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Retaining Teacher Talent
The View From Generation Y
Finding 3: Many teachers view removing ineffective colleagues from the classroom as a way to boost teacher effectiveness and think that unions sometimes protect ineffective teachers, yet they feel it important to preserve tenure protections.
Frustration with ineffective colleagues is a common phenomenon in any workplace, but in schools, where the stakes are high and the classroom walls thin and where ineffectiveness is rarely formally punished or remediated, it becomes that much more palpable. As one Gen Y focus group participant from North Carolina said, "I feel like, unfortunately, in some schools, teachers do need to be fired. In some schools, there are teachers that shouldn't be there. They're not there for the children." It seems that many teachers, not just Gen Y teachers, agree with her. As shown in Figure 10, large percentages of teachers say that they know of a few teachers who are underperforming, with 31 percent of Gen Y teachers and 20 percent of older teachers saying they work with "more than a few" or even "quite a large number" of such teachers.
Moreover, according to Figure 11, both Gen Y and older teachers agree that making it easier to remove ineffective teachers would be either "somewhat effective" or "very effective" in improving teaching. Recent research has shown that there is a "spillover effect" among teachersthat when a new, more effective teacher is hired, the effectiveness of all teachers, as measured by value-added test scores, increases (Jackson & Bruegmann, 2009). The findings from the current survey perhaps suggest that teachers perceive a spillover effect in the opposite direction: teachers with ineffective colleagues have a more difficult time teaching themselves and miss the opportunity to learn from more effective colleagues.