A self-identified geezer teacher asks what happened to all the other geezer teachers. Why is the modal experience one year, not the historical 14 years anymore?
Here is what happened. A lot of proven expert teachers move (for whatever reason) to a new district or a new state. Or maybe they move back to the US after a decade or two teaching overseas in our Department of Defense schools maintained on military bases for the children of military members. When they come back to America, they are "out-of-district" for every district in America.
These expert geezers discover to their dismay that they are unemployable. Most schools choose a novice over an experienced teacher any day of the week. "It's the budget, doncha know."
If budgets were really the problem, schools would jump at the chance to get a geezer at a steep discount. Remember, most districts give only five-years credit for experience on the salary scale. A geezer with 25 years experience is willing to take a 20-year pay cut, but no dice. Schools reject expert teaching applicants every day while simultaneous complaining about looming teacher shortages, especially in math and science.
Those highly experienced education experts even have difficulty getting jobs training the next generation of teachers. Schools of education overwhelmingly prefer a newly-minted PhD over an expert geezer-teacher. Education students suspect their education professor have no substantial experience, and now with so many curricula vitae online, it is easy to confirm the validity of their suspicions.
Meanwhile, California want to help laid-off teachers get new credentials in math and science. Problem is, like most teacher recruitment programs, it targets novice teachers. California schools could start by credentialing the out-of-state math and science teachers they already have. Fact is, a teaching credential will not help. It is only a third strike. The first strike is experience; the second post-graduate education. Teachers with all three strikes are rejected with apologies. Teachers lacking only the credential do not even rate the apology. Districts airily dismiss them as unqualified even though they are probably more qualified than most any other teacher in the school.
States and schools could start by eschewing the check-box method of evaluating qualifications and actually look at what the applicant brings top the table. A top teacher with a fat stellar portfolio should be able to walk into any state credentialing office and walk out with the credential. Instead, the evaluator will likely say something like, “We can't accept your NTE scores, or your scores from the other state's teacher competency tests. Our state has it own more rigorous standards.” (Arizona actually said that to me about my umpteen NTE and California tests, all with scores in the 90+ percentiles, the California credentialer had tears in his eyes when he told me that because of bureaucratic rules, a world-class teacher like me would never get a California credential).
Schools boards are waking up to discover that their schools are staffed with novices. There are few mid-career teachers because experienced teachers cannot get hired, and if they do manage to get hired, they are the first laid off again in the next budget panic (last in, first out), destroying resume continuity. The late-career teachers are retiring. A lot of those mid-career teachers love teaching and would love to secure a stable teaching position, but most of them have moved on. They can be found filing medical records, selling insurance, doing taxes, pouring coffee. Sad. Truly sad. In spite of all the noise, America appears to have the education system it wants.