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Kilroy 5 Final Version Bohm

Kilroy 5 Final Version Bohm

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Published by Kilroy's_Delaware
Kilroy 5 Final Version Bohm
Kilroy 5 Final Version Bohm

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Published by: Kilroy's_Delaware on Apr 26, 2013
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11/23/2013

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Question 5)What is your opinion on the concerns of teacher retention? What ideas would you bring tothe table to address this crisis?
Okay, I am answering the least controversial question first! I would actually like to win this race,
Kilroy, but you have thrown me into the lion’s den. Nonetheless, you do deserve honest answers,
so here I go.Teacher retention and stability are highly correlated with student success and achievement on both domestic and international levels. Furthermore, research suggests that student
 perception
of school climate is highly correlated with student success. This means that kids need to see thesame people day in and day out, in order to build relationships of trust and longevity, andstudents also need to feel important and valuable, as do their parents. The mere perception of trust leads to heightened academic progress. This is important. Therefore, creating long-termeducator, administrative and staff stability along with a school culture which accepts andcelebrates our children
 – 
from every background
 – 
is of paramount importance.This means that not only does the school need to be stable, but that the people who work in theschool
 – 
everyone from the administrators to the custodians, from the secretaries to theeducators, to the men and women who work in the cafeteria to the bus drivers
 – 
should befamiliar with and comfortable meeting students where they are, and not judging them. This oftenrequires at least a modicum of professional training and development.Therefore it is imperative to focus on enhanced and more meaningful professional developmentfor educators. In discussing professional development with teachers, it's clear that they cravevaluable training, but I'm not sure the training opportunities we provide staff now aredifferentiated enough to meet the needs of their students. This needs to be addressed andchanged.
Embedded in Kilroy’s query regarding teacher retention is a more
 profound and perplexingquestion, one which signifies that teacher retention is not merely or even really about JUSTeducator retention, but is rather about the difficulties many experience when they are placed invery challenging work environments. Because the truth of the matter is, at the end of the day, wedo not have issues retaining teachers in work environments where we feel safe, have pleasantworking conditions, where students come from families which are abundant in resources andsupport, and where teaching is less worrisome because students enter the classroom preparedwell beyond their grade levels.
Let’s talk about the real issue. We have trouble retaining teachers who work in difficult
environments. We have trouble retaining teachers in high poverty schools. We have troubleretaining teachers in areas in which they feel physically uncomfortable. We have troubleretaining teachers who are not treated well by the administration. We have trouble retainingteachers when they have no voice.
 
The trouble we have then is not really about retention. Retention is a symptom of the problem, but not the actual root of the problem. One of the many real or root problems is concentrated poverty.
Let’s talk about that.
Could we create policy to address concentrated poverty with the desire to reduce such highlevels? I asked our previous secretary of education this very question at the University of Delaware last year, and was told that choice allowed mobility so if we did not want our kids in poor schools we could opt out of them. This however, does not solve the issue of concentrated poverty, which would still exist, regardless of 
the number “choiced” out
.
Choice, then, doesn’t really address concentrated poverty. And, for the record, I think we shouldhave educational choices (so let’s lay that baby to rest right here).
How then, can we reallyaddress the issue of concentrated poverty?
I don’t have perfect
solutions, but I do have suggestions -- and
I don’t think we need
rocketscience to find a workable plan. Why not take a school which functions below capacity, likeWarner, and place a TAG program there? Students would not be displaced, and we could draw instudents from different backgrounds and socio-economic classes to increase diversity in terms of many factors, including geography. PS DuPont has such a program, and it has been well receivedwithin the community. Not only that, but it draws in MANY students from other districts,namely Red Clay.
The time has come to stop dancing around issues. Let’s lay them bare on the table and
tacklethem one by one. It is time to be courageous. Our kids deserve the future, not the past; and I, likemany others, believe they are worth it.

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