Education Vital Signs: Teachers
No topic is more central to the public schools than teaching. And while this has always been the case – teaching is, after all, what the work of schools is all about – in recent years the topic has dominated education news as never before. Among the questions being debated: What makes a good teacher? Are teaching colleges doing a good job? Is alternative certification a viable option that can be brought “to scale”? Are teachers unions the problem, or simply a convenient scapegoat? Should teachers be paid for their performance, and if so, should their performance be measured in full or in part by student test scores? These are all extremely complex and difficult questions; and if some people say they have definitive “yes” or “no” answers to most of them – well, perhaps they haven’t thought long enough.
Below are the latest studies that come under the board heading of teaching:
Teachers and the economy
Teacher job satisfaction is at its lowest rate in 20 years, according to the latest MetLife "Survey of the American Teacher." Only 44 percent of teachers are satisfied with their jobs, and 29 percent of the teachers surveyed say they are likely to leave the teaching profession. The number of teachers who say their jobs are insecure has grown from 8 percent in 2006 to 34 percent. Two-thirds of teachers and 53 percent of parents say that teachers’ salaries are not fair.
The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood
An analysis of test data and tax records for 2.5 million former students of a large U.S. urban school district clearly shows a link between high value-added (high-VA) teachers—those whose students have higher test scores—and better student outcomes over the long term. The analysis from Harvard and Columbia University economists, The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood, finds that students assigned to high-VA teachers were less likely to become teenage parents, had higher rates of college attendance and attended more selective colleges, earned more money and lived in better neighborhoods as adults, and saved more for their retirements.
Teacher Diversity Matters
A state-by-state analysis of the nation’s teaching staff finds that, while students of color account for more than 40 percent of all students nationally, only 17 percent of their teachers are men or women of color. The analysis, Teacher Diversity Matters from the Center for American Progress, recommends expanding high-quality alternative certification programs (27 percent of black teachers and 25 percent of Hispanic teachers have alternative certifications) and working to improve the professional experiences of teachers of color as ways to increase teacher diversity.
A state-by-state analysis of the nation’s teaching staff finds that, while students of color account for more than 40 percent of all students nationally, only 17 percent of their teachers are men or women of color. The analysis, from the Center for American Progress, recommends expanding high-quality alternative certification programs (27 percent of black teachers and 25 percent of Hispanic teachers have alternative certifications) and working to improve the professional experiences of teachers of color as ways to increase teacher diversity.November 2011
Teacher Effects in Early Grades
A study confirms that good teachers do make a difference and have lasting effects on student achievement. The study by a Michigan State University researcher, Teacher Effects in Early Grades, finds that students exposed to teachers at the 85th percentile of the teacher effectiveness distribution for three consecutive grades (kindergarten through second grade) experience an increase at third grade of nearly one-third of a year’s growth in reading achievement, compared to students who were not exposed to the highly effective teachers. These results are similar to those achieved by reducing class size.
Grade Inflation for Education Majors and Low Standards for Teachers: When Everyone Makes the Grade
A report from the American Enterprise Institute, Grade Inflation for Education Majors and Low Standards for Teachers: When Everyone Makes the Grade, says that education undergraduates are twice as likely to get an A than business or liberal arts students. Research shows that education students consistently receive “exceptionally favorable” grades in all of their classes. The report says this phenomenon cannot be explained by differences in student quality or smaller class sizes among education majors, and probably is caused by lower grading standards.
Profile of Teachers in the U.S. 2011
“Profile of Teachers in the U.S. 2011,” from the National Center for Education Information, says that 33 percent of the first-time teachers hired since 2005 came to teaching along a pathway other than a four-year teacher education program. Twenty-two percent of the teachers surveyed in 2011 were under 30 years old, compared to 11 percent in 2005. More than 50 percent of public school teachers have a master’s degree or better. Eighty-four percent of public school teachers are female.
Find your stats here
The National Chamber Foundation and the Institute for a Competitive Workforce have launched an interactive map comparing states’ performance within nine K-12 education categories: standards, graduation rates, data systems, achievement gaps, charter school laws, student achievement, return on investment, teacher policies, and Race to the Top participation.
