, Urban School Districts | Tagged classroom, Classroom Technology, compensation, education, innovation, k-12, K-12 solutions, no child left behind, policies, reform, retention, salaries, school, school districts, school executives, schoolets, solutions, superintendent, talent, teachers, training | 1 Comment »