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I got an interesting e-mail last week from board member John Lee Evans about my article on how San Diego Unified is trying to avoid employee layoffs. Evans writes about the reason he wants to avoid teacher layoffs in particular:
I have made an issue that the teacher is the core of the educational system, that the key ingredient to student success is not the curriculum, the testing program, the facilities, special activities, etc., but rather the quality of the teacher. We need to recruit and retain the best qualified teachers. Obviously, this year we are not in much of a recruitment mode, but I hope that down the road future teachers will look at San Diego Unified as a stable place to work. Our results next year are going to depend upon the morale of the teachers … Teachers need to know that we value what they do, even though it was take us awhile to get us up to competitive salaries with other districts.
He added that his goal is to have a Teacher Project (the capitals are his) that attracts candidates to San Diego with competitive pay, support for new teachers, professional autonomy and the ability to collaborate with other teachers. The idea is that nurturing the teacher workforce will pay off in increased student achievement, he wrote.
Update: An erroneous reference to John de Beck, inserted by an editing error, has been removed from this post.