Joe Bower, a terrific blogger and educator in Canada, noticed something odd in a report about new teachers who are staying longer. The teacher whose picture illustrated the report was a Teach for America recruit who didn’t stay. She taught for two years and quit.

Bower wrote:

“The article featured the picture to the right of Gabrielle Wooden. She taught in Mississippi for a whopping two years before quitting to become an account manager for Insight Global in St. Louis.

“Wooden belonged to Teach for America which is an organization that undermines children’s basic needs and is an accomplice to the corporate take over and privatization of public education.”

Peter Greene jumped on the story.

He writes:

“The Center for American Progress got another quick lesson in How the Internet Works. In their haste to prove that beginning teachers are sticking around for years and years (well, six years, anyway) they slapped up a lovely picture of a TFA temp who finished her two year stint and headed off to her real career in a corporate office. They helpfully included her name (Gabrielle Wooden) so that her actual job history could be found by anybody with an internet hookup and access to google. Joe Bower (in Canada) worked out this tricky research problem as well, and in the last fifteen hours a very long list have people have emailed and messaged me to join this particular swimming party in the warm waters of Lake Schadenfreude….”

“CAP raises a couple of legit concerns beyond the not-shocking news that media do not always report scientific research accurately.

“One is that the existing work on teacher retention is old, that we are talking about data from seven or eight years ago. Most importantly, we are not far enough down the road to see the effects of Common Core on the teacher force. Not to do obvious math here, but there’s no way to know what percentage of teachers are staying past five years when looking at teachers who entered the profession after 2009.

“Another is that this data can be highly local. My theory is that it’s even worse in the most teacher-hostile states. In North Carolina, a state that has gone out of its way to make teaching non-viable as a lifetime career, it would appear (via CAP) that a good local administration can make the difference between losing 10% or 20% of the teaching staff. When there’s a terrible storm blowing, what you do next depends a lot on whether you’re in a tumble-down shack or a solid brick structure. This is a problem with plenty of educational research and almost all education policy– every school is different in distinct and important ways (kind of like human children– go figure).”