Hiring Opportunities in Urban Schools
want to teach high-demand subjects in inner-city schools often become
frustrated with urban school districts' lengthy hiring processes
and accept positions in better-organized, faster-hiring suburban
districts, concludes a study by The New Teacher Project (TNTP),
an educational consulting firm specializing in teacher recruitment
issues. The four large, urban school districts surveyed by TNTP
frequently made job offers as late as July or August, sometimes
just days before positions had to be filled. By then, between 31
and 60 percent of potential hires had withdrawn their applications.
The study, titled
Missed Opportunities: How We Keep High-Quality Teachers Out of
Urban Classrooms, revealed that the urban school districts received
from five to 20 times the number of applicants as positions available.
Of these applicants, up to 37 percent applied to teach in high-demand
subjects, including science, math, special education, and bilingual
education. The study found that of the prospective hires who withdrew
their applications, "almost half said they definitely or probably
would have accepted an offer from the urban district if it had come
earlier. Equally significant, between 37 and 69 percent of the known
withdrawers were candidates for hard-to-fill positions." In addition,
the report said, "applicants who withdrew from the hiring process
had significantly higher undergraduate GPAs, were 40 percent more
likely to have a degree in their teaching field, and were significantly
more likely to have completed educational coursework than new hires."
delay the hiring process in many urban schools: retiring and resigning
teachers are allowed to offer late notice of their departure—sometimes
even well into the summer; union contracts require districts to
consider existing teachers and transfer teachers for open positions
before outside applicants are allowed to apply; and states have
late deadlines to pass government budgets—46 states end their
fiscal year on June 30 and have the option to extend that time—that
leave districts in the lurch financially.
shows that with stepped-up recruitment efforts, there are large
quantities of highly-qualified teachers seeking challenging positions
in urban classrooms," said Michelle Rhee, TNTP's CEO and president.
"But states, districts, and unions must work collectively to restructure
the hiring processes in urban school districts to ensure that highly-qualified
teachers are available to the students who need them the most."
Read a copy
of the report at www.tntp.org/docs/reportfinalfixed.pdf.
to Bring Distinguished Scientists to Classrooms
NEC Foundation of America and Science Service, a nonprofit, science
education advocacy organization, announced this month that they
will co-sponsor a nine-month program to bring America's most distinguished
scientists into middle school classrooms. As part of that program,
titled NEC Extreme Science, the organizations also will award three
middle-school science teachers a total of $9,000 to realize their
The first component
of the program, NEC Give a Day, Make a Difference, will enlist more
than 200 of the nation's brightest scientists to serve as role models
to middle school students. These distinguished scientists will volunteer
a portion of their day to working one-on-one with a middle school
class in their local community to introduce students to the wonders
of science and technology through demonstration.
scientists are past recipients of the Nobel Prize, the Enrico Fermi
Award, the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, the Charles Stark Draper
Prize, the Alan T. Waterman Award, the National Medal of Science,
the National Medal of Technology, the Faculty Early Career Development
Program Award, and the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists
and Engineers. NEC Extreme Science will highlight scientists' volunteer
efforts during Excellence in Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering
Week in March 2004, when more than a dozen Nobel Laureates will
visit middle schools in New York; Seattle; Dallas; Chicago; Princeton,
NJ; and Santa Clara, CA.
Science is an outstanding fit with the focus of NEC Foundation of
America, which is to invest in technology and human potential,"
said Sylvia Clark, executive director of the foundation. "We are
delighted with the early response of this nation's most distinguished
scientists and engineers to visit middle schools across the country."
part of the NEC Extreme Science Program, titled the NEC Perfect
Classroom Competition, is open to all middle school science teachers
who wish to improve learning conditions in their classroom, but
who can't receive money from their school or district due to budget
constraints. Eligible teachers must submit a three-minute video
essay in which they describe their creative vision of a perfect
classroom. Respectively, first- through third-place winners will
be awarded $5,000; $3,000; and $1,000 to complete their projects.
deadline is February 9, 2004. Winners will be announced in
May 2004 during National Teacher Appreciation Week.
For more information,