The New Recruits
“If I were in college and thinking about being a teacher I would have some serious second thoughts.”
This was one anonymous response to a story in Ed Week about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s proposals to revamp the state’s schools. The plan includes expanding charter schools, tying teacher evaluations to students’ test scores, and setting aside salary schedules and tenure rules. Predictably, the head of the Louisiana Association of Educators called the plan “anti-public education and teacher bashing.”
In state after state, battle lines are being drawn between state government and teachers’ organizations. As states find themselves forced to reduce funding for public education, lawmakers are looking to unions for concessions. In addition, suddenly legislators are interested in what exactly they’re getting for the money they’ve poured into schools over the years. Facing concessions or mass lay-offs, teachers’ associations are finding themselves vulnerable to changes that were unthinkable just a couple of years ago.
Clearly the landscape of public education is changing. So I’m wondering, will young people have second thoughts about becoming teachers? Is the possibility of losing your job in a school turnaround enough to dissuade college students from entering the profession? Or will the hard challenge of accountability for improving kids’ achievement attract a different kind of student to the teaching ranks?