Despite the long summer vacation, recruiting teachers continues to be a Sisyphean task (“Most College Students Interested in Teaching Never Make It to the Classroom,” Education Week, Jul. 10). A new study entitled “Baccalaureate and Beyond” of about 29,000 students who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2015-16 found that of the 41 percent who had considered teaching as a career, only 17 percent actually ended up in the classroom a year later.
That’s not at all surprising. The truth is that despite what critics say about teachers having a plum job, few college graduates choose teaching as a career. The more they learn about the reality of the profession, the less likely they are to go on to earn a credential. I don’t blame them at all. Teaching today bears little resemblance to teaching in the past. The incessant pressure to boost standardized test scores has effectively stripped teachers of the freedom to devise lessons that they alone believe meet the needs and interests of their students.
Moreover, teachers no longer possess the authority they once had when they were allowed to act in loco parentis. The U.S. Supreme Court held in Goss v. Lopez that students have the right of due process for even the most routine disciplinary decisions. As a result, teachers find themselves having to walk on eggs, lest they be sued. That’s especially the case when discipline involves students of color. It’s little wonder that chaos exists in so many classrooms.
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