I know we left this topic alone a while ago but I found myself thinking about it the other day while reading the New York Times. On May 4th the Times ran an article about an old factory in Philadelphia that is being converted to housing, some of which is specifically set aside for teachers. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/education/philadelphia-renovating-apartments-to-lure-teachers.html?ref=education&_r=0
When I read the headline, I immediately thought about Miller's Court and Union Mill, two buildings that serve a similar role in Baltimore. Sure enough, the article references the two buildings in Baltimore and the same company that oversaw the work here in Bmore is involved in Philadelphia as well. The article highlighted some of the benefits of the housing complex, it offers a discounted rate for teachers, it offers a community that people can be a part of, and it offers safe, comfortable, secure housing for people who may be moving to the city for the first time. Teach For America was mentioned in the article because of the partnership that was formed here in Baltimore, and the new complex in Philadelphia sounds almost identical to the two here.
The reason I brought this up was that the article said that the goal of the buildings was to increase teacher retention in Philadlephia. My obvious question was whether or not the housing does anything for teacher retention. I know the two buildings in Baltimore are wildly popular amongst the teaching crowd but I also know that some people who live their begin to feel like they can never get away from the teaching conversations that go on in the building. I am curious as to whether or not Teach For America in Baltimore has looked at any data on retention for people who choose to live in the subsidized housing units. In the end, do they help hold teachers in the classroom or are they just a nice idea that allows teachers to live in comfortable, affordable apartments?
Matt Gould, Teach For America's vice president for administration said that he had no data on the retention of teachers who live in the Baltimore options. If this is the case, why don't they gather some? It seems that TFA has data on everything else...