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:
- Compensation and Performance
- Skills and Preparation, and
- 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.