Facts About Teacher Quality, Training and Certification:
Are We "Destroying the Future, One Child at a Time"?
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Congress has reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act (ESEA), the statute formerly known as No Child Left
Behind. The new statute, Every Student Succeeds Act, was signed into law by President Obama on December 10, 2015.
June 12, 2002, Secretary of Education Rod Paige issued a call to action.
Paige called for states to transform their teacher certification systems
by raising standards and lowering barriers that keep many qualified
individuals from pursuing teaching careers.
was based on findings in the first annual report to Congress, Teacher
Quality: Meeting the Highly Qualified Teacher Challenge. Data
from this report show that state certification systems accept too many
teachers who lack content knowledge of the subjects they will teach.
a nation, we have made the commitment to all children in our public
schools that every one of them can and will learn. Every single
child. Regardless of race, income or zip code." - Rod
Paige, Secretary of Education
Child Left Behind Act calls for highly qualified teachers
teachers demonstrating subject knowledge and skills in reading,
writing, mathematics and other basic subject areas to be in place
in every classroom by the end of the 2005-06 school year.
Are Destroying the Future, One Child at a Time"
Dr. Paige said, "The National report cards in recent years show we
are destroying that futureone child at a time."
Two out of three 4th graders cannot read proficiently.
Seven out of 10 inner-city and rural 4th graders cannot read at the
most basic level.
Nearly one-third of college freshmen need remedial classes before they
can handle entry level courses.
American 12th graders rank among the lowest in math and science
of all industrialized nations.
"These are more than just statistics. They are a grim picture of
the human toll of an education system that is failing too many African-American,
Hispanic and low-income children in our nation's classrooms . . . "
"Never before have we as a nation made the commitment to all children
in our public schools that every one of them can and will learn. Every
single child. Regardless of race, income or zip code."
No Child Left Behind Act also recognizes that just throwing money at a
problem won't make it go away. Over the last half-century local, state
and federal taxpayers have spent more than $10 trillion on our public
schools. $10 trillion."
what have we got to show for it? Every
year we did the same thing: spent more money. And every year we got the
same result: mediocre student performanceor worse."
Einstein said insanity is 'the belief that one can get different
results by doing the same thing.' It doesn't take an Einstein
to see the truth is that all the money in the world won't fix our schools
if your only plan is to throw more money at the problem."
and dads want the best for their children . . . they understand
the only way to know if teachers are teaching and their children
are learning is to measure for resultsand to hold schools
- Rod Paige, Secretary of Education
Must Create a Framework for Change"
solve the problem, you must first create a framework for change."
new education reforms provide that framework by insisting on accountability
and results; by providing local control and flexibility; by empowering
parents to take a lead in their children's education; and by insisting
on teaching methods that work."
basics work. Research-based reading programs work. Testing works."
of the status quo hate the idea of testing. But parents don't. Recent
polls show the American people standing shoulder to shoulder with the
president on annual testing. Moms and dads want the best for their children.
They understand that the only way to know if teachers are teaching and
their children are learning is to measure for resultsand to hold
own children agree. A Public Agenda poll shows 95 percent of students
are not obsessing over the idea of tests." (Read
full text of Dr. Paige's speech)
Teachers with Solid Content Knowledge"
We now have concrete evidence that smart teachers with solid content
knowledge have the greatest effect on student achievement, Paige
If we are to meet the challenge of having a highly qualified teacher
in every classroom by the 2005-06 school year, states and universities
must take heed and act now to bring more of these people into our nations
classrooms. There is much to be done, but we know what it is and have
no time to waste if no child is to be left behind.
Standards Often "Shockingly Low"
According to this Report to Congress, states certify many teachers who
lack solid academic skills while blocking teachers who have strong skills.
Although states use licensure exams to ensure that teachers have a minimum
level of knowledge and skills, the report notes that "what states
consider 'minimum' is often shockingly low."
Standards, Lower Barriers
To raise academic standards, the report calls on states to require prospective
teachers to pass rigorous exams in the subjects they plan to teach. Research
shows that teachers with strong academic backgrounds in specific content
areas are more likely to boost the academic performance of their students
in those subjects.
