District Administration - June 2010 - (Page 58)

HUMAN RESOURCES New teachers in the Bering Strait (Alaska) School District (BSSD) arrive in Unalakleet for an inservice which will help them adjust to teaching in Bush Alaska. Right, Little Diomede Island, where some students in the BSSD live, is located in the Bering Strait, near Russia. Persuading Teachers to Go Rural District administrators craft incentives to attract and retain teachers. BY ALAN DESSOFF W ITH A NATIONAL teacher shortage projected to start peaking this year as baby boomers retire and budget shortfalls restrict state and local funding for teachers, rural school districts are working to keep the teachers they have while seeking new ones at little if any additional cost. More than 100,000 veteran teachers could leave their jobs in the 2010-2011 school year, according to a report, “Learning Teams: Creating What’s Next,” prepared in 2008 by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. More than half the nation’s teachers—1.7 million—are baby boomers and could be gone in less than a decade, the report says. Meanwhile, schools face the possible reality of eliminating an unprecedented number of teaching jobs for the same school year, according to a survey of superintendents released in May by the American Association of School Administrators. e retirements alone will compound problems rural districts already face. Rural and small-town districts are “uniquely challenged” by shrinking tax bases and difficulty in recruiting and, even more so, retaining great teachers, especially in shortage areas like STEM as well as special education and English as a second language, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan stated in February at the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education. e obstacles for rural districts are greatest in the 900 high-poverty rural districts identified in 17 mostly southern and western states across the country, from North Carolina and West Virginia to Arizona and California, says Marty Strange, policy program director at the Rural School and Community Trust. Of the roughly 1.4 million students that those 900 districts serve, 37 percent are socio-economically disadvantaged and 59 percent are students of color, according to the report, “Why Rural Matters,” that the Trust released in November. e study concludes that rural students in states with more rural poverty and socio-economic diversity have lower scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress exams and state tests. “It’s like a third-world country in some of these places,” Strange says. “ ey are tough places to teach.” And according to a story in e New York Times, some state lawmakers in rural areas are concerned about President Obama’s plan to overhaul the No Child Left Behind law, saying that it fails to consider rural problems. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), complained that federal rules on teacher credentials had driven thousands of experienced educators out of rural schools, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), worried about how schoolturnaround strategies based on firing ineffective instructors would work in a remote village on the Bering Sea that already had high teacher turnover. District Administration 58 June 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - June 2010

District Administration - June 2010
Contents
From the Editor
Letters
News Update
Sustainability
Conversations
Administrator Profile
District Profile
Innovative Leaders Take the Phone and Run
A New Dawn in the Sunshine State
The Die-Hard Communicator
Cybersafety in the Classroom
Persuading Teachers to Go Rural
Product Focus
Research Corner
Professional Opinion

District Administration - June 2010

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