Shawn Arévalo McCollough suggested retention rates as an indicator for program effectiveness, as well as addressed the urgent need for teachers with a strong background in science, technology, engineering and math, in response to “Teacher Training’s Low Grade” in The Wall Street Journal (6/22/13).
“As a former superintendent, I understand the challenge of recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers.
First, while postgraduate performance would be the ideal way to demonstrate program effectiveness, there are many factors that muddy the discussion. Without a more comprehensive study, a simple way to gauge program success could be in the retention rate of teachers by program. We know that 50% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years, and as Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “school districts should be able to make well-informed hiring choices.” Simply having information on retention rates would increase the return on investment and save districts thousands of dollars.
Second, the National Council on Teacher Quality report highlights the urgent need for teachers with a strong background in science, technology, engineering and math. We need to consider nontraditional programs and how many of these alternative pathways beyond the traditional schools of education provide a means to move career changers, veterans and others who are experts in their fields into the classroom.”