Teacher Quality Roadmap: Improving Policies and Practices in LAUSD
Only 52 percent of students in California’s Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) graduate on time. Statewide, 70 percent of all students graduate on time. A report from the National Council on Teacher Quality, Teacher Quality Roadmap: Improving Policies and Practices in LAUSD, says that, to turn the district around, it needs to improve teacher recruitment, prescreening, and staffing practices; evaluate teachers regularly on multiple measures, including student achievement; and make tenure more meaningful, including changing the current practice of offering it after two years of teaching.
Only 52 percent of students in California’s Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) graduate on time. Statewide, 70 percent of all students graduate on time. A report from the National Council on Teacher Quality, , says that, to turn the district around, it needs to improve teacher recruitment, prescreening, and staffing practices; evaluate teachers regularly on multiple measures, including student achievement; and make tenure more meaningful, including changing the current practice of offering it after two years of teaching.June 2011
Slow Off the Mark
A report by the Center for American Progress, Slow Off the Mark, says that early learning is crucial to later success in science, math, and technology fields. It claims many elementary teachers are ill-prepared to teach math and science, pointing out that teachers can pass the licensing exam in most states without passing the math portion of the test. The report recommends raising admission standards to elementary teacher preparation programs and pay-for-performance to attract the best candidates to elementary teaching positions.
Teacher Layoffs Ahead: Should Seniority Prevail?
Florida has recently done away with seniority-based rules governing layoffs, and other states are considering doing the same. The Christian Science Monitor’s website offers a discussion of the arguments pro and con surrounding LIFO (last-in-first-out) teacher layoffs. Teacher Layoffs Ahead: Should Seniority Prevail? offers six considerations to readers, ranging from how such layoffs work to other options, the possibility of compromise, and discussing which side currently has momentum.
Review of Cross-Country Evidence on Teacher Performance
A recent review casts doubts on the conclusions of a report by Harvard University’s Program on Education and Policy Governance touting the success of international pay-for-performance efforts based on superior performance on international tests. Review of Cross-Country Evidence on Teacher Performance notes that the sample size of the study—28 countries—is so small that extreme caution is required when interpreting results. The reviewer also notes that fundamental differences in the types of performance pay systems used by the countries in the sample are not considered.
Beyond Classroom Walls
Nearly four in ten teachers would like to combine classroom work with other roles or responsibilities within their districts, according to a new report, Beyond Classroom Walls, the results of a study on role-shifting reforms inside charter management organization Rocketship Education and Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools’ Teacher Leadership Program. The report says that role-shifting is one way to recognize and retain teachers and allows the best teachers to have a positive impact on the largest number of students.
What Does Washington State Get for Its Investment in Bonuses for Board Certified Teachers?
A study of Washington State’s four-year-old, bonus-based incentive plan for national board certified teachers, What Does Washington State Get for Its Investment in Bonuses for Board Certified Teachers?, reveals that the number of Washington’s board-certified teachers has tripled, escalating the cost of the program by $10 million per year; fewer than 1 percent of those teachers move to high-poverty schools. Board-certified teachers are no more likely to remain in challenging school assignments than other, non-certified teachers; and it is possible that, due to individual district lobbying, board-certified teacher bonuses are not being distributed equally across the state’s schools.
Building Teacher Evaluation Systems: Learning from Leading Efforts
A new study from the Aspen Institute, Building Teacher Evaluation Systems: Learning from Leading Efforts, profiles teacher performance management work being done in the District of Columbia Public Schools and the Achievement First charter school network. It finds the work’s commonalities and distinctions, describes early lessons learned, suggests how teacher evaluations might be used to improve teaching and student learning, and proposes questions to guide teacher evaluation efforts.
Toward Increasing Teacher Diversity
A new report from the National Education Association, Toward Increasing Teacher Diversity, analyzed test results for the Praxis I tests—used to screen teaching program applicants—by race and ethnicity. It found a gap between white and Black test-takers of 41.4 percent in mathematics, 40.8 percent in reading, and 35.3 percent in writing. There is also a gap between white and Hispanic test-takers of 21 percent in mathematics, 16.8 percent in reading, and 16.5 percent in writing. Gaps exist between white and Asian test-takers of 7 percent in mathematics, 24.3 percent in reading, and 16.3 percent in writing.
