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Career ladders can be a powerful tool for improving the quality of the teaching force, but they are difficult to design, implement, and sustain, according to an analysis prepared for the California State Legislature and presented recently to the state's commission on the teaching profession.

The report by Ann W. Hart and Michael J. Murphy, professors of education at the University of Utah, says that career ladders can address some of the problems of attracting and retaining good teachers, but4can also create new problems.

Such plans, which provide pay and status incentives similar to those in the business world, will not be popular with many teachers, the researchers warn. Not only are they an implicit criticism of teachers, the report states, but they also threaten the basic "egalitarian structure" of the teaching force.

Ms. Hart and Mr. Murphy recommend that career-ladder plans offer teachers additional responsibilities with promotion. Also, they say, "well-developed" methods of evaluating and selecting teachers for promotion are key elements in a successful career-ladder program.

The California commission was scheduled to release the final report to the legislature this month.

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