Large private-sector corporations know, too, that exposing and vilifying their employees will do little to improve performance. Even companies who pride themselves on transparent, broadly shared performance reviews share them internally, not with an unscrupulous, angry national public.
Teachers, however, are denied the same kind of treatment. Their performance, which is disproportionately judged by standardized test scores of their students, is broadcast far and wide. They are pilloried on all fronts as the chief culprits behind failing schools even though decades of research has shown that out-of-school factors are responsible for two-thirds of the variation in student achievement, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
The result is reflected in the turnover rate. Close to 50 percent of teachers nationwide quit the field within the first five years. The cost of replacing these teachers is conservatively estimated to be $2.2 billion a year, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education.
California, which has the nation’s largest population of public-school teachers, serves as a case in point. With more than 300,000 teachers serving more than 6 million students, the results of teacher exit surveys can’t be ignored.