Principals’ Approaches to Developing Teacher Quality
A new paper on ways principals can influence teacher development says that principals find it easier to improve their teachers through professional development or induction than to hire, reassign, evaluate, or dismiss them. Some principals feel more constrained in these matters than others. Principals’ Approaches to Developing Teacher Quality found that principals of schools that had a strong identity, were smaller, enrolled elementary students, and were supported by their districts in key ways had the easiest time performing difficult human capital processes.
The Case Against Quality-Blind Teacher Layoffs
A new study from The New Teacher Project, The Case Against Quality-Blind Teacher Layoffs, says that 80 percent of seniority-based teacher layoffs result in better teachers leaving their classrooms, and worse teachers staying behind in schools. Fourteen states employing 40 percent of all teachers currently ban schools from basing layoffs on any factor but seniority, and most of these face severe budget shortfalls this year. The study points out that, since high-poverty schools are the most likely to have first-year teachers, seniority-based layoffs hurt poor students the most. Almost three-quarters of the teachers surveyed for the study reject quality-blind layoff rules, and say that factors other than seniority should be considered in teacher layoffs.
When the Stakes Are High, Can We Rely on Value-Added?
Incorporating Student Performance Measures into Teacher Evaluation Systems
A new report says that current teacher evaluations suffer from the “Lake Wobegon effect,” wherein all of the teachers are rated “above average.” The report also says that much of the debate surrounding value-added models for teacher evaluation focuses around consequences for teachers rather than consequences for students, and is too concerned with protecting teachers from misclassification. Read When the Stakes Are High, Can We Rely on Value-Added? for more information and a framework for new teacher evaluation instruments.
Improved longitudinal data systems and refinements to value-added models make it increasingly possible for districts to estimate teachers’ impacts on student achievement, but districts face two important challenges: making valid estimates of teachers’ contribution to students’ achievement, and including teachers who teach subjects or grades that are not tested every year in their evaluation processes. Incorporating Student Performance Measures into Teacher Evaluation Systems considers which performance measures might be used most effectively.
Professional Development: Sorting through the Jumble to Achieve Success
As a new report from Education Week aptly points out, “as a term for describing ongoing training investments in the teaching force, ‘professional development’ has become both ubiquitous and all but meaningless.” Nevertheless, Professional Development: Sorting through the Jumble to Achieve Success provides a thorough overview of professional development for teachers -- covering its costs, format, and research base, and suggesting ways to best implement it in districts.
How to Fix Our Schools
A new brief from the Economic Policy Institute says that it will take a lot more than a ‘Manifesto’ and giving bad teachers the boot to turnaround public schools. How to Fix Our Schools says that social science research shows that the quality of schools accounts for only one-third of differences in student achievement, that the other two-thirds is due to out-of-school factors beyond the schools’ control, and that good teachers cannot compensate for the kinds of disadvantages many students bring to school. The brief also talks about the roles teacher collaboration and school leadership play in student achievement, and suggests that an inspired school principal may be able to get better student achievement with mediocre, or even bad, teachers, than a poor principal could produce with even the best of teachers.
Preservice Performance Assessment and Teacher Early Career Effectiveness
A study shows that, for every additional point a teacher scored on a California teachers’ preservice performance assessment, the teacher’s students scored one percentile point higher (on average) per year on the California Standards Tests English Language Arts than did their cohorts. Preservice Performance Assessment and Teacher Early Career Effectiveness found that students taught by teachers at the top of the assessment’s scale (44) performed best: 20 percentile points higher than students taught by teachers receiving the lowest passing score (24).
Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness
Measures currently used to evaluate teachers are not linked to their ability to teach, and different licensing requirements make teacher mobility across state lines impossible. The situation, says education expert Linda Darling-Hammond, has become “byzantine.” Darling-Hammond’s new report, Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness, calls for a national method of evaluation for public school teachers, and outlines ways in which uniform assessments for licensing and certification could help predict teachers’ success with children and lead to improvements in teachers’ preparation, mentoring, and professional development.
