Rootless Vagabonds or Millennials?

Oct 1, 2019 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

The teacher shortage is constantly being researched, discussed and examined as a major factor in the realm of education. Apparently some states have a greater problem than other states- perhaps due to salary, perhaps due to working conditions.

There is another issue- of teachers leaving one school to work in another district or teachers even crossing state lines for a better retirement pension, or crossing state lines because discipline problems may be handled with more dispatch. 

I am going to refer to these teachers as ” Rootless Vagabonds” ( with thanks to Will Fitzhugh for beginning this discussion).

Since this IS America, people are free to leave one job and pursue another. Teachers are free to cross state lines and pursue a more lucrative salary or better working conditions- or a different subject or grade level. This does create some consternation for principals and superintendents who realize that constant turnover is not a good thing for the system, and constant turnover impacts standardized test scores. It may be that we are simply living in a time period or zeitgeist where when individuals are unhappy with one job- they seek another- they may believe that the ” grass is greener elsewhere” and perhaps sometimes it is.

The day and age of teachers remaining in one district or in one school for 20-25-30 years may be long past and we shall have to recognize this sad fact of life. Perhaps teachers are seeking more autonomy, more input, more decision making capacity. It seems that we need more research to ascertain if this is a major shift in thinking, or just a change in the way a certain cohort does business. And of course, there should be some discussion of the impact on the education of children in the big scheme of things.

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