Just a few weeks ago, I organized and hosted the April session for Revive the Dream. Our 2013 Fellows were lucky to spend the evening with Josh Anderson, a long-time Executive Director of Teach for America. The topic of the evening was talent in the education field.
We kicked off the session discussing Josh’s background as well as the reading. To prep for ourdiscussion, I sent a few articles to the group in advance of the session.
The discussion around talent in the education space is always hot topic. On one hand everyone knows about the importance of having great teachers and inspiring leaders in the education space. After all, strong leaders can often change everything for students, especially those on the cusp. Students who don’t have enough resources at home. Students who might be behind a grade or two. And students who need someone to ignite the fire within them.
That said, the incentives to enter the education space, especially as a teacher aren’t always great. Not only is the pay lower than a majority of other fields, but the prestige is also lower. Furthermore, the work can be hard and grueling and at times it feels like you can’t have an impact if you’re in a big school sytem.
On the other hand, we can look to countries like Finland that have figured out the dilemma. Countries who attract and retain the most promising people to enter into teaching programs. Countries that not only pay them well but also provide them with a platform to make change. One program that does that in the US is Teach for America. They recruit the best and the brightest undergrads to teach in underserved schools but the program’s main criticism is that the teachers rarely stay in the field and in the profession. We addressed that and much more in our discussion with Josh.
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