Better Benefits: Reforming Teacher Pensions for a Changing Workforce
The current economy has left state pensions with a $500 billion gap, but teachers’ pension plans are not only underfunded, but their structure negatively affects the profession and student achievement. To be eligible for a pension, teachers must stay in the classroom for a certain number of years, even if they burn out and can no longer teach effectively. For more information, read Better Benefits: Reforming Teacher Pensions for a Changing Workforce, from the Education Sector.
Measuring What Matters
Few states require teacher preparation programs to measure their graduates’ effectiveness and impact on student achievement and growth. A new report from the Center for American Progress, Measuring What Matters, recommends that teacher preparation programs perform observational assessments of classroom teaching; use state data systems to track graduates’ teaching rates and publicly disclose the results; obtain feedback from graduates and their employers via survey; and tie K-12 learning outcomes to preparation program graduates.
Effectively Linking Teachers and Students
Policymakers must develop guidelines that ensure a valid, reliable teacher/student data link when relying on information available in statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs). A new report from the Data Quality Campaign, Effectively Linking Teachers and Students, recommends that states determine how the data from the SLDS will be used, policymakers and educators own the process, that teachers make sure the correct students are on their rosters, and that states and districts work collaboratively on the teacher-student data link.
Teacher Turnover in Charter Schools
http://www.vanderbilt.edu/schoolchoice/documents/briefs/brief_stuit_smith_ncspe.pdf Odds are 130 percent higher that a charter school teacher will leave the profession than a traditional public school teacher. Turnover is worst in start-up charters, where teachers are almost twice as likely to quit teaching, and almost three times as likely to change schools, as teachers at conversion charters. Charter school teachers tend to be younger, part-time, and uncertified, says the National Center on School Choice’s report, Teacher Turnover in Charter Schools.
Teach for America: A Review of the Evidence
The students the elite college graduates from Teach for America (TFA) teach are usually low-income students who need the most highly-trained and highly-skilled teachers. A new report, Teach for America: A Review of the Evidence, finds that the students taught by TFA teachers perform significantly less well in reading and mathematics than those taught by beginning credentialed teachers, and that the high turnover rate of TFA teachers is costly to districts ($70,000 per recruit).
Devil in the Details
Vague, outdated, and ineffective state laws make teacher dismissal very difficult, according to Devil in the Details, a new report from the Center for American Progress. While teacher dismissal is handled by local school boards and school administrators, the process is governed by state laws which rarely link evaluation to dismissal, making it very difficult to dismiss teachers. Only a few states, such as Illinois, have laws explicitly suggesting that teachers with multiple negative evaluations be made eligible for dismissal.
Assessing Teacher Induction Models
Teacher induction programs do not help teachers feel better prepared to teach, nor do they help school districts retain teachers, but there is some evidence that two-year induction programs raise student’s test scores. The third and final report on Mathematica Policy Research’s study of teacher induction programs for the U.S. Department of Education shows that students of teachers who participated in two-year teacher induction programs scored 4 percentage points in reading and 8 percentage points in math.
An Evaluation of the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) in Chicago: Year Two Impact Report
The Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) has had no measurable effect on teacher retention or student test scores in Chicago, according to a new report from Mathematica Policy Research. As of March 2009, there was no evidence that the program raised test scores. TAP also had no effect on teacher retention rates, with similar percentages of TAP and non-TAP teachers returning to the same schools in fall of 2009 as were there in fall of 2008 or fall 2007.
The Child Who Stutters at School: Notes to the Teacher
A new downloadable brochure from The Stuttering Foundation, The Child Who Stutters at School: Notes to the Teacher, helps teachers correctly identify and support students who stutter. The brochure offers advice on how best to assist stuttering students with tasks such as reading aloud and answering in class and contacts for concerned parents, as well as advice on how to limit and assist with teasing in the classroom. The brochure includes the tip sheet, 8 Tips for Teachers.
