Monday, July 28, 2008

Better-Qualified Teachers

Published: June 23, 2008

The United States has a long and dishonorable history of dumping the least-qualified teachers into schools that serve poor and minority students. This shameful practice has persisted nationally, despite the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which required the states to place “highly qualified” teachers in every classroom.

The picture has improved significantly, however, in New York City, where state law has abolished temporary licenses for uncertified teachers, raised standards in teacher preparation programs and spawned innovative strategies for recruiting better teachers.

A new study by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research shows that the teacher qualification gap between poor and well-to-do schools in New York City narrowed considerably between 2000 and 2005. The qualification index took into account several factors, including certification, experience, the teacher’s SAT scores and the rank of the undergraduate college the teacher attended.

In the poorest schools, the better-qualified teachers have driven modest improvements in student achievement. It may be that right now the city is doing as well as it can with the current applicant pool. And there is certainly more to teaching than SAT scores and other credentials. Still, the study shows that the city could substantially improve performance in fourth and fifth grade math by hiring more people with strong credentials.

Read more HERE

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