This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
Almost half of new American teachers leave the profession within five years.
Some get tired of large class sizes, limited planning time and support, and
wishing to feel more valued by society. At the same time, experts say too many
teachers lack the required knowledge of what they teach, especially math and
Criticisms of teaching are usually less about the working conditions than
about the pay. A new report calls for an immediate pay increase of fifteen to
twenty percent. It says this would lift teachers from the bottom in starting pay
The report, "Teachers and the Uncertain American Future," is from the Center
for Innovative Thought. The College Board formed this group last year with "some
of the best minds in education," in its words.
The College Board is a non-profit organization that owns the SAT college
entry test. It also administers the Advanced Placement program.
The report urges new programs to solve a crisis in the number of qualified
math and science teachers. It says less than half of students who finish high
school are ready for college-level math or science.
It says another problem is a shortage of minority teachers, to better
represent society. It says two times as many black and three times as many
Hispanic, Asian and Native American teachers are needed.
The report says the nation needs a new agreement, a "compact," with its
teachers to defend its position in the world. All this would be financed with
public and private money through a proposed "Teachers' Trust."
The suggested fifteen to twenty percent pay raise would rise to fifty
percent. Teachers would work eleven months of the year instead of ten. Excellent
teachers and those who agree to teach in troubled schools and subjects with
shortages could get extra pay.
The plan also calls for better working conditions, and more pathways into
teaching for those without traditional training.
The National Education Association is America's largest teachers union. Its
president says the proposals from the Center for Innovative Thought are nothing
Reg Weaver says schools will not improve until teachers have the support,
skills and training necessary to do their jobs. He says the surest way to end
the teacher shortage is for all teachers to receive pay that recognizes the job
they have to do.
And that's the VOA Special English Education Report,
written by Nancy Steinbach. Transcripts and archives are at
voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Faith Lapidus.