Duty of care

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[cross-posted at the TechLearning blog]

I have been reading with great interest the conversations that have been sparked by Kurt Paccio’s post on Internet filtering. As my brain has swirled around the issues involved, it has returned to an experience I had earlier this year.

As some of you may know, I was the recipient this year of one of the cable industry’s Leaders in Learning awards. It was a phenomenal experience and I highly encourage you to nominate someone for next year’s awards (the due date is January 16, 2008). As part of that June trip back to my home town of Washington, DC, I had the wonderful opportunity to hear a presentation by Dr. Tom Carroll, President of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF), on teacher supply and demand. Here is a slide from his presentation (click on image for larger version):

NCTAF graph 01

As the graph shows, the number of ‘entrants’ into the teaching profession increased somewhat beginning in the mid-1990s but the number of ‘leavers’ rose even faster. My first reaction was that the numbers reflected the growing numbers of Baby Boomer teachers that are nearing retirement. But look at the next slide:

NCTAF graph 02

Although there has been the expected increase in the retirement numbers, the growth in the number of ‘non-retirement leavers’ has been much, much larger. As the first graph illustrates, the end result is that nearly twice as many teachers are leaving the profession than in the late 1980s.

Look more closely at the x axis of the second slide. Tom noted that these time spans roughly reflect the entry of Generation X and Generation Y into the education work force. As he talked with us, his basic message was that

Increasing numbers of young teachers are deciding that schools are not personally- or professionally-fulfilling workplaces and are taking their skills and talents elsewhere.

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