Recommendations From Governors’ Task Forces on Education:Teaching: Improvements Needed In Quality, Quantity of Work Force

September 10, 1986 2 min read

Who Will Teach?

The most difficult thing about preparing this report was having to say to some of those who had done most for education that they had more to do .... But teaching reform remains on the governors’ list of I things to do. We still face problems of both quality and quantity in the teacher work force ....

A series of national teacher-policy studies this year presents a remarkable opportunity for governors. Those studies outline a program that builds on what has happened, but is fundamentally different in scope and tone. It goes far beyond what anyone state has attempted. Our task force report defines 10 things that governors can do to advance the new agenda. Without the support of governors there will be no progress.

What remains to be done? There have been many successes but we don’t give enough attention to what motivates people to teach when we design recruitment programs. Teachers care about the intrinsic rewards of teaching and the professional environment of the school. If we want to attract more able teachers, and keep the ones we have, we have to respond to what they care about.

What we need now is a new compact between teachers and the public. The public must offer teachers a professional work environment and all that goes with it. That means reasonable salaries and a real voice in decisions. It means the chance to design the standards that define professional performance and ways to assess that performance.

It also means a willingness of parents and other citizens to do the simple things-things like reading to children and controlling television time-that we know support a child’s education.

Teachers, for their part, must offer the public a commitment to the highest standards of professional competence. They must acknowledge their basic responsibility for performance. They must work for results, as I think mo t want to do, not work to the rule

Governors must set the stage for this new compact between the public and the teachers .... This com· pact cannot be imposed by government. It cannot be won at the bargaining table. It can only be achieved over time through discussion, experimentation, and with considerable forbearance on all sides ....

Thomas H. Kean

Governor of New Jersey

Task force chairman


1. Convene a statewide panel to review the national teacher-policy reports.

2. Support the creation of a national board of professional teacher standards.

3. Develop state initiatives to encourage professional school environments.

4. Challenge the higher-education community on teacher education.

5. Build the case for sustained real-dollar increases in education spending.

6. Define and put in place a comprehensive teacher-recruitment strategy.

7 Announce the end of emergency teaching licenses.

8. Listen to teachers, principals, board members, and others.

9. Recognize outstanding teaching.

10. Establish a state-intervention procedure for cases of education bankruptcy.

A version of this article appeared in the September 10, 1986 edition of Education Week as Recommendations From Governors’ Task Forces on Education:Teaching: Improvements Needed In Quality, Quantity of Work Force