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MA Report Calls for a Better Job in Teaching Teachers

October 28, 2008

Boston, MA – Massachusetts needs a plan to stop the state's teacher "brain drain." About 30 percent of new teachers in Massachusetts leave the profession within the first five years, and up to half quit in urban school districts. A new report from the Massachusetts Teachers Association's Center for Education Policy and Practice takes a look at why, and makes recommendations on how to lower those rates.

Report author Kathleen Skinner says a stronger connection is needed between the K-12 system and colleges to provide support for new teachers as they transition into the classroom.

"Veteran teachers working with pre-service teachers, and then eventually, new teachers as they learn the craft of teaching."

Skinner says real-life classrooms have children with special education plans, students with attention disabilities, and English language learners so one style of teaching does not "fit all."

"Learning the skills of, 'How do I teach the kids who are sitting in front of me today?' And it's a much more diverse student population than schools we've seen in the past."

The report is critical of the current system, says Skinner, for focusing too much on content knowledge, and not enough on real-life classroom teaching techniques that are in the best interest of students. The report, "Tomorrow’s Teachers: Preparing the Education Workforce for 21st Century Schools," can be viewed online at www.massteacher.org.

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MA