Been skimming the edu blogs since President Obama’s speech and the usual suspects are taking the same angle on teachers and the jobs bill that they did in the past when we had ARRA money: we don’t really need more teachers and our worst districts already spend too much money.
Fair enough. And when I was on the district side, I agreed. But now that I am in the careers and economic space, I see things differently. This isn’t an education bill, no matter how politicians might spin it. It’s a jobs bill and our economy needs it, at least in the short-term.
Right or wrong, our colleges of education are graduating hundreds of thousands of young women who can’t find teaching jobs and aren’t prepared for and don’t want to do anything else. They are barely captured in the unemployment numbers because most have not worked enough quarters to qualify. I’ve written before about how the current state of the job market is impacting women here and it’s been in the NY TImes Ecomomix blog and Nate Silver has talked about it, too (can’t find the reference…grr).
The status quo does need to change, but we might need to do that while making sure this generation doesn’t become lost. Perhaps some accountability from the government on how the money is spent, as well as something to tame higher ed, might help.
I read this commentary from a teacher (via Joanne Jacobs) that talked about how 9.11 inspired her to be a teacher. I am surprised I haven’t read more blog posts and articles like this.
On 9/11/01, I was entering my second year as a member of the management team for the NYC Teaching Fellows, an alternative certification program for career changers who aspire to be NYC public school teachers. We were starting the recruitment process for our fifth cohort who would start teaching in fall 2002. After 9/11, we were flooded with applications- about 20,000 to be exact and more than double of what we had received the previous year. I spent much of the winter and spring reading application essays from people who wrote about how the events of that day made them want to give up their corporate career and do something “meaningful” with their lives. Applications soared at Teach for America around this time, too,
When I started my doctorate program at NYU in educational leadership in 2006, one of the topics I considered for my dissertation was the impact of 9.11 and whether enrollments increased at traditional colleges of education in NYC, too, and the impact on the teacher “shortage.” I am not sure why I abandoned that topic- it probably seemed too hard to get the data at the time. I always thought that the interest in teaching would decline as time passed, but I haven’t experienced that in my work. I think this generation of recent graduates were influenced by different values than mine, probably going back to that day. The job market influence can’t be discounted, either.