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Moving Teacher Preparation into the Future

December 9, 2014 Comments off

Moving Teacher Preparation into the Future
Source: Brookings Institution

New teachers are essential to K-12 education. They allow the system to grow as the number of students grows, and they replace teachers retiring or taking other jobs. In light of the size of the K-12 sector, it’s not surprising that preparing new teachers is big business. Currently more than 2,000 teacher preparation programs graduate more than 200,000 students a year, which generates billions of dollars in tuition and fees for higher education institutions.

Preparing new teachers also is a business that is rarely informed by research and evidence. In 2010, the National Research Council released its congressionally mandated review of research on teacher preparation. It reported that “there is little firm empirical evidence to support conclusions about the effectiveness of specific approaches to teacher preparation,” and, further on, “the evidence base supports conclusions about the characteristics it is valuable for teachers to have, but not conclusions about how teacher preparation programs can most effectively develop those characteristics.” That there is no evidence base about how best to prepare people to teach is concerning.
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Teacher Pay Penalty

December 2, 2014 Comments off

Teacher Pay Penalty
Source: Economic Policy Institute

There is an increased emphasis in building a quality teacher workforce but little attention paid to the pay penalty teachers face for working in their profession.

The figure below shows that teachers earn less than other similar non-teacher college-educated workers. Teachers working in the public sector who are represented by a union earn 13.2 percent less than other comparable college graduates. The pay gap is largest for private sector teachers without union representation (-32.1 percent). Separate analyses by gender are also presented given that the overwhelming majority of teachers are women (around 72 percent)—here female teachers were only compared to female non-teacher college-educated workers, and male teachers were only compared to male non-teacher college-educated workers. Compared to female teachers, the teacher pay penalty is worse for male teachers for each of the four teacher groups. In general, teacher pay disadvantages are mitigated if teachers are employed in the public sector—and more so if they have union representation.

Ending Teacher Tenure Would Have Little Impact on its Own

October 12, 2014 Comments off

Ending Teacher Tenure Would Have Little Impact on its Own
Source: Brookings Institution

Tenure for public school teachers is increasingly under attack, with the Vergara v. California judge ruling in June that “both students and teachers are unfairly, unnecessarily and for no legally cognizable reason…disadvantaged by the current Permanent Employment Statute.” Last year, North Carolina legislators voted to phase out tenure, although that law was later blocked by a state judge. In 2011, Florida legislators ended tenure for new teachers beginning this year.

A primary stated goal of the California case is to “create an education system that gives every child a passionate, motivating and effective teacher,” and it is likely to become a model for efforts throughout the nation. According to one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, “This is going to be the beginning of a series of these lawsuits that could fix many of the problems in education systems nationwide. … We’re going to roll them out to other jurisdictions.” A similar lawsuit has already been filed in New York State. If these challenges to tenure laws are successful, will they lead to improvements in education?

The Challenges of Promoting Equal Access to Quality Teachers

October 7, 2014 Comments off

The Challenges of Promoting Equal Access to Quality Teachers
Source: Brookings Institution

The start of a school year brings with it a crop of anxious parents hoping their child has an excellent teacher. And recently, policymakers have wondered whether the playing field is level when it comes to getting that excellent teacher. Education Secretary Arne Duncan wrote in July that “family income and race still too often predict how likely a child is to attend a school staffed by great educators.” Beginning in April 2015, states will need to submit plans to the Department of Education to ensure that “poor and minority children are not taught at higher rates than other children by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers.

On the surface, this is a reasonable response to the issue of inequity in access to quality teachers. But how large of a problem is teacher inequity really? Looking at recent research on teacher equity suggests two conclusions. If equity is defined as access to teachers with particular characteristics such as experience, the problem seems large. But if equity is defined as access to effective teachers, those that contribute more to test score growth, the problem does not seem large. Which is not to say issues of teacher equity should be ignored, but that proposed solutions should be proportional to the problem.

Monthly Labor Review: Teacher staffing and pay differences: public and private schools

October 3, 2014 Comments off

Teacher staffing and pay differences: public and private schools
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

A study using Current Population Survey data shows that, from 1996 to 2012, elementary, middle, and high school teachers earned less than other college graduates, but the gap was smaller for public school teachers and smaller still if they had union representation; moreover, the mitigating effects are stronger for female than male teachers, so the within-gender pay gaps are much larger for male teachers.

Teacher Attrition and Mobility: Results From the 2012-13 Teacher Follow-up Survey

September 25, 2014 Comments off

Teacher Attrition and Mobility: Results From the 2012-13 Teacher Follow-up Survey
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

This First Look report provides some selected findings from the 2012-13 Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS) along with data tables and methodological information. The TFS is a follow-up of a sample of the elementary and secondary school teachers who participated in the previous year’s Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). The TFS sample includes teachers who leave teaching in the year after the SASS data collection and those who continue to teach either in the same school as last year or in a different school. The purpose of the Teacher Follow-up Survey is to determine how many teachers remained at the same school, moved to another school or left the profession in the year following the SASS administration.

America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color: Getting More Teachers of Color into the Classroom

September 3, 2014 Comments off

America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color: Getting More Teachers of Color into the Classroom
Source: Center for American Progress

If you spend time in almost any major school district in America today, you will notice that the students often do not look much like the teachers. In fact, in some areas, the students don’t look anything like their teachers. There is a significant demographic gap in the largely white teaching profession and an increasingly diverse student population.

To prepare American students for lives of high achievement, America’s schools need a teaching corps that is not only highly effective but also racially and ethnically diverse. Progress has been made in recent decades in attracting people of color to the teaching profession. But major barriers—including a scarcity of high-quality, teacher-training programs targeted at teachers of color; the educational debt students of color must shoulder; and the general lack of esteem in our society for teaching—stand in the way of producing an optimal pool of teachers. Without vigorous policy innovations and public investment, the demographic gap will only widen to the detriment of children’s education.

This report will describe how the shortcomings of today’s education system and the underachievement of many of today’s students of color shrink the future supply of teachers of color. Furthermore, it will offer policy recommendations through which federal and state education agencies and local school districts can address this critical problem.

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