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Volume 17, Number 4
July/August 2001

Retaining the Next Generation of Teachers

The Importance of School-Based Support


Throughout the United States, school officials are either anticipating or already experiencing a teacher shortage. The projected need to fill 2.2 million vacancies by 2010 will be intensely felt in high-poverty schools and in certain subjects (math, science, and foreign languages) and programs (bilingual and special education). Recognizing this, policymakers are devising ways to make teaching more attractive, and the competition for high-quality teachers is fierce. Recruiters in various districts can now waive preservice training, offer signing bonuses, forgive student loans, and even provide mortgage subsidies or health club memberships. While such strategies may well increase the supply of new teachers to schools, they provide no assurance of keeping them there, for they are but short-term responses to long-term challenges.

The challenge of attracting and retaining quality teachers is heightened by increased pressure for district and school accountability, often in the form of high-stakes testing and mandated curricular standards. In response to these mandates, districts are introducing reforms and initiatives at a frenetic pace. As a result, new teachers are struggling to learn their craft in dynamic and frequently chaotic environments.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


Also by this Author

    For Further Information

    For Further Information

    R.M. Ingersoll. A Different Approach to Solving the Teacher Shortage Problem (Teaching Quality Policy Brief No. 3). Seattle: University of Washington, Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, 2001.

    S.M. Johnson. "Teaching's Next Generation." Education Week, June 7, 2000: 48, 33.

    S.M. Kardos, S. M. Johnson, H.G. Peske, D. Kauffman, and E. Liu. "Counting on Colleagues: New Teachers Encounter the Professional Cultures of Their Schools." Educational Administration Quarterly 37, no. 2 (April 2001): 250-290.

    S.M. Johnson and S.M Kardos. "Keeping New Teachers in Mind." Educational Leadership 59, no. 6 (March 2002): 12-16.

    D. Kauffman, S.M. Johnson, S.M. Kardos, E. Liu, and H.G. Peske. "'Lost at Sea': New Teachers' Experiences with Curriculum and Assessment." Teachers College Record 104, no. 2 (March 2002): 273-300.

    H.G. Peske, E. Liu, S.M. Johnson, D. Kauffman, and S.M. Kardos. "The Next Generation of Teachers: Changing Conceptions of a Career in Teaching." Phi Delta Kappan 83, no. 4 (December 2001): 304-311.

    Other useful resources:

    National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future
    , Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 W. 120th St., Box 117, New York, NY 10027; 212-678-4153; fax: 212-678-4039.

    National Council on Teacher Quality.

    Education Week. “Quality Counts 2000: Who Should Teach?