Buddhism teaching

Quality education and cheap labor do not mix

When it comes to teaching, there is a common saying: “Those who can, do; those who cannot, teach. This perception of the profession in the United States makes it an unattractive area. This could explain why public schools have been haunted by staffing issues for decades.

WE schools have suffered from a continuous loss of teachers. Each year, 8% of public schools teachers leave the profession completely and 8% of them move between schoolsaccording to the Learning Policy Institute. Teachers quitting their jobs is detrimental to the quality of staff schools and, ultimately, the academic performance of students.

But why is there a high turnover rate in public schools? According to a study by Geoffrey D. Borman and N. Maritza Dowling, teachers often quit due to dissatisfaction with policies that affect the way they do their jobs, low pay and working conditions.


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In 2001, the WE Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Actwhich emphasizes “individual student achievement and school performance.” Since then, test-based accountability reform has attempted to maintain teachers responsible for student performance in exams. Under pressure to reach skill levels, teachers reported experiencing burnout and test-related stress, leading many to quit their jobs. In underperforming cities schoolswhere students tend to get lower grades, the teacher the turnover rate is higher than in suburban establishments.

Low wages, which often do not match the cost of living in urban areas, compound the problem. In Singapore, where the turnover rate is six times lower than in United States, teacher salaries were 30% higher than the national salary average in 2019. WEthis figure was 17%.

As a result, many low wages teachers in the United States doing part-time jobs to make ends meet. Take on heavy school tasks and a second or even a third job can lead to fatigue. A tired and distracted teacher is less likely to deliver quality lessons. They may not have more time to help underachieving students or communicate well with parents. Such working conditions lead to an inequitable distribution of teacher quality. In turn, the results of students who need extra help in their learning are affected.

The CAN approach

High turnover must be tackled. To do this, a compensation, evaluation and networking (CAN) approach would lead to teachers stay in the business.

First, when teachers with marketable skills are unhappy with low wages that don’t fairly compensate for their job stress, it’s natural for them to quit. The simple way to solve this problem is to increase teacher wages. It is not difficult to understand that teachers who are paid a meager amount and are forced to take on test performance responsibilities intend to resign.

It is ironic that federal and state governments are calling for education but are unwilling to invest in hiring quality staff teachers. The argument against this is that there is a lack of funding available. Nevertheless, it is not the case. The money is available but has been misplaced. Since 2017, school districts spent an average of $10,000 to $26,500 to fill vacancies left by each departure teacher. If that money is instead invested in offering better wages, teachers would think twice before leaving in the first place. If a faucet is dripping, it’s wiser to fix the problem rather than letting more water go down the drain.

Second, standardized test only partially examines the knowledge that students acquire through school. Test results are highly volatile and can be affected by the student’s socio-economic background, English proficiency, and even mood on exam days. Using students’ ad hoc performance is not an appropriate way to measure teaching quality. Holding teachers responsible for various factors that could affect grades is unfair.

A more comprehensive evaluation system for teachers is on the agenda. The current model that focuses on test results needs to be replaced with one that also looks at other important goals. Besides grades, education helps equip students with socio-emotional learning skills. It is essential that children understand their own emotions, deal with negative emotions and develop empathy with the help of their teacher. These life skills are often not tested or even measured, but they make a huge difference in a student’s future. Such an approach would better reflect the effectiveness of teaching.

Third, newly qualified teachers have the highest turnover rate. Mentorship programs, especially those that cater to both experienced and novice teachers in the same field, are particularly important. These programs provide networking opportunities to help new teachers integrate into school culture and acclimatize to teaching protocols.

Teachers important for a child education. Children spend a lot of time schools during their formative years. The quality of education not only affects a student’s academic performance, but also strongly influences their outcomes in life. It’s time to stop caring teachers like cheap, high-quality labor. High quality labor is not cheap and cheap labor is not high quality.

*[Updated on June 6, 2021, at 17:00 GMT.]

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Fair Observer.