Ringing the Bell for K-12 Teacher Tenure Reform
The No Child Left Behind Act requires that all classrooms be staffed with a “highly qualified teacher.” But dismissing an ineffective tenured teacher can be difficult and expensive in most states. A new report from the Center for American Progress, Ringing the Bell for K-12 Teacher Tenure Reform, calls for much-needed reform. The report provides a history of teacher tenure in the United States, as well as case studies of reform efforts in six states (California, Florida, Georgia, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia. The report recommends that the federal government continue to use funding to push states to develop meaningful teacher evaluation systems; states change their teacher licensing processes to ensure teacher effectiveness is assessed as a condition for the granting and renewal of a teaching license; states amend their tenure statutes to mandate that teacher retention and dismissal decisions incorporate teacher effectiveness data; and teachers unions embrace efforts to streamline the removal process for ineffective teachers.
Supporting Teacher Effectiveness: The View from Generation Y
Seventy-one percent of Gen Y teachers are open to incentive pay, but only 10 percent of these teachers believe their students’ performance on standardized tests is an “excellent” measure of teacher success. A new study from Public Agenda and Learning Point Associates, Supporting Teacher Effectiveness: The View from Generation Y, also says that 72 percent of Gen Y teachers believe it is unfair to tie teacher pay to student performance when many things that affect student learning are out of their control.Despite being open to incentive pay, Gen Y teachers ranked incentive pay last among 12 proposals for improving teaching. The study also reports that 66 percent of all teachers agreed that unions sometimes protect teachers who should not be in the classroom.
Taking Human Capital Seriously: Talented Teachers in Every Classroom, Talented Principals in Every School
The ultimate key to student success is having an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective principal in every building. This is the premise of the Strategic Management of Human Capital’s new report, Taking Human Capital Seriously: Talented Teachers in Every Classroom, Talented Principals in Every School. But, as the authors say, “Too often the ‘people side’ of education reform is overlooked. ... The reform spotlight should be turned where it is most important -- on the people who teach and who serve as principals.” They also point out that “the opportunity afforded by the Federal fiscal stimulus package may never be repeated.” The authors recommend a number of politically charged reforms, such as instituting a tiered licensure system for teachers that includes an induction program and requires teachers to demonstrate their effectiveness before receiving tenure. The report notes that some districts now find themselves in a human capital predicament because they gave tenure to inadequate teachers. The authors state that, if these teachers “are not able to become effective instructors who can bring about measurable gains in student learning, they should be removed.”
Teaching for a New World: Preparing High School Educators to Deliver College- and Career-Ready Instruction
The next generation of Americans must graduate from high school ready to compete in a world replete with technological change and rapidly changing labor markets, and their teachers must be ready to guide them. A policy brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education, Teaching for a New World: Preparing High School Educators to Deliver College- and Career-Ready Instruction, proposes a new concept for secondary teacher preparation that will ensure teachers are educated and supported to instruct to higher standards. This new concept calls for a focus on teacher performance, instead of on teacher education coursework; performance-based assessments; supporting effective programs and closing ineffective programs; the creation and enhancement of robust data systems that allow teacher and student information to be linked; and an investment in research.
Aligned by Design: How Teacher Compensation Reform Can Support and Reinforce Other Educational Reforms
Implementing performance pay as a “standalone” reform without linking it to a school district’s broader improvement plans or human resources policies limits its impact and hinders its sustainability -- and ultimately dooms the effort to failure. This is the conclusion drawn by a new report on teacher compensation reform by the Center for American Progress, Aligned by Design: How Teacher Compensation Reform Can Support and Reinforce Other Educational Reforms.
But the Pension Fund Was Just Sitting There
Teacher pension funds are faced with funding issues and are not modern enough to fit the 21st century workforce, according to But the Pension Fund Was Just Sitting There, a report by the American Enterprise Institute. The report states that public pension reform is ruled by politics, not financial or economic incentives, and uses case studies in New Jersey, Oregon, and San Diego to illustrate the problems districts face.
