Students study the Holocaust in a communication class at Westinghouse Academy in Pittsburgh. Credit: Bonnie Jo Mount/ Washington Post
High-poverty schools often are staffed by a rotating cast of substitute teachers, reports Emma Brown in the Washington Post.
Mya Alford, a junior at Pittsburgh’s Westinghouse Academy, wants to study chemical engineering in college. But she didn’t learn much chemistry last year, she says. Her teacher quit a few weeks after school started and a substitute who “didn’t know chemistry” took over.
The year before, a permanent biology teacher wasn’t hired until December.
Urban school districts hire 1 in 6 of their teachers after the school year begins, according to Brown University professors Matthew A. Kraft and John P. Papay, whose research has shown a link between late hires and lower student achievement.
. . . Philadelphia still needs to hire 136 teachers, and Detroit needs 135 teachers — more than 5 percent of its teaching positions — and the city has just 90 subs, so principals or other school staffers must cover most of the remaining classes, according to a Detroit schools representative.
Teacher turnover is high in high-poverty schools.
An eight-year veteran, Sara Duckett quit her job at Ballou High in Washington, D.C. last December when she began having anxiety attacks and chest pains.
Once she referred a student to an administrator for throwing a pencil at her, grazing her eye. Nothing happened.