Maybe Old Teachers Don't Suck
A repeated refrain among some reformsters is that we need to get rid of tenure, job protections, and seniority rules for teachers because the system is clogged with washed-up uncaring has-beens and when budgets are slashed and staffing is cut, it's the hot young rock stars of education that are thrown out on the street (oddly enough, their concern over this issue never translates into calls to knock it off with the budget slashing, but that's another conversation).
But what if older teachers didn't suck?
This month the Learning Policy Institute released a new research brief, Does Teaching Experience Increase Teacher Effectiveness? The report is a meta-analysis, a study of studies that looks at thirty studies over the last thirty years. And it turns out that maybe older teachers don't suck.
I'm going to start with my usual caveat-- many of these studies use student scores on the Big Standardized Test as a proxy for student achievement or teacher effectiveness or general swellness of the school, and it needs to be said that this is crap. The BS Tests are not a measure of student achievement; they are a measure of student ability to take BS Tests. We'll be able to accomplish a lot more in the world of teacher training, development, and effectiveness when we start talking about the real marks of excellent teaching instead of this standardized test baloney. But test scores are the measure reformsters have chosen, and I'm provisionally willing to use reformster tools to disprove reformster policy ideas, because if they can't win on their own court with their own ball and their own rules, that's just further proof that they should get out of the game.
That said, here are what study authors Tara Kini and Anne Podolsky found.
1) Teacher experience raises student "achievement" throughout the teacher's career. The gains are CURMUDGUCATION: Maybe Old Teachers Don't Suck: