Recently the Pittsburgh Public Schools announced a decision to use Teach for America to recruit teachers for math and science positions (“City Board Joins Teacher Hiring Plan, Shutters Woolslair,” Nov. 27).
Our region has a number of teacher preparation programs that have the capability to train students with deep content knowledge and teaching skills of math and science, especially for urban and underserved student populations.
However, we must design a teacher training process as a continuous investment in education human capital development.
What is missing is visionary leadership and calculated risk-taking behavior that can effectively bring together all stakeholders to “break the mold” in how we prepare people to become effective teachers for all students. Quick-fix responses, like Teach for America, are not effective solutions.
Teaching all students is a complex task that requires a commitment to a continuous education/improvement process by all partners. Districts will need to strive to develop pay/promotion systems that are designed to achieve a more skilled and effective teacher workforce. These competency pay/promotion systems contain explicit sets of progressively articulated, research-based rubrics which teachers demonstrate to earn promotions and pay increases, not on the number of years worked.
Also, districts need to address the conditions in which all teachers work. We must strive to strengthen or create those conditions that support teachers giving their best efforts to succeed and increase teacher commitment to teach the same students over multiple years.
City Charter High School stands ready to help build these solutions with committed partners in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania. We have 12 years of successful experience with competency-based teacher promotion systems and the looping of teachers with the same students over multiple years.
Do we care enough about our children to do it ourselves?
City Charter High School