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NCLB Outrages

The teacher gap: prepare now

This is such hypocritical balderdash from Standardisto editorialists. They say, "Federal funding to enhance teaching could be included in the pending reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. Even a little money would make the point that no teacher should be left behind, or alone." Indeed. NCLB has destroyed the teaching profession. What else do they want? Blood?


IN FIVE years, there's going to be a teacher shortage, Tom Carroll said Monday at a Simmons College conference. Two groups will collide: The wave of retiring baby-boom teachers will crash into the wave of teachers who exit the profession after five years or less, leaving a lot of empty desks at the front of the class. Every state faces this crisis, explains Carroll, the president of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future.

But the shortage is also an opportunity to attract new teachers by revolutionizing the teaching profession. And Massachusetts has the ingredients for innovation. It just needs political commitment.

"Good teaching is a team sport," Carroll said, arguing that teaching has to shift from the past to the future -- from the Flash Gordon model of the lone hero to a "Star Trek" model where teams get the job done.

Add better training, higher salaries, more professional development, and enhanced support in the form of mentors, coaches, and lead teachers who work with less experienced colleagues, and the result could be an exciting career that attracts new teachers and retains those with experience. They would all be well equipped to prepare students for careers that can't even be fathomed today.

Remaking the profession is a tall, and expensive, order. It requires the hard work not only of teachers, but colleges and universities that train teachers, legislators who can fund new programs, and the Department of Social Services, which is already working on placing more social workers in schools to help with students' problems -- so that teachers can focus on teaching.

More career-changers should join the team. Too often, these converts to teaching drop out because they lack the support to keep up with teaching's rigors. To succeed, they need comprehensive, on going training in everything from what to do on the first day of school to the newest research on learning styles.

Massachusetts also needs more teachers who thoroughly know and love their fields, who have high levels of competence and passion that can enliven challenging classes such as physics and trigonometry.

Federal funding to enhance teaching could be included in the pending reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. Even a little money would make the point that no teacher should be left behind, or alone.

No doubt the future will be full of unimagined careers. But future careers will also include teaching -- a field that promises to yield great things if it is wisely re imagined.

— Editorial
Boston Globe


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