Wednesday, April 11, 2007

An APLE A Day Keeps The Teachers Away

Via Andrew Rotherham, I see that the Center on Teacher Quality recommends, among other things, the following:
Offer incentives to teachers who want to teach in high-needs, low-performing schools, but only if they’re qualified. Limit these incentives to teachers who can demonstrate that they are effective with high-needs students and will be able to address the school’s specific learning needs. Sending a willing but unqualified or underprepared teacher to such a school could do more harm than good.
One thing I've never understood about incentives offered to teachers to work in high-needs schools is that they're almost always aimed at brand new teachers. California's APLE program, for instance, will make payments on your student loans for you for each year you spend teaching at a high-needs school. In practice, that means many enrolled students will go straight from their credential program to a high-needs school, and then leave once they've exhausted their APLE benefits (four years later).

But this is exactly backwards. Teachers make their biggest gains in effectiveness in their first 1-5 years teaching. APLE gives them a reason to stick around the high-needs schools just long enough to work through their learning curve, and then they're off to easier gigs in the suburbs. It would make significantly more sense if APLE offered some kind of loan suspension while the new teachers taught wherever they wanted for a few years, and then offered the financial incentive of loan assumption payments to teachers who spent, say, their 3rd through 6th years at a high-needs school.


Casper said...

The qualifications for an APLE school is pretty broad considering how deteriorated many schools are. Successful schools are already full of teachers and are always going to be. The APLE program is to entice students considering a teaching career and with enough qualified teachers, the underachieving schools will become better and thus making them more attractive to new teachers without incentive programs like APLE.
Of course, this is yet to be tested since being introduced 2 years ago but $ is being allocated by the state Government for more applicants. Let's cross our fingers.

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