When students don’t have good
teachers, it can affect their cognitive growth — and over time
can result in measurable economic loss.
Teacher shortages, therefore, are the type of crisis that “can
put an entire society at risk,” said Nicole Smith, the chief
economist and research professor at the Georgetown University
Center on Education and the Workforce.
As state education budgets suffer during this pandemic, the teaching profession simply cannot absorb the kind of blow it took in the last recession. Teacher salaries dropped substantially then, and today, a decade later, they’re still lower on average than before the Great Recession. Morale has dropped, too, according to surveys, and turnover has risen as budgets and teacher supports decrease. We can’t afford to repeat the same mistakes in this current climate, another recession aggravated by COVID-19.
In April, my mom called me with the news that my high school
chemistry teacher, Mr. Metcalfe, who was rounding out his 42nd
year of teaching, had died from COVID-19. I knew him from class,
of course, but I also went to school with his son for 13
years and his family attended my grandparent’s church.
He was respected, loved and honored for his excellent teaching.
His funeral was an all-day parade of cars through the high school
parking lot, where community members waved and shouted
condolences to his family. My mom said the cars stretched down
the street for miles.
The SREB Teacher Preparation Commission called on state leaders to adopt practice-based assessments. These tests assess candidates’ readiness to lead a classroom and to apply lessons learned during coursework and clinical experiences.
Practice-based assessments have diagnostic value, meaning they provide performance data that educator preparation programs can use to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. State agencies could use the assessment data to determine how they will provide technical assistance to preparation programs.