My name is Alan Foo, and this would be my 10th year teaching at Taylor Elementary. I have been through 3 principals, 3 superintendents and a whole lot of teachers. I have seen my school slowly improve to the functional environment it is today.
I have also seen a drain in talent in the past few years. Teachers can’t wait to retire and have no desire to remain longer than needed. Teachers that can leave this district have bailed for greener pastures. Teachers with talent and experience are eyeing prospects in other districts. More tellingly, teachers in their third to sixth year are increasingly agitated to move on to other districts. I’m in step 5 on the pay scale (about 60K), partnered with no kids and I can barely make ends meet. Morale is at a new low. When was the last time any of you just spoke to a district teacher, not about academics or accountability, but about how happy they are at their jobs? And if you think your employees’ morale doesn’t mater, well, this district is more dire straits than I thought.
You are bleeding talent and you don’t have a clue you’re losing talent. The 1000 new teachers you plan to hire? How long do you think most of them will stay once reality sets in? And the morass of alternative recruitment is and will make this situation worse. Relay, PhillyPlus, TFA; they are symptoms of a worsening situation in the teaching profession, not a panacea. It’s high time you focus on RETAINING the talent you have instead of RECRUITING untested new talent. That starts with using that $65 million dollars in new money to invest in your human capital by negotiating a fair contract. That starts with restoring the frozen steps and lanes for teachers, because education and experience matters in a profession. Because I’m tired of being paid less to do more.