Teacher Shortage and Strategic Compensation: Conversation with Jon Eckert

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Jon and I have had prior conversations on Collective Leadership, and I’ve become more convinced that building the professional and leadership capacity of educators within our schools and profession who enjoy doing hard and innovative work together is the primary way to improve our schools, educational opportunities for students, and the enjoyment of our work. I recently wrote a bit about this in a blog entitled, Building Engaged Schools: Educators Crave It! where I argue for a rebuilding of our profession from within schools.

I’ve become more convinced of this necessity as Jon has written a final piece for the Center for Teaching Quality on the national Teacher Shortage. His blog and the series will provide a fair understanding of the complexity of the problem, Teacher Shortage Reality: Numbers and Names.

Likewise, I’ve been thinking quite a bit more about the shortage as a school leadership problem as schools still struggle to think creatively about leadership capacity development and listening to many colleagues who are trying to solve an adaptive problem with a technical solution like merit-pay or tricky salary structures or as Jon calls it, “Strategic Compensation”. What caught my attention in Jon’s book is his conclusion about leadership capacity development and then challenge for us to look within our schools and inside our profession. He states:

 Educators spend too much time down in the weeds worrying: Who is a leader? Who is not a leader? Is a leader defined by a position? Many times these conversations are driven by contracts and collective bargaining language that separates teachers and administrators. These can be important questions, but they are not the questions that will actually improve education. One of the primary attributes of great schools leaders—both administrators and teachers—is the fact that they don’t define, they do.

They get things done.

 Therefore, I asked Jon two questions about Collective Leadership and the connection with Strategic Compensation:

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