Why are 50 percent of new teachers leaving?

The following re-post is not exactly news.  It comes from

Conversation Ed

, a relatively recent blog that tackles similar issues as this site,  but at a national level.  The  methodology the author uses to present the conclusions is not very scientific,  and any reader will gather what they want from it as confirmation for their own beliefs.

Where the post actually gets interesting is in the comments section, where a sizeable number of educators who have been chewed up and spat back out of their short lived teaching careers share their insights and argue and, yes,  even troll each other. Share!

Read the article here


This American Suspension

The much beloved public radio program, This American Life, recently aired this episode exploring behavior management in schools. With the title of “This Isn’t Working”, the show highlights stories and interviews with students, teachers, ‘guinea pigs’ and parents all questioning and shedding light on behavior management practices in our schools, from the good to the bad to the truly ugly.

Mixing hard-hitting data with moving personal narratives, the streaming show (also available as a downloadable podcast) bring to life the complex and controversial issue of punishment in its many incarnations in our school, diving deep into why we as teachers and educational leaders arrive at decisions that as the evidence suggests, ends up feeding into a self-fulfilling cycle of defiance, control and failure, which commonly leads many of our Latino and African-American students straight into the hungry arms of the penal system.  

Oakland is no stranger to the themes and situations mentioned here. From Restorative Justice programs to the harsh and humiliating practices experimented at the American Indian Charter School, this episode delves into what has and has not been working in our schools and why.

The urgency is evident, of course, in the fact that behavior is often cited as a reason why so many teachers in Oakland and similar districts have a hard time sticking with the job. How often has an Oakland teacher heard that they are saints or masochists by those who think that our schools are cauldrons of despair and violence? There is much to ruminate upon here, and plenty of food for discussion, but few real answers to the deepest question raised here, mainly, what is the the right balance between justice and social control? And will these two be forever at odds?

Free New Yorker Education Articles Now Available

The New Yorker has recently opened up its archives for a limited time, as reported here. There are quite a number of insightful pieces well worth the time to read, especially the in-depth look at the Atlanta Public Schools testing scandal featuring an Oakland native and rock star teacher-turned-cheater. His story and those of the principals, superintendent and other teachers reminds us of how far or how low the ‘no excuses’ and ‘data rules all’ approach can take even the best of us.


From ‘Wrong Answer’, by Rachel Aviv published in the New Yorker July 21st




Are “Teacher Professional Partnerships” a viable career ladder option?

Are there any Oakland teachers interested in starting Teacher Professional Partnerships? This article by DC blogger Angel Cintron Jr suggests that while not a silver bullet, they offer teachers some sorely needed career ladder options as well as the chance to put our expertise out there for some needed change.

Wilson Shares His Story, His Denver Experience, and His Drive for College Readiness

New OUSD Superintendent Antwan Wilson speaks to KQED Forum’s Michael Krasny about his past accomplishment and his present mission to get Oakland’s students college-ready. He speaks on different approaches to improving performance for young people and answers questions from the community.


Download audio (MP3) to listen to their discussion.

What do you think about Wilson’s interview? Share your thoughts below!

All Children Can Learn…and All Teachers Can Lead

Teacher Leader (Pages 9-36)

Oakland Teacher

This essay by Roland Barth, published in February 2001, argues for the need for greater teacher leadership opportunities and greater teacher autonomy within a school system. He also considers the barriers to teacher leadership and the ways in which those barriers can be overcome.

“In the 1970s, Ron Edmonds introduced us to the ringing phrase “All children can learn.” Our profession has begun to take these words seriously, even believe them and act upon them. I would like to suggest an equally revolutionary idea: “All teachers can lead.”