- A group of Detroit area philanthropists and businesses announced last week the formation of a citywide initiative called Teach 313, which will offer perks, such as discounted auto and home financing loans, to teachers in city schools, while also mounting a broader recruitment campaign to draw newly certified teachers to the area, Chalkbeat reports.
- The initiative, which is named after the Detroit area code, is important for the areas because the large number of charter schools in the city are vying with traditional public schools for a shrinking pool of qualified educators.
- The effort differs from other similar efforts, the leaders of the initiative say, because it also focuses on providing perks to improve retention rates as a part of the recruitment strategy, particularly since Detroit loses more than 14% of its teachers every year.
The efforts to recruit and retain quality teachers in Detroit underscore the power that comes from community involvement. Oftentimes, residents expect superintendents, school boards, county commissioners and state and federal leaders to solve school issues. However, in Detroit, business and community leaders are banding together to offer incentives from their own pockets. Not only do these efforts increase recruitment tools, but the evidence of such strong community support should make the community more attractive to teachers.
Not every community is equipped to offer incentives on the same scale as Detroit. However, each community its own advantages. Large cities and urban settings may be able to engender more support from large corporations. However, even smaller community banks may be able to offer better financing options, and community businesses can offer discounts on goods and services to attract teachers and show that the community values their efforts.
Another important aspect of the effort is its focus on retaining quality teachers. With an ongoing teacher shortage, schools are going to extraordinary efforts to attract and retain teachers. These efforts include minimizing requirements, using emergency teaching credentials, hiring retired educators, using technology to replace classroom teachers, recruiting teachers from abroad, and other methods. However, better communication and better support for quality teachers not only improves classroom success, but also reduces the need for what experts call "backdoor" recruitment policies.