The Schools Teachers Leave: Teacher Mobility in Chicago Public Schools
More than half of all teachers in the Chicago public school system leave within five years. In high-poverty, heavily African-American schools, half of all teachers leave after only three years. These are some of the disturbing statistics revealed by the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research’s study, The Schools Teachers Leave. Some of the characteristics leading to the high levels of teacher turnover were lack of parent responsiveness in elementary schools and student misbehavior and safety problems in the high schools.
Exploring the Possibility and Potential for Pay for Performance in America’s Public Schools
Fewer than half of school administrators participating said they support merit pay for some or all teachers, according to a survey by the American Association of School Administrators. More than 20 percent have no interest in the pay-for-performance plans, but 82 percent said any merit pay program should apply to all educators in the district if it is approved.
Sharing the Burden? The Impact of Proposed Teacher Layoffs Across LAUSD.
The recent massive teacher layoff in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will disproportionately affect low-income students and students of color, according to the Council of Youth Research’s report, Sharing the Burden? The Impact of Proposed Teacher Layoffs Across LAUSD. The Council, sponsored by the University of California-Los Angeles’ Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access, concluded that, because LAUSD will use teacher seniority as the primary criteria for teacher dismissal, and because more than 20 percent of LAUSD’s first- and second-year teachers are assigned to high-poverty, high-minority schools, teacher layoffs will be unevenly distributed, with low-income, high-minority schools being hit the hardest.
Learning Teams: Creating What’s Next
The U.S. stands to lose up to half of its current teachers to retirement over the next decade, forcing schools to rethink their staffing strategies, according to a report by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. The report, Learning Teams: Creating What’s Next, finds that more than 50 percent of the nation’s teachers and principals are baby boomers. The problem is particularly prominent in 18 states, where more than half of public school teachers are age 50 or older.
Learning Teams: Creating What’s Next
Over the next decade, more than half of today’s veteran teachers will retire, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future forecasts. School officials are worried that they can’t rely on new teachers to fill the gap -- the percentage of new teachers who leave the profession within five years continues to climb -- but the forecast points out that the situation does present administrators with a perfect opportunity to redesign the work force.
Student Demographics, Teacher Sorting, and Teacher Quality: Evidence from the End of School Desegregation
The best teachers -- both black and white -- tend to leave a school district when it experiences a large influx of black students, according to a recent study by a Cornell University researcher. The study followed patterns of teacher movement in North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District between 2002 and 2003, when the district stopped busing students to keep schools racially integrated.
MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, Part I
Sixty-nine percent of teachers do not believe that you are listening to what they have to say about education. The new MetLife Survey of the American Teacher also says that both teachers (67 percent) and their principals (78 percent) believe that increased collaboration between teachers and school leaders would improve student achievement. Teachers (80 percent) and principals (89 percent) also believe that student achievement would increase if students felt responsible and accountable for their own education, but only 42 percent of teachers believe their students have this sense of responsibility. However, the survey also says that almost all students surveyed (96 percent) said they have the responsibility to pay attention and do the work it takes to succeed in school.
New data – same staffing inequities at high-poverty schools
Despite district efforts to correct the trend, data reported by The Notebook show that those Philadelphia schools with the highest concentrations of poverty still have the highest teacher turnover and the fewest highly qualified teachers. These differences are most striking in the district’s middle schools and high schools.
So Long, Lake Wobegon: Using Teacher Evaluation to Raise Teacher Quality and Fixing Tenure
Improved evaluation systems are needed to boost teacher quality in U.S. schools, and tenure -- while necessary to retain a strong teacher force -- needs to be strongly tied to those systems to be effective, according to two reports issued by the Center for American Progress: So Long, Lake Wobegon: Using Teacher Evaluation to Raise Teacher Quality and Fixing Tenure: A Proposal for Assuring Teacher Effectiveness and Due Process.
MetLife Survey of the American Teacher (Part 2), Collaborating for Student Success
A new survey says that 84 percent of participating teachers say they have what it takes to help all of their students to achieve academically, but that only 36 percent say all of their students have the ability to succeed. Part 2 of the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, Collaborating for Student Success, reveals significant gaps in teacher and student expectations for academic success, especially in secondary schools; between schools serving large numbers of low-income students and those that do not; and between boys and girls. More than 50 percent of all teachers and 71 percent of secondary teachers say students do only enough work to “get by”; 36 percent of the students surveyed agree. More girls (85 percent) than boys (73 percent) expect to attend college, and more girls (59 percent) than boys (50 percent) believe they will achieve their goals.
