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Topic: Nathan Gibbs-Bowling

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January 15, 2015 at 6:39 PM

Guest: It’s time to get serious about keeping effective teachers

Nathan Gibbs-Bowling

Nathan Gibbs-Bowling

Two of the best humanities teachers I know left my district 18 months ago to teach abroad in Dubai, and now they are preparing to renew their contracts for two more years. After 10 years of teaching math, one of the best math teachers I know is seeking a teacher leadership post in another state.

Another one of my colleagues, a science teacher, recently told me about feeling exhausted and the need to leave the classroom in favor of a job in industry.

We have a looming teacher-retention crisis in Washington state and the most likely teachers to leave the career are often among our best, most impactful.

No one feels these losses more acutely than families living in poverty, for whom education is a way to the middle class. A great teacher is a powerful leader on that path.

Despite the talent drain, the public school system remains ill-prepared to attract and retain the excellent teachers that our students need, especially in high-poverty schools where turnover is even higher.

Great teachers have the ability to generate an additional five to six months of student learning in a year. A critical mass of great teachers in a building can be enough persuasion for other strong teachers to stay in the profession.

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