Upping Teacher Pay Is Only Part of the Solution

By Anne Udall, NTC Chief Strategy Officer — 

Emily Deruy, senior associate editor for The Atlantic, recently interviewed some former teachers about why they quit. The number one answer she heard: a lack of support.

Her article, Just Paying Teachers More Won’t Stop Them From Quitting, dives deep into the issue of teacher retention in response to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute that says, “providing adequate wages and benefits is a crucial tool for attracting and keeping the teachers America’s children need.”

Increasing teacher salaries is certainly important, and as Emily has pointed out, it is only part of the solution to recruiting and retaining teachers. Teachers want to work in supportive, student-focused environments and are more likely to remain in positions–and be more successful with students–when they have a work environment where they are supported by the administration to improve, feel valued and are able to contribute in a collaborative culture.

We must empower our teachers to be leaders in their classroom and provide them with clear career pathways. This happens when key teaching and learning conditions are in place, like school level conduct management, manageable demands on time and effective professional learning. Adequate funding must also be provided so that teachers have access to the instructional resources, technology and facilities needed in order for them and their students to thrive.

Even still, these are truly only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to retaining teachers and resolving the multiple issues within our education system today. The good news: the need for effective teachers continues to be an important conversation across the country.



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