Who is Killing the Teaching Profession?

At a conference held in 2009 called “Redefining Teacher Education for Digital Age Learners,” Tom Carroll told his audience: “The industrial era career pipeline is collapsing at both ends. We’re losing accomplished teachers and bright young beginning teachers.”

Carroll, who serves as president of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future and founded the U.S. Department of Education’s “Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology” program, has spent a lot of time thinking about how to manage America’s teachers.

“We’ve had a lot of talk lately about managing the human capital more effectively,” he explained at the conference. “How to manage them. We need to move to a very different workforce model.”


According to Carroll, teachers have not been leaving the profession in droves because of decades of public degradation, low pay, and unrealistic, endlessly shifting bureaucratic mandates.  They have been leaving because teaching just isn’t hip enough.

“What we’ve asked our teachers to do – do the same job for 20 or 30 years – those days in the larger workforce are over. We will not be able to compete with that workforce if we continue to offer bright young college graduates what we’ve been offering people for so long in education,” he said.

In Carroll’s world, schools are collections of “learning spaces” and “learning places” that connect in “learning organizations.” In this system, the teaching profession must become a “hub” or a “node.”

“What we’re talking about here is not just preparing a better teacher,” said Carroll. “We’re talking about schools of education getting out of the preparation business, actually, and into the workforce development business in partnership with school districts.”

Carroll, of course, wasn’t just offering a pie-in-the-sky vision to a few folks crazy enough to listen.

Instead, Carroll was speaking to high-ranking representatives from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), the Council for Chief State School Officer (CCSSO), the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

And it appears that many listened.

In a paper submitted at the conference, Carroll suggested that “one way to develop a 21st century education workforce is to create a new generation of Web-based teaching residences.”

Six years later, NYU Steinhardt has unveiled exactly this sort of program.

At the National Education Week conference, NYU announced its Embedded Master of Arts in Teaching program that will allow student to “earn a graduate degree by combining 100 percent online coursework with immersive on-site experiences in high-needs urban schools.”

The program likens itself to a doctor residency program, but is, in fact, more akin to a stripped-down version of Teach for America preparation.

Using start-up ed-tech companies like HotChalk and Torsh, candidates will work in high poverty school districts while uploading videos of themselves teaching. Peers and instructors will then evaluate and coach from afar using the videos and student data.

NYU hopes that this new program will serve as a model for the rest of the nation.

“We invite you to join us in leading this transition,” Diana Turk, director of teacher education at NYU, told members of the Education Week conference. “Within ten years, the vast majority of new teachers will start their careers in high quality, full time residency programs.”

Does that mean we have ten years left to save our profession?







Author: Emily Talmage

My name is Emily Talmage and I teach fourth grade at Montello Elementary School in Lewiston, Maine. In addition to teaching in Lewiston, I have also taught special education and general education in New York City, including one year at a “high-performing” charter school in Brooklyn. I also have two master’s degrees; one in Urban Education from Mercy College, and another in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. I have also worked as a research analyst and assistant at the National Center for Children and Families at Columbia and Oldham Innovative Research in Portland.

5 thoughts on “Who is Killing the Teaching Profession?”

  1. Whoa, this is just crazy talk. I can’t believe that the AFT members didn’t throw a shoe at him. Shame on NYU.

    Doris Santoro Associate Professor of Education Bowdoin College 7400 College Station Brunswick, ME 04011 207-798-4309


  2. What are you trying to save? Are you convinced that technology can’t be utilized to make education better? Sure, if we allow corporations and the government to own the technology that is used and dictate what information is delivered to students. Then we have a problem. But if we can use technology as a tool of freedom of speech and democratize education so everyone can participate. Then maybe we can have the opposite affect. A world where people can learn anything from anyone faster and move to being more effectual people. Look at the blogging tool you are using to deliver this message to the internet, and how I can directly communicate with you for free, with no oversight. What if that blogging tool allow you to create questions, classes, courses, video. And there was no one saying that what you were teaching was any less than what anyone else was teaching. I could just pick you to learn from and have your validation of my learning go on my record.

    There is the other problem. You don’t want a record. But of course we need one, we just need one where we are in control of our data. Which is a whole internet issue. Not just an education issue. The right to data privacy is something that needs to be fought and won across the board. And we need to establish it universally so that we can access the benefit of modern technology without fear that the providers are going to analyze and restrict us in the background without our knowledge or with it with no choice. When we want to show our record to a program to get back the magical results of data mining (which cannot be denied) we need to authorize the review of our data and at what level we want it share and be able to remove any or all of it we want.

    Of course institutions will begin to require that student record in order to participate. But to deny that it is the future is to deny that others have the right to judge us before they include us. Our public education grading system is no less discriminatory in how it labels students and in fact is far more than an open system where a student can see what is required with transparency and go online in pursuit of getting the proper credentials to participate.

    The fact is that without the benefit of these tools we will fall behind the rest the of the world that adopts them to supercharge the ability for students to become effective. You can say that is about a corporate workforce, but the reality is that it is about individuals that have to compete in the world regardless of their desire to not be forced to. Lets just figure out how to make sure that we own that experience in a democratic way. Rather that have it forced on us by common core or competency overlords. Having big data doesn’t mean that as individuals we have to lose control over ourselves to others. Though it might mean that we can no longer deny truth. The truth about how we are educating our children, how far behind they are compared to their potential, and how much rejecting technology simply to protect the existing teachers power structure and jobs is a horrible mistake.


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