Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Study finds 'home cooking' in Appalachian teaching, some of it not so good

Researchers at the University of Kentucky, the University of Kansas, and Tennessee State University analyzed data in Appalachian regions in Kentucky from 1987 to 2005 "to access the degree to which highly credentialed teachers can be recruited and retained by less-advantaged rural districts," the Journalist's Resource reports.

The study, published in The American Review of Public Administration, found some alarming data, such as that "teachers who at some point fail a certification exam -- regardless of where they come from -- are more likely to be employed in Appalachia."

The study found that teachers educated in Appalachia tend to stay there, although those who scored higher on tests were more likely to get their first job outside of the region, and “the odds of an otherwise average teacher that attended a college or university in Appalachia obtaining first employment in an Appalachian district of average characteristics are well over three times that of her non-Appalachian counterpart."

The study found that "teacher labor markets are highly regionalized and segmented across states," which suggests "that mobility among teachers is limited, and it raises profound questions about how isolated school districts can ever improve the learning experience for students," the Journalist's Resource reports.(Read more) The map below shows that teachers' colleges in Kentucky, where almost half the counties are Appalachian, account for more than half the teachers in the counties near them. (Click on image for larger version)

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