Wednesday, December 05, 2007

While the nation's largest school districts scramble for teachers, it's 4th largest (Miami) locks up it best and brightest

Besides the economic crisis bubbling just below the surface of our sunbaked landscape where more than 71,000 residential property owners in Miami-Dade and Broward failed to pay property taxes for 2006, there is another one ready to burst forth in education. As we reported earlier:
  • Florida "will need 12,000 more teachers per year than are projected to be supplied (italics included)."
  • Increasing numbers of teachers are entering retirement,
  • Pre-retirement-- 9% of new teachers quit in their first year while 1-out-5 quit within the first 3 years,
  • Reasons for teachers leaving:
    Low salaries are at the top of the list,
    Lack of support from the administration,
    Student discipline issues,
    Lack of input and decision making powers.

You would think that any school district would want to do everything in its power to hold on to its best and brightest teachers.

Not here where there is a penchant for disciplining activist teachers by removing them from the classroom. Here they punish them for doing their job. Beloved Spanish teacher Patrick "Taz" Williams has been out of the classroom for six weeks now, removed because he had the temerity to question his principal. He works with kids most teachers would have given up on. And they love him. So do their parents. What a loss.

And while Williams sits in a "very cold" room in a building far away from his students, Rudy Crew, the $350,000 a year Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Schools, entrenches deeper in his downtown 9th floor office, spending thousands of dollars on new security measures to keep, along with those who have threatened his life, critics and the public at bay.

UpDate (5/15/08): 6,400 south Florida high school kids (that's 1 in 5 Dade seniors) won't graduate this spring because they couldn't pass FCAT. Considering what it takes to pass-- students don't even have to show they are working at a 10th-grade level (passing scores are lower than that)-- it's worse than you can imagine.

UpDate (9/11/08): After months of heated acrimony between Crew and some members of the board, he resigns under pressure with the board buying out his contract for $368,000.

UpDate (9/12): Alberto Carvalho, a former teacher in the Dade County schools, accepts the board's offer to become its next superintendent.

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