Monday, September 05, 2005

Good Schools: The Fundamental Requirement

Jenny D. asks two outstanding questions:
A couple of days ago I got into a conversation with people over at Joanne Jacobs about the length of the school day. And although the discussion veered off into school choice (another topic for another day) there was a question that ran through every comment that was implicit:

How do you know a school is good?

Which leads to a second and related question:

What is a good school?
Those thought-provoking questions let me to consider a number of contributing factors to the make-up of a good school, but in the end, it occurred to me that the fundamental requirement for having a good (or great) school is for the school to have great teachers.

So, the first task that many schools need to address is the challenge of recruiting those great teachers.

Sadly, (and realistically) many districts are either unwilling or unable to substantially increase monetary compensation as an incentive for teacher recruitment and retention. Given that:
Aside from substantially increasing salaries, what can schools do to attract and retain really great teachers?
I guess what I'm looking for are the best non-monetary incentives that school systems can use in order to attract and retain the best people for the classroom.
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