Study gives state D-plus in teacher retention

Posted: Sunday, February 01, 2009

ANCHORAGE - Alaska needs to do more to keep good teachers and weed out the bad ones, according to a national study reviewing teacher retention.

The study, released by the National Council on Teacher Quality, gave the state a D-plus, which is on par with the national average.

Five states - Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont - earned Fs. So did the District of Columbia.

Alaska awards tenure to its teachers, but does so without requiring strong evidence of being effective, the report said.

Only Iowa and New Mexico require any evidence that public school teachers are effective before granting them tenure, according to the review.

"Alaska can help districts do much more to ensure that the right teachers stay and the right teachers leave," said Kate Walsh, president of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that produced the report. The group endorses reforms designed to raise the level of teaching.

The study calls on school districts to evaluate new teachers more than once a year. It also says the state should judge teachers on how well they teach, not for how long they teach.

In a prepared statement, Barb Angaiak, of the National Education Association Alaska, said the state needs to provide enough mentors and better retirement benefits to attract good teachers.



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