It is sad so many teachers choose to leave. I see their point with the way the system currently is stacked, but there is accountability both ways for it having gotten to that place.
We recently had a wonderful creative teacher leave not because of bad reviews, not because of lack of administration support, wide support, praise, acclaim.
But she had the audacity to suggest that some performance-based compensation might be appropriate. The other teachers made her life a living hell, of course she quit.
I would love to see more creative teachers, better skilled teachers, but I think with that, comes the responsibility of teachers to say, OK, then we're being graded partially on how well we do, not just how many years we've been teaching. On how well we use the Master's not simply the fact that we attained one.
I got my job because I had a degree; I KEEP my job and get raises or not, based on how well I use it. If teachers want to be treated as professionals, they're going to have to realize they need to move in that direction. Otherwise they'll be treated like all the other unionized professions and measured on "widgets moved along conveyor belt".
It is sad, but it really isn't about accountability like you might think, it is really that the history of education was set up as a second rate position by men teachers who were in transition to something better. Yes, they used to be all men and then after that single women under strict regulations not to marry or date etc... So really it has always been this way.
There are a lot of teachers leaving because they go to college, invest their lives into learning everything toward teaching, spending countless hours creating lesson plans and volunteering and every other hoop that they are asked to jump through to get their degrees and told that when they get their own classroom they will be able to create their perfect classroom and everything will be wonderful. Then when they get a classroom they are told oh by the way this is how we do things here, here are 500 more hoops for you to jump through and also we don't want you to do any of those things that you came up with, follow this huge manual word for word or we will fire you if we catch you doing something else, ok? Otherwise we will get along great.
So while teachers may want to get out of the box they are not allowed to, while they may want to break through the glass ceiling they are not allowed to for fear of being fired over it. Districts do THREAT teachers that they will be fired, i know I have been their and heard many a veteran teacher say that it has always been that way as long as they have ever known. So, you are left with teachers who follow orders and don't care and anyone that comes along to try to change it is ostracized by every co-worker around them. It is no wonder she left, i would have to. No one wants to be under a microscope by everyone around them in a work environment.
It isn't the teachers who want it the way it is, (YEARS BASED) it is the Administrators, they want to keep their teachers submissive to the districts every need and change that they see fit. They want to keep it years based so they can keep teachers on edge when a cut comes, forcing them into silence so they can keep their jobs and add on one year at a time. The only way they get ahead is to obtain a Master's degree, jumping them up on the pay scale faster. The problem is that when they are working on their Master's they discover that their are options (Performance Based, New Innovative teaching formats as well as other teachers who are in a safe environment to vent about what they don't like). Then when they feel strong enough to say something well, you see what happens to them.
Districts don't really want teacher's to get their Master's aside from bragging rights. They'd rather have lemings at the end of the day. I hope this sheds some light on the fact that Public schools are extremely flawed and that the only way to truly help our children get ahead educationally is Homeschooling, where every teacher is giving the freedom that he or she truly went to college for. There are great home-school organizations where teachers can teach a subject they feel strong in for a large group of home-school children one day per week. This is all within the guidelines of the State and laws, they are fully protected to do so. It really makes sense and you don't have to worry that there is a secret agenda from administration/government to pump our children full of political garbage when the children need to learn more important things like math for example =)
So the bottom line is public school is a conveyor belt and Everything Else Isn't.
I undesrtand the desire to homeschool but it can't be the only answer because it doesn't work for everyone. I have many friends who've homeschooled, one's daughter begged to go to public school after several years because she was surpassing what her mom could teach her. It was the best of intentions, but she wasn't an educator and her daughter was not learning what she needed to be successful. So homeschooling is ONE solution but it isn't and CANNOT be the ONLY solution.
Homeschooling falls back on a parent's native abilities to teach. And yes, we all teach our children daily. But if my child is a math wizard and struggled to get through algebra, how can I teach her properly? My father was functionally illiterate. He was homeschooled by his grandparents back on the farm; both of whom were fully illiterate. He did as well as he did because he was innately bright. But he didn't have a chance. And kids who are not as bright in those situations will fail utterly.
Public school was originally designed so that kids could have at least a start in life. In between planting & harvest might as well keep them occupied and maybe they can help with the farm's books. I do get that. But as we move to a knowledge-based society from an agrarian and factory one teaching needs to change with it and it hasn't.
There need to be some fundamental changes, that's very clear; but it starts with everyone. It isn't just administrators who want years based, it is the unions first and foremost. All unions run on years-of-service model from the Teamsters to the government. As long as teaching is union based it will be regarded as a factory system, because that is what unions were originally designed for; anonymous, conveyor belt work.
If teaching wants to be a profession, it needs to break out of that mold and become like the other professions. But breaking out allows more creativity, more ways to look at things. If everyone from educators through parents would sit down and say "what will it take" and what is realistic in society then a solution can be found.
Bottom line- the public school system is seriously flawed. I could spend years trying to improve it, while my children suffer the consequences, or I can homeschool them. Perhaps after they are grown I will devote my time and energies towards the former, but for now, we will homeschool.
There are always going to be subjects that individual parents don't feel qualified to teach. Devoted homeschool parents have many options. My children attend a government/history class taught by another homeschool mom who is passionate about the subject. There are tutors available, support from correspondence schools, and homeschool co-ops. The only true criteria for being a great homeschool parent is true dedication to the lifestyle.