Teaching Commission Final Report

The Teaching Commission:

The Teaching Commission, the non-profit advocacy organization founded by former IBM chairman and CEO Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., this morning released a final report urging state and local leaders to go “far further, far faster” in transforming the teaching profession. The message comes as the Commission ends its work on schedule, three years after its inception.
“If teaching remains a second-rate profession, America’s economy will be driven by second-rate skills,” said Gerstner. “We can wake up today-or we can have a rude awakening sooner than we think.”
In its final report, Teaching at Risk: Progress and Potholes [Complete PDF Report], the Commission cites significant progress since 2003-but, due to the urgency of the challenge of improving America’s skills in an increasingly competitive global economy, gives state, local and federal leaders disappointing grades for their work in four crucial areas:
Local districts. Superintendents and school boards should, among other things, “resist the pressure to continue paying teachers more money across the board without any meaningful changes in the way those increases are doled out,” and “much more attention needs to be paid to how teachers are hired, moving up timetables and eliminating transfer rights on the basis of seniority.”

They also published a companion report on state’s legislative activity [pdf report] in four areas:

  1. Compensation and Performance
  2. Skills and Preparation, and
  3. Leadership and Support

Wisconsin had no legislative activity in these areas during 2004-2005. I’ve seen a number of teachers go the extra mile (or more), whether it’s working after school hours with children who are far behind in math and reading, adding more children to a classroom to help another teacher or implementing a new curriculum better suited to student’s needs. I hope, over time, we as a society can create better compensation models for teachers. Paul Soglin has more on this.
Marjorie Passman’s words, in the comments below are well worth reading.

One thought on “Teaching Commission Final Report”

  1. Once again – you post only what you want your readers to know.
    How about this quote from the same report.
    The problem is that there aren’t enough excellent teachers. Teaching pays poorly compared to other professions that require a similar level of educational attainment. And many intelligent young people who might otherwise go into teaching in spite of the low pay are put off by the mind-numbing credentialing process.”
    Jonathan Schorr
    Writing in The Washington Monthly
    Students with the highest grades and test scores were the least likely among their peers to enroll in education classes or teacher training programs.
    “Many of the best and brightest college graduates continue to choose careers such as engineering and computer animation, where 22-year-olds can earn starting salaries of $40,000—a salary teachers in large metropolitan areas earn only after ten years of work. Until the applicant pool is enlarged to attract more talented individuals from more lucrative fields, the most critical job in America will remain in critical condition.”
    Brian Crosby
    Teacher, writing in The $100,000 Teacher
    “Recruiting better teachers for poor schools is not only the biggest issue in education but the next great frontier for social justice.”
    In fact, let’s forgo merit increases for those who teach to the new tests. Instead let’s give higher salaries to those heros who work in the inner cities of our country.
    In the past when Madison teachers wanted more than a minimum wage increase, or an across the board increase, they attended classes after school or during the summer. In essence, they learned more to teach more and then got more for it.
    This was not a perfect system but most teachers took the appropriate courses for what their needs were in the classroom and then got compensated for doing it.

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