The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher (Part 3): Collaborating for Student Success
Six in 10 of all the teachers surveyed for MetLife’s Survey of the American Teacher describe themselves as very satisfied with teaching as a career, and 75 percent say they would like to continue working in education beyond traditional retirement. The survey finds that new teachers are particularly collaborative, and that many teachers are “career changers.” “Career changers” are more common among secondary school teachers (89 percent) and in low-income schools (82 percent).
CORE PROBLEMS: Out-of-Field Teaching Persists in Key Academic Courses, Especially in America's High-Poverty and High-Minority Schools
In America’s secondary schools, low-income students and minority students are about twice as likely as other students to be enrolled in core academic classes taught by out-of-field teachers, according to Core Problems, a report released by The Education Trust. While out-of-field teaching is particularly acute in mathematics and in high-poverty and high-minority schools, the problem is pervasive. Nationwide, more than 17 percent of all core academic courses (English, math, social studies, and science) in grades seven through 12 are taught by an out-of-field teacher. In the middle grades alone, the rate jumps to 40 percent.
Going Virtual! Unique Needs and Challenges of K-12 Online Teachers
The International Association for K-12 Online Learning released the results of the second phase of the research study in partnership with Boise State University, Going Virtual! Unique Needs and Challenges of K-12 Online Teachers. This year’s report identifies the experience, skills, and backgrounds of K-12 online teachers and takes into account both the context of the program or school in which the teacher works, and the amount of experience the teacher has in online teaching.
The Impact of Two Professional Development Interventions on Early Reading Instruction and Achievement
Two approaches to professional development in high-poverty schools did not result in higher reading scores. The MDRC study, The Impact of Two Professional Development Interventions on Early Reading Instruction and Achievement, was commissioned by the federal government and focuses on second-grade teachers and students.
The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) is working to increase the numbers of physics teachers in US schools. PhysTEC supplies funds for cutting-edge recruitment and education of science teachers from among the population of physics students at participating college and universities. Funded by the National Science Foundation and the American Physical Society, the program is a step toward fulfilling the need for physics teachers as states shore up their K-12 science curricula and increasing numbers of colleges and universities demand that incoming freshmen have more science courses listed in their high school transcripts.
No Common Denominator: The Preparation of Elementary Teachers in Mathematics by America’s Education Schools
Only 13 percent of undergraduate education schools require sufficient amounts of relevant math coursework for prospective elementary teachers. The National Council on Teacher Quality’s report, No Common Denominator: The Preparation of Elementary Teachers in Mathematics by America’s Education Schools, found that the combination of state and individual school requirements result in very few teacher candidates taking a sufficient number of courses that prepare them well for teaching in elementary classrooms.
Waiting to Be Won Over: Teachers Speak on the Profession, Unions, and Reform
Teachers are more likely today than they were five years ago to say unions are essential, and they also are less likely to support paying teachers more based on student test scores, according to a survey by Education Sector. The teachers surveyed said they would support the union taking an active role in improving teacher evaluation, supporting and mentoring teachers, guiding ineffective teachers out of the profession, and negotiating new and differentiated roles and responsibilities for teachers.
Thinking Outside the University: Innovation in Alternative Teacher Certification
Alternative teacher certification programs that do not rely on traditional, university-based efforts are needed to boost teacher quality and improve educational reform, according to Thinking Outside the University, a report by the Center for American Progress. The report describes the evolution of alternative certification and profiles innovative programs in several states.
What Keeps Good Teachers in the Classroom? Understanding and Reducing Teacher Turnover
What is causing good teachers, especially those in low-income, low-performing schools, to leave the profession? What Keeps Good Teachers in the Classroom? Understanding and Reducing Teacher Turnover, a report from the Alliance for Excellent Education, explores the costs associated with mass turnover, the characteristics of those likely to leave, and what can be done.
