Mr. Cirone’s March 8 op-ed piece lamenting the potential teacher shortage in California and blaming it primarily on low pay and toxic language about their profession is misleading.
The number one reason why young people have not enrolled in our teacher training programs in the same numbers as they have in the past is that most of the teachers laid off in the past 7 years, since the start of the recession, have been new teachers because of the last-hired-first-fired layoff policy. This has had a chilling effect on students contemplating teaching careers. Young people who have college and graduate school degrees are not enamored of a profession that values seniority over merit and places more emphasis on job security and stratified pay scales than performance and having your efforts and achievements recognized in a tangible way.
If the profession lacks respect by our best and brightest students, then I would suggest Mr. Cirone and other influential voices in educational policy to lobby for reforming the ridiculous tenure and seniority rules that diminish the profession and impede a culture that rewards excellence and provides a pathway for talented students to become great teachers in an entrepreneurial, risk-taking and merit-based setting. Take the shackles off and shed the bureaucratic rules and procedures, and you might be surprised to see a renewed interest in a profession that can be as exciting and rewarding as many of the other career alternatives available to our young people.
Produced for Lou Segal 2020 - All Rights Reserved.