Adam Jordan and Todd Hawley take on teacher attrition in a recent piece in the Bitter Southerner. Here’s some of what they have to say:
Teachers are not burning out. They’re being burned. Teachers are not quitting the profession because they don’t love teaching. They quit because their profession is being devalued by exploitative public policies and a lack of fundamental investment — both monetary and societal. Teachers are not failing. The public is. We are.
Our problem is not burnout. Our problem is lack of political action. Government’s neglect of education has so soured the soil that newly planted teachers cannot flourish. We act as if teachers are to blame because they do not persist, despite the ridiculously bad conditions. We act as if teachers should just “focus” their way out of situations in which they cannot thrive.
Listen. To. Teachers. Ask them to talk about why they or their colleagues leave the profession. They will tell you. And when you finish listening, act. Write the letters and make the phone calls until those you elect understand that you intend to hold them accountable for what they do — or fail to do — to keep our teachers in the classroom.
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