8.1.09

SEPARATING EQUILIBRIUM. Yet another article from a while ago that is still timely. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the Milwaukee Public Schools have hiring difficulties.

Some teachers don't want to work anywhere in the city. Others don't want to work in areas that are perceived as unsafe or in schools where the kids bring more issues with them. Still others are willing - even eager - to work in those more challenging locations, but move elsewhere after several years.

And then you have teachers who make working in high-needs schools a career. Westside [Academy] has built such a staff, thanks largely to the unstinting determination of [principal James] Sonnenberg and others.

But they are going against the flow of teacher job choice. In Milwaukee and nationwide, the best teachers gravitate toward the "best" schools and the highest-performing kids, which means the neediest students tend to get the least-experienced - and generally less effective - teachers.

"We send the youngest and least-experienced teachers in front of the kids who need the best and the brightest," Sonnenberg says.

The fix is obvious to economists. School systems (whether influenced by the teachers' unions or by the social-justice delusions of the colleges of education) have a way to go to figure it out. Higher education is not exempt from a similar problem: the general education classes, particularly foundation courses, are not the assignments that draw the applications of recent Ph.D.s

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