Teachers head South
By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
Active recruitment of Canadian teachers by schools in the United States may indicate a global shift in the search for quality education.
When a referendum was passed a few years ago in the United States which reduced class size at the elementary level, many more teachers were needed which is why recruitment from other areas began, said Stevenson Ranch Elementary School principal Diane Vonbuelow.
Stevenson Ranch is only one of the schools in the Newhall School District in North Los Angeles County which is actively recruiting qualified Canadian teachers. Out of the 22 new teachers hired this year at Stevenson Ranch Elementary, approximately 12 were Canadian.
"We want the best and the brightest which means the school district has to draw on a wide field," Vonbuelow said. This is no different than how a business operates, she added.
Danielle Chassman, a second grade teacher at Stevenson Ranch Elementary, said she thinks the experience of having Canadian teachers in their schools has really enhanced the learning experience and allowed the children to learn more about Canada. "We are just happy to have good teachers and have never really thought about where they came from."
The University of Toronto and Queen's University are currently the hottest Canadian recruitment spots, yet Alan Travers, placement coordinator for the faculty of education at Queen's, said this is not a widespread trend.
Of the 1,000 school districts in California, there are really only two which have been actively recruiting and so far only about 10 to 12 graduates from Queen's have been hired, Travers said.
"The trick is to track down school districts who might be interested in recruiting, but it is either an idea which hasn't been thought of yet, or there is just too much effort involved in getting Canadian teachers a Visa."
Allen Pearson, dean of the faculty of education at Western, said California has recruited from Althouse College in the past, but only a small minority actually leave to work in the U.S.. "The reasons for leaving Canada are not necessarily about need for work but more about travel and having few responsibilities."
Laura Paling, a student in the faculty of education program at Althouse College, said she does not think badly of anyone who would move to the U.S. to work but would not do it herself. "The government is screwed up but I would never abandon Canada."