The Teacher Quality Crisis
There are simply not enough talented teachers to ensure the high-quality education that every child in America needs and deserves. Without substantial change, our nation will not be able to achieve sustained and meaningful improvement in student performance.
Research conducted by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), the Milken Family Foundation and other leading institutions over the past two decades about America’s teaching profession confirms:
- Teacher quality is THE most important school-related factor affecting student achievement. Forty-three percent of the variance in student achievement is based on teacher qualifications, 49% on home and family, and 8% on class size.
- Secondary and elementary schools will need to hire over two million new teachers in the coming years, and 50% of those new teachers are not expected to remain in teaching more than five years. In high-need schools and subjects, the turnover rate is even higher.
- While the academic quality of those entering the profession is low compared to those in other fields, the quality of educators currently teaching varies tremendously. The most effective teachers produce as much as five times the learning gains of the least effective teachers.
- Thirty-six percent of all secondary school teachers who teach math do not have certification or a major in math. Nearly 60% of chemistry, physics, earth and space science instructors do not have certification or a major in their subjects.
- The median age of teachers has risen from 33 in 1976 to the mid-40's today, indicating that there are more teachers nearing retirement age, with fewer young new teachers to replace them.
- In a survey of high school students, only 14% expressed "a great deal of interest" in teaching as a career.
- Many of the lowest-paid school administrators earn more than many of the highest-paid teachers. Teachers must often leave the profession to earn top salaries.
Monica Knauer, Master Teacher, Dwight D. Eisenhower Academy of Global Studies, New Orleans, Louisiana
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