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Teacher Quality Issues
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Teacher Quality Issues

  • Teacher Preparation
  • Teacher Supply and Demand
  • Teacher Recruitment and Retention
  • Additional Research Collections Regarding Teacher Quality

Teacher Preparation

Currently, teacher preparation in all its forms (education, certification, alternative certification, licensure and out-of-field teaching) is the most contentious issue in the teacher quality debate, specifically the issues of teacher education and certification/alternative certification. (Again, because the issue of teacher education is technically the teaching of teaching practices and this alone could fill a website, we will discuss teacher education in as much as it relates to recent legislation requiring schools of education to produce "report cards." More information on the role of schools of education in relation to "No Child Left Behind," can be found by entering the "No Child Left Behind" link.)

The 1998 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act requires institutions of higher education and states to issue a "report card" about teacher education and certification. This same reauthorization requires the Secretary of Education to report to Congress on "the state of teacher quality nationwide." (Department of Education 2002). This reporting system will be the data with which states are held accountable for compliance with "No Child Left Behind." The Secretary of Education issued the first annual report on teacher quality in 2002, entitled "Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge: The Secretary's Annual Report on Teacher Quality." The report includes the definition of "highly qualified" used in "No Child Left Behind" and an analysis of various issues surrounding teacher quality, specifically, teacher education and certification. The report challenges the importance of pedagogy and the effect of teacher certification on "improved student outcomes."

The subsequent challenges to the report encapsulate the debate on teacher education and teacher certification. Namely, is current teacher certification linked positively to student outcomes? What should be taught in schools of education--is pedagogy important? Or is content knowledge more important? Are alternative certification programs sufficient in training new teachers?

For additional information on teacher preparation issues, see the links below:

Professionalism and the Public Good: A History of Teacher Certification
This article provides a history of teacher certification in the United States. www.edexcellence.net/library/angus/angus.html

Teacher Certification Reconsidered: Stumbling for Quality
Report funded by the Abell Foundation of Baltimore, Maryland arguing against teacher certification requirements as an "effective means by which to ensure a competent working force." www.abell.org/pubsitems/ed_cert_summary_1101.pdf

The Research and Rhetoric on Teacher Certification - A Response to "Teacher Certification Reconsidered"
This paper is a response by Linda Darling-Hammond to Kate Walsh's paper written for the Abell Foundation (listed above). Darling-Hammond's argument is against eliminating certification requirements for Maryland (specifically Baltimore) teachers.

The Effectiveness of "Teach for America" and other under-certified teachers on student academic achievement
This study compares the performance of students taught by under-certified primary school teachers and students taught by regularly certified primary school teachers.

Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: A review of State Policy Evidence
A 50-state survey conducted by Linda Darling-Hammond examines how teacher qualifications (among other school inputs) related to student achievement across these states.

Improving, Empowering, Dismantling
Article produced for the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research exploring three approaches to the "problem" of teacher quality.

Teacher Quality and Alternative Certification Programs
Testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, 1999.

Full Circle: Building a Coherent Teacher Preparation System
Report from the National Association of State Boards of Education Study Group on Coordination and Accountability in Teacher Education.

State Reforms in Teacher Preparation, Licensure, and Professional Development
Issue Brief based on the work of the national Association of State Boards of Education regarding to help states establish performance-based standards.

Quality Alternatives in Teacher Preparation: Dodging the "Silver Bullet" and Doing What Is Right for Students

Teacher Supply and Demand

This component of teacher quality is less contentious than the issue of teacher preparation. Most researchers agree that there is a shortage of teachers, especially of minority teachers.

Because the focus of this website is to highlight Latino education issues, several articles on the shortage of minority teachers are included on the site. Each of these articles explore why minorities are not entering the field of teaching. Many of these articles regularly state that although minorities are entering college in (relatively) greater numbers, they are pursuing degrees in other fields. Johnson (1995) indicates that a number of factors keep minorities from graduating into teaching: poor salaries, failure to qualify for the field due to competency testing, and poor working conditions. Other researchers trace the low number of minority teachers to elementary and secondary schools, citing inequalities in schools that serve predominately minority populations. Without a solid primary and secondary school foundation, minority students may not enter higher education, the gateway into teaching . (Mays and Pollard 1993).

A lack of minority teachers means that the teaching staff does not adequately represent the students whom they teach. In 1997, approximately16% of students in public schools were minorities while only 9% of the teaching staff in public schools were minorities (Jorgensen). A number of articles stress the importance of having not only equal minority representation, but also an equal number of teacher "role models" for the students. For more information on the teacher shortage and the minority teacher shortage, see the links below:

Help Wanted: Minority Teachers
National Education Association Report and Recommendations to solve the minority teacher shortage.

Diversity in our Schools: New Opportunities for Teaching and Learning
Issue of SEDLetter dedicated to diversity in schools in general. The Issue contains one section that specifically addresses the minority teacher shortage.

Education Week Special Report: Help Wanted - 2 Million Teachers
Collection of Articles from Education Week on identifying issues that impact "the nation's supply and demand for qualified teachers."

All talk, No Action: Putting an End to Out-of-Field Teaching
Analysis of result from the U.S. Department of Education's 1999-200 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) focusing specifically on the examination of out-of-field teaching.

Recruitment and Retention

Current efforts by the Bush administration to alter teacher education programs may not address the teacher shortage issue without effective programs for recruitment and retention. However, those programs for recruitment and retention that exist are highly controversial. Because these programs offer alternative pathways into teaching that do not follow traditional certification through state and university preparation programs, they challenge the educational establishment. Alternative certification programs very from state to state, creating inconsistently trained teachers.

However, research shows that alternative certification programs produce a higher number of minority teachers than traditional programs. An Education Week article devoted to alternative pathways into teaching found that in Texas alone, 27 alternative programs produced nearly half of all minority teachers. A greater number of articles and links in this site are dedicated to the issue of how to increase the number of minority teachers through better recruitment practices. At the U.S. Department of Education Satellite Town Meeting a number of alternative pathways to teaching target minority teachers specifically.

Encouraging and Recruiting Students of Color to Teach
Report on King/Chave/Parks (KCP) Extended College Day Programs at Central Michigan University.

Minority teacher recruitment and retention: A National Imperative
A paper that examines research regarding the recruitment and retention of minority teachers.

Innovative School District and School Building Models
This site describes districts and school that are "successful models for minority teacher recruitment and retention."


High-Quality Urban School Teachers: What They Need to Enter and Remain in Hard-to-Staff Schools

Additional Research Collections Regarding Teacher Quality:

Better Teachers, Better Schools
Research volume containing articles on teacher quality in general, teacher certification and proposed reforms.


Progressive Policy Institute
A collection of Articles on Teacher Quality in general.

Teacher Quality
An online book published by the Hoover Institution containing articles on preparation, accountability and teaching methods.

Improving Teacher Quality
American School Board Journal Edition dedicated to teacher quality.

Teacher quality lags in poorer schools


Teacher quality and alternative education programs


Alternative Teacher Certification


Teacher Quality: Transforming the Teacher
This is a report from National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board regarding research priorities for teachers and teacher education.

Questions? Vanessa Garza garza_vanessa@hotmail.com