The Johns Hopkins School of Education is hosting a showing of American Teacher, a feature-length documentary produced and directed by Academy Award–winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth; produced by Nínive Calegari, co-founder of the literacy non-profit 826 National, and best-selling author Dave Eggers; and narrated by Academy Award-winner Matt Damon. Chronicling the stories of four teachers in different areas of the country, American Teacher reveals the frustrating realities of today's educators, the difficulty of attracting talented new teachers and why so many of our best teachers feel forced to leave the profession.
Undeniable research shows that a child's school success depends on quality teaching. In the next ten years, more than half of the current 3.2 million teachers will be eligible to retire. We will then have a choice: continue with the current, broken system of trying to attract talented college graduates to the teaching profession by offering low pay, long hours, little support, and no prestige - a system that results in high turnover and low morale and translates into 85 percent of graduates refusing to even consider the profession. Or we change: increase compensation and improve conditions to attract the best college graduates who might otherwise go into law, finance, or other lucrative fields. With the best and the brightest in the profession, schools will get better.
Based on the New York Times best-selling book, Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers (The New Press:2005), AMERICAN TEACHER is an endeavor of The Teacher Salary Project, a nonprofit organization offering an interactive online resource and a national outreach campaign to change how teachers are valued in our society.