The McKinsey & Co. Report on Attracting Teachers Is Wrong!
McKinsey & Co released a report, “Closing the Talent Gap: Attracting and Retaining Top-Third Graduates to Careers in Teaching,” that misses the mark in how to attract and retain the best young people to the education profession. To read the report, you would believe the only career attractor is salary. Au contraire!
For some, salary is the driver. However, Dan Pink, in his book Drive: the Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, “makes an excellent case that focusing only on salaries as a workplace attractor and motivator misses important future trends that he links to his “Motivation 3.0.” Dan writes that autonomy, mastery, and purpose are the three elements that will attract tomorrow’s employees to tomorrow’s workplaces, including in our nation’s schools and classrooms.
Sure, comfortable salaries and other fringe benefits are important, but these are not the primary drivers that McKinsey researchers would lead us to believe are essential to attracting the best educators in the future. In contrast to the McKinsey report, the leaders at the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) have identified a far more compelling proposition for how the education profession can attract and retain the next wave of great teachers. In his Phi Delta Kappan article, “The Next Generation of Learning Teams,” (October 2009) Tom Carroll, NCTAF president, presents an alternate teaching model utilizing cross-generational learning teams that benefit student learning while improving teacher recruitment and retention efforts.
In this compelling article, Tom argues that the current model of the classroom teacher as a sole practitioner defies a movement that is occurring in all workplaces. Businesses and organizations are moving away from individual employees working in silos independent of one another, toward a working environment that utilizes cross-functional teams that focus on learning, innovation, and collective action. Schools must do the same. NCTAF describes this model as “learning teams” working in “learning studios” to address “learning challenges.” Their research depicts a very different work environment in our schools that is far more attractive than how our schools currently operate—an environment that will both attract and retain great educators, while significantly increasing student learning.
PDK has a vested interest in attracting then next generation of great teachers. The Future Educators Association®—a member of the PDK International family of associations—is the only federally-recognized, high school-based student organization that recruits and prepares high school students to become the next generation of great educators. Pi Lambda Theta (PLT), also a member of the PDK family, continues what FEA starts by recognizing and supporting exceptional undergraduate and graduate students in education.
It rests with PDK and other education organizations to show these prospective members of our profession a vastly improved way to work together—to to be both learners and teachers at the same time, as Tom Carroll and his team at NCTAF envision. PDK is highly motivated to take on this task. The McKinsey & Co. report, “Closing the Talent Gap: Attracting and Retaining Top-Third Graduates to Careers in Teaching,” is wrong. Fortunately, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) presents a much better alternative: a forward-looking approach to attracting and retaining great educators that recognizes the intrinsic rewards great employees crave and deserve.