Retention & Recruitment

We have cut pay plan steps in recent years in an effort to mitigate budget shortfalls. APS has an excellent pay scale on paper, but cutting out steps has broken financial promises to our teachers and staff. Though I understand, I am unhappy the current crisis will likely mean restoration of both pay step and COLA will be removed from the budget proposal. However, there are other factors in the retention of quality teachers which we must work to protect.

Experience has shown me that a lot of new teachers quit in the first 2-3 years, discovering that the classroom is not for them. Those that stay really start to become effective after that 3rd year. But sometime in the 7-10 year range, they begin wondering about new challenges or maybe lifestyle changes --- the "7 year itch.” As I see it, our pay scale is not optimized to keep these teachers, the experienced teachers we need to keep. We must keep the promise of that pay plan.

But pay isn’t everything. How do we attract the best and brightest? We have to create a professional and supportive environment. Here are some of the things we can do.

  • Optimize class size
  • Provide wrap-around services to reduce issues which disrupt the classroom
  • Emphasize the partnership between school and family needed for student success
  • Provide opportunities for professional growth/advancement --- restore respect for the profession
This last one is critical. For much of the last twenty years, “expectations” have been a cudgel for clobbering teachers, one more reason to let all the rest of society off the hook because it’s the teachers who are "failing the students in our failing schools." APS has great schools, wonderful staff, and strong families. We can not take any part of this equation for granted --- especially our teachers.