To lower barriers, the report calls on states and institutions of higher
education to revamp their teacher preparation programs and eliminate many
of their rigid certification requirements, such as the massive number
of methods courses. While teachers certainly need to understand how to
teachand to have other basic skills such as classroom managementthere
is no evidence that lengthy preparation programs achieve these goals any
better than streamlined programs that quickly get talented teachers into
the classroom. Requiring excessive numbers of
pedagogy or education theory courses acts as an unnecessary barrier for
those wishing to pursue a teaching career.
Routes to Teaching
The report examines the initial success of several alternate routes to
teaching that are less burdensome than traditional preparation programs.
These programs recruit successful recent college graduates or mid-career
professionals who are interested in teaching and who also possess strong
backgrounds in their subject areas. They are streamlined quickly into
high-need schools, and are provided training, mentoring and support once
they are on the job.
These programs, such as Troops to Teachers and Teach for America, hold
promise for identifying and supporting candidates who will serve as outstanding
"Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge" is the first
annual report to Congress on the state of teacher quality nationwide,
as required by Title II of the Higher Education Act of 1998. The Report
was based on responses from state reports on teacher quality submitted
to the Department for the first time in October 2001, and includes comprehensive
data, by state, about:
* State certification
and license requirements for traditional and alternate teacher preparation
* Statewide pass rates on state assessments;
* Numbers of teachers on waivers or emergency/temporary permits (allowed
to teach without having an initial full certificate or license);
* Teacher standards and their alignment with student standards; and
* State criteria for identifying low-performing schools of education.
of the Teacher
Academic standards for teachers are generally low.
* Only 23 states have implemented teacher standards tied to their academic
content standards for grades K-12.
* On the teacher licensure test used by 29 states, only one state
set its passing score in reading near the national average.
* Fifteen states set passing scores in reading below the 25th percentile.
On math and writing tests, only one state set its passing
score above the national average.
Not surprisingly, more than 90 percent of teachers pass these tests.
know the importance of having a highly qualified teacher in every classroom
in America, Paige said. This report spells out what needs
to be done and is a useful tool for policymakers at the state and local
levels, institutions of higher education with teacher preparation programs,
and students and citizens interested in becoming teachers.
You can download
the report "Teacher
Quality: Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge", state
reports and other information from http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/teachprep/2004Title2-Report.pdf
Quality: Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge.
Information page with summaries and links to reports.
Reports on Quality of Teacher Preparation. Check your state's
with Caution: The First Title II Reports on Quality of Teacher Preparation.
by Sandra Huang, Yun Yi, Kati Haycock.
According to this article, states hide data that reflect poorly on their
teaching staff. Many states and higher ed institutions report that all
teachers are fully certified or that 100 percent of candidates passed
the teacher licensure tests, despite conflicting information from other
sources. States used various strategies to come up with these 100% pass
rates. Only one teacher preparation institution in the nation was classified
as low performing! Download from http://www.edtrust.org/dc/publication/interpret-with-caution-the-first-state-title-ii-reports-on-the-quality-of-teacher-pre
to No Child Left Behind Resources
Teaching Matters: How Well-Qualified Teachers Can Close the Gap
(16 pages, pdf).
This report synthesizes recent research which shows that teachers are
the single most significant factor related to student achievement. Using
data from William Sanders, Ronald Ferguson and others who analyze the
"value added" by teachers, author Kati Haycock argues that the
best investment states and districts can make for poor and minority students
is assuring a well-qualified teacher for every child.
Reading is Rocket Science: What Expert Teachers Should Know and Be Able
to Do, American Federation of Teachers (36 pages, pdf).
is the fundamental skill upon which all formal instruction depends. Research
shows that a child who doesn't learn the reading basics early is unlikely
to learn them at all. Any child who doesn't learn to read early and well
will not easily master other skills and knowledge and is unlikely to ever
flourish in school or in life."
Designing Powerful Professional
Development for Teachers and Principals, National Staff Development
For most teachers and principals, professional development is unfocused,
insufficient, and irrelevant to the day-to-day problems they face. This
book focuses on ways to improve the quality of professional learning for