Atttracting Talent to the Classroom – 3

To wrap up the year and the discussion on positive trends in teacher preparation, the final question is:  What is happening at the national level to attract top talent to the teaching profession?

  • The Obama administration has fueled the efforts to raise the quality of teaching with plans to revamp reporting requirements for schools of education and hold them accountable for the effectiveness of their graduates in the classroom (see Ed Week’s description of the initiative here). The administration also proposes to competitively fund national, non-traditional teacher preparation programs that have a track record of success (e.g., TFA), through a new SEED (Supporting Effective Educator Development) grant program (details in this Ed Week article).
  • Major reports from national research organizations have called for revamping teacher preparation to require more extensive practical training, and for increased accountability for their graduates’ performance.  See, for example, the NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) report, Transforming Teacher Education through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers (2010), which calls for “the education of teachers in the United States to be turned upside down.” Continue reading
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Attracting Talent to the Classroom – 2

In my previous post I asked if the U.S. can raise the teaching profession to the level of the countries with the highest performing education systems.  The good news is that the climate for overhauling the system of preparing, supporting and evaluating teachers has been steadily improving as a result of the impact of Teach For America and other reform efforts.   (TFA has always claimed a dual mission that includes socializing future leaders about the need to reform public education. In fact, TFA alumni are some of the most prominent leaders in education reform today, spawning charter schools, spin-off alternative certification pathways, and influencing public education policy.)  In particular, there are a number of trends that are contributing to increased efforts to revamp the teacher preparation system, and are luring top individuals into the classroom: Continue reading

Attracting Talent to the Classroom-1

In my last post I wrote about witnessing the frightening gulf in outcomes for children who have access to a great education and those who don’t. I also said that I have had the opportunity to see children getting a good education in vastly different settings.

Regardless of the school, it doesn’t take long for the visitor to recognize that the very obvious difference between the successful classrooms and the failing ones is the teaching. This is not news. Over and over we see that excellent results are achieved when schools can choose to hire the best teachers. Decades of research confirm the impact of good teachers on student outcomes, the paucity of good teachers in the neediest schools, and the problems in both the teacher preparation and the public education systems that discourage the top college graduates from seeking a career in teaching (It’s worth downloading “Good Teaching Matters- A Lot”,  Kati Haycock’s 1998 review of value-added research available at the time. ) While Congress continues its attempts to muster the bipartisan support to pass an overhaul of NCLB, I thought it would be a good time to examine some of the latest efforts to address one of the greatest obstacles to quality education in America: attracting the top individuals into the teaching profession. Continue reading