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To keep teachers in education

Bob Kellogg   ( Monday, December 03, 2012

Analysts say better retention policies are needed to stop the trend that's kicking nearly 50 percent of educators who begin teaching careers out of the profession within five years.

The National Education Association attributes the high attrition rates to dissatisfaction with school leadership, large class sizes and low wages. But Lindsey Burke of The Heritage Foundation says none of those is the primary problem.

Burke, Lindsey"We know that schools by and large, that the majority of American children attend schools that don't differentiate between excellent teachers and mediocre teachers," Burke notes, "and I think that lack of differentiation is a far greater factor in teacher satisfaction and teacher turnover."

She also believes a bloat of non-teaching personnel that have been hired over the past several decades is a huge problem.

"We've seen a 138-percent increase in the number of non-teaching staff in public schools across the country," the analyst reports. "Imagine how much better great teachers could be compensated if that administrative bloat didn't weigh down state coffers."

According to the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, districts annually spend tens of thousands of dollars on personnel recruitment and retention -- money that Burke says could be put to better use.

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