There was an interesting piece on today’s Washington Post website entitled “Do we need Ivy-League Teachers?” The thrust of the piece was the following:

If we want teaching to be more competitive and respected, we could pay teachers a lot more money. If every teaching job paid $85,000 in its first year, and topped out at $200,00 for the best instructors, you’d have a lot more kids from Princeton applying for teaching gigs. And if a lot more kids from Princeton applied for teaching gigs, it would become the sort of job that’s associated with kids from Princeton, much like i-banking and law. How much we respect a profession has a lot to do with who we think goes into a profession.

The question is whether we want to pump those resources into teaching. You often hear people say that it would be great to attract more Ivy-league kids into urban school districts. But would it be worth the investment? That is to say, how much of teacher quality correlates with educational attainment, or competitiveness of salary? If you hold the demographics of the kids constant, do teachers making more money show much better results than their underpaid colleagues? Or is it more a question of training and personality type and a hard-to-measure capacity to project authority and hold a classroom’s attention? I don’t know. But I’m sure a lot of you in blogland do

I know that many Eph go into teaching, either through Teach for America, teaching abroad, or other programs (there were all three types in my class on the rugby team with me. But I wonder how many are still teaching (at the primary or secondary school level) 10 years after graduation? I have a very good friend from Williams who got his Masters in Education and taught for 6 or 8 (or 10, even?) years after we graduated. I know that for him, the first few years were very challenging, and he felt that he became a better teacher as he got more experience. His experience is consistent with other teachers I have known, who have told me that they became better teachers as they gained more experience.

(1) Does anyone know how many newly graduated EphTeachers are still teaching 5 years out?

(2) Did former EphTeachers get out of teaching because they felt it didn’t get enough respect as a profession? Would more money have changed their view (as the WAPO article suggests?)

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