The Leadership Limbo: Teacher Labor Agreements in America's 50 Largest School Districts
Only five of the 50 largest school districts have flexible collective bargaining agreements with teachers’ union, according to The Leadership Limbo: Teacher Labor Agreements in America's 50 Largest School Districts , a report published by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. The report says nearly 10 percent of African-American students attend school in the 15 districts with the most restrictive agreements.
UNESCO Competency Standards for Teachers
Professional development information and communication technologies are critical for teachers to improve student learning, according to Competency Standards for Teachers, a report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. The Paris-based body of the United Nations says providers of curriculum and technology training do not have a comprehensive set of international guidelines.
Quality Counts 2008: Tapping into Teaching
Public school teachers fail to make as much as their peers in comparable professions, earning only 88 cents for every dollar paid to workers in equivalent jobs, according to a new report by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. The Quality Counts report also examined more than 150 indicators as it graded states in six categories: teacher policies; standards, assessments, and accountability; school funding; K-12 achievement; school transition and alignment policies; and a child’s chances for success in life.
Assessing Accomplished Teaching: Advanced-Level Certification Programs
Advanced certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is an effective way to identify highly skilled teachers, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. Students taught by NBPTS-certified teachers make greater gains on achievement tests than students taught by teachers who are not board-certified, says the report. Other studies suggest that many school systems are not supporting or making the best use of their board-certified teachers.
Educational Technology in Teacher Education Programs for Initial Licensure
Initial licensure teacher education programs are more oriented toward preparing future teachers to use educational technology, according to a report from the National Center on Education Statistics. Most institutions somewhat or strongly agreed that graduates possessed the skills and experience necessary to integrate technology into instruction.
Teacher Quality, Opportunity Gap and National Achievement in 46 Countries
Children from low-income families in the U.S. do not have the same access to qualified teachers as do wealthier students, according to Teacher Quality, Opportunity Gap and National Achievement in 46 Countries, a University of Missouri study. When compared to 46 countries, the U.S. had the fourth largest opportunity gap, also known as the difference between students of high and low socioeconomic status in their access to qualified teachers. The report compared eighth-grade math teachers from around the world.
Fresh Ideas in Collective Bargaining: How New Agreements Help Kids
Teachers’ unions and school districts have cooperated to reward and promote effective teaching, give civic leaders a stake in schools, and diminish the harmful effects of teacher-seniority protections, according to a report from the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights. The report cites six joint union-district partnerships that are improving schools, especially those serving disadvantaged children.
To Teach or Not to Teach? Teaching Experience and Preparation Among 1992-1993 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients 10 Years After College
A look at teachers a decade after they entered the profession shows that an overwhelming majority of teachers are satisfied with their jobs and that the attrition rate for educators is lower than for other professions. The study, To Teach or Not to Teach? Teaching Experience and Preparation Among 1992-1993 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients 10 Years After College, was released by the National Center for Education Statistics.
Lessons Learned: New Teachers Talk About Their Jobs, Challenges, and Long-Range Plans
New middle and high school teachers are much less satisfied with their roles as educators than new elementary school teachers says a new report by Public Agenda and the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. The report is based on a survey of 641 public school teachers six months into their first teaching job. According to the report, 52 percent of new middle and high school teachers felt that teaching was the ideal career for them, compared with 68 percent of new elementary school teachers.
Teacher Quality in a Changing Landscape: Improvements in the Teacher Pool
New teachers have better academic credentials than their predecessors did a decade ago, suggesting that tougher requirements have forced teachers' colleges to improve offerings to lure more qualified candidates into the profession, according to a study by the Educational Testing Service. ETS, as the organization is known, designs the Praxis test taken by most new teachers.
Reforming Teacher Pay: The Search for a Workable Goal-Driven Compensation System
Interest around the country in differentiated teacher compensation is increasing, according to a report by Policy Trends, Reforming Teacher Pay: The Search for a Workable Goal-Driven Compensation System. The report identifies why schools are using this type of compensation for their teachers, and why rewarding educators for improving student achievement remains challenging.