Policy

Teacher induction has been rightly framed as an educator effectiveness strategy – but the research evidence also establishes induction as a teacher retention tool. While attending to the learning needs of new teachers, we also must ensure that we build the capacity of school principals to cultivate conditions in schools that enable all teachers to collaborate with colleagues and maximize their professional potential.   

With these goals in mind, my New Teacher Center (NTC) colleagues and I were pleased to continue our partnership with the Alliance for Excellent Educationa Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization. In July, the Alliance released a new report, On The Path To Equity: Improving The Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers, highlighting NTC's evidence-based induction model for beginning teachers.

Led by former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise, the Alliance shares NTC’s commitment to the academic success of at-risk students. The Alliance recognizes that preparing and supporting quality teachers is a centerpiece to the effort to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for success in college, work and citizenship. Our partnership is strengthened by the Alliance’s ability to communicate with educators, policymakers and thought leaders in Washington, DC and across the country.

High rates of teacher attrition cost the nation as much as $2.2 billion per year, as estimated by Richard Ingersoll, professor of education and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. Ingersoll estimates that teacher attrition costs ranged from $2 million in states like Delaware and Vermont, to $235 million in Texas. (Curious about the estimated cost of teacher attrition in your state? Read the report.)

This turnover is a growing concern considering the "greening"of the teaching profession. In 1987-88, the most common level of teaching experience among teachers was 15 years; in 2008, the most typical teacher was in his or her first year of teaching. As stated in the report, this high turnover disproportionately impacts students of color and students in high-poverty schools. In fact, high-poverty schools suffer teacher turnover rates nearly 50 percent higher than in more affluent schools.

The Alliance worked with NTC and Dr. Ingersoll to highlight the issue of teacher attrition and present solutions. To address the issue, On The Path to Equity recommends comprehensive teacher induction comprised of:

  • High-quality mentoring with rigorous mentor selection;
  • Common planning time for regular scheduled interaction with other teachers;
  • Participation in seminars and intense professional development; and
  • Ongoing communication and support from school leaders.

Yet less than half of beginning teachers receive mentoring from an experienced teacher in their field or have planning time with other beginning teachers. Furthermore, teachers in poor and high-minority schools are less likely to receive induction support and those who have a mentor are less likely to focus on issues of classroom instruction. There is state-by-state variance in part due to differing or nonexistent policy requirements as documented in NTC's Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction(currently being updated through 2014).

We need supportive teaching and learning conditions to promote the learning and ongoing development of teachers – and ultimately enhance their effectiveness in the classroom. To this end, the report also highlights NTC's Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning (TELL) Survey.

We have worked with states and districts to survey more than 1.2 million teachers since 2007. The TELL Survey captures data regarding: time, facilities and resources, professional development, school leadership, teacher leadership, instructional practices and support, managing student conduct, community support and involvement, and new teacher support. States that have recently administered the survey include: ColoradoDelawareKentuckyMarylandMassachusettsNorth CarolinaNew MexicoOregonTennesseeTexas and Vermont. For each of these states, survey results are available online and broken down by district and school when response rates are sufficient.

State policymakers in TELL states have used survey results to improve teaching and learning conditions in various ways including:

  • Developing and adopting state teaching conditions standards;
  • Informing principal evaluation and principal professional learning;
  • Integrating survey data into the design and evaluation of school and district improvement plans;
  • Evaluating new teacher support; and
  • Developing assistance for persistently low-performing schools.

At the report release eventin Washington DC (and the related webinar), NTC CEO and Founder Ellen Moir suggested that states should:

  • Require comprehensive induction programs for new teachers following entry-level licensure, extending for a minimum of two years; and
  • Embed analysis and improvement of teaching and learning conditions in school improvement processes at the state, district, and school levels.

Moir also shared her perspective in a Huffington Post blog post, "Fixing The Leaky Bucket: Teacher Recruitment or Retention?"

Comments

Research on the induction program

I have not found the evidence to support this program other than your teacher surveys. Where is the peer reviewed research fom the last five years. Appreciate the help.

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