A simple analysis of the graph shown here points out a few things:
• Even though Joel Klein, former Chancellor of NYC schools, supported merit pay as a method of teacher retention, we don't really care about it.
• We want more autonomy (and less proscriptive methodology).
• We need access to each other to form personal learning networks.
• We need help from outside the classroom (counselors, parents, and administrators) to make sure we can do the best job possible.
Teaching is tough - and the first few years are the roughest. That is one major reason why I get so upset when I read about how programs like Teach For American are able to "prepare" their teachers for classes they are not going to teach.
What I am trying to explore here is the idea that the teaching profession is going through a profound change because of the politics in which we live and work today. If our students are to achieve anything we as a country need to ensure the best for them. I sincerely doubt the "best" is going to be pushing our new teachers beyond their limit so that attrition rates skyrocket. Perhaps the solution is in something like the RESPECT project coming out of the US Department of Education.
Whatever the solution is, I just hope those in charge are able to listen and take heed of those being directly affected by policy change: our students. For whatever happens to us teachers, you can damn well be certain it is going to affect them.