Jack Gerson, a math teacher at Castlemont’s Leadership Prep High School, helpfully took up yesterday afternoon’s challenge about how the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future came up with its $12 million figure. He writes:
If you’ve downloaded the 16-page policy brief that accompanies their report, look at page 14 (“Appendix: Calculating the National Cost of Teacher Attrition). They’re estimating that 12.5% of teachers leave annually (which for Oakland would be between 325 and 350) and multiply that by $8,750. That come to, ballpark, $3 million. Then they estimate cost per school of $70,000 and multiply that by the number of schools. Oakland now has between 100 and 150 schools, which comes to, again ballpark, $9 million. Add the two estimates together and you get $12 million.
I can’t say whether any of their figures are accurate. I don’t know if it costs Oakland an average of $8,750 / teacher who leaves exclusive of costs to schools, and I don’t know if it costs schools $70,000 per teacher who leaves. But this is how they generated their figures, and it does seem to work out to about $12 million.
Mr. Gerson is right. I got in touch with Ben Shaefer from the National Commission, and he said they included individual school costs in the total $12 million figure. When you add the central office costs (based on 300 teachers leaving) and the $70,000 for each of the district’s 130 schools, it comes to $11.73 million — according to their formula, anyway.
That doesn’t take into account, though, the number of new, small schools in Oakland. A large comprehensive school like Skyline, for example, has a much different staffing picture than each of the small schools at Fremont or Castlemont.
But what do I know? I’m a reporter, (obviously) not a math teacher.