To the Editor:
We were pleased to see that the indicators on teaching quality have been reintroduced and refined in your special report Quality Counts 2008 (Jan. 10, 2008). Preparing today’s students to participate in a global, knowledge-based economy is a demanding challenge. Preparing high-quality teachers and supporting them with schools organized for success is the key to meeting that challenge.
For this reason, it is gratifying to see that eight of the top 10 states in the Teaching Profession rankings are partner states of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, as are 17 of the top 25. We also note that six of the top 10 states in the overall Quality Counts rankings, and 14 of the top 25, are NCTAF partners.
The NCTAF partner states have become a collaborative network of policymakers, school leaders, and teachers who share best practices, learn together, and empower one another. They are performing well on the Quality Counts indicators because they are among the leaders who are developing a variety of cutting-edge improvement strategies that include:
• Providing extensive clinical practice during teacher preparation;
• Discouraging out-of-field placements for teachers;
• Including student achievement in the evaluation of teacher performance;
• Offering leadership and performance incentives to teachers and principals;
• Providing incentives for national-board-certified teachers to serve in high-need schools;
• Providing state-funded, mentored induction programs for all new teachers;
• Encouraging a reduced-workload policy for first-year teachers;
• Requiring districts and schools to set aside school time for professional development; and
• Collecting and publicly reporting information on school climate and working conditions.
National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future
A version of this article appeared in the January 30, 2008 edition of Education Week as Quality Counts Indicators Show Strategies That Work