January 13, 2000

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Vol. 19, Issue 18
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Good teaching matters. Savvy parents have long known this, and research is confirming it. With U.S. schools needing to hire about 2 million teachers in the next decade, the push is on to make sure that the people who take those jobs are qualified to teach to the higher academic standards now expected of students.
In their efforts to raise achievement, states are looking at the question of who should teach.
Many college students who prepare to teach in public schools do not. Of those who do, many leave the profession after only a few years. And both those who enter and remain in teaching typically have lower test scores than their peers.
States set the rules for who can teach, and too many aren’t strict enough.
Policymakers offer enticements to lure teachers, but rarely target their efforts.
Teacher-recruiter Patricia McNeal says minority teachers can have their pick of job offers.
In general, alternative routes attract a significantly higher proportion of minority candidates and math and science teachers--highly prized recruits for many districts--than traditional programs do. Studies also have found that teachers coming through alternative routes perform at least as well, if not better, on state licensing exams than traditional graduates. Often, such candidates are older and more mature. They're more willing to teach in urban environments, and they're more likely to stay in the districts where they've been trained.
A growing gap between salaries for public and private school teachers and other college graduates may make it increasingly difficult to lure and keep qualified people in the classroom, according to an Education Week study conducted for Quality Counts 2000.
Connecticut’s BEST program puts the needs of new teachers front and center.
Although the state has also created alternative routes for teacher preparation, more than 95 percent of those who come into the profession from the state go through the following steps:
States set sights on policies to ensure a qualified teaching force, but they’re not there yet.
Work on standards and accountability continued in 1999, but much remains to be done.
Few aspects of education have generated as much attention and dispute as how schools are financed. Since 1971, courts have found school finance systems in 17 states unconstitutional because of disparities in spending between rich and poor districts, the National Center for Education Statistics reports. With several states still in litigation, there is little doubt that policymakers will continue to struggle with the issue well into the future.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CME Group Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations. Additional grants in support of Editorial Projects in Education’s data journalism and video capacity come from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. (Updated 1/1/2017)

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