That's not a slam at local charter schools. It's just that the study echoed something I'd observed many times,starting with my niece.
Bright and cheerful, my niece longed to teach high-needs children. She started out in the San Francisco public schools, where she was assigned to the district's toughest elementary school. Fifth-graders threw chairs across the room-and at her. Parents refused to show up for conferences.
She wasn't willing to deal with this level of indifference and teacher abuse, so she switched to a highly regarded charter elementary school in the Bay Area where she poured her energy into her job and it showed. Her students' test scores were as high as those in a nearby wealthy school district, despite the obstacles these children faced.
Yet by her fourth year, my niece was worn out, depleted (耗尽) of the energy it took to work with a classroom of sweet but deeply needy children who pleaded to stay in her classroom when it was time to leave. The principal's offer of a $10,000 raise couldn't stop her from giving notice. She went to work at that wealthy school district next door-for less money.
Over the years, I've met many impassioned (充满激情的) teachers at charter schools, only to call them the next year and find they've left. The authors of the Berkeley study theorize that the teachers leave because of the extraordinary demands: long hours, intense involvement in students' complicated lives, continual searches for new ways to raise scores. Even the strongest supporters of the reform movement concede that the task of raising achievement among disadvantaged students is hard work.
It's unlikely that we can build large-scale school reform on a platform of continual new demands on teachers--more time, more energy, more devotion, more responsibility--even if schools find ways to pay them better.This is the bigger challenge facing schools. We need a more useful answer to the Berkeley study than "Yeah